Morales Slams Supporters of Venezuela’s Opposition Plebiscite

Source:  TeleSur
July 15 2017

Evo Morales 22.jpg

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister has thanked Bolivia for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

A “coup attitiude” against a democratically elected government

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales says those who want to give legitimacy to Sunday’s unconstitutional plebiscite called by the Venezuelan opposition have a “coup attitiude”.

Morales made the comment on Twitter, adding that Venezuela’s government has been democratically elected and attempts to label it a dictatorship are cynical.

The opposition has been trying to gather more support for its non-binding vote on the administration of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

CNE regards the plebiscite as illegitimate

Several former regional leaders have arrived in Caracas ahead of Sunday’s unrecognized ballot.

The ex-Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica have been invited by the opposition-led National Assembly.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, CNE, regards the plebiscite as illegitimate.

It’s overseeing a dry run, also on Sunday, ahead of the election for the National Constituent Assembly.

OAS interfering in Venezuela’sdomestic affairs

Earlier in the week, Morales reiterated his criticism of the Organization of the American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro for interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

The Bolivian President said Almagro’s decision to back the plebiscite shows that individual nations’ human rights records are judged differently depending in their governments.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada responded on Twitter to say that his government was grateful for the support expressed by “the great leader of South American peoples.”

Moncada added, “Bolivia’s courage and solidarity will always remain in the memory of the Venezuelan people.”

Checks Held Ahead of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Dry Run

Source:  TeleSUR
July 15 2017

 

thousands of people rally in venezuela

Thousands of people gathered at a PSUV rally before the National Constituent Assembly vote dry run in Valencia, July 15, 2017 | Photo: PSUV

Government supporters have been rallying to promote a free, democratic and safe vote.

Venezuela is holding a nationwide dry run vote on Sunday before the election of representatives to the National Constituent Assembly.

RELATED:  5 Myths About Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, is carrying out checks on some of the electoral machinery ahead of the ballot at the end of the month.

One of the review activities has been taking place in Valencia, Carabobo state.

Thousands of PSUV supporters gathered in the city’s bullring, along with the party’s Vice President Diosdado Cabello and Héctor Rodríguez, Commander of the Zamora Constituent Campaign 200.

 

Ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote

During his speech to the crowd, Cabello called for the full weight of the law to be imposed on “those who walk burning people” in reference to the victims of violence during the recent opposition protests.

He also told the crowd that abstentionism would be avoided “by ensuring that the people exercise their democratic right to vote despite any adverse situation or sabotage of the right to be present.”

The National Electoral Council, CNE, is overseeing preparations for the election which is being held on July 30.

Providing instruction on voting protocol and testing election technology

The body will also provide instruction on voting protocol and test election technology at 496 polling stations before of the official poll.

“We will not allow any violent radicalism to hurt the opportunity to express ourselves as the peaceful and democratic people we are,”  Tibisay Lucena, head of the CNE said.

The call for a National Constituent Assembly was made by President Nicolas Maduro on May 1 to help ease ongoing tensions with the right-wing opposition.

The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution 

The body that will rewrite the country’s 1999 Constitution will be made up of 545 members, with 364 representing regions and another 181 representing various social sectors — workers, farmers, people with disabilities, students, retirees, the business sector, communes and communal councils.

They will draft a new constitutional text which will be put to a popular vote in Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuelans Continue Marches Backing Constituent Assembly

Opposition leaders are calling for people to vote in their own plebiscite on Sunday, which the CNE regards as illegitimate and non-binding.

Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, which is currently in contempt of the law, called for the July 16 ballot to consult Venezuelans on three questions: whether they want a constituent assembly or not; whether they want the Armed Forces to support the existing constitution and the decisions of the National Assembly; and whether they want immediate general elections.

Other opposition leaders have described the unconstitutional plebiscite as an opportunity to prepare the ground for blockading the country.

Brazil Social Movements Planning General Strike for November

Source:  The Real News Network

The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and others are ramping up opposition to the coup government, says the MST’s Ana Moraes

What is the MST?

Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) in Portugueseis a mass social movement, formed by rural workers and by all those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice and social inequality in rural areas.

