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:

Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America

Source:  presstv.com
April 12 2015

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has slammed the West’s “soft” campaign to destabilize Latin American countries.

cristina fernandez 3During her address at the 35-nation Summit of the Americas in Panama City on Saturday, she said the attempts always originate in some NGOs that “we never know who finance them.”

She warned that the destructive attempts “aim at the destabilization of governments in the region, of the governments that have done the most for equality, for education and social inclusion.”

Pointing to the “major accomplishments” of the Latin American governments in the areas of human rights, social inclusion, health, and education, Kirchner said the West lends support to “governments with neoliberal policies that shattered people.”

She also denounced the Western attempts to combat “governments that can show their credentials of having been the ones that have included their countrymen the most.”

Malvinas Islands

Elsewhere in her remarks, the Argentine president criticized the UK for considering her nation a “threat” and thus justifying an increase in its military presence in the Malvinas Islands, known as the Falklands to the British.

“The United Kingdom declared my country a threat to its won territory, the Malvinas Islands: 2.3 percent of UK’s budget is allocated to defense. It is also absurd,” she added.

Britain declared Malvinas as part of its overseas territories in 1833. Argentina calls it an occupation and has time and again challenged the British military presence in the archipelago, which is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Argentina’s coast.

Row over the islands turned into a bloody war in 1982. The conflict then claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 Britons and three islanders.

Tensions between Argentina and the UK mounted again in 2013, after a London-backed referendum asking the islanders to decide whether to remain under the British rule. Some 99.8 percent people voted to remain a British territory. The Argentine government challenged the vote calling it “a British manoeuvre lacking legal value”.

Source:  Argentina president says West seeking to destabilize Latin America  presstv.com

Maduro explains the historical background of the Guyana Border Dispute

Source: venezuelanalysis.com
July 13 2015

Mr. President, welcome, thank you for taking the time to talk to teleSUR.

maduro being interviewed re border dispute with guyanaNM:  Welcome to you too, to the house of the Venezuelan people, Miraflores Palace, with the liberators Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre, who perfectly set the spirit for this conversation.

I want to begin this interview with a current issue in Venezuela: the political dispute that exists over the Essequibo region. Why has this issue emerged? Why this change in Guyana’s position?

NM:  It is a topic that has spanned Venezuela’s history over three centuries: the 19th, 20th and now 21st. I gave a comprehensive explanation in the National Assembly of the key elements of this theme, which can be split into four stages.

During the first stage, from 1777 to 1840, Venezuela went from being the colonial Captaincy General of Venezuela, to becoming a republic in 1810, to merging with Colombia to become the so-called Gran Colombia. At this time Venezuela covered a huge area, including the Essequibo region, which was rich in mineral resources.

Venezuela had controlled everything to the west of the Essequibo river, which crosses this beautiful area of ​​South America, since colonial times: from the Captaincy General to the early stages of independence to Bolivar’s founding of Gran Colombia. To the east of the river, the land was always disputed by those European empires that dug their claws into America with their so-called “discovery” and barbaric genocide against the continent’s native peoples and those of African descent.

There was always a dispute in British Guiana about the land to the east of the Essequibo, which carried over into what is now the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, what was then Dutch Guiana today is the Republic of Suriname and French Guiana — an enclave in the heart of our continent — was always disputed. That was the first stage … While I’m still on that stage, here are some maps to illustrate…

mapa la gran colombia 1822In 1810, when the region’s independence (from Spain) was recognized by all the powers in the so-called Captaincy General of Venezuela, it included the Essequibo region, the region bordered in the north by the River Orinoco (delta) … On July 5, 1819, when Venezuela was Gran Colombia, which was founded by the Liberator (Simon Bolivar), the Liberator left the Orinoco (delta) to go to the lowlands to meet (Jose Antonio) Paez’s army, they went via the Pisba moors and defeated the Spanish army, liberating Bogota of then-New Granada; and later went on to Carabobo in 1821 and built a vast geoeconomic, geopolitical region … the Essequibo was always ours.

So the Orinoco is a key part of the territory?

NM:  Of course, the Orinco was instrumental in the construction of this region. It allows our republic access to the Atlantic.

Were there any signs at that time that Guayana (Esequiba) would not always be Venezuelan territory?

