Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

Gadhafi / Chavez – anti-terrorism declaration

October 1, 2009

Gadhafi and Chavez sign anti-terrorism declaration

Published on 09-30-2009

Source: AP 

(copied from)

PORLAMAR, Venezuela

— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi signed a declaration Monday night decrying what they call attempts by powerful Western countries to equate struggles against colonialism with terrorism.

In the declaration, Venezuela and Libya “reject intentions to link the legitimate struggle of the people for liberty and self-determination” with terrorism, but also adds that they “reiterate the importance of countering terrorism in all its forms.”

Neither of the two leaders commented publicly on the document. It does not specifically name any Western country, but Gadhafi mentioned both the United States and Britain during a speech after the signing.

During many of his 40 years in power, Gadhafi was accused of harboring terrorists and hosting militant training camps while sponsoring terrorist attacks. But the Libyan leader has taken steps in recent years to mend relations with the West, and says his government renounces terrorism and rejects being labeled as a sponsor of terrorist acts.

Chavez, meanwhile, has been accused by Colombia and the United States of supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been seeking to overthrow governments in Bogota for 45 years.

The Venezuelan leader denies aiding the FARC. He claims the United States is using Colombia as part of a broader plan to portray him as a supporter of terrorist groups to provide justification for a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela.

Cheered on by hundreds of supporters at a rally held for the signing, Chavez praised Gadhafi, comparing him to Venezuela’s most revered founding father — 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar. He presented his guest with a gold-plated replica of a sword that once belonged to Bolivar.

“I’m not exaggerating at all. What Simon Bolivar is for the Venezuelan people, Moammar Gadhafi is for the Libyan people. He’s the Liberator of Libya,” Chavez said, prompting applause from the crowd gathered in Porlamar, a Caribbean resort city.

“This is a great honor that I have received,” Gadhafi said through an interpreter.

Chavez and Gadhafi are strengthening their relationship and finding common ground in their efforts to challenge what they contend is the “imperialism” of wealthy nations and to take on the role of spokesmen for poor nations. Before the rally in Porlamar, they led a weekend summit where South American and African leaders pledged to deepen links between their continents.

Gadhafi, who is making his first visit to Latin America, said at the summit that the two regions should unite to wield more influence and form a defense alliance, a “NATO for the South” — calling it “SATO.”

“Those who were betting on NATO, we now say to them that we’re going to bet on SATO,” Gadhafi said during the summit. “We’re going to have our treaty, too.”

Chavez, a former army paratroop commander, says the United States poses the greatest potential threat to Venezuela and has raised the idea of a South Atlantic defense bloc with other allies in the past.

“South-South” cooperation was a buzzword at the summit, which brought together the African Union and the South American bloc Unasur.

Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya since he seized power in a 1969 coup, has sought a higher profile internationally in recent years and is currently chairman of the African Union.

During his speech at the rally Monday night, he criticized the “imperialism” of some wealthy countries, singling out the United States and Britain, and he repeated his denunciation of last week calling the U.N. Security Council an elite club where nations such as Libya have no voice.

“They do not give any importance to the (U.N.) General Assembly,” Gadhafi said. They think they are above all the nations of the world.”

Gadhafi also condemned the war in Afghanistan, predicting a defeat for NATO forces.

“Now they are waging wars in Afghanistan. We are totally against terrorism, without any doubt,” he said. “Are they going to conquer in Afghanistan? It’s impossible. Until they the Day of Reckoning, they will never conquer.”

Peace Protest – Media Studio Visit – Vets on TV

September 5, 2009

Well Im at an internet cafe this morning (saturday) .. our WIFI is not connecting at the hostel. I may not have spell-check and I only have a half hour here.

The first day we went to a protest (peace demonstration) against the military bases in Columbia…there was about 4,000 people there, alot of folks had red shirts. It was full of energy..people claqpping, bands singing, …speeches…. they had a big stage… TV cameras etc… our group is netwoked throught the peace network here so we made it to teh front…and tehn we (4 of us) made it to the stage. Benji Iraq Vet, Gerry Vetnam war resister, Andrew activist…and me with my camera…

We were all on stage with 50 other people… we had our own chance to speak..I just filmed, no speaking….it was a powerful … The crowd cheered. they loved us. Our folks on stage spoke out against “Imperlism and War¨we stood in solidarity …… We had people thanking us latter on the streets… shaking hands etc

That night Benji & Josh ..both Iraq veterans were on the Centeral America national TV speaking out against war and US Imperalism. Nothing slandorus was said…but a powerful message against the failed US policies, and the use of Armed Forces on other people in other countries. Those two were on 2 different stations, that evening. It was almost lke a “Winter Solider Event”

After the demonstartion, we went to a small cafe and and had lunch… I had a chicken burrito and pepsi …then we drove to a community media studio …we got the complete tour oftheir grass roots media spread.

