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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in For the Understanding and Promotion of Hugo Chavez's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Thursday, September 25th, 2008
6:16 pm
The financial crisis: A View from the Left
The Financial Crisis: A View from the Left
by Dan La Botz
behind the cutCollapse )
Saturday, August 30th, 2008
1:42 pm
help after La migra raid in MS
Hey all,
South MS just witnessed the largest immigration raid in recent memory with over 600 people detained now... and now, following, the very real possibility of a hurricane or two adding complications to this humanitarian crisis.

Families are left without an income, in dire need of material, financial and legal aid.
If you can help, donations can be sent to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg. If sending a check, please make sure to put "Immigration Clinic" in the "for' line.

sacred heart catholic church
313 Walnut St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401


US Human Rights Network alertCollapse )
Sunday, February 10th, 2008
9:14 pm
A letter to President Chavez
Hey y'all, below is a letter I wrote to Pres. Chavez, and thought I'd post it over here just to see what other folk thought of it. I couldn't figure out how to email him, so I left it on the Alo Presidente website - which is probably just for Venezuelans, but I figured I'd try it out.
Let me know what y'all think.
Spanish VersionCollapse )
English VersionCollapse )
Saturday, January 19th, 2008
9:44 pm
Mega Star Sean Penn quits Chronicle over Chavez
Penn quits Chronicle over Chavez
Sat, 19 Jan 2008 00:30:36

US actor Sean Penn and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Actor Sean Penn will no longer write for the San Francisco Chronicle after the paper dubbed Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez a 'dictator'.

The acclaimed actor and director called the newspaper an "increasingly lamebrain paper" after it published a tongue-in-cheek article, saying, "celebrities making asses of themselves...hanging out with the world's most notorious dictators and other authoritarian figures".

The paper listed Danny Glover, Oliver Stone and Sean Penn among those celebrities, while dubbing Chavez a dictator.

In a letter to the newspaper published on Thursday, Penn writes, "I could only hope this great city was more clever than its increasingly lamebrain paper. Chavez was democratically elected, and dictators don't lose constitutional referendums.

"In the paper's attack on Oliver Stone, who, agree with him or not, has at least the balls, passion and intellectual curiosity to pursue information away from a porcelain dumping bowl and a desperate newspaper, we see another attempt to marginalize the outspoken."

Penn signed the letter 'former SF Chronicle contributing reporter'.

Penn has conducted a series of assignments for the paper including visiting Iraq and Iran as a contributing reporter.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
11:10 am
Coup D'Etat Rumblings in Venezuela
CIA agents and foreign secret services in at least three concrete subversive plots to destabilize the Chavez government and obstructing the Referendum

In a press release, issued today, Sunday, November 11, the Hugo Chavez International-Foundation for Peace, Friendship & Solidarity (HCI-FPFS) says it has learnt from credible sources of a plot to assassinate the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

According to HCI-FPFS sources, the plot (code-named "Operation Cleanse Venezuela") is designed to be put into action before Venezuela's referendum on Constitutional amendments scheduled for December 2.

The HCI-FPFS says that CIA agents are working with other foreign secret service organizations on at least three concrete subversive plans to destabilize the government of President Chavez with the objective of obstructing the Referendum.

Venezuela's National Assembly (AN) already passed all the constitutional reform bills put before it a week ago, recognizing historic links between Africa and Venezuela.

The planned subversion aims not only to destabilize the government of President Chavez and the sovereignty of Venezuela, but to counter the democratic will of the Venezuelan people.

The United States 'intelligence community' is focused on:

Recruiting and mobilizing anti-Cuban terrorist forces based in South Miami, Florida and Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the USA and other armed foreign mercenaries to invade Venezuela from neighboring countries with the help of local collaborators and enemies of the Venezuelan people.

Using traitors in the Bolivarian Alternative Revolution, and others under the guise of religion, to create division among the Venezuelan Armed Forces and attempt to ignite a violent mutiny by the military against the Government and the people.

Issuing orders to US occupation forces in the region to shoot down any aircraft used by President Chavez. The Bush administration in Washington D.C. is claimed to have hired the services of US-trained snipers to carry out an assassination bid with the collusion of rebel ex-military and police.
"While the HCI-FPFS advocates peace, human rights, freedom and dignity, and is against all acts of terrorism, it finds it appropriate to condemn US policy on Venezuela as dangerous threat to peace and security."

"It is the opinion of the organization that, pursuing a policy of murder and destruction against President Chavez and the people of Venezuela, the United States of America is committing unpardonable sins against humanity."

The HCI-FPFS press release continues: It should be recalled that, one of George Bush's foreign policies since the inception of his administration in 2001, is violent aggression against countries and leaders who resist US imperialism. The phrase "regime change" is used by the Bush administration to threaten peace and security, and to impose vicious governments around the world, against the will of the people ... "and at the top of the current US list for murder and destruction is President Chavez of Venezuela."

