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Venezuela News Archive:


to 6/02


World News

News Sources

Central America




Venezuela Media


Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias

América XXI


Asamblea Popular Revolucionaria

Aporrea Enlaces

Marea Socialista

Miranda: Venezuelan government, Miranda Province

Gobierno en Línea

Red Bolivariana
República Bolivariana de Venezuela


Televisión venezolana en vivo




El Universal
El Nacional
Libertarios Europeos
El Mundo
Ultimas Noticias
Tal Cual Digital
La Razón
Quinto Día
Maracaibo, Zulia
La Verdad
Maracaibo, Zulia
Diario del Zulia
Maracaibo, Zulia
El Carabobeño
Valencia, Carabobo
Valencia, Carabobo
El Impulso
Barquisimeto, Lara
El Siglo
Maracay, Aragua
La Nación
San Cristobal, Táchira
Los Andes
San Cristobal, Táchira
La Hora
Porlamar, Nueva Esparta
Latin World

Petroleum World

Venezuela Analítica

Venezuela Analysis

Venezuela Online News


Venezuela IndyMedia


Militares Democraticos


South/Latin American Media

La Jornada , Mexico

News Agency New Colombia


Trinicenter , Trinidad: Venezuela news

Cuban Media

Agencia Cubana de Noticias (Esp)

AIN (Eng)

Centro de Información para la Prensa


Granma (Esp, in Cuba)

Granma (English)

Granma (Español)

Juventud Rebelde

La Jiribilla


Prensa Latina

Radio Havana (Eng)

Radio Havana (Esp)


US Media

Chavez Code - Eva Golinger

Embassy of Venezuela in the
United States
of America

Central America Daily

El Nuevo Herald

Miami Herald

Miami Herald Cuba News

Newstrove: Venezuela News Search

South America Daily

ZMag Venezuela Watch  

European media

BBC Mundo - América Latina



African Traditions in Venezuela



Cuban culture in Venezuela

Ile TunTun , Havana and Venezuela

Luis Calle:
Matanzas Oba who taught in Caracas

Venezuela in the News
Archive: 2008

Colombia and Venezuela: Testing the Propaganda Model  12/19/2008 NACLA: "U.S. news coverage of parallel political events in Colombia and Venezuela offers an opportunity to test the usefulness of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “propaganda model,” developed in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (Pantheon, reissued 2002). The model predicts that the news media will look favorably upon the Colombian government of Álvaro Uribe, a close U.S. ally, while consistently vilifying the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez, whom the U.S. government frequently identifies as an antagonist. If the model holds, U.S. media outlets will be found to portray the Uribe government as relatively democratic, progressive, and peaceful, while casting the Chávez government as authoritarian, regressive, and militaristic."

Postcard from Venezuela By SAUL LANDAU  12/18/2008 Counterpunch 

More Than 100 Experts Question Human Rights Watch's Venezuela Report  12/17/2008 NACLA: "In an open letter to the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, over 100 experts on Latin America criticized the organization's recent report on Venezuela, A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, saying that it "does not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy, or credibility." The signers include leading academic specialists from universities in the United States, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and a number of state universities, and academic institutions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, México, the U.K., Venezuela and other countries. The letter cites Jose Miguel Vivanco, lead author of the report, saying "We did the report because we wanted to demonstrate to the world that Venezuela is not a model for anyone…"[1], as evidence of its political agenda. The letter also criticizes the report for making unsubstantiated allegations, and that some of the sources that Human Rights Watch relied on in the report are not credible."

Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Loom  12/15/2008 Bloomberg 

Venezuelan Government to Investigate Coup Plot  12/12/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Deep Suitcase - "A portable rectangular problem"  12/4/2008 Madcow: "Instead, testimony showed that Chavez's Venezuelan cronies are anything but wild-eyed radicals. The vanguard of the working class drives Ferraris and lives in McMansions in Miami, and is too busy making money, in oil, real estate, and weapons and narcotics to wear masks over their faces, or raspberry-red berets Both Carlos Kauffmann and the just-convicted Franklin Duran got rich in a major Venezuelan bank scandal during the mid-90's, when South Florida was a pirate’s refuge for some 200 fugitive bankers who fled Caracas after diverting $7 billion in public funds to their own accounts."

Romero's Folly: NY Times Reporter Calls Chavez's Landslide Electoral Victory a "Stinging Defeat"  11/24/2008 NarcoSphere 

Elections: Geopolitical Nadir for Chávez and His Movement?  11/21/2008 NACLA 

Venezuela offers Russians big gold projects  11/8/2008 China Post: "Venezuela plans to build mines at its largest gold deposits with Russian help, the mining minister said on Thursday, apparently killing a years-long bid by two Canadian companies to develop the projects. The decision reflects leftist President Hugo Chavez efforts to boost ties with Russia, increase state control over a key sector and speed up stalled mining development as tumbling crude prices threaten to crimp the OPEC nation’s finances."

Venezuela raids offshore banker Stanford Bank  10/31/2008 Reuters 

Congressman earmarks $2M for firm that sold spy gear to Chavez  10/23/2008 WikiLeaks: "A high-tech Perrine firm that delivered surveillance equipment to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's intelligence agency is scheduled to get a $2 million contract from the federal government at the request of Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. The Republican congressman made the request for the funds, called an earmark, in late September. The company, Phoenix Worldwide Industries, is expected to use the money to develop mobile platforms outfitted with biological and video sensors for the U.S. Army. In 2001, Phoenix delivered $225,256 in equipment to the DISIP, Venezuela's secret police, according to federal court records."

Venezuela buying Russian tanks, armored vehicles  10/16/2008 AFP: "We could be talking about 100 to 500 tanks. Right now it's impossible to know ... because strategic research studies are still underway (and) we're still negotiating," Strategic Operations Command chief General Jesus Gonzalez told reporters."

Cultura Afrovenezolana: Interculturalidad y educación  10/9/2008 Aporrrea: publicado 9/04, por Jesús Chucho García

Hacia una escuela de música afrovenezolana - Red de Organizaciones Afrovenezolanas  10/9/2008 Aporrrea 

Venezuelan Interior Minister: "Antonini Wilson is an FBI and CIA agent"  10/6/2008 El Universal, Caracas: "Venezuelan Minister of the Interior and Justice Tarek El Aissami said that Venezuelan-American businessman Guido Antonini Wilson, who tried to smuggle USD 800,000 in a suitcase into Argentina, is an FBI and CIA agent."

Student opposition leader gunned down in Venezuela  10/1/2008 AP 

Venezuela's Support for Palestine  9/29/2008 Global Research: "After the U.S. imposed Oslo Peace Process began in the early 90's, the international community eagerly resumed diplomatic ties with Israel and immediately started a process of military and technological cooperation with them. May of these nations such as India and China had admired Israel as a nation that was technologically and militarily advanced and desired to have Israel share its expertise in these areas with them.[1] This build up of military cooperation and trade made many nations change their policy on criticizing Israel. These members of the international community turned a blind eye to Israel's practices towards the Palestinians in the years that followed, including a continued displacement of Palestinians, an increase in illegal Jewish settlements, continued expropriation of Palestinian lands, political assassinations, torture, discrimination against non-Jewish residents, and sabotaging the rights of Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 Al Nakba genocide. Even after the outbreak of the second intifada, the international community refrained from holding Israel accountable for genocidal policies imposed on the Palestinians such as the forced starvation and economic devastation of over 1.5 million residents in Gaza or for the war crimes it committed during their illegal invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Occasional criticism or concerns would be expressed about Israel's actions but nation-states would refrain from severing diplomatic ties or holding Israel legally accountable for their crimes."

