Maduro Invites Opposition Youth to Join Employment Program

Source:  TeleSUR
August 19 2017

Nicolas maduro aug 2017Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks at Miraflores Palace in Caracas | Photo: REUTERS

 

Maduro said that the program will welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study.”

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has invited the young people who have been caught up in the violence of far-right opposition groups to join the efforts to build productive and educational pathways for youth, called the “Plan Chamba Juvenil.”

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“The Democratic Unity Table (MUD) led them on the road to violence… I, for the sake of peace in our country, extend my hand so that we follow the path of education, work, and culture,” the President said on Friday, speaking from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas.

Maduro assured that if the youth who have been used by opposition leaders during recent months to foment a violent coup d’etat wish to leave that behind and follow the path of productivity and respect for law and constitution, they will have his full support and be able to participate in the Youth program, created by the Bolivarian government to ensure education and employment opportunities for the country’s young people.

Related:  Venezuelans speak to TRUMP

Your greatest ally

“If some of you who went down that path of violence and want to do politics, do it in peace. And if you want to change the schemes of politics and attend to social problems, you can count on me. I am not your enemy, I am your greatest ally if your desire is to bring education, sport, culture, and employment to our community’s youth, to all the neighborhoods, to the whole country. Stop the violence!” Maduro said.

Plan Chamba Juvenil

He said that the Plan Chamba Juvenil would welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study,” in order to engage them in productive activities to benefit society.

The plan offers education opportunities, as well as employment in areas such as social and health services, recreation, urban agriculture and maintenance, and security.

As of today, over 594,000 young Venezuelans have signed up for the program, and 300,000 of those have already been enrolled in a job.

 

Polls: US Is ‘the Greatest Threat to Peace in the World Today’

Source:  Strategic Culture

August 7 2017

biggest threat to world peace.jpgIt has happened again: yet another international poll finds that the US is viewed by peoples around the world to be the biggest threat to world peace.

But, to start, let’s summarize the first-ever poll that had been done on this, back in 2013, which was the only prior poll on this entire issue, and it was the best-performed such poll: «An end-of-the-year WIN/Gallup International survey found that people in 65 countries believe the United States is the greatest threat to world peace», as the N.Y. Post reported on 5 January 2014.

2013 Poll

On 30 December 2013, the BBC had reported of that poll: «This year, first [meaning here, ‘for’] the first time, Win/Gallup agreed to include three questions submitted by listeners to [BBC’s] Radio 4’s Today programme». And, one of those three listener-asked questions was phrased there by the BBC, as having been «Which country is the biggest threat to peace?» The way that WIN/Gallup International itself had actually asked this open-ended question, to 67,806 respondents from 65 countries, was: «Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?»

#1, 24% of respondents, worldwide, volunteered that the US was «the greatest threat». #2 (the second-most-frequently volunteered ‘greatest threat’) was Pakistan, volunteered by 8%. #3 was China, with 6%. #s 4-7 were a four-way tie, at 5% each, for: Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, and North Korea. #s 8-10 were a three-way tie, at 4% each, for: India, Iraq, and Japan. #11 was Syria, with 3%. #12 was Russia, with 2%. #s 13-20 were a seven-way tie, at 1% each, for: Australia, Germany, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, and UK.

The way that W/G itself had phrased this matter, in their highly uninformative press release for their year-end survey (which included but barely mentioned this finding, in it — as though this particular finding in their annual year-end poll, hardly even deserved to be mentioned), was: «The US was the overwhelming choice (24% of respondents) for the country that represents the greatest threat to peace in the world today. This was followed by Pakistan (8%), China (6%), North Korea, Israel and Iran (5%). Respondents in Russia (54%), China (49%) and Bosnia (49%) were the most fearful of the US as a threat». That’s all there was of it — W/G never devoted a press-release to the stunning subject of this particular finding, and they even buried this finding when mentioning it in their year-end press-release.

I had hoped that they would repeat this excellent global survey question every year (so that a trendline could be shown, in the global answers over time), but the question was unfortunately never repeated.

2017 Poll

However, now, on August 1st of 2017, Pew Research Center has issued results of their polling of 30 nations in which they had surveyed, first in 2013, and then again in 2017, posing a less-clear but similar question (vague perhaps because they were fearing a similar type of finding — embarrassing to their own country, the US), in which respondents had been asked «Do you think that the United States’ power and influence is a major threat, a minor threat, or not a threat to (survey country)?» and which also asked this same question but regarding «China,» and then again but regarding «Russia,» as a possible threat instead of «United States». (This wasn’t an open-ended question; only those three nations were named as possible responses.)

