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Fred Fuentes on the battle US citizens reject the Obama for food sovereignty in Venezuela administration’s sanctions against Venezuela

FRIDAY | May 27, 2011 | No. 65 | Bs 1 | C ARACAS

ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas

Venezuela rejects US sanctions, could restrict oil supply
Chavez increases social spending
In a big comeback after several weeks on medical rest due to a knee injury, President Hugo Chavez celebrated his Sunday program’s 12th anniversary by making major announcements regarding an increase in local governments’ budgets and a further investment in social programs, particularly attending to single, lowincome mothers and healthcare. After his regular broadcast, the Venezuelan President addressed a large crowd assembled outside the presidential palace, which gave him a warm welcome after missing his presence from the public light during the prior weeks. | page 4 The Obama administration unilaterally, and in violation of international law, imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, this week, accusing the Chavez administration of aiding in developing Iran’s nuclear program. This far-fetched claim was soundly rejected by the South American nation and other allied countries in the region, who have deemed this latest hostility of Washington towards Venezuela as an “act of aggression”. The Chavez government announced it will reserve its right to respond accordingly and is evaluating the effects on its supply of oil to the US. | page 2

Venezuela scholarships to Caribbean

In response to State Department sanctions against Venezuela, oil supply to the US could be affected

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Solidarity

Venezuela helps negotiate Honduras accord
President Chavez aided Hondurans in reaching a path towards justice after the coup d’etat 2 years ago. | page 3

Politics

Journalists attacked by opposition governor
Journalists from public TV were physically harrassed by anti-Chavez governor Henri Falcon. | page 5

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Venezuela: No Oil Contracts with US Government
the scope of their measure is, because we have only received information from very-low-level authorities. We believe they are making a political point more than an economic one”, he stated. Additionally, Ramirez said that continuity of oil shipments to the US will be decided according to assessments made by the Venezuelan government. “Curiously, they say we can continue exporting oil to the US in spite of these sanctions, but they are wrong because that is a decision that will be made according to our own terms. They hope to dictate what our response will be, but this is an issue concerning sovereignty”, he explained. The US government announced sanctions against PDVSA on Tuesday for its relations with Iran, but those sanctions would not disallow the sale of Venezuelan oil to the US. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said that the sanctions would prevent PDVSA from having access to contracts with the US government and financing imports and exports through US institutions. T/ AVN

Social Justice

Thousands of free laptops for school kids
The Venezuelan government has distributed nearly one million free computers to children. | page 6

ince 2005, Venezuela has not had any type of oil contract with the US government, nor has it received financing from the US ExportImport Bank, noted Venezuela’s Minister of Energy and Oil, Rafael Ramirez, this week. As such, the scope of the sanctions imposed by Washington against state-owned oil company PDVSA are not clear. Nonetheless, Ramirez explained that export licenses, which were also included in the unilateral sanctions, are “undefined” until the situation is clarified. “We have to ask [the US] what

rime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, announced his government has secured scholarships, which will enable Antiguan and Barbudan students to pursue degree studies in friendly nations. According to Spencer, the Venezuelan government has agreed to grant twenty full degree scholarships to students to pursue undergraduate studies in Community and Integral Medicine, Sports Management Technology, International Business Administration, Tourism, Water Transport and Agriculture. “The Government of President Hugo Chavez has once again demonstrated that they are committed to building the excellent relations that exist between both of our countries and it also demonstrates that we share the desire to ensure that the greatest good is provided for our people. One way of demonstrating this is to empower citizens through education in order to ensure that our nation remains on a sustainable path”, said Prime Minister Spencer.