Russia offers Chavez nuclear help amid US tensions  9/26/2008 AFP 

Human Rights Watch Clowns Around  9/21/2008 UrukNet 

Venezuela-Russia ties deepen despite US pressure  9/18/2008 AP: "Russia also plans to help Venezuela build factories to make ships, cars, rifles and ammunition, and a center to train pilots and fix helicopters is in the works. Russian officials even offered to install broadband wireless networks to provide cheap Internet and telephone service to Caracas, Chemezov told Russia's Itar-Tass news agency… And Sechin announced that five of Russia's biggest oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations. State-controlled Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz and TNK-BP hope to build a US$6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuela's tar-like heavy crude, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported."

Chávez Denounces Bolivian Commander's Inaction and Asks Bolivian Soldiers to Remain Loyal to Evo  9/15/2008 Global Research: "On Sunday, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, denounced the inaction of the Commander in Chief of the Bolivian Armed Forces, General Luis Trigo, in retaking the Department (Province) of Pando, whose state of siege was declared last Friday, after a massacre took place on Thursday in which until now, some 30 dead and 106 missing have been reported. Chávez supported Morales's decision to declare a state of siege. "There are foreign paramilitaries there killing peasants, burning houses and public buildings, attacking barracks, and so on. What more was there to do? (Declare) a state of siege!" Luis Trigo But he denounced Trigo for not rising to the call: "Last night General Trigo went to Pando (…) but instead of responding to the presidential decree for a State of Siege, last night I was directly informed by sources very close to the situation, that he (Trigo) arrived and ordered the troops to their barracks, abandoning the airport and citizens' protection. A strange thing, General Trigo."

U.S. Links 3 Chávez Aides to Guerrillas  9/13/2008 WaPo: "Former interior minister Ramón Rodríguez Chacín and two leading intelligence officials helped the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia procure weapons in the group's effort to overthrow Colombian President Álvaro Uribe's U.S.-backed government, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a document placing sanctions on the three."

Embajador Chaderton denuncia ante la OEA, planes conspirativos contra el Presidente Hugo Chávez  9/11/2008 Aporrea 

An Inteview with George Ciccariello-Maher Venezuela From Below  9/9/2008 Counterpunch: "George Ciccariello-Maher is a doctoral candidate in political theory at UC Berkeley, who lived in Caracas for over a year. He contributes regularly to Counterpunch and MRzine, and is currently preparing a book entitled: We Created Him: A People’s History of the Bolivarian Revolution."

Flota de la marina de guerra de Rusia vendrá a Venezuela a finales de año, informó Chávez  9/8/2008 TeleSur 

Chavez Visits South Africa and Strengthens South-South Relations  9/7/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Mérida, September 3, 2008 (— Hugo Chavez arrived in Pretoria, South Africa Tuesday morning with the aim of developing closer relations with Venezuela, to concretize cooperation and “to strengthen the world of the South,” he said. One of the main agreements reached was that South Africa will work with Venezuela in the Petroleum Belt of the Orinoco River…. Africans were brought to Venezuela as slaves from the 16th to 19th centuries, to be used by the Spanish in gold mines and on cocoa and coffee plantations, among other things. 32% of Venezuela’s population is estimated to be of afro-Venezuelan descent, including the president."

Venezuela to host Russia navy exercise in Caribbean  9/6/2008 Reuters: "Several Russian ships and 1,000 soldiers will take part in joint naval maneuvers with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea later this year, exercises likely to increase diplomatic tensions with Washington, a pro-government newspaper reported on Saturday. Quoting Venezuela's naval intelligence director, Salbarore Cammarata, the newspaper Vea said four Russian boats would visit Venezuelan waters from November 10 to 14."

Chavez backs Russian recognition of Georgia regions  8/29/2008 Reuters 

CIA Plane Hidden in Cayman Islands Trust  8/24/2008 Mad Cow Morning News: "After making an emergency landing at the International Airport José Tadeo Monagas in Maturin, Venezuela, the pilot and co-pilot of the American-registered twin-engine Piper Cheyenne (N395CA) bailed out of the plane, leaving it sitting in the middle of a runway as they sprinted for the airport fence. Onboard were 28 suitcases stuffed with 700 kilos of cocaine, and 14 empty cans of fuel. The busted drug flight is the second recent incident involving an American plane. The first, a twin-engine Piper Navajo (N6463L)also suspected of drug trafficking, crashed outside Caracas, Venezuela while registered to a Houston firm widely thought to serve as a front to hide CIA planes, which was involved in a fiery crash near Caracas on April 28 that made international headlines."

Los Yukpa Vencerán: Informe audiovisual sobre la problemática en la Sierra de Perijá  8/22/2008 Aporrea 

Venezuela seeks observation satellite in five years  8/17/2008 Reuters: "Venezuela's first satellite, named after independence hero Simon Bolivar, is for broadcast and telecommunications purposes and is due to be launched from China in November, Chavez said. But major oil explorer Venezuela is seeking to build a second satellite to help map the vast South American country, Chavez said on his weekly television show."

The United States and Venezuela: More Than Just A Gun Show  8/15/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Venezuela was once known solely for its oil deposits and compliant trade relations with the United States; Washington’s interest in the country was largely limited to the narrow, oil-driven economic ties between the two countries. Only when Chávez became the leader of what was beginning to become an important trading partner and threatened to destabilize a status-quo that was not in Venezuela’s favor, did the United States express much concern over the well-being of the latter’s population. The sudden intense concern that then followed seems directly tied to the U.S.’s economic interests, glazed over by a revival of a heavy dose of Cold War-era ideology."

Danny Glover, Haiti, and the Politics of Revolutionary Cinema in Venezuela  8/14/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "In 2007 the National Association of Film Makers and the Venezuelan Chamber of Film Producers criticized Glover for using political contacts to secure the funding package without a bidding process. The filmmakers called such methods "demoralising and detrimental to future generations of Venezuelan movie-makers." Claudia Nazoa, president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Feature Film Producers (known by its Spanish acronym Caveprol), said, "What worries us is this trend for neo-colonisation by international figures who come to talk of their support for Chávez's government—and leave with money for their projects." In 2007, Venezuela provided $18 million to fund Toussaint, and this year the authorities kicked in an extra $9 million. Venezuelan directors complain that the budget for Glover’s film matches the entire state budget for domestic films from 2003 to 2008—a sum they say could “finance 36 Venezuelan films.” Culture Minister Sesto called it "naive" to think the movie industry would be out $18 million, since the money did not come from Villa del Cine's operating funds but were part of an "additional credit.” He added, "The funds earmarked for this movie will be invested exclusively in Venezuela ... creating jobs and providing excellent experience for our national film industry.” "

Venezuela’s Chavez Meets with President of World Jewish Congress  8/13/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Fourth Fleet Steams South - Return of the Gunboat  7/29/2008 Counterpunch: "One immediate response of Latin America's leftist leaders to Washington's unilateral revival of the fleet has been the formation of UNASUR, a 12-nation mutual security pact that pointedly excludes the U.S. Spearheaded by Brazil, the continent's economic powerhouse, UNASUR seems designed to boost Brazilian armament industry sales as much as to stave off U.S. stabs to reestablish its hegemony over Latin America."