The media studio was a using¨”recycled conatineers” like big railway cars to make offices and studios for filming-recording..they have a big mobile stage on a flat bed trailer…they have trucks with cameras and recording equipment…plus a big outdoor stage that they were actually filming a show on when we were there. They are using recyled materials and governemnt money to run the studio…it was a a big open concreted area that used to be houses before the change in the “Metro” streets project for that area.

We are in a 3 story nice clean house in our hostel.Three ladies (younger than me) come by to fix breakfast and cook our dinner. Its cool and good food. Today we are maybe going to an opposition party protest regarding the media changes. Dont know the details but sounds like it will be interesting. We have a interperter with us all day (every day) and he is really good…other in our group can speak pretty well to helpus get around… we stay in a group most of the time. A lot of us dont speak spanish very good at all.

I had a lady tell me on camera to¨” tell Obama that capitalism isnt working …and that socilism is the answer” we are treated by folks here “really well” ….NOT one bad word or comment directed at us… just smiles! We did see three Nation Guard guys with machine guins walk down our street and talk with a few that were out frint…I was inside peeking out the window… It was said by the interperter we shouldnt film the police or the Army guys…so I didnt

I feel the energy and passion here and the people are wise to their struggles for empowerment…it is cool….we had a couple local guys stop by last night and party with us …drinking beer till 1 am…and just sharring political storiesand listening/playing music etc….

The busses and cars drive “all over the road” with motorcycles zipping in between and all around honking their horns. Its insane ….I seen no accidents… but its is crazy… no one stops for red lighs…very little police on the streets… almost all the busses and cars are really rugged broken down looking…. smokey exhuasts etc… the trips around town are bumper to bumper…

I wil be writing latter …we are trying to get the WIFI up and running

the weather is sultry… hot/warm….all the time

So far I have four hours of video collected….I will write about today´s events latter tonight or in the morning…. this cafe is closed tomorrow, but we are hoping the WIFI will be up at the hostel!

¿joe anybody

Some Food for Thought on Finding Bases for Peace

September 2, 2009

Just had a chance to skim this article and thought that it probably holds some relevance to our journey to Caracas…

Venezuelan “Peace Bases” to Counter U.S. Military Buildup in Colombia with Binational Reconciliation

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August 28th 2009, by James Suggett

A “peace base” in Barinas, Venezuela (Prensa ANCeV)

Mérida, August 28th 2009 ( — In a movement to counter the expansion of the United States military presence on Colombian bases, Colombian and Venezuelan civil society organizations and government officials are collaborating to organize spaces of binational reconciliation called “peace bases.”

Local, state, and national elected officials, consuls, immigrant organizations, community councils, and everyday citizens have participated in the founding of Venezuela’s first peace bases this month.

The bases turn public spaces into forums where Colombians and Venezuelans discuss peaceful solutions to the armed conflict in Colombia, which has raged for four decades and continues to affect neighboring Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, the rest of Latin America, and the United States.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced earlier this month that the peace bases should provide free medical services and address other pressing needs of the community of Colombian immigrants in Venezuela.

Chavez also said the bases should improve the communication between Venezuelans and Colombians so that Venezuelans learn the about the everyday lives and struggles of Colombians, and Colombians “get to know what is really being said and done here in Venezuela,” as opposed to the negative information and anti-Chavez attacks that are predominant in the Colombian media.

“They have the right to know that they are our brothers and sisters, that we are their friends and that we are not a threat to Colombia,” Chavez said in a nationally televised meeting with his Council of Ministers.

Venezuela’s first peace base was established in the city of Valencia, Carabobo state on August 12th, with the presence of Colombian opposition Senator Piedad Cordoba.

“In Colombia, the problems are not going to go away with more war. There are problems that do not go away by murdering everybody, problems such as poverty,” said Cordoba during the inauguration ceremony for the peace base.

Cordoba said she would invite Ecuadoran society to form peace bases, as well, and request that President Rafael Correa encourage their formation. Ecuador was the victim of a Colombian military air and ground attack on a guerrilla encampment in its territory last year, an event which sparked a regional diplomatic crisis and spurred the Brazil-led initiative of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to form a regional defense council to diffuse potential military conflicts.

