Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

The conservative restoration in Latin America

Monday, September 8th, 2014

[Translation of an editorial from Página12 of Buenos Aires for September 6, 2014. See original here.]

By Emir Sader

The failure of the military coup against the government of Hugo Chávez in 2002 left the Latin American Right practically disarmed in the face of the proliferating progressive governments of the continent. Since then, it has managed to regain only two governments through bloodless coups – those of Honduras and Paraguay – where the processes of change had not yet managed to gain strength.

But there are signs of a rebuilding of conservative forces in countries on the continent with progressive governments. The threats to continuity in countries like Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, as well as the problems faced in Venezuela, and, in a different way, even in Ecuador, indicate a phenomenon of this kind.

What do these conservative attacks consist of and how are they carried out? (more…)

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: 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…)

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…)

Paraguay: Federico Franco, golpista

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

x franco[Translation of an op-ed from the website of Radio La Nueva República of Mexico for April 7, 2013. See original here.]

By Atilio A. Boron

Paraguay’s rotten luck. A country of such noble people subjected to the insatiable voracity of foreigners and of its own. Punished savagely by its neighbors during the War of the Triple Alliance [1864-1870, between Paraguay on one side and Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on the other] and looted beyond words by its own dominant class ever since, it has now, as the pinnacle of its misfortunes, to deal with a person like Federico Franco, usurper of the country’s presidency. This personage, petty and insignificant, installed as president through a criminal conspiracy created as a pretext for removing Fernando Lugo, declared during his visit to Spain days later that “it is a blessing that Mr. Chávez disappeared from the face of the earth, because he did a lot of damage to my country.” He also said in his verbal spewings that Chávez gave “protection” to members of the Ejército Paraguayo del Pueblo and thereby held the deceased president responsible for the “kidnappings and death” committed by the guerrilla group. In keeping with his status as simple errand boy for the empire and for the mafia of drug dealers and smugglers who gained control of his country, Franco invited Spanish entrepreneurs to invest in Paraguay, guaranteeing them that if they did so their profits would be so phenomenal they would have to “carry the money away in wheelbarrows.” That must be why Mariano Rajoy, president of the government of Spain and a man who seems not to have many worries, considered it completely appropriate to post a photo of his meeting with Franco on his Twitter account. (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…)

Marta Harnecker: activist, writer, teacher

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Her views on the Latin American Left today

[Translation of an interview from Folha de São Paulo for August 28, 2012. See original here.]

by Eleonora de Lucena

She defines herself as a Marxist-Leninist “popular educator.” A Chilean, she was a student of philosopher Louis Althusser, a Catholic student leader and a member of the socialist government of Salvador Allende. She married one of the commanders of the Cuban revolution, Manuel Piñeiro or “Barba Roja,” and in the 2000s she became an adviser to Hugo Chávez.

Marta Harnecker says she has written more than 80 books. The best known, Conceptos Elementales del Materialismo Histórico (The Basic Concepts of Historical Materialism), from the 1960s, has sold more than a million copies and is in its 67th edition. At 75, she travels throughout Latin America and says she is optimistic; the United States no longer does what it wants in the region and the concept of sovereignty has spread. (more…)

Uruguayan President Mujica interviewed: “socialism itself”

Monday, April 9th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Montevideo Portal for April 9, 2012. See original here.]

In an interview on CNN, President Mujica said he “admires” ALBA-style socialism [Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América – Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America] but he declared that it is not the path he would prefer. The president praised the social achievements of Lula and Chávez but made it clear that “this is not building socialism.”

In an interview broadcast on Sunday on the CNN news network, Mujica referred to the changing conditions of the left over time and to the future of socialism in Latin America. (more…)

Peru: Ollanta Humala assumes the office of president

Friday, July 29th, 2011

He forms an inclusive cabinet of both leftists and rightists

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 28, 2011. See original here.]

Lima – The president-elect of Peru, Ollanta Humala, will today introduce an administration with a moderate cabinet, although he will remain faithful to his pledge of greater social inclusion to calm the numerous conflicts involving demands for benefits from the current domestic economic boom.

Humala a few days ago chose a cabinet that largely excluded his supporters from the left, a more conservative selection than that of his political mentor, former Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva.

The president-elect surprised investors when he named two economists admired by Wall Street to lead the Ministry of the Economy and the Central Bank, Luis Miguel Castilla and Julio Velarde, respectively. (more…)