"President Hugo Chavez' "Socialism of the 21st century" threatens the United States' grip on Venezuelan oil and other resources ... with this ill-thought-out, reactionary and subversive foreign policy, the Bush administration is plotting even more evil attacks against the Venezuelan people."

"The center piece of the US anti-Venezuelan disinformation program, plots and conspiracies has been to ensure the return of the former disgraced oligarchy and treacherous leaders in Caracas, to rape the wealth of Venezuelan nation, and to ruin lives of peoples, using domestic collaborators and traitors hiding behind the media, churches and so-called opposition to wreck the Venezuelan state."

"The wounds and scars inflicted on the people by the US-masterminded failed coup of April 11, 2002 is still fresh in the minds of the Venezuelan public ... not to mention the reckless, homosexually-cantered, racist-minded, shameless, faithless and satanic statement made in 2005, by the Reverend (?) Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez."

"The Hugo Chavez International-Foundation for Peace, Friendship & Solidarity challenges Robertson to tell the world which commandments of God advocate the death penalty. If, anything we advise this good-for-nothing Christian to prepare as the gates of hell wait to welcome him."

"It should be recalled that in 1999, the Bolivarian Revolution (under President Chavez) introduced grassroots democratic reforms in the Constitution of Venezuela, giving (for the first time) power to the most pauperized, neglected and deprived rural masses to take part in all gatherings, discussions and decisions on the future direction of Venezuela ... contrary to the policies pursued by the oligarchic former leaders against the Venezuelan people."

"The United States, through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the CIA and other US-based instruments have worked actively in coup-plotting activities against progressive governments around the world opposed to foreign hegemony and de-humanization of their peoples. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent yearly to destabilize governments and nations, to buy people and impose governments that are subservient to US imperialism."

"With Bush's endless calls for regime change in countries opposed to war and exploitation of the people, US officials are meddling in every issue that will define the future of Venezuela, not just control of oil and gas or a change in government ... any leaked information about US plots against Venezuela is REAL and should be treated seriously to avoid a repetition of the unending holocaust war in Iraqi, that is initiated and being fought by US forces of aggression on the Arab soil."

"The HCI-FPFS wishes to call upon the United Nations to institute an independent investigation into the alleged assassination plot by the United States of America. The United Nations and the international community must not be allowed to be consumed by the antics, manipulations, deceits, lies and media propaganda of the Bush administration, but to act out of a deep consciousness as a beacon of peace, harmony and hope for humanity. Failure to investigate the alleged plot to assassinate Venezuela's President is tantamount to fanning the embers of international terrorism; committing war crimes and crimes against humanity."

"The HCI-FPFS demands that the international community exert pressure on the Bush administration to spare the lives of the peace- and freedom-loving people of Venezuela, the horror of missiles, smart bombs, depleted uranium, terrorism and aggression, akin to the Iraqi situation and calls on member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) to meet and discuss the US plot against Venezuela with the sole aim of condemning the Bush administration's anti-Venezuela campaign, and to support President Chavez as the only way to save mankind, and Venezuela in particular, from the evils associated with Bush's destabilization efforts."

Other links:

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007
2:08 am
Two local leaders assassinated after participating in a base ball game!!!

Last night after participating in a base ball game at the sports complex “Parque Naciones Unidas and while on their way back home, Dayana Carolina Azuaje, a teacher at the Armed Forces University (UNEFA), and her companion Gabriel Tovar, both leaders of the Simon Bolivar Coordinator (CSB) were machined gunned to death. Both were social revolutionaries belonging to the Simon Bolivar Coordinator, located in the 23rd January neighborhood in western Caracas.

Tribuna Popular spoke to Juan Contreras, president of the CSB, who informed us that both Dayana and Gabriel had taken part in the protests held last week in FEDCAMARAS (bosses organization) and at the private TV channel Globovision. Both of these organizations are accused of being involved in the destabilization plan which is being directed against the Venezuelan people.

Contreras pointed out that in Globovision’s coverage of the protest at its installations, the cameras had taken pictures which had been shown on the channel several times.

“While revolutionaries express our selves with graffiti, dialogue and arguments, they do it with bullets. This is the answer fascism gives to freedom of expression and the right to hold protests,” Contreras stated. He added that everyone has to be alert and organized to stop the coup mongering which is being prepared to overthrow the revolutionary government.

