Latin America

In a cabinet meeting with his top ministers on October 20, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez strongly criticised his political team for failing to show commitment to the participatory democratic model proposed by his government. Chavez urged them to undertake serious “self-criticism”.

It was the first cabinet meeting since the October 7 presidential elections, in which Chavez won a third presidential term with more than 55% of the vote.

Cuba’s ongoing socialist revolution has consistently shown it is adaptable and capable of renewal in the areas of feminism, environmental sustainability, political participation, health and education.

Despite the constant and concerted campaign by the United States to undermine the Cuban Revolution, it has achieved many great outcomes, including universal health care, universal education, eradication of illiteracy, low levels of birth mortality and low levels of HIV and AIDS.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was re-elected in October 7, winning more than 55% of the vote. He stood on a detailed 39-page program to deepen the popular revolution his government is leading, which has already lowered extreme poverty by more than 70%. The plan to push for a socialist transition over Chavez's next six-year term will be debated in communities and popular organisations across Venezuela over the coming months, before it is put to the National Assembly for adoption early next year.

Recently re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his next six year term would mark a period of “greater advance” towards building socialism, as well as “greater efficiency in this transition from capitalism”.

The Venezuelan president made the comments on October 10 during a ceremony with the National Electoral Council (CNE). Three days earlier, Chavez beat right-wing candidate Capriles Radonski by 11.11% in presidential elections. Chavez took more than 55% of the vote.

This episode features Terry McBride from Beyond Zero Emissions plus footage of the campaign for big solar in Port Augusta, South Australia, along with activist news including an eyewitness from Venezuela on Chavez's victory, Antony Loewenstein on After Zionism, a NSW public service strike, and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange speaking to GetUp.

Finally, Carlo Sands defends poor, downtrodden shock jock Alan Jones.

“Venezuela Elections 'Free, But Not Fair'”, was Germany’s Spiegel Online headline on a piece about Venezuela's October 7 presidential poll, won by socialist President Hugo Chavez by more than 55% of the vote. “Chavismo wins, Venezuela loses”, was The Wall Street Journal's take.

Compared with such headlines, the Sydney Morning Herald’s reprint of a New York Times article “Socialist Chavez hangs onto Power in Venezuela” by William Neuman might seem a reasonably balanced report. It is not.

Alejandro Fierro from Rebelion spells out five key lessons to be taken from the Venezuela's presidential elections, which were one by President Hugo Chavez with 55% of the vote. It was translated by Tamara Pearson from Venezuela Analysis.

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1. Venezuela is an authentic democracy

Nothing quite prepares you for a first visit to Venezuela ― especially when the country is polarised between two very different visions for the future.

This is how it was just before the October 7 presidential elections, which socialist President Hugo Chavez won with 55% of the vote in the largest turnout, more than 81%, in Venezuelan history.

Members of the Australian solidarity brigade in Venezuela released the statement below on October 8.

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“We, members of the Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela, congratulate socialist President Hugo Chavez on his re-election on October 7”, said Coral Wynter, an organiser of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) 2012 brigade. “We have seen Venezuela's unique participatory democracy system in action, and it works.”

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