Cuba Expresses Solidarity with Nicolas Maduro and Lula da Silva.

raul 20.jpeg

The Cuban president has condemned the attempts to destabilize Venezuela.

Source:   Cuba Inside the World
July 15 2017

President Raul Castro has repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government as it faces “an unconventional war” led by “imperialism” and the country’s “oligarchy” in a bid to topple President Nicolas Maduro with a coup.

RELATED: Ecuador Ratifies Respect for Venezuela’s Sovereignty

During a speech marking the end of the Cuban Congress’s extraordinary session, Castro condemned the opposition violence initiated in April on the streets of Caracas and other cities as “fascists actions.”

He mentioned the videos showing several young Venezuelans being burnt alive during anti-Maduro protests.

He urged the opposition to stop the “terrorist violence” designed “to oust” the president, and called for Maduro’s opponents to accept the Bolivarian government’s offer of dialogue.

Stop attacking Venezuela

Castro also asked the Organization of American States and its Secretary General Luis Almagro to “stop attacking Venezuela” and “manipulating reality.”

“Venezuela’s legitimate right to find a peaceful solution to its domestic affairs should be respected with no foreign interference,” he said, adding that only the sovereign Venezuelan people are entitled to use the right to self-determination.

Cuba’s President also condemned the “political persecution” of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, recently condemned to a 9-year prison sentence over bribeery and money-laundering charges.

Lula denies any wrongdoing.

Venezuela’s Dialogue: A Win for Maduro and the Revolution

Source:  TeleSUR
November 13 2016

Recently there have been a handful of moments where Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution looked like it was on the brink of being defeated. Vilified in the media and under attack from right-wing forces and their imperialist allies, even the staunchest supporters of the process initiated by Hugo Chavez over a decade-and-half ago wondered aloud if there would be a coup or a foreign military intervention.

RELATED:  Venezuelan Government and Opposition Hold ‘Successful’ Talks

maduro viviendo.jpgPresident Nicolas Maduro was dealt a very difficult hand after the sudden and tragic death of Chavez and the collapse of the price of oil which hit Venezuela hard — despite efforts to diversify the economy — the country was highly dependent on the income and cash that came from the sale of oil on the international market.

But the Bolivarian Revolution has endured and with the recent talks between the government and the opposition, it looks like things have taken a turn for the better, giving the government some breathing room.

Right wing  obsession

Of course, the right wing — with its history of sabotage and its obsession to overthrow the progressive government — cannot be trusted and can renege on any and all agreements at any moment or come up with new efforts at sabotage, aided and abetted by U.S. imperialism, which has also been relentless in its battle to destroy Venezuela’s 21st century socialism.

This, however, does not negate the fact that the talks have far exceeded expectations and should be seen as a victory for the Maduro government and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Dialogue –  a victory

While the government has certainly offered its share of concessions to the opposition, the fact that the talks are even happening at all should be seen as a victory for the revolution. For months the opposition refused to heed Maduro’s call to participate in dialogue.

Though the opposition insisted that talks be limited to political questions, with polls showing Venezuelans wanted politicians of all stripes to get on with fixing the country’s economic problems and leave the political games aside, they accepted that economic issues would form part of the talks.

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This too was a big win for the revolution, as the number one element undermining support for the government are the shortages of food, medicine, and basic products.

Sabotage against the Venezuelan economy

In the last round of talks, the government and the opposition coalition agreed to work together to “combat sabotage, boycott and aggression against the Venezuelan economy,” or what President Maduro has called an “economic war.”

By signing on to this agreement, the opposition has acknowledged that there is indeed an economic war afoot. Key leaders of the opposition consistently denied there was sabotage taking place, alleging instead that the shortages were entirely the fault of the government and their economic policy.

There should be no illusions that the right wing will suddenly end their economic sabotage, but the dialogue process has made it much more difficult for them to continue and justify their destructive course.

The two sides also agreed on a roadmap to “normalize the constitutional relations between the different powers of the state.”