NM:  Yes, the attack had begun much earlier. Here, on the map from 1830 (below), before the separation of Gran Colombia, the First Republic, and in this other map from 1840, Venezuela, the border along the Essequibo River, which at that time belonged to Gran Colombia, had weakened … over this union of republics a war between regional leaders began to seize the wealth and land, which fatally wounded the strength of what was born as a power (our America).

mapa la gran colombia 1830It is important to mention the year 1840, because it was then, given the weakness of the emerging republics thanks to the infighting between oligarchic leaders … that other empires, especially the British — which was the most powerful at the time — set their sights on the Orinoco for several reasons. The Essequibo and the Orinoco were part of the mythology of El Dorado, which became reality when important gold mines were discovered there. This area was identified by British surveyors, military, geologists, geographers as a major base to advance into the continent (via Venezuela, the Orinoco and its tributary, the Meta).

A brutal campaign of lies against Venezuela funded by Exxon, Mobil 

There is a brutal campaign against Venezuela of lies, funded by Exxon Mobil, a U.S.-based oil transnational linked to the gun lobby in Washington, which has great influence within the Pentagon. While Obama is the president of the United States, his empire’s influence goes far beyond him. Exxon Mobil has funded TV, radio and press campaigns, as well as political factions in the Caribbean, specifically Guyana.

Is Exxon Mobil’s campaign only about economics?

NM:  This campaign is about economics, energy, geopolitics, land. It forms part of a campaign to put together an operation to “squeeze” Venezuela, which was exposed in Parliament.

It is trying to provoke a conflict to undermine the union of Caribbean and Latin America and undermine vital projects like PetroCaribe and overturn the policy of peace (Venezuela’s socialist government) has maintained, as well as the fraternity we’ve forged with the people of the Caribbean.

It has several objectives. When Obama issued the decree of March 9 (calling Venezuela a threat to national security), I explained the reasons behind it and, simultaneously on the day the decree was issued, and our people began the battle (against it), they were strategizing in Guyana to provoke this moment of tension. (Essequibo) is indisputably Venezuela’s by historical right (…) plundered by the British Empire in the 19th century.

In 1824, the British Empire recognized that the eastern border of what was (Gran) Colombia (was) the Essequibo River, which marks out the area definitively, and recognized the existence of the entire Essequibo territory as Venezuelan. The British were by that time arguing (borders) with the Dutch, but had a domain known as British Guiana, which is today our sister Cooperative Republic of Guyana, where the population of what British Guiana lived … they did not live in the occupied Esequiba region, because it was sparsely populated jungle. Although, more recently, the area has been populated with mercenaries, paramilitary groups to control mineral reserves the area contains.

In 1835, the looting operation began (in Essequibo), with the so-called Schomburgk line, when the British Empire sent German botanist David Schomburgk to the region as a spy, who raised awareness of the area’s wealth in a report in which he explains the importance of the Orinoco, and the need to get a part of it, to (the Crown). Thanks to the weakness of Venezuela and New Granada (Colombia), they swept into the heart of the country.

The (new border) line appeared on a map in London, and, as it was the capital of the empire, the world believed it.

So they created the strategy and then took action?

NM:  Correct. First the botanist, the geographer, the rigged map and the threats of occupation, war and more. Then, with the second Schomburgk line in 1840, they entered the Essequibo territory and deprived us of 141,000 square kilometers of land, ranging from Mount Roraima to Punta Beach. The modus operandi was to publish a map in London and declare the Essequibo part of the overseas territories of the Queen. There was opposition to the plan; in 1850 there was an exchange of documents between Caracas and London, which I understand was a mistake due to the lax position of the oligarchy that ruled Venezuela. It practically voided the right to territorial sovereignty within the framework of a future agreement, when it was and is indisputably ours.

Then the third Schomburgk line (in 1850) went further into Venezuelan territory, (along the Yuruami River), the banks of the Guri dam, and around the city of Puerto Ordaz at the time. It was followed by a process of legalization, of dispossession, of threats to invade Venezuela.

Then, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the United States established the Monroe Doctrine (“leave America for the Americans”) and some (Latin American) governments said: what a great document, the U.S. will protect us from the empires of the world. It was quite the opposite.

