PANDEMONIUM  REVOLUTIONARY   SPECIAL
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ESPAÑOL & ENGLISH:

*** Trinicenter.Com
Articles on Venezuela.

*** El Decreto de creación ya fue firmado por el presidente Chávez
MinCi: Gobierno creará nueva telefónica para competir con Cantv.

*** El plan del presidente mezcla el libre mercado con bienestar social
El referéndum trajo la "revolución".

*** Venezuela creates Ministry of “Popular Economy”.

*** Con concesiones a golpistas y explotadores no se profundiza la Revolución
Miguel Angel Hernández Arvelo.
Aporrea.

*** Opposition soups up fraud campaign with street actions to show the real majority.

.
*** Franz J. T. Lee: World energy crisis ... the Venezuelan context
VHeadline.com.

*** Venezuela y lecciones históricas de la Revolución Sudafricana


Por: Franz J.T. Lee
Rebelión

*** Gobierno no dialogará con empresarios tira piedras.
*** El referéndum trajo la "revolución" con mezcla del libre mercado y asistencia social.

*** Hacia la profundización de la participación protagónica (I)  

*** Venezuela: Divisions Harden after Chávez Victory.

*** New Documents Reveal that USAID Provided $2.3 Million to Venezuela's Opposition in 2003.

*** The Venezuela Opposition Splits in Two
By Al Giordano,




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Old Articles
Sunday, August 08
· Loathed by the rich (0)
Friday, August 06
· Chavez Announces $500 Million for National Housing Program (0)
Monday, July 26
· Venezuela: So this is what self-determination looks like (0)
Thursday, July 22
· Venezuela Officials Question Bush's Remarks on Referendum (0)
Monday, July 12
· At the Eve of Continental Social Revolution in Venezuela (0)
Thursday, June 24
· A Spectre is haunting the Fourth Reich -- the Spectre of Chávez! (5)
Wednesday, June 09
· A Nicaraguan Priest Remembers the CIA's Contra War (0)
Monday, June 07
· VENEZUELA: JACTA ALEA EST! (0)
Wednesday, March 31
· What's Brewing in Venezuela (0)
Saturday, March 06
· Mission Accomplished in Haiti: Onward to Venezuela? (0)
Tuesday, February 24
· Rep. Maxine Waters Charges U.S. Is Encouraging A Coup in Haiti (0)
Wednesday, November 05
· Cui Bono? The Cuba Embargo as Rip Off (0)
Tuesday, September 30
· Once Strip-Mined, Twice Shy (0)
Saturday, August 30
· Venezuela's recall: The other side of the story (0)
Sunday, August 10
· Rewriting the rules of globalisation (0)
Sunday, July 13
· Venezuela is NOT a fictitious place (0)
Monday, July 07
· Venezuela's President challenges United States hegemony (0)
Monday, February 24
· Washington Pressure on Drugs Jeopardizes Survival of Battered Bolivian President (0)
Friday, February 14
· Working-Class Revolt In Bolivia (0)
Tuesday, January 28
· Lula: Savior or Sell-Out? (0)
· Left Turns in South America: United Opposition to Neoliberalism in Bolivia? (0)
Wednesday, January 22
· Echoes of the past and the lessons of history (0)
Sunday, January 12
· Spinners of Venezuelan Fairy Tales (0)
Friday, December 20
· Burning Down the House to Rid It of Its Termites (0)
Wednesday, December 18
· African Venezuelans fear new U.S. coup against President Chavez (0)
· A Canadian View on Venezuela's Crisis (0)
Tuesday, December 17
· Venezuela: a Canadian Perspective (0)
Wednesday, December 04
· 4 Employer-led (0)
Thursday, November 21
· Another Coup Foiled in Venezuela (0)
Sunday, October 27
· Colombian President accused of heading brutal killer network (0)

Older Articles

  
Latin America: World energy crisis: The Venezuelan context
Sunday, September 12 @ 17:52:04 AST
Venezuelaby Franz J. T. Lee

Do we really have a "World Energy Crisis"? Is there a global, historical connection between this "crisis" and the dramatic social events in Venezuela? And why is Latin America a revolutionary time-bomb?

Already on June 12, 2000, in an article: "The Unnecessary Energy Crisis: How to Solve It Quickly", T. E. Bearden, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired) CEO, CTEC Inc., the Director of the Association of Distinguished American Scientists (ADAS) and a Fellow Emeritus of the Alpha Foundation's Institute for Advanced Study (AIAS), explained the energetic quintessence of the current world recession, depression and crisis.

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Latin America: The Historic Roots of Oligarchic Racism in Venezuela
Thursday, August 26 @ 16:26:34 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Franz J. T. Lee

One of the quintessential elements of the capitalist world system -- applied ideologically by the "Opposition" in the national and international mass media, to "divide and rule" the Venezuelan people -- is social discrimination, racism. In fact, racism is the ideological reflection of the world market, of the international division of labour, that is, of globalization, of the vicious global class struggle. In fact, Racism is Ideology par excellence. Its current, concrete reality is global fascism, is globalized Apartheid.

Social discrimination, racism, is an innate characteristic of any capitalist society, just like economic exploitation, political domination, destructive militarization and mortal alienation. All of them are intrinsic elements of our world system, to eradicate them, the whole exploitative labour system has to be annihilated. As ideology, there is no capitalism without racism, and vice versa; no matter what excuse we may have, who favours capitalism, sows racism; to eliminate any one of the two, we have to annihilate both. This also applies to all five capitalist essences.

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Latin America: VENEZUELA: FROM REVOLUTIONARY SANTA INÉS TO EMANCIPATORY PICO BOLIVAR
Wednesday, August 18 @ 00:18:55 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Franz J. T. Lee

The Battle of Santa Inés was victorious, in fact, we really expected nothing else; only the "Opposition" tenaciously is still decrying "fraud". In reality, the referendum that ratified genuine democracy in Venezuela -- like Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, her "Contrato Social", that brought about the Bolivarian Constitution, and that has launched the Bolivarian Revolution -- was the most authentic, popular event in contemporary world history. Really, with all its up's and down's, Venezuela is teaching the world one revolutionary lesson after the other, is educating humanity what is world revolution, what is global emancipation all about.

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Latin America: Chavez Wins Big and the Opposition Refuses to Recognize the Obvious
Tuesday, August 17 @ 16:29:58 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy: Gregory Wilpert – Venezuelanalysis.com

Chavez won and he won big. According to preliminary results, which have been ratified by all international observers, the lead over the opposition was about 15% - 58% in favor of Chavez and 42% against. Of course, the opposition, as a result of being misled by some of their leadership, is convinced that Chavez managed to steal 3.5 million votes in the most transparent, secure, and fair vote of the country's history. Not only that, it broke its promise to recognize the results if international observers ratify it.
What happened?

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Latin America: Why He Crushed the Oligarchs
Tuesday, August 17 @ 11:56:01 AST
Venezuela and ChavezThe Importance of Hugo Chávez

By Tariq Ali

The turn-out in Venezuela last Sunday was huge. 94.9 percent of the electorate voted in the recall referendum. Venezuela, under its new Constitution, permitted the right of the citizens to recall a President before s/he had completed their term of office. No Western democracy enshrines this right in a written or unwritten constitution. Chavez' victory will have repercussions beyond the borders of Venezuela. It is a triumph of the poor against the rich and it is a lesson that Lula in Brazil and Kirchner in Argentina should study closely. It was Fidel Castro, not Carter, whose advice to go ahead with the referendum was crucial. Chavez put his trust in the people by empowering them and they responded generously. The opposition will only discredit itself further by challenging the results.

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Latin America: Why Venezuela has Voted Again for Their 'Negro e Indio' President
Monday, August 16 @ 13:43:50 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Greg Palast, www.GregPalast.com

There's so much BS and baloney thrown around about Venezuela that I may be violating some rule of US journalism by providing some facts. Let's begin with this: 77% of Venezuela's farmland is owned by 3% of the population, the 'hacendados.'

I met one of these farmlords in Caracas at an anti-Chavez protest march. Oddest demonstration I've ever seen: frosted blondes in high heels clutching designer bags, screeching, "Chavez - dic-ta-dor!" The plantation owner griped about the "socialismo" of Chavez, then jumped into his Jaguar convertible.

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Latin America: Venezuela's Chavez Triumphant
Monday, August 16 @ 13:01:56 AST
Venezuela and ChavezHistory Making Democracy in Latin America

By: Sharmini Peries, www.venezuelanalysis.com

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, first elected in 1998 made democratic history today in a triumphant defeat of the recall referendum on his Presidency.

The very Constitution that he championed in 1999, that re-elected him in 2000, allows for a mid-term recall referendum for the President’s term in office. After six years in office, in this recall referendum held on Sunday, August 15th, Chavez lead with a 58% majority. Voters clearly exercised their constitutional right to confirm the President in a historic referenda process, never practiced in the history of this hemisphere.

Under the watchful eyes of over six hundred international observers and media scattered throughout the country, a majority of Venezuelan’s prevented their president from being ousted by a coalition opposition led by Accion Democratica (AD) and the Christian Democrats (COPEI), both parties representing the moderate and ultra right. Renowned international election observer delegations from the Carter Center, Organization of American States (OAS), and European Parliamentarians hailed the referendum process as free and fair.

Full Article : venezuelanalysis.com



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Latin America: Venezuela: Now the corporate fox is guarding our electoral democratic chickens
Sunday, August 15 @ 18:29:49 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Franz J. T. Lee

Today, in Venezuela, as emancipatory paradigm for the world, we are all celebrating internationalism and international proletarianism, the revolutionary praxis-theory of the working classes of the world, of the Bolivarian Revolution on a global scale, especially in Latin America.

However, now, more than ever: "La Lutta Continua!" We have to know what is Revolution, our Revolution!

Ever since the American and French Revolutions, and the British Industrial Revolution, numerous scholars have made serious scientific attempts to explain these momentous historical social changes which took place in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries ... and in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 20th century.

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Latin America: Uh! Ah! Chavez is here to stay!
Saturday, August 14 @ 04:02:12 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy: Alvaro F. Fernandez, www.venezuelanalysis.com

"Uh! Ah! Chavez no se va!" was everywhere last week when I visited Caracas. What I saw was a sea of red with a big white NO wherever you turned. A NO that signifies the vote against undoing Hugo Chavez' populist revolution during a referendum election that will take place this Sunday, August 15.

Chavez, Venezuela's democratically elected leader, is often criticized by many—inside and outside the country—for not being, acting and speaking as the president of a large and resource-rich country should, they say. I wanted to see for myself what the Venezuelan commotion—pro and con—was all about.

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Latin America: Venezuela: Alienation and Emancipation
Saturday, August 14 @ 03:58:21 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Franz J. T. Lee:

What is really behind the mass manipulation of the huge mass media in Venezuela? The pathological effects go far beyond the attempts of the "opposition" and of the Bush government to oust President Hugo Chavez Frias from political power. Its indoctrination serves the interests of global fascism in the making, it serves "Newspeak", mind and thought control, the eternalization of the current world order.

Briefly, let us look at the psychological and philosophic, historic essence of the social functions of the "four storm-troopers of the apocalypse" (Chavez) in Venezuela ... that is, how they are trying to dissocialize, to denaturalize the Venezuelan population, in one word, alienating it.

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Latin America: An antidote for apathy
Friday, August 13 @ 14:07:35 AST
VenezuelaVenezuela's president has achieved a level of grassroots participation our politicians can only dream of

by Selma James
The Guardian UK


Increasing numbers of people, especially the young, seem disconnected from an electoral process which, they feel, does not represent them. This is part of a general cynicism about every aspect of public life. Venezuela has many problems, but this is not one of them. Its big trouble - but also its great possibility - is that it has oil; it is the fifth largest exporter. The US depends on it and thus wants control over it. But the Venezuelan government needs the oil revenue, which US multinationals (among others) siphoned off for decades, for its efforts to abolish poverty. Hugo Chávez was elected to do just that in 1998, despite almost all of the media campaigning against him.

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Latin America: Toro! The Challenge Of Hugo Chavez
Thursday, August 12 @ 15:34:03 AST
Venezuela and ChavezBy Jack Random

Hugo Chavez, the embattled leader of the Bolivarian movement and president of Venezuela, faces a referendum on his presidency this Sunday. In the balance lies the immediate and foreseeable future of democracy in Latin America.

Given the revelation that the Bush administration has contracted ChoicePoint of Atlanta to gather dossiers on the citizens of Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina and Venezuela, it is clear that when the president speaks of fighting for democracy it has less to do with the ideology of our founders than with the manipulation of democratic institutions as practiced in Florida 2000 (see Greg Palast, Venezuela Floridated, August 10, 2004).

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Latin America: Venezuela Gets the Florida Treatment
Wednesday, August 11 @ 21:46:38 AST
VenezuelaWill The Gang That Fixed Florida Fix the Vote in Caracas this Sunday?

by Greg Palast

Hugo Chavez drives George Bush crazy. Maybe it's jealousy: Unlike Mr. Bush, Chavez, in Venezuela, won his Presidency by a majority of the vote.

Or maybe it's the oil: Venezuela sits atop a reserve rivaling Iraq's. And Hugo thinks the US and British oil companies that pump the crude ought to pay more than a 16% royalty to his nation for the stuff. Hey, sixteen percent isn't even acceptable as a tip at a New York diner.

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Latin America: US Support for Anti-Democratic Forces in Venezuela Recall
Wednesday, August 11 @ 20:48:54 AST
VenezuelaBy Robert Jensen, www.counterpunch.org

Imagine the scandal if a foreign government had for years funneled millions of dollars to political groups in the United States in an attempt to affect the outcome of a U.S. election. Even worse, what if some of the groups that received money had been involved in a failed coup attempt against a democratically elected U.S. president? Would the U.S. public not have a right to be outraged at the attempt to manipulate our political process?

Of course we would -- which is why the people of Venezuela have a right to be outraged at the U.S. government's ongoing attempts to meddle in the electoral process in Venezuela.

