Hugo Chavez’s Memory Lives on in the Hearts of Latin Americans

Source:  TeleSUR
March 5 2019

hugo chavez lives onHugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013, but his
presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Hugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013,
but his presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 March 2019 (13 hours 5 minutes ago)

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

Six years since his passing and the memory of Hugo Chavez still remains not only in the hearts of Venezuelans but of Latin Americans around the globe.

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His leadership and legacy revolutionized the state of Venezuela, like no other administration in the nation’s history, cutting the chord from imperialist countries in the north, taking the reins and changing South America’s future.

After centuries of passivity, under Chavez’s administration, Venezuela bloomed into one of the strongest, most independent nations on the continent.

Over the 14 years of his presidency, Chavez made it his mission to bring equality to lower classes from mediating race discrimination to increasing employment opportunities and introducing social programs.

By exploring the expenditure of Venezuela’s oil industry, the former president was able to allocate funds for free housing, literacy, and health care initiatives. Pensions for the elderly surged, jumping from 400,000 to over two million; some 1.5 million Venezuelans benefited from the Mission Robinson I and learned to read and write.

Under Chavez’s policies, poverty rates were cut in half and the level of extreme poverty decreased by two-thirds; child malnutrition decreased and the amount of safe, clean drinking water grew.

In an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Roger D. Harris, Task Force on the Americas, said, “Venezuela went from being among one of the most economically unequal nations in Latin America to being among the most equal through the exercise of state power for the populace.”

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

His experience was pivotal in the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) which united Venezuelan and Cuba in 2003 in a mutually respectful and reciprocal fair trade arrangement. What started as a two-member agreement, soon grew into an 11-member nation concord.

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A second initiative, PetroCaribe, made waves in 2005 when 17 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean joined together to secure a steady energy supply, without overdue interference from Canada or the United States.

Similarly, The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) were created again as a means to break from centuries of tradition and submission orchestrated by the Northern Hemisphere.

The progress realized in Venezuela over the last decade and a half hardly make it surprising that the United States is desperate to instate a Washington-approved head of state.

Over the last few months, the U.S. has increased its efforts to dislodge Chavez’s democratically elected successor, Nicolas Maduro. In its most recent attempt, the U.S. sent “humanitarian aid” to Colombia in a show of solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition and the “suffering boys and girls.” However, violence- perpetrated by opposition forces- broke out along the border and resulted in the injury of numerous state police officials.

This “philanthropic” ploy was denounced by Venezuelan government officials before an international delegation at the United Nations last week, when Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza revealed that the trucks of “food” were carrying equipment for barricades and anti-government movements lodged by the opposition.

Despite these hardships, Maduro’s government continues Chavez’s mission, founding new social programs to boost the economy and employment opportunities, while still ensuring the heart and spirit of “Chavismo” is reflected in modern-day Venezuela.

Why Is Venezuela a Key Geopolitical Target for The US?

Source:  TeleSUR
January 25 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced that the real objective of the United States behind imposing a new government in the South American nation is to appropriate the energy and mineral resources of this country.

Why Is Venezuela a Key Geopolitical Target for The US?

“They have the ambition for oil, gas and gold. We tell them: these riches are not yours, they are for the people of Venezuela and that’s how it will be forever,” Nicolas Maduro warned on Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Venezuelan capital Caracas shortly after opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido illegally declared himself “interim president” and received support for his unconstitutional move from the U.S., Canada and other right-wing governments in the region.

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A deeper look into the reasons behind such right-wing flood to support the parliamentary coup reveals that the objective behind such endorsement of an internationally illegal act is behind the publicly stated humanitarian reasons and in fact about robbing the country of its riches after two decades of progressive and sovereign policies by the Bolivarian government that limited Washington’s access to such resources.

Oil

According to the CIA World Factbook, as of Jan. 1, 2017, Venezuela had the largest proven oil reserve estimate of any country, including Saudi Arabia.

As of November 2017, the South American nation had 300,900,000,000 barrels of proven reserves in the “Hugo Chávez” Orinoco Oil Belt. After the inauguration of Nicolas Maduro for a second term, Donald Trump government began to consider expanding its sanctions on Venezuelan crude to add pressure against the constitutional president.

Oil analysts have indicated that the objective, beyond preventing the sale of oil to China, is to ensure a stable source of oil to serve the U.S. market that is increasing and that its own current production can not supply. On Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Energy revealed that its reserves decreased by 2.7 million barrels, reaching 437.1 million.

In terms of proven gas reserves, Venezuela had 198.3 trillion cubic feet in 2017, according to the Ministry of Petroleum. The new proven reserves are distributed in 2.3 trillion cubic feet of the traditional areas of Maracaibo, Maturin, Barcelona, Cumana and Barinas, and 718.7 trillion that lie in the blocks of the Oil Belt.