Hugo Chávez's Jewish Problem  7/24/2008 Commentary: also published in the Wall Street Journal - "there is something else, aside from simple anti-Americanism, at work in Mr. Chávez's foreign policy. He and his supporters are in the grip of another age-old obsession, albeit one with a few indigenous twists: an obsession, that is, with the supposedly excessive power of world Jewry, and in particular of Venezuela's few, prosperous and increasingly imperiled Jews."

Putin wants closer military ties with Venezuela  7/22/2008 Global Research: ""We have recently been strengthening the legal base for our cooperation, searching for ways to diversify our relations through new cooperation areas, namely transport, space, high-tech production, and of course military and technical cooperation," Putin said."

Chavez eyes major arms purchases from Russia  7/20/2008 AFP 

Declaracion del II Encuentro Nacional Afrovenezolano del 17 al 20 de julio de 2008  7/19/2008 AfroCubaWeb: "Rechazar categóricamente la legislación racista de la Directiva del Retorno aprobada recientemente por el parlamento europeo. Exigir al Gobierno Venezolano a traves de sus instituciones activar el Plan de Acción de la III Conferencia Internacional Contra el Racismo. Profundizar el trabajo organizativo y formativo de los y las militantes a lo interno de la Red de Organizaciones Afrovenezolanas."

N.H. will accept free oil from Chavez after all  7/19/2008 AP: "Back in 2006, when Chavez began offering free oil to Americans from Venezuela's government-controlled Citgo, New Hampshire's energy office contacted the Venezuelan Embassy about working out a deal. But the idea galled some New Hampshire Republicans, including Sen. John Sununu, who called it a "disgrace" and an attempt at grandstanding by Chavez, and Democratic Gov. John Lynch squelched the effort. This year, though, "the state's role is to make sure people are aware of the program," Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said."

Yo soy afro-descendiente con memoria colectiva  7/19/2008 Aporrea 

Venezuela's Chavez: No warmer a reception for Obama  7/16/2008 Raw Story: "Chavez told his supporters not to raise their hopes that relations with the United States would improve if Obama is elected U.S. president, saying there was little difference between him and Republican candidate John McCain. "The two candidates for the U.S. presidency attack us equally, they attack us defending the interests of the empire," Chavez said at a meeting of his socialist party."

Venezuela's Chavez says oil could reach $300  7/15/2008 Reuters: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday oil prices could hit $300 per barrel if U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil again freezes Venezuelan assets in a dispute over a nationalized oil project."

Transparency International's wall of silence  7/13/2008 21st Century Socialism: "Unsurprisingly, TI’s report was seized upon by the opposition as evidence in support of their claims. PDVSA was a “company of low transparency”, and although TI did not directly suggest that PDVSA was corrupt, they do say that companies that withhold basic information from the public “leave the door open to corruption”. But TI’s report was wrong. Not just any old wrong. But completely, utterly, glaringly wrong. All the information that TI claimed PDVSA was refusing to disclose was freely available in their Report and Accounts and published on their website and in the press. TI’s financial involvement with the oil industry stretches back over many years. “TI gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of... Shell and ExxonMobil,” they say on their website. Generous contributor ExxonMobil is no friend of Venezuela's socialist government. Earlier this year they took PDVSA to the British High Court in a bid to seize their assets, and lost."

Anti-Chávez Student Group Attacks Police, Creates Chaos in Mérida, Venezuela  7/13/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "A notoriously violent Venezuelan student organization aligned with the Venezuelan opposition known as the March 13th Movement (M13) fired gunshots and threw Molotov cocktails at police officers, blockaded streets using seized university buses, and ransacked sections of the Andean town of Mérida on Thursday and Friday, to protest crime and insecurity in the city."

Afrovenezolanos Exigen Profundizar la Revolucion  7/11/2008 Prensa Afrovenezolana: "Durante los dias 17 al 20 de julio se estara realizando el II Encuentro Nacional Afrovenezolano, donde participaran delegados y delagadas de catorce estado del pais para elaborar el plan quinquenal 2008/2013 para el desarrollo integral de las comunidades afrodescendiente en el pais."

Chavez Tells FARC to End Struggle  6/14/2008 Consortium News: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has declared that armed struggle in Latin America is essentially over. In the latest chapter of his complex mediation between left-wing guerrillas and the right-wing Colombian government, Chavez has asked the FARC guerrillas to lay down their arms and release all hostages "in exchange of nothing" - as a humanitarian gesture."

Chavez Revising, Not Revoking Venezuela's New Intelligence Law  6/9/2008 Global Research: "Over the weekend, Chavez showed his mettle as a democratic leader. He acknowledged "errors" in the newly enacted Law on Intelligence and Counterintelligence and will fix them to assure it fully complies with Venezuela's Constitution. He gave examples and cited Article 16 that cites the possibility of prison terms for persons not cooperating with intelligence services. It's a "mistake," said Chavez and "not a small (one)." The new intelligence services won't oblige anyone to inform on others. Doing so is "overstepping," and "I assume responsibility" for the error and will fix it."

Chávez Suffers Military and Policy Setbacks  6/8/2008 NYT:  "But in a rare act of self-criticism on Saturday, Mr. Chávez acknowledged the ire that his intelligence overhaul had provoked among legal scholars and human rights groups, which said Mr. Chávez was attempting to introduce a police state by forcing judges to cooperate with intelligence services and criminalizing dissent. “Where we made mistakes we must accept that and not defend the indefensible,” Mr. Chávez said at a campaign rally in Zulia State for gubernatorial and mayoral candidates from his Socialist party. “There is no dictatorship here,” he continued. “No one here is coerced into saying more than they want to say.”

Group demands Venezuela envoy recall over Jewish conspiracy remark  6/7/2008 Haaretz: "The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center says Ambassador Alexis Navarro made anti-Semitic comments. Navarro was quoted by the daily Moscow News as saying that a failed 2002 coup that briefly ousted President Hugo Chavez involved Israeli Mossad intelligence snipers "who were Venezuelan citizens, but Jews." The remarks appeared in an interview the newspaper published on May 15. Advertisement The group said in a statement Friday that it wrote a letter to Venezuela's foreign minister saying the comments were racist and incite violence against Jews."

Israel mulls downgrading ties with Venezuela due to Iran alliance  6/7/2008 Haaretz: "Israeli sources who are following the Venezuela-Iran relationship closely note that Chavez recently instituted several reforms inspired by the Iranian Republic's Islamic Revolution. He plans to establish militias modeled on the Revolutionary Guards, as a counterweight to the regular army. During the Second Lebanon War, Chavez criticized Israel harshly, comparing Israel's attacks against Palestinians and Lebanon with the "methods of Hitler" and saying that the Israelis are doing what Hitler did, killing innocent children and entire families. In the wake of these statements, Venezuela's ambassador to Israel was summoned and reprimanded. In response, Venezuela downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel and recalled its ambassador to Caracas. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni recalled the Israeli ambassador to Jerusalem, but he returned to Caracas soon after."

