This moving letter was sent to me by a friend Janie Rezner who has a radio program in CA. Gen
I have interviewed Lisa Sullivan on KZYX, (born in this country, but moved to Venezuela many years ago) , who is with the organization School of the Americans Watch headed up by Fr. Roy Bourgeois. The goal of SOA Watch is to close down the dreadful School of the Americas, who trains young men to kill and torture, back in their own countries. I too am very very saddened by the death of Chavez and wanted to share it with you. . . . .Janie
Greetings friends and thanks for so many lovely messages from so many of you. We are living through such a painful moment here in Venezuela, but an extraordinary moment as well: the passion, conviction and hope of my friends and neighbors is inspiring.
So many have asked how we are doing, and so I took a few moments to put together some thoughts, which you will find below. Feel free to share, especially with folks whose only news source is the mainstream press. Best to all, abrazos, Lisa
YO SOY CHAVEZ , TU ERES CHAVEZ, TODOS SOMOS CHAVEZ Reflections by Lisa Sullivan on the death of President Chavez Barquisimeto, Venezuela May 5, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.
As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.
Media may contact Palast at interviews (at) gregpalast.com.
Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It’s the oil. And it’s the Koch Brothers – and it’s the ketchup.
Last Monday, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) met for its second summit in Santiago, Chile, one year after its founding meeting in Caracas, Venezuela in 2011. The Summit is the culmination of roughly a decade of efforts to create a viable mechanism for greater integration in the Americas, and particularly a year of planning by a “troika” of representatives from, believe it or not, Chile, Venezuela and Cuba. They were able to pull it off successfully, despite their obvious differences, and all 33 presidents or heads of state from the region attended, with the exception of Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, who sent a letter with his Vice-President Nicolás Maduro.
CELAC explicitly excludes the US and Canada, a historic first for a hemispheric organization with huge symbolic importance, because it answers a long-standing dream for unity of the subcontinent that harks back to Simón Bolívar and the struggles for independence from the European colonial powers. Beyond the symbolism, however, it is strategically crucial: It means that there is now a subcontinent bloc of developing nations that can speak with one voice,, and also serve as a counterweight to US political and economic hegemony.
By Gar Alperovitz, Democracy Collaborative Press | Serialized Book
truthout.org, Thursday, 06 December 2012 10:44
Americans committed to a renewal of democracy are likely to discover this can only be meaningfully achieved in units of scale smaller than a continent, but also of sufficient size to be capable of substantial semiautonomous functioning: the region.
The Pluralist Commonwealth model attempts to deal seriously with long-standing arguments that the sheer continental size of the United States and its very large population are ultimately inimical to a robust system-wide vision of democratic practice. Community-oriented strategies appear to be within the range of realistic political possibility in coming years. What of the larger and seemingly utopian idea that much more far-reaching – indeed, radical – decentralization is both necessary and possible?
Five major considerations suggest that, contrary to conventional assumption, the logic of regional restructuring is likely to become of increasing importance as the twenty-first century develops. These include trends in Supreme Court and congressional decision making; an explosion of state-based initiatives; the impact of global political-economic forces on the current federal system; very large-order projected changes in the economy and population; and new trajectories of expanding ethnic political power concentrated in key regions experiencing economic distress.
Organization of American States (OAS): For the record. At the end of the 42d General Assembly of OAS members in Bolivia, the foreign ministers of Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua announced that their countries had decided to withdraw from the Inter-American of Reciprocal Assistance, better known as the Rio Pact.
In making the announcement, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Patino said, “Our countries have made the decision to bury what deserves to be buried, to throw into the trash what is no longer useful.”
Article Three states, in pertinent part,”The High Contracting Parties agree that an armed attack by any State against an American State shall be considered as an attack against all the American States and, consequently, each one of the said Contracting Parties undertakes to assist in meeting the attack in the exercise of the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations”
Twenty-two American countries variously have ratified the Treaty since 1947, but Cuba withdrew after the revolution and Mexico withdrew in 2004.
Comment: This is primarily a symbolic snub because the Pact is a relic of the Cold War and no surprise because the US Secretary of State did not attend the meeting.
All four withdrawing states have leftist governments and are the members of Venezuelan President Chavez’ initiative known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of our Americas (ALBA), which is supposed to be a counterweight to the OAS. They appear determined to assert their distance from the US.
Argentina invoked the Rio Pact when it fought the British in the Falklands, but no American state rallied. The US invoked the Pact after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to enlist the aid of the other American states in the War on Terror. Only four Central American states agreed to participate actively.