On page 3 of their 32-page pdf is shown that the «major threat» category was selected by 35% of respondents worldwide for «US power and influence», 31% worldwide selected that for «Russia’s power and influence,» and also 31% worldwide said it for «China’s power and influence». However, on pages 23 and 24 of the pdf is shown the 30 countries that had been surveyed in this poll, in both 2013 and 2017, and most of these 30 nations were US allies; only Venezuela clearly was not. None of the 30 countries was an ally of either Russia or China (the other two countries offered as possibly being «a major threat»). And, yet, nonetheless, more respondents among the 30 sampled countries saw the US as «a major threat», than saw either Russia or China that way.

People around the world are noticing

Furthermore, the trend, in those 30 countries, throughout that four-year period, was generally in the direction of an increase in fear of the US — increase in fear of the country that had been overwhelmingly cited in 2013 by people in 65 countries in WIN/Gallup’s poll, as constituting, in 2013, «the greatest threat to peace in the world today».

Consequently: though WIN/Gallup never repeated its question, the evidence in this newly released poll, from Pew, clearly suggests that the percentage of people in the 65 nations that WIN/Gallup had polled in 2013 who saw the US as being «the greatest threat to peace in the world today» would be even higher today than it was in 2013, when 24% of respondents worldwide volunteered the US as being the world’s most frightening country.

Perhaps people around the world are noticing that, at least since 2001, the US is wrecking one country after another: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Which is next? Maybe Iran? Maybe Russia? Maybe Venezuela? Who knows?

And this country has just increased its ‘defense’ spending, which already is three times China’s, and nine times higher than Russia’s. Do the owners of America’s military-industrial complex own the US government, and own the US ‘news’media, to permit this rabid military to control the government’s budget, in a ‘democracy’?

Maduro Invites Presidents of Latin America to Dialogue

10 August 2017
Source:  TeleSUR

“Respect is the only path to peace, not threats or violence or the economic and commercial blockade,” said Maduro. 

nicolas maduro 17.jpg

President Nicolas Maduro has called for regional dialogue at the third session of the newly-formed Constituent Assembly, ACN.

RELATED: Venezuela Says UN Allegations of Abuses Based on Lies

Speaking for the first time at the Constituent Assembly, the president invited the governments of Latin America to take part in a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, in an effort to improve relations.

“To all the presidents, I call on them to approve a meeting and through mutual dialogue, we can find a solution,” said Maduro.

“Respect is the only path to peace, not threats or violence or the economic and commercial blockade.”

Mutual respect

Maduro also invited the United States to agree to “mutually respectful” dialogue, adding that he will be in New York in September for the United Nations General Assembly.

The offer comes in the wake of new U.S. sanctions and threats.

Maduro’s invitation follows an earlier plea for dialogue after a group of neighboring countries took part in a meeting in Peru to discuss isolationist measures against the Venezuelan government.

In the face of these threats, Maduro announced he would activate a national constituent process to strengthen the structure of the Bolivarian Armed Forces.

During the special session, the Constituent Assembly ratified Nicolas Maduro as the president of Venezuela.

 

Venezuela Rejects Violence and Wins

August 9 2017
Source:  Counterpunch

By Manuel E. Yepe

Washington to impose sanctions on Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.

For US imperialism and the continental right, July 30th in Venezuela should be a conclusive political lesson. It should also be a lesson for the organizers of the media campaigns against popular processes. Their reliability has been demonstrated by the mass exercise of their rights by a mature and determined population who rejects them.

The election on that day of the members of the Constituent National Assembly (ANC), according to the Constitution and the laws of the country, involved an enthusiastic participation of more than 8,090,230 Venezuelans –41.53% of the electoral roll– who said yes to Constituent Assembly and the Bolivarian revolution.

venezuelans vote 2017.jpg

US intimidation backfired

The President of the United States threatened the Venezuelans with an increase in economic sanctions. The election would certainly take place, no doubt assuming that the people, intimidated, would repudiate the democratic act and refrain from participating in it.

But, on the contrary, Trump’s threats and terrorist actions against the voters stimulated their attendance because patriotic motivation was added.