Newspaper vice president shot dead in Venezuela  6/3/2008 AP: "The vice president of a Venezuelan newspaper was shot and killed by a gunman who police said could have confused the victim for his brother — the president of a daily that has closely covered corruption cases. Pierre Fould Gerges, vice president of the Reporte Diario de la Economia, was shot about a dozen times by an assassin on a motorcycle Monday night, newspaper editor Jose Palmar told the Venezuelan broadcaster Union Radio. "Everything indicates it was a hit," Palmar said, adding the 48-year-old was shot about a dozen times and that the gunman stole nothing during the attack outside a Caracas gas station."

Venezuela: Critics see spy law targeting dissent  6/3/2008 AP: "Chavez says the intelligence law that he quietly decreed last week will help Venezuela detect and neutralize national security threats, including assassination or coups plots. But many Venezuelans are alarmed they could be forced to act as informants for the authorities — or face up to four years in prison. "It's a system just like Cuba," said Raul Barbiera, an 80-year-old barber who was born in Spain and immigrated to Venezuela decades ago. He said the law reminds him of his experiences as a young man during the fascist dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, when "you couldn't speak against the government." Barbiera said people will watch what they say because "anyone can start a file on you." Chavez's leftist government maintains links to community activist groups and also has set up neighborhood-level "communal councils" that decide how to spend government funds for community projects."

Festival de Tradiciones Afroamericanas en Venezuela  6/3/2008 Boletin Cubarte: "El V Festival Internacional de Tradiciones Afroamericanas (Fita), que se realizará del 19 al 23 de junio en el estado Aragua, reunirá a unos 250 artistas, especialistas y agrupaciones de 12 países, que deleitarán durante cinco días a los asistentes a este tradicional evento, que se efectuará en el Hotel Maracay. Así lo dio a conocer el presidente del Fita, Santos López, quien dijo que este año se darán cita artistas y maestro de Alemania, Brasil, Cuba, Guyana, Estados Unidos, Haití, Ecuador, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, República Dominicana y Trinidad."

Washington Planning to "Checkmate" Venezuela  6/2/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuela Replaces Decades-Old Intelligence Institutions  5/29/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Chavez says United States is spying on Venezuela  5/21/2008 AP: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the United States on Wednesday of using anti-drug flights for spying — and said that fighter jets are ready to defend Venezuela's sovereignty. Chavez said a U.S. Navy plane that flew into Venezuelan airspace during a purported anti-drug mission was actually involved in reconnaissance. "They are spying, even testing our capacity to react," Chavez said in a televised speech. "We are not going to allow the violation of our sovereignty.""

Controversy Over Guajira - U.S. Military Bases in South America  5/21/2008 Counterpunch 

THE WAR MACHINE: OR HOW TO MANIPULATE REALITY  5/18/2008 Chavez Code: "The Secretary General of the International Police (INTERPOL), Ronald Kenneth Noble, is an ex US Government employee, and he was First Undersecretary of the Department of Treasury in charge of the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Center for Federal Law Enforcement Training, the Network of Financial Crimes Control and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (which, by the way, is the entity in charge of enforcing the blockade against Cuba and the prohibition of US citizens to travel there). Noble has been Secretary General of INTERPOL for 8 years (two terms), and it was he who was in charge of supervising the authentication of the “evidence” obtained by the Colombian government in the FARC camp. INTERPOL was charged with a pretty limited and subjective mision, that was to “Examine the user files on the eight seized FARC computers and to determine whether any of the user files had been newly created, modified or deleted on or after 1 March 2008.” INTERPOL did not occupy itself with verifying the origin, accuracy or source of those files or computers, which means that reasonable doubt still remains regarding the true authorship of that data. INTERPOL took for granted that the machines and the evidence pertained to Raul Reyes and the FARC, which in legal terms prejudices the entire investigation because it shows that from the beginning, INTERPOL had already taken the side of the Colombian government."

Chávez Seizes Greater Economic Power  5/18/2008 NYT: "Faced with shortages of foods, building materials and other staples, President Hugo Chávez is intensifying state control of the Venezuelan economy through a new wave of takeovers of private companies and the creation of government-controlled ventures with allies like Cuba and Iran."

Venezuela accuses Colombian troops of intrusion  5/18/2008 Xinhua: "The Venezuelan government on Saturday accused 60 Colombian troops of illegally entering the Venezuelan territory and called "the incursion" a provocation by the Colombian government seeking to destabilize the region". "Venezuela views with concern that this act of provocation comes at a time when our government has denounced the belligerent policy of the Colombian government that is deliberately looking to destabilize the region," the Foreign Ministry said in a protest note."

Chavez: Interpol report 'ridiculous'  5/16/2008 AP 

Venezuela weapons worry US, Colombia  5/16/2008 AP: "Now they have documented reasons for their worries — certified by Interpol. Colombian rebel computer files described Thursday as authentic by the international police agency suggest a dramatic arms buildup by President Hugo Chavez could benefit leftist guerrillas that the U.S. has spent billions to defeat."

Chavez Says Attack by the U.S. Would Cause $500 Oil  5/15/2008 Bloomberg 

EVA GOLINGER - The CIA is more active than ever in Venezuela  5/15/2008 Granma: "If he should be elected president of the United States, McCain would engage in a much more hostile and aggressive policy toward Venezuela and Cuba, and even the other ALBA countries. His discourse is already more precise toward the region and he is constantly mentioning how he would further tighten policy on what he classifies as dictatorships and threats in Venezuela and Cuba. That goes beyond simply wanting the Florida vote. McCain is a military man and an imperialist in the sense that he wouldn’t accept the United States losing its influence over and domination of its "backyard." He suffers from that same complex that the other Republicans have about Cuba and Fidel Castro, for example. They still cannot accept that Cuba has defeated imperial aggression and the 50 years of blockade and attacks. They persist in their spoilt and infantile attitudes that stop them from turning the page and accepting reality: the most powerful empire in the world could not defeat the Cuban Revolution. So, with a McCain, we will be even worse off than with a Bush and, believe me, he is a hard one to surpass."

Venezuela's Chavez "anxious" for better U.S. ties  5/14/2008 Reuters: "Whoever the next president is and whatever party they are from, we aspire, we are anxious, that 2009 start with a new level of relations," Chavez said from an oilfield close to the Orinoco River. In the past, Chavez has said a victory for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the November election could worsen relations between the two countries. All candidates are wary of the outspoken critic of U.S foreign policy, although Democrat Barack Obama has said he could meet with him.

US 'authenticates' Chavez-Farc ties  5/10/2008 Al Jazeera: "US intelligence officials have said computer files seized from a Colombian rebel leader's laptop computer are authentic and show strong ties between Farc and Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president."

Uribe Would Be Involved in the “Final Offensive” Against Venezuela  5/8/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "This information is recorded in the document titled “Shock and Awe Theory in Venezuela: Provoke a State of Shock In Order to Command Respect,” presented to the Public Ministry by former Venezuelan Attorney General Isaías Rodríguez when he went to make declarations regarding the Danilo Anderson case last Friday. Citing sources from the Security Administration Department (DAS) of Colombia, the document recounts a recent private meeting in which Ambassador Brownfield, President Uribe, Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos, and Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos participated. They conversed about plans to promote the “secession of the state of Zulia, Venezuela.”