The assassination of revolutionary social leaders has started to become an almost daily occurrence. Let’s remember the cases of Carlos Vega from Valencia who was assassinated by hit men after denouncing irregularities in the municipality, as well as the assassination of Franco, leader of the Bolivarian motorcyclists in Caracas just over a month ago.
Thursday, May 31st, 2007
9:35 am
Leading voices call for respect for Venezuelan government's decision not to renew RCTV licence
Prominent figures including Members of Parliament, Nobel Prize for
literature winner Harold Pinter, film-maker John Pilger and Tony Benn have called for support for the Venezuelan government's decision not
to renew the licence of the RCTV television station. Academics, trade unionists and student leaders also backed the call.

In a letter they say that the decision of the "Venezuelan government
not to renew the broadcasting licence of RCTV when it expires on May
27 is legitimate given that RCTV has used its access to the public
airwaves to repeatedly call for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Hugo Chávez" and point out that ''RCTVgave vital practical support'' to the military coup against Hugo Chavez in April 2002.

They explain that 'RCTV, far from being silenced, is being allowed to continue broadcasting by satellite and cable' and ask people to
"Imagine the consequences if the BBC or ITV were found to be part of a coup against the government," and urges Venezuela to be given "the
same consideration."

The letter and a number of its signatories appeared in The Guardian
newspaper (26 May). The letter and its signatories are below:

We believe that the decision of the Venezuelan government not to renew the broadcasting licence of RCTV when it expires on May 27 is
legitimate given that RCTV has used its access to the public airwaves to repeatedly call for the overthrow of the democratically elected
government of President Hugo Chávez.

Leading voices in Britain call for respect for Venezuelan government's
RCTV decision

Click on
- or copy & paste it into your browser's address bar if that doesn't

Revolution in Higher Education - Mission Alma Mater
30th May 2007

President Chavez announced plans to dramatically expand higher
education in Venezuela. Here are some details:

On Thursday, at an event with university students from around the
country, Chavez also announced the launch of the first phase of
Mission Alma Mater, which is supposed to dramatically increase the
country's higher education system. Chavez explained that this phase of the new program will go from 2007 to 2012 and will have the objective of constructing 28 national universities in different parts of the country.

"There will be 11 new national universities, in addition to 13
regional ones, and 4 new technical institutes," explained Chavez. He
went on to explain that the new national universities will be
organized into the following specializations: University of Health
Sciences, University of Basic Sciences, University of Art,University of Hydrocarbons, University of Security, University of Languages,University of the South, University of Economy and Fiscal Sciences, University of Tourism, University of Communications, and a Universityof Agricultural Sciences.

Chavez also announced that the 29 existing technological institutes
and technical schools in the country will be converted into technicaluniversities.
Friday, November 10th, 2006
3:27 am
sala de prensa
Hola, soy Aña, de Rusia.

Mi amiga pronto va a Venezuela. Es periodista (y activista) y quiere saber donde puede encontrar algún centro oficial para los coresponsales/periodistas extranjeros... en Rusia tenemos "Press-center" (centro de prensa) abierto a los extranjeros... creo que en Venezuela se llama "sala de prensa"...
¿Dónde se puede encontrar la dirección de esta "sala"?

¿Alguien puede ayudar?
Monday, October 23rd, 2006
1:00 am
Nuclear Proliferation and North Korea
Part of what we claim is that North Korea getting nuclear weapons would threaten the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


Lets look back to 1993, when the World Health Organization voted to request that the World Court consider the legality of the use of nuclear weapons, and issue an opinion on it.

As soon as they heard about this the United States and Britain went totally berserk: remember, just the fact that the World Court might hear a case on the legality of nuclear weapons is already a contribution to nuclear non-proliferation..

One must also, not forget that we benefit from proliferation, since we're the main producer, seller, and possessor of nuclear weapons.

I mean, it's not as if anybody would listen to the World Court if it said that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal (which means by implication that possession of them is illegal too) - but it would certainly be a big publicity coup for the disarmament movement if it did.

So for the big nuclear powers, this was a major issue.

Actually, it's of particular significance for Britain, because one of Britain's last claims to being a country, instead of like a country of the United States, is that they have nuclear weapons - so for them it's important on a symbolic level.

And nuclear weapons are important to the United States because they're part of the way we intimidate everyone - we intervene around the world under what's called a "nuclear umbrella," which serves as kind of a cover to back up our conventional intervention forces.

Ok, so that year (1993) Indonesia was serving as the head of the Non-Aligned Movement at the U.N. [a coalition of Third World nations in the General Assembly], and the 110 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement decided to introduce a resolution endorsing this request for an opinion - that's all that was up, endorsement of a request for an opinion from the World Court. The U.S., Britain and France immediately threatened trade and aid sanctions against Indonesia if, in their role as head of the Non-Aligned Movement for that year, they submitted this resolution at the General Assembly. So Indonesia instantly withdrew it, of course - when they get orders from the boss, they stop. And they stop fast.