The Bolivarian government called on democratic and peace-loving people to be alert to this new interventionist escalation of US imperialism. They called for a categorical rejection of the violent, fascist, racist and criminal actions of the Venezuelan opposition who are so afraid of this democratic, legal, sovereign, peaceful and civilized act .

US freezes all assets of President Maduro

For his part, the angry American president, who has been forced to move all his chips at the same time to coincide with other serious clashes unleashed separately against Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This has led Washington to impose sanctions on Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.

The statement specifies that all assets of President Maduro which are or may be under US jurisdiction will be frozen. In addition, US citizens will be prohibited from any agreement with Maduro. He, in turn, has reiterated that, as President of Venezuela, he does not have to answer to anyone but Venezuela’s women and men.

nicolas maduro 14.jpg

In response to the freezing of his assets by the US,  Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro has noted that he does not have to answer to anyone but Venezuela’s women and men.

The Venezuelan president has described the day [of the election] as the “biggest” of the Bolivarian Revolution and has based its success on the option that made the peace proposal his banner of struggle in such complex circumstances.

Doors kept open for the opposition

Maduro stressed that, until the last moment, he kept the doors open for the Venezuelan opposition, which did not cease to call for violence and destabilizing actions on election day. He revealed that a delegation of his government had been meeting for several weeks with opposition leaders. Among these he mentioned the President of the Parliament, Julio Borges, to try to add them to the constituent assembly initiative. “Two weeks ago I proposed to the opposition that they register for the Constituent Assembly. But they did not accept,” said the leader.

“In the last six weeks, there have been direct talks between the delegations of the Democratic Unity Roundtable and a delegation presided over by Jorge Rodríguez, Delcy Rodríguez and Elías Jaua,” head of state Nicolas Maduro announced Saturday.

To reach an agreement to publish a statement approved by all parties of the MUD,” said the First Minister. He added that the leadership of the right “wanted to be registered before the National Electoral Council (CNE) for the elections of governors and governors. I called on them to get into the Constituent Assembly and they were afraid.” The meetings held were kept hidden at the request of the opposition sector.

A call for peace and tranquility

President Maduro spoke at Bolívar Plaza in the city of Caracas, after the National Electoral Council (CNE) issued the first bulletin with results. The Venezuelan president stated that the Constituent National Assembly had been born amid great popular legitimacy. “Not only does the Constituente have power, but it has the strength of legitimacy, the moral force of a people who heroically, warlike, came out to vote, to say: we want peace and tranquility,” said Maduro.

“The newly-elected Constituent Assembly had the support of a people who were not intimidated by the destabilizing climate that the Venezuelan opposition intended to create. It is the largest vote that the Revolution has had in all electoral history. The one who has eyes that sees and the one who has ears that hear,” said the president.

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More articles by:MANUEL E. YEPE

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

 

Cuba offers 1,000 medical scholarships to Colombia peace process

 

March 16 2017
Source:  Granma

Cuban Ambassador to Colombia José Luis Ponce informed that the Caribbean nation will grant to the Colombian government and the FARC-EP a fund of 1,000 scholarships to study Medicine in the Island in the next five years

José Luis Ponce.jpg

Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, José Luis Ponce announced the opening of one thousand scholarships for Colombians in Cuba. Photo: Prensa Latina

BOGOTA .- Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, José Luis Ponce, informed that the Caribbean nation will grant to the Colombian government and the FARC-EP a fund of 1,000 scholarships to study Medicine in the Island in the next five years.

The Cuban diplomat made an offer to the Monitoring, Impulse and Verification Commission for the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement (CSIVI), while it was communicated in Bogotá to FARC-EP Secretariat member Iván Márquez and representatives Of the Government to the Commission.

A contribution by Cuba

Ponce explained that the distribution of the scholarships, at a rate of 200 per year -100 for the FARC-EP and 100 for the national executive- will be a contribution by Cuba to the implementation process of the Havana peace agreements and post-conflict peace in Colombia .

Students selected to receive such scholarships would begin in 2017-2018, according to Prensa Latina.

The program will be offered to young demobilized FARC-EP recruits, displaced persons, and other victims of the armed conflict, the latter chosen by the government. 


A pure gesture of humanity

The Embassy of the Republic of Cuba will provide the Colombian government and the FARC-EP with a document detailing the offer, which is being prepared by the Cuban authorities, said the diplomat of the island.

