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luka
14-05-2006, 10:55 AM
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luka
14-05-2006, 11:45 AM
oops, no i won't

gek-opel
14-05-2006, 03:39 PM
no go on...

luka
14-05-2006, 04:03 PM
basically it was going to be at queen elizabeth hall, just turn up. then they changed without me realising. made you have to register if you wanted to go. so i couldn't go in the end.

gek-opel
14-05-2006, 04:49 PM
Is he still about in this country then?

luka
15-05-2006, 08:40 AM
well yeah he gave a talk yesterday which i was all set to attend then i found out they changed the rules without publicising it very well. perhaps you can find a transcript of his talk, you never know, in the meantime heres pilger in the paper
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1773908,00.html

luka
15-05-2006, 08:46 AM
and a counterweight

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2179115,00.html

Ness Rowlah
15-05-2006, 01:57 PM
and a more balanced piece from The Observer on Chavez (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1769146,00.html) from two weeks ago.



Chávez's supporters have no doubts about how he spends his time. They are the main beneficiaries of his misiones, the multi-billion dollar programmes that have provided the Mercals and schools and universities for the poor, financial benefi ts and healthcare at the hands of 17,000 guest Cuban doctors housed in the poorest areas. It is a support that verges on religious devotion. I hear, but cannot confirm, that there are some who pray to images of Chávez.

...


But there is another prism through which Chávez's democratic credentials look more dubious. On top of his leadership of the failed coup, and his relationships with left -wing revolutionary guerrillas, there is the fact that in his seven years in power he has consolidated personal control over all of Venezuela's institutions.

The army answers to Chávez, as does the central bank, the treasury and the state oil-company PDVSA, which provides the vast bulk of Venezuela's revenue as the world's fifth-largest oil exporter. In 2002, when many members of the 19,000-strong company joined a lock-out strike in support of calling early elections to oust him, he fired them all, replacing them with chavistas. He has packed the judiciary with his supporters and rewritten the constitution to suit his ends. Most worryingly, he has talked about finessing the constitution to enable him to stay in office until 2030.

Padraig
15-05-2006, 10:38 PM
and a more balanced piece from The Observer on Chavez (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1769146,00.html) from two weeks ago....

"But there is another prism through which Chávez's democratic credentials look more dubious"

Of course they're "dubious": he's not a democrat, but a socialist ...

"his leadership of the failed coup"

What, the Observer would prefer a leader of a successful coup, as in Pakistan, a brutal military dictatorship fully supported by the West? Yeah that would be better, all right ...

Then more alarmist stuff about Chavez's control of Venezuela's resources, followed by "Most worryingly, he has talked about finessing the constitution to enable him to stay in office until 2030."

What, is the Observer concerned he'll suddenly turn into a George Bush or a Tony Blair or an Adolf Hitler, appropriating public resources for the benefit of right-wing elites? But isn't that precisely the kind of "leader" they actually want in Venezuela, just so long as he's a pro-Western, pro-capitalist facilitator ...

Slothrop
16-05-2006, 12:00 PM
What, is the Observer concerned he'll suddenly turn into a George Bush or a Tony Blair or an Adolf Hitler, appropriating public resources for the benefit of right-wing elites?
Well, rising to power democratically on a populist platform and then gradually shifting yourself into a position of absolute power does have the odd precedent, doesn't it? And you do get the odd 'leftist' dictator as well, and they don't tend to be much nicer than the other sort once they're in power. I want to like Chavez, but 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' thinking tends to lead to some rather dodgy areas.

But isn't that precisely the kind of "leader" they actually want in Venezuela, just so long as he's a pro-Western, pro-capitalist facilitator ...
Is it? Where did you get that from. From what I've read of the Observer, and from what they suggest in the article, they're more likely to want a popular leftist anti-american leader who can offer a credible alternative to the neocons without ending up doing all sorts of evil shit to his own people. It's not inevitable that Chavez will 'go bad', but as the article was pointing out, there are some worrying signs.