Well, that just shows you that there are some atrocities that go too far for the Western powers: genocide in East Timor we can support, but endorsement of a request for an opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons is an atrocity we simply cannot tolerate. It also shows you what we can do to Indonesia if we feel like it.

Anyway, back to North Korea... if we're so concerned with non-proliferation, obviously nothing would be more of a shot in the arm for it than this World Court decision we tried so desperately to block. Okay, that tells you something about our motives in all this. But actually, I think the problem with North Korea is in fact what they're saying: the wrong guys are getting possible power, nuclear weapons.

Look, nobody in their right mind would want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But on the other hand, there's nothing much that they would do with nuclear weapons if they had them, except maybe defend themselves from attack. They're certainly not going to invade anybody, that's not even imaginable: if they ever made a move, the country gets destroyed tomorrow... so the only role that nuclear weapons play for them is a deterrent to attack - and that's not totally unrealistic.

North Korea is a pretty crazy country, and there's not very much good and there's nothing good you can say about the government. But no matter who they were, if they were Mahatma Gandhi they would be worried about a possible attack. The United States was threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons at least as late as the 1960s. And after all, just remember what we did to that country - it was absolutely flattened. Here people may not be aware of what we did to them, but they certainly know it well enough.

Towards the end of what we called the "Korean War" - which was really just one phase in a much longer struggle [beginning when the U.S. destroyed the indigenous nationalist movement in Korea in the late 1940s] - the United States ran out of good bombing targets. We had total command of the air of course, but there was nothing good left to bomb - because everything had already been flattened. So we started going after things like dikes. Okay, that's a major war crime. In fact, if you take a look at the official U.S. Air Force history of the Korean War, it's absolutely mind boggling, it's like something straight out of the Nazi archives. I mean, these guys don't conceal their glee at all, it's just this account of all their terrific feelings: we bombed these dikes, and a huge flow of water went through the valleys and carved out huge paths of destruction and slaughterd people! I really can't duplicate, you have to read the original. And the Koreans lived on the other end of that.

Our treatment of North Korean prisoners of war also was absolutely grotesque - again, it was kind of like the Nazis. This is all documented in the West by now, and of course they certainly know about it. So there are plenty of things for the North Koreans to remember, and plenty of things for them to be afraid of - which is not to justify their getting nuclear weapons, but it's part of the background we should keep in mind.

The other thing is, North Korea is in a desperate situation right now: they're hemmed in politically, and they're struggling very hard to break out of their total isolation - they've tried setting up free trade zones, and are desperately trying to integrate themselves into the international economic system, other things like that. Well, this is apparently one of their ways of attempting to do it. It's neither intelligent nor justifiable, but that's a part of what's motivating them, and we should at least try to understand that.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2006
2:39 pm
Bolivian provinces protest against President Morales
Bolivia's four RICHEST provinces have announced a general strike on Thursday to protest against what they say is President Evo Morales' attempt to take control of a special assembly charged with re-writing the constitution. A statement issued by the provinces says that President Morales has changed the assembly's rules to his own advantage.

The 255-member specially elected assembly, which opened last month and is scheduled to complete the new constitution by August 2007 so it can be put to a referendum, approved its internal rules and regulations by a simple majority on Thursday. Opposition members insist that voting should be by a two-thirds majority. The opposition claims that President Morales scrapped the two-thirds majority rule after it became apparent that his Movement Towards Socialism party had just 60 percent of the seats in the assembly.

Now that the assembly has approved a simple majority vote, Mr Morales will be able to push through reforms designed to redress Bolivia's socio-economic inequalities. His reforms include nationalising the oil and gas industries.
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006
6:54 am
Understanding the Middle East Conflict
Israel is having more and more trouble putting down this popular revolution over the Occupied Territories. The repression of the Palestinians and the Lebanese is not qualitatively different right now from what it was 40 years ago -- it's just that it's escalated in scale sincee the Palestinians and the Lebanese started fighting back. For the Palestinians it started during the Intifada. So the brutality you see occasionally on television has in fact been going on for the last 40 years, and it's just the nature of a military occupation: military occupations are harsh and brutal, there is no other kind [Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, and has controlled them ever since]. There's been home-destruction, kidnappings, torture, collective punishments, expulsion, plenty of humiliation, censorship -- you'd have do go back to the days of the American South to know what it's been like for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. They are not supposed to raise their heads -- that's what they say in Israel, "They're raising their heads, we've got to do something about it." And that's the way the Palestinians have been living.

Well, the United States has been quite happy supporting that -- so long as it worked. But in the past few years, it hasn't worked. See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence. If violence is effective, everything's okay; but if violence loses its effectiveness, then they start worrying and have to try something else. In fact, the occupation's beginning to be rather harmful for Israel. So it's entirely possible that there could be some tactical changes coming with respect to how Israel goes about controlling the Territories.