Phi Beta Iota: The creation of CELAC — the alternative to the OAS that excludes Canada and the US, has not been covered by the mainstream media. A sustainable revolution is occurring in the South; the US Government will be the last to understand this.
Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition
Ira Helfand, MD International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Physicians for Social Responsibility
Credits and Acknowledgements The publication of this briefing paper was made possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Over the last several years, a number of studies have shown that a limited, regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause significant climate disruption worldwide.
Two studies published this year examine the impact on agricultural output that would result from this climate disruption. In the US, corn production would decline by an average of 10% for an entire decade, with the most severe decline, about 20% in year 5. There would be a similar decline in soybean production, with, again, the most severe loss, about 20%, in year 5.
A second study found a significant decline in Chinese middle season rice production. During the first 4 years, rice production would decline by an average of 21%; over the next 6 years the decline would average 10%.
While much of the world is in crisis and protests are erupting throughout Europe and the United States, Latin American and Caribbean nations are building consensus, advancing social justice and increasing positive cooperation in the region. Social, political and economic transformations have been taking place through democratic processes in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil throughout the past decade, leading to a massive reduction in poverty and income disparity in the region, and a substantial increase in social services, quality of life and direct participation in political process.
One of the major initiatives of progressive Latin American governments this century has been the creation of new regional organizations that promote integration, cooperation and solidarity amongst neighboring nations. Cuba and Venezuela began this process in 2004 with the founding of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), that now includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent’s and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda. ALBA was initially launched in response to the US government’s failed attempt to impose its Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) throughout the region.
Today ALBA is a thriving multilateral organization with member nations that share similar political visions for their countries and for the region, and includes numerous cooperation agreements in economic, social and cultural areas. The fundamental basis of trade amongst ALBA nations is solidarity and mutual benefit. There is no competition, exploitation or attempt to dominate amongst ALBA states. ALBA even counts on its own currency, the SUCRE, which allows for trade between member nations without dependence on the US dollar.
In 2008, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formally established as a regional body representing South American states. While ALBA is much more consolidated as a unified political voice, UNASUR represents a diversity of political positions, economic models and visions for the region. But UNASUR members share the common goal of working towards regional unity and guaranteeing the resolution of conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means. UNASUR has already played a key role in peacefully resolving disputes in Bolivia, particularly during an attempted coup against the government of Evo Morales in 2008, and has also successfully moderated a severe conflict between Colombia and Venezuela, leading to the reestablishment of relations in 2010.
Two hundred years ago, South American Independence hero Simon Bolivar, a native of Venezuela, dreamed of building regional unity and creating a “Patria Grande” (Grand Homeland) in Latin America. After achieving independence for Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and fighting colonialists in several Caribbean nations, Bolivar attempted to turn this dream of Latin American unity into reality. His efforts were sabotaged by powerful interests opposing the creation of a solid regional bloc, and eventually, with the aid of the United States, Bolivar was ousted from his rule in Venezuela and died isolated in Colombia several years later. Meanwhile, the US government had proceeded to implement its Monroe Doctrine, a decree first declared by President James Monroe in 1823 to ensure US domination and control over the newly-freed nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Nearly two hundred years of invasions, interventions, aggressions, coup d’etats and hostilities led by the US government against Latin American nations shadowed the 19th and 20th centuries. By the end of the 20th century, Washington had successfully imposed governments in every Latin American and Caribbean nation that were subordinate to its agenda, with the exception of Cuba. The Monroe Doctrine had been achieved, and the US felt confident in its control over its “backyard”.
The unexpected turn at the beginning of the 21st century in Venezuela, formerly one of Washington’s most stable and subservient partners, came as a shock to the US. Hugo Chavez had been elected President and a Revolution had begun. A coup d’etat attempt in 2002 failed to subvert the advancement of the Bolivarian Revolution and the spread of revolutionary fever throughout the region. Soon Bolivia followed, then Nicaragua and Ecuador. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay elected socialist presidents, two of them former guerrilla fighters. Major changes began to occur throughout the region as the peoples of this vast, diverse and rich continent assumed power and made their voices heard.
Social transformations in Venezuela that gave voice to people’s power became exemplary for others in the region, as did President Chavez’s defiance of US imperialism. A powerful sentiment of Latin American sovereignty and independence grew stronger, even reaching those with governments aligned with US interests and multinational control.
