Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

Statue of Guaicaipuro. Photo: Correo del Orinoco. A statue of Caribe indigenous resistance hero Guaicaipuro was unveiled on October 12 by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to commemorate the Day of Indigenous Resistance. Guaicaipuro, an indigenous chief of the Caribes, led one of the most successful resistance campaigns against invading Spanish colonial forces throughout the 1560s and is revered by many of Venezuela’s grassroots movements.
Condolences and tributes to legendary revolutionary and champion of women’s rights Nora Castaneda have been pouring in from across Venezuela after news of the activist’s death on May 16. An economist, university lecturer and much-loved revolutionary, Castaneda is renowned for having founded and presided over Venezuela’s internationally celebrated Women’s Development Bank, “Banmujer” since 2001. She was also one of the chief protagonists of Venezuela's working-class women’s movement that emerged in the 1980s.
The US’s role in Latin America is facing a growing challenge. The 33 member states of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) vehemently rejected North American intervention in the continent, and particularly the US-led blockade of Cuba and recent sanctions against Venezuela. These positions were part of the “Belen Declaration”, approved during CELAC’s third annual presidential summit, held on January 28th and 29th in Belen, Costa Rica.
Delegates from environmental groups from around the world gathered on the Venezuelan island of Margarita this month as part of the country's “Social Precop”. The event was coordinated by the Venezuelan government in a bid to take the “voice of the people” into the United Nations talks on climate change scheduled for December in Peru. Over several days, movements and activists put the final touches to the “Margarita Declaration” that was drafted in July after four days of debate and discussion.
The Venezuelan government has begun to send shipments of over 646 tons of much needed humanitarian aid to Cuba and Haiti after both countries were hit by Hurricane Sandy. The aid includes mostly non-perishable food items and water, as well as machinery to help remove debris. The hurricane first struck the Caribbean last week before heading north to the US. So far, Haiti has been the worst hit by the disaster, counting a death toll of 54 people, followed by 11 in Cuba. (By November 4, the US death toll was well over 100 and growing.)
In a cabinet meeting with his top ministers on October 20, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez strongly criticised his political team for failing to show commitment to the participatory democratic model proposed by his government. Chavez urged them to undertake serious “self-criticism”. It was the first cabinet meeting since the October 7 presidential elections, in which Chavez won a third presidential term with more than 55% of the vote.
Recently re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his next six year term would mark a period of “greater advance” towards building socialism, as well as “greater efficiency in this transition from capitalism”. The Venezuelan president made the comments on October 10 during a ceremony with the National Electoral Council (CNE). Three days earlier, Chavez beat right-wing candidate Capriles Radonski by 11.11% in presidential elections. Chavez took more than 55% of the vote.
Thousands of peasant workers took to the streets of Caracas on July 26 to hand over a list of programmatic suggestions to the government and show their support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. More than 2000 peasant activists from across 18 of Venezuela’s states took part in the march, as well as other members of the national popular movement who attended in solidarity. See also: Venezuela: Food sovereignty starts to take root
Much of the world’s population continues to pay for the global financial crisis with their jobs, homes, education and health. Bankers continue to award themselves millions of dollars in bonuses, such as the British bank Barclay’s chief executive, who last year earned US$26.9 million. The Venezuelan government, however, has raised the percentage of net profits banks must grant in credit to national social programs. In doing so, it is demonstrating to the rest of the world what a regulated and socially oriented banking system could look like.
Member countries of Latin America’s alternative integration bloc, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), met for its 11th summit in Caracas on February 4 and 5 to discuss advancing the organisation. ALBA is made up of the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. Formed in 2004, ALBA seeks to develop trade on the basis of solidarity and cooperation.

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