Cuba served as the venue for peace talks between the insurgency and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos for more than four years until 2016, while – along with Norway – served as a guarantor of bilateral talks.

In his Twitter account, Márquez stressed that this contribution of Cuba to the implementation process of the Havana Agreement and post-conflict in Colombia is a pure gesture of humanity.

Thanks to Cuba

To Army General Raúl Castro (President of Cuba), our gratitude for filling Colombia with his love and solidarity and for supporting the peace process and offering doctors, added the insurgent commander.

For her part, Colombian lawyer and excongresista Piedad Córdoba thanked the gesture of Cuba.

Despite being blockaded, the Caribbean country not only has medicine that is among the best in the world, but it is also one of the most supportive, wrote the human rights defender and recognized leader of the Latin American left through his account in the social network Twitter.

Cuba’s great contribution to peace continues: it gives one thousand scholarships to government and guerrilla students, said Senator Iván Cepeda, one of the promoters of talks with the insurgency in the same social network.

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly Explained

President Nicolas Maduro made his call for a new Assembly at the end of a trade union march on May Day.

nicolas maduro 2.jpg

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters during a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela July 29, 2017 | Photo: Reuters

Eight other members are being chosen by Venezuela’s Indigenous peoples according to their own traditions. Here is how it came about and how it works:

Background

President Nicolas Maduro made his call for a new Constituent Assembly at the end of a trade union march on May Day, one month after the Venezuelan opposition began a series of protests which often turned violent and had already left dozens dead. He emphasized three aims:

  1. Overcoming the current conflict in Venezuela
  2. Restoring peace in the country
  3. Giving the people, especially working people, the chance to decide on Venezuela’s future

That same day, he published Decree 2830, which laid out several other aims:

  1. Restore cooperation between public powers
  2. Develop a post oil economy
  3. Give constitutional status to the social Missions
  4. Strengthen the justice system to tackle corruption, impunity, speculation, etc.
  5. Give constitutional status to the Communes etc, as new forms of democracy
  6. Defend Venezuelan sovereignty against foreign intervention
  7. Promote pluriculturalism over racial and social hatred
  8. Recognize youth rights
  9. Preserve biodiversity and promote ecological culture

The decree invoked Articles 347 and 348 of the current Bolivarian Constitution, which clearly give the president the power to call for a constituent assembly. The argument used by the opposition that he should have called a referendum first, as happened in 1999, is a political one. Maduro could have done that. But there is no requirement in the current Constitution for him to do so.

The nomination of candidates took place from May 30 to June 2.

Would-be candidates had to gather signatures from 3% of their electorate in support of their standing.

No serving member of the government or other public office holder can be a candidate.

55,314 names were put forward. 6,120 candidates met the conditions and were accepted by the National Electoral Council as candidates, 3,546 for the territorial vote and 2,574 for the sectoral vote.

The campaign for the election ran from July 9 to July 27. The vote is on Sunday July 30, from 6am to 6pm, although anyone lining up to vote at that time will be allowed to vote.

Breakdown

The 545 seats in the Constituent Assembly break down like this:

breakdown of national constituent assembly.png

Territorial Vote

364 members of the Constituent Assembly will be elected from geographical areas, with one seat for each municipality in Venezuela, and two extra for each municipality which is a state capital, in other words the larger cities. The central Caracas area, with by far the largest population, will elect 7 members.

The electoral system here is mixed: first-past-the-post for the first seat in each municipality, and proportional for the extra seats in the larger ones.

Sectoral Vote

This is the most novel aspect of this election, and the one that has caused most uproar among opponents. Apart from the eight Indigenous members, who will be chosen in the two days after the main election by a variety of assemblies in different Indigenous regions of Venezuela, 173 members will be elected from seven different sectors of society. The idea here is to give these different sectors a chance to elect members who who will speak directly to their specific interests. These seats are divided as follows:

8 for Campesinos and Fishers

5 for Business people

5 for the Disabled

24 for Students

28 for Pensioners

24 for Communal Councils

79 for Workers

The workers’ sector is itself sub-divided thus:

17 for public administration

14 for service sector

12 for social area

11 for commerce

11 for self-employed

6 for industry

4 for construction

2 for oil industry

2 for transport

This has been described as an attempt to deepen the kind of participatory democracy mentioned in the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution, but developed more explicitly after 2005 by the government of Hugo Chavez. However it is anathema to those who believe representative democracy – electing representatives every four or five years and leaving it to them – is the only acceptable form of democracy.