Rambler
16-05-2006, 12:07 PM
From what I've read of the Observer, and from what they suggest in the article, they're more likely to want a popular leftist anti-american leader who can offer a credible alternative to the neocons without ending up doing all sorts of evil shit to his own people. It's not inevitable that Chavez will 'go bad', but as the article was pointing out, there are some worrying signs.

From the Venezuelans that I know, they hate Chavez, and as early as 2000 were appalled at how chummy the UK press were making him out to be. The marches against him in 2002 were serious, serious protests: Chavez's soldiers were shooting into the crowds and killing people let's not forget. I don't know enough to be properly informed about this, but I do know enough to be very suspicious of UK papers like the Guardian/Observer bigging the guy up just because he's all anti-American.

luka
16-05-2006, 12:36 PM
it is very hard to know what to think which is why i was keen to go and hear him speak. my sister tells me he went on for over 3 hours in typical south american demagouge windbag style so maybe it was best i missed it.

droid
16-05-2006, 12:50 PM
From the Venezuelans that I know, they hate Chavez, and as early as 2000 were appalled at how chummy the UK press were making him out to be. The marches against him in 2002 were serious, serious protests: Chavez's soldiers were shooting into the crowds and killing people let's not forget. I don't know enough to be properly informed about this, but I do know enough to be very suspicious of UK papers like the Guardian/Observer bigging the guy up just because he's all anti-American.

Hang on - wasnt this the same shooting incident that was re-edited by Spanish CNN to make it look as if Chavez's supporters had fired first? Its all in that “The Revolution will not be televised” documentary: http://www.chavezthefilm.com/html/film/awards.htm


Who started the shooting, and why, remains unclear. The march, which began in the wealthier neighborhoods of Caracas’s east side, picked up strength as it approached the palace, with an estimated 50,000 joining the protesters. Tens of thousands of Chavez’s supporters, meanwhile, sought to block the demonstrators from reaching their goal.

Several of the people killed were among those defending the palace, including the driver of Chavez’s vice president, Diosdado Cabello.

Witnesses attributed the deaths to an exchange of fire between the Presidential Guard and elements of the Metropolitan Police, loyal to Caracas Mayor Alfredo Peña, a Chavez opponent whom Washington has openly groomed to take on the president, inviting him to meetings with the State Department and the International Monetary Fund.

The Venezuelan establishment, senior military officials, the media and the US State Department all seized on the deaths to proclaim that Chavez had ordered a “massacre,” violating the constitution and justifying his ouster.

Calling the shooting of demonstrators an “assault” on society, General Efrian Vazquez declared that the overthrow of Chavez was “not a coup.” He called it a “position of solidarity with the entire Venezuelan people.”

Admiral Hector Ramirez, the chief of the Venezuelan navy, read a statement on the CNN news network declaring: “We cannot accept a tyrant in the presidency. His remaining threatens the country with disintegration. We direct military personnel of all ranks to join forces with us and make a new Venezuela a reality.”

Among those yelling the loudest about the shootings was Carlos Andres Perez, the former president of the Democratic Action Party, together with his supporters, both civilian and military. There is no small irony in this, given that the Perez government was responsible for the bloody suppression of the so-called Caracazo, when troops massacred at least 1,000 workers, youth and poor who came down from the “cerros,” or hilltop shantytowns, and took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital in 1989 to protest against a drastic economic austerity plan demanded by the IMF.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/apr2002/vene-a15.shtml



As for the liberal UK press 'bigging him up'. Thats not the impression I get:

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060405_cartoon_time_channel.php

Dont believe the hype!

Rambler
16-05-2006, 01:00 PM
Hang on - wasnt this the same shooting incident that was re-edited by Spanish CNN to make it look as if Chavez's supporters had fired first? Its all in that “The Revolution will not be televised” documentary: http://www.chavezthefilm.com/html/film/awards.htm

Didn't know about that documentary, but thanks for the link; like I say, my knowledge is pretty scant, but it did come from a Venezuelan friend of mine who was there at the time.


Dont believe the hype!