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Latin America: Strength and Weakness of the Bolivarian Revolution
Tuesday, August 10 @ 08:42:38 AST
Venezuela and ChavezStrengths and Weaknesses of the Revolution (concerning the role of the telecommunications company, CANTV)

By: Omar Gómez
Caracas, Augst 5th, 2004

Translated by Jutta Schmitt

The revolution that we are experiencing in Venezuela differs in an absolute manner from the processes that have developed in other countries. In Nicaragua, for instance, the Sandinista Forces, when coming to power, could not count on the enormous resources of an industry like PDVSA, that were able to finance the development of social welfare and which had the potential to constitute a weapon against North American interventionism. In Chile, Salvador Allende could not count on loyal Armed Forces that would allow him to counter the coup d'état. In Cuba, Fidel Castro had to battle against more than 40 years of economic blockade and attempts of invasion, what resulted in the revolution not having been able to advance at the pace and capacity it could have, if given a chance. There are innumberable examples that show the differences and advantages of the Revolution in Venezuela with regard to other revolutionary processes.

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El Decreto de creación ya fue firmado por el presidente Chávez
MinCi: Gobierno creará nueva telefónica para competir con Cantv
Por: Agencias
Publicado el Lunes, 13/09/04 08:49pm








Caracas- El ministro de Comunicación e Información, Andrés Izarra, anunció la creación de la nueva empresa telefónica del Estado Corporación Venezolana de Telecomunicaciones, la cual será financieramente apoyada por la Corporación Venezolana de Guayana y la Electricidad del Caroní.

"Será una empresa estatal de telecomunicación que competirá en el mercado próximamente junto con la Cantv. Para nosotros es importante contar con una empresa cien por ciento del Estado para ofrecer servicios de tecnología", dijo Izarra, quien afirmó que el decreto de creación ya fue firmado por el presidente Hugo Chávez.

El ministro negó que la nueva corporación tenga como objetivo desplazar a la Cantv del mercado, y dijo que competirá como una telefónica más.

La corporación prestará servicios de telefonía fija y otros de valor agregado (como acceso a Internet), pero hasta el momento no está previsto que ofrezca servicios de telefonía móvil.

Por otra parte, el ministro desmintió las informaciones de prensa que afirmaban la suspensión por parte del presidente de Brasil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, de la reunión que sostendrá este miércoles 15 con su homólogo venezolano, Hugo Chávez, en la ciudad amazónica de Manaos.

El titular del MinCi dijo que la cita servirá para que ambos mandatarios discutan sobre la creación del Banco y el Fondo de Garantía Suramericana a fin de apoyar a la pequeña y mediana industria; así como se firmará una carta de intención para la creación de la Televisora del Sur.

http://www.aporrea.org/dameverbo.php?docid=50497
*************************************************
13-09-2004
El plan del presidente mezcla el libre mercado con bienestar social
El referéndum trajo la "revolución"

Reed Lindsay
The Toronto Star

Cuando se le preguntó lo que pensaba del presidente Hugo Chávez, Maria Concepción Enríquez se sonrojó.

"Magnifico," dijo Enríquez, de 67 años, desde su casa de ladrillos rojos y techos de zinc alojada en el cerro, o barrio.

Como muchos de los pobres que viven en El Samán, uno de los cientos de barrios en la capital de Venezuela, la costurera jubilada y trabajadora domestica adora a Chávez – y por mas de una razón.

Ella compra alimentos en descuenta en los mercados subsidiados por el gobierno, recibe frecuentes visitas de un medico cubano quien ha estado viviendo en el vecindario por un año como parte del nuevo programa de salud publica, y recibe una beca de $110 al mes para obtener su diploma de primaria.

Después que se gradúe, ella orgullosamente anuncia que se inscribirá en el programa de dos años que lanzó recientemente Chávez para obtener su equivalencia de bachillerato.

Pero nada de esto se compara con la emoción de recibir el titulo de propiedad de la tierra que habita desde hace 37 años.

"El presidente me dijo: El día que yo venda mi casa, tendré dinero, porque la tierra y todo en ella es mío," dice Enríquez, quien ha usado el título de propiedad para obtener un préstamo libre de interés por $1370 para remplazar parte de su techo.

"En toda mi vida, él ha sido el primer presidente que entiende nuestras necesidades – aquellos que tienen menos, el pobre. Él nos ha dado todo lo posible para que podamos vivir mejor."

Para sus simpatizantes, Chávez es un líder visionario quien le ha dado una voz a los pobres de la nación que conforman la mayoría del país, mientras ofrece un modelo de justicia social y democracia participativa para el mundo en desarrollo.

Para sus detractores, el presidente es ante todo un demagogo populista cuyas políticas han incrementado el desempleo y las tasas de criminalidad, y lo peor, es un discípulo armado del líder cubano Fidel Castro que esta convirtiendo a Venezuela en una dictadura socialista.

Ambas partes están de acuerdo en que con los altos precios del petróleo, la economía espera crecer en un 10 por ciento este año, y que con la oposición entrampada después que Chávez gano el referéndum con el 59 pro ciento de los votos el 15 de agosto, el presidente esta en una posición mas fuerte para llevar a cabo su tan anhelada transformación de la sociedad venezolana.

Algunos analistas dicen que Chávez, cabalgando en la victoria, esta ahora posicionado para convertirse en la figura líder que podría sacar a América Latina del modelo promocionado por Estados Unidos de irrestricto libre mercado y democracia representativa, y llevarla hacia algún tipo de alternativa.

Con sus problemas domésticos disipados, todos los ojos están en Chávez mientras coloca esta alternativa, si es que existe, a prueba.

"Chávez esta liderando un cambio histórico en América Latina hacia un nuevo tipo de sociedad que combina la emancipación del pobre con una auténtica democracia, que es lo que supuestamente Estados Unidos predica pero que nunca hace," dice Larry Birns, director del Consejo para Asuntos Hemisféricos de Washington.

"Él puede realizar un extraordinario servicio a las ciencias políticas si sobrevive lo suficiente como para proveernos con la experiencia que nos fue negada por el derrocamiento del ex presidente chileno, Salvador Allende, lo cual será una combinación de economía mixta con un absoluto funcionamiento de la democracia."

A casi seis años en la presidencia, todavía no esta claro a donde intenta llevar Chávez a su "revolución."

Pero hasta ahora, a pesar de ser caracterizada por algunos como un socialismo al estilo cubano, su proyecto de reforma parece ser una mezcla de bienestar social y participación cívica popular, con una fuerte dosis de economía de mercado.

En los últimos 18 meses, el gobierno ha lanzado una serie de programas sociales dirigidos a los pobres de Venezuela, muchos de ellos con la asistencia del gobierno cubano.

Estos incluyen mercados de comida subsidiados y comedores populares, clínicas y centros de salud dirigidos por médicos cubanos, dentistas y oftalmólogos, y una seria de programas educativos que van desde clases de alfabetización a becas universitarias.

Pero no ha habido ningún intento de confiscar la propiedad privada o de crear empresas estatales.

En su lugar, el gobierno esta otorgando títulos de propiedad a cuentos de miles de habitantes de barriadas en los cerros y ofreciendo micro-créditos a emprendedores de menor escala, medidas que han sido defendidas por economistas de libre mercado como una forma de reducir la pobreza en las naciones en desarrollo.

Entre tanto, el dinero del petróleo esta ingresando al país como nunca antes, ayudado por el record de altos precios y la continúa inversión de empresas multinacionales como Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco y ConocoPhillips.

Y a pensar del antagonismo estadounidenses hacia Chávez – Bush apoyo un breve golpe en abril de 2002 contra Chávez y el Congreso estadounidense ha financiado a grupos de oposición a través del Fondo Nacional para la Democracia – Venezuela continua siendo el cuarto suplidor mas grande de crudo a Estados Unidos.

"Que esto sea un proyecto al estilo cubano es una exageración," dice Patricia Márquez, directora académica del IESA y columnista del principal diario de oposición, El Nacional.

"Parte de la confusión es que no esta claro cuantos miles de médicos cubanos tenemos en los barrios y las puertas están abiertas a las empresas multinacionales petroleras. Le vendemos petróleo a Estados Unidos, y al mismo tiempo se lo damos a Fidel."

De acuerdo a Miguel Pérez Abab, presidente de Fedeindustria, una organización que dice representar a 4 mil 600 pequeños y medianos empresarios, el apoyo a Chávez entre los miembros del grupo creció de un 37 por ciento en 2001 a 78 por ciento en 2003.

Abab alaba muchas medidas, incluyendo la creación de cuatro nuevas agencias de préstamo que se especializan en el otorgamiento de micro-créditos y de una ley aprobada en 2001 que le exige a la banca privada dedicar el 3 por ciento de sus portafolios a la micro-finanzas.

"Este gobierno, sin duda alguna, le ha dado mas apoyo a la pequeña y mediana empresa que ningún otro desde que Fedeindustria fue fundada hace 30 años," dice Abab. "El monto de los micro-créditos ha aumentado de manera exponencial… Esto no es un modelo comunista o socialista. Simplemente es un gobierno que está recuperando el papel del Estado."

Entre tanto, bajo el radar de los medios domésticos, el gobierno ha estado permanentemente otorgando títulos de propiedad a habitantes de las barriadas urbanas, de las cuales hay muchas que eran propiedad del Estado y que fueron habitadas en décadas recientes.

De acuerdo a Iván Martínez, quien esta liderando el proyecto, cerca del 40 por ciento de los 25 millones de habitantes en Venezuela no tienen título de propiedad sobre la tierra que habitan.

Martínez dice que el gobierno ha otorgado mas de 35 mil títulos, con la meta de entregar mas de 530 mil para 2006.

Se espera que el otorgamiento de títulos conduzca a mejorar los servicios, el planeamiento urbano y el acceso a créditos.
Esto es una tarea titánica, que incluye muchos hogares en los cerros de Caracas que tienen hasta 3 o 4 pisos y que han sido construidos de manera precaria es terrenos inadecuados, escalinatas precipitantes y estrechos pasos de basura.

Programas similares han sido adoptados en América Latina, pero lo que es nuevo en Venezuela, dice Martínez, es que aquellos que conocen mejor el vecindario – los mismos habitantes de las barriadas – juegan un papel central en el proceso.

Las comunidades pueden obtener sus títulos solo después de haber formado comités de tierras, los cuales ayudan a conducir un censo del vecindario y participan activamente en la evaluación de sus propiedades.

Dice Martínez: "Es Estado simplemente no hubiera tenido la capacidad de hacer todo esto si no hubiese sido por la participación de las comunidades."

En muchos casos, los comités de tierras han evolucionado a organizaciones comunitarias que han tomado el papel central de llevar a cabo otros programas del gobierno que dependen en gran parte de la participación popular.

Por ejemplo, los comités de salud han sido formados para trabajar con los médicos cubanos, les encuentran hogares familiares, les construyen las clínicas y los ayudan a distribuir las vitaminas o las campañas de prevención de enfermedades.

En un programa lanzado este verano, el gobierno donó comida y equipos de cocina a cinco voluntarios, quienes preparan el almuerzo seis días a la semana desde su casa para 150 niños, mujeres embarazadas, ancianos y discapacitados, y todos aquellos que viven en pobreza extrema.

A cambio, los voluntarios reciben comida gratis para sus familias.

La campaña de alfabetización y los cursos para obtener la equivalencia de bachillerato son dirigidos desde el hogar y enseñado por las mismas personas del vecindario, a quienes les pagan una beca de $110 al mes.

"La gente no solo esta recibiendo los beneficios de estos programas, sino que se han convertido en parte de ellos," dice Miguel Barreto, de 32 años, un trabajador social del barrio La Vega que trabaja con los comités de tierra en Caracas.

"Los gobiernos anteriores tuvieron programas similares, pero todos los recursos eran controlados por los políticos. La diferencia es que mucha de las personas involucradas en los proyectos no pertenecen a ningún partido político."

Como muchos activistas pro-Chávez en los barrios, Barreto es un duro critico del partido del presidente, el Movimiento Quinta Republica, y considera a algunos de los altos oficiales que rodean a Chávez como corruptos e incompetentes.

Otros viejos trabajadores sociales y expertos cuestionan la sustentabilidad de los programas del presidente.

"El gobierno esta creando una economía ficticia que funcionará mientras exista el dinero del petróleo," dice Armando Janssens, un cura católico y fundador de BanGente, un banco dedicado enteramente al otorgamiento de micro-créditos.

"¿Y qué pasa con estos programas cuando los voluntarios se desgasten? Existe mucho entusiasmo y dinero, pero poca capacidad y ninguna estructura institucional en orden para que estos programas se mantengan."

Janssens dice que las entidades públicas que dan micro-créditos operan mas como agencias de bienestar que como bancos.

Otro críticos reclaman que los ostensibles programas del gobierno orientados al mercado son esfuerzos simbólicos y que gran parte de las inversiones no hacen mas que subsidiar a los pobres a cambio de apoyo político.

Por su parte, Chávez ha anunciado "una profundización del proceso revolucionario" y una "nueva etapa de la revolución," a pesar de que no ha explicado lo que esto significa.

"En el corto plazo, todas estas medidas son excelentes, pero ¿dónde están los planes para el mediano y largo plazo?" se pregunta Márquez.

"Hasta ahora, Chávez ha tenido la excusa del enemigo externo, la oposición. Ya no es así."

