Latin America

The first round of Chile’s presidential election was held on November 19. The right-wing candidate, ex-president Sebastian Pinera, won with 36% of the votes. He will compete in the second round against centre-left candidate Alejandro Guiller.

But the big surprise was the result for the Broad Front (FA), a heterogeneous left coalition headed by Beatriz Sanchez. The FA candidate came in third, with 20% of the vote (just two points short of making the second round).

In view of the December 10 municipal elections, communards and revolutionary activists closely associated with some of the most important initiatives in communal organisation in the country have been put forward as candidates for mayor.

Although we cannot say this is a mass phenomenon, it is undoubtedly a deeply significant event for various reasons.

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has denied permission to one of its grassroots delegates to stand as a mayoral candidate in the upcoming December 10 municipal elections.

Angel Prado was elected to the ANC on July 30 as a territorial delegate for his municipality of Simon Planas. Prado is also a leading member of the El Maizal commune in Lara state.

It is no secret that in today’s corporate-dominated media landscape, Venezuela appears almost ubiquitously as a synonym of “dictatorship”.

This is why many may be surprised that Venezuela will hold its 23rd election in 18 years on December 10 when Venezuelans go to the polls to elect local mayors.

Although the media spends a lot of time portraying Cuba as a “dictatorship”, it has barely covered the fact that Cubans have once again begun a process of electing officials, starting from the local and going all the way up to the national parliament.

Cuba has rejected outright new US restrictions that took effect on November 8, describing them as confirming an "upsurge" of the blockade imposed by Washington since 1962.

Cuba's top diplomat for the Americas, Josefina Vidal, said during a press conference on November 7 that the new measures to prevent US trade with and travel to the Caribbean island were "arbitrary."

It is important to understand the context and the intended (as well as likely) effects of the US administration's actions. With encouragement from Florida Senator Marco Rubio and other Republicans, US President Donald Trump has been trying to help topple the elected government of Venezuela.

Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza met with diplomatic representatives from the European Union and rejected the sanctions imposed by the EU against the South American country, on November 14.

"EU sanctions seek to intervene in Venezuela," Arreaza said during the meeting.

A high profile member of the ultra right-wing Popular Will (VP) party, Yon Goicoechea, was freed by Venezuelan authorities on November 4 after more than a year behind bars.

Goicoechea was arrested last August by national security forces for the alleged possession of explosive devices, just two days before an opposition march. 

Since being granted conditional release, Goicoechea has confirmed his candidacy for the mayoralty of the wealthy municipality of El Hatillo, despite his party calling for a boycott of upcoming elections. 

Speaking to a huge march on November 7, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that, during the Russian Revolution, the workers took political power into their hands for the first time. "In Revolution, all times are a battle and they are a struggle!", Maduro told the popular celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik-led revolution on the outskirts of the Miraflores Palace Caracas.

The president recalled that the Revolution showed for the first time that workers could take political power in their hands to build a state.

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