the sanctions fall under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1996. tweeted throughout . announced it was imposing unilateral sanctions against seven international companies. Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) of 2010. In a clear attempt to leave Venezuela defenseless. labeled President Chavez as the regional “Anti-US Leader” in its annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment Report”. S. the US State Department. Many Venezuelans saw this as a posture betraying their own sovereignty and national security. In 2006. clearly stating it will no adhere to any decision made by the US government regarding its oil business. rallying at the company’s headquarters in Caracas. such as Russia and China. Reformate is a blending component that improves the quality of gasoline. 2011 The artillery of ideas Venezuela rejects US sanctions. The US sanctions do not affect Venezuela’s supply of oil to the United States. both Florida Republicans who run the House Foreign Relations Committee. though the Chavez government has found other suppliers of defense materials not subject to US pressures. Rafael Ramirez. the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. and prohibited the sale of military equipment to the South American country from the US or any company in the world that uses US technology. “We don’t just have the largest oil reserves in the world. despite his overwhelming victories in several elections and his oversight of Venezuela’s most vibrant democratic process in history. such as CITGO. Nor do the sanctions apply to PDVSA subsidiaries.000 gas stations throughout the United States. This year. declared Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Twitter this Tuesday (@chavezcandanga). on the Obama administration. Meanwhile. “Bring it on. funding and supporting the opposition. T/ Eva Golinger P/ Agencies “S that in the case of PDVSA. a US corporation owned by PDVSA which has seven oil refineries and over 10. and opposition candidates are bickering over who could unify their parties to challenge the overly-popular head of state. this week’s sanctions pave the road towards an even more aggressive policy towards Venezuela. the sanctions “prohibit the company from competing for US government procurement contracts. have vowed to take “direct actions against Hugo Chavez”. antiChavez coalition in the Venezuelan parliament refused to adhere to the declaration. PDVSA. On Wednesday. instead expressing approval for the US sanctions. dignified company that no longer bows down to US agenda”. but is actually unifying Venezuelans against foreign interference. Latin American nations and groups worldwide have expressed support for Venezuela’s defiant stance anctions against the homeland of Bolivar? Imposed by the US imperialist government”. and from obtaining US export licenses”. the US government has also been waging a severe demonization campaign against the Chavez government in international media. which somehow. all with the goal of provoking regime change “by any means”. “So. but concluded it wasn’t possible. Mr. According to State Department releases. calls from ultra-conservative members of Congress. there you have it!” Venezuela’s legislative body also issued a firm declaration on Tuesday rejecting the US-imposed sanctions and warning the US to cease the hostilities against the South American country or Venezuela could stop its oil supply northward. and interrupt its relations with other nations. he exclaimed. including Petroleos de Venezuela. These latest sanctions are a clear result of their pressure. BRING IT ON The Venezuelan government reacted firmly to the unilaterally imposed sanctions. building up military presence in the region and sanctioning the government. dictatorial and anti-democratic in US media. the US Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI). can help enable Iran to make nuclear bombs. Chavez faces reelection in 2012. May 27.2 million barrels of oil daily to the US”. The Venezuelan President is also regularly referred to as authoritarian. The State Department clarified the day. labeled the US sanctions as a “hostile act of aggression” against the South American nation. due to US dependence on Venezuelan oil. Ros-Lehtinen and Mack have again requested the White House place Venezuela on the list of state sponsors of terrorism this year. which feeds an ongoing internal conflict and climate of destabilization. INCREASING AGGRESSION The US government. President Chavez. In 2008. The 40% opposition. Venezuelans stand strong against US efforts to undermine their democratic process. They also announced that Venezuela is “thoroughly evaluating its response” and whether the US decision will “affect the supply of 1. “PDVSA is a sovereign. This decision marks the first time the US government has taken direct hostile action against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company. the Bush administration evaluated placing Venezuela on its unilateral “state sponors of terrorism” list. So far.| 2 | Impact No Friday. workers declared. Though this is a far-fetched objective. Dur- ing a joint press conference late Tuesday afternoon. including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Connie Mack. In 2010. for alleged “activities in support of Iran’s energy sector”.A. and PDVSA President and Oil Minister. the State Department imposed its first sanction against Venezuela for allegedly “not fully cooperating with the war on terrorism”. Some fear the Obama administration could attempt a “Libya-esque” plan against Venezuela: demonizing the President. which supported a briefly successful coup d’etat against President Chavez in 2002 and has since been heavily funding anti-Chavez groups with millions of dollars in order to build an opposition movement in Venezuela. he exclaimed. has been increasing its aggressive policies towards the Chavez administration during the past few years. from securing financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States. reminding his more than one and a half million followers on the social network that “the true impact of this latest US aggression is the strengthening of our nationalistic and patriotic morale in Venezuela!” On Tuesday morning. the State Department claims PDVSA “violated” the US legislation by “selling at least two cargoes of reformate to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011”. We also have the most revolutionary oil company in the world!” In another tweet. they wanted to see and feel the flame of the people of Bolivar defending the independence of the Venezuelan homeland? Well. who is recovering from a knee injury and has been forced to limit his public appearances. thousands of workers at PDVSA’s installations throughout Venezuela protested the US sanctions and stated they would “defend their oil sovereignty” in the face of “US aggression and interference”. Nicolas Maduro. the US government alleges. which is one of the largest oil companies in the world. Washington’s hostility is not aiding the opposition. Do not forget that we are the children of Bolivar”. Obama. nor will it accept any US interference in its relations with other nations. evaluates oil supply to US Venezuela’s government strongly rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to sanction its state-owned oil industry. and that of the still influential anti-Castro Cuban-American lobby. In the case of Venezuela. as clearly the Obama administration would not want to directly affect its own interests. In addition to the multi-million dollar US funding of anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister. this sanction has been renewed each year to the present date. as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions. (PDVSA).