In 1897, the U.S. Congress decided to create a commission to establish the limits of Guyana and force the weak governments run by the oligarchy to accept arbitration. An arbitration commission was created on the basis of a treaty written by five people. Two U.S. arbitrators represented Venezuela, because the British said they would not talk with Venezuelans. With the U.S. umpiring, Washington and London conspired to take Guayana Esequiba from Venezuela to reach the Orinoco. One arbiter was part of the Queen’s court, taught at the University of Cambridge and was more British than Russian. That committee met in 1899 in Paris.

So there was no Venezuelan representative?

NM:  Just one Venezuelan took part in the arbitration council, a lawyer, who, in October 1899, delivered a null and void judgment, which devastated the territories that historically belonged to Venezuela.

Our English news network reported at the recent Caribbean Community summit, Guyanese President David Granger said the borders between Guyana and Venezuela were fixed 116 years ago, before (the arbitration commission). What does Venezuela say to that?

NM:  We regret that a president has arrived in Guyana, David Granger, whose sole intention is to provoke Venezuela, in his mission to divide the Caribbean. I do not believe he is in favor of Latin American unity, he simply came to ignore international law and conflict resolution mechanisms through diplomatic channels and dialogue. He is trying to impose a point of view regardless of history.

The plundering of Venezuela, as I have described, was carried out via a flawed treaty, which Venezuela considers invalid and does not recognize. After this, Venezuela underwent a naval blockade from the European powers in 1902, 1903, on the alleged basis of old debts, but with the real intention of “pinning to the ground” a nation that always represented the fight for freedom.

This blockade had a second motive: that the country accept the arbitration awarded in Paris in 1899 and cede not only its Guayana Esequiba, but it was proposed that part of the Orinoco should be thrown in as part payment for those alleged debts.

We know what (then President) Cipriano Castro did to reject the aggression of foreign powers, Venezuela has always had to react very strongly.

Diplomatic mechanisms were activated at that time, what happened internationally?

NM:  With the 20th century came the third stage: the Treaty of Paris was denounced as invalid. Between 1944 and 1949, one of the arbiters of the committee, Severo Mallet Prevost, made the cutting complaint: “Even though the court gave Venezuela the mouth of the Orinoco, a strategically important disputed sector, its decision was unfair and stripped it of an important territory, over which Great Britain had not, in my opinion, even the slightest right to.”

This provoked a national and international controversy, involving several governments. In 1962, Venezuela made its complaint, presenting evidence accumulated from years of arbitration, to the U.N. This prompted a process that coincided with Guyana’s independence process from the imperial metropolis (London), which was granting autonomous status some of its Caribbean colonies.

The whole process concluded with the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1966, which ends with a Venezuela’s complaint on its right to the Essequibo region.

…President Granger, if you see this video, read the story of the signing of the Geneva Accord, the British Empire recognizes that the (Essequibo dispute) has not been resolved, with negotiations and definitions pending. That agreement was signed by the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister, Ignacio Iribarren Borges, and the foreign minister for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Michael Stewart, and Forbes Burnham, who was a leader in Guyana and prime minister of British Guiana.

This document establishes mechanisms, through international law, the U.N. Charter and other international mechanisms and laws to resolve this outstanding issue, which the current president of Guyana, who despises us and has a very clear plan to challenge us, is doing everything he can to ignore.

This campaign, suggesting Venezuela is the aggressor, is a campaign that was created in the Caribbean. How do you respond to this, and what message to you send to the people of Guyana?

NM:  I said it in the National Assembly. If you look at the DNA of our mixed blood, you’ll find the blood of Bolivar, Guacaipuro, Negro Primero and Sucre — who (went to great lengths to) free the people, who gave their lives and wealth. Liberator Simon Bolivar was born in one of the wealthiest families of the time, but, when he died in Santa Martha (Colombia), he died in a second hand shirt. He didn’t have a home to die in. We are his children, the children of (former President Hugo) Chavez, who led a new stage (of struggle). Are they going to ignore the role of PetroCaribe as a project of solidarity, integration, brotherhood?

So let them say Exxon Mobil, which financed President David Granger’s campaign, has given a little bit of petroleum to the people of Guyana, or the people of the Caribbean. But there is a campaign to show a back-to-front world, as the great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano said. Now Venezuela is the imperialist country, the aggressor. So I tell the people of Guyana: We are the country that was deprived and this land, the Essequibo, wasn’t given to us by British or Spanish imperialism. Our grandfathers won that sacred land fighting in battles.

