Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

Cutting the working day to a maximum of seven hours, eliminating subcontracted work and raising maternity leave to a period of five months were some of the proposals put forward by thousands of workers across Venezuela for the country's new Labour Law, Socialist Bolivarian Workers’ Central president Will Rangel said on January 31. Venezuelan workers have been mobilising across the country since President Hugo Chavez announced his government would overhaul the country’s Labour Law (LOT). This came after a sustained campaign by workers to have the law changed.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has criticised the US State Department’s “absurd” decision to threaten Latin American countries with sanctions should they engage in trade with Iran. Chavez made the comments on the state VTV channel after State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland warned Latin American countries they would be liable to US sanctions if they were to use Iranian banks or purchase Iranian oil.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned the United States’ decision to expel the Venezuelan consul general in Miami as “arbitrary and unjustified” on January 9. Chavez derided the move as “another demonstration of the arrogance of ridiculous imperialism”. Venezuelan diplomat Livia Acosta Noguera had reportedly been working in the US since March when she was ordered to leave on January 8 amid claims that she had discussed the possibility of orchestrating cyber attacks against the US government whilst serving as vice-secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the expropriation of the British agricultural company Agroflora. The company is a subsidiary of Britain’s Vestey Group that focuses on the commercial production of beef. Chavez said the company’s 290,000 hectares of farmland would be expropriated and brought under direct “operational and administrative control” of the state through the country’s Food Security and Sovereignty Law. This law allows the government to forcefully expropriate land in “exceptional circumstances” relating to issues of national food security and the public good.
On August 23, military chief Henry Rangel Silva revealed that over 40,000 hectares of land had been recovered and 15,000 people freed from conditions of “slavery” as part of Plan Caura, the Venezuelan government’s anti-illegal mining project. Silva, chief of Venezuela’s Operational Strategic Command, is head of the anti-illegal mining initiative, formed in 2010 when the Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) were given the task of stemming Venezuela’s growing problem with illegal mining activities in the south eastern part of Bolivar state.
Venezuelan foreign affairs minister Nicolas Maduro has criticised the US government for having an “absurd and extremist” policy with regards to Venezuela. Maduro made the comments after the publication of a report in late July that outlines the US government’s tactics for dealing with transnational criminal organisations. The document cites Venezuela as a country that promotes a “permissive environment for narco-trafficking and terrorist organisations”.
More than 2000 workers marched to the National Assembly in Caracas on July 26 in support of increased workers’ control. Handing over a document with more than 45,000 signatures, the workers demanded that the legislative body approve the Special Law for Socialist Worker Councils and begin an immediate discussion of a “new and revolutionary” Organic Work Law (LOT). Both demands were submitted under article 240 of the Venezuelan constitution, which allows the people the right to legislate.

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