Mining resources

Venezuela has denounced the international campaign promoted by the United States against the Mining Arc where the reserves of gold, diamonds and other minerals such as coltan are concentrated.

The campaign against the Mining Arc has sought to increase the levels of economic suffocation in Venezuela by presenting Venezuelan gold as a product of trafficking and corruption.

In 2018 Venezuela advanced in the certification of more than 30 gold fields in the country, with which it aimed to establish itself “as the second largest gold reserve on the planet”.

During  2018 and despite the sanctions, the South American nation received a 200 percent increase in its non-oil exports compared to 2017, mainly gold sold to Holland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom and especially to Turkey. In the first months of 2018, Venezuela exported 23.62 tons of gold to the Eurasian nation, valued at US$900 million.

By representing an alternative to oil and one of the largest proven gold reserves in the world, the U.S. has renewed its interest in appropriating this mineral and obstructing the commercial exchange that Venezuela maintains with Russia and Turkey in the Mining Arc.

As President Nicolas Maduro denounced Wednesday, Washington’s real objective in Venezuela is to seize the immense natural and mineral resources of the South American nation.

Political Beacon in Latin America

In 1998, commander Hugo Chavez Frias had a pivotal electoral triumph that changed the fate of Latin America for around 20 years, from that time to this date, there have been up to 15 progressive democratically elected governments in the region.

Commander Chavez and Nicolas Maduro first as foreign affairs minister and then as president have been crucial in the integrationist efforts in Latin American, guided by the ideals of Simon Bolivar of a united continent. With the cooperation of other countries and presidents such as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Manuel Zelaya, Fernando Lugo, Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Venezuela pushed forward for the regional integration of the continent.

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During these years some bodies of regional integration bodies were created such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), The Union of South American Nation (UNASUR), The Bank of the South, the News Network teleSUR, and the Southern Common Market to enforce South American trade bloc (MERCOSUR), all organizations that sought to create a more unified and independent Latin American and the Caribbean community.

From that moment a series of efforts began, in order to destabilize these governments. Soft coups against progressive presidents started, the first one against Chavez in 2002 which failed, then another against Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya in 2010, followed by a parliamentary maneuver against Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, and partially ending with a parliamentary coup against Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff in 2016.

These processes have been defined as “lawfare”, such as the current legal wrangling against Lula, to which we can add the more recent ones against Rafael Correa and Jorge Glas in Ecuador and a very similar process against Cristina Kirshner in Argentina.

The domino effect rising of right-wing governments in Latin America, and defeating the “National Popular governments” continues in the region, and Venezuela is one of the last standing defenses, along with Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and El Salvador.

This is why a destabilization mediatic and a political and economic campaign has been unleashed against Venezuela, and all the “National Popular governments” of Latin America, for years. Defeating Venezuela, one of the first progressive countries and governments in the region, is so important for the U.S. and the local right-wing oligarchies. It would be a defeat to progressivism in the region.

President Maduro Proposes Petro As ALBA’s Currency

Source:  TeleSUR
December 14 2018

“It’s been 14 years since the official founding of ALBA.  Today we can see the positive balance throughout all fields of ALBA: the social, the political, diplomatic and with the human side of things.  What is the main reason for our efforts?  To guarantee our region’s true independence and to guarantee the sustainability of a fair and social solidarity model for our people.   Without a doubt, it is the effort towards developing unity  and an economic, productive integration so we can,as a bloc, develop the vast resources of our countries.

I propose that ALBA assumes the Petro currency and cryptocurrency as the core of their financial efforts towards a future of reaching economic freedom.  I am officially proposing this befoe ALBA and all the peoples represented here.

The Petro is a reality, it was born under pressure fighting against sanctions and financial persecution…”  President Nicolas Maduro.

Chávez lives on in the unity of revolutionaries

Source:  Granma
March 12 2018

Fidel, Raúl, Chávez and Maduro: Four giants of our time. Photo: Anabel Díaz

Five years after his passing, neither the figure or legacy of Hugo Chávez have been forgotten, because the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, together with other liberators who have passed through these lands, will be there right beside progressive forces in his country and Our America as they continue their struggles.

From his native Venezuela to Cuba, which welcomed him as a son, various tributes were held to recall not the death, but the life of this tireless revolutionary.

In the Cuban capital, Chávez was honored in a ceremony at the University of Havana’s Aula Magna, which saw the participation of Dr. Eusebio Leal, Havana City Historian; Venezuelan Ambassador to Cuba Alí Rodríguez Araque; members of the diplomatic corps and various friends of the Bolivarian Revolution.

There, Leal, one of the first Cubans to meet Comandante Chávez, recalled the conversation he had with the Venezuelan leader during their last encounter, during which Chávez stated: “I want to live, for my homeland and for Cuba.”