The MST was born through a process of occupying latifundios (large landed estates) and become a national movement in 1984.  Over more than two decades , the movement has led more than 2,500 land occupations, with about 370,000 families – families that today settled on 7.5 million hectares of land that they won as a result of the occupations. Through their organizing, these families continue to push for schools, credit for agricultural production and cooperatives, and access to health care.

Currently, there are approximately 900 encampment holding 150,000 landless families in Brazil.  Those camped, as well as those already settled, remain mobilized, ready to exercise their full citizenship, by fighting for the realization of their political, social economic, environmental and cultural rights.

The Friends of the MST (FMST)

The Friends of the MST (FMST) is a network of individuals and organizations that support the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) in the struggle for social and economic justice while securing respect for human rights. The FMST works to build solidarity and educate the public in the US and English-speaking world in order to raise the international profile of the MST. The FMST has a direct relationship to the MST and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Uruguay’s Pepe Mujica: ‘Inequality Is the Enemy of Democracy’

Source:  TeleSUR
September 24 2016

“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few,” said the former Uruguayan president.

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Pepe Mujica became president of Uruguay in 2010. | Photo: Reuters

Former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica said Latin America was the richest and at the same time the most unjust region in the world, and that all democracies should seek to end economic injustice, remarks that came during the third annual Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Ecuador on Wednesday.

RELATED: Uruguay’s  Mujica Campaigns for FARC Peace Deal in Colombia

“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, and therefore the concentration of power,” Mujica told an audience in the coastal city of Guayaquil.

If you like money

Lenin Moreno, former vice president of Ecuador and the U.N.’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, greeted Mujica and recalled one of his most important sayings: “If you like money, don’t go into politics. Keep making money, for that is not the fruit of politics.”

WATCH: Mujica Breaks with Almagro over Criticism of Venezuela

 Equality, not charity

According to “Pepe” Mujica, to achieve a socialist vision of an ideal society, governments need to fight for equality, not charity.

“We live in the most unequal and unjust continent in the world,” said Mujica, now an Uruguayan senator. “We have so many debts to our people.”

RELATED:Uruguay’s Jose Mujica Says ‘Coup’ in Brazil Was Premeditated

Without unity, we lose our strength

Mujica said that people can’t live in an idealistic world, since there is a deep economic inequality in the region, and cited the example of the Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim.

“The richest man in the world is from this continent. He would have to live 250 years, spending US$1 million a day, to spend it all,” said Mujica.

Mujica said leftist parties and governments should not let the right-wing destroy everything for which they have fought.

“Inequality is the enemy of democracy,” said Mujica. Mujica called on progressive movements to find unity, since “without unity, we lose our strength.”

Tens of Thousands Protest Brazil’s Temer on Independence Day

Source: TeleSUR
September 7 2016

Unelected President Michel Temer was greeted with shouts of “Out with Temer” upon his first public appearance in Brazil since being installed in office.

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Demonstrators protest against President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 7, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Unelected government

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday in over a dozen Brazilian cities for a national day of action dubbed the “Cry of the Excluded” to protest the country’s unelected government as President Michel Temer made his first public appearance one week after being installed in office.

OPINION: Democracy Is Dead in Brazil

Coinciding with Brazil’s independence and marked by shouts of slogans like “Out with Temer,” the marches protested the rollback in social programs and protection of human rights expected under the newly-inaugurated conservative government, which already began to implement an aggressive neoliberal agenda during its “interim” three months in office.

Living a coup

“This Sept. 7 is quite different because the people are living a coup,” Silvana Conti, a candidate with the Communist Party of Brazil in Porto Alegre, said in a statement, using the widely-repeated criticism of the impeachment process against ousted President Dilma Rousseff as a parliamentary coup. “It is important that the Brazilian people show that they are not accepting an illegitimate government and will not leave the streets until a return to democracy.”

Cries calling for his removal

When Temer made an appearance accompanied by his wife Marcela in Brasilia for the Independence Day parade, he was met with cries calling for his removal, local media reported. It was his first public appearance in Brazil since his speedy inauguration on Aug. 31 following the 61 to 20 vote in the Senate to impeach Rousseff, and the hostile greeting echoed the reception of boos he received during the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Rio last month.