On December 2-3, 2011, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was born and the overwhelming force of a continent nearly 600 million strong, achieved a 200-year dream of unity. The 33 member nations of CELAC all agree on the unquestionable necessity to build a regional organization that represents their interests, and that excludes the overbearing presence of the US and Canada. While CELAC will take time to consolidate, the exceptional commitment evidenced by the 33 states present at its launching in Caracas, Venezuela, cannot be underestimated.
CELAC will have to overcome attempts to sabotage and neutralize its expansion and endurance, and the threats against it and intents to divide member nations will be numerous and frequent. But the resistance of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean who have resumed this path of unity and independence after nearly two hundred years of imperialist aggression, demonstrates the powerful force that has led this region to become an inspiration for those seeking social justice and true freedom around the world.
Phi Beta Iota: Emphasis added. This is largely a Cuban G-2 puff-piece, but it also represents real potential. A great deal will depend on whether Cuba and Venezuela get serious about creating the M4IS2 capabilities needed to harmonize internal spending while shutting out predatory external influences. We would not be surprised to find CIA Stations shut down across Central and South America in the next few years, as these governments stop tolerating incompetent but active spy units operating from official installations.
“Who understands the gibberish of the president of the United States before the General Assembly?” Castro asked.
AFP – September 26, 2011 HAVANA – Cuba’s Fidel Castro blasted Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations as “gibberish” on Monday, saying the US president used a rambling address to justify the “unjustifiable.”
In his first published column since July, the 85-year-old revolutionary icon slammed US and NATO intervention in Libya as “monstrous crimes” and said Obama — whom he called the “yankee president” — used a bully pulpit at the UN General Assembly last week to try and sway global opinion.
Fidel, who handed the presidency to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006 due to a health crisis, has laid low in recent months, and his column published in state media was his first since July 3.
In Monday’s piece he came out swinging, saying Obama distorted the situations in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan, North Korea, Libya and the Palestinian conflict, and that the US leader used “a long rant to explain and justify the inexplicable and unjustifiable.”
“Who understands the gibberish of the president of the United States before the General Assembly?” Castro asked.
Castro also took issue with the “fascist methods by the United States and its allies to confuse and manipulate global opinion,” and said he was heartened by the “resistance” of his key allies Hugo Chavez and Evo Moralez, presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia, respectively, who criticized US and UN policy in their speeches.
“Has any nation been excluded from the bloody threats of this illustrious defender of international peace and security?” Castro said of Obama, whose UN quotes he cited extensively in his column.
“Who gave the United States such privileges?” Castro said.
He said countries must consider taking a stand at the General Assembly against the “NATO genocide in Libya,” an action Castro described as one of many “flagrant violations of principles.”
“Does anyone want it to be recorded that under their direction, the government of their nation supported the monstrous crimes by the United States and its NATO allies?” he said.
Washington and Havana are Cold War adversaries who have brought their mutual dislike and distrust into the 21st century, and Castro routinely makes political attacks on his ideological foe.
Since George W. Bush took office in January 2001, efforts to oust Hugo Chavez failed three times.
. . . . . .
Nonetheless, disruptive activities continue, including malicious propaganda, CIA subversion, funding opposition forces, sanctions, and militarizing the region, notably in Colombia as well as gunboat diplomacy by reactivating the Latin American/Caribbean Fourth Fleet for the first time since 1950 despite no regional threat.
By Benedict Mander in Caracas, Financial Times, May 29 2011
When the Colombian pop star Shakira vigorously denied press reports that she had lavished President Hugo Chávez with an autographed red guitar during a recent tour of Venezuela, it was one more sign of how toxic the controversial leader’s image has become.
. . . . . .
Nevertheless, Mr Chávez’s central dream of achieving regional unity in order to stand up against the US “empire”, has seen some advances. He has spearheaded the establishment of the Union of South American Nations, and now the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, both of which exclude the US.
The head of the U.S. State Department’s Latin American and Caribbean will resign this summer.
Arturo Valenzuela announced he will leave his post of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs to return to Georgetown University, where he taught before his appointment by Barack Obama in 2009.
The United States currently doesn’t have ambassadors in Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. There are only rudimentary diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Phi Beta Iota: As with Anne Marie Slaughter, he no doubt has a two-year limit or he loses tenure. It does not really matter who is in the office. Those of us who care about the Caribbean, Central, and South America have known since 2008 that there is no difference between the policies or lack thereof of the Bush-Cheney Administration, and those of the Obama-Clinton Administration. When Huge Chavez handed Barack Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America–Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent it became the duty of every person of integrity to read that book. Evidently Barack Obama chose not to read it, and just as he misled all US citizens into thinking that he represented change, so also has he failed the entire Southern Hemisphere.