Outside the United States, everybody knows what the solution for resolving the conflict in the region would be. For years there's been a very broad consensus in the world over the basic framework of a solution in the Middle East, with the exception of two countries: the United States and Israel. It's going to be some variety of two-state settlement.

Look, there are two groups claiming the right of national self-determination in the same territory; they both have a claim, they're competing claims. There are various ways in which such competing claims could be reconciled -- you could do it through a federation, one thing or another -- but given the present state of conflict, it's just going to have to be about the modalities -- should it be a confederation, how do you deal with economic integration, and so on -- but the principle's quite clear: there has to be some settlement that recognizes the right of self-determination of Jews in something like the state of Israel, and the right of self-determination of Palestinians in something like a Palestinian State. And everybody knows where that Palestinian state would be -- in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along roughly the borders that exsisted before the Six Day War in 1967.

All of this has been obvious for years -- why hasn't it happened? Well, of course Israel's opposed to it. But the main reason it hasn't happened is because the United States has blocked it: the United states has been blocking the peace process in the Middle East for the last twenty years -- WE'RE the leaders of the rejectionist camp, not the Arabs or anybody else. See, the United States supports a policy which Henry Kissinger called "stalemate"; that was his word for it back in 1970. At that time, there was kind of a split in the American government as to whether we should join the broad international consensus on a political settlement, or block a political settlement. And in that internal struggle, the hard-liners prevailed; Kissinger was the main spokesman. The policy that won out was what he called "stalemate": keep things the way they are, maintain the system of Israeli oppression. And there was a good reason for that, it wasn't just out of the blue: having an embattled, militaristic Israel is an important part of how we rule the world.

Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, August 20th, 2006
3:17 am
Peoples Democratic Socialist Republics
One of the issues which has devastated a substantial portion of the left in recent years, and caused enormous triumphalism elsewhere, is the alleged fact that there's been this great battle between socialism and capitalism in the twentieth century, and in the end capitalism won and socialism lost-and the reason we know that socialism lost is because the Soviet Union disintegrated. So you have big cover stories in The Nation about "The End of Socialism," and you have socialists who all their lives considered themselves anti-Stalin saying, "Yes, it's true, socialism has lost because Russia failed." To even raise questions about this is something you're not supposed to do in our culture, but let's try it. Suppose you ask a simple question: namely, why do people like the editors at The Nation say that "socialism" failed, why don't they say that "democracy" failed?--and the proof that "democracy" failed is, look what happened to Eastern Europe. After all, those countries also called themselves "democratic"--in fact, they called themselves "People's Democracies," real advanced forms of democracy. So why don't we conclude that "democracy" failed, not just that "socialism" failed? Well, I haven't seen any articles anywhere saying, "Look, democracy failed, let's forget about democracy." Ant it's obvious why: the fact that they called themselves democratic doesn't mean that they were democratic. Pretty obvious right?

Okay, then in what sense did social fail? I mean, it's true that the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe called themselves "socialist"--but they also called themselves "democratic." Were they socialist? Well, you can argue about what Socialism is, but there are some ideas that are sort of at the core of it, like workers' control over production, elimination of wage labor, things like that. Did those countries have any of those things? They weren't even a thought there. In the pre-Bolshevik part of the Russian Revolution, there were socialist initiatives--but they were crushed instantly after the Bolsheviks took power, like within months. In fact, just as the moves towards democracy in Russia were instantly destroyed, the moves towards socialism were equally instantly destroyed. The Bolshevik takeover was a coup--and that was perfectly well understood at the time, in fact. So if you look in the mainstream of the Marxist movement, Lenin's takeover was regarded as counter-revolutionary; if you look at independent leftists like Bertrand Russell, it was instantly obvious to them; to the libertarian left, it was a truism.

But that truism has been driven out of people's heads over the years, as part of a whole prolonged effort to discredit the very idea of socialism by associating it with Soviet totalitarianism. And obviously that effort has been extremely successful--that's why people can tell themselves that socialism failed when they look at what happened to the Soviet Union, and not even see the slightest thing odd about it. And that's been a very valuable propaganda triumph for elites in the West--because it's made it very easy to undercut moves towards real changes in the social system here by saying, "Well, that's socialism--and look what it leads to."