We’re grateful to have been able to help towards that end”.” a music education method founded in Venezuela. who. from among some two dozen of the best orchestras. said oboist and seventh-grader Alejandro Luna.com Also. who has poured his heart and soul into these kids”.The artillery of ideas No Friday. said Bob Fiedler. adding that it will be necessary to ensure that “human rights are respected. and recognition of the National Resistance Front as a legal and legitimate political force. that you wonder why a teacher would be playing a recording or movie so loud. This three-year-old upstart orchestra built on a music methodology originating in Venezuela recently earned “honors superior” — a perfect score — at the 19th Annual Chicago Public Schools Elementary School Music Festival. Ravinia provides major funding and other resources. this agreement signed today . promoted by the Chavez government. wouldn’t have been possible. Chicago.” The kids have played everywhere from Harvard University to Turin. Venezuelan government helps successfully mediate Honduras agreement D uring his weekly TV program. but now she listens to classical music and gets excited everytime she learns a new composition. “Before. El Sistema is the complete opposite”. to return to his home country of Honduras. long interested in exploring the method. said Principal Scott Ahlman. Venezuela and Colombia have spent the last few months in mediation. and I used to get distracted and get into trouble”. Santos. and the current government ceases persecution against the resistance forces”. and the crisp strains of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony reverberates so in the halls. executive director of the People’s Music School. and in April Chavez. Chavez said the agreement “for national reconciliation and consolidation of the democratic system in Honduras includes four points demanded by Zelaya”. He would have liked to have been here. after Chavez had previously accorded with Zelaya during a meeting in Venezuela. It’s teaching music as a team sport rather than an individual sport”. 13. “I knew we were going to win”.venezuelanalysis. On a recent afternoon. I used to be a ‘C’ student. Much of the international community also refuses to recognize Lobo. Santos also announced that over the next few days the Organization of American States (OAS) will take measures for Honduras to rejoin the regional group. the fledgling orchestra began with 35 students who blossomed at Hibbard.. Italy. He put his whole heart into this agreement”. which will allow ex President Manuel Zelaya. with 170 kids involved in three levels of orchestras.a school with a predominantly Hispanic student population. Chavez said Zelaya would continue “fighting for a constituent assembly in Honduras”. She is so much more motivated in other things. uptown-based institution which brought the program to Hibbard in 2008. “She used to listen to the radio all the time.. who was overthrown in a coup in 2009 and forced into exile. Among those are return of Zelaya to his country. It was the advanced YOURS orchestra that blew judges away at the all-city festival. “It’s taught me discipline and responsibility. if you closed your eyes. with its rendition of the Beethoven piece and John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. said violinist and third-grader Emily Vazquez. 2011 Solidarity | 3| you could see the marching band coming down Main Street as they played the latter. the Teaching music as team sport renowned. “without his participation and good will.to 13-year-olds at this Northwest Side school where 97 percent of students are low-income and a third are limited English learners. the youngest member at age eight. signed the agreement Sunday in Cartagena in the presence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro. and it’s opened many doors for them”. gives everyone an in- strument. and Lobo met in Colombia to discuss the agreement. The program soon came to the attention of the Ravinia Women’s Board. Today. Zelaya and current president of Honduras. According to President Chavez. and they all learn together in an orchestra. “It’s different from traditional Western music education”. “The El Sistema method takes a group of kids who are complete beginners. an hour before school. His government hopes the agreement will help normalize the situation in his country and its standing internationally. “I can’t say enough about the People’s Music School. a kid must gain a certain amount of proficiency with their instrument before they’re deemed good enough to make music with other people. Venezuela’s President Chavez applauded the signing of an agreement in Colombia. It’s been an amazing opportunity. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos highlighted the work carried about by Chavez. but he has just had a knee injury. Chavez warned. who traveled to Turin last October to play in an international festival of the El Sistema movement. he added. there was no comparison”. “It has been such a blessing”. but the kids love it. What sets Hibbard’s apart from any other orchestra in any other school is that it is based on “El Sistema. with Ravinia scheduled this summer. It was just that perfect — the performance one afternoon of the talented YOURS orchestra of 8. “Compared to the other groups. Hibbard staff started to see benefits away from the instruments. Zelaya’s attempt to hold a non-binding poll on a referendum for a constituent assembly was part of the reason for the coup against him. who runs what’s touted as the only totally free community music school in the country. who won presidential elections in an environment of repression and violence. May 27. It’s a very intense program. or about Milan. Porfirio Lobo. T/ Maudlyne Ihejirika P/ Agencies I t’s after school at Hibbard Elementary in Albany Park. At the signing of the agreement Sunday. whose 11-year-old daughter Eva is a member. Honduras was expelled from the organization after the 2009 coup. and I couldn’t believe I went to Italy! It’s changed my life”. “We’re waiting to see if this is complied with. said parent Mike Roman. and now supporting at-risk children all over the world. and even on Saturdays. Honduras will hopefully be able to “open its doors up to democracy. said Fiedler. like special education teacher Shirley Shechtman. T/ Tamara Pearson www. “They meet every day after school for two hours. “In Western music education. who saw self-esteem and academics improve significantly among her learning disabled and emotionally troubled students. The brainchild of People’s Music School instructor Deborah Dos Santos. agreed proud Hibbard orchestra director Milan Miskovic. now I’m an ‘A’ an ‘B’ student. because we know there are internal and external forces who will try to boycott the agreement”.