"Ahora, todos los ojos están sobre él. ¿Qué es lo que ahora va a hacer?"
http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=4517
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Con concesiones a golpistas y explotadores no se profundiza la Revolución
Miguel Angel Hernández Arvelo
Aporrea
Desde hace varios meses pero con especial énfasis durante el proceso previo al referendo y después de su realización, el gobierno viene insistiendo en llamar al diálogo y la negociación al empresariado y a los sectores de la oposición. En ese marco, debe considerarse la sorpresiva y misteriosa reunión de Chávez con Cisneros, apadrinada por Jimmy Carter. En el espíritu de la reconciliación nacional, se han realizado cinco encuentros presidenciales con empresarios, el más reciente, realizado en el Caracas Hilton, contó con la asistencia de representantes de las cámaras de la Construcción, de Farmacias, Industriales, Farmacéutica, Automotriz, entre otras. Estaba también el presidente de Coposa, Nelson Quijada, el presidente de Mitsubishi en Venezuela, así como José Agustín Campos, presidente de la Confederación Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos (Confagan); se encontraban también, Edgar Anzola, directivo de Empresas Polar y Hugo Hernández Raffali, expresidente de la Cámara Petrolera, y quien fuera director externo de PDVSA durante el sabotaje a dicha empresa. En dicho encuentro, Chávez le entregó a los empresarios zulianos créditos por 29 mil millones de bolívares, como parte de un total de 180 mil millones de bolívares que en los próximos días se entregarán a empresarios de otras zonas del país. A esto habría que agregarle otras concesiones ofrecidas por el gobierno como el pago a los exportadores de 190 millardos de bolívares por concepto de reintegro del IVA (Draw Back); de estos ya se han pagado 75 millardos, así como la reducción en un 50% de las retenciones del IVA a los grandes contribuyentes, léase a los grandes capitalistas nacionales y transnacionales, por ejemplo, Polar, Mavesa, Alfonso Rivas, Regional, Ford, General Motors, empresas petroleras, es decir a los más poderosos golpistas y explotadores. Otra de las concesiones del gobierno a la oligarquía económica es la reciente derogación de la Ley del Impuesto a los Activos Empresariales, lo cual significa que los empresarios se ahorrarán pagar al fisco la bicoca de 150 millardos de bolívares. Por otra parte, el gobierno creó un Fondo de Garantías por 52 millones de dólares para respaldar a los empresarios que soliciten préstamos ante la banca privada.

Algunos se preguntarán: ¿qué hay de malo en darle estas concesiones a los empresarios? Resulta que estos son los mismos que desde Fedecámaras y la Coordinadora Democrática, apoyaron el golpe de 2002 y financiaron y se sumaron al paro-sabotaje petrolero. Son los mismos que financian guarimbas y paramilitares. Otorgarles estos beneficios sólo sirve para convalidar la impunidad reinante en el país e insuflarles nuevos aires para que sigan conspirando contra el pueblo.

Todas estas prebendas que el gobierno les ofrece en el marco de la conciliación y el diálogo, no se van a traducir en beneficios para los trabajadores. La oligarquía económica, aliada al imperialismo, seguirá intentando acabar con el proceso revolucionario mientras continúa explotando a los trabajadores. Un ejemplo de lo que decimos es que la compañía automotriz Ford, al igual que las demás ensambladoras de vehículos, ha obtenido este año ganancias que triplican las logradas el año pasado, sin embargo, en la actual discusión de contrato con sus trabajadores, no están ofreciendo triplicarles el salario, por el contrario, andan regateando a ver que pueden quitarles. Por otra parte, los niveles de ocupación en el sector están por debajo de los que existían en el 2001, es decir, que el crecimiento de la industria no ha traído más empleo. Por el contrario, los empresarios están planteando al gobierno, en el marco del diálogo y las negociaciones, la eliminación de la inamovilidad laboral. Por cierto, el orador en representación de los empresarios en el encuentro que mencionamos previamente fue Emmanuel Cassingena, presidente de Ford Motors Andina, quien dijo que “la economía andaba sobre ruedas”, será la “economía” de los patronos que no la de los trabajadores.

Todos los sectores de la economía no petrolera crecieron extraordinariamente durante el primer semestre del año. Las exportaciones del sector privado aumentaron un 37% con respecto al mismo período del año pasado, mientras que el sector bancario obtuvo ganancias en el primer trimestre 130% mayores a las obtenidas en el primer trimestre de 2003, sin embargo, esto no se ha traducido en una reducción del desempleo, el cual sigue rondando el 20% de la población económicamente activa (2.300.000 personas); ni tampoco ha significado una reducción sustancial de la inflación ni una mejoría de los salarios.

Lo cierto es que estás concesiones a los patronos no traerán más empleo, menos inflación, ni mejores salarios. Los empresarios continuarán socavando las bases del proceso revolucionario, mientras tanto aprovecharán los beneficios que el gobierno les otorga, los cuales no se traducirán en un mejor nivel de vida para los trabajadores.

El diálogo y la negociación deben ser con el pueblo y los trabajadores. Y se expresa en cuestiones concretas: mantenimiento de la inamovilidad laboral; aumento general de sueldos y salarios; escala móvil de salarios y de horas de trabajo, así como un plan nacional de construcción de obras públicas y de viviendas, contra la inflación y el desempleo.

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=4583

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Venezuela creates Ministry of “Popular Economy”
Monday, Sep 13, 2004 Print format
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By: Robin Nieto - Venezuelanalysis.com

Chavez during his weekly Sunday telelvision program "Alo Presidente"
Credit: Venpres

Caracas, September 13, 2004—President Hugo Chavez announced yesterday in his weekly television program “Alo Presidente” the creation of The Ministry of the “Popular Economy,” which will group various state institutions that deal with supporting cooperatives and micro-businesses.  Chavez appointed Elias Jaua, the former president of the Venezuelan inter-governmental fund for decentralization (FIDES), as the new minister and also announced increased funding for “Vuelvan Caras,” a national social program that deals with unemployment.

The new office the Popular Economy will join under its direction, the National Institute for Rural Development (INDER), the development bank for microfinance (FONDEMI), the Woman’s Bank, the People’s Bank, the Cooperatives Institute (Sunacoop) and the National Institute of Cooperative Education (INCE), Chavez said.

The earlier ministry for the Social Economy, which had been in charge of many of the institutions that the new ministry for the Popular Economy will now be directing, will be dissolved. Also, a new Ministry of Financing for Development will be created, which will control the National Bank of Development (Bandes), the Industrial Bank of Venezuela (BIV), and the Development Bank of the Andes (Banfoandes).  Nelson Merentes, the former head of the Ministry of the Social Economy will direct this new ministry.

$170 million for job creation program “Vuelvan Caras”

During his weekly televised program yesterday, the president also announced $170 million for the “Vuelvan Caras” mission, which is a social program designed to create employment through community development projects across the country.  The program works closely with 2,067 cooperatives, with a goal of working with more than 5 times that number within three months, according to Chavez.  There are 287,000 people currently enrolled in the program and Chavez said he wants this number to reach 408,000 by the end of this month.

New Ministry of Nutrition

The recently created Ministry of Nutrition has a new minister, José Rafael Oropeza.  Various food security institutions will be part of this ministry, including the Strategic Nutrition Program (Proal), the Automonous Corporation for Autonomous Services (Casa), and the Mercal program, which sells basic food products at subsidized prices in poor communities.

As part of the plans for this new ministry, Chavez also announced the creation of seven new Supermercales across the country (for a total of 26), 12 new medium sized Mercales and 95 smaller Mercales.  And in two months time, the government will open 1974 “Mercalitos,” or small Mercales bringing the number of the smallest discount food stores to 6,423.  Chavez also announced the inauguration of 1,830 new food relief kitchens, bringing the total number of kitchens providing prepared meals for the poor across the country to 2,886.
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1363

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Opposition soups up fraud campaign with street actions to show the real majority

Venezuela's opposition has announced the beginning of street actions to back accusations that the Venezuelan government through the National Elections Council (CNE) committed massive electoral fraud at thee August 15 recall referendum, robbing the opposition of a clear victory in revoking the mandate of President Hugo Chavez Frias.

Most of the columnists in El Universal and El Nacional broadsheets have taken up the clarion call, explaining why the fraud campaign is important for Venezuelan democracy.


Pablo Medina

Last week, Coordinadora Democratica (CD) street action coordinator,  Pablo Medina launched the initiative and the challenge has been taken up. CD deputy
, Oscar Perez says demonstrations will take place as of today Sunday to back the handing in of fraud denunciations at the CNE HQ last Friday (September 10).

"The organized opposition is not prepared to let go of the August 15 page or to tear out the October 31 (regional elections) page ... no quarter will be given and we will attack on all fronts to ensure respect for the electors' will."


Delsa Solorzano

On Friday,
main opposition legal adviser, Delsa Solorzano led a committee to the CNE to hand over a document containing 1.077 alleged cases of fraud committed during the recall referendum.

Solorzano says the denunciations are mostly complaints from electors and also contain irregularities dating from alleged government violation of a negotiations agreement the opposition signed in May 2003.

 http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=22743
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Commentary  

Published: Sunday, September 12, 2004
Bylined to: Franz J. T. Lee

Franz J. T. Lee: World energy crisis ... the Venezuelan context

 University of Los Andes (ULA) professor Franz J. T. Lee writes:  Do we really have a "World Energy Crisis"? Is there a global, historical connection between this "crisis" and the dramatic social events in Venezuela? And why is Latin America a revolutionary time-bomb?

Already on June 12, 2000, in an article: "The Unnecessary Energy Crisis: How to Solve It Quickly", T. E. Bearden, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired) CEO, CTEC Inc., the Director of the Association of Distinguished American Scientists (ADAS) and a Fellow Emeritus of the Alpha Foundation's Institute for Advanced Study (AIAS), explained the energetic quintessence of the current world recession, depression and crisis.

In the last analysis, within this "crisis," the current problems of Venezuela, the war on Afghanistan and Iraq, the imperialist policies of Russia vis-a-vis the Balkan peoples, the counter-revolutionary roles of Israel in the Middle East and of South Africa on the African continent, have to be seen.

Firstly, a very careful historical politico-economic study of the revolutionary processes of the accumulation of world capital, of the various modes of production on the planet, will reveal that all the well-known, dramatic, dialectical, intra-systemic changes that have occurred, basically concern the radical transformations of energy and technological sources and resources.

This applies to all productive processes, from the stone-axe to the computer, from the use of man-power to horse-power, to Pentagon "Aliens", to United States "Flying Saucers", leaving Los Alamos, driven on by Tesla energy and technology, already discovered and partially probably used since the end of the 19th Century.

Historically, as intrinsic part of the even, uneven and combined development, slave labor clashed with agricultural manual labor, the latter survived, then, later, as a result of the "Emancipation of the Slaves" and the "Industrial Revolution", both were superseded predominantly by industrial production, by modern factory labor.

The British textile industry necessitated wool, thus sheep drove the peasants off their ancestral lands, food production diminished, vagrant laws eliminated the unemployed serfs, that is, progressively destroyed the obsolete agricultural energetic resources.

Nowadays, as a result of a "Global Revolution," six billion already obsolete manual industrial and agricultural laborers, as forces of production, as energetic forces, are continually being eliminated from the global market. So-called "intellectual labor," "intellectual property," "human capital" or "global social and natural resources of mankind" ... for example, Amazonia ... not only usher in the current fascist stage of a mode of global destruction, but also of a still possible post-productive mode of creativity and creation, thus, also nurturing already existent, alternative, energetic sources and resources, that could give birth to trans-revolutionary possibilities and emancipatory realities.

This is the trans-historic background in which the current Bolivarian Revolution has to be placed, be seen, as part of the tip of the emancipatory, creative iceberg -- for it, for the impoverished millions of Latin America, to be anything else, surely would mean, regression, stagnation, vegetation, reform, self-annihilation.

Venezuela, as one of the main suppliers of the "long term" already obsolete energetic resources of oil and gas, is directly affected by current "new wars" by the EURO-US "world mode of destruction"; hence, let us summarize what an expert in this matter, Thomas Bearden warned about ... that is, in how far the global "energy crisis" affects Venezuela and Latin America, and why the permanent, ferocious, global, globalized attacks against the Bolivarian Revolution.

Already in 2000, what did Bearden tell us with reference to the current "world energy crisis"?

"The world energy crisis is now driving the economies of the world nations. Presently there is an escalating worldwide demand for electrical power and transportation, much of which depends on fossil fuels and particularly oil or oil products. The resulting demand for oil is expected to increase year by year. Recent sharp rises in some U.S. metropolitan areas included gasoline at more than $2.50 per gallon already.

*At the same time, it appears that world availability of oil may have peaked in early 2000, if one factors in the suspected Arab inflation of reported oil reserves. From now on it appears that oil availability will steadily decline, slowly at first but then at an increasing pace."

Concerning the "some 160 nations," mainly of South America, Africa and Asia, who live outside the big metropolitan countries, he explained their immediate future:

"The transfer of manufacturing and production to many of these nations is a transfer to essentially "slave labor" nations where workers have few if any benefits, are paid extremely low wages, work long hours, and have no unions or bargaining rights. The local politicians can usually be "bought" very cheaply so that there are also no effective government controls. This has set up a de facto return to the feudalistic capitalism of an earlier era when enormous profits could be and were extracted from the backs of impoverished workers, and government checks and balances were nil."

Very accurately he foresaw the current collapse of the global economy:

"Bluntly, we foresee these factors ­ and others { } not covered ­ converging to a catastrophic collapse of the world economy in about eight years. As the collapse of the Western economies nears, one may expect catastrophic stress on the 160 developing nations as the developed nations are forced to dramatically curtail orders."

Thus, how do the desperate actions of blowing up "Twin Towers" and declaring "new wars" on Afghanistan and Iraq, including oil sabotage in Venezuela, fit into this gruesome picture?

And, who all are more desperate?

Surely, less North Korea or Iran, but in the first place, certainly, the United States Administration, with its fascist Janus-face, Bush-Kerry, Corporate America, but also the "opposition" in Venezuela, Carter, Gaviria and Gustavo Cisneros.

"History bears out that desperate nations take desperate actions. Prior to the final economic collapse, the stress on nations will have increased the intensity and number of their conflicts, to the point where the arsenals of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) now possessed by some 25 nations, are almost certain to be released. As an example, suppose a starving North Korea { } launches nuclear weapons upon Japan and South Korea, including US forces there, in a spasmodic suicidal response."

Below, he explained the capitalist, corporate, energetic reasons for the establishment of the current "Fourth Empire" and why the issues at stake are so urgent for the survival of the current "world order" for "world peace." In other words, he indicated why Iraq and Afghanistan need "regime change," why Iran and Venezuela are next on the list, and why President Chavez' "understanding of democracy" is "out-dated."

"The resulting great Armageddon will destroy civilization as we know it, and perhaps most of the biosphere, at least for many decades.

My personal estimate is that ... beginning about 2007 ... on our present energy course we will have reached an 80% probability of this 'final destruction of civilization itself' scenario occurring at any time, with the probability slowly increasing as time passes. One may argue about the timing, slide the dates a year or two, etc., but the basic premise and general time frame holds. We face not only a world economic crisis, but also a world destruction crisis."