Okay, hopefully with the fall of the Soviet Union we can at least begin to get past that barrier, and start recovering an understanding of what socialism could really stand for.
Sunday, August 6th, 2006
6:00 pm
Bolivia's constituent assembly begins work
Bolivia's constituent assembly has met for the first time in the country's administrative capital Sucre. In his opening address, President Evo Morales said the moment had come to found Bolivia anew and end social inequality in South America's poorest nation. A new constitution granting all Bolivians equal rights must be ready in one year to be presented to the electorate in a referendum. One of the subjects before the constituent assembly is the nationalisation of Bolivia's oil and gas industry. Also on the agenda are land reforms intended to benefit the indigenous population. To realise his plans, however, the president will need the support of other parties.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
3:28 am
The Empire
Despite what you hear, U.S. interventionism has nothing to do with resisting the spread of " Terrorism," or "Communism," it's INDEPENDENCE we've always been opposed to everywhere... and for quite a good reason. If a country begins to pay attention to its own population, it's not going to be paying adequate attention to the overriding needs of U.S. investors. Well, those are unacceptable priorities, so that government's just going to have to go.

And the effects of this commitment throughout the Third World are dramatically clear: it takes only a moment's thought to realize that the areas that have been the most under U.S. control are some of the most horrible regions in the world. For instance, why is Central America such a horror-chamber? I mean, if a peasant in Guatemala woke up in Poland [i.e. under Soviet occupation], he'd think he was in heaven by comparison... and Guatemala's an area where we've had a hundred years of influence. Well, that tells you something. Or look at Brazil: potentially an extremely rich country with tremendous resources, except it had the curse of being part of the Western system of subordination. So in northeast Brazil, for example, which is rather fertile area with plenty of rich land, just it's all owned by plantations, Brazilian medical researchers now identify the population as a new species with about 40 percent the brain size of human beings, as a result of generations of profound malnutrition and neglect... and this may be unremediable except after generations, because of lingering effects of malnutrition on one's offspring. Alright, that's a good example of the legacy of our commitments, and the same kind of pattern runs throughout the former Western colonies.

In fact, if you look at the countries that have developed in the world, there's a little simple fact which should be obvious to anyone on five minutes' observation, but which you never find anyone saying in the United States: the countries that have developed economically are those which were not colonized by the west; every country that was colonized by the West is a TOTAL WRECK. I mean, Japan was the one country that managed to resist European colonization, and it's the one part of the traditional Third World that developed. What does that tell you? Historians of Africa have actually pointed out that if you look at Japan when it began its industrialization process [in the 1870's], it was about the same developmental level as the Asante kingdom in West Africa in terms of resources available, level of state formation, degree of technological development, and so on. Well, just compare those two areas today. It's true there were a number of differences between them historically, but the crucial one is that Japan wasn't conquered by the West and the Asante kingdom was, by the British-so now West Africa is West Africa economically, and Japan is Japan.

Japan had its own colonial system too, incidentally- but its colonies developed, and they developed because Japan didn't treat them the way the Western powers treated their colonies. The Japanese were very brutal colonizers. they weren't nice guys, but they nonetheless developed their colonies economically; the West just robbed theirs. So if you look at the growth rate through the early part of this century-they were getting industrialized, developing infrastructure, educational levels were going up, agricultural production was increasing. In fact, by the 1930s, Formosa (now Taiwan) was one of the commercial centers of Asia. Well, just compare Taiwan with the Philippines, an American colony right next door: the Philippines is a total basket-case, a Latin American-style basket-case. Again, that tells you something.

With World War 2, the Japanese colonial system got smashed up. But by the 1960s, Korea and Taiwan were again developing at their former growth rate-and that's because in the post-war period, they've been able to follow the Japanese model of development: they're pretty closed off to foreign exploitation, quite egalitarian by international standards, they devote pretty extensive resources to things like education and health care. Okay, that's a successful model for development. I mean, these Asian countries aren't pretty; I can't stand them myself-they're extremely authoritarian, the role of women you can't even talk about, and so on, so there are plenty of unpleasant things about them. But they have been able to pursue economic development measures that are successful: the state coordinates industrial policies that are IMPOSSIBLE in Latin America, because the U.S. insists that those governments keep their economies open to international markets-so capital from Latin America is constantly flowing to the West. Alright, that's not a problem in South Korea: they have the death penalty for capital export. Solves that difficulty pretty fast.

But the point is, the Japanese-style development model works-in fact, it's how every country in the world that's developed has done it: by imposing high levels of protectionism, and by extracting its economy from free market discipline. And that's precisely what the Western powers have been preventing the Third World from doing, right up to this moment.
Monday, April 24th, 2006
10:01 am
Venezuelan Solidarity Network
Is anybody here from or near Newcastle Australia?

For all the supporters of revolutionary Venezuela, I'm sure you know we need to show solidarity and get the word out to as many people as possible. 

The Amercian government is not impressed with Venezuela, in fact, they are far from it. It is essential that people show support for Venezuela BEFORE America get around to invading them. 

At the Venezuelan Solidarity Network (VSN) that is exactly what we are trying to do. We are an activist orginization and we are trying to spread the word about Venezuela.

