Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Venezuela: The Caracazo and civilian-military unity

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for March 2, 2014. See original here.]

By Beto Almeida

“The Bolivarian Revolution is peaceful but armed”

Twenty-five years ago, on February 27, 1989, the president of Venezuela at the time, Carlos Andrés Pérez, launched an explosive neoliberal package that drastically increased the prices of gasoline and food. The people of Caracas rebelled, took to the streets, looted supermarkets, clothing stores, butchers’ shops. Pérez ordered the army to repress them harshly. Hundreds of citizens were killed. The exact number is yet to be calculated, since many were buried in common graves or thrown onto the city garbage dump.

When I had the opportunity to interview President Chávez in the Miraflores Palace, he told me he was in the service then and knew when the order to repress was given and when the troops left for the poor neighborhoods, crushing the rebellion that came to be known as the Caracazo, without pity or remorse. Chávez said that the Caracazo was the fuse, the avalanche, the fundamental encouragement for the Bolivarian military movement, the building of which he led in barracks throughout the nation, to spring into action. That repression had provoked the progressive and nationalist ranks of the military. (more…)

Venezuela: A familiar recipe for destabilization

Friday, October 11th, 2013

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for October 6, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Frida Modak

There has been a change in the past few months in the Venezuelan opposition’s strategy. They no longer stress the supposed electoral fraud, as they did right after the presidential elections.

As far as is known, no change has been announced resulting from the reviews electoral authorities have made, so we should wonder what has brought about this new attitude and when.

And if we look for an answer, we find that this new attitude coincides with the trip defeated candidate Enrique Capriles made to Chile, where he met with the leaders of some political parties for whom he has a certain affinity. (more…)

Venezuela: Between disenchantment and patience

Sunday, October 6th, 2013
((El Faro photo))

((El Faro photo))

Nicolás Maduro is not Hugo Chávez

[Translation of an article from El Faro of San Salvador, El Salvador, for October 4, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Valeria Pacheco

Caracas, Venezuela – “I can’t get rice, flour, oil or butter. You have to search for food from one supermarket to another and everything is more expensive, I barely have enough money,” says Isabel Sánchez at the exit of an informal market in the populous district of Petare, in eastern Caracas.

Six months after the start of the administration of President Nicolás Maduro, who assumed office on April 19, Venezuelans face a cumulative inflation through August of 32.9 percent (the highest in Latin America) and a cyclical shortage of goods that has gotten worse in the past few weeks. (more…)

The governments of Latin America after Chávez

Monday, May 6th, 2013

[Translation of an opinion piece from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 5, 2013. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

From the point of view of governments and institutions, the changes in Latin America brought about by the death of Hugo Chávez are important but not fundamental. The Venezuelan revolutionary process is weaker and its adversaries are therefore stronger, but if the leadership of the state and of the PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) are determined, with the support of their bases, to radicalize and deepen transformation of the country, if they reduce waste and improve somewhat the distribution of food and goods, social change could take a new leap forward, since the current moderate recovery in consumption and production in the United States, Venezuela’s principal market, gives certain stability to the price of oil.

This is the basis, on the other hand, of the security offered by the Maduro administration to Cuba, ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América — Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) and the Caribbean against the uproar of the Venezuelan Right about the “giveaway” of oil and financial support to Venezuela’s allies and against the same concessions of this kind that the right-wing Chavistas want to make to the anti-Chavista Right. At the same time, in Brazil, with next year’s elections impending, the Right does not seem to have either a clear candidate or the possibility of winning; the economy is somewhat better and the government enjoys the support of the transnationals, agribusiness and domestic large-scale capital, to which it has made considerable concessions, and it does not face strong social protests. (more…)

Relations between Brazil and Venezuela after Chávez

Monday, May 6th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of Brazil for May 3, 2013.  See original here.]

By Marcel Gomes

Rio de Janeiro – The strengthening of relations between Brazil and Venezuela during the administrations of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Hugo Chávez will allow Brasilia and Caracas to maintain close political and economic ties, even after the death of the Venezuelan.

Those who hold this view are supported by the high degree of institutionalization of the bilateral relations. The new president, Nicolás Maduro, has at his disposal UNASUR (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas – Union of South American Nations) and MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur – Southern Common Market), energy projects, local branches of IPEA (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada – Institute of Applied Economic Research), EMBRAPA (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária – Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) and Caixa (Caixa Econômica Federal – Brazilian publicly owned bank), as well as a commercial exchange that has jumped from 800 million US dollars to six billion reais [about three billion dollars] in a decade – 80 percent of it, keep in mind, to Brazil’s benefit. (more…)

Venezuela: What is the opposition’s game?

Saturday, April 20th, 2013


((A worker walks past opposition graffiti.))

((A worker walks past opposition graffiti.))

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for April 19, 2013. See original here.]

by Breno Altman

The script being followed by Henrique Capriles, the defeated candidate in Sunday’s elections, should be watched closely. Beyond revealing the nature of the local Right, the events taking place help to understand the package of efforts already being made against leftist governments in Latin America.