This week, peace bases were established in the border states of Zulia and Táchira, the coastal state of Falcón, and the eastern state of Anzoátegui. The Association of Colombians in Venezuela said its peace base in Barcelona, Anzoátegui, plans to use the Barcelona city council as a forum for discussion.

According to the president of the Association of Colombians in Venezuela, Juan Carlos Tanus, the group plans to create as many as seventy peace bases in Venezuela, beginning with a planned twelve peace bases in different stations of the Caracas Metro this coming September 12th.

“The peace bases are going to be the stage for meetings and co-existence, where we will be able to work with the Colombian and Latin American community on the real dimensions of the social and armed conflict that Colombia suffers internally,” Tanus said earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan vice Minister of Foreign Relations for Latin America and the Caribbean Francisco Arias Cardenas attended the inauguration of a peace base in the town of Paraguaipoa in the northwestern zone of Zulia state called the Guajira.

According to Arias Cardenas, the base seeks the “integration and union between Colombia and Venezuela, and an end to the internal war in Colombia by way of dialogue.” Both countries’ national anthems were played at the event to symbolize this objective, said the vice minister.

On Thursday, Arias Cardenas attended the inauguration of another peace base on the cross-border bridge which connects the two nations in the city of Ureña, Táchira state. The participants extended a sheet along the bridge on which they collected signatures against the Colombia-U.S. military deal, and distributed pamphlets advocating against the military buildup.

In Falcón state, National Assembly Legislator Alberto Castelar participated in the establishment of a peace base on Thursday. Castelar said, “Peace is the principal objective of these bases, which are mobile spaces on which forums, workshops, and meetings will take place.”

In the end of July, a deal between the U.S. and Colombia to allow the U.S. to place thousands more troops and expand surveillance operations on as many as seven Colombian bases was made public.

Venezuela, describing the deal as a threat to the region, broke off and then restored diplomatic relations with Colombia, and has since vowed to replace its commerce with its second largest trading partner by expanding trade with other countries in Latin America and abroad.

This century, the U.S. has granted more than $5.5 billion in mostly military aid to Colombia under the auspices of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ and counter-insurgency.

Holy Venezuela Batman!

August 31, 2009

short 1 min video

Is Venezuela going to ban violent video games?

August 28, 2009

Venezuela plans law to ban violent videogames
Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:13am IST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+] CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan lawmakers are moving to outlaw the sale of violent videogames and toys in an attempt to fight rampant crime in the country.

A bill to ban sales of violent games has passed its first hurdle in the National Assembly, the legislative chamber said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Dozens of people are murdered every week in the capital Caracas, one of Latin America’s most dangerous cities, sometimes for as little as a pair of shoes or a mobile phone.

Opponents of President Hugo Chavez say 100,000 people have been murdered since he assumed office in February 1999. The government says its opponents and Venezuela’s private media exaggerate the problem.

Police release crime statistics irregularly and officials frequently say they do not know how many homicides have taken place.

To become law, the bill must pass a second vote in the National Assembly and be signed by Chavez. The National Assembly has not set a date for a second vote.

Some countries ban violent videogames and many restrict their sale to children. Although few studies have shown that such games cause aggressive tendencies, they have often been the subject of controversy.

(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Robert Campbell; Editing by Eric Walsh)
posted here by; Joe Anybody

Venezuela Transfers Private Radio Licenses to Community Media Groups

August 17, 2009

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Venezuela Transfers Private Radio Licenses to Community Media Groups

Interview with Gregory Wilpert, sociologist and author, conducted by Scott Harris

In early August, the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revoked the broadcast licenses of 32 privately held radio stations and 2 regional television stations, triggering objections from opposition groups. According to officials at Venezuela’s telecommunications agency, CONATEL, the decision on the radio stations was made because their licenses had expired or they had violated government regulations. The status of another 200 station licenses are currently under review. Licenses from the closed outlets will be transferred to community media groups.

Nelson Belfort, president of the Chamber of Radio Broadcasters and Circuito Nacional Belfort, owner of five of the closed stations, charged that the revocation of licenses is a government attack on freedom of expression. The Chavez government and privately-owned media outlets have clashed repeatedly in recent years, particularly since many media outlets supported the failed coup attempt against President Chavez in April 2002. In May 2007, tensions were heightened when the Chavez government denied the national opposition television station RCTV, a renewal of their license.

Between the Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with sociologist and author Gregory Wilpert, a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar who lived in Venezuela for many years. He examines the long-running media-government conflict in Venezuela and the charge that Chavez is attempting to suppress all opposition criticism of his government.