Always.

droid
16-05-2006, 01:01 PM
Ken Livingstone
Monday May 15, 2006
The Guardian

...Venezuela is a state of huge oil wealth that was hitherto scarcely used to benefit the population. Now, for the first time in a country of over 25 million people, a functioning health service is being built. Seventeen million people have been given access to free healthcare for the first time in their lives. Illiteracy has been eliminated. Fifteen million people have been given access to food, medicines and other essential products at affordable prices. A quarter of a million eye operations have been financed to rescue people from blindness. These are extraordinary practical achievements.

Little wonder, then, that Chávez and his supporters have won 10 elections in eight years. These victories were achieved despite a private media largely controlled by opponents of the government. Yet Chávez's visit has been met with absurd claims from rightwing activists that he is some kind of dictator.

The opponents of democracy are those who orchestrated a coup against Chávez, captured on film in the extraordinary documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It is a film that literally changes lives. By chance, a TV crew was in the presidential palace when the military coup of April 2002 against Chávez took place. It captured minute by minute the events that unfolded.

Anti-Chávez gunmen, in league with the coup organisers, opened fire on a pro-Chávez demonstration. As guns are commonplace in Venezuela, some in the crowd returned fire. US television stations manipulated these images by editing out the gunfire aimed at the pro- Chávez crowd to claim that anti-Chavez demonstrators had been attacked.

A million people took to the streets of Caracas to demand Chávez's release. The moment when the army deserted the coup leaders and went over to support the demonstrators is shown on film...

You wanna check out that documentary Rambler - its unbelieveable stuff...
...

luka
16-05-2006, 03:40 PM
http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=623&highlight=venezuela

http://www.guardian.co.uk/venezuela/story/0,,1775763,00.html (chavez interview)

Padraig
16-05-2006, 07:45 PM
Chávez is a threat because he offers the alternative of a decent society

Venezuela's president is using oil revenues to liberate the poor - no wonder his enemies want to overthrow him

By John Pilger

05/13/06 "The Guardian" -- -- I have spent the past three weeks filming in the hillside barrios of Caracas, in streets and breeze-block houses that defy gravity and torrential rain and emerge at night like fireflies in the fog. Caracas is said to be one of the world's toughest cities, yet I have known no fear; the poorest have welcomed my colleagues and me with a warmth characteristic of ordinary Venezuelans but also with the unmistakable confidence of a people who know that change is possible and who, in their everyday lives, are reclaiming noble concepts long emptied of their meaning in the west: "reform", "popular democracy", "equity", "social justice" and, yes, "freedom".

The other night, in a room bare except for a single fluorescent tube, I heard these words spoken by the likes of Ana Lucia Fernandez, aged 86, Celedonia Oviedo, aged 74, and Mavis Mendez, aged 95. A mere 33-year-old, Sonia Alvarez, had come with her two young children. Until about a year ago, none of them could read and write; now they are studying mathematics. For the first time in its modern era, Venezuela has almost 100% literacy.

This achievement is due to a national programme, called Mision Robinson, designed for adults and teenagers previously denied an education because of poverty. Mision Ribas is giving everyone a secondary school education, called a bachillerato. (The names Robinson and Ribas refer to Venezuelan independence leaders from the 19th century.) Named, like much else here, after the great liberator Simon Bolivar, "Bolivarian", or people's, universities have opened, introducing, as one parent told me, "treasures of the mind, history and music and art, we barely knew existed". Under Hugo Chávez, Venezuela is the first major oil producer to use its oil revenue to liberate the poor.

Mavis Mendez has seen, in her 95 years, a parade of governments preside over the theft of tens of billions of dollars in oil spoils, much of it flown to Miami, together with the steepest descent into poverty ever known in Latin America; from 18% in 1980 to 65% in 1995, three years before Chávez was elected. "We didn't matter in a human sense," she said. "We lived and died without real education and running water, and food we couldn't afford. When we fell ill, the weakest died. In the east of the city, where the mansions are, we were invisible, or we were feared. Now I can read and write my name, and so much more; and whatever the rich and their media say, we have planted the seeds of true democracy, and I am full of joy that I have lived to witness it."

