The recent diplomatic manoeuvres by the US and Colombian governments against Venezuela have put the region on red alert. There are a clear warning signs that US imperialism has stepped up its plans to overthrow the revolutionary government of Venezuela through military means, as support for opposition parties drops in the lead up to the September National Assembly elections. An intense mobilisation within Venezuela and internationally is needed to make it clear that imperialism will pay the highest price possible if it attempts to plunge the region into war.
On July 29, the leaders of the 12 countries belonging to the Union of the Southern Nations (Unasur) held an emergency meeting in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss the crisis between Venezuela and Colombia.
Internationally recognised legal standards are being flagrantly ignored in the treatment of political prisoners from the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement. The prisoners have been detained by the Abhisit Vejjajiva military government since the bloody crackdown against unarmed demonstrators in May.
On July 15, 25 Justice Ride participants returned from their trip across Queensland to Alice Springs for the Defending Indigenous Rights convergence over July 6-9. The trip to Alice Springs took four days each way, so there was plenty of time for us to get to know each other, discuss local Aboriginal rights campaigns, such as those against black deaths in custody, and take in Australia’s beautiful and ancient landscape.
Alarm bells should be ringing as the threat of war looms on the horizon, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned in his July 18 weekly column. The warning came after tensions again flared with neighbouring Colombia, and the Central American nation of Costa Rica agreed to 6000 US troops being deployed on its soil. Chavez placed Venezuela on high alert and broke diplomatic relations with Colombia after a July 22 meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS).
On July 17, 25 members of Justice for Palestine (JFP) Brisbane met in the CBD to launch their boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli goods and services. The target for the first BDS action was the Israeli Seacret cosmetics company that uses “mineral-rich mud and natural mineral salts of the Dead Sea”. It makes no mention of the occupied Palestinian land from which the minerals are extracted or the apartheid conditions under which Palestinians live every day.
Francisco Chavez Abarca, who was recently extradited to Cuba, has admitted being contracted by Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to carry out destabilising acts in Venezuela in the lead-up to the September National Assembly elections. Posada Carriles is a former CIA agent wanted for his role in a 1976 attack on a Cuban plane that left 73 passengers dead. He lives in Miami. The US government, going against international law, has refused Venezuelan and Cuban requests to extradite him.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s high-handed attempts to impose a “regional asylum seeker processing centre” on East Timor have angered Timorese politicians and activists. Despite Gillard’s talk about finding a regional solution to a regional problem, the “problem” of “unauthorised boat arrivals” in Australia is one of perception. The Liberal-National opposition and the Murdoch tabloids have devoted considerable energy to creating anxiety in sections of the Australian community about the country being swamped by “boat people”.
Fidel Castro Handbook By George Galloway MQ Publications, 2006 Review by Ramona Wadi In the introduction, to the Fidel Castro Handbook author George Galloway describes himself as “a partisan for Cuba, for the revolution, for the leadership”. While a partisan view may be shunned in journalistic terms Galloway has no hesitation in embracing a revolution and being loyal to a cause that inspired working class and other exploited people throughout the world.
Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations & the Coming Population Crash By Fred Pearce Corgi Books, 2010, 352 pages Review by Martin Empson In the 200 years since the Reverend Thomas Malthus first penned his tract, An Essay on the Principle of Population, the question of the “carrying capacity” of the planet has repeatedly appeared. Most recently, mainstream debates around how to solve the question of climate change have boiled down to the simplistic argument that “there are too many people”.