Drug pilot, election exec killed on CIA plane  5/7/2008 Mad Cow Morning News: "The downed plane's relevance to the ongoing story of vote fraud in America involves the identity of it's passenger, Jose Alfredo Anzola, a 34-year old founder of Smartmatic, a Venezuela-based election company whose American subsidiary counted one in every three votes in the 2004 Presidential election, while engaged the whole time in heated controversy over allegations the firm counting America's votes had hidden ties to—of all people— Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. The connection between last week's plane crash and the ongoing saga of CIA Drug trafficking begins with 43-year old Mario Donadi Gafaro, the veteran drug pilot at the controls of the twin engine plane."

Leaders Warn of Autonomy Attempts in Venezuela, Ecuador  5/7/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Colombian militia camp found inside Venezuela  5/1/2008 IANS: "Venezuela’s armed forces have discovered a camp set up by a Colombian militia group inside the country and arrested four of its members, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday quoting a top military official. The secret camp of the outlawed United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, or AUC, was found last Thursday in the western state of Zulia near the Colombian borders, General Jesus Gonzalez said, adding that the camp was set up to train the right-wing paramilitaries. He also said that several documents, 19 uniforms with AUC insignia, weapons, munitions, explosives and 80 kgs of cocaine were found from the site."

El racismo de Globovisión hace que los Afro descendientes Venezolanos se unan para protestar  4/30/2008 Aporrea 

Venezuela’s Chavez plans to bury old empire of USA  4/25/2008 Pravda 

Vanguardism vs. Mass Action - Radical Chavismo Growls a Challenge  4/23/2008 Counterpunch: "Now granted, if you use the convention of rounding up numbers 5 or above and rounding down numbers below 4 and below, you get 55 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Obama. But if you take the actual numbers, 54.71 and 45.31, and calculate the difference, it works out to 9.40 percent. And that is a number closer to 9 than to 10."

Radical Chavismo Bares Its Teeth  4/15/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "On Thursday April 3rd, a group of approximately 500 armed combatants representing the most vociferously revolutionary sectors of the Venezuelan Revolution engaged in a display of force in the historically-revolutionary parroquia of 23 de Enero (January 23rd) in western Caracas, making painfully evident the deep and volatile divisions that threaten the tenuous unity of the governing coalition."

Venezuela and Brazil Advance on South American Defense Council  4/15/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuela nationalises steel firm  4/10/2008 Al Jazeera 

U.S. Native Americans Lead Opposition to Designation of Venezuela as Terrorist Nation  4/4/2008 Indian Country Today: "Members of the Penobscot Indian Nation are spearheading opposition to a congressional resolution that would designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism. James Sappier, former Penobscot Indian Nation chief, and Erlene Paul, the head of Penobscot's Human Services Department, said House Resolution 1049 threatens not only a program in which the South American country has provided free heating oil to hundreds of American Indian and low-income communities for the past three winters, but would also jeopardize the good relationships tribal members have developed with Venezuelans and could impact oil imports for the entire U.S. Sappier said he has alerted the tribes involved to contact their congressional representatives to vote against the resolution. ...The resolution was introduced March 13 by Florida Republican Reps. Connie Mack and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. It asks the State Department to place Venezuela on a list of countries that provide support to terrorist organizations, a designation that would impose a number of sanctions on Venezuela and U.S. companies and individuals that do business there. Other countries on the list are North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Sudan."

Venezuela: Afro-Venezuela: The San Juan Cultural Festival, Reality Tour, Global Exchange, June 21, 2008 - July 01, 2008  3/28/2008 Global Exchange: with members of the Afro-Venezuelan Network

Venezuela bombs drug runways near Colombia border  3/28/2008 Reuters: "Traffickers often use illegal runaways to land aircraft packed with drugs en route to the United States or Europe. The army plans to destroy dozens of border runways in coming days. Chavez says U.S. accusations about his country's drugs record are untrue and aimed at discrediting him. Although he refuses to sign an anti-drug cooperation agreement with Washington, Venezuela frequently extradites Colombians accused of drug crimes to the United States."

AFRODESCENDIENTES: RETOS DEL 2007 Por Jesús Chucho García  3/27/2008 Red Afrovenezolana: "Es trascendental que en la Rfeorma constitucional se reconszac en el preambulo la constribusión afrodescendientes en el proceso histroico venezolano y abrir un capitulo sobre afrodescendientes destacando el reconocieminto a las tierras comunales, cultura, conocimientso ancestrales, educación, para que todo ello tenga repercusion en las leyes organicas. La propuesta de la creacion por Decreto Presidencial del Consejo Nacional de Educación y Cultura Afrodescendientes (el decreto esta en el despacho del presidente), Reforzar los equipos de educacion afrovenezolana (ambas propeusta estan en manos del nuevos Minsitro de Educación Adan Chavez), incluirnos en el levantamientso de indicadorse estadisticos sociales de esa compañia anonima capitalista, casi neoliberal, llamada INstituto Nacional de Estadistica ante al cual llevamos ocho años haciendole esta petición."

I INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF AFRODESCENTS WOMEN AND AFROVENEZUELAN FAMILY  3/27/2008 Red Afrovenezolana: "In this context, afrodescendents families are still marked by the consequences of the terrible process of domination that submitted millions of men and women with the European insertion to the coasts of subsaharian Africa and subsequently, the transfer of Africans men and women to the American continent through the Slave Trade that imprisoned then as if it was an inherent condition. This historical process has been transmitted for a long time to diverse generations, excluding a lot of their cultural, economic, spiritual, social and political contribution to the development and of the Americas and the Caribbean. In our society we still have the established idea of a supposed “inferiority” imposed by a dominant social system, which has marked the conscience of afrodescendents and not-afrodescendents, maintaining thus a society where racism, racial discrimination and endorracism are intermingled silently, to become an obstacle of the development and enjoyment of the full rights of men and women, these last resulting the most affected in the three dimensions of a class, racist and sexist system. Nevertheless, the afrodescendent family has contributed in the construction of more human relations through the inherited values, customs, traditions and ancient knowledge. The Network of Afrovenezuelans Organizations and the Cumbe of Afrodescendents Women, opens an space with this meeting in the need to favor an analysis and debate of the situation of afrodescendent families in Venezuela, Latin America and the Caribbean, designing alternatives and discussions on the ways of conducting an appropriate development to improve life quality and question an exclusive sociopolitical system. In times of revolution, the real participatory democracy is consolidated only once inclusion of all society sectors is realized and the enjoyment of equity of opportunities and conditions."

The Coming War on Venezuela  3/25/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Perhaps most frightening on the domestic front is the strategic transformation that such U.S. funding has undergone. Specifically, such funding has increasingly begun to target what had previously been considered core Chavista constituencies, such as the nation's Afro and Indigenous populations (77-78). What Golinger doesn't emphasize is the fact that this has occurred alongside a concerted effort by opposition political parties, notably the NED-funded Primero Justicia, to penetrate the poorest and most dangerous Venezuelan barrios, like Petare in eastern Caracas."

Eva Golinger's Bush v. Chavez - The Coming War on Venezuela  3/24/2008 Counterpunch: "Perhaps most frightening on the domestic front is the strategic transformation that such U.S. funding has undergone. Specifically, such funding has increasingly begun to target what had previously been considered core Chavista constituencies, such as the nation's Afro and Indigenous populations (77-78). What Golinger doesn't emphasize is the fact that this has occurred alongside a concerted effort by opposition political parties, notably the NED-funded Primero Justicia, to penetrate the poorest and most dangerous Venezuelan barrios, like Petare in eastern Caracas."

