The Latin America Social Forum invites you to
Insight into Latin America
A forum about the reality of Latin America today
Saturday, February 7th
From 4 pm
CFMEU, 12 Railway Street, Lidcombe
Nelson Dávila. Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Gonzalo Abella. Uruguayan academic and historian
Sonia Peralta. Social youth activist from Colombia on the peace process in Colombia and future perspectives
María del Mar Gallegos. Ecuadorian lawyer from Melbourne University on “Chevron-Texaco against Ecuador”
Pablo Fajardo. Lawyer from Ecuador (via video conference) involved in the law suit against Chevron in Ecuador
For more info contact: Víctor Hugo on 0457 153 053 or Paula on 0402 709 028
By Paul Dobson, Brigade Leader
Following months of organisation and planning, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 15th Solidarity Brigade touched down in Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas on December 1, 2014 at a highly important time for the Bolivarian revolution. With imperialism increasing its efforts to undermine the revolution and exacerbate internal weaknesses, and with the Venezuelan people still reeling from the blow of the premature death of former president Hugo Chavez, international solidarity is needed like never before to maintain the revolutionary advances made by and for the Venezuelan people.
The 2014 brigade, which was made up of activists of Australian, New Zealand and Malaysian nationalities, spent two weeks in Venezuela, during which time it fulfilled all three of its objectives. These were:
Learn about the truth of the Bolivarian revolution and the state of the country not reported in the capitalist press. Observe with our own eyes the impressive and numerous social advances since the electoral victory of Hugo Chavez in 1998. Speak with and listen to the people of Venezuela about how their lives have changed thanks to the revolution, but also about what problems they are currently confronting and attempting to solve.
Express international solidarity with the Venezuelan people and through the visit of the brigade, show them that across the globe movements that struggle to create an alternative, progressive world are focused on Venezuela, taking inspiration and hope out of its victories, and thereby impart to Venezuelans the importance of defending their advances for the benefit of not just the people of Venezuelans, but the peoples of the world.
Create concrete solidarity links to facilitate flows of information, exchanges and joint projects in the future, giving real meaning to the term ‘international solidarity’ through actions.
by Steve Ellner
With economic difficulties mounting and dissent in the ranks, is the government of Nicolás Maduro living up to Hugo Chávez’s legacy?
Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the ‘revolutionary process’ initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse. The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen. High on the list of difficulties are the chronic shortages of numerous consumer goods and products, including basic ones, as well as an annual inflation rate of over 60 percent. Both of these, Maduro claims, are part of an ‘economic war’ being waged by powerful interests to destabilize Venezuela. The government’s difficulties include the universally recognized problem of corruption.
Of course, these scourges were also prevalent under Chávez, but with less intensity, and in any case he faced them head on. His response to the shortages of basic commodities – which became particularly severe in 2007, influencing the outcome of the referendum on proposed constitutional reform – was to decree widespread expropriations. In 2009 he faced the problem of corruption that led to a major financial crisis by jailing at least 16 bankers, including the brother of a trusted cabinet minister, and ordering the arrest of over 40 others who fled the country, while at the same time nationalizing 13 banks.
Dec 19th 2014, by Ewan Robertson – Venezuelanalysis.com
This year the Maduro administration succeeded in maintaining governability and the political initiative despite a series of challenges to its legitimacy and popularity. These challenges have included serious economic problems, an opposition insurrection, and diplomatic hostility from the United States. In recent months economic difficulties have been compounded by a squeeze on public finances caused by the falling price of oil, which is the source of almost all foreign export earnings.
Current opinion polls provide sober reading for the government, suggesting that Maduro’s popularity has fallen by half since his election in April 2013. According to the Datanalisis polling company, Maduro enjoyed a 51% approval rating before his narrow victory in last year’s presidential election, compared with 24.5% in November this year. These findings are backed up by the IVAD firm, which found that Maduro’s popularity had fallen from 54% in March 2013 to 34.6% in September 2014.
Caracas- Oct22, 2014
The 780 Venezuelan workers of Clorox Company- a US cleaning products firm- staged a workers takeover of the company’s assets after the owners abandoned production in Venezuela and fled to the USA, causing a mass, sudden lay off of their entire workforce and an illegal closure. Workers, with State support, promised to reactivate and expand production.
“The owners of Clorox abandoned the country, their functions and legal responsibilities” stated President Maduro. “We won’t abandon any worker… Socialist formula: abandoned firm, firm taken by the working class”.
Vice-President Jorge Arreaza, at an inspection of the factories with the workers assemblies, explained that “this factory was abandoned, a bosses walkout, violating the rights of their workers and collaborating with the economic war by leaving the People without cleaning products… now it has been liberated by its workers”.