Venezuela: Destabilization continues – violent looting leaves one dead

August 1 2015
by JSC

Governor of Bolivar state Francisco Rangel explained that the looting was politically motivated

Governor of Bolivar state Francisco Rangel explained that the looting was politically motivated

Efforts to undermine the government of the democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro continued in Venezuela on Friday (July 31) in Bolivar state with the looting of a supermarket warehouse and other shops in the south-eastern city of Ciudad Guayana.  A fruit and vegetable worker died near the violence as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest, local media reported.

For some time now Latin American leaders have expressed their concern over the clear destabilization activities in Venezuela which came to a head early last year when right-wing violence captured some sections of the country and their actions given sensational and misleading publicity in the mainstream US press.

Regional blocs like ALBA and CELAC have condemned the Chile-style onslaught on Venezuela (and now Ecuador) expressing the desire to maintain the Havana, CELAC declaration which stated: “We declare Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace based on respect for the principles and rules of International Law, including the international instruments to which Member States are a party to, the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations Charter”.

Raul:  Solidarity with President Maduro in the face of destabilization

On July 15,  in his address at the closure of the National Assembly of People’s Power Eighth Legislature’s Fifth Period of Ordinary Sessions, Cuban President Raul Castro stated “I must reiterate our solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the government headed by President Nicolás Maduro, in the face of destabilization attempts and any act of external intervention. We were pleased to learn of the results of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s primary elections, while we are carefully following the dialogue underway between this country and the United States.”

Raul:  We notice an imperialistic and oligarchic offensive

“We denounce the destabilization campaigns against the government of President Rafael Correa and the Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador, to which we confirm Cuba’s solidarity . . . We notice that an imperialist and oligarchic offensive has been put into practice against Latin American revolutionary and progressive processes, which will be decisively confronted by our peoples.”

The record of the Chavista government in its effort to rid the country of poverty, to significantly reduce inequality and generally to improve the quality of life of the poor is commendable.

Venezuela:  A remarkable reduction in poverty

According to Harvard Review of Latin America “Venezuela has seen a remarkable reduction in poverty since the first quarter of 2003. In the ensuing four years, from 2003 to 2007, the poverty rate was cut in half, from 54 percent of households to 27.5 percent. This is measured from the first half of 2003 to the first half of 2007. … Extreme poverty fell even more, by 70 percent—from 25.1 percent of households to 7.6 percent.

These poverty rates measure only cash income; … they do not include non-cash benefits to the poor such as access to health care or education.”

More recently, UN statistics showed that in 2012 Latin America led the world in poverty reduction and Venezuela led the region in this commendable achievement.  And in March 2015, Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), praised Venezuela for its efforts to eradicate poverty in the country. “What you are doing here, the concept of going out into the (low-income) neighborhoods, to the places where there is the most poverty, it is an excellent proposal that should be examined by other countries,” said Barcena.

UN praises Venezuela’s accomplishments in gender equality

Venezuela’s accomplishments under the Chavistas are not limited to poverty reduction.  At the 59th United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva, Switzerland, chairperson Nicole Ameline praised Venezuela’s efforts and success in increasing gender equality.

According to 2013 data, 48 percent of positions employed by the Venezuelan state are currently occupied by women. Comparatively, only 16 percent of public office positions in the United States are held by women.

In addition, 55 percent of grassroots government, such as communes and communal councils, is led by women.

Among the presidential councils, a unique representational mechanism, 486 women’s organizations actively participate nationwide.

Over 675,000 houses handed over to the poor in the last four years in Venezuela

In Venezuela education and health is free for all citizens and, up to February 2015, the Venezuelan government had built and handed out 675,991 homes in the last four years, in the Great Venezuelan Housing Mission.

This Mission (GMVV) began in 2010 under the leadership of former President Hugo Chavez to provide homes for families affected and displaced by landslides from heavy rains. Since its introduction, the program expanded to resolve Venezuela’s housing deficit.