Peruvian leaders cry foul as Chávez exports healthcare  3/24/2008 Guardian: "400,000 Latin Americans take up free surgery offer."

Bush versus Chávez - Washington's War on Venezuela  3/24/2008 Monthly Review: by Eva Golinger. This site contains appendices, many from classified documents, for Golinger's book.

A 154 años de la abolición de la esclavitud deuda continua - Colectivo Red Afrovenezolana  3/23/2008 AfroCubaWeb 

Peru says Chavez backs domestic revolt - Peruvian Officials Accuse Chavez of Bankrolling Subversives  3/22/2008 AP 

Peru says Chavez backs domestic revolt - Peruvian Officials Accuse Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez of Bankrolling Subversives  3/22/2008 AP: "The arrested Peruvian militants allegedly are from the Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana, a Venezuela-based leftist movement. Authorities say its Peruvian members are mostly former militants of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, which was all but decimated in 1997 after it took hostages at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima. Peruvian officials say they arrested seven members on Feb. 29, including the group's alleged leader, Roque Gonzalez, who spent eight years in prison for kidnapping a Bolivian politician. Two more alleged members were arrested on March 17 trying to carry in $65,000 from Ecuador — money Peruvian authorities suspect is Venezuelan. But Coordinadora founder Fernando Rivero told The Associated Press in Venezuela that the group is entirely autonomous. While it supports the "revolutionary struggle" of Colombian rebels to more equitably distribute wealth, it receives no support from Venezuela, he said. Garcia calls the anti-poverty centers, which have sprung up in poor Peruvian neighborhoods over the past three years, "a rallying point for everyone who is against the democratic system and national institutions," according to the Andina state news agency."

African Diaspora conference focuses on common issues  3/20/2008 Twin Cities Daily Planet 

Chronology of the 4th Generation War Against Venezuela  3/20/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

ExxonMobil loses Venezuela case  3/19/2008 Al Jazeera: "US oil giant ExxonMobil has said it will keep fighting to get billions in compensation from Venezuela after a British judge ruled against it in a case stemming from the nationalisation of a joint oil project. The judge on Tuesday suspended a previous court order that had frozen $12bn in assets belonging to Venezuela's state oil company. ExxonMobil was also ordered to make an interim payment of $765,300 to cover legal costs within 21 days."

Venezuela's state-run oil firm demands payment in euros  3/18/2008 Kansas City Star: "Venezuela’s state-run oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, is starting to demand payment in euros. The measure is aimed at protecting revenue from a weakening U.S. dollar, Venezuela’s oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, said Tuesday."

Venezuela 1: ExxonMobil 0  3/18/2008 New Statesman 

Bush Administration Seeks to Declare Venezuela a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” - Rising Tensions May Be Tied to Covert Drug Operations Reported by Narco News  3/17/2008 Global Research: "In other words, the U.S. State Department is using Uribe's "dodgy dossier" as a pretext for sanctions and embargoes against the Bolivarian republic. If implemented, such restrictions would severely limit the ability of U.S. firms to do business with Caracas while making it nearly impossible for Venezuela to export oil to the United States or import vital spare parts necessary to keep the economy going."

VENEZUELA: Guns, drugs and thugs: the threat from Plan Colombia  3/17/2008 Green Left, Australia: published 17/11/93

U.S. Cocaine-Plane Invasion Spooking Latin America - Trail of Evidence Points to Major Covert Operation Targeting Venezuela  3/17/2008 NarcoNews: "Two Florida-based companies that have exported a total of at least 11 aircraft to Venezuelan buyers since 2003 are linked to four cocaine planes and what appears to be an elaborate covert intelligence operation, an ongoing Narco News investigation shows. The covert program, law enforcement sources contend, likely involves the CIA and components of Defense Department intelligence agencies, and is focused, in part, on penetrating, or even propping up, narco-trafficking groups in Venezuela. That country’s outspoken leader, Hugo Chávez, is regularly demonized by U.S. policymakers for, among other things, supposedly allowing his country to become a haven for narco-traffickers. The operation also appears to prioritize intelligence objectives over law enforcement goals, which means tons of cocaine might well be getting a free pass into the United States."

$300 MILLION FROM CHAVEZ TO FARC A FAKE  3/7/2008 Greg Palast: "Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government. Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange."

The Afrovenezuelan Network and the Paramilitary Menace - La Red Afrovenezolana ante la Amenaza Paramilitar  3/5/2008 AfroCubaWeb 

A look at militaries in 3 Andean nations - A Look at the Military Strength of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela  3/4/2008 AP 

Exporting Health Care - Oil and Health in Venezuela  3/4/2008 Counterpunch: "Simon Romero of the New York Times never fails to report the slightest flutter of bad news from Venezuela. On February 9 of this year, under the headline "In Venezuela, Faith in Chávez Starts to Wane" he tells us that--despite the blessings of large oil reserves--food shortages and "outbreaks of dengue fever" have the populace in a foul mood… Perhaps Romero was in a hurry, but if he had checked a story released by the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN) on February 8, the day before his own story appeared in the Times, he might have seen this headline: "Venezuela is First Country to Show Progress in the Fight against Dengue." Under this headline, Romero and the entire staff of the NYT could have read the article's opening sentence: "Members of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), who are visiting Venezuela, said that Venezuela is the first nation of the region to make great progress in the fight against dengue." The PAHO is the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO)."

Chavez: Colombia has become the Israel of Latin America  3/3/2008 AP 

Colombia: Evidence suggests Chavez gave FARC $300M  3/3/2008 CNN: "Evidence found in computers seized in a raid over the weekend suggests that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently gave the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia $300 million, Colombia's national police chief said Monday."

Chavez: “Colombia is the Israel of Latin America.”  3/3/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Chavez sharply criticized Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, accusing him of leading a "criminal" government, and warned the Colombian leader that any kind of incursion into Venezuelan territory on the part of the Colombian military would be a cause for war between the two countries. "This is very serious. If this were to happen in Venezuela it would be a cause for war," said Chavez. "Don't even think about it or I'll launch an air attack." Chavez compared the actions of the Colombian government to those of Israel in the Middle East who he accused of "invading," "bombing," and "killing" the Palestinian people with the intention of "preventing the union of the Arabic world." "It is the fist of the empire," he said. "And we're not going to let them plant another Israel here in Latin America." "

Chavez sends tanks to Colombia border in dispute  3/2/2008 Reuters: "Mr. Defense Minister, move me 10 battalions to the frontier with Colombia immediately, tank battalions," Chavez said on his weekly TV show. "The air force should mobilize. We do not want war." ..."He (Uribe) is a criminal," Chavez said. "Not only is he a liar, a mafia boss, a paramilitary who leads a narco-government and leads a government that is a lackey of the United States ... he leads a band of criminals from his palace."