Taking advantage of the narrow margins by which Nicolás Maduro won the contest, the conservative camp yells “Fraud.” So far, no serious evidence of any kind that this actually took place has been offered. On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of international observers attest to the integrity of the electoral process. But the relative weakening of the Chavista base is taken as an opportunity to escalate the confrontation. (more…)

Venezuela: Nicolás Maduro, the driving force

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for March 19, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

By Luis Hernández Navarro

Nicolás Maduro is a large, robust man, 1.90 meters tall, with a thick black mustache, who drove a city bus in Caracas for more than seven years, was foreign minister another six and is now acting president of Venezuela and a candidate for that office. He is part of the new generation of Latin American presidents who, like the metal worker Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or the coca union activist Evo Morales, came into politics from the trenches of opposition social struggles.

Maduro is a revolutionary socialist who altered his original orthodox development to join the heterodox hurricane of the Bolivarian revolution. He is a man of the Left who came to power without giving up his principles. A faithful collaborator with Hugo Chávez who has made himself and is now at the helm of one of the most profound transformational processes in Latin America. (more…)

Maduro, the bus driver who is steering Venezuela now

Friday, March 15th, 2013

[Translation of an article by the Spanish news agency EFE as published in Semana of Bogotá, Colombia, on March 11, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

Who is the man who began at the steering wheel of a bus and went on to the presidency of a country?

“Nicolás, Nicolás. You are the best proof of the achievements of our revolution. A few years ago you were driving a bus and now you are foreign minister.” The words are those of Hugo Chávez and although he broke out in laughter after he said them the feeling remained that the then president of Venezuela was speaking very seriously and that Maduro’s change of jobs was a demonstration that there had been a historical social turnabout in the country.

And something else remained clear in this account and that is the mutual loyalty. The designated president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, anointed by Chávez as his heir and since last Monday the candidate of the ruling party for the April 14 elections, is a staunch Chavista who swears loyalty even beyond the death of his mentor. (more…)

Honduran Right rejects Chávez but covets Venezuelan oil

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

With no evidence, Capriles claims Caracas contributed millions of dollars to the Zelaya administration

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for October 13, 2012.  See original here.]

by Arturo Cano

Caracas, October 12 – “And when was the 100-million dollar contribution?”  Henrique Capriles Radonski shuffled his papers.  “In 2010,” he said.  “What?  He gave the money to (Roberto) Micheletti?” was heard in the auditorium.  “Well, I’ll clear it up later and let you know.”

One of the lines of attack by the opposition candidate when he took part in public events during the recent campaign was to repeat a list of “contributions” that the Hugo Chávez government had made all over the world.

The initial exchange took place on October 1 in a press conference presented by  Capriles, who only four days after his defeat in the presidential race registered again as a candidate, this time for re-election as governor of the state of Miranda, to say to  foreign correspondents that he would not give away Venezuelan money and to accuse Chávez of being a mono-exporter:  “The only thing he exports is his political agenda.” (more…)

Venezuela: The Bolivarian revolution and dependence on Chávez

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for July 21. See original here.]

By Manuela Sisa

After Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s surprise return to the country, the political future is still fraught with uncertainty: will the Venezuelan leader’s health allow him to take on the campaign for the presidential election of 2012?

Chávez had to undergo emergency surgery for the removal of a cancerous tumor in the pelvic area. He was in the intensive care unit of a Cuban hospital for four days and in treatment on the island for almost a month. During this period, the government and the opposition lost their way, revealing the dependence on Chávez that is predominant in Venezuelan politics.

The illness that attacked the president’s health, assumed by allies and adversaries to be incurable, revealed the degree of dependence of the Venezuelan political process on the presidential figure. “The dependence of a revolutionary process on a single person is in itself a contradictory element,” sociologist Nicmer Evans, a professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, declared to Brasil de Fato. “The revolutionary process had not bothered to think, in the medium and long term. about the future of the revolution in a post-Chávez era,” he stressed. (more…)

“Normalization” advances rapidly in Honduras

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Chávez and Zelaya — Diario Tiempo photo

[Translations of two articles, both from April 16, the first from the web site of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular, based on a news conference carried by Venezolana de Televisión, the second from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, based on an Agence France Press dispatch. See first article here and second here, a related article from Honduras Weekly here and go here for link to video news conference.]

Frente de Resistencia has confidence in President Chávez as mediator in Honduran crisis

“We are very happy to be able to contribute to the reestablishment of peace and democracy in Honduras. We are here struggling to consolidate, not only in Venezuela, but throughout this land, Latin America, in Central America, in South America, a grand area of peace,” the head of state declared on Saturday. (more…)

Honduras: Chávez’s motives

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Chávez, Lobo — Revistazo photo

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for April 12, 2011. See original here and “First Part” here.]

by Tomás Andino Mancía

Second part

As for President Hugo Chávez, we can reject the hypothesis that he was taken by surprise, like a naïve dove, by the cold and calculating Colombian president, since Chávez has confirmed in his statements that he has been making efforts for some time, and that he will continue making them, to advocate Honduras’ return to the OAS. (more…)