Nor could the historian forget to mention the strong ties between two great men that fought for Cuba and Latin American and Caribbean integration, recalling the great friendship that existed between these “two forces of nature” – Chávez and Fidel Castro.

Such was the strength of the bond between Chávez and Cuba, that Fidel described the former President of Venezuela as the island’s greatest friend, the Cuba intellectual recalled, who went on to note that despite having other friends and acquaintances, some self-interested, Cuba never had as good and selfless a friend as Chávez.

Just like every March 5, the people of Venezuela gathered at the Cuartel de la Montaña to pay tribute to Chávez.Photo: AVN

A man who stood in solidarity with the people of Latin America, we are indebted to Chávez, and it is our moral duty not to betray him, stated Leal.

The Havana City Historian, citing José Martí, stressed that “Death is not real when one’s life work is fulfilled,” and explained, in a touching speech, that we must remember the victorious Chávez; the Chávez that in the midst of a torrential downpour, and in ill health, was able to give everything and draw strength from his own weakness.

Meanwhile, the people of Venezuela awoke early this Monday, to commemorate five years since the passing of Comandante Hugo Chávez, and just like every March 5, they gathered at the Cuartel de la Montaña to pay tribute to the man, father, friend and Bolivarian leader.

Also present there just before the beginning of the 15th ALBA-TCP Summit, was another key figure of Latin American and Caribbean integration and dear friend of Chávez, Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Regarding his comrade in the struggle, the indigenous leader had nothing but words of praise: “We will never again see these qualities anywhere in the world.”

And there, just as happens every day at the Cuartel de la Montaña, also known as Cuartel 4F – in reference to the civil-military rebellion led by Chávez on February 4, 1992 – a canon salute was held at 4:25 p.m., marking the time the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution died.

Heads of State attending the 15th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement at Miraflores Palace, as well as people from across the world, also paid tribute to Chávez this March 5.

In Nicaragua, thousands of citizens including members of government and Sandinista youth, gathered in the center of Managua, where a rose was laid in remembrance of a great friend of the country and of President Daniel Ortega.

Meanwhile, a photographic exhibition was inaugurated at the Venezuelan Embassy in Beijing, featuring images of the Cuartel de la Montaña, where the remains of the Bolivarian Comandante rest.

Social media also offered a platform to remember and honor Chávez, with users sending heartfelt messages under the hashtag #A5AñosDeTuSiembraComandante throughout the day.

Raul Castro: Our peoples have no future without unity, without integration

Source:  Granma
March 72018

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, at the 15th ALBA-TCP Summit, held in Caracas

(Council of State transcript / GI translation)

raul at alba summit 2018c.jpgCompañero Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;

Esteemed Heads of State and Government;

Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests:

This March 5, on which we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the passing of President Hugo Chávez Frías, founder together with Fidel of ALBA, my first words are dedicated to reaffirming our tribute to his work and his example and the unwavering loyalty to his legacy.

Today, ALBA has as its strategic and urgent task the joint defense of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

maduro at alba 2018.jpg

The military threat, hostility and economic aggression of U.S. imperialism against Venezuela; the neoliberal onslaught to reverse the social gains; the interference against the sovereignty of progressive governments; the attempts to dismantle the progress in the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, destabilize the region and pose risks to regional peace and security.

The United States, since 1999 when Comandante Hugo Chávez became President, and even more so when compañero Nicolás Maduro did so, has resorted to methods of unconventional warfare, with the aim of defeating this country, the owner of immense riches coveted by imperialism. President Donald Trump has just renewed the executive order that declares Venezuela an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

The threats to peace and stability in Venezuela also represent a threat to regional peace and stability.

Some appear to have forgotten the lessons of the past, the cruel years of the military dictatorships, the impact of neoliberalism; that they attempt to reinstate the disastrous consequences that the policies of extortion, humiliation and isolation had for our region that, as then, have the United States as their chief articulator.

They openly announce the full validity and relevance of the Monroe Doctrine which proclaims colonial subordination to the governments and corporations of Washington and that, as Bolívar warned, plagued Our America with sorrow and misery in the name of liberty.

Once again, they underestimate our peoples.

We proclaim unwavering support for the Bolivarian Revolution and the civic-military union of its people, led by their President, compañero Nicolás Maduro Moros.

We condemn the unilateral coercive measures and external interference against the Bolivarian and Chavista process that threaten the peace and dialogue between Venezuelans, with destabilizing purposes, and create hardships for its population.

Cease the economic aggression against Venezuela so that its people can enjoy the rights conquered by their Revolution.

We reject the exclusion of President Nicolás Maduro from the 8th Summit of the Americas. This illegal decision is unacceptable and interventionist, whilst it takes the hemisphere back to stages that appeared to have been overcome.