And speaking of Venezuelanism, it is interesting how members of the opposition have folded to your call to save this patriotic territory.

NM:  Yes, I want to note the national support comes from diverse sectors, mainly the people, workers, women, students, campesinos, the armed forces — the most important support one can have, a military-civic union.

Parliament is going to debate an interesting proposal of support. There have also been leaders of political sectors, such as Governor Henry Falcon, some legislators from Democratic Action, a New Time, and First Justice, who have given me support — not without some criticism that I consider unfair — circumstances oblige us Venezuelans to unite to achieve the most important thing, through international law and peace diplomacy: Venezuela’s rights. And furthermore, to dispel this provocation, neutralize it and defeat it, morally and politically.

Some right-wing sectors are not nationalist ones, despite being originally from here … one person out there, who was a presidential candidate, represents international interests, and has come out now to praise Exxon Mobil’s maneuvers. There’s another far-right legislator. Its nothing new, in 1961 people with the same surnames — Lopez, Machado, Mendoza, Zuloaga — wrote a letter to the queen that she should come here, claim Essequibo, and save them from the armies of Zamora.

What other international mechanisms will you involve? You’ve mentioned the U.N.?

NM:  I’ve talked to the president of CELAC, Rafael Correa, to put in place an initiative at a foreign minister level or a presidential level. Taking advantage of the moment, I congratulate him for the success that he has hand with the visit of Pope Francis in Ecuador.

I’m going to talk to the secretary of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, and give him a letter requesting someone be appointed as mediator, as established in the Geneva Convention, a person accepted by Guyana and Venezuela, so that the issue can be looked at, and President Granger accepts the decision.

I think that among the key groups are CELAC, because it includes the Caribbean, ALBA, which was led by Chavez, Fidel and Raul … for many years there was a lack of trust, and our brothers in the Caribbean didn’t view the rest of Latin American in a positive light, and vice-versa. So CELAC is one group, and another would be the secretary-general of the U.N.

Source:  Maduro Talks to teleSUR: Guyana Border Dispute, Greece, and Economic War  Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela Calls for Urgent CELAC Meeting Amid Ecuador Coup Plan

Source:  TeleSUR
June 13 2015

President Nicolas Maduro called upon the other member countries to show solidarity with Ecuador’s elected government.

maduro solidarity with ecuador

President Maduro speaking during a visit to the state of Miranda | Photo: TeleSUR

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for an urgent meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss tensions and possible coup plots against the government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

“It’s time for us to activate all our solidarity with the people of Ecuador and with President Rafael Correa,” Maduro said Saturday during an event in the Venezuelan state of Miranda.

The call comes after Correa denounced that a coup plot was being hatched against him as he returns Sunday from the European Union-CELAC meeting in Brussels.

Throughout this week, parallel demonstrations have been held both against and in support of President Correa, who went to the Belgian capital on June 8.

Supporters to gather early at the Presidential Palace Monday

The Ecuadorean head of state used his Twitter account to call upon his supporters to gather early at the Presidential Palace Monday in support of his government.

“Thank you Quito! Thank you Guayaquil! Thank you Ecuador for your peace and your presence! I want to thank my partners for their great job, I would have loved to be with you during this day of happiness and revolution. On Monday at 11:00, everyone to the Plaza Grande (Main Square) for the change of guards. We are more! Many more!” read the series of tweets.

The opposition is sowing confusion

Speaking from Milan, the president explained during his weekly television program Citizen Link (Enlace Ciudadano) that the opposition is sowing confusion about a government proposal to increase the inheritance and capital gains tax of the top 2 percent of Ecuadorean as an excuse to try to oust him.

“The real motive is to overthrow the government. It’s not about abolishing the inheritance tax, it’s about toppling the national government … they had everything ready…they have foreign advisers” he said.

Maduro, who could not be in Brussels due to illness, warned that the Ecuadorean right-wing will resort to violence in its attempts to destabilize Correa’s left-wing administration.

Source:  Venezuela Calls for Urgent CELAC Meeting Amid Ecuador Coup Plan TeleSUR

Ecuador: President Correa Exposes Opposition Coup Plan

Source:  TeleSUR
June 13 2015

Privileged and right-wing sectors have being holding protests in front the PAIS Alliance offices since Monday.