or Mothers of the Slums. in addition to this. mayorships and grassroots organizations. that Chavez is taking away resources. recognizing the work carried out in the home as part of socially valuable labor deserving remuneration. predicting victory for the socialist leader if elections were to be held today. will receive an additional 153 million bolivars ($35. which will translate into more peace”. I’m here with you fighting the fight for justice and peace”. the Venezuelan head of state called on regional officials and goverby the national government to purchase medical equipment and supplies for use in the country’s expansive public health care system. “It’s now or never”. diagnostic centers and reconstructed areas in many hospitals throughout the nation”. The states of Miranda and Carabobo will likewise receive 258 and 218 million bolivars ($60 and $50. part of the Chavez administration’s effort to strengthen regional integration and build South-South relations. tax collection has been positive”. has ceded its space recently. All form part. he said. “Health Minister Eugenia Sader has been inaugurating clinics. Last Sunday’s program marks the 374th edition of the president’s broadcast as well as the twelve-year anniversary since he began to go on air in May. Chavez declared on Sunday. Recent polls reflect the current Venezuelan President’s continued popularity. INTEGRATION Part of this fight. Owing to “an efficient policy of tax collection” as well as rising oil prices. Pablo Pérez.a beautiful and heroic people. has been allocated . the federal government is able to provide states and popular organizations with additional resources for local administration and the execution of regional projects in accordance with the country’s constitution. the mission Madres del Barrio. “In spite of the pain that comes and goes. will be one of the largest beneficiaries of the surplus. INCREASED HEALTH SPENDING In addition to the funding for Mission Madres del Barrio. MONEY TO REGIONS During his broadcast on Sunday. Chavez also informed of budget increases for public health care initiatives. accompanying Chavez during his program. for being who you are . the head of state said.6 million) respectively as part of the measure. provides a stipend to unemployed women in particularly challenging economic conditions. May 27.something that the leader plans to continue as he prepares for his re-election bid in 2012. Currently. in light of the injury. including those who walk around saying whatever they feel like saying. Founded in 2006. the money will be used to construct a factory for surgical supplies as well as acquire materials to better equip the continually growing network of public health facilities. receiving an allocation of 319 million bolivars ($74. the economy has begun to grow again and. Chavez declared. As the Bolivarian Revolution moves forward.1 million). During the broadcast. of his government’s commitment to the well-being of the Venezuelan people . TOWARDS 2012 The funding boosts announced by the Venezuelan President last weekend follow on the heels of recent raises in the nation’s minimum wage of 25 percent and salary increases for public employees of up to 40 percent. The Eastern state of Zulia. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press “T nors. the head of state appeared to be in high spirits. Nearly $837 million. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s weekly television show Alo Presidente resumed its broadcast last Sunday from the presidential palace of Miraflores amidst throngs of supporters applauding the injured leader’s re-appearance and wishing him a speedy recovery hank you so much for all the solidarity. Chavez informed during his broadcast. the President commented. Chavez declared of the network’s expansion. informed that the resources represent a surplus of 10 percent over and above the tax income budgeted for 2011. I’m making a call to administer these funds well and to be responsible”. Although Chavez’s wound has lessened his physical mobility. Chavez commented on Sunday. Venezuela has been able to amplify its access to public health care. he said of the new regional alliance on Sunday. “There are governors who say that the [national] government does not provide them with resources. even singing along with a traditional Venezuelan music group assembled outside the palace’s balcony. some 30 thousand Cuban health professionals are working in Venezuela as part of an international agreement signed between the two nations in 2005. That’s completely false”. CELAC. the Venezuelan President remarked. Chavez said raising his crutches and greeting the enthusiastic crowd from the palace’s balcony on Sunday. His weekly television program. Chavez also announced the disbursement of over 3 billion bolivars ($697 million) in government collected tax surpluses to go to the country’s 24 state governments. “To the governors. “We can’t miss this opportunity”. seeks to counterbalance the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) in the hemisphere. celebrates program anniversary with announcements After a month of absence from the country’s airwaves.| 4 | Politics No Friday. the country will see “more democracy every day and more social justice. the leader reported. headed by opposition governor. allowing the government to focus its attention on enrolling residents in its massive new public housing program which seeks to construct two million new homes in the country over the next 7 years. I’ll never stop serving the Venezuelan people”. MADRES DEL BARRIO One of the most important social programs for economically disadvantaged women will also see an increase in its budget. 1999. the people. 2011 The artillery of ideas Chavez returns to spotlight. “Thanks to our collaboration with China”. Through increased spending and its collaboration with nations such as China and Cuba. The social welfare program. involves convening the inaugural meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) slated for the 5th of July in Caracas. Vice President Elias Jaua. to put the new funds to good use through the responsible allocation of the additional resources.5 million) in funding this year. providing free and universal coverage to all residents. Chavez announced on Sunday. many of whom belong to the country’s conservative opposition. “Thanks to God. The President of the OPEC member state sustained a knee injury earlier this month forcing him to cancel a planned South American tour and confining him to the presidential residence for the past two weeks. benefiting nearly 100 thousand women who receive an income equal to 80 percent of the country’s minimum wage as a result of the mission. he exclaimed. the government and the workers.