Well, we have passed the critical year, 2003, the following await us:

"The 2003 date appears to be the critical 'point of no return' for the survival of civilization as we have known it. Reaching that point, say, in 2005 will not solve the crisis in time, and the collapse of the world economy as well as the destruction of civilization and the biosphere will still almost certainly occur, even with the solutions in hand. ... Eerily, this very threat now looms in our not too distant future, due in large part to the increasing and unbearable stresses that escalating oil prices will elicit. So about seven years or so from now, we will enter the period of the threat of the Final Armageddon, unless we do something very, very quickly now, to totally and permanently solve the present 'electrical energy from oil crisis.'"

Of course, Thomas Bearden is not a socialist, he wants the best for Corporate America. Thus, according to him, what is required to solve the problem? Venezuela, listen very carefully to what he said.

"To avoid the impending collapse of the world economy and/or the destruction of civilization and the biosphere, we must quickly replace much of the 'electrical energy from oil' heart of the crisis at great speed, and simultaneously replace a significant part of the "transportation using oil products" factor also. ... In the name of all humanity, let us begin! Else by the time this first decade of the new millennium ends, much of humanity may not remain to see the second decade."

Other solutions that he has suggested, could be read in the document referred to above, however, according to him, it is now already too late. No real measure was taken to avoid a global catastrophe.

In any event, la lutta continua, but it is important to see the real, true, historic context of the current Bolivarian Revolution; surely, the solution of problems is to be found neither in "away with Chávez" nor in "away with the Opposition."

Precisely this global situation has produced the Bolivarian Revolution, it is its alma mater, its emancipatory matrix. We have to solve our immediate short term problems, but even they are dictated by trans-historic long term processes and developments. We have to arm ourselves, practically, militarily, theoretically, philosophically, and creatively, that is, in toto, we have to enter the horizons of invisible, invincible, invulnerable, emancipatory spheres.

Till now, definitely, the Bolivarian revolution is an excellent, remarkable, emancipatory paradigm: Hasta la Victoria Siempre! A Paso de Vencedores!

Franz J. T. Lee
franzjutta@cantv.net

Franz John Tennyson Lee, Ph. D (University of Frankfurt), Author, Professor Titular & Chairholder of Philosophy and Political Science, University of The Andes, Merida (Venezuela) -- http://www.franzjutta.com ; http://www.franz-lee.org
http://www.geocities.com/juttafranz/publications00001.html )

http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=22749


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REBELION.ORG
Venezuela
  Disminuir tamaño del texto   08-09-2004
Venezuela y lecciones históricas de la Revolución Sudafricana

Franz J.T. Lee
Rebelión

A la vuelta del tercer milenio, entre otros intentos globales emancipatorios, dos revoluciones sociales sobresalientes marcan la época actual globalizada: las Revoluciones Sudafricana y Bolivariana. Cada una de ellas es pionera en cuanto a las lecciones transhistóricas, las cuales tienen que ser tomadas en cuenta urgentemente, por todos los emancipadores y revolucionarios permanentes.

Concentrándonos en la Revolución Sudafricana, sólo resaltaremos los principales problemas sociales revolucionarios que están en juego. Dentro de nuestras deliberaciones son obvias las referencias a las tareas inmediatas de la Revolución Bolivariana y los caminos peligrosos y llenos de serpentinas que hay que tomar.

Comenzamos con la Revolución Sudafricana. Primero tenemos que revelar algunos mitos que rodean a Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki y el Congreso Nacional Africano de Sudáfrica (ANC), para colocar a la Revolución Sudafricana en su verdadero contexto histórico. Como en el caso de Venezuela, fueron precisamente los medios masivos nacionales e internacionales que han pintado una imagen de la dinámica de la lucha anti-Apartheid de una manera totalmente distorsionada y manipulada. En realidad, la victoria del ANC es al mismo tiempo la victoria del imperialismo corporativo en Africa. Allí no hubo ninguna revolución social verdadera, al contrario, ésta ha sido eliminada por completo.

Como resultado de las principales corrientes políticas e ideológicas, que inundaron a Africa durante el siglo 20 - el nacionalismo africano, el pan-africanismo, el socialismo africano y la democracia reconciliadora (el "neoliberalismo salvaje") - el ANC llegó a ser "nacionalista" y "anti-imperialista" (lo que sea que signifique este concepto vago y generalizado), pero, como se puede testimoniar por Nelson Mandela en su famoso discurso ante la Corte Sudafricana fascista, "Estoy preparado para morir", durante toda su lucha, (el ANC) nunca fue realmente anti-capitalista.

Para ser realmente "anti-imperialista", uno tiene que ser verdaderamente "anti-capitalista", y para ser esto, uno tiene que estudiar científico y filosóficamente la economía política, la historia, la conciencia de clases y la "lucha de clases", es decir, el verdadero socialismo científico.

A pesar del hecho de que el Partido Comunista de Sudáfrica - originalmente estalinista - había acompañado al ANC, prácticamente, en la actual subasta y privatización de los medios de producción, podemos presenciar lo poco que fue estudiado y entendido en cuanto al socialismo científico y filosófico. En ninguna parte es posible una emancipación social sin el conocimiento de los fundamentos del Marxismo revolucionario. Esto también vale para la Revolución Bolivariana.

Los medios masivos internacionales han fabricado cuidadosamente a "Nelson Mandela, el mito", el icono político anti-Apartheid del siglo 20 tardío. No es nuestro intento de disminuir las luchas heroicas y los sufrimientos personales del gran líder Sudafricano, aquí estamos resaltando más bien una imagen internacional que se ha dibujado del hombre y del ANC, que contrasta fuertemente con el saqueo de la riqueza del pueblo sudafricano por parte de las compañías corporativas, bajo su aceptación silenciosa. Así que tenemos que tener mucho cuidado con figuras tan mesiánicas, carismáticas y "populistas", como las crean CNN, Fox, BBC, etc.

Hace un rato, cuando la figura carismática de Nelson Mandela se retiró, fue claro que era más un reformista que un revolucionario y las hambrientas esperanzas de millones de "Negros" sudafricanos ya se habían disminuido, porque Sudáfrica - como resultado de la subasta económica por parte del imperialismo corporativo - ya estaba sumergida en miseria, hambre, epidemias, analfabetismo, pobreza y criminalidad sin precedentes. Hasta el Banco Mundial tuvo que admitir que la distribución del ingreso nacional era crónicamente abismal y que a escala global, esta desigualdad social sólo la supera Brasil. Por ejemplo, todavía hoy, en la sociedad post-Apartheid, los ingresos mensuales de una familia de Africanos promedian los R 757 comparado con los R 4.695 para los llamados "blancos"..., ni siquiera este esfuerzo reformista dio fruto alguno.

El ANC hizo todo para sostener una clase media "negra" próspera y parasítica, para sustituir las clases dominantes británicas y de los Boers, pero la brecha entre las clases ricas y las clases pobres en Sudáfrica incrementa diariamente a punta de brincos y saltos. Los proyectos de reforma social originales han sido desechados y sustituidos por una lucha por la riqueza de esta misma clase media "negra", cuyo núcleo se constituye por los antiguos "luchadores por la libertad" del ANC. Por lo tanto, una lección importante para nosotros es: ¡Cuidado con la "clase media"! Es el fundamento social y el epicentro de una discriminación social virulenta, o sea, del racismo (no importa si es blanco o negro) y del fascismo.

Sin embargo, todo lo que está ocurriendo actualmente, ya lo he pronosticado hace casi tres décadas en mi libro, "Südafrika am Vorabend der Revolution" (Sudáfrica en vísperas de la Revolución, Editorial ISP, Francfort del Mein, 1976):

"Un elemento giratorio en esta estrategia entera del gobierno sudafricano es la creación de una burguesía negra subordinada entre los diferentes 'naciones' africanas; estas clases elitescas son apoyadas en ensanchar la base del Estado capitalista Sudafricano. Cada una se esforzará en captar y mantener 'su propio' mercado 'nacional' en sus ghettos rurales (y hasta cierto nivel urbanos). Proporcionarán la base económica y ultima ratio para la ideología ficticia del 'nacionalismo' de las variedades de los Xhosa, Zulú, Colorados, etc. Criar este tipo de clase requiere diplomacia, tiempo y estabilidad. En este proceso hasta se utilizará a partes del movimiento de liberación y algunos de sus líderes carismáticos, incluso si estos tuviesen que ser repatriados de su exilio o de la Isla de Robben" (p. 178).

(Véase: http://www.geocities.com/maymartin2001/einband.html).

Este libro fue colocado en el índice de la censura en la Sudáfrica del Apartheid y a causa de esto, sus contenidos explosivos no se conocían a nivel internacional; por eso, más adelante citaremos extensamente de esa obra. Sus advertencias son más válidas que nunca. El libro además indica, cuales son los errores que cualquier movimiento revolucionario debería evitar a toda costa.

En cuanto a lo anteriormente expresado, la meta principal del capitalismo mundial en Sudáfrica, es decir, crear una clase media capitalista negra, la asumió el ANC religiosamente. La verdad del asunto es, que Mandela y su ANC nunca eran y todavía no son anti-capitalistas, como se puede ver en su programa principal, que es la "Carta de la Libertad" de 1955; durante toda su trayectoria, su ambición fue la de conquistar la oportunidad para los "Negros" de convertirse en capitalistas. No eran, ni son revolucionarios, máximo son reformistas sociales, que ni siquiera cumplen con sus promesas. Mandela mismo confirmó que el programa del ANC es establecer una democracia burguesa dentro del orden global corporativo capitalista actual y así mantener el sistema capitalista en Sudáfrica. Esto es precisamente lo que el actual gobierno sudafricano ha logrado. Así que la Revolución Sudafricana está pospuesta para mejores tiempos. Tenemos que estudiar al capitalismo muy cuidadosamente aquí en América Latina, para no caer en el mismo cenagal de Sudáfrica.

Hace décadas, advertí:

"La situación social, política, económica e internacional ha cambiado significativamente desde 1960. Ahora más que nunca es cierto, que ni la clase dominante de los colonos blancos ni el capital internacional se despedirán pacíficamente de su existencia de zánganos. Ellos defenderán sus riquezas, privilegios y ganancias por la fuerza mayor, como lo hicieron antes. Los Africanos oprimidos sólo podrán obtener su libertad a través de la contra-violencia emancipatoria" (p. 168-169).

Esto ciertamente es válido para la Revolución Bolivariana. Una y otra vez, la "oposición" oligárquica y la administración de Washington, intentarán de tumbar el gobierno bolivariano a través de todo tipo de medios violentos "democráticos". Además, explicábamos que las "guarimbas", el "sabotaje", el "liberalismo", el cristianismo y el "Gandhismo" no liberarán a los millones de "Negros" que están sufriendo bajo el capitalismo global y el terror imperialista globalizado en Sudáfrica:

"Sin embargo, en vista del poder masivo del Estado presente, una guerra convencional o el tipo de guerra de guerrillas que se ha venido practicando en Sudáfrica hasta la fecha, no ofrecerán ningún chance de éxito. Más bien tienen que apoderarse del poder político y económico por medio de una teoría revolucionaria propia y una práxis guerrillera adaptada a la situación sudafricana. Esto implica una planificación y coordinación a largo plazo. En consecuencia, la primera tarea de un partido revolucionario proletario tiene que ser la de encontrar métodos de formación de cuadros en las áreas claves, por ejemplo en los centros industriales y de minería. Esos tienen que ser tan móviles como los migrantes africanos mismos: 9 meses en la ciudad y 3 meses en las reservas laborales conocidos como Bantustans. Todos los eventos cruciales en la vida de un Africano ocurren en su sitio de trabajo - obviamente ubicado en la Sudáfrica blanca - que de esta manera se vuelve co-extensa con su área de actividad política" (ibid.).

Mucho de esto, en forma embrionaria, ya se ha cumplido en Venezuela. En cuanto a las fuerzas "paramilitares" y la "Policía Metropolitana", yo describí el arma principal de la emancipación de la siguiente manera:

"Su arma revolucionaria más poderosa es su capacidad creativa y productiva. Aparte de esto, claro que sí, también se necesitan aquellas armas, que lo habilitan para poner resistencia efectiva a las fuerzas policíacas paramilitares. Por esto, el problema del entrenamiento militar dentro del país y el armamento de los combatientes en el momento decisivo tienen que ser resueltos por el partido marxista" (ibid.).

En cuanto a la Revolución Sudafricana misma, comenté:

"Hay muchos indicios que Sudáfrica se encuentra en una fase pre-revolucionaria, aunque esto no necesariamente significa que el combate final está justo en la vuelta de la esquina. Una situación revolucionaria requiere ciertos factores históricos e internacionales. Un análisis detallado de lo qué estos factores son y si de todos modos existen en Sudáfrica, excedería el alcance de este libro. Hemos visto a cada rato que hay forzadas razones para el cambio social, tanto de carácter objetivo como subjetivo" (ibid., p. 165).

En cuanto a la construcción de un partido revolucionario, es decir, de la vanguardia de la revolución social, o sea, de ser "ni marxista, ni anti-marxista", comenté:

"Los revolucionarios sudafricanos no pueden y no deben perder el contacto con una situación tan altamente explosiva, aunque en la actualidad sólo se puede percibir en latencia. Un partido revolucionario no tiene que ser marxista por definición. En este contexto basta de mencionar el núcleo original del movimiento guerrillero de Fidel Castro y el PAIGC de Africa del Oeste (Partido Africano de la Independencia de Guinea y Cabo Verde). Cuando un partido realmente representa las necesidades e intereses de los oprimidos, necesariamente tiene que cambiar su rumbo hacia un marxismo revolucionario en el curso de una lucha armada" (p. 166).

Criminalidad y Genocidio

Sudáfrica es el paradigma para demostrar que dentro del sistema mundial capitalista, dentro de la democracia corporativa, no hay chance de liberación alguna; al contrario, aplicando las medidas del Banco Mundial, del Fondo Monetario Internacional, del ALCA, del "neoliberalismo", del reformismo "revolucionario", de la democracia "reconciliadora", del "diálogo con Zombis", las clases oprimidas del "Tercer Mundo" están cavando sus propias tumbas.