The opposition had everything ready for their opposition plot against the government, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa said while speaking on his weekly program on Saturday, from Italy.

rafael correa 30

President Rafael Correa speaking on weekly show on Saturday morning |
Photo: TeleSUR

Following days of protest, sometimes violent, outside the head offices of governing party PAIS Alliance, President Correa noted that the opposition had the money and logistics prepared.

“They want to wear us down by 2016″ . . .  Correa

The Ecuadorean leader called on people in the country to remain strong and firm in light of the right-wing attacks. “They want to wear us down by 2016 … but here, nobody gets tired, we’re stronger than ever,” he said.

The protests were initially against citizens having to pay a very small tax on large inheritances, but now the right-wing protesters are openly calling for the ousting of the elected government.

In 2013, Correa was elected in a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote

In 2013, Correa was elected in a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote. The protests have been counted by government supporters, who have outnumbered the opposition protestors but have also been met with violence from the right-wing demonstrators. Large numbers of police have been deployed each night to prevent violence or injuries.

Source:  Ecuador’s Correa Announces Opposition Coup Plan  TeleSUR

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EU and US Thrived on Protectionism, Why Can’t We? Asks Correa

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa addresses the EU-CELAC summit in Brussels, June 10, 2015.

At the EU-CELAC summit, the Ecuadorean president said there is a moral urgency to reduce poverty and end exclusion of certain sectors of society. The president of Ecuador and pro-tempore president of the CELAC bloc, Rafael Correa, says that Latin American and Caribbean nations form a region that is developing quickly through the creation of small and medium businesses, but need to resort to trade practices that Europe and the United States used in order to thrive in the world economic order.

rafael correa at the CELAC EU summit 2015The South American leader, who holds a PhD in economics, told those at the opening session, “We were told that protectionism was bad, however that is how the economies of Europe and the United States thrived and their companies have grown.”

The second summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations concluded recently in the Belgian capital city Brussels, which is also home to the EU’s governing body.

Poverty and extreme poverty have been reduced but remain a problem

Correa also said that poverty, and extreme poverty, have been successfully reduced in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, but recognized that they remain a widespread problem not only in the region, but around the world as well. He argued that poverty is the result of social injustice, such as exclusion from education and dignified jobs and salaries, which promote the concentration of riches.

“The eradication of poverty is a moral imperative not only in our countries but in the whole world,” he added. “For the first time in world history, poverty is not the result of lack of resources but of injustice and exclusion which promote the concentration of wealth. Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world and no one has found a more dignified and better way to fight poverty than to create productive and stable employment with appropriate work environment and good salaries, “said the Ecuadorean President.

One of the objectives of the business summit is to “understand” that the producers are “fundamental to the creation of jobs and production economies and therefore also of inclusion and social change in our countries,” he added.

Correa noted that human labour is fundamental to production and that a fair and dignified salary is the base of equality. He explained, however, that education and the training of human talent is essential to economic growth and ending inequality.

Small and medium-sized businesses

The president praised the success of small and medium-sized businesses (SME) in Europe, and said they would be equally successful in Latin America and the Caribbean if they had the same access to credits, financial backing and the proper training and technical support. “The SMEs in Europe have been successful thanks to the support that they receive, while in Latin America we lack the vision and have insufficient resources to support this sector,” he said.

President Correa stressed the importance of the two-day summit in Brussels, but emphasized that these have to respect each nation’s right to sovereign government.

The conference is being attended by some 60 heads of state and high-ranking officials to tackle the issues of climate change, investment, and the Colombian peace talks. The theme of the event this year is “Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens.”

CELAC has now cemented its international significance

CELAC, established in 2010 as an alternative to U.S.-run bodies like the Organization of American States, has now cemented its international significance. It last met with the EU in 2013 in Chile.

“It will be the occasion to underline the importance of EU-CELAC cooperation in a complex, rapidly changing world,” the organizers of the event said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Correa, whose country holds the pro-tempore presidency of the CELAC bloc, met with his EU counterpart Donald Tusk in the Belgian capital ahead of the conference. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini also met with Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, to sign a draft agreement to forge stronger links between Latin America and Europe. “Today, we have jointly signed the establishment of a EU-Latin American-Caribbean Foundation on the basis of transforming it into an international body that, we believe, will help us work even more among our societies,” Mogherini said.

