Latin America

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.

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.

“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

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.”

On the eve of the October 7, Venezuelan presidential election, Green Left TV's Peter Boyle spoke to Tamara Pearson (below), an Australian socialist who has been living in Venezuela since 2007. She writes for Venezuela Analysis and for Green Left Weekly.

Pearson lives in Merida but was in Caracas for the final stage of the election campaign and to help lead the 2012 Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade whose members are also there to witness this election campaign.

“Major U.S. business groups are stepping up pressure on President Barack Obama's administration to suspend longtime trade benefits for Ecuador, citing the Andean country's mistreatment of Chevron Corp as proof of a deteriorating investment climate”, Reuters said September 26.

“Washington has refused to extradite a former Bolivian president to the South American country to stand trial over political violence that forced him from office nine years ago”, Reutuers reports that Bolivian President Evo Morales said on September 7.

Bolivia wants former US-backed president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, known as “Goni”, to face charges over corruption allegations and for his role in the deaths of 63 people killed by security forces during the 2003 uprising that overthrew him.

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