Ewan Robertson

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of a top US diplomat and two other embassy officials from Venezuela for alleged conspiracy with the opposition.

“Get out of Venezuela,” said Maduro during a televised political event. “Yankee go home. Enough of abuses against the dignity of a homeland that wants peace.”

The US officials named were charge d'affaires Kelly Keiderling, and two other embassy employees, Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt. They were given 48 hours to leave the country.

In his May Day speech at a large rally in Caracas, President Nicolas Maduro announced the extension of social programs and benefits to workers and the population in general. The opposition held its own march to criticise the state of the economy.

Some of Maduo's announcements to thousands of workers included: a new fund to protect and increase the value of workers’ social security savings, the extension of social programs to workplaces, and the introduction of free wifi in many public parks and urban spaces.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has launched the second phase of his Street Government initiative, with the aim of inaugurating new projects and strengthening community organisation.

The Street Government is a governance mechanism implemented by Maduro this year which involves the national executive visiting Venezuela’s regions and holding meetings with different neighbourhoods and social groups.

These meetings allow the government to orientate its regional development strategies and launch new projects with the support and involvement of communities.

Venezuela and Palestine have signed fresh agreements on oil, taxation and diplomatic cooperation, Venezuela Analysis said on May 19. The agreements were made during a visit by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to Venezuela.

In a key agreement, Venezuela created a new corporation, Petro-Palestina, through which Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will send oil to Palestine at a subsidised price. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro committed to sending an initial shipment of 240,000 barrels of oil.

The Venezuelan government and the commune movement are taking steps to move towards the creation of what is referred to as a “communal state”, which involves community groups assuming collective control of local production and decision making.

Communes in Venezuela are formed out of groups of community councils, which are small neighbourhood groups representing 250 to 400 families. In communal councils, local residents organise to develop their local community and run community affairs. They can also receive public funds to undertake social projects in their area.

The Venezuelan government is planning to implement profit limits across the economy as part of a crackdown on overpricing, Venezuela Analysis said on November 18.

The plan is in response to revelations of mass price speculation by retailers earlier this month. Some companies were found to be taking advantage of cheap imports at the government’s official exchange rate, then marking up prices and making profits of more than 1000%.

At the G77 plus China Summit held in Bolivia that ended on June 15, several Latin American presidents gave public backing to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. They called for regional unity against an bid for “conservative restoration” under way in the South American country.

The summit, held in Santa Cruz, eastern Bolivia, brought together 133 countries, about two-thirds of the member states of the United Nations.

Local citizens voted to create 169 new communes on November 24, deepening efforts to create forms of communal organisation in the South American country.

A recent national census found there are more that 40,000 active communal councils in Venezuela. These are local participatory bodies that develop their communities and can receive public funding.

Communes are based on groups of communal councils, and can take on larger -scale projects and economic activities.

Activists from across Venezuela met this month to form the National Communard Council, which aims to coordinate the country’s commune movement and present its demands to the national government.

The council was formed in the western state of Lara during a three-day meeting of about 2000 communards (commune members) from around the country. Most represented a particular commune.

The meeting was the fifth national gathering of the independent National Communard Network since the organisation was founded in 2009.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced the first results of the Venezuelan municipal elections held on December 8. Mayors and local councilors were elected for the country’s 335 municipalities, as well as the metropolitan mayor of Caracas.

CNE president Tibisay Lucena read out the results. Turnout was 58.92%, with 97% of votes counted so far.

The results for 77% of mayoralties were announced, with the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies winning 196 so far, of the 257 mayoral position results that are so far irreversible.


Subscribe to Ewan Robertson