Finalmente, vamos a resaltar uno de los resultados más horribles de una "Revolución Traicionada", de un reformismo político: la criminalidad y el genocidio.

Como es obvio en el caso de Venezuela, deberíamos ser muy cuidadosos con los informes y estadísticas de las "Naciones Unidas", del "Banco Mundial", de "Human Rights Watch", de "Amnistía Internacional", "Genocide Watch", etc. ... aunque a veces, leyendo entre líneas, sí nos dan una impresión de lo que realmente ocurre en el mundo.

Después de las masacres en Ruanda, debido a la obsolencia del trabajo manual, billones de trabajadores están en peligro de extinción, de ser aniquilados por la maquinaria del terror globalizado. Lo que el sistema ya no puede explotar más, sencillamente lo bota. Eso fue lo que pasó con Mobutu, Pinochet, Bin Laden, Hussein y los Boers en Sudáfrica - todos se convirtieron en presa libre para cualquier "escuadron de la muerte", mercenario o maniático sanguinario. Históricamente, los Boers, la antigua clase dominante de Sudáfrica, habían saboreado los frutos amargos del imperialismo británico durante las "guerras de los Boers", donde fueron masacrados como moscas, ahora el gobierno sudafricano de Thabo Mbeki se hace de la vista gorda ante el futuro "negro" de los "Blancos" en Sudáfrica.

Aparte de sus propios comentarios "racistas", hace 6 meses atrás, un "cura" pro-blanco nos reportó lo siguiente de la Sudáfrica actual:

"Diariamente ocurren muertes por causa de tortura increíblemente horrorizantes en las zonas rurales de Sudáfrica, escribe "New Zimbabwe", aún, los medios del Occidente casi no dicen nada sobre esto, mientras lamentan eternamente la muerte de un negro drogadicto durante un ataque policíaco en Cincinnatti. 'Campesinos sudafricanos y sus familias son masacrados. Los asesinatos son acompañados por tortura y violación. El sadismo de los ataques sugiere o una perversión oscura o terror sistemático. Dr. Gregory Stanton de "Genocide Watch" incluso propuso de clasificar los asesinatos como genocidio'".

(Véase: http://southafrica.indymedia.org/news/2003/12/4973_comment.php)

Stanton comenta además:

"En Sudáfrica, en los 9 años siguientes al Apartheid y al 'milagro' de las elecciones democráticas sudafricanas de 1994, más de 1000 campesinos fueron asesinados. La tasa mortal para los campesinos sudafricanos se ubica en 313 de cada 100.000, quizás la más alta para cualquier grupo de personas en la tierra sin estar en guerra".

Lo siguiente indica, por qué debemos tener mucho cuidado con nuestro concepto de "Revolución":

"'Existen dos teorías contrarias. Por un extremo, esos ataques se consideran dirigidos como parte de la "Segunda Revolución". La Primera Revolución fue la toma de Sudáfrica por parte de un gobierno negro. La Segunda Revolución, utilizando el terror, es la instalación de una sociedad negra comunista radical y la expulsión de los blancos. Echando los campesinos blancos de sus tierras es parte de este proceso. Por el otro extremo, se consideran los ataques meramente criminales y sin motivos ni liderazgo políticos. La organización ("lobby") de campesinos blancos tiende a creer en lo primero; señala a Peter Mokaba, un joven y renombrado político del ANC, que gritaba '¡Maten al Boer, maten al campesino blanco!' delante de unas multitudes de negros dando gritos de alegría. El gobierno del ANC dice que cree en lo último".

Para finalizar, no es necesario de resaltar esta cruel realidad con más detalles. Como dicen los Africanos: Sin fuego no hay humo. Lo vimos viniendo y advertimos sobre los resultados horrorosos de una revolución social en Sudáfrica y su posible fracaso:

"La violencia, inhumanidad y crueldad perpetrados por los amos coloniales blancos contra el pueblo sudafricano, han acumulado en este último tal grado de agresiones, rabia y sed de venganza, que una revolución inicialmente comprendida como lucha de clase, podía degenerar fácilmente en una guerra de razas, preñada de catástrofes. Por eso será una de las tareas más difíciles para un partido revolucionario sudafricano, diseñar su programa de ilustración política de tal manera, que impida, que la lucha de razas en Sudáfrica reemplace la lucha de clases y que garantiza su interconexión dialéctica.

"Sin embargo, será imposible borrar de la conciencia de los Africanos - aparte de la dignidad humana diariamente pisoteada - los asesinatos que alcanzan los cientos de miles, el terror, las torturas por el régimen del Apartheid, las ejecuciones y expulsiones, las muertes innumerosas de bebés debido a la desnutrición y falta de atención médica, y la existencia arruinada tanto psíquica como física de miles, lo cual todo conforma la historia de Sudáfrica. Vamos a esperar que la revolución seguirá probando que el colonialismo en alianza con el capitalismo y sus respectivas instituciones son responsables para esos gigantescos crímenes. Este camino de la historia en Sudáfrica lo escogieron los amos blancos y el capital" (p. 168-169).

Envía esta noticia  

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=4341


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Gobierno no dialogará con empresarios tira piedras
Por: Venpres
Publicado el Jueves, 09/09/04 03:05am








Caracas, 08 Sep.Venpres.- El presidente Constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, manifestó que "lo que pido es que generemos el encuentro y el debate en el ágora sobre distintos temas, sin ningún tipo de condicionamientos".

Así lo declaró este miércoles en horas de la noche durante el evento denominado "El Presidente Habla con los Empresarios", donde se reunieron mil 300 empresarios, donde ratificó la apertura al diálogo que ha promovido el Ejecutivo Nacional desde el 15 de agosto, luego de la realización del referéndum revocatorio presidencial.

En este sentido, Chávez indicó que "el que quiera dialogar con el Presidente de la República, pero salga lanzando piedras, no quiere dialogar, y yo no voy, por dignidad, a dialogar con nadie que esté tirando piedras contra la Presidencia de la República, no lo voy a hacer, no puedo hacerlo por dignidad".

De esta manera, el jefe del Estado venezolano hizo referencia a la serie de condiciones impuestas por la directiva de Fedecámaras mediante un documento donde manifestaban su disposición al diálogo con el Gobierno venezolano.

_Uno debe hacer respetar no sólo su persona, sino la majestad que uno representa. Por eso decíamos cuando esta reunión de Fedecámaras, nosotros estábamos muy entusiasmados con la idea y yo debo decirles que llamé a la presidencia de Fedecámaras pocos días después del Referéndum, en un ciclo de llamadas y de mensajes que dejé, con algunas personas conversé, con otras tengo pendiente conversar, dirigentes políticos de oposición, dirigentes empresariales, dueños de medios de comunicación. Esa una obligación para mí.

Asimismo, el presidente Chávez aseveró que "lo menos que puedo pedir es respeto, si no, cómo se puede"; además de solicitarle al pueblo venezolano que "nos armemos de esa buena voluntad, nos armemos de esa buena fe, nos iluminemos con todas las luces que podamos percibir o generar para volver al Ágora del debate, de la discusión libre de las ideas, sin odios, sin rencores, sin condicionamientos de ningún tipo".

.

La fuente original de este documento es:
Venpres (http://www.venpres.gov.ve
http://www.aporrea.org/dameverbo.php?docid=50357

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El referéndum trajo la "revolución" con mezcla del libre mercado y asistencia social
Por: Reed Lindsay - The Toronto Star
Publicado el Jueves, 09/09/04 03:03am





CARACAS – Cuando se le preguntó lo que pensaba del presidente Hugo Chávez, Maria Concepción Enríquez se sonrojó. "Magnifico," dijo Enríquez, de 67 años, desde su casa de ladrillos rojos y techos de zinc alojada en un cerro, o barrio.

Como muchos de los pobres que viven en El Samán, uno de los cientos de barrios en la capital de Venezuela, la costurera jubilada y trabajadora domestica adora a Chávez – y por mas de una razón.

Ella compra alimentos en descuenta en los mercados subsidiados por el gobierno, recibe frecuentes visitas de un medico cubano quien ha estado viviendo en el vecindario por un año como parte del nuevo programa de salud publica, y recibe una beca de $110 al mes para obtener su diploma de primaria.

Después que se gradúe, ella orgullosamente anuncia que se inscribirá en el programa de dos años que lanzó recientemente Chávez para obtener su equivalencia de bachillerato.

Pero nada de esto se compara con la emoción de recibir el titulo de propiedad de la tierra que habita desde hace 37 años.

"El presidente me dijo: El día que yo venda mi casa, tendré dinero, porque la tierra y todo en ella es mío," dice Enríquez, quien ha usado el título de propiedad para obtener un préstamo libre de interés por $1370 para remplazar parte de su techo.

"En toda mi vida, él ha sido el primer presidente que entiende nuestras necesidades – aquellos que tienen menos, el pobre. Él nos ha dado todo lo posible para que podamos vivir mejor."

Para sus simpatizantes, Chávez es un líder visionario quien le ha dado una voz a los pobres de la nación que conforman la mayoría del país, mientras ofrece un modelo de justicia social y democracia participativa para el mundo en desarrollo.

Para sus detractores, el presidente es ante todo un demagogo populista cuyas políticas han incrementado el desempleo y las tasas de criminalidad, y lo peor, es un discípulo armado del líder cubano Fidel Castro que esta convirtiendo a Venezuela en una dictadura socialista.

Ambas partes están de acuerdo en que con los altos precios del petróleo, la economía espera crecer en un 10 por ciento este año, y que con la oposición entrampada después que Chávez gano el referéndum con el 59 pro ciento de los votos el 15 de agosto, el presidente esta en una posición mas fuerte para llevar a cabo su tan anhelada transformación de la sociedad venezolana.

Algunos analistas dicen que Chávez, cabalgando en la victoria, esta ahora posicionado para convertirse en la figura líder que podría sacar a América Latina del modelo promocionado por Estados Unidos de irrestricto libre mercado y democracia representativa, y llevarla hacia algún tipo de alternativa.

Con sus problemas domésticos disipados, todos los ojos están en Chávez mientras coloca esta alternativa, si es que existe, a prueba.

"Chávez esta liderando un cambio histórico en América Latina hacia un nuevo tipo de sociedad que combina la emancipación del pobre con una autentica democracia, que es lo que supuestamente Estados Unidos predica pero que nunca hace," dice Larry Birns, director del Consejo para Asuntos Hemisféricos de Washington.

"Él puede realizar un extraordinario servicio a las ciencias políticas si sobrevive lo suficiente como para proveernos con la experiencia que nos fue negada por el derrocamiento del ex presidente chileno, Salvador Allende, lo cual será una combinación de economía mixta con un absoluto funcionamiento de la democracia."

A casi seis años en la presidencia, todavía no esta claro a donde intenta llevar Chávez a su "revolución."

Pero hasta ahora, a pesar de ser caracterizada por algunos como un socialismo al estilo cubano, su proyecto de reforma parece ser una mezcla de bienestar social y participación cívica popular, con una fuerte dosis de economía de mercado.

En los últimos 18 meses, el gobierno ha lanzado una serie de programas sociales dirigidos a los pobres de Venezuela, muchos de ellos con la asistencia del gobierno cubano.

Estos incluyen mercados de comida subsidiados y comedores populares, clínicas y centros de salud dirigidos por médicos cubanos, dentistas y oftalmólogos, y una seria de programas educativos que van desde clases de alfabetización a becas universitarias.

Pero no ha habido ningún intento de confiscar la propiedad privada o de crear empresas estatales.

En su lugar, el gobierno esta otorgando títulos de propiedad a cuentos de miles de habitantes de barriadas en los cerros y ofreciendo micro-créditos a emprendedores de menor escala, medidas que han sido defendidas por economistas de libre mercado como una forma de reducir la pobreza en las naciones en desarrollo.

Entre tanto, el dinero del petróleo esta ingresando al país como nunca antes, ayudado por el record de altos precios y la continúa inversión de empresas multinacionales como Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco y ConocoPhillips.

Y a pensar del antagonismo estadounidenses hacia Chávez – Bush apoyo un breve golpe en abril de 2002 contra Chávez y el Congreso estadounidense ha financiado a grupos de oposición a través del Fondo Nacional para la Democracia – Venezuela continua siendo el cuarto suplidor mas grande de crudo a Estados Unidos.

"Que esto sea un proyecto al estilo cubano es una exageración," dice Patricia Márquez, directora académica del IESA y columnista del principal diario de oposición, El Nacional.

"Parte de la confusión es que no esta claro cuantos miles de médicos cubanos tenemos en los barrios y las puertas están abiertas a las empresas multinacionales petroleras. Le vendemos petróleo a Estados Unidos, y al mismo tiempo se lo damos a Fidel."

De acuerdo a Miguel Pérez Abab, presidente de Fedeindustria, una organización que dice representar a 4 mil 600 pequeños y medianos empresarios, el apoyo a Chávez entre los miembros del grupo creció de un 37 por ciento en 2001 a 78 por ciento en 2003.

Abab alaba muchas medidas, incluyendo la creación de cuatro nuevas agencias de préstamo que se especializan en el otorgamiento de micro-créditos y de una ley aprobada en 2001 que le exige a la banca privada dedicar el 3 por ciento de sus portafolios a la micro-finanzas.

"Este gobierno, sin duda alguna, le ha dado mas apoyo a la pequeña y mediana empresa que ningún otro desde que Fedeindustria fue fundada hace 30 años," dice Abab. "El monto de los micro-créditos ha aumentado de manera exponencial… Esto no es un modelo comunista o socialista. Simplemente es un gobierno que está recuperando el papel del Estado."

Entre tanto, bajo el radar de los medios domésticos, el gobierno ha estado permanentemente otorgando títulos de propiedad a habitantes de las barriadas urbanas, de las cuales hay muchas que eran propiedad del Estado y que fueron habitadas en décadas recientes.

De acuerdo a Iván Martínez, quien esta liderando el proyecto, cerca del 40 por ciento de los 25 millones de habitantes en Venezuela no tienen título de propiedad sobre la tierra que habitan.

Martínez dice que el gobierno ha otorgado mas de 35 mil títulos, con la meta de entregar mas de 530 mil para 2006.