National Electoral Council

The parties agreed to jointly name two new representatives to the National Electoral Council when the terms of two sitting members expire in December. With this, the right-wing coalition and their friends in the private media will no longer be able to claim that elections are rigged.

The deal also says that both parties will work to bring the National Assembly into compliance with a ruling by the Supreme Court.

The opposition-controlled parliament has been operating without legitimacy for months after they defied the Supreme Court, but the leadership steadfastly refused to acknowledge the ruling.

RELATED:  Why Venezuela Suspended the Recall Referendum Against Maduro

The opposition overplayed its hand, believing itself to be the new dominant political force, they failed to act on their campaign commitments to address the economic crisis in the country, though now they deny they ever promised anything of the sort.

Playing political games

In the year that they’ve been in control of the legislative branch, they’ve done little actual legislating. Instead of proposing solutions, they set out to play political games, like the recall referendum to oust Maduro and the attempt at an amnesty to free what they call “political prisoners,” but in reality are people who were jailed for fomenting violence that led to real-life murders of Chavistas.

As a result of the talks, the opposition has now been forced to retreat from its game of brinkmanship.

Together these steps completely undermine accusations that the Maduro government is a “dictatorship.”

Right-wing division

Perhaps most importantly, however, the talks have once again served to expose the deep divisions that exist in the right-wing opposition coalition.

They released a statement that the talks were going in “the right direction,” but parties within the coalition, such as the party of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, have come out against the talks.

Lopez’s party, Popular Will, slammed the dialogue process as “futile” and called for the National Assembly to restart an impeachment bid against Maduro.

Fragile opposition

It was the launch of the talks that led the parliament to abandon its bid to try to impeach the president and it is unlikely the parties that make up the coalition will be able to agree to relaunch this effort as long as the talks are ongoing.

The truth is the opposition, known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable, is united in name only. The coalition is made up of a dozen or so parties, many of which fiercely dislike and disagree with each other, limiting their ability to actually operate in concert and dramatically weakening their power.

Private media outlets have gone to great lengths to portray an image of a besieged but resilient opposition. But the situation the opposition finds itself in is a monster of their own creation.

If the opposition could have, they would have already ousted Maduro. But their ineptitude led them to pursue a number of failed strategies, including demanding the president’s resignation and later trying to reduce Maduro’s term in a flagrant violation of the constitution.

President Maduro

Even the constitutional mechanism to remove a sitting president appears to be off the table now with Henry Ramos Allup, head of the National Assembly, recently admitting that the effort to oust President Maduro via a recall referendum was effectively dead.

There are voices within the opposition, such as Maria Cornia Machado, that still want to try to hold the recall. Her frustration was palpable in a recent series of tweets, where she appeared to lament the fact that the moment to oust Maduro had escaped them.

Machado has threatened to call for more street protests if a date for the referendum isn’t set, as has opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

OPINION:  Venezuela Re-Declared a Dictatorship by US Media

However, the talks have also served to marginalize these elements of the opposition. There is widespread support for the ongoing dialogue, including from the United States government, which puts people like Lopez, Machado and Capriles out of step with their masters in Washington.

No widespread appetite for violent protests

More importantly, Venezuelans simply do not have the stomach for another round of violent protests like those seen in early 2014 that saw 43 people killed. Though some elements of the opposition’s base will heed the call for violence, there is no widespread appetite for the kinds of social clashes some elements of the opposition would like to see, including their failed attempts at the “taking of” Caracas and Venezuela in the past months.

Despite the ongoing economic challenges, a large segment of the Venezuelan population recalls life under right-wing governments and have no desire to go back to those days. They are hoping these talks will produce results so that the revolution can continue to move forward.

Within less than a month, the Maduro government has gone from being under attack to having the strategic advantage, that too should be understood as a clear victory for the Bolivarian Revolution.

In essence, the right wing and imperialist efforts to defeat the revolution in 2016 have failed.

