Given the media barrage surrounding Venezuela’s “humanitarian crisis”, recent tensions on the Venezuela-Colombia border, and talks of “military options” and coup attempts, it was hard to know what to expect on returning to the country for the first time in five years, writes Federico Fuentes.
In early March, Green Left Weekly's Federico Fuentes travelled to Venezuela as part of a fact-finding mission. He visited Caracas’s poorer neighbourhoods, rural and border states to hear from those voices deliberated excluded from the media discussion on Venezuela.
Shockwaves were sent around the world when fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro won 55% in the second round in Brazil’s presidential elections on October 28, defeating Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT).
Brian Mier, editor of Brasil Wire and Voices of the Brazilian Left: Dispatches From a Coup in Progress, spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes about the victory of fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential elections, and what it means for the coming period.
Women’s and LGBTI rights activists presented Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) with a series of proposals to legalise abortion and expand sexual and reproductive rights on June 20. This comes in the wake of the vote in Argentina’s Congress to legalise abortion, and at a time when the issue of abortion has gained added importance given the impact Venezuela’s economic crisis has had on women.
Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.
The Lima Group, a coalition of 13 right-wing Latin American countries plus Canada, also refused to recognise the results. Among its members are:
More than 300 international representatives from organisations such as the African Union, the Caribbean Community and the Electoral Experts Council of Latin America, as well as former heads of states, parliamentarians, trade unionists and solidarity activists, were present for Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote. Among them was Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, a Venezuelan-born activist with the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
Voices from across South America have denounced Israel’s massacre of more than 50 Palestinians on May 14 and its ongoing repression of protesters participating in the Great March of Return that began in Gaza on March 30.
They have also condemned the United States’ decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem and pledged support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid.
Campaigning is well underway for Venezuela’s May 20 national vote to elect the nation’s president and representatives to municipal councils and state legislatures. To get a sense of the campaign and situation in the South American country today, Federico Fuentes spoke to Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) Brisbane co-convenor Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, who has been back in her home country for the past several months.
While the voices of Venezuela's right-wing opposition are continuously amplified by the corporate media, rarely are the voices of grassroots activists heard. Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes spoke to Pacha Catalina Guzman, a leading activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), to get her view on the current economic crisis and how rural communities are organising to deal with the situation.