Se espera que el otorgamiento de títulos conduzca a mejorar los servicios, el planeamiento urbano y el acceso a créditos.

Esto es una tarea titánica, que incluye muchos hogares en los cerros de Caracas que tienen hasta 3 o 4 pisos y que han sido construidos de manera precaria es terrenos inadecuados, escalinatas precipitantes y estrechos pasos de basura.

Programas similares han sido adoptados en América Latina, pero lo que es nuevo en Venezuela, dice Martínez, es que aquellos que conocen mejor el vecindario – los mismos habitantes de las barriadas – juegan un papel central en el proceso.

Las comunidades pueden obtener sus títulos solo después de haber formado comités de tierras, los cuales ayudan a conducir un censo del vecindario y participan activamente en la evaluación de sus propiedades.

Dice Martínez: "Es Estado simplemente no hubiera tenido la capacidad de hacer todo esto si no hubiese sido por la participación de las comunidades."

En muchos casos, los comités de tierras han evolucionado a organizaciones comunitarias que han tomado el papel central de llevar a cano otros programas del gobierno que dependen en gran parte de la participación popular.

Por ejemplo, los comités de salud han sido formados para trabajar con los médicos cubanos, les encuentran hogares familiares, les construyen las clínicas y los ayudan a distribuir las vitaminas o las campañas de prevención de enfermedades.

En un programa lanzado este verano, el gobierno dono comida y equipos de cocina a cinco voluntarios, quienes preparan el almuerzo seis días a la semana desde su casa para 150 niños, mujeres embarazadas, ancianos y discapacitados, y todos aquellos que viven en pobreza extrema.

A cambio, los voluntarios reciben comida gratis para sus familias.

La campaña de alfabetización y los cursos para obtener la equivalencia de bachillerato son dirigidos desde el hogar y enseñado por las mismas personas del vecindario, a quienes les pagan una beca de $110 al mes.

"La gente no solo esta recibiendo los beneficios de estos programas, sino que se han convertido en parte de ellos," dice Miguel Barreto, de 32 años, un trabajador social del barrio La Vega que trabaja con los comités de tierra en Caracas

"Los gobiernos anteriores tuvieron programas similares, pero todos los recursos eran controlados por los políticos. La diferencia es que mucha de las personas involucradas en los proyectos no pertenecen a ningún partido político."

Como muchos activistas pro-Chávez en los barrios, Barreto es un duro critico del partido del presidente, el Movimiento Quinta Republica, y considera a algunos de los altos oficiales que rodean a Chávez como corruptos e incompetentes.

Otros viejos trabajadores sociales y expertos cuestionan la sustentabilidad de los programas del presidente.

"El gobierno esta creando una economía ficticia que funcionara mientras exista el dinero del petróleo," dice Armando Janssens, un cura católico y fundador de BanGente, un banco dedicado enteramente al otorgamiento de micro-créditos.

"¿Y qué pasa con estos programas cuando los voluntarios se desgasten? Existe mucho entusiasmo y dinero, pero poca capacidad y ninguna estructura institucional en orden para que estos programas se mantengan."

Janssens dice que las entidades publicas que dan micro-créditos operan mas como agencias de bienestar que como bancos.

Otro críticos reclaman que los ostensibles programas del gobierno orientados al mercado son esfuerzos simbólicos y que gran parte de las inversiones no hacen mas que subsidiar a los pobres a cambio de apoyo político.

Por su parte, Chávez ha anunciado "una profundización del proceso revolucionario" y una "nueva etapa de la revolución," a pesar de que no ha explicado lo que esto significa.

"En el corto plazo, todas estas medidas son excelentes, pero ¿dónde están los planes para el mediano y largo plazo?" se pregunta Márquez.

"Hasta ahora, Chávez ha tenido la excusa del enemigo externo, la oposición. Ya no es así."

"Ahora, todos los ojos están sobre él. ¿Qué es lo que ahora va a hacer?"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reed Lindsay es una reportera establecida en América del Sur.

Vea http://www.thestar.com

Traducción: A. García
http://www.aporrea.org/dameletra.php?docid=9730
 
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Hacia la profundización de la participación protagónica (I)
Por: www.gobiernoenlinea.gov.ve
Publicado el Miércoles, 08/09/04 11:47pm





“El pueblo es sabio y paciente, es el decir de los viejos”…
(Alí Primera)

El refrán popular que reza: “A caminar se aprende caminando”, encierra una sabiduría milenaria que enseña en pocas palabras la actitud necesaria a asumir ante los retos que se presentan.

Esa sabiduría pertenece y es practicada por el pueblo bolivariano, el cual, dando ejemplo de civismo y cultura democrática, ha ejercido la participación protagónica en diversas situaciones:

El cantor del pueblo venezolano, Alí Primera, interpretó en su canto el sentir popular aludiendo a su sabiduría y paciencia. Estos procesos y eventos señalados como ejercicios de la participación protagónica del pueblo, se han desarrollado en medio de la reacción fascista a los cambios legítimos y necesarios impulsados por las mayorías sociales, y ello ha requerido del pueblo bolivariano sabiduría y paciencia, mientras transita el proceso de aprender haciendo.

Un nuevo reto: La Revolución dentro de la Revolución

La realización del Referendo Popular que ratificó al Gobierno Nacional y, más allá y esencialmente, al Proceso Social Bolivariano, inicia una nueva etapa de consolidación de la Revolución Bolivariana, que conlleva a su extensión y profundización en todos los espacios sociales.

Para emprender dicha consolidación es preciso enfrentar dos retos:

· Seguir conjurando los riesgos que entraña la reacción fascista.· Mirar hacia adentro del proceso revolucionario, desde un enfoque autocrítico.

Para el primer reto, la experiencia acumulada por el pueblo en su lucha antifascista le imprime una mayor fortaleza, en momentos en que desesperan los grupos reaccionarios, tras una historia reciente de seis años de derrotas y el agotamiento de sus diferentes estrategias desestabilizadoras y golpistas. En ese nuevo escenario, una vez más, la alianza estratégica Pueblo-Fuerza Armada enfrenta las amenazas a la democracia y a la paz.

Respecto al segundo reto, es cada vez más evidente el interés y la voluntad de las filas revolucionarias por evitar los vicios y distorsiones que obstruyan la participación protagónica. Las críticas a las estructuras estatales y a la gestión pública apuntan principalmente a la persistencia de vicios y distorsiones que constituyen una pesada herencia de la IV República y, particularmente, de su período puntofijista, que durante 40 años sembró una mentalidad proclive a legitimar el individualismo, la corrupción, la desigualdad, la exclusión, la competitividad, el clientelismo, el paternalismo, el centralismo, la dependencia y muchos otros males. El retos es entonces ampliar y profundizar la praxis de la Democracia Participativa y Protagónica, para, por ejemplo:

Para superar esas estructuras institucionales y mentales que determinan una manera de hacer es preciso comprender que:

1. Los cambios institucionales no se decretan, los construye la gente.2. Los cambios de mentalidad tampoco se decretan, se construyen procesualmente.3. Lo primero y lo segundo pasa por la construcción de una nueva ciudadanía revolucionaria.

Ejercicio de la Ciudadanía Revolucionaria

La participación protagónica en el proceso de cambios tiene fines (contemplados en la Constitución Nacional y en el Plan de Desarrollo Económico y Social de la Nación) y medios (la participación protagónica y la corresponsabilidad Estado-sociedad, donde el Estado no es una instancia de poder separada de la gente sino expresión de su voluntad mayoritaria). Esto implica que la estructura institucional debe adecuar coherentemente la consecución de los fines con los medios establecidos en la Constitución: La participación protagónica y la corresponsabilidad.

El mayor reto es entonces seguir creando las condiciones que posibilitan construir la ciudadanía participativa y protagónica que hace de la persona y la comunidad sujetos y no objetos del cambio social:

Parte de este proceso de construcción de la nueva ciudadanía revolucionaria, participativa y protagónica, es conocer y activar en todas las esferas los mecanismos de participación contemplados en la Constitución Bolivariana, los cuales serán abordados en la segunda parte de este análisis.

http://www.aporrea.org/dameletra.php?docid=9729
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Venezuela: Divisions Harden after Chávez Victory
Wednesday, Sep 08, 2004 Print format
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By: Bart Jones - National Catholic Reporter

Oscar Rodríguez had left his new part-time home of West Palm Beach, Fla., and was on an airplane headed for his homeland, Venezuela, with an urgent mission: to vote President Hugo Chávez out of office in a recall referendum.

The owner of a chain of furniture stores in Venezuela, Rodríguez believed the leftist firebrand Chávez was destroying the country. In the last two years, Rodríguez shut down 20 of his 50 stores, and then moved his wife and two daughters to Florida because he feared for their safety. Now he commutes between the two countries every week.

“I can’t sleep at night because it’s a do-or-die situation,” said Rodríguez, 39, a self-described member of the Venezuelan oligarchy Chávez loves to lambaste. “What he wants for Venezuela is another Cuba.”

The next day, a line of men and women were standing on Avenida Urdaneta in Caracas a block away from the Miraflores presidential palace. They were waiting to buy chickens sold by Chávez’s government at cut-rate prices. Workers were passing the bags of poultry down from the back of a truck to a crowd that adores Chávez as much as Rodríguez despises him.

“In the entire history of Venezuela the best thing that has happened is this government,” said Gregoria Vina, 43, a lawyer who lives in the working-class neighborhood of La Pastora. “Before I used to buy one chicken. Now I buy three.”

Venezuela is the most polarized nation in Latin America today, split between those who view Chávez as a dangerous demagogue who wants to impose a Fidel Castro-style communist regime and those who see him as a hero to the poor masses who is carrying out the most radical social transformation in Latin America since at least the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua in the early 1980s.

The Aug. 15 recall referendum, billed by some as the first in the world against a democratically elected president, was supposed to provide a democratic solution to a standoff that has included a failed coup attempt, an illegal two-month shutdown of the country’s massive oil industry and a series of huge street protests.

Chávez won the vote in a landslide and amid a record turnout, with some lines stretching a mile long and people waiting up to 11 hours to cast their ballots. But the referendum has not resolved the country’s tensions and in ways left it worse off and more polarized, according to observers.

Even though Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center along with the Organization of American States certified the vote as free and fair, the opposition leadership is alleging fraud and claiming Chávez stole his victory -- despite winning by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin, or by 1.7 million votes out of 9.5 million cast. Even the Bush administration, which is hostile to Chávez, acknowledged he won fairly.

Belief in fraud widespread

Yet the conviction that Chávez stole the election is widespread among Venezuela’s small middle and upper classes. “What he did is a fraud,” said Luisa Victoria Arana, 65, a housewife in Caracas’ middle-class Las Colinas de Bello Monte neighborhood. Carter “is a bandit. We don’t want anything to do with Carter.”

Some analysts contend a type of “collective neurosis” or “hysteria” has overtaken large segments of the opposition who refuse to recognize they lost -- and lost big. “They can’t see the reality,” said Margarita López Maya, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela. “There is a mental block. … It’s almost a pathology.”

To the outside world, the refusal of the opposition leadership to acknowledge the results is creating the perception that “they are a bunch of crazy people,” said Jesuit priest Arturo Peraza, a human rights lawyer and a Chávez critic. He compared them to an 8-year-old child who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. “All the credibility they had they’ve thrown away. It’s an act of suicide.”

The Venezuelan opposition’s conviction that Chávez stole the election was fueled in part by exit polls conducted by a U.S. firm in conjunction with Sumate (Join Up), a Venezuelan group that helped lead the drive for the recall referendum. Sumate is the recipient of a $53,400 grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Congress-funded entity that has come under fire from Chávez for pumping $1 million a year into opposition groups.

The exit poll, conducted by Sumate volunteers, showed Chávez losing by 18 percent, when in reality the exact opposite was true. Word of the poll spread quickly by cell phone during the afternoon. Then, four hours before polls finally closed around midnight, New York-based Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates sent out a news release by fax and e-mail declaring, “Exit poll results show major defeat for Chávez.” Venezuelan authorities had prohibited the release of any exit poll results before official results were announced.

Sumate “deliberately distributed this erroneous exit poll data in order to build up, not only the expectation of victory, but also to influence the people still standing in line,” Carter said later. Sumate and Penn Associates insist their poll was accurate, and that the Chávez government committed massive fraud.

Anti-Chávez television

Beyond that, throughout the day Venezuela’s rabidly anti-Chávez television stations showed long lines of people voting in affluent anti-Chávez districts, but none of the long lines in Caracas’s vast slums. Teodoro Petkoff, a former ’60s guerrilla leader and a prominent Chávez critic, says he called the owner of one station to urge him to send camera crews to the slums in the interest of fair and balanced coverage. Petkoff said the owner refused.

It all led to shock and disbelief when electoral authorities announced on national television at 4 a.m. on Aug. 16 that Chávez had won in a landslide. In less than an hour, opposition leaders appeared on television themselves, declaring the vote a fraud.

The opposition’s stance has hardened divisions in the country and created a scenario where extremist right-wing sectors might use the vote as an excuse to resort to violence, Peraza said. The fraud allegations “are an invitation to radical groups to become more empowered,” he said. “That scares me.”

Peraza also was worried before the vote that if Chávez lost, some of his extremist supporters would react violently.

Peraza’s worst nightmare is Chávez’s assassination, setting off a social uprising similar to “El Bogotazo” in Colombia in 1948 when popular Liberal party leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan was assassinated and three days of bloody riots broke out. A brutal civil war ensued and still rages today.

Chávez’s victory in the referendum was spurred largely by a series of “missions” he has launched in the last year or so to carry out his vision of a radical redistribution of Venezuela’s oil income from a wealthy ruling elite he accuses of pillaging the country to the masses of slum dwellers and peasants that experts estimate account for up to 80 percent of the population.

The programs range from a literacy project called Mission Robinson that has taught 1.2 million people to read and write, to subsidized supermarkets that sell beans, flour and rice at cheap prices. One of the most popular programs, Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood), has dispatched 13,500 Cuban doctors, dentists and optometrists to slums where they live and provide free 24-hour medical attention in blighted areas where such a concept is astonishing to most residents.