74% of Venezuelans support government-led dialogue

Source:  avn
June 20 206

venezuelans support dialogueThe dialogue process led by the Venezuelan government with all sectors of the country, including the Venezuelan opposition, to overcome the current national economic situation is a scenario supported by 74% of Venezuelans, according to a survey conducted by polling firm Hinterlaces on 7-15 June, through 1,500 interviews nationwide.

On several occasions, the Bolivarian Government has reaffirmed their wish to establish dialogue with all sectors in order to build common proposals for the development and social progress of the country, including the contributions of sectors opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution.

President Nicolas Maduro

In this regard, President Nicolas Maduro is pushing for a dialogue process involving ex-presidents Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic and Martin Torrijos of Panama, as international mediators of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

The poll, released Sunday by journalist Jose Vicente Rangel in his Sunday analysis TV show, also reveals that 82% are in favor of having international mediation to promote dialogue, efforts currently being made by Rodriguez Zapatero, Fernandez and Torrijos.

When assessing the Organization of American States (OAS), whose secretary general, Luis Almagro, encourages the non-binding application of the Democratic Charter against Venezuela, 60% of respondents expressed negative views about it.

Pope Francis

In contrast, 89% agree with the possibility that Pope Francis mediate between government and opposition.

Similarly, 67% of Venezuelans reject the possibility of an international intervention against Venezuela to oust Maduro, constitutionally elected, as right-wing sectors are promoting.

In addition, 84% of respondents rejected the proposal to encourage military intervention against the country, promoted by key players of the international extreme right as former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe.

 

Ecuador: 995 Groups Join National Dialogue Despite Protests

Source:  TeleSUR
2 August 2015

The government's national dialogue has convoked 93 meetings with 840"Decentralized Autonomous Governments" nationwide. | Photo: Ecuador Presidency

The government’s national dialogue has convoked 93 meetings with 840″Decentralized Autonomous Governments” nationwide. | Photo: Ecuador Presidency

Indigenous communities are deeply divided as the Conaie coalition began its march protesting against the government.

Hundreds of indigenous Ecuadoreans began a planned march to the capital, Quito, on Sunday.

It comes just a day after the government announced that almost 1,000 social organizations in the country have chosen to participate in the government-backed national dialogue, which was established after weeks of sometimes violent protests in June.

80% support dialogue

“Eighty percent of the population says that dialogue is the (right) mechanism and welcomes the governmental proposal. About 75 percent of Ecuadoreans acknowledge that it could help a lot the country, which has registered major advances over the past eight years,” said General Secretary of Planning and Development Pabel Muñoz in Yaruqui, a rural village in the east of Quito.

Muñoz announced Saturday that the government has managed to bring together 995 organizations from social and political movements across the country in less than a month and half.

A democratic approach to differences

“We are talking with whoever thinks differently, with whoever has proposals in some controversial cases, but what matters is to eventually find points of agreement and knowing how to give a democratic treatment to our disagreements.”

RELATED: 6 Key Points About the Opposition Protests in Ecuador

“At least 9,000 citizens, including doctors, students, professors, community leaders and farmers have joined the talks,” added the state official.

A minority seeks confrontation

However, despite government overtures to reach out to different sectors of Ecuadorean society, on Sunday, hundreds of indigenous Ecuadoreans led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, known by the acronym Conaie, started a march from El Pangui toward the capital — some 600 kilometers — to participate in the Aug. 13 general strike against the government of President Rafael Correa.

Marchers use slogans of the right-wing demonstrators

During the march, AFP reported that indigenous protesters blocked roads, while others could be heard shouting, “Out, Correa, Out!,” a common refrain of the right-wing and upper-class opposition demonstrators who initiated a wave of anti-government protests in June. Those demonstrations, ostensibly about tax reforms for the super-rich, often turned violent, despite Correa’s suspension of the laws pending a national debate on wealth redistribution.

“They have the right to march, not to paralyze the country,” said Rafael Correa, referring to the most recent protests called by Conaie.