OPINION:   MST: Social Movements Must Rise up Against Coup Govt in Brazil

Protesters flooded the streets 

Meanwhile, protesters also flooded the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Recife, Campo Grande, and several other locations. Solidarity protests were also held internationally, including in London.

“They did not calculate well the opposition there would be against the withdrawal of workers’ rights,” said Lindbergh Farias, senator with Rousseff’s Workers Party, during the demonstrations in Rio, Folha de Sao Paulo reported.

Labor unions and social movements have come together

In recent days, labor unions and social movements have come together to reject Temer’s plans for the country, which include lifting restrictions on foreign land ownership, cutting social programs, and privatizing the country’s natural resources, including rich offshore oil reserves. Temer has also moved toward cozier relations with the United States after years of independent foreign policy favoring South American regional integration under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On Monday, Brazil’s largest social movement – the Landless Worker Movement, or MST – occupied government offices in Brasilia to demand attention to agricultural issues while an estimated 12,000 protesters took to the streets in various actions across the country to echo demands for agrarian reform and guaranteed access to farmland for landless rural people.

A gang of corrupt politicians condemned an innocent person

Social movements have vowed to continue to protest the so-called coup against Brazilian democracy while fighting to protect the social gains won over more than a decade of Workers’ Party governments.

“Michel Temer’s government claimed that once the impeachment was approved, the country would be at peace. What we witnessed was a strong reaction because society realized that a gang of corrupt (politicians) condemned an innocent person,” Raimundo Bonfim of the Central Popular Movements told Folha. “And since then there have been protests against the neoliberal agenda.”

In recent weeks, police have cracked down on anti-Temer protests.

Dilma responds to impeachment in letter

Source:  Granma
September 6 2016

by Dilma Rousseff | internet@granma.cu

“Today, the Federal Senate has made a decision which shall go down as one of history’s great injustices…61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes”

dilma responds.jpgToday, the Federal Senate has made a decision which shall go down as one of history’s great injustices. The senators who voted for the impeachment have chosen to tear the Brazilian Constitution apart. They have decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who did not commit a responsibility crime. They have condemned an innocent person and executed a parliamentary coup. (Photo: EFE)

Now that I have been removed from office, politicians who are desperately looking to escape justice will rise to power with those who have been defeated in the past elections. They are not coming to power on direct popular vote, as Lula and I did in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. They are taking it over on a coup d’etat.

This is the second coup that I have faced in my life. The first, a military coup, supported by the brutality of weapons, repression, and torture, struck me when I was young. The second, a parliamentary coup which was completed today by means of a judicial farce, removes me from an office publicly elected by the Brazilian people.

61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes

This was an undisputed indirect election, in which 61 senators replaced the choice of 54.5 million votes. It was a fraud, which we are going to appeal on every possible instance.

It is shocking that the greatest effort against corruption in Brazilian history, which has been made possible by actions and laws created after 2003 — further developed in my government — is helping a group of corrupt politicians to power.

The national, progressive, inclusive and democratic project which I represent is being interrupted by a powerful conservative, reactionary force, with the support of a partisan, venal press. They are going to seize the institutions of the State and have them serve the most radical economical liberalism and social regression.

This coup will affect every progressive, democratic political organization

They have just overthrown the first female president of Brazil, with no constitutional justification for this impeachment. But the coup was not only against me or my party. That was just the beginning. This coup will indistinctly affect every progressive, democratic political organization.

The coup is against social and union movements and against those who fight for their rights in every sense of the word: the right to work and to protect labor laws, the right to fair retirement, the right to housing and land, the right to education, to health, to culture, the rights of young people in making their own future, the rights of black people, of indigenous people, of LGBT people, of women, the right to express oneself with no repression.
The coup is against the people and against the nation. This coup is misogynistic. The coup is homophobic. The coup is racist. It is the imposition of a culture of intolerance, of prejudice, of violence.

I ask Brazilians to listen to me. I speak to more than 54 million Brazilians who voted for me in 2014. I speak to the 110 million Brazilians who approved direct election as the legitimate way to choose their presidents.