Chavez Warns Of "War" if Colombia Strikes Venezuela  3/1/2008 NYT: "President Hugo Chavez warned Colombia on Saturday it would be a "cause for war" if its forces struck inside Venezuelan territory as they did in Ecuador killing a top Colombian rebel commander there. "Don't be thinking that you can do that here ... because it would be extremely serious and would be a causa belli, a cause for war, (if there is) a military incursion in Venezuelan territory. There's no excuse," Chavez said in his most belligerent comments to date in a diplomatic dispute with Bogota."

Venezuelan activist lectures on social issues  2/29/2008 Daily Collegian: "Garcia focused on how the United States wants to capture this black movement, the creation of schools of leadership that were put in place by Colin Powell, has only one objective. "We see it as [that the U.S] will pick leaders that will support invasions," Garcia said. This is a subtle manipulation tactic from the United States to catch the black movement in Latin America, Garcia said during his lecture. "The agenda is low intensity, low profile intervention, is not like in 2004 the overt intervention in Haiti," Garcia said. "Take a look at the diaspora in Latin America in light of the changes that are happening now," Garcia said. The lecture was hosted by the Afro-American Studies department and the center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies. Students and faculty alike crowed the Shirley Graham Du Bois Library located in the New Africa house."

U.S. intelligence questions Venezuela arms purchases  2/27/2008 McClatchy 

Clinton: Be wary of Obama on foreign affairs  2/26/2008 Boston Globe: Venezuela joins the new axis of evil - "Clinton, flanked by senior retired military officers who have endorsed her candidacy, said she would meet with adversaries as president but would not be "penciling in the leaders of Iran, or North Korea, or Venezuela, or Cuba on the presidential calendar without preconditions.""

Chávez orders immediate liberation of indigenous peoples fenced in by English corporation in Apure  2/25/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "President Hugo Chávez ordered quick and decisive action Sunday in order to liberate 200 Yaruro indigenous people who have been encircled by fences built by Agroflora, an affiliate of the British Vestey Group, according to denunciations filed by Representative Cristóbal Jiménez and ratified by the Minister of Agriculture and Land, Elias Jaua. Also, 800 other indigenous people remained outside of the fences. "The farm put up a fence around them and they can't get out without permission from the farm owners," Jiménez explained."

Venezuela: Danger signs for the revolution  2/24/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

The Failure of Human Rights Watch in Venezuela and Haiti  2/23/2008 Haiti Analysis: "The way Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Haiti and Venezuela in its 2008 World Report reveals an underlying assumption that the U.S. and its allies have the right to overthrow democratic governments.[1] The Venezuela section of the report said nothing about ongoing attempts by the U.S. to overthrow the Chavez government. It is a matter of public record that the U.S. funded groups who were involved in the coup of 2002 and continued to do so after the coup took place.[2] Rather than denounce or even acknowledge U.S. destabilization efforts in Venezuela, HRW continues to complain about the non-renewal of RCTV's public broadcasting license. RCTV was one of big television networks that aided and abetted the coup. HRW objects that RCTV's involvement in the coup "was not proven in a proceeding in which RCTV had an opportunity to present a defense." It is impossible to imagine a non-farcical proceeding that would conclude otherwise, especially when coup's perpetrators thanked the private media, of which RCTV was a major part, for its help."

Going right up against Chavez - A Spanish pop singer's remark brings him a battle he didn't expect.  2/23/2008 LA Times: "Forgive me for not sharing the selective outrage of the artists who signed the Sanz statement, including one of my heroes, singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, victim of his own repression under the Franco dictatorship in Spain. Where were all these artists when the Bush administration, for purely political reasons, repeatedly prevented Cuban and other artists from entering the U.S. and performing here? The Sanz defenders include Miami power couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan, who were among the outspoken opponents of allowing fellow Cuban artists from the island to attend the Latin Grammys in the past, saying it would offer aid and comfort to Fidel Castro. The anti-Castro hard-liners, you'll recall, prompted the Latin Recording Academy to move the inaugural award ceremony in 2000 from Miami to Los Angeles. The defense of artistic freedom should not depend on your politics."

Hugo Chávez's Anti-Imperialist Army  2/19/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Recently, Chávez invited Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to join him on his weekly TV show, Aló, Presidente! Turning to his friend and ally, Chávez remarked that Latin American countries which formed part of ALBA (or Bolivarian Alternative for The Americas) "should set up a joint defense strategy, and integrate our armed forces and intelligence servicesbecause the enemy is the same: the United States empire." Chávez, who is known for his bravado and rhetorical flair, then added, "Whoever takes on one of us will have to take on everyone, because we will respond jointly." "

Exxon Is Demanding Ten Times its Investment, Says Venezuelan Oil Minister  2/16/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuela requests help from U.S. senator - Ambassador asks Lugar to get freeze set aside in Exxon Mobil case  2/15/2008 Bloomberg 

Hugo Chávez and High Anxiety at the NYT  2/15/2008 Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuelans Grow Bitter Over Abductions - Rebels in Colombia Blamed As Chavez, Their Defender, Focuses on Hostages There  2/13/2008 WaPo: "Officials at the Communications and Interior ministries did not return calls seeking comment. But Venezuelan authorities have publicly asserted that common criminals and right-wing Colombian paramilitary groups are behind the kidnappings. "If someone has proof that there is another factor involved, they should collaborate to the maximum with the authorities," Vice President Ramón Carrizales said in January. In the rolling mountains and picturesque towns along this border, the families of hostages say that those who demand ransom often have Colombian accents and identify themselves as members of revolutionary groups. Venezuelans who are freed, after paying ransom, contend that they have been held by guerrillas, almost always inside Venezuela."

Chavez Denounces Colombian Paramilitary Activity in Venezuela  2/12/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "The president made reference Sunday to a study of Columbian paramilitary activity titled The Business of War, written by Caracas-based German Political Scientist Darío Azzellini. In an interview on the Venezuelan Social TV station (TVES) Sunday night, Azzellini reported that paramilitary operations are carried out by mercenaries from the U.S. and Latin America who are recruited by private military companies but pose as civilian employees. Beyond government oversight, they are contracted by large landowners, business owners, and other elites to control local populations. A principal source of paramilitary income is their control of 100% of Colombian heroine exports and 70% of Colombian cocaine exports, Azzellini claimed. In Colombia, giant drug cartels manage large quantities of the drugs, but in Venezuela paramilitaries deal smaller amounts in local communities to increase their leverage within the populations they are contracted to control. Chavez and Azzellini publicized this “open secret” at a time of heated opposition accusations that Chávez does not sufficiently cooperate in combating drug trafficking through Venezuelan territory. ...Nonetheless, paramilitaries in Venezuela are known for “social cleansing,” or the hired killing of local community members, says the Ezequiel Zamora National Farmers’ Front (FNCEZ), an organization that defends the rights of rural communities. Since an agrarian reform law favorable to rural workers was passed by the Chávez administration in 2001, paramilitaries have murdered 190 rural community members who dared to stand up to the owners of plantations, milk factories, and mines. The most recent killings were last month, when Municipal Legislator Freddy Ascaño and Community Council Federation President Alfredo Montiel were executed by paramilitaries in their municipality of Tucaní, south of Lake Maracaibo in western Venezuela, the local population reported to the FNCEZ. Paramilitary groups and their powerful contractors have also purchased farms beyond the border region of Venezuela, in the state of Guárico, the FNCEZ alleges. They use the lands for military training and the elaboration of their business in drugs, food, and gasoline contraband. Operations are facilitated by “miniscule sectors” of the local police, the National Guard, and other federal security forces that have been drawn into the paramilitary activity."