Latin American governments often give their regimes a new sense of legitimacy by holding a constituent assembly that drafts a new constitution. When he was elected in 1998, Chávez used this brilliantly to decentralise, to give the impoverished grassroots power they had never known and to begin to dismantle a corrupt political superstructure as a prerequisite to changing the direction of the economy. His setting-up of misions as a means of bypassing saboteurs in the old, corrupt bureaucracy was typical of the extraordinary political and social imagination that is changing Venezuela peacefully. This is his "Bolivarian revolution", which, at this stage, is not dissimilar to the post-war European social democracies.

Chávez, a former army major, was anxious to prove he was not yet another military "strongman". He promised that his every move would be subject to the will of the people. In his first year as president in 1999, he held an unprecedented number of votes: a referendum on whether or not people wanted a new constituent assembly; elections for the assembly; a second referendum ratifying the new constitution - 71% of the people approved each of the 396 articles that gave Mavis and Celedonia and Ana Lucia, and their children and grandchildren, unheard-of freedoms, such as Article 123, which for the first time recognised the human rights of mixed-race and black people, of whom Chávez is one. "The indigenous peoples," it says, "have the right to maintain their own economic practices, based on reciprocity, solidarity and exchange ... and to define their priorities ... " The little red book of the Venezuelan constitution became a bestseller on the streets. Nora Hernandez, a community worker in Petare barrio, took me to her local state-run supermarket, which is funded entirely by oil revenue and where prices are up to half those in the commercial chains. Proudly, she showed me articles of the constitution written on the backs of soap-powder packets. "We can never go back," she said.

In La Vega barrio, I listened to a nurse, Mariella Machado, a big round black woman of 45 with a wonderfully wicked laugh, stand and speak at an urban land council on subjects ranging from homelessness to the Iraq war. That day, they were launching Mision Madres de Barrio, a programme aimed specifically at poverty among single mothers. Under the constitution, women have the right to be paid as carers, and can borrow from a special women's bank. From next month, the poorest housewives will get about £120 a month. It is not surprising that Chávez has now won eight elections and referendums in eight years, each time increasing his majority, a world record. He is the most popular head of state in the western hemisphere, probably in the world. That is why he survived, amazingly, a Washington-backed coup in 2002. Mariella and Celedonia and Nora and hundreds of thousands of others came down from the barrios and demanded that the army remain loyal. "The people rescued me," Chávez told me. "They did it with all the media against me, preventing even the basic facts of what had happened. For popular democracy in heroic action, I suggest you need look no further."

The venomous attacks on Chávez, who arrives in London tomorrow, have begun and resemble uncannily those of the privately owned Venezuelan television and press, which called for the elected government to be overthrown. Fact-deprived attacks on Chávez in the Times and the Financial Times this week, each with that peculiar malice reserved for true dissenters from Thatcher's and Blair's one true way, follow a travesty of journalism on Channel 4 News last month, which effectively accused the Venezuelan president of plotting to make nuclear weapons with Iran, an absurd fantasy. The reporter sneered at policies to eradicate poverty and presented Chávez as a sinister buffoon, while Donald Rumsfeld was allowed to liken him to Hitler, unchallenged. In contrast, Tony Blair, a patrician with no equivalent democratic record, having been elected by a fifth of those eligible to vote and having caused the violent death of tens of thousands of Iraqis, is allowed to continue spinning his truly absurd political survival tale.

Chávez is, of course, a threat, especially to the United States. Like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who based their revolution on the English co-operative moment, and the moderate Allende in Chile, he offers the threat of an alternative way of developing a decent society: in other words, the threat of a good example in a continent where the majority of humanity has long suffered a Washington-designed peonage. In the US media in the 1980s, the "threat" of tiny Nicaragua was seriously debated until it was crushed. Venezuela is clearly being "softened up" for something similar. A US army publication, Doctrine for Asymmetric War against Venezuela, describes Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution as the "largest threat since the Soviet Union and Communism". When I said to Chávez that the US historically had had its way in Latin America, he replied: "Yes, and my assassination would come as no surprise. But the empire is in trouble, and the people of Venezuela will resist an attack. We ask only for the support of all true democrats."

John Pilger's new book, Freedom Next Time , is published next month by Bantam Press http://www.johnpilger.com/