Through the program, families are provided with the houses – equipped with all appliances and furniture – and the titles to the property, free of cost.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela keeps winning at the polls

Despite all this; in fact, because of all this development for the poor, there are those who would like to reverse the process started by Hugo Chavez.  However, they have not been able to do so through the ballot as the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has consistently won national elections since Chavez became President.  In addition, they cannot claim that elections were rigged as, according to past US president Carter: “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world” said Carter.

Having failed consistently to remove the socialist government from office through elections, the local oligarchy, backed by imperialism, has resorted to destabilizing the country.  One form of destabilization which, among others, was successfully used in Chile and Jamaica was to hoard basic consumer items like cooking oil, bread and flour and to blame the government for the shortages, price increases and general dislocation which this created.

The looting is politically motivated

Hence, we should fully understand when Venezuela’s state governor Francisco Rangel, from the ruling Socialist Party, said the looting was politically motivated. Rangel explained that a “gang” of 40 people on motorbikes fired their guns in the area and incited people to rob the shops. “A group of armed motorcyclists arrived and said they were going to loot certain establishments,” he told Venezuelan television station Globovision.

“I’m sure it wasn’t spontaneous but rather planned with a political motive.”  The governor said more than two dozen people were arrested in connection with the looting and added that there was no excuse for the behaviour. “No one is starving,” he said.

Venezuela has been grappling with worsening shortages of basic goods like cooking oil and flour.

Maduro:  The violence was premeditated

President Nicolas Maduro also maintained that the violence was premeditated and blamed the US for being behind it.   Maduro said US General John Kelly, Marine Corps commander of the Southern Command, had predicted in February that there would be a “social implosion” in Venezuela in July.

The incident comes as Venezuela is facing shortages of key goods, with the government arguing that business sectors are causing most of the shortages in order to delegitimize the government and to make large profits.

Maduro said that he was sending the Liberation of the People Operative (OLP) to Bolivar state to catch those he blamed for the crime, which he described as “mercenary groups, paramilitaries, and infiltrators.”

Destabilization attempts

He said that during the violence a publicly owned Yutong bus was also attacked, and he called on Venezuelans to be alert to “violent groups who try to provoke chaos in the country.”

According to the local newspaper El Correo del Caroni, Gustavo Patinez was shot 60 meters from the main site of looting. Four shops were looted and wrecked, and a cereal transport truck was also attacked.

Over the last two years, sectors of the Venezuelan opposition have organized violent blockades, known as “guarimbas.” The blockades saw 43 people killed last year.  It also stopped food trucks from reaching populations and stopped people from getting to hospitals, schools, and work. Numerous public buses, bus stops, and food trucks have also been destroyed, usually by being set on fire.

Businesses also often force people to line up to buy basic foods, though organized communities have found that the lines are often unnecessary and add to a general feeling of insecurity, economic chaos, and distrust in the political stability of the country.

Sources:

Ecuador: Bomb Blasts Part of Soft Coup Strategy says President Correa

Source:  TeleSUR

July 31 2015

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa says his country’s right-wing has co-opted sectors of the left in a plot to destabilize the nation ahead of elections in 2017.

President Rafael Correa has spoken out against the bombings of national newspaper offices. | Photo: Reuters

President Rafael Correa has spoken out against the bombings of national newspaper offices. | Photo: Reuters

Double bomb blasts in the city of Guayaquil earlier this week were part of an ongoing soft coup plot to overthrow Ecuador’s progressive government, the left-leaning president, Rafael Correa, warned Friday.

Publicly owned newspaper El Telegrafo and the private El Universo were both hit with “leaflet bombs” late Wednesday night.

In an interview with local media, the president said the blasts were part of a nation-wide plot to destabilize the country by the right-wing.

By early 2017 Ecuadoreans will go to the polls in a general election, where the opposition hopes to challenge Correa’s PAIS Alliance. Although there is over a year before the country is set to vote, Correa says the opposition is already laying the groundwork for efforts to destabilize the country.