assuring access to essential staples. conservative governors have been known to use local police forces as their personal attack dogs. Diaz affirmed the police “blocked the entrance and exits of the building in order to say that we kidnapped the workers inside. They were accompanied by the Lara police and the state’s Security Director. We are tired of police that act against the people”. They knocked down the door. T/ COI P/ Agencies istration’s holistic agricultural policy as key in achieving the increases. white corn. Such a policy has prioritized redistributing fallow lands to small producers. while the number of imported species has fallen by nearly 50. providing low interest loans and technical assistance as well as signing international agreements grounded in the transfer of agricultural skills and technology . Gil credits the Chavez adminprogram called Mission AgroVenezuela in efforts to further strengthen the country’s agricultural sector. a news and public broadcasting channel. grassroots activists from the neighborhood’s community council. arrived outside the Hidrolara building and began to throw rocks and bottles at the facility. In some situations. On Friday afternoon. “We will not put up with more humiliations by the police. filed a report with the Public Attorney’s Office denouncing what they claim to be aggressions that have left their news production vehicle as well as audio and visual equipment either damaged or stolen. over 200. all those participating in the action including the media covering the event were subjected to the aggressive behavior of what they called “the governor’s thugs”. According to Fernando. the Ministry of Land and Agriculture also announced earlier this year other gains in important products including milk. Contrary to private media’s claims that the community members were holding workers hostage during the occupation. Although the Venezuelan government has made strides in creating a new National Bolivarian Police force. entered and began striking members of the community while attacking the equipment of Vive TV. we can safely say to the Venezuelan people that national meat production will close at over 600. Mercal.000 tons of meat have been made available to the Venezuelan people this year in private shops as well as the government’s growing number of state-owned food distribution outlets. especially those involving land occupations. The occupation. intimidating and coercing community members who attempt to carry out the policies and laws enacted by the Chavez administration on the federal level. something we categorically reject”. Earlier this year. marking an important advance in the country’s efforts to lessen its reliance on imports and strengthen food sovereignty. said David Diaz. Distribution has also played a key role in the Chavez administration’s food sovereignty initiatives. local police forces have gone as far as actively participating in the assassination of political activists.The artillery of ideas No Friday. many local security forces continue to operate at the behest of regional power players. community spokesperson. All told. such actions will not be tolerated by the organized members of his community. black beans and rice. Along with meat. led by members of the Ataroa community council in the zone of Carucieña. the increase bodes well for the rest of 2011.000. “They flattened the tires. T/ COI P/ Agencies J ournalists from Vive TV. the number of domestic cattle making its way to the marketplace has risen by over 100. The government’s subsidized food market. Venezuela: food sovereignty advances The Venezuelan Ministry of Land and Agriculture reported last Monday a 23 percent increase in national meat production in the first 4 months of 2011. Jose Maldonado”. damaged the engine [of our truck] and stole all of our production equipment except for the camera that we were using”. he said. the mission has been carrying out a census of producers and available land in order to systematize its agricultural strategy for the coming years. said Leonardo Fernandez during a press conference. Since January. using violence and threats in attempts to clear the building of the activists. “This year. In the case of the opposition.000 tons. According to Land and Agriculture Vice Minister Yvan Gil. the government also launched a new social . he said on Monday. The incident took place during Vive TV’s coverage of a community takeover of a water treatment facility in the city of Barquisim- eto last Friday. “Supporters of the governor of Lara and of [the opposition political alliance Homeland for All]. chicken.000. 2011 Politics | 5| Journalists & activists assaulted by anti-Chavez governor Workers from a Venezuelan public television station denounced last Saturday acts of sabotage reportedly carried out against their production team by the security forces of opposition Governor Henri Falcon in the state of Lara Activists present during the takeover report that local undercover officers and other supporters of Governor Falcon then entered the facility on Friday evening. The growth in domestic meat production represents another important step in the Chavez administration’s efforts to ensure that Venezuela is free from the visceral price fluctuations affecting food products on the international market. This is a national record”. For David Diaz. entered the company’s facilities and refused to leave until they were given answers to the sewage problem. May 27. Fernando declared on Saturday. “They didn’t want to assist us and they haven’t given any answers to the problems of the sewer system that we’ve had for over 2 years in 19 sectors of Carucieña”. as well as PDVAL and the stateowned Bicentennial Markets provide consumers with reduced prices and now account for over 30 percent of the country’s food outlets in the country. When comparing meat production with the same period last year. was the neighborhood’s response to the company HidroLara’s unwillingness to resolve the area’s long-standing broken sewer system.

