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Eight Logic Defying Ways Venezuela’s Violent Opposition Is Hopelessly Hypocritical

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | March 20, 2014

Venezuela’s opposition is sending a few mixed messages about violence and freedom. Unlike the moderate opposition (which is laden with its own hypocrisies), the extremist opposition groups are a minority within the wider anti-Maduro movement. Despite an overwhelming majority of the population opposing their violence, the barricaders and other aggressive opposition elements somehow maintain the support of much of the private press, and established opposition parties. They draw sympathy from human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch, which pretends the violent opposition aren’t armed. The State Department likewise appears to have nothing less than unconditional support for violent opposition groups.

It’s hard to believe the opposition protesters oppose violence when they start shooting at people on the street. They want a free media, but they try to lynch journalists. They demand to be let into the political process, but refuse to join peace talks, while exacerbating the scarcity they’re protesting against.

Of the many imaginative ways the opposition has proved itself hopelessly hypocritical, here are the top eight shameless contradictions.

1. Protests against scarcity by blocking supplies

The opposition doesn’t seem to have figured out that there is a very close correlation between the number of delivery trucks they torch, and the number of deliveries that aren’t made.

Just a few hours before writing this article, I passed one such torched truck in Merida, near one of the city’s largest supermarkets. There was a banner hanging off the burned skeleton of the vehicle, with a complaint about food scarcity. Anyone who things it makes sense to protest food scarcity after destroying a delivery truck outside a supermarket probably needs to spend some time in a quiet corner contemplating the dictionary definition of cogent.

Meanwhile in reality, scarcity levels remain high in Venezuela, with many basic consumer products ranging from flour to milk being difficult to reliably obtain. Unsurprisingly, however, blocking roads only makes a bad situation worse. In the opposition stronghold of Merida, even cooking gas deliveries became intermittent in February, as the city’s main thoroughfares are semi-permanently blocked by opposition groups.

2. Protests violence…with more violence

Occasionally, barricades are adorned with posters demanding “no más violencia”. Venezuela is one of the most violent countries in the hemisphere, so it’s no surprise security is a major issue in public discourse. But smashing over US$1 million in public property isn’t exactly a sure-fire way to make people feel safer. Nor is hanging barbed wire over roads to decapitate motorcyclists. In fact, now that there are groups of masked opposition thugs wandering around with guns, explosives and traps like home-made caltrops, it’s harder than ever to feel safe. The MUD has set a reduction in crime as a precondition for peace talks – something which might be difficult to achieve while their supporters keep shooting at people in the streets.

3. Defending media freedom by attacking journalists

Despite the fact that the majority of Venezuela’s media remains privately owned and anti-government in terms of editorial lines, one of the opposition’s favourite complaints is that they have no voice in the mass media. Henrique Capriles himself cited a lack of access to media as his reason for creating his humbly titled online show, CaprilesTV. On 4 March, the opposition held a march demanding “greater media freedom”. The next day, they attacked three journalists from private media outlets. It takes something really special to claim you defend journalists one day, and beat one with a lead pipe the next.

Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of this self-satirising iceberg. The opposition groups have repeatedly lashed out at the media. The majority of attacks have targeted public media outlets such as VTV, which was under a semi-permanent state of siege throughout February 2014. Community media outlets have been vandalised, and Venezuelanalysis journalists have also been attacked. One VA writer had rocks thrown at him when he tried to approach a group, while another was held at gunpoint after she photographed a group attacking public transport.

4. Wants to be listened to, but doesn’t want to listen

The opposition has justified going to the streets by claiming they have been largely ignored by the government. Yet when the Maduro actually invites them to attend peace talks, they boycott them. Perhaps it’s not Maduro that’s doing the ignoring.

5. Opposes the killing of peaceful protesters…by killing more peaceful protesters

Attend any opposition rally and it isn’t hard to find someone out to slam the government for the deaths of opposition protesters. Every death is indeed a tragedy, unless they can’t be martyred. Trying to find anyone at an opposition rally condemning the shooting of Gisela Rubilar isn’t easy. To be fair, though, I have seen one person with a placard condemning her death; but they had the wrong face glued on. Moreover, they didn’t seem interested in entertaining the idea that the opposition group that had fired at people clearing barricades in the area the night before may have been involved in Rubilar’s shooting.

6. Opposes corruption by demanding bribes

One of the opposition’s most salient complaints of the Venezuelan government is its failure to deal with corruption. It’s a reasonable criticism, given that Venezuela scores an abysmal 20/100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. However, the opposition hasn’t exactly shown itself to be anything near a credible alternative. Opposition groups are increasingly demanding tolls for anyone to pass their barricades. People who feel emotions generally refer to these tolls as bribes.