RELATED: Right-Wing Attack on Ecuador’s Democracy

An obscure group claims responsibility

He continued by warning that some elements of Ecuador’s left-wing have been manipulated into siding with the right.

“In the opposition there is a mixture: the right-wing that knows what it will do to regain power, and a (sector of the) left that has been manipulated by the right,” he said.

A group claiming to be from the left has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s bombings.

Local authorities are currently launching a deeper investigation into the obscure group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“We are looking into the evidence and from that we will be able to determine the identity of the perpetrators,” said Col. Edison Gallardo earlier this week.

The group’s name, the National Liberation Front, is an allusion to other clandestine armed organizations. However, the communique released by the group uses language strikingly dissimilar to that used by other clandestine armed organizations in Latin America and reads more like a manifesto from a liberal organization than a revolutionary organization.

RELATED: Ecuador’s Citizens’ Revolution: Putting People Before Profit

Source: Ecuador’s Correa: Bomb Blasts Part of Soft Coup Strategy  TeleSUR

Bombs Explode Outside Two Newspaper Offices in Ecuador

Source:  TeleSUR
July 30 2015

Ecuadorean authorities are currently launching an investigation into the new attacks that took place outside national media headquarters. 

Photo outside the El Telegrafo headquarter after the bomb detonated. | Photo: El Telegrafo

Photo outside the El Telegrafo headquarter after the bomb detonated. | Photo: El Telegrafo

Two bombs exploded Wednesday night near the headquarters of two major Ecuadorean daily newspapers, El Telegrafo and El Universo, located in the port city of Guayaquil.

The bombings did not result in any property damage or cause any physical injuries to people in the surrounding area.

Leaflet bombs

The “leaflet bombs” scattered dozens of flyers in the area, a communique, issued by a “National Liberation Front,” which claimed responsibility for the fresh round of attacks, as well as for the recent bombing of the headquarters of the ruling PAIS Alliance party also in Guayaquil.

Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, lies over 400 kilometers southwest from capital Quito, at the mouth of the River Guayas.

RELATED: Right-Wing Attack on Ecuador’s Democracy

In response to the attacks, El Telegrafo’s director, Orlando Perez, issued a statement condemning the violent acts.

“We must inform our country that we have been victims of an attack … We are pubic servants and therefore we totally reject these types of actions that are being carried out. Yesterday it was against (the newspapers), but tomorrow it could happen to others,” Perez stated.

Local authorities are launching a deeper investigation into the organization claiming responsibility for the attacks.

“We are looking into the evidence and from that we will be able to determine the identity of the perpetrators,” said Col. Edison Gallardo.

The group’s name, the National Liberation Front, is an allusion to other clandestine armed organizations. However, the communique released by the group claiming responsibility for the attack is strikingly dissimilar to language used by other clandestine armed organizations in Latin America and reads more like a manifesto from a liberal organization than a revolutionary organization.

Source:  Bombs Explode Outside Two Newspaper Offices in Ecuador  TeleSUR

Cubans Honor Martyrs of the Revolution

Source:  Prensa Latina
Santiago de Cuba,
July 30 2015

With the evocation of the death in combat of Frank Pais Garcia and Raul Pujols 58 years ago on the streets of this city, Cubans are paying tribute today to the martyrs of the Revolution.

frank pais2Since early today, children and young people lay flowers at the “Callejon del Muro,” a place where Frank Pais was shot by soldiers of the Fulgencio Batista tyranny, who with barely 22 years was the Head of Action and Sabotage of the July 26 Movement.

In workplaces and other places in the city, men and women are meeting to remind themselves of the young organizer of the November 30, 1956 armed uprising, in support of the Granma Yacht landing that brought from Mexico the revolutionary fighters, led by Fidel Castro.

Hundreds of people will reenact this afternoon the popular pilgrimage from the Cespedes Park to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, carried out 58 years ago with the corpse of the beloved fighter in defiance of the dictatorship.