Sources: 

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Cuba: The EU can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world

Source:  Granma
June 12 2015

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Vice President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, speaking at 2nd CELAC-EU Summit in Brussels, June 10-11, calls on Europe to support development in Latin America and the Caribbean

miguel diaz canel and frederica mogheriniHonorable heads of state and government:

For Latin America and the Caribbean, this 2nd CELAC-EU Summit constitutes a challenge, since here we must establish the objective of re-thinking ties between the two regions, so that they, in fact, have the desired impact on economic, commercial and cooperative relations.

The history of Latin America and the Caribbean 

History shows that under-development in Latin America and the Caribbean began with colonial plunder, the extermination of millions of persons among the original peoples, and the horrors of slavery. The structural deformities of our economies were worsened by neo-colonial exploitation; industrialized nations and transnational companies imposed their interests; capitalism established irrational and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The United States appropriated our territory and took sovereignty of our natural resources, violating the independence of nations in the region, even resorting to bloody military dictatorships. Neoliberalism erased a decade of progress. The global economic crisis and financial speculation spread to our economies.

The world’s most unequal region

Despite the progress made, Latin America and the Caribbean is the (world’s) most unequal region in terms of the distribution of wealth and the persistence of poverty, inadequate access to education, healthcare and knowledge.

In June of 1999, during the Río de Janeiro Summit, the European Union proposed a “strategic bi-regional association.”

In Santiago de Chile, in January, 2013, CELAC reiterated its desire to cooperate and extend bi-regional relations based on “respect, equal sovereignty and no external interference.”

In Havana, in January of 2014, CELAC approved the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, establishing guiding principles to govern ties between countries in the region – applicable to our relations with the rest of the world.

Solidarity with Venezuela

I evoke this Proclamation to express solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its President, Nicolás Maduro Moros, given the unfounded, arbitrary executive order issued by the President of the United States, imposing sanctions which our region has demanded be rescinded.

While, in fact, we share important historic and cultural ties, our region continues to occupy a marginal position within the economic-commercial priorities of the EU. Asymmetries are reinforced, and cooperation with small Caribbean states is being mechanically and unjustly withdrawn.

The Millenium Development goals continue to be unreachable

The Millenium Development goals continue to be unreachable. Without another international economic and financial order, the Post-2015 Agenda is an illusion, and will increase dependency and the North-South gap. Political models and the welfare state in Europe are in crisis. Cutbacks and austerity programs have seriously hurt workers, families and immigrants. Significant numbers of an entire generation have not found their first job.

To survive it is imperative to detain climate change, with a legally binding, ambitious, just and equitable agreement, which guarantees financing, technology and cooperation in the areas of adaptation and mitigation, on the basis of shared but differentiated responsibility, and recognition of the historic debt owed by the developed countries.

Opposition to sanctions against Russia

Growing threats to peace and international security, conventional and non-conventional wars and poverty, which devastate nations and destroy states, are pushing waves of desperate human beings to seek refuge. Very early on, we warned that NATO’s expansion to the borders of the Russian Federation would imply a serious threat to peace, security and stability, internationally and in Europe itself. We reiterate our opposition to sanctions against that country.

The economic, commercial, financial blockade of Cuba remains in place

Despite the historic decision by Cuba and the United States to reestablish diplomatic relations, the economic, commercial, financial blockade of Cuba remains in place, with the same intensity. The moment has arrived for Europe to advocate for its total elimination, and an end to the unethical understanding with the United States, from November of 1996, accepting the international application of the legislation upon which it is based, the Helms Burton Act.

An end to this unjust policy, along with the return to Cuba of territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base; the termination of radio and television broadcasts which violate international norms; compensation for the human and economic damages suffered by our people; and the cancellation of subversive programs are some of the premises which are indispensable to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

We continue to work for the conclusion of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Accord between the European Union and Cuba, based on reciprocity, mutual respect and non-interference, which we agreed upon in 2008, to re-initiate cooperative relations between the two parties.

The EU can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world

The European Union, which is an important economic associate of Cuba, has the opportunity to accompany us in our development. At the same time, it can contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable world, which requires the demolition of the current system of domination, hegemony, plunder of resources and financial speculation.

As the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro did during the first of these meetings, I invite you to work on “the miracle of making the impossible possible.”

Source:  The European Union has an opportunity to accompany us in our development  Granma