totaling 1. Venezuelan workers recover access to their company W orkers at the state-run bauxite and aluminium company Bauxilum in Ciudad Guayana. she added. “With the support of the Chinese Fund.was totally illegal and broke with agreements reached that same day between the board of directors. Hugo Chavez. Norpro. CANAIMA IMPACT ON FAMILIES The Venezuelan Ministry of Education is currently working on a mechanism to evaluate the impact of this project in Venezuelan high schools. explained Hanson.115 modules. preventing workers from entering or leaving in the plant. southeastern Venezuela.000 for sixth-grade students. May 27. will begin in September and progressively continue until they are all delivered. including 450. The workers were also accompanied by other social organizations including communal councils and youth and women’s groups. who want to reactivate the company after it had been affected over the past two years by a decrease in aluminium prices on the international market and by a drought which affected the electrical supply to national industry”. said China. the Venezuelan government has distributed a total of 759. he highlighted that the act of closing the company’s gates . the construction sector and other primary industries in Guayana.| 6 | Social Justice No Friday. unions and workers in favor of control of the company. the work agenda was broken by Sitralumina when they locked the gates and blocked access routes. explained that “most of the workers support the process to develop a new social “We had discussed twelve points ranging from managerial complaints to transport issues. he explained. EDUCATIONAL CONTENT 100 PERCENT VENEZUELAN The educational content included in the laptops has been created by Venezuelan teachers and technicians in the 25 National Production Development Cen- ters established for this purpose.000 free laptops for school kids throughout the country. The program’s goal is to reach students from elementary. peacefully recovered control over the main access doors at the plant after it was violently and illegally closed by a right-wing union last Thursday Bauxilum workers accompanied by other employees from Ferrominera del Orinoco. According to Hanson. holidays and collective bargaining”. even the design and diagraming is created by Venezuelan personnel. “We have signs that school performance significantly increases in children participating in the Canaima project. Hanson explained that the Bolivarian Foundation of Information Technology and Telematics (FUNDABIT) will update the portable computers with educational content for the students. Friday afternoon. Maryann Hanson. “We recognize the worker’s struggle. It has had a positive impact because the influence has been on the children’s motivation for learning”.but we also demand respect for the right to work for the majority of workers.ordered by Sutralumina on Friday . The laptops have to undergo seven validation phases that include the participation of students and communities. He also pointed out that employees at Bauxilum had reached a high-level of political awareness and created a culture of participa- tion and protagonism with regards to the management of their company. “We have a huge team. and the same amount for fourth-grade children. daily wages. So far. Of the total number of laptops to be distributed starting in September.000 laptops are expected to be distributed. decreed that the management of the company should be controlled by workers”. middle and high school by September 2012. but without affecting the productivity of the company. she said. The distribution of these Venezuelan-made mini-laptops. when about 880. 480. “Absolutely everything is created by Venezuelan teachers. the content must be checked by personnel responsible for the project. recovered control of Bauxilum after a rally in defense of the company took place on Saturday morning. In addition.like it was before the crisis”. . The Canaima program began in mid-2009 as part of an oil-trade agreement between Venezuela and Portugal. 189 educational modules for first-grade students have been developed. security. the right to protest and freedom of trade union organizations as part of the revolutionary government’s policy . To date. 2011 The artillery of ideas Venezuela: one million free laptops distributed to school children N early one million laptop computers (960. Over 1. The laptop computers run on the open source operating system Linux. payment for bank holidays. Jose China also urged unions to remain open to dialogue and to continue fighting for their objectives. one of the aspects that has impacted the implementation of the Canaima project has been the children’s school performance. 266 for second-grade students and 330 for third-grade students. T/ AVN P/ Agencies management model within the company. Jose China. she added. food. housing grants.000 will be delivered to second-grade students. which began a year and a half ago when the President of Venezuela. informed Minister of Education.000 for fifth-grade Before being installed on the laptops. Worker and president of Bauxilum. He also added that these illegal strikes affected the operative and financial stability of Bauxilum. which will constitute one of the main pillars in the consolidation of the ‘nonoil’ industry in the country. base elections for worker control.000) will be freely distributed to elementary school students throughout the country during the coming 2011-2012 school year. we are about to initiate important projects in order to return to maximum productivity . The only foreign element is the equipment we purchased originally from Portugal”. created especially for primary school. T/ AVN P/ Agencies students and another 430. Bauxilum is expected to form part of the new National Aluminium Corporation. Jose China declared.000 teachers have participated in the process in content development centers that we have in Caracas and in the different states throughout the country”.