Stopped being invisible

I speak mainly to Brazilians who, during my government, overcame poverty, who made the dream of owning a home come true, who started getting medical care, who went to University and stopped being invisible to the eyes of the nation, earning their long denied rights.

The disbelief and the sadness we feel at times like these are very bad influences. Don’t give up the fight.

Listen closely: they believe they have defeated us, but they are wrong. I know all of us will fight. They will face the most solid, tireless, and energetic opposition that a coup government can have.

Biggest reduction of social inequalities

When President Lula was elected for the first time, in 2003, we came to power singing that no one should be afraid of being happy. For 13 years, we have successfully carried out a project that promoted the greatest levels of social inclusion and the biggest reduction of social inequalities in Brazilian history.

The story will not end like this. I am certain that the interruption of this story through a coup is not final. We are coming back. We are coming back to continue our journey towards this Brazil where the people come first.

I hope we can find ways to unite ourselves for causes which are common to every progressive person, regardless of party affiliation or political stance. I propose that, together, we fight against backwardness, against the conservative agenda, against the elimination of rights, for national sovereignty and for the full reestablishment of democracy.

Leaving with dignity

I leave the Presidency as I came: without having made any illicit act, without having betrayed any of my commitments, with dignity, and carrying in my heart the same love and admiration I always had for Brazilians, and the same urge to keep fighting for Brazil.

I lived my truth. I gave my best. I didn’t run away from my responsibilities. I was moved emotionally by human suffering. I was touched by the fight against poverty and hunger. And I fought against social inequalities.

I had some good fights. I lost some, I won many of them, and, right now, I’m inspired by Darcy Ribeiro to say that I don’t want to be in the place of those who believe themselves victorious. History will be merciless against them.

Gender equality

To the Brazilian women, who covered me with flowers and affection, I ask them to believe they can. Future generations of Brazilian women will know that the first time that a woman became president in our country, sexism and misogyny reared their ugly faces. We have built a one-way road towards gender equality. Nothing is going to take us back.

In this moment, I will not say goodbye to you. I am sure I can say “I’ll see you soon.”

I will close now, sharing these beautiful words of encouragement from Russian poet Mayakovsky:

“We are not happy, that’s true
But what is the reason for us to be sad?
The sea of history is turbulent
Threats and wars, we will cross them
Break them apart
We’ll cut through them like a keel”

A warm hug to the Brazilian people, who share with me the belief in democracy and the dream of justice.

Thursday, September 1, 2016.

(Taken from medium.com)

Maduro: Coup in Brazil, Killing of Bolivia Minister ‘Imperialist Attack’ Against All

Source:  TeleSUR
August 27 2016

President Maduro said the recent events in Bolivia and Brazil are part of a new plan to destabilize progressive governments in the region.

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a rally in Caracas | Photo: Reuters

Following the murder of the Bolivian vice minister by miners and as the impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff reaches its final stage, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Saturday of “imperialist” attacks on the region’s left and compared the situation to a new Plan Condor.

RELATED:  Venezuelan Workers Rally to Support Maduro, Bolivarian Movement

“It’s an imperialist attack against all,” said Maduro. “From Venezuela we will fight the coup of the oligarchy.”

Plan Condor was a U.S.-backed military and intelligence operation in the 1970s that saw Washington tacitly support state-sponsored terror to eliminate subversive, left-wing sectors of society and control the perceived threat of communism.

On Saturday, the Venezuelan leader said he will fight for sovereignty alongside the Latin American people and with the support of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, President Evo Morales in Bolivia, President Rafael Correa in Ecuador and President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

RELATED: Despite Crisis, Venezuelan Social Missions Continue

Peace and democracy

Maduro made the comments as he spoke to workers and supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution at a rally outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. He called on Venezuelans to defend peace, the future and democracy against what he termed a planned coup by the opposition in the country.

“Venezuela has lived hours of anguish and pain that we can’t afford to live again,” said Maduro. “In order to maintain and build our freedom and our independence, to not be slaves any more of the Yankee empire”.

On Monday, national television channels will broadcast a documentary in Venezuela on the coup d’etat against former president Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002, called “Keys of a Massacre” from director Angel Palacios.