Next Steps

The new Constituent Assembly will be sworn in within 72 hours of the results being announced. It will at first work with the procedural rules used by the 1999 Constituent Assembly. One of its first tasks will be to draw up its own rules and procedures.

There is no fixed time limit for the assembly to finish its new draft constitution. This is likely to be a development of the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution rather than a wholly new document.

Once the draft is agreed, it will have to be put to a national referendum to see if the Venezuelan people as a whole accept it or reject it.

Depending on what the assembly proposes, and what the electorate approves, there may then be new presidential and parliamentary elections, possibly by the end of this year or next year.

This will be the 21st set of elections held in Venezuela in the last 18 years of the Bolivarian revolution. The voting system used will be a version of the electronic system used in most of these earlier elections, which the Carter Center once described as one of the most reliable and transparent in the world.

Far from peaceful Venezuelan opposition groups

far from peaceful protests in venezuela.jpg

Evidence shared on social media indicates that there are no peaceful opposition demonstrations taking place. Photo: TELESUR

Source: Prensa Latina(PL) | internet@granma.cu
July 3, 2017 09:07:06

In recent weeks, the actions of extremists linked to the self-styled MUD have been marked by vandalism

Caracas.- Recent months have shown that demonstrations by opposition groups in Venezuela are far from peaceful, despite their organizers claiming the opposite.

In recent weeks, the actions unleashed by extremists linked to the self-styled Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), have been marked by vandalism, as seen on Friday, June 23, when they burned vehicles near an air base located in Miranda state.

Three articulated trucks for transporting food, and a Bolivarian National Police (PNB) vehicle were set on fire in the vicinity of the Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda air base, known as La Carlota.

Violent groups

These violent groups have maintained a siege on this military installation for several days, and according to testimony broadcast by the Zurda Konducta program on Venezolana de Televisión, two drivers of these vehicles confirmed that the instigators wielded firearms.

Emiliano Pulido, one of the drivers, explained, “They grabbed my son and me and stopped us with pistols in hand. I was kidnapped by three hooded people; I was brought down from the truck by a blow and at gunpoint. They had 9mm pistols, and if I’m not mistaken, they had rifles.”

According to official figures, since April the violence instigated by extreme sectors of the opposition has left more than 70 people dead, over 1,400 injured, and cost millions in damages to public and private property.

Social media showed groups of violent demonstrators

Evidence shared on social media indicates that there are no peaceful opposition demonstrations taking place. On Thursday, June 22, as on previous days, photos and videos posted showed groups of violent demonstrators in different parts of the country carrying out actions such as those at La Carlota.

In this regard, Minister for Internal Relations, Justice and Peace, Néstor Reverol, tweeted that the siege of La Carlota is recurrent; in total no less than ten attacks have been carried out by these violent groups against the military base.

Despite the nature of these protests and the damages caused to military installations, Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) authorities have ruled out the use of arms to repel the attack, in response to orders from the government, to avoid even greater destruction.

Plan Zamora

The attitude of the military contrasts with the actions of these groups, who use homemade explosives, stones, bottles, gunshots, Molotov cocktails and other devices to wreak havoc.

Meanwhile, the La Carlota air base is not the only military facility to have been attacked. In the state of Táchira, it was necessary to deploy the Plan Zamora, a strategic and operational plan activated for the security and defense of the nation in case of threats to internal order.

This decision was made after violent elements burned the Vásquez artillery group of the Bolivarian Army, based in the city of San Cristóbal, whose command headquarters was besieged by 80 to 100 people.

President Maduro reiterated his rejection of violence

“The attack was directed to where the gas cylinders are. Can you imagine what a Molotov could do to a gas cylinder, where there is ammunition, explosives, weapons, right in the center of the city?” stated Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López in condemning the attacks.

Likewise, on June 12, the Paramacay Fort was attacked, home to the Army’s 41st Armored Brigade, located in the La Granja sector of the municipality of Naguanagua, Carabobo state. A total of 30 people were arrested and several were injured, including four state security officials.

Despite this hostile atmosphere, and continued calls for violence, President Nicolás Maduro has reiterated his rejection of the violence promoted by certain extremist sectors of the opposition, and the commitment of the Bolivarian Government and the FANB to work to consolidate peace. (PL)