Gregory Wilpert is the author of “Changing Venezuela by Taking Power, The History and Policies of the Chavez Goverment.” Wilpert is an editor of the online publication

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Tonight at 7Pm = Brian Willson Speaks

July 23, 2009

Tonights event is located at the First Unitarian Church

(1211 SW Main St. Portland)
       Main Street Sanctuary

This is a fundraiser $ 10 – 20 suggested price 

(no one turned away for lack of funds)

Venezuelan National Assembly Discusses Limits to Concentration of Media Ownership

July 14, 2009

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July 10th 2009, by James Suggett

“Minister Diosdado Cabello in the National Assembly on Thursday” (ABN)

Mérida, July 10th 2009 ( — In a presentation before the National Assembly on Thursday, Venezuelan Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello proposed reforms to the Telecommunications Law that would limit the concentration of private radio and television ownership and bring more cable providers under the jurisdiction of the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) and the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television.

“You can be certain that we will democratize the radio-electric spectrum and bring an end to large media estates in radio and television,” said Cabello, comparing Venezuela’s media magnates to Venezuela’s elite class of large landowners.

According to Cabello, 27 families control more than 32% of the radio and television waves, with as many as 48 stations grouped under a single owner.

The long-time friend and ally of President Hugo Chávez proposed a limit of three stations for any private owner, and a limit of one half hour per day of uniform broadcasting on those three stations. Such a rule would favor Venezuela’s small-scale independent producers, said the minister.

He also specified that broadcasting concessions are not inheritable property, so concession holders should not be allowed to pass on their broadcasting rights to family or colleagues in the event of their death.

With regard to cable television, Cabello proposed an administrative provision that would define any company whose programming is 70% produced in Venezuela as Venezuelan. This would require the company to register with CONATEL and abide by the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television. Many cable stations have registered as international companies even though they are actually Venezuelan, to avoid government regulation, said Cabello.

“They’ll all be in the same sack, that is to say, they’ll all be national audiovisual producers if 70% of their production is considered to be Venezuelan,” said Cabello, whose proposals will be open for public discussion for a month before the National Assembly proceeds toward a vote.

The minister presented statistics on the breakdown of radio ownership in Venezuela. Of the country’s FM stations, 472 are privately owned, while 243 are local community-based operations and 79 are public. And, private owners control 184 AM stations, while the state controls 26 AM stations, according to the minister. In television, more than 60% of broadcasting concessions (65 stations) are in private hands, while just under 35% (37) are community-based and six are controlled by the national government. He did not specify the geographic range of the different signals.

To increase the state’s share of the media, Cabello said the state will take over the 154 FM stations and 86 AM stations that did not register and pay fees to CONATEL by the July 2nd deadline, as requested by CONATEL a month earlier. “That which is not up to date with CONATEL will not have its concession renewed and the state will recuperate new radio spaces where the people are able to access information,” said Cabello.

This measure has provoked opposition from Venezuela’s Chamber of Radio Broadcasters, which called it “a direct attack against freedom of expression.” In an official statement, the Chamber said the measure announced by Cabello “lacks basis” because all its members had “fulfilled all the procedures required by CONATEL since the year 2000.”

Cabello responded that he would not negotiate with the Chamber, but he would be willing to negotiate with community-based and state-owned radio stations, and that a similar proposal for television stations is in the works.

The minister’s proposals come amidst a media climate in which news outlets are highly politicized and openly engaged in a “media war” either for or against the administration of President Chávez. The private media has broadcast threats to assassinate the president and participated a coup d’etat against Chavez in 2002.

Recently, CONATEL has received complaints that some cable companies interfered with the signals of the Caracas-based Latin American news network Telesur and the Venezuelan state channel VTV during the coup d’etat in Honduras.

In addition, CONATEL opened an investigation earlier this week into a series of advertisements broadcast on several prominent private radio and television stations. The ads assert that the state plans to confiscate private property and young and adolescent children for indoctrination, and feature false quotes from fictitious laws and politicians. CONATEL’s press release accuses the sponsor of the ads, a right-wing think tank near Caracas called CEDICE, of inciting violence and public disorder.

Chavez transferred the administration of CONATEL from the Ministry of Communications and Information to the Cabello’s Public Works and Housing Ministry earlier this year with the intention of driving forward media reforms. Cabello is the former vice president of Venezuela and the former governor of Miranda state.

More News of Honduras

June 30, 2009

Latin American Nations Begin Economic and Political Blockade Against Coup Government

Posted by Kristin Bricker – June 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Border Closings, Suspension of Aid, and Cutting of Diplomatic Relations Present a Non-Violent Response to a Violent Coup

Mexico and the countries of Central America have announced various political and economic sanctions against the coup government in Honduras as part of a non-violent and non-military strategy to return democratically elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya to power.