Chavez Threatens US Oil Cutoff  2/10/2008 AP: "Chavez has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil shipments to the United States, which is Venezuela's No. 1 client, if Washington tries to oust him. Chavez's warnings on Sunday appeared to extend that threat to attempts by oil companies to challenge his government's nationalization drive through lawsuits. "I speak to the U.S. empire, because that's the master: continue and you will see that we won't sent one drop of oil to the empire of the United States," Chavez said Sunday. "The outlaws of Exxon Mobil will never again rob us," Chavez said, accusing the Irving, Texas-based oil company of acting in concert with Washington. Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross said the company had no comment. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Caracas did not return a call."

Chávez advierte que de continuar guerra económica no enviará más petróleo a EEUU  2/10/2008 TeleSur: "ni una gota de petroleo… mister danger… El mandataro venezolano también denunció que los sectores de oposición de su país intentarán generar este año "descontento en el pueblo", con el fin de ganar la mayoría de los gobiernos regionales en las elecciones de noviembre próximo. La estrategia opositora, según Chávez, se centra en boicotear la distribución de alimentos e incrementar los índices delictivos, a través del sicariato ejercido por grupos paramilitares colombianos y la distribución de drogas a bajo costo a criminales de sectores populares del país. "No andan con fusiles ni uniformados (los paramilitares), están haciendo trabajo en los barriosvendiendo cocaína a precios bajos para ganarse a las bandas y los delincuentes e ir armándolos con armas de guerra", alertó el mandatario venezolano. "Tienen un juego planificado para este año: el desabastecimiento de alimentos, para generar descontento en el pueblo (...). Sicariato, a través de paramilitares; la droga, el alcohol", agregó."

Scholar: US Sought Help in Bolivia - Scholar: US Asked Him to Keep Tabs on Cubans in Bolivia; US Says Such Request Would Be Error  2/9/2008 ABC: "An American scholar said Friday that an official at the U.S. Embassy asked him to keep tabs on Venezuelan and Cuban workers in Bolivia. Washington said that any such request would be an error and against U.S. policy. "I was shocked," Fulbright scholar Alex van Schaick told The Associated Press. "I mean, this man's asking me to spy for the U.S. government." Van Schaick is one of six Fulbright scholars doing research in the country."

Venezuelans increasingly turn to Santeria for spiritual needs  2/9/2008 Jamaica Gleaner: "The surge in Santeria, which is practised by many in Cuba, can partly be explained by the arrival of thousands of Cuban doctors in Venezuela. President Hugo Chávez has been providing Cuba with subsidised oil in exchange for thousands of physicians who come to the South American country to treat poor people. Santeria priests are also making annual predictions for Venezuelans and issuing warnings - just like Cuban 'santeros' do in Havana. Last month, one group of priests said the gods have indicated that the twice-divorced Chávez would be a more effective leader with a woman at his side. It's a familiar pattern. Santeria has grown in popularity in New York, Miami and Puerto Rico in the past following influxes of Cubans, according to Margarite Fernandez Olmos, a professor at City University of New York who has researched the religion. She said Santeria's popularity also has grown in places "where African-based spirituality becomes a more acceptable social and spiritual option". In overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Venezuela, many shops have sprung up in recent years selling roosters, goats and other animals to be sacrificed in Caracas' working class barrios. In the city's churches, believers can be seen in head-to-toe white, praying to their gods before statues of Catholic saints."

Venezuelan Minister: Oil Company Asset Freeze is “Judicial Terrorism”  2/8/2008 Venezuela Analysis: "Venezuela's Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez, characterised a series of court orders obtained by Exxon Mobil Corp. in Britain, the Netherlands, and the Dutch Antilles, freezing up to $12 billion in assets of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, as "judicial terrorism," in a statement today. The injunctions were solicited by Exxon in anticipation of an arbitration ruling by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes over a compensation claim. As part of a drive to recover the nation's oil sovereignty the Venezuelan government nationalized Exxon's 41.7 percent stake in the Cerro Negro project in May last year with an offer for compensation. However, Exxon not satisfied, demanded arbitration. Although the U.S. oil giant has not specified how much it wants in compensation it said its investment in the project was valued at $750 million at the time the assets were expropriated."

Exxon wins freeze on $12 billion of Venezuelan assets  2/7/2008 Reuters: "Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has won court orders freezing up to $12 billion in Venezuelan assets around the world as it fights for compensation for operations lost to President Hugo Chavez's nationalization drive."

Rights group: Venezuela is basically democratic  2/1/2008 Miami Herald: "Human Rights Watch said Venezuela was actually more democratic than many nations, contrary to some popular U.S. perceptions."

ALBA, an Economic Alternative for Latin America by Medea Benjamin  1/28/2008 Common Dreams 

Chavez Urges Withdrawals From U.S. Banks  1/26/2008 AP: "Chavez warned that U.S. "imperialism is entering into a crisis that can affect all of us" and said Latin America "will save itself alone." To help pool resources within the region, Chavez and other leaders were setting up a new development bank at the summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Nations of Our America, or ALBA."

Venezuelan Pleads Guilty in Cover-Up of Suitcase of Cash  1/26/2008 NYT 

Chavez accuses Colombia of preparing military attack on Venezuela  1/25/2008 DPA 

Venezuela troops crack down on smuggling  1/22/2008 AP: "The food shipments seized included milk, rice, sugar and other products, Oviedo said. Venezuelans have suffered shortages of basic products like milk, chicken and sugar recently as the oil-producing country's robust economic growth has far exceeded agricultural production. Critics say the socialist government's attempts to force down prices have contributed to the shortages by making it tough for sellers to make any profit. Some people allegedly have sought to sell their goods for higher prices across the border. Chavez has warned that Venezuelan farmers who attempt to smuggle milk or other foods into Colombia seeking a higher profit could have their properties expropriated by the state."

"Suitcase Scandal" is Another U.S. Foreign Policy Blunder  1/10/2008 Alternet: "The U.S. Justice Department alleges that the money was intended for the election campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was elected president of Argentina on October 28. Of course this would not violate U.S. law, even if it were true; nor would the Feds' charge that the money came from the Venezuelan government. What makes it a Federal case is the charge that the defendants, allegedly acting on behalf of the Venezuelan government, tried to convince Antonini to keep quiet about the alleged origin and destination of the money. Thus the men are indicted for failing to notify the U.S. Attorney General that they were acting as agents of a foreign government (Venezuela). The charges have deeply alienated the new Argentine government, which by all accounts was poised to increase its engagement with the United States. President Cristina Fernandez immediately dismissed them as "garbage," and her government accused Washington of using "dirty tricks" to intimidate her and attempt to drive a wedge between Argentina and Venezuela. Her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, demanded that the U.S. surrender the fugitive Antonini, for whom the Argentine government has repeatedly sought extradition from the United States."

CITGO, Venezuela Distribute Oil To U.S. Services  1/8/2008 CBS: "For scores of low-income families it will be like the equivalent of winning a small lottery jackpot. A program run by former Congressman Joe Kennedy will deliver free heating oil – donated by Citgo and the Chavez regime in Venezuela – to some 200,000 households. CBS 2 takes a look at how the program works, and who qualifies."


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