After knowing his death, Fidel Castro praised the great and promising qualities of the young revolutionary man, who was killed at the prime of life as an organizer and strategist from the anonymity of urban combat.

This July 30 tribute is extended to all martyrs of the Revolution, for also being the date, one year later, the death of Rene Ramos Latour (Daniel), who replaced the charismatic leader in such responsibility in the insurrectionary force.

Source:  Cubans Honor Martyrs of the Revolution Prensa Latina

Planting Love, Harvesting country: Venezuelans pay tribute to Hugo Chavez on his 61st birthday

29 July, 2015

chavez remembered on his 61st birthdayVenezuelans from different states gathered yesterday at the headquarters 4F, known as headquarters of the Mountain, located in Caracas, to mark the 61st birthday of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez.

A wide cross-section of the Venezuelan people came to honor the legacy of Commander Chavez including the  elderly, disabled, youth, children along with groups and representatives of community councils.

With flowers and photographs of the eternal leader of the Revolution, the people lined up to visit the flower of the Four Elements where his remains exist.

The president of the poor

The celebration of the birth of the legendary past Venezuelan president, affectionately known as ‘the president of the poor, included acts from several musical and theatre groups as the young and old joined in a common sentiment to pay respect to one of the most outstanding leaders of the modern period.

Also on hand at the solemn ceremony, which began at exactly 12 midnight on Tuesday, July 28th, and was broadcast live on TV network Telesur, were Chavez’s daughters María Gabriela, Rosa Virginia and Rosa Inés Chávez, his cousin Asdrúbal Chávez, Army Commander Cilia Flores, Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza and the country’s ministers.

In a letter to the late president, his daughter, Rosa Virginia Chavez, said the example of her father remains in force in all persons in the world who are willing to sow the seeds of solidarity, justice and love.

Rosa Chavez

She also said that every day, the revolutionaries move along the path which he carved out in order to magnify Venezuela.

We will continue training ourselves to defend this homeland you left us, Rosa Virginia Chavez wrote in the letter, and explained how his values went beyond the country’s borders and were settled in Latin America and the Caribbean.

She also confirmed that the Bolivarians will support President Nicolas Maduro to keep the Revolution and its social conquests.

Shortly before departing Tuesday for New York to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro paid homage to Hugo Chavez at the Cuartel de la Montaña in Caracas, which treasures the remains of the late Bolivarian leader.

Cultural galas and other commemorative activities have also been organized in countries like Spain, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador, to pay tribute to the beloved Bolivarian and Latin American leader.

Since July 24, there have been tributes to Chavez including workshops on his ideas and along with various cultural and recreational activities in different states to remember the legacy of the leader of the Revolution, under the name “Planting Love, Harvesting country ‘.

On Sunday, July 26, President Maduro said from the Mountain Barracks that one of Chavez’ great contributions was the Miracle Mission, founded along with the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and through which about four million people recovered sight or their quality of vision.

Residents of the Venezuelan capital conducted a national cohetazo on the anniversary of Commander Chavez.

Chavez’ family honors his memory

The town of Barinas, where the Commander Hugo Chavez was born, accompanied the relatives of revolutionary leader in various activities to celebrate his birthday and ratify their loyalty to the socialist process that bequeathed and which President Nicolas Maduro continues. The brother of the commander and governor of Barinas, Adan Chavez, said that the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution continues to motivate the people to defend the homeland. He also stressed that the effect of his legacy is evident in the military civic union.

After singing Happy Birthday to President Chavez, the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) for the circuit five of Caracas, Jacqueline Faria, said that the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution is a flame that lives in the Venezuelan people.