The state-subsidized chain of food outlets soon accounted for 40% of food distribution. The law allowed large landholdings left idle to be expropriated and redistributed to campesinos for productive purposes. per capita food consumption was the lowest it had been since the 1960s. government figures show that of the six million hectares identified as latifundios. In the mission.200 by mid-2005. among other areas. together with a delegation from the Venezuela Food Sovereignty project. In December 2003. but agricultural production nonetheless rose 18% between 2003 and 2008. to rural communities. Moreover. 2 million hectares of state-owned land had been redistributed by the end of 2004. Venezuelan campesinos like Alfredo are in an almost unique position of counting on the support of their government in this struggle for food sovereignty. All this has contributed to raising the consciousness of the people”. the government created Mission Vuelvan Caras (“About Face”). said the decision by Nestle and Leche Tachira to refuse to buy milk from local producers during the economic sabotage was the catalyse to create the co-operative. On the other hand. a sabotage of the oil industry in December .The artillery of ideas No Friday.6 million hectares in 1998 to more than 2 million in 2006. As we were taken around Yaracuay by Fray. The huge increase in funding was not matched by a similar rise in production. Funding was directed to agroindustrial projects. INE census figures recorded 121. Cultivated land increased from 1. Instead. a combination of price and currency controls acted as a disincentive for local production at the same time as importing became cheaper. This allows producers to sell their produce directly to the consumer. To assist the creation of cooperatives. he is giving a class in history. Chavez kick-started his “war on latifundios”. as per the constitution. Government social programs helped dramatically reduce extreme poverty in the countryside. It deems latifundios (large privately-owned land estates) to be “contrary to social interest”. When President Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998 on a pro-poor platform. The constitution establishes the need to “transform them into productive economic units”. “They drove into the middle of town and simply poured the unprocessed milk onto the road”. one of the founders of Prolesa. savings from some cooperative members. machinery. The goal of food sovereignty is enshrined in Venezuela’s constitution.000 people as working in agricultural-based co-operatives. Campesinos told us that pre-Chavez governments had converted Venezuela into a “port economy”. the right-wing attempts to bring down the government were defeated by the mass mobilization of the poor majority. This has set the stage for a new phase in the struggle for food sovereignty in Venezuela. They try and say he is crazy because he spends so much time talking on television. “There’s a global food crisis. This had a dramatic warping effect on the economy. The large landowning oligarchy responded by seeking to overthrow the government. The number of cooperatives rose from 10. The constitution entrusts the state to “generate employment and guarantee the peasant population an adequate level of well2002-January 2003. The law was. which began in the 1940s. government figures show that between 1984 and 1997 their average real income fell by 73% (compared to 61% in the cities). Fray said the growth of the oil industry. Leonardo. In an effort to keep prices as low as possible for consumers. communal councils and workers at the local Ministry of Agriculture and Land (MAT) office to promote a campesino market. In November 2001. The government came out strengthened. and the commitment of some local dairy farmers to sell their milk to the cooperative. Government figures show that by the end of 2003. including a new land law aimed to start implementing the constitution’s principles. geography and politics. But every time he speaks. 1. As Venezuelan campesinos [peasants] we need to realize that we have an obligation to the people of the world”.3% in 2001. This sentiment was shared by many of the campesinos I met during a recent 3-week visit. Venezuela was heading in the opposite direction. Its effects on campesinos devastating.000 hectares had been recuperated. local milk farmers now have an alternative source to sell their milk to rather than being at the mercy of prices set by profit hungry multinationals that often exported the product for higher profits. Venezuela’s upper class shifted its focus away from the export-orientated agricultural sector towards finding ways to extract a share of the oil rent. I asked why everyone we met kept repeating this phase. Prolesa was born in 2004. 50% of scholarships offered to 650. leaving fertile lands uninhabited to seek jobs in the rapidly expanding coastal cities clumped around oil fields and ports. a dairy farmer and president of the Prolesa milk processing cooperative in Tachira state. which was adopted in a 1999 referendum. he said: “Food sovereignty is not only about being able to produce enough food to feed ourselves. By 2005. Over the next three years. 2011 Analysis | 7 | Venezuela’s battle for food sovereignty W hen I asked Alfredo. Not only did those working in the agricultural sector earn only 20-30% of the average wage of workers in other sectors.6 million by 1998. Prolesa members work with other farmers. National Institute of Statistics (INE) figures trace a fall in the rural population from 68. he said. Thanks to Prolesa. but the destablization threw the economy into crisis. The aim of the mission was to target latifundios for land redistribution and provide technical and financial support to farming cooperatives. Agricultural funding was also dramatically raised. expansion of infrastructure in rural areas. But the even greater surge in consumption increased Venezuela’s dependency on food imports.000 participants were for agricultural training with an emphasis on cooperation.” With an initial loan from the government. “Chavez is like a teacher. local farmers can now earn more for their milk and also produce quality products at fair prices for the local community and surrounding areas. launching Mission Zamora.3 million hectares of latifundio were recuperated by the government. a huge boom in cooperatives was occurring. People were uprooted from the rural south. and a recall referendum in August 2004. T/ Federico Fuentes P/ Agencies being”. shelved over the next few years as the government concentrated on defeating destabliszation attempts by its opponents. At the same time. May 27. As large landowners and agribusinesses sabotaged food production and distribution. cutting out intermediaries. subsidies to producers. a member of the 3Rs cooperative. Article 305 of the constitution states food security can only be achieved through “developing and privileging internal agricultural production”. economics. in large part. Falling oil prices and rising international food prices forced the government to begin taking more radical measures.3 million hectares in 1988 to about 1.6% in 1941 to only 12. As agricultural production fell. and low-credit agricultural loans. In 2004. dependency on food imports rose. Neoliberal policies in the 1990s resulted in the area of cultivated land falling from more than 2. To compensate. what food sovereignty meant to him. less than 650. domestic agricultural production was unable to keep up with the increased consumption levels generated by the rising purchasing power of the poor thanks to the government’s propoor policies. and each day more and more people are going hungry. Alfredo told us how he was contributing his “grain of sand” towards Venezuela’s food sovereignty. changed Venezuela’s economy. Venezuela escalated food imports. Chavez issued a package of 49 decrees. Imports accounted for almost 50% of calories consumed by 2003. However. falling to less than 20%. These included a coup attempt in April 2002. These have included nationalization of food distribution companies found violating the law and increasing the take over of the unproductive land of large landowners. 14% of all workers in the sector. However.000 in 2003 to 74. according to figures from the old agricultural ministry. it also means getting to a point where we can export food to other countries”. The Chavez government survived. they imported produce via the same ports the oil tankers left from. Mission Mercal was established to counter capital’s control over food distribution and tackle rising food prices. “Meanwhile mothers were unable to get milk for their children.