Worse still, the opposition’s organisational structure is murkier than a bowl of mondongo on Monday afternoon. Their nationwide campaign of violence is well organised, with logistical support and at least hundreds of people coordinating across the country. However, nobody seems to know who is running barricades, and how. They clearly receive some funding, but nobody knows from where. Corruption festers where there is a lack of democracy and public criticism – and the opposition on the street is open to neither.

7. Calls Maduro a dictator, while acting like a dictatorship

Since February the opposition protests have defined life in Merida. Checking where they are attacking people has become as habitual as watching the weather forecast. It’s hard to believe opposition groups really oppose authoritarianism when they force you to pay tolls to pass their barricades, decide where you can to walk, decide when you can turn your light on in your own home, decide if supplies can reach your neighbourhood and decide you when you’re able to go to work. While the protests were at their worst, businesses figured out that the barricaders like to sleep in; so they started opening in the mornings, and closing before lunchtime. In other words, shops were forced to change their opening hours to suit the sleep patterns of these thugs. If everyone wasn’t being forced to change their routines to accommodate the whims of the barricaders, maybe their claims that they support freedom would carry some weight.

8. Complains Chavismo has ruined Venezuela…demands US intervention

Anyone who signs this petition needs to have a long conversation with someone from Iraq or Afghanistan. Simple.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela: Retired General to be Arrested Following Decapitation of Motorist at Opposition Blockade

Venezuelanalysis | February 22, 2014

Merida– President Maduro has ordered the arrest of retired General Angel Vivas, who promoted the use of wire at blockades in order to “neutralise” people on motorbikes. One government supporter on a motorbike died by such a method last night.

On 20 February Vivas tweeted “In order to neutralise criminal hordes on motorbikes, one must place nylon string or galvanised wire across the street, at a height of 1.2 metres”.

He also tweeted, “to render armoured vehicles of the dictatorship useless, Molotov cocktails should be thrown under the motor, to burn belts and hoses, they become inoperative”.

Other tweeters responded to his tweet about decapitating motorbike riders with further advice for the violent blockades, including suggesting that “a lot of oil be used in the streets, it is good for two things, they fall off, and it can set [things] alight. The collectives are the ones in the vehicles”.

Last night a man died in Caracas when his throat was cut by wire that blockaders had erected. Santiago Enrique Pedroza was 29 years old. According to Minister Miguel Rodriguez, Pedroza “didn’t see the wire”.

“Murderers who put the wire there with the intention of causing the death of human beings have to be put in prison,” Rodriguez stated. He said Venezuela’s criminal investigation body (CICPC) was investigating the case.

This afternoon at a march of Women for Peace, Maduro said that those who had set up the wire had been “identified and will be arrested”.

He also denounced the alleged burning of 40 new Metro buses, and “various Mercal and Pdval trucks that were transporting food”. He further accused violent groups of setting a Bicentenario market on fire in Bolivar state. Mercal, Pdval and Bicentenario are state subsidised food programs.

February 23, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Death Toll Rises in Venezuela; Opposition Demonstrators Say They’re Fighting a War of “Attrition”

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | February 19, 2014

Merida – Anti-government demonstrations turned deadly again today, following yesterday’s arrest of far right leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Lopez heads the right-wing Voluntad Popular (VP) party, and was arrested yesterday on charges including inciting crime and homicide. Earlier today the attorney general Luisa Ortega stated that whether or not Lopez will remain in custody is yet to be determined. However Ortega stated that the government “guarantees and respects the human rights” of Lopez.

Around one hundred supporters rallied today outside a court in Caracas, where his hearing was expected to take place. However, the hearing was moved to a military jail at the last moment due to government concerns for Lopez’s safety. Lopez’s lawyer has claimed the move is illegal.

Violence continued today in the wake of the arrest, with at least two more reports of deaths.

One person was reportedly killed by gunfire and four others injured in Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar state during street clashes. Two of the injured also sustained gunshot wounds, according to local media. Thousands of industrial workers had marched in support of the government through the city earlier today. According to a report from Ultimas Noticias, the deadly clashes occurred after “motorbike riders” tried to break an opposition barricade.

Student and model Genesis Carmona  has also died in a medical centre after being shot during clashes in the Carabobo state capital, Valencia.

An armed group also attacked Carabobo’s headquarters of the government owned energy company Corpoelec earlier today. A captain of the National Guard (GNB) was hit by a bullet during the incident.