Exclusions do not contribute at all to peace, dialogue or hemispheric understanding.

It is unacceptable that a group of countries, with no right or mandate, intend to speak for the region and serve as an instrument of aggression against a member of the Latin American and Caribbean family, using as a pretext an alleged rupture of the democratic order, precisely in a country that has undertaken more than twenty electoral processes and has now called presidential elections, as was previously demanded, even via violent methods.

Why don’t they denounce the covert coup d’états, the massacres, the forced disappearances suffered by the peoples of the region?

Nor do we recognize any moral authority of the discredited Organization of American States (OAS) to give lessons in democracy, governability or constitutionality.

They violate the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, during the 2nd CELAC Summit, in Havana, and evade strict compliance with the obligation not to interfere, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other state, and observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and the self-determination of the peoples.

The only solution to the problems of Venezuelans is in the hands of Venezuelans themselves.

Esteemed compañeros:

I speak on behalf of our Revolution and our people, as will any other Cuban compatriot from this position in the future, who will always know, as Fidel believed, that “Our peoples have no future without unity, without integration.”

Bolívar and Martí, Fidel and Chávez bequeathed us invaluable teachings, among them loyalty to principles. Their lessons show us the course to follow in this decisive hour of the Great Homeland, which calls for our unity to forge together our second and definitive independence. Thank you very much. (Applause).

Cuba: ALBA-TCP´s strategic and urgent task is to defend Venezuela

Source:  Radio Havana Cuba
March 5 2018

raul march 2018 in caracas.jpg

Caracas, March 5 (RHC)– Cuban President Raul Castro has said that the joint defense of Venezuela is the strategic and urgent task of the ALBA regional bloc.

Speaking at the 15th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas –People´s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) held in Caracas Monday, the Cuban leader added that the threats against peace and stability in Venezuela represent a threat to regional stability and peace.

“We proclaim our unwavering support for the Bolivarian Revolution and the civic-military union of its people, led by its president Nicolás Maduro,” he stressed.

In his address, the Cuban president condemned the unilateral measures and the external interference against the Bolivarian and Chavista process that threatens the dialogue among Venezuelans.

He also criticized the exclusion of President Nicolás Maduro from the 8th Summit of the Americas, scheduled for next April in Lima, Peru.  “This illegal decision is unacceptable and interventionist, and it takes the hemisphere back to stages that seemed to be long gone.”

He mentioned how the 19th century Monroe Doctrine, which claims Latin American and Caribbean countries colonial subordination to Washington, is being proclaimed as valid and relevant by the current resident of the White House.

The Cuban leader also rejected current attempts underway to dismantle regional integration mechanisms, as well as the unconventional war methods used by Washington since 1999 to subdue the Venezuelan revolution.

“The only solution to the problems of Venezuelans is in the hands of Venezuelans themselves,” he said.

In concluding his remarks, Raul Castro alluded to his forthcoming departure as Cuban president, and insisted on the need for unity among the countries of the region.

“I speak on behalf of our Revolution and our people, as any other Cuban patriot will do tomorrow from this position, always knowing, as Fidel believed, that our peoples have no future without unity, without integration.”

The Cuban leader ratified Cuba´s loyalty to the legacy of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

ALBA Bank to Donate $2 Million to Barbuda for Reconstruction

Source:  TeleSUR
September17 2017

alba bank donates.jpgHomes in Codrington, Antigua and Barbuda were completely torn apart by
the storms powerful winds. | Photo: AFP

The Bank of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America has pledged to allocate US$2 million for the reconstruction of Barbuda.

RELATED: Venezuela Sends Aid to Hurricane Irma-Struck Antigua and Barbuda

jorge arreaza venezuela.jpgSpeaking during a televised broadcast, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, said the funds will be accompanied by a commission of Venezuelan technicians who will participate in the reconstruction of homes adapted to face future climatological phenomena.

The island, comprising the duo Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, took a direct hit from Category 5 Hurricane Irma, destroying over 90 percent of building structures.

A joint venture

Arreaza stressed that the program will be a joint venture with the government of Antigua and Barbuda and Petrocaribe and ratified the willingness of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to assist the people of Barbuda to overcome the destruction.

“President Maduro was in contact with the Prime Minister of Barbuda Gaston Browne during this episode,” adding that Venezuela is prepared to do all it can in the name of solidarity with sister countries of the Caribbean.

nicolas maduro 19.jpg

Amid Antigua and Barbuda’s devastation, Venezuela sent over 10 tons of supplies to the Caribbean islands, including mattresses, medicine, boots, and cases of water, as well as a roster of rescue personnel.

The Bolivarian National Armed Forces also transported 20 firefighters and 34 civil defense personnel to the hurricane-struck islands.