Stuart Munckton

The British Labour Party and beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown were dealt a new, savage blow in the Glasgow East by-election, which Labour lost to the Scottish National Party (SNP), according to a July 25 British Independent article.
“Member countries of Petrocaribe, the Caribbean energy integration organisation that Venezuela initiated in 2005, agreed Sunday to adjust the terms of financing for the purchase of Venezuelan oil in order to lower the impact of soaring oil prices on Caribbean countries”, according to a July 15 Venezuelanalysis.com report.
On July 2, an operation by the Colombian military succeeded in freeing French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who had held her prisoner since 2002. Betancourt was the highest-profile FARC-held prisoner and the action, which also liberated 14 other prisoners, captured world headlines.
In response to the extreme, racist anti-immigrant “Return Directive” law, passed by the European parliament on June 18, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop oil sales to any country that applied the directive.
On June 5, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five — the five Cubans who infiltrated right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami and have been imprisoned in the US since 1997 — issued a statement condemning the decision the previous day by an Atlanta court of appeals to uphold the sentences against the men.
The pro-corporate European Union Lisbon treaty has been rejected by voters in a referendum in the Republic of Ireland, according to a June 13 BBC.co.uk report.
“The announcement by the Prime Minister of increasing the price of fuel by 78 sen and increasing diesel by RM1 added with the increase in electricity as well lifting the cap on chicken prices tantamounts to a declaration of war against the ordinary people of Malaysia”, S.Arutchelvan, the secretary general of the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) declared in a June 5 statement.
The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), the group that initiated Green Left Weekly in 1991 as a broad left newspaper, has suffered a political split with minority critical of its continuing support for the Socialist Alliance as a new party project. This follows a nearly three-year internal debate in the DSP.
According to a May 19 report by Latin American TV station Telesur, Venezuela’s defence minister Gustavo Rangel Briceno, denounced the fact that a US fighter jet violated Venezuelan airspace — around the La Orchila island, which houses a Venezuelan military base — two days earlier.
“The workers feel that what we achieved was a great triumph”, said Jose Melendez, the finance secretary for the United Steel Industry Workers’ Union (SUTISS), on the signing of a new contract for the Sidor steel plant’s workforce with the Venezuelan government, according to a May 6 Venezuelanalysis.com article.
On live TV, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed the law on April 30 that re-nationalised the giant Sidor steelworks — majority owned by Argentinean-based Ternium corporation.
Left-wing former bishop Fernando Lugo won Paraguay’s presidential election on April 20 with 41% of the vote, according to an April 21 AFP report.