This year alone Chávez is pumping at least $1.7 billion in revenue from skyrocketing oil prices into health and education programs. Critics say he bought votes for the referendum. Supporters say it is simply pork-barrel politics U.S.-style, and the first time a Venezuelan president has paid serious attention to the poor masses.

Leftist vindication

His backers see Chávez’s victory as vindication of a movement that is rising across Latin America as a backlash to free-market, “neo-liberal” economic programs endorsed by the United States and also known as the “Washington Consensus.” Leftists have won the presidencies of Brazil with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and of Argentina with Nestor Kircher. Indigenous leader Evo Morales nearly won the presidency in Bolivia in 2002.

Yet to his detractors, Chávez is nothing more than a messianic demagogue in the tradition of Argentine caudillo or strongman Juan Perón, offering short-term gratification to the poor masses through programs that are poorly run and will collapse when the oil money runs out. Peraza and fellow Jesuit Jose Virtuoso believe Chávez has failed to attack the major systemic problems plaguing Venezuela such as a corrupt judicial system, one of the most bloated government bureaucracies in Latin America, and rising crime and poverty rates.

An often-cited study by the Jesuit-run Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas says poverty and critical poverty have leaped by nearly 20 percent each, to 74 percent and 40 percent of the population, during Chávez’s five years in power. Economist Robert Bottome says the bolivar has lost 71 percent of its value since 1999, while accumulated inflation is 187 percent. Former Caracas police chief Ivan Simonovis states that Caracas suffered 25,000 homicides in the last five years.

“The government of Chávez has been a bad government,” said Virtuoso, a political scientist at the Jesuit-run think tank Centro Gumilla.

Chávez’s defects go beyond bad government, though, according to some critics who contend he is authoritarian or even imposing a communist dictatorship in Venezuela modeled after his friend Fidel Castro. They say Chávez is packing the Supreme Court with allies, intimidating the news media and seizing control of the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, one of the top four suppliers of oil to the United States. “Of course he’s a communist,” said Rodríguez, the businessman who now lives part-time in West Palm Beach.

But to Chávez’s supporters, the accusations are driven by one basic fact: The poor have taken power in Venezuela for the first time in the country’s history, and the moneyed classes who live in gated mansions and travel to Miami for weekend shopping excursions don’t like it.

“For the affluent sectors of the country the problem is not that there is poverty,” said Edgardo Lander, a Harvard-educated political scientist at the Central University of Venezuela. “The problem is that the poor are organizing and mobilizing. And that signifies a threat of the ‘dangerous classes.’ The dangerous classes are dangerous if they mobilize, if they act, if they demand.”

Lander likens the situation to a high-society party of “the white people, the refined people, the people who know how to speak well, who know how to hold the crystal cups to drink wine. Suddenly, into the party barge some people who don’t have manners, who are poorly dressed, who haven’t taken a bath and smell bad. They grab the food with their hands. They create the sensation they are taking over the country.”

Chávez backers contend that if the economy is not doing well, it’s because the opposition has destabilized the country by launching the failed 2002 coup against Chávez, the illegal two-month oil strike in December 2002 at a cost of $10 billion, and the constant street protests. Now that the opposition has resorted to democratic means to try to oust Chávez, the economy is rebounding and is expected to lead Latin America this year with 12 percent growth.

Even if the Catholic University figures are accurate, Chávez supporters assert that the missions have offset much of the economic downturn. The United Nations says life expectancy has increased under Chávez from 72.8 years to 73.7 years; infant mortality has dropped slightly and literacy has risen from 90.9 percent to 92.9 percent.

Many people in the slums told NCR that they don’t feel their lives are worse under Chávez, and actually are much better. “He’s the only president who has fought for the poor,” said Rosa Gonzales, 43, who lives in a tin shack in one of the poorest barrios in Caracas, Nueva Tacagua. Many of her neighbors said they were going to vote for the first time in their lives in the referendum.

Even critics who question the effectiveness of his programs acknowledge his brilliance at connecting with the poor masses. “The man speaks the language of the poor,” said Peraza. “The man touches the souls of the poor.”

Like all of Venezuela, the Jesuits themselves are divided over Chávez, who grew up in a mud hut and is dark-skinned like most poor Venezuelans, in contrast to the light-skinned elite. Fr. Miguel Matos, a prominent leader of Venezuela’s popular movement in the barrios, says he believes the Chávez project, while not perfect, overall is positive.

He says that in contrast to recent Venezuelan presidents who were corrupt, alcoholic or womanizers, Chávez is a role model of a teetotaling, personally honest, hard-working leader (he sleeps as little as three or four hours a night and works seven days a week). Matos adds that given Venezuela’s culture of corruption and other national idiosyncrasies such as putting recreation first and work second, any reform project will be difficult to wage and flawed from the beginning.

Opponents march freely

To Chávez supporters, one of the most searing and widely reported accusations about his project -- that he is installing a communist dictatorship -- is absurd. Opponents freely march by the hundreds of thousands in the streets. Critics openly call for coups on television, including some generals who declared themselves in open rebellion against Chávez during a months-long occupation of the Plaza Altamira in upscale Altamira. None of them or the leaders of the 2002 coup or the leaders of the oil strike went to jail.

“What would happen in the United States if a group of active generals in the army organized a coup against the president of the republic?” asked Lander. “Would they have been let free as if nothing happened?”

“Can you imagine that in the United States a group of active generals install themselves in a plaza and declare themselves in disobedience to the president of the United States and this goes on for months and nothing happens?”

Even some of Chávez’s fiercest critics who are concerned about his autocratic tendencies concede that allegations that he is installing a Cuba-type dictatorship are far-fetched. “This is not a dictatorship,” said Petkoff, the former guerrilla leader. “It’s a country with a president who is authoritarian, personalist, a caudillo, but in the end a democratic country.”

Yet Petkoff contends Chávez has made a major strategic blunder by flaunting his friendship with Castro, inciting mass panic in the moneyed classes that he plans to install a communist dictatorship even though he has no plans -- or capacity -- to do so, since the country would never accept it. The dictatorship allegation is a prominent theme in both Venezuelan and international news accounts of Chávez. “It’s an irony that he has created all these fears with threats he hasn’t carried out,” Petkoff said.

He added that Chávez also has frightened and alienated the wealthy with his constant attacks, calling them “squalid ones” and a “rancid oligarchy.”

Petkoff doesn’t know if Chávez can reverse his sour relations with the elites and achieve a peaceful coexistence. He and other analysts believe Chávez should reach out to them after his victory and seek some form of dialogue and reconciliation, including with sectors such as the business community that are showing signs of accepting his triumph as valid. They say Chávez must realize that 40 percent of the population opposes him and his project, take them into account, tone down the anti-oligarch rhetoric, drop his autocratic tendencies and do a better job of listening to people who disagree with him.

Need to admit they lost

For its part, the opposition needs to recognize the reality that they lost overwhelmingly in the referendum, and that they are not the majority in the country. Many analysts believe the opposition also must renounce unconstitutional actions, commit itself to playing by democratic rules of the game, drop its wild accusations of a communist dictatorship, find new leadership and realize the poor majority can no longer be ignored.

National healing in Venezuela must include a commitment by the fiercely anti-Chávez and elite-controlled media -- which many say have turned into political parties -- to return to ethical journalism and present both sides of the Chávez story, analysts contend. “The media has created an irrational hatred” of Chávez with its 24-hours-a-day bombardment of harsh, mocking and often false attacks, said Matos.

Critics such as Lander and Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington believe the international media has followed suit, sending around the world a distorted image of Chávez as a dictator and a monster and ignoring or downplaying the story of why he enjoys widespread support. Before the referendum most of the media reported that the vote was too close to call, even though many independent observers, pollsters and even Wall Street analysts were predicting a Chávez win.

The international media “is presenting day after day grotesque distortions of what is happening in Venezuela,” Lander said.

What seems clear in the wake of Chávez’s stunning victory is that there will be no fundamental retreat in his “Bolivarian Revolution.” As he stood on the second-floor balcony of Miraflores Palace as dawn neared Aug. 16, he addressed a throng of cheering supporters after his triumph -- his eighth at the polls since 1998 and one of his most important. “Venezuela has changed forever. There is no turning back,” Chávez said. “The country will never return to that false democracy of the past where elites ruled.”

Bart Jones is a reporter for Newsday and a former foreign correspondent for The Associated Press in Venezuela.

Sidebar:

Chávez's 'missions' key to his popularity

Dilia Mari Davila grew up in rural Venezuela, and never went to school or learned to read and write. At age 8 she started working as a live-in maid.

But now, at 34, Davila has become literate. She is among at 1.2 million Venezuelans who have taken part in one of President Hugo Chávez’s premiere programs to help the poor, Mission Robinson.

“A lot of time I couldn’t help my son [with his school work] because I didn’t know how,” said Davila, who lives in La Vega, a Caracas shantytown. “He had to learn almost alone.”

Now Davila can not only read and write, but she is learning how to divide and multiply. She has reached fourth-grade level since joining the program a year ago, and even dreams of attending a university some day.

Davila is among the 5.6 million Venezuelans who swept Chávez to an extraordinary victory Aug. 15 in a recall referendum organized by opponents who hoped to end his presidency. The story of her success in the classroom and of her barrio’s emergence as a showcase of Chávez’s efforts to transform Venezuela explains why he was able to beat back the recall.

She lives in the Sector A, La Casita (The Little House) section of La Vega, which has attracted visitors and journalists from around the world, although no reporters from the elite-controlled anti-Chávez Venezuelan media, said community leader Maria Alejandra Mucura. An NCR reporter was the first journalist from the United States to visit, she added.

Besides Mission Robinson, the barrio also is home to a Mission Ribas program, which offers high school diplomas to adults who dropped out of school. Beyond that, Mission Sucre permits impoverished students to continue to university studies.

A new red-brick hectagonal building on the barrio’s main street is home to Mission Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood), where a Cuban doctor lives and offers 24-hour-a-day free medical care. A couple blocks away is a “Casa Alimentaria” (Nutrition House), a local home where volunteers cook nutritious hot lunches every day for about 150 people in extreme poverty. The government provides the food, pots and dishes. Up a hill, residents can buy discounted food at one of the thousands of government-subsidized supermarkets called Mission Mercal now operating around the country.

Residents also have organized a committee to oversee the community’s participation in Chávez’s urban land reform, under which people will receive titles to their homes for the first time. Many of Venezuela’s slums started as “invaded” areas years ago where people simply moved in and built houses of cardboard at first. Property titles will allow homeowners to take out bank loans and receive other benefits.

Critics dismiss the programs as “populism,” contending they will collapse when prices for Venezuela’s main export, oil, drop. They say they don’t get to the root of Venezuela’s problems, are poorly planned and are dictated by Chávez from his perch at Miraflores presidential palace.

But many people in the slums say they love the programs, and that they have sparked a level of organizing they’ve never seen. Most of the educational programs were imported from Cuba, which has a higher literacy rate than the United States.

“We opened the door to the process [initiated by Chávez]. We feel identified with it,” said Mucura, 34, who also runs a small, government-subsidized food store out of her home. She added: “I think this is the most democratic country that there can be in the world.”

Santa Martínez, 46, runs the Alimentary House, teaches in Mission Robinson and studies in Mission Ribas for her high school diploma. She says she left school 20 years ago in the 9th grade, and now can’t wait to get to class every day. “It’s so exciting,” she said.

La Vega isn’t the only shantytown undergoing a transformation. In the sprawling 23 de Enero slum, activist Juan Contreras said the community library now has a dozen computers that offer free Internet service to residents. Running water that used to arrive every four or five days now comes every day. And residents in huge Soviet-style buildings also have direct gas connections to their apartments. Before they had to go out and buy small tanks.

Contreras laughed at suggestions that Chávez has destroyed Venezuela. “If the country is so bad and people are dying of hunger with parasites in their stomachs, why did they go out and wait on line to vote for Chávez?” he asked.

-- Bart Jones

National Catholic Reporter, September 3, 2004

Editorial

The essential lesson of Chávez

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is not an angel. Neither is he the tyrant and dictator that some have tried to paint him. The most recent event in his tumultuous political career -- an overwhelming victory over opponents who tried to oust him in a recall vote -- certainly validates the view that he has won the hearts of a majority of Venezuelans.

As writer Bart Jones said in a personal assessment after reporting on the election for NCR, “Poor people have risen up and taken power in Venezuela. That’s the essential lesson of Chávez, whether he’s a good president or a bad president.”

Serious questions remain, not least among them whether Venezuela can overcome the deep divisions resulting from the battles around Chávez and whether the elite in Venezuelan society will be able to accept the new political power of the poor in that society.

Some detractors of Chávez -- and they are many, ranging across the spectrum of thinkers and observers -- claim that his dispersal of oil revenues for education and health care is a short-term solution to long-standing and deep problems. If the oil money dries up or if Chávez decides to do an about-face on his commitment to helping the poor, that criticism may prove correct. But even if it is short-lived, what is wrong with poor people becoming literate and gaining access to health care? How could they not be better off, in even some minimal way, in the long run?

As Venezuelan political scientist Edgardo Lander remarked to NCR about Chávez’s use of oil revenues to improve conditions of the poorest sectors of the country: “Why is that populist? Why isn’t that a state fulfilling its responsibility?”

We think the Chávez victory will give added legitimacy to similar impulses evident in Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador and other Latin American countries.

Leftist movements are rising throughout Latin America as a reaction against the failed “free market revolution” instituted more than a decade ago and backed by the United States, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others.

Leaders like Chávez, who threaten the status quo and pay more than lip service to the masses of desperately poor in Latin America, have little connection with the Bush administration. In fact, this administration has been hostile toward Chávez and has used the previously little-known National Endowment for Democracy to fund opposition to him (NCR, April 2).

It has not worked.

The United States needs a new approach to Latin America, a region where it has historically backed dictators and death-squad governments. It needs to recognize that Latin America is the region with the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world, and that leaders such as Chávez are a response to that.

“We are gold medalists in inequality,” Chávez told reporters three days before his victory.

Chávez represents a new model to address the mass poverty in Latin America, a model that is neither communism nor capitalism but something in between. It looks something like a market economy with a refreshing sense of obligation to the least of those in society.