this week. the people fought back. the United States stood alone in its support for hostilities against Venezuela’s democratically-elected government. subsidized and/ or free heating oil to low income neighborhoods. as now. for its alleged relations with the government of Iran.000 US citizens in 25 states and the District of Columbia have benefited to date from the Venezuelan government’s subsidized heating oil program. indigenous communities and homeless shelters in 25 states through the US since 2005. Then. activists and diverse citizens of the United States expressed their outrage and rejection of the US government’s unilateral sanctions against Venezuela and its stateowned oil company. and country.including US companies .has offered to help low income families suffering from the inflated cost of heating oil during the past six years. the concerned citizens highlighted the important achievements of the Chavez administration in securing social justice for the people of the South American nation and questioned how the Obama administration could target the “one country” that has demonstrated its solidarity with the US people. Calling on the US government to “immediately suspend” the sanctions against Venezuela. we unequivocally reject this latest attempt of our administration to demonize the Venezuelan government and undermine the vibrant democracy of the Venezuelan people. more than 60% of oil industry profits are directed towards social programs in Venezuela. backed by Washington. putting people before profits. at home and abroad. discounted or subsidized heating oil and fuel to low income neighborhoods. as part of Venezuela’s policies of social justice. The declaration rejecting US sanctions against Venezuela follows: “On Tuesday. The sanctions are a desperate and weak attempt to link Venezuela to Iran’s nuclear energy program as part of an ongoing campaign to justify further aggressive action against the South American oil producing nation.000 people in the US have benefited from this program. grassroots organizations and subsidized food and housing. indigenous peoples’ communities and homeless shelters throughout the nation. including free healthcare. the United States Department of State unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. We find it outrageous that the United States government would attempt to demonize the one company. These policies of social justice have extended well beyond the borders of Venezuela to the United States though programs that supply free. 65 Bs 1 | C ARACAS ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas A publication of the Fundacion Correo del Orinoco • Editor-in-Chief | Eva Golinger • Graphic Design | Alexander Uzcátegui. 2011 | No. Friends of Venezuela OPINION . job training. rescued their President. illiteracy has been eradicated and free. More than 250. Fortunately for the health of Venezuela’s democracy. The results are notable. And we call on our representatives in Washington to suspend these sanctions against Venezuela immediately”. and reinstated constitutional order. which briefly ousted the President from power. which oversees thousands of gas stations and seven oil refinaries throughout the country. May 24. education. Venezuela’s solidarity with the people of the United States has enabled thousands of families to survive through these difficult economic times. Poverty in Venezuela has been reduced by over 50% during the Chavez administration. actors. No other oil company in the world . universal healthcare and education are available and accessible to all. Currently. CITGO. More than 250. (PDVSA). that has been there for our neighbors.A. Petróleos de Venezuela. community media. The government of Hugo Chavez has used its oil wealth to invest heavily in improving the wellbeing of its people. owns the CTIGO corporation in the US.FRIDAY | May 27. CITGO has provided discounted. Venezuela’s oil company. As citizens of the United States. For many in the US. it’s high time Washington stopped meddling in other nations’ affairs and starting taking care of the problems at home. Jameson Jiménez • Press | Fundación Imprenta de la Cultura Rejecting United States sanctions against Venezuela A rtists. academics. 2011. PDVSA. which is run through PDVSA’s subsidiary in the United States. S. except for CITGO. PDVSA. The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez has already been victim of a coup d’etat in 2002. Many have expressed concern over why the Obama administration has chosen to directly target the Chavez government by imposing unilateral sanctions and attempting to interfere in Venezuela’s foreign and domestic policies.

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