On May the 4th in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, there is a forum about the women's revolution. We are a new branch of VSN and we hope as many people can come as possible. If you are in the area, here are the details:

Where: The Joy Cummings Centre - Cnr of Pacific and Scott sts, Newcastle West
When: Thursday May 4th 6:30pm
Entry: Gold coin donation
Also, there will be a cheap and delicious meal available

Click this link to see leaflet:

It would be great to get as many to come who is interested in Venezuela and who want to show solidarity. For more information, you can either comment here, or email me at soulnebula@yahoo.com
Saturday, April 8th, 2006
2:29 am
Gee, I wonder why they don't like us???
The United States has accused the Venezuelan government of complicity in an incident in the capital Caracas in which demonstrators pelted the US ambassador's car with eggs, tomatoes and other vegetables. The demonstrators prevented the ambassador from attending a charity event in Caracas. When the ambassador left his convoy was chased by motorbikes for several kilometres.

Washington says police escorting the convoy did not intervene. The Venezuelan ambassador to the US has been summoned and told that if such an incident occurs again there will be severe diplomatic consequences.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
11:00 pm
Interview with Carolus Wimmer
On Friday April 7 at midday (Sydney, Australia time), Australian community internet radio station TiN Radio's Riker's Mailbox will be broadcasting an interview with Venezuelan revolutionary and deputy to the Latin American Parliament, Carolus Wimmer. It tells a side of the story of the revolution in Venezuela that will not be heard in the mainstream media. From achievements and lessons during recent changes, to the status of women and the threat of US intervention, this interview shouldn't be missed.

To listen, just go to www.tin.org.au
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
4:49 am
U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
The United States has a military base in Manta, Ecuador, one of the three military bases located in Latin America. According to the United States, we are there to help the citizens of Manta, but an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says that many people tell a different story.
According to Miguel Moran, head of a group called Movimiento Tohalli, which opposes the Manta military base, "Manta is part of a broader U.S. imperialist strategy aimed at exploiting the continent's natural resources, suppressing popular movements, and ultimately invading neighboring Colombia." Michael Flynn reported that the military base in Ecuador is an "integral part of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Colombia-and is a potential staging ground for direct American involvement in the conflict there. Ecuadorians worry that the U.S. could ultimately pull their country into conflict." Flynn goes on to say that "the base is also at the center of a growing controversy regarding the U.S. efforts to block mass emigration from Ecuador [to the U.S.]." Policy makers have diminished the difference between police roles and military roles, stating that a police force is a body designed to protect a population through minimal use of force and the military, which aims to defeat an enemy through use of force.
According to a ten-year lease agreement between Ecuador and the United States, "... U.S. activities at the base are to be limited to counter-narcotics surveillance flights (the agreements for the other two Latin American Forward Operating Locations contain similar restrictions)." Ecuadorian citizens are not pleased with the lease or the way the U.S. has abused it. "A coalition of social and labor organizations has called for the termination of the U.S. lease in Manta on the grounds that the United States has violated both the terms of the agreement and Ecuadorian law."
The U.S., says Flynn, is intervening in Colombia through private corporations and organizations. Most of the military operations and the spraying of biochemical agents are contracted out to private firms and private armies. In 2003, according to the article in Z Magazine, the U.S. State Department said, "...there are seventeen primary contracting companies working in Colombia, initially receiving $3.5 million." One of these private American defense contractors, DynCorp, runs the military base at Manta. "The Pentagon's decision to give DynCorp-a company that many Latin Americans closely associate with U.S. activities in Colombia-the contract to administer the base reinforced fears that the United States had more than drug interdiction in mind when it set up shop in Manta," says Flynn.
In addition, say Sharma and Kumar, DynCorp was awarded a "$600 million contract to carry out aerial spraying to eliminate coca crops which also contaminates maize, Yucca, and plantains-staple foods of the population; children and adults develop skin rashes." The chemical, the foundation for the herbicide Roundup, is sprayed in Ecuador in a manner that would be illegal in the United States.
According to the NACLA report, in 2004, the Pentagon began installing 3 substitute logistics centers (now under construction) in the provinces of Guayas, Azuay, and Sucumbios, and is currently militarizing the Ecuadorian police who are receiving "anti-terrorist" training by the FBI. The U.S. military is also aiding Colombia's "war on drugs." Isacson, Haugaard and Olson write that, "increased militarization of antinarcotics operation is a pretext for stepped up counterinsurgency action and extending the war against them by the U.S." Washington also has seven security offices in Ecuador: defense (DAO), drug enforcement (DEA), military aid (MAAG), internal security, national security (NSA), the U.S. Agency for Internal Development (USATD), the Peace Corps, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). According to the Bush Administration they are mixing military and police roles to "...govern its counter-terror efforts in the hemisphere."
Michael Flynn offers this quote from an Ecuadorian writer as another example of the United States intervening in the operations of another country to further its own agenda: "The U.S. invasion of Iraq and the pressure on Ecuador to sign the interdiction agreement form part of a policy aimed at consolidating a unipolar world with one hegemonic superpower."