Conaie President Jorge Herrera told the press, “We do not need to sit down again to analyze our demands. We have had enough time to do this, and to debate, but we are insisting on marching. At this point, our organization in the Conaie assembly has said no to the dialogue.”

Conaie has called for an “indigenous uprising” in support of the national strike, but it has proven controversial among many indigenous groups.

RELATED: Indigenous Groups Reject Conaie Uprising Against Rafael Correa

The strike will include factions that have traditionally been opposed to indigenous rights, like right-wing organizations, business and upper class sectors, who strongly reject the recent redistribution bills on inheritance.

The real aim of the march

The government said has said the strike is “illegal,” and aims to take down the democratically elected president.

While Conaie insists that marching in the streets is the only way to make their demands heard, a number of other indigenous organizations have questioned their motives for marching in alliance with right-wing factions.

“Everyone needs to know that Conaie is not the only indigenous voice in the country,” Franklin Columba, leader of the National Confederation of Campesino, Indigenous and Black Organizations (Fenocin) told teleSUR English. “We as a national organization are not going to lend ourselves to playing the right’s game.”

The situation is increasingly tense in Ecuador, as two leaflet bombs were detonated close to two different newspapers last week, including one affiliated with the government, prompting President Correa to denounce the bombs as part of a wider strategy to destabilize the country.

RELATED: Divided Indigenous Group Calls for National Strike in Ecuador

Source:  Ecuador: 995 Groups Join National Dialogue Despite Protests  TeleSUR

Pope Francis Praises Morales’ Gov’t Upon Arrival in Bolivia

Source:  TeleSUR
9 July 2015

Pope Francis, standing alongside President Evo Morales (R), is welcomed in La Paz, Bolivia, July 8, 2015. | Photo: ABI

Pope Francis, standing alongside President Evo Morales (R), is welcomed in La Paz, Bolivia, July 8, 2015. | Photo: ABI

Remarking on the “historic moment” that Bolivia is living, Pope Francis praised President Evo Morales’ efforts to redistribute wealth and promote social inclusion. Pope Francis, who has often delved into political topics, said that Bolivia was “taking important steps to include broad sectors in the economic, social and political life of the country.”

RELATED: Pope in South America

Bolivia:  A land of peace that seeks justice

President Morales received the pontiff at an airport near the capital of La Paz, saying he had arrived to a “land of peace that seeks justice.” The pope appeared to be unaffected by La Paz’s high altitude. He was expected to chew coca leaves to offset the altitude sickness, but this did not happen. However, a flight attendant said that aboard the plane the pope did drink a tea made of a mix of coca leaves, chamomile and anise seeds to ward off illness.

Among the many gifts given to Pope Francis, Morales gave the pontiff a wooden hammer and sickle with a figure of a crucified Christ resting on the hammer.

Reconciliation and Renewal

In recognition of the Catholic Church’s complicated history and its role in the colonization of indigenous peoples, the theme for Pope Francis’ visit to Bolivia is “Reconciliation and Renewal.”

“In many historic moments, the Church was used for domination, subjugation and oppression. Now the Bolivian people receive you with joy and hope,” said President Morales. “We welcome you as the chief representative of the Catholic Church coming to support the liberation of our Bolivian peoples,” he added. Morales also made a point of commenting on Bolivia’s ongoing struggle to obtain sovereign access to the sea, saying that it was a land that had “been maimed of it right of access to the sea as a result of an invasion.” In response, Pope Francis called for “open and frank dialogue” between fraternal countries. “Building bridges instead of building walls; all topics, however thorny they may be, have reasonable, equitable and lasting solutions and in any case must never be a reason for aggression, hatred or enmity that aggravates the situation and makes a resolution more difficult,” said Pope Francis.

Pope Francis arrived in Bolivia after a successful three-day visit to Ecuador, where the pontiff also spoke out in favor of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s efforts to redistribute wealth and attend to the social needs of the population. In an interview with CNN, Correa said that in his private meeting with the pope that he “greatly appreciates the process that is underway here in Ecuador.”

