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.
President Nicolas Maduro at International Workers' Day celebrations in Caracas, May 1. Braving the heat, more than 100,000 Venezuelans flooded the streets of Caracas on May 1 to commemorate the International Workers' Day and gains for working people under the Bolivarian Revolution.
The 15th solidarity brigade from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) joined a long tradition of international brigades to visit Venezuela since 1998, and enjoyed a packed itinerary during its visit from December 2 to 13.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a call on June 7 to each grassroots unit of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 proposals for ways to improve how the government functions, Venezuelanalysis.com said on June 21. “In response,” the article said, “throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions.”
In response to the violence instigated by the Venezuelan elite, the working classes of Venezuela took to the streets this week. They went out not with pistols or grenades, but with brooms and shovels to clean the burnt trash and remove the barricades that have restricted the free movement of thousands of citizens.
Supporters of the Venezuelan government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement. The first results announced gave the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) victory in 58% of the country’s municipalities. The PSUV and its allies gained more than 49% of the total vote share versus 43% for the opposition.
Nicolas Maduro completed his first 100 days since being sworn in as president on July 29 — a period marked by his new street government initiative, Latin American solidarity, and debate over spiked inflation and moderate economic growth. Maduro’s presidency began amid protest and claims of electoral fraud from Venezuela’s right-wing opposition. They continue to reject the results of the April 14 presidential election in which Maduro won 50.6% of the vote, a 1.6% margin over Henrique Capriles. Since then, polls have pegged his approval rating around 56%.
The conversations started in June between Venezuela and the United States have definitively ended, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on July 20 at an event of the Strategic Regions of Integral Defense (REDI) in Cojedes state. “My policy is zero tolerance to gringo aggression against Venezuela,” Maduro said. “I'm not going to accept any aggression, whether it be verbal, political, or diplomatic. “Enough is enough. Stay over there with your empire, don't involve yourselves anymore in Venezuela.”
Representatives of more than 30,000 groups held a historic Popular Assembly in Caracas on June 9 to reinvigorate the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), which united the governing United Socialist Party of venezuela (PSUV) with pro-revolution political parties and socioal movement groups. The assembly was held to discuss the future of the revolutionary alliance, and specifically the question of unified candidates for the upcoming municipal elections in December.
When Hugo Chávez triumphed in the 1998 presidential elections, the neoliberal capitalist model was already floundering. The choice then was whether to re-establish the neoliberal capitalist model -- clearly with some changes including greater concern for social issues, but still motivated by the same logic of profit seeking -- or to go ahead and try to build another model. I believe that Chávez's chief legacy is having chosen the latter alternative. To name that alternative, he also chose to reclaim the word socialism, despite the negative baggage that the word had acquired.
There has been much speculation in the international media over the future of Venezuela in light of the poor health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan government reported on February 4 that Chavez's recovery in Cuba, from a cancer-related operation in December, was proceeding well.
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.)