Another person was injured by gunfire yesterday when opposition groups attacked the Carabobo offices of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), according to Governor Francisco Ameliach.

“I call upon our membership to not fall into confrontation,” Ameliach stated yesterday.

Three others were injured yesterday when groups armed with Molotov cocktails attacked a government building in Tachira state. Security forces reportedly battled with opposition groups for around two hours.  The state’s socialist governor Vielma Mora described opposition attacks in the state as a “low intensity war”. Mora stated that security forces in the state capital San Cristobal have been targeted by hit and run attacks from assailants firing from vehicles. Journalists are also being targeted by armed groups, according to Mora.

The governor also said there have been reports of armed groups charging toll fees at roadblocks around the state.

In Caracas one person was injured when opposition groups threw rocks at public transport last night. Transport minister Haiman El Troudi announced via Twitter that the incident prompted the cancellation of another bus route. Previously, on Monday seven bus routes were cancelled due to vandalism and opposition attacks.

In a meeting with transport workers today, the minister stated that sixty buses in Caracas have been attacked, and five in other parts of the country. El Troudi condemned the attacks, stating that the perpetrators are “looking to generate an … escalation of unrest”.

Today the Caracas mayor Jorge Rodriguez announced that the government is developing a plan to rehabilitate public spaces damaged by recent opposition demonstrations.

State media have also reported that a sick elderly woman died in the early hours of the morning after her ambulance was impeded from accessing a nearby medical centre by an opposition roadblock. Luzmila Petit de Colina was 70 years old, and suffered from a chronic illness, according to Correo del Orinoco. Her daughter hosts a program on the state-owned channel VTV. Today communication minister Delcy Rodriguez expressed “solidarity” with Colina’s family.

Five trucks were also torched last night in Lara state, according to government sources.

In Merida, opposition groups continued to erect barricades around the city. Eight demonstrators were arrested in the Andean city last night, according to El Universal. The right-wing newspaper reported that the demonstrators had been involved in “non violent protests” yesterday. Photographs circulating in local media show opposition groups manning roadblocks of burning garbage yesterday afternoon.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, hard-line opposition demonstrators at one barricade told Venezuelanalysis’s Ewan Robertson today that they are fighting a war of “attrition” against the government.

“We’re sunk in misery, corruption, so we want Maduro’s resignation now, that’s why we’re here,” one demonstrator stated.

“Either we get tired first, or they get tired first,” said another. According to the demonstrator, the group’s strategy is to block as many roads as possible “day and night”.

“There are two points of view. As the constitution orders, the government logically has to guarantee the free flow of transit. But the constitution also establishes that we have the right to protest,” he continued.

The demonstrators denied they have firearms, and blamed security forces and pro-government groups such as the Tupamaros of causing violence. Venezuelanalysis has previously observed opposition groups using small arms in Merida. The group spoken to by Venezuelanalysis today were visibly armed with  rocks and what appeared to be Molotov coacktails.

One of the demonstrators also explained that they have adopted a strategy of retreating when security forces arrive, only to return once the police or GNB leave the area.

“We retreat, if they pass firing, we throw stones. When they’ve gone we come out and block everything again. That’s how we’re going,” he stated.

An opposition group in the same area clashed with riot police later in the afternoon. When two personnel carriers arrived on the scene, demonstrators threw rocks at officers, before retreating up the road. They continued to hurl rocks as police cleared the road.

While the clashes took place, Chavistas gathered in Merida’s central square, Plaza Bolivar with music, comedy and speeches from student groups condemning the violence.

An opposition roadblock in central Merida today. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis)

Demonstrators armed with rocks and blocking traffic. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis)

February 20, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Peaceful Marches and Opposition Violence, Two Deaths Mark Day of Youth in Venezuela

By Tamara Pearson and Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | February 12, 2014

Merida – Violent opposition groups attacked government buildings and civilians, and clashed with police and government supporters following peaceful marches commemorating the Day of Youth.

The violence has claimed two deaths and left 23 injured across the country. Thirty arrests have been made according to government sources.

Venezuela commemorates the day of the youth on 12 February each year in memory of the role of young people in the decisive independence battle in La Victoria in 1814. Today marked the bicentenary of the historic battle.

Caracas

In mid afternoon President Nicolas Maduro delivered a speech in Caracas, praising the morning’s marches as peaceful. However, shortly later one Chavista was reported to have been killed amid clashes involving opposition activists. Juan Montoya, also known as Juancho was shot. He was a community leader in the Chavista stronghold, Barrio 23 de Enero. This afternoon National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello condemned the shooting, and accused