Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced at an International Workers’ Day rally on May 1 that he would convene a National Constituent Assembly in an attempt to resolve the country’s current political crisis.

The constituent assembly, which will be made up of delegates elected on a territorial basis and from among the country’s different social sectors, seeks to prove an electoral route out of the current impasse premised on national dialogue.

Opposition groups in Venezuela have been waging an economic war similar to that perpetrated against former Chilean president Salvador Allende. Hoarding, smuggling and currency speculation have caused shortages of food and basic necessities and hardship, particularly for poorer people.

Many things have been said about Venezuela, its leaders and its people; namely, the ability of its process to survive the historical challenges of the growing economic crisis and attacks from the political opposition.

Now is the time to stand in solidarity with Venezuela and really get to know its people and process.

Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government.

While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an authoritarian government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered on April 1 to send rescuers and other disaster relief experts to Colombia to help victims of a mudslide that has killed at least 154 people.

The mudslide, which overtook the small city of Mocoa in southern Colombia, left about 400 people injured and 220 missing. Mocoa was left in almost total ruin, as buildings, trees and infrastructure were toppled by muddy water and debris.

“We’re brotherly people who are there to be together and show respect for one another in trying times,” Maduro said. 

Below is an open letter to ABC’s Foreign Correspondent by Eulalia Reyes, a Venezuelan activist and Brisbane co-coordinator of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. It was written in response to March 21 program titled “Venezuela Undercover”.

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As a Venezuelan that has once again had to endure being insulted by you presenting my country as on the brink of disaster and Venezuelans as bring incapable of liberating ourselves from this situation, I am writing to demand respect for my country and its people. 

Foreign Correspondent’s “Venezuela: A nation on the brink”, screened on the ABC on March 21 was a straight out piece of US State Department propaganda.

It was also more evidence of the ABC’s rightward trajectory under ex-Murdoch executive and CEO Michelle Guthrie.

“Venezuela is a disaster,” reporter Eric Campbell and producer Matt Davis begin. “It has the biggest oil reserves on the planet. But instead of living like Middle Eastern sheiks, many Venezuelans are on the brink of famine.

Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Carmen Velazquez, interrupted a media conference held by Secretary General Luis Almagro with Venezuelan opposition leaders on March 20, which she slammed as a violation of the organisation’s internal norms. 

A farewell gathering for Venezuelan Ambassador to Australia Nelson Davila was held at the Resistance Centre on June 25. About 40 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) and the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN). Chairperson Fred Fuentes explained that Davila is being recalled to Caracas after 11 years as Ambassador to Australia in Canberra. He praised Davila's role as a campaigner for the Bolivarian Revolution in addition to his diplomatic post.
With the Paris climate talks just around the corner it is timely to consider what effective policies to cut emissions might look like. Nationalisation and direct public investment are key policies that have historically been “bread and butter” political demands both for socialists and for the more radical voices within social democratic parties. Climate activists from the Greens and Labor Environment Action Network should revisit these ideas, as they are a useful alternative to the dead end that is carbon trading. Direct public investment

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