Member countries of the Central American Regional Integration adopted a resolution earlier today that requires taking “necessary measures in a staggered manner, including measures related to interregional commerce, against Honduras’ de facto government until President Jose Manuel Zelaya is reinstated as president and institutional normalcy is reestablished.”  In the first direct action against the coup government, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala will close their borders with Honduras for 48 hours.  The border closing means that all cross-border commerce will be shut down for 48 hours.

SICA countries also agreed to suspend all political, economic, financial, cultural, sports, tourist, and cooperation meetings with the de facto government.  They will also instruct the board of directors of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (a regional development bank) to suspend all loans and grants to Honduras.  SICA will also pressure the United Nations to take action.

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras (represented by Zelaya), Panama, the Dominican Republic, Belize, and Nicaragua signed the SICA declaration, which is reprinted here:

1.  Immediately call all ambassadors to Honduras from SICA countries for consultations.

2.  Instruct the directors from SICA countries in the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to immediately suspend all loans and grants to Honduras.

3.  Suspend all political, economic, financial, cultural, sports, tourist, and cooperation meetings with the de facto government.

4. Veto the participation of all Honduran representatives that are not accredited by President Manuel Zelaya in SICA meetings.

5.  Fully support the Organization of American States (OAS) resolution regarding the current situation in Honduras dated June 28, 2009, to reactive the reestablishment of constitutional order and request an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council so that it issues a resolution condemning [the coup] and adopts necessary coercive measures.

6.  Request that the UN Secretary General open a session called “Honduras’ Political Situation” that leads to a General Assembly resolution condemning [the coup].

7. If the constitutional order is not reestablished, SICA member countries will take the necessary measures in a staggered manner, including measures related to interregional commerce, against Honduras’ de facto government until President Jose Manuel Zelaya is reinstated as president and institutional normalcy is reestablished.

8.  Declare that no government that arises from this constitutional breakdown is recognized.

9.  Maintain permanent contact, in particular through the Rio Group, in order to evaluate the situation as it evolves and the measures that will be necessary to adopt in the future in order to achieve the full reestablishment of democratic normalcy.

The consultations with SICA’s respective ambassadors to Honduras does not necessarily mean that SICA countries will withdraw their ambassadors and cut off all diplomatic relations.  El Salvador, for example, will not withdraw its ambassador. However, other countries have decided to withdraw their ambassadors and cut off diplomatic relations with the coup government.  Mexico has withdrawn its ambassador in solidarity with ousted President Zelaya, as have all nations that are members of the Bolivarian Aliance of the Americas (ALBA).

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has announced that he will call a meeting of Petrocaribe on Tuesday to halt oil exports to Honduras.  An agreement that President Zelaya signed with Venezuela has allowed Honduras–Central America’s second poorest nation–to purchase Venezuelan crude at significantly reduced prices.  The agreement was proposed in 2006, and likely saved the Honduran economy when petroleum prices drastically rose in recent years.  Honduras imports 100% of its petroleum.  Whereas Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua’s border closing will only last 48 hours, Chavez says that oil exports to Honduras won’t resume until Zelaya returns to power.

Economic Impact

The 48-hour border closing will not deal a death blow to Honduras’ economy.  Approximately 52% of Honduras’ exports go to the United States, and many of them pass through Honduras’ ports.  90% of all Honduras trade passes through ports in Puerto Cortes and San Pedro Sula and the airport in Tegucigalpa, all of which will be unaffected by the border closings.

However, by merely by opening up the question of economic boycott, the SICA countries opened the floodgates to a nonviolent strategy that would shake an already faltering economy and thus the business class that had originally supported the coup.

Indeed, the business class is already in an uproar over the first of Central America’s escalating sanctions against the coup government.  The Private Enterprise Federation of Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Panama (Fedepricap) issued a statement against the border closing.  “It will limit interregional commerce,” they complained.  “Closing the borders is a blow to trade…”

While Honduras’ ports are likely to keep Honduran trade rolling during the temporary border closing, SICA’s measures will also impact Puerto Cortes for an indefinite period of time.  Puerto Cortes is Central America’s largest Caribbean port.   The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) is currently providing $120 million in financing to upgrade the port.  SICA’s decision to suspend all CABEI funds to Honduras will bring that project to a sudden halt.  Overall, in 2007 (the latest year data is available), the CABEI approved nearly $400 million in funding for Honduras.