Source:  Pope Francis Praises Morales’ Gov’t Upon Arrival in Bolivia TeleSUR

Pope Leaves Ecuador with a Message of Dialogue

Source:  TeleSUR
8 July 2015

Pope Francis made a call for peace and dialogue during visit in Ecuador (teleSUR)

Pope Francis made a call for peace and dialogue during visit in Ecuador (teleSUR)

President Rafael Correa told teleSUR English that the government of Ecuador will continue its efforts to dialogue, following what has been a month of right-wing protests in the country.  

Pope Francis has parted for Bolivia and Paraguay, following three days of masses and visits with some of the most vulnerable members of Ecuadorean society. The visit of Pope Francis brought important messages of peaceful debate and social equality to the country, at a time when tensions are high following a month of right-wing protests over wealth redistribution bills proposed by the executive branch, which at times ended in violence.

We are going to sit down for dialogue

“We are going to continue his thoughts, with speed, we are going to sit down for dialogue, but this does not mean we are going to try to please everyone,” President of Ecuador Rafael Correa told teleSUR English, following the ceremony which concluded Pope Francis’ visit.

“It means that we are going to process conflicts in an adequate way. But careful, sometimes my words are taken out of context, they think that this is a bourgeois democracy and that we have to please everyone and accomplish nothing. We need to confront each other, but confront each other with ideas, not in the streets with rocks, breaking the legs of police officers,” the president said.

RELATED: Pope Francis in South America: Minute by Minute Update

A message of peaceful dialogue from Pope Francis

Peaceful dialogue was a major theme in the masses given by Pope Francis. The government of Ecuador called for a national dialogue on equality and social justice when the capital gains bill and inheritance tax were temporarily suspended from the National Assembly. However, the opposition has refused to participate in the proposed dialogue, saying they would continue to street demonstrations following the departure of Pope Francis.

“The protests are honestly really horrible, very difficult for all Ecuadoreans, but dialogue is always good. We always have to engage in dialogue,” Sister Maria Paulina de Jesus of the San Jose Monastery in Quito said. Yeseña Mitena Zamora was a volunteer at Quito’s Bicentenario Park mass, and said she listened attentively to Pope Francis’s sermon. She added that his messages of redistribution and social equality rang true to the current political climate in Ecuador.

President Correa is implementing the Pope’s message

“President Correa is working for the whole country, for us as citizens, so that everyone can have economic equality.President Correa is (implementing the Pope’s message) by redistributing the wealth of all Ecuadoreans,” said Zamora to teleSUR English. Thirty years have passed since the last papal visit to Ecuador, when John Paul II came in 1985, and excitement could be felt across the country. With the visit of Pope Francis, Ecuador witnessed days filled with faith and reflection, as well as messages of peace, unity, and dialogue

Source:  Pope Leaves Ecuador With a Message of Dialogue  TeleSUR

Cuba Condemns Israeli Attack against Gaza Strip

Source: Radio Cadena
July 11.2014

Gaza strip bombed

Cuba strongly condemned today the new Israeli attack against the population of the Gaza Strip that has caused the death of more than 100 people and wounds to hundreds.

In a communique, the Cuban Foreign Ministry denounced that Israel uses its military and technological superiority to execute a policy of collective punishment with out-of-proportion use of force, which causes the death of innocent civilians and huge material damage.

Calling on the international community to demand that Israel ends its escalation of violence

Faced with that situation, we are calling to the international community to demand that Israel ends its escalation of violence, said the statement signed by the Director for Bilateral Issues of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Gerardo Peñalver.

Only talks on the grounds of equality can lead to a fair peace that allows the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights and establish definitively the Palestinian State, with its capital in East Jerusalem, the text said.

According to international media outlets, Israeli troops and armor-plated vehicles are stationed at the border with Gaza, awaiting the order to enter and occupy the territory.

There have been denunciations of the air raids against the civil population in the Gaza Strip that have caused numerous deaths, including those of women and children, who were taken by surprise inside their homes while asleep.