National Catholic Reporter, September 3, 2004

Original source / relevant link:
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New Documents Reveal that USAID Provided $2.3 Million to Venezuela's Opposition in 2003

Thursday, Sep 09, 2004 Print format
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By: Eva Golinger - Venezuelafoia.info

New York, September 8, 2004—Documents recently obtained from the U.S. Department of State under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by www.venezuelafoia.info demonstrate that more than $5 million annually during the past two years was given by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to various organizations in Venezuela, many of which are aligned with the opposition. One of the key groups collaborating with USAID is Súmate, the organization that promoted the recall referendum campaign against President Hugo Chávez and is now rejecting the results that have been certified by the most credible international observers and even by the U.S. government. Súmate, despite its numerous undemocratic positions and actions, has also been a recipient of U.S. government funds from the National Endowment for Democracy in 2003.

However, these new documents obtained by Venezuelafoia.info have all been censored by the U.S. Government despite the use of the FOIA, which intends to ensure transparency in U.S. Government operations. The Department of State has withheld the names of the organizations receiving financing from USAID by misapplying a FOIA exemption that is intended to protect "personnel and medical files" of individuals. Such clear censorship indicates that USAID and the U.S. Government clearly have something to hide regarding their collaborations with the Venezuelan opposition. Despite USAID’s ongoing crusade to encourage transparency in foreign governments, the withholding of information that does not fall under any available exemptions clearly demonstrates a double standard applied by the U.S. Government in this case.

USAID is financed by the U.S. Congress and is controlled by the Department of State. Founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, USAID was established as a fund dedicated to humanitarian intervention around the world. Despite Kennedy’s humane intentions, USAID has more recently been used, in many instances, as a mechanism to promote the interests of the U.S. in strategically important countries around the world. In the case of Venezuela, USAID maintains a private contractor in Caracas monitoring and facilitating its projects and funds and also has a local operating center, the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) that was established in 2002, after the failed coup d’etat against President Chávez. The private contractor, Development Alternatives, inc. (DAI), manages and supervises grants approved by USAID to Venezuelan organizations.

Under a program entitled Venezuela: Initiative to Build Confidence, DAI has awarded 67 grants to Venezuelan organizations in various sectors and areas of interest. These grants equal $2.3 million, just during 2003. In total, DAI ‘s program in Venezuela counts on $10,000,000 in funding for the period August 2002 through August 2004 –$5 million annually to "focus on common goals for the future of Venezuela". According to the documents obtained under FOIA and DAI’s project description (available on www.dai.com/about_dai/about_fs.htm) none of the project grants or programs have been in collaboration with the Venezuelan government.

In fact, many of the same recipients of U.S. government funds through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have also received USAID funding through DAI. Despite the illegal withholding of names on the USAID-DAI grants, one document apparently was skipped, at least in part. The name, Súmate appears on a grant intended to encourage "electoral participation" in the recall referendum, citing $84,840 as the total grant amount. Combined with the NED grant of $53,400 given to Súmate in 2003-2004, the organization that is now crying fraud about the recall referendum against President Chávez, the results of which have been recognized as absolutely credible by the Carter Center and the U.S. Department of State, has received, at minimum, more than $200,000 in just one year for promoting its attempts to remove Venezuela’s President from office.

Other recipients of USAID funds through DAI which are apparent in the censored documents include the organization Liderazgo y Visión for its project, "Un Sueño para Venezuela", ("A Dream for Venezuela") a project created in 2002-2003 with the intent of offering an alternative vision and agenda for those opposing President Chávez’s administration. Liderazgo y Visión has also been a recipient of NED funds over the past few years. More than 6 organizations have been given funding for political and social formation and development in Petare, a poor neighborhood in the outskirts of Caracas, in the Miranda State. The work in Petare and the more than $200,000 that have been funneled into that neighborhood in the past year, appear to have been aimed at converting a community that was traditionally pro-Chávez, into one that supports the opposition. The recall referendum results from August 15, 2004 show the opposition gaining substantial numbers in Petare, and Miranda state was one of only two states in the entire nation that gave victory to the opposition in the referendum.

One grant from USAID/DAI focuses on the creation of radio and television commercials during the December 2002-February 2003 strike imposed by the opposition, during which the private media dedicated its airwaves 24-7 to opposition propaganda. One of the most striking aspects of the media’s dedication to the strike was the use of anti-Chávez commercials to indoctrinate viewers’ opinions on Venezuela’s political situation. The USAID/DAI grant shows funding originating from the U.S. government for some of these anti-Chávez commercials, collaborating with former Fedecámaras President Carlos Fernandez, who was one of the leaders of the strike, in the project.

These new documents from USAID provide evidence for a clear focus on two major projects in Venezuela: The Recall Referendum and the Formation of a National Agenda that would serve as a transitional government post-Chávez (assuming the referendum was won by the opposition).

The documents are available for public viewing on www.venezuelafoia.info

http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1360
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The Venezuela Opposition Splits in Two
By Al Giordano,
Posted on Sun Aug 29th, 2004 at 10:37:26 AM EST
Today, exactly two weeks after the historic August 15 presidential referendum in Venezuela - won by President Hugo Chávez with around 59 percent of the vote - the Venezuelan "opposition" is dividing into two distinct camps: Those who admit that they lost and are analyzing why so that they can live to fight another day; and those who still can't or won't admit it, at least not in public.

Many members of the latter tendency, still accusing that an election fraud took place, but still unable to offer any convincing evidence - including the controversial U.S.-funded Súmate group - seem to be entering a genuine identity crisis. "Sumate is now cautiously saying that 'the numerical patterns found in the actas do not constitute conclusive proof of fraud' (El Nacional, Aug. 23rd, page A3)," notes anti-Chávez journalist Teodoro Petkoff of the daily Tal Cual in Caracas. And yet Súmate drifts deeper into its own stormclouds, as if on autopilot, still looking for that missing proof of a "fraud" that doesn't exist.

Petkoff's own coming-to-terms with the new Venezuelan (indeed, new American) reality makes for interesting reading. Francisco Toro translated Petkoff's August 25th editorial...

What if there was no fraud? What if the results of the referendum reflect the will of the voters? Today, CANTV reaffirms, on the basis of technical arguments, what the Coordinadora Democratica had said before the referendum about the adequacy of the automated voting system. We recommend reading CANTV's statement because it leads to another question: isn't it possible that the vote remains a trustworthy democratic instrument and that refusing to use it could leave that huge mass of at least 40% of the voters without any kind of alternative vis-a-vis those in power?

Clearing up this matter quickly is crucial for the immediate future, but also for the long term. We have to get past our shock, depression and anger to examine more clearly and lucidly what happened… if the results of the manual voting tables, which constitute a gigantic sample of one million of the country's poorest voters confirms the general tendency registered in the poorest areas; if OAS and the Carter Center, whose guarantees were previously said to be sufficient to accept the results, did not "rush to judgment" but instead correctly judged reality; if the exit polls, which are now thrown around as though they were Moses's Tablets, were not trustworthy enough, as expressed by one of the main pollsters in Venezuela (whose own exit polls, incidentally, had detected the trend in favor of the No from early on); if, all things considered, it does not appear to be a coincidence that all the pre-vote polls (except UCV's) had the No ahead, isn't it about time, then, to leave behind the listlessness produced by the results and to start to admit that the evidence indicates that Chavez won the referendum…?

Refusing to capitulate goes beyond mere rhetoric.

It means giving up the consoling conspiracy theories about Bush and "that old wanker" Carter, supposedly in favor of the oil interests of the empire, with the complicity of - wait for it - the Colombian oligarchy as represented by "that fucking Colombian" Gaviria; it means discarding the "pregnant bird" stories about the "Russian superprogrammer" who supposedly tampered with the machines and other such nonsense, and recognizing rather that something must have happened in these last few years in this country to allow the victory of a rhetoric of social redemption in the mouth of a strong leader who knows how to communicate it, and who despite heading one of the worse governments in recent memory, manages to hang on to the affection and the backing of millions of our fellow citizens who do not "sell" their votes but rather identify themselves still - though less and less so - with that hawker of illusions and hopes called Hugo Chavez.

For those who refuse to capitulate, digesting all of this and metabolizing it is indispensable: we need to lick our wounds, jump back into the ring, and fight.

That is the sort of discourse that sportsmanship, at the hour of a defeat, requires in an authentic democracy: to live to fight another day. I'm no fan of Petkoff, one of those professional "former leftists" who found greener pastures by throwing in with the folks that sign the advertising checks, but he's a good barometer of realpolitik and he's obviously concluded that the fraud dog don't hunt.

So what is with the other camp inside the opposition, the one that still can't admit what Petkoff, and Toro, and some others have come to terms with?

Chávez opponent Victor García Crespo has published an essay that reflects the other tendency, that which still cries fraud but laments that fewer and fewer people take its claims seriously:

For, no matter the OAS resolution, and for that matter Jimmy Carter's opinion, I strongly believe this referendum was a fraud. Perhaps, one of the biggest frauds ever committed in an electoral process. And please, do not ask me for proofs.

Did you get that, kind reader: He cries "fraud," but asks, please, don't ask him for proofs…

All that I have are indications, signs, clues and traces in a nutshell, what I offer is pure circumstantial evidence coupled with my common sense, my observation of the whole process, and the perception I had when I lined up, for more than five hours, to cast my "YES" vote by touching the screen of a voting machine, and depositing the physical evidence of my vote…

García Crespo then invents a series of knowing falsehoods that his former allies in the opposition movement have already discarded:

As the process continued, the news had already spread to different countries, for instance in New York this news was already on: "From Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, an independent New York-based polling firm, show a major victory for the 'Yes' movement, defeating Chavez in the Venezuela presidential recall referendum. The poll showed 59 percent in favor of recalling Chavez, 41 percent against." The same result was obtained by SUMATE and others serious pollsters…

When García Crespo says "the same result was obtained by SUMATE," he seems either unaware, or intentionally hiding, of the fact that the Penn, Schoen & Berland "exit poll" was the Súmate poll: They were not two different exit polls. They were the same, solitary, poll: Súmate's partisan "volunteers" did the exit polling for Penn Schoen, which then sent out an international press release, five hours before polls closed, as part of an intentional montage of disinformation.

We keep hearing talk of "other serious pollsters" who supposedly had the same result. Not one has come forward, or been cited by name, much less disclosing the methodology (the Sina Qua Non required to take any poll seriously is the disclosure of the methodology, something, interestingly, that Penn Schoen has also refused to disclose for the past two weeks: to me, that indicates the Doug Schoen has already committed some very damaging ethical and professional lapses regarding his methods, and through his childish shouts of "fraud," so that he must now duck and cover, hide and hope, that he receives no further scrutiny about his poorly conducted "exit poll")… it's simply a Big Lie that keeps getting repeated by those dwindling few who have not yet learned the sportsmanship required by democracy.

García Crespo continues muddying the waters with this statement:

This also was the proportion that existed in most of the polls before the referendum regarding the percentages of support for the opposition and government, respectively…

That claim is also demonstrably untrue, and there is a record to prove it's falsehood: The Narcosphere, and Venezuelanalysis.com, both published the various poll results prior to the referendum of which the large majority of the polls said, in advance, that Chávez was going to win. See, for example, Three New Polls Show Venezuela's Chávez Winning Recall by 11% to 25%, by Martín Sánchez and Greg Wilpert. Chávez won by 18-percent, exactly midway between those two numbers.

But I've come to a disturbing conclusion that the shouts of "fraud" by those like García Crespo and others of his tendency are simply a tactical decision by the least ethical elements of an opposition that, after all, first tried every undemocratic means (coups d'etat, lockouts of workers from their jobs, Commercial Media efforts to cause panic with disinformation, etcetera). García Crespo and his ilk know damn well there was no fraud (others, still, are saying that even if there were flaws or problems in the voting tallies - a factor that would not be surprising in any large country on earth with a national referendum or election - that it's obvious that Chávez won the vote; they simply hold out hoping against hope that maybe it the Gods should have given them a smaller margin of defeat to work with).

It is that search for "little problems" - a machine tally here that might be off… a poorly reported result from another district… - that the fraud conspiracy theorists are searching for, so far in vain. It's impressive, actually, that with so much looking for fraud by such a well-financed opposition, nothing has been found now after two whole weeks! At some point, their true friends should whisper: Hey, pal: maybe you did really lose your car keys at the bar! Stop accusing everyone else of stealing them!

The way the Commercial Media works in Venezuela is that any small or tiny problem found in a single locale is then broadcast nationwide, sensationally, as if it represents a universal truth of what happens everywhere. (Globovision, in particular, ought to feel shame and embarrassment over falling for J.J. Rendón's "rumorology" in which he claimed statistical aberrations in the results that real statisticians quickly batted down… not that the slimebuckets over at Globovision are capable of feeling shame over anything… When you've already fomented a coup d'etat, a few fibs from a professional liar sure ain't gonna change the results at the end of one's life as to whether one goes to heaven or hell.) It's that dynamic that the "pro-fraud" tendency in the opposition is looking and hoping for: one small error or flaw that it can count on the national Commercial Media to amplify as if it is a universal truth… and, yet, they can't even find or manufacture any credible such claim at that.

García Crespo, however, gives away his game in the following passage of his essay, urging the pro-fraud camp on…

The ominous aftermath of this referendum demands from the leadership of the democratic opposition to gather all the necessary information and evidence to support the claim of a fraudulent action. This will not be an easy task, but there are sufficient elements from which intelligent and expert personnel can formulate hypothesis, research into them and provide conclusions that never can dissipate the clouds of illegitimacy in the Chavista firmament…

The goal, García Crespo admits, is not to clarify the results, but, rather, it is to place "the clouds of illegitimacy" over "the Chavista firmament."

As a writer, I find his use of words interesting and revealing. He assigns to his enemy the role of "firmament" or light, and to his own side the role of making clouds to create darkness, to block the sun of democracy itself.

He's not looking for "proof" anymore: he's just looking for a saleable "hypothesis." And it's clear that those elements of the opposition who remain on the side of trying to cloud the truth are, simply put, intentionally trying to do so.

Open the window, García Crespo, get up from your computer and take a walk outside… The sun is already shining over América and Venezuela… Your wishful clouds, like your claims of fraud, have already dissipated, and real life marches on.

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2004/8/29/103726/516

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