UPDATE BY MICHAEL FLYNN: I think one important aspect of my story about the Manta base is that it shows the arrogance that often characterizes U.S. relations with its southern neighbors. This arrogance comes with a heavy price, which the U.S. is paying now as South American leaders express an ever greater willingness to take an independent path in their affairs and reject the U.S. lead. This fact was clearly revealed recently when the Organization of American States soundly rejected a U.S. proposal to set up a mechanism to review the state of democracy in the Americas. Manta is a small part of this much larger picture. U.S. ambassadors, the head of Southcom, even representatives in Congress have shown a disregard for Ecuadorian concerns about operations at the Manta base, which has helped fan criticism of the base, and has turned into a lightning rod of criticism of U.S. policies. And this is only one of among dozens of similar bases spread out across the globe-what impact are they having on U.S. relations?
An equally important issue touched on in my story is the U.S. reaction to the migration crises that has gripped several Latin countries in recent years. Manta is a sort of quasi-outpost of the U.S. southern border, which has shown remarkable flexibility in recent years. The fact is, the border itself ceased long ago to be the front line in the effort to stop unwanted migration. The United States uses military bases located in host countries as staging grounds for detention efforts. It has funded detention centers in places like Guatemala City, and it has teamed up with law enforcement officials from other countries to carry out multi-lateral operations aimed at breaking up migrant smuggling activities. Manta is one piece in this larger puzzle.

UPDATE BY USA HAUGAARD While the nation is focused on events in Iraq and Afghanistan, 9/11 has also had a disturbing impact on U.S. policy toward Latin America. But the growth in U.S. military programs towards Latin America and the unfortunate emphasis by the United States on encouraging nondefense related roles for militaries is part of a more general trend that the Center for International Policy, Latin America Working Group Education Fund and Washington Office on Latin America have been documenting since 1997. Latin American civil society organizations, individuals and governmental leaders have struggled hard to strictly limit their militaries' involvement in civilian affairs, given that many militaries in the region had exercised severe repression, carried out military coups and maintained political control during several turbulent decades. After this painful history, it is troubling for the United States to be encouraging militaries to once again adopt nondefense related roles, as is the growing weight of U.S. military, rather than regional development aid in U.S. relations.
We are seeing a continuation of the general trend of declining U.S. development assistance and stable military aid to the region as well as the United States encouraging actions that blur the line between civilian police and military roles. We are also witnessing efforts by the Defense Department to exercise greater control over "security assistance" (foreign military aid programs) worldwide, which were once overseen exclusively by the State Department. This almost invisible shift--by no means limited to Latin America-is disturbing because it removes the State Department as the lead agency in deciding where foreign military aid and training is appropriate as part of U.S. foreign policy. It will lead to less stringent oversight of military programs and less emphasis upon human rights conditionality.
Our report, which we published in Spanish, received good coverage from the Latin American press. Mainstream U.S. newspapers regularly use our military aid database. The larger story about the general trends in U.S. military aid in Latin America and changes in oversight of foreign military programs, however, is one that has been covered by only a few major media outlets.
To see our military aid database, reports and other information (a collaborative project by the three organizations) see our "Just the Facts" website, http://www.ciponline.org/facts. See also our organizations' websites: Washington Office on Latin America, www.wola.org; Center for International Policy, www. ciponline.org; and Latin America Working Group Education Fund, www.lawg.org.
We welcome efforts by journalists, scholars and nongovernmental organizations to insist upon greater transparency and public oversight of U.S. military training programs, not just in Latin America but worldwide.
Friday, March 24th, 2006
4:38 am
Bolivia wants access to Pacific
Bolivian President Evo Morales has asked the Organisation of American States to convene an emergency meeting about his country's desire for access to the Pacific Ocean. Bolivia became landlocked after losing 400-square kilometres of coastline to Chile in a war in 1879. President Morales hopes to negotiate an agreement this year with Chile to allow Bolivia a corridor to the Pacific. The territory, which would first be administered by both countries, would eventually become Bolivian.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
4:14 pm
Bolivia accuses the US of bombings
Bolivian President Evo Morales has accused the United States of being behind two major bomb attacks in La Paz over the last 24 hours. Police arrested a man from the United States and a woman from Uruguay shortly after the attacks on two hotels in the capital's tourist district. The suspects are thought to have planted the devices.

Two people were killed and seven injured in the bombings, after which tourists had to be evacuated.
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