Sources:

U.S., Cuba reopen embassies – signal historic milestone in removing barriers – says President of Guyana Cuba Solidarity Movement

Source:  Guyana Chronicle Online
July 22 2015

haleem khan 3THE resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States has signaled a historic milestone in the official thaw that President Barack Obama set in motion last year as the United States reopened its six-story embassy in Havana on Monday, and Cuba raised a flag outside its own stately embassy in Washington, according to President of the Guyana Cuba Solidarity Movement (GCSM), Haleem Khan.Underscoring the culmination of months of negotiations to overcome decades of enmity, Khan said Cuba is still rallying against the United States’ travel restrictions, trade embargo and presence at the military base at Guantánamo Bay.

The GCSM President noted that even with continuing friction, the reopening of embassies in each other’s capitals provided the most concrete symbols yet of what has been achieved after more than two years of negotiations between governments that had long shunned each other.

Cuba will reopen its embassy in Washington after 54 years. | Photo: Reuters

The opening of the embassies is but one-step in the process of strengthening the relationship between the two countries, the White House has maintained. The U.S. removed Cuba from the State Department’s state sponsors of terror list in May, and President Obama personally met with Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas, which was the first in-person meeting of American and Cuban leaders since the diplomatic ties were severed.

Source:  U.S., Cuba reopen embassies – signal historic milestone in removing barriers – says President of Guyana Cuba Solidarity Movement  Guyana Chronicle Online

July 26: Celebration, joy and patriotism reigned today in Santiago

Source: Cuban News Agency
July 26 2015
SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba,

july 26 fidel 2An atmosphere of celebration, joy and patriotism reigned today in Santiago a city which  just celebrated the 500th anniversary of its founding, and in which the children confess that these same emotions are always present  when they celebrate their most important date – the date which marks the heroic deed of the attack on the Moncada Garrison led by Fidel 62 years ago .

The red and black, white and blue colors abounded on the streets; in the clothes of its inhabitants, in homes and public buildings, as the Cuban and 26 of July flags flew while chants ennobling revolutionary fervor filled the air.

Again, participants in the attack on the Moncada Garrison reunited with history, and heroes and the people joined in one embrace in the morning of Saint Ana at the site of the July 26 School City, where at 5:12 a.m. the traditional symbolic attack was carried out and the main rally for National Rebellion Day was held.

Students reenactment of the Fidel Castro led attack on the Moncada  barracks

Students reenactment of the Fidel Castro led attack on the Moncada barracks

 

Raul and other leaders at july 26 2015 celebrations

Abel Santamaria

Abel Santamaria

The July 26 Monument Area, remodeled for the occasion, was in all its finery, with its Abel Santamaria park-museum, the old Saturnino Lora Hospital and the Law courts, sites that keep a piece of the heroic deeds lived in 1953 by Santiago de Cuba by locals and youth of the Centennial Generation.

For journalist and retired combatant Manuel Antonio Rodriguez, the indomitable spirit of the inhabitants of this land is reaffirmed in such a significant date for the country, when the struggle for national sovereignty, which brought about the dawn of January 1959, was restarted.

We are proud, he said, in a city that is a symbol for its history, culture and people, with notable work and full of deeds; yesterday in emancipation, after winning the definitive freedom; today, working hand to hand to make this piece of Cuba grow in stature.

Teacher and Labor Hero Rolando Beltran runs a school named after martyr Abel Santamaria, where there is no better prize and reward, he says, than educating men and women of the same lineage.

cubans celebrate july 26 2015He highlighted the spirit of his countrymen, capable of rising to the challenge of creating after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, following the example of the Moncada attackers, of its heroes and martyrs.

July is a peculiar month to those born in this part of the archipelago, who live days of homage, of holiday and work, with streets filled with singing and folklore of people expressing unceremoniously all the joy harbored in their hearts, all the strength coming from their ancestors.

july 26 2015 santiago 4cThis is a people of love and virtue, a people who honor the rebelliousness and bravery of their city every July 26 as if the shots and the light of Moncada had shaken Santiago de Cuba again and the city shook and throbbed with more verve to the beat of all Cuba.

Source:  Santiago de Cuba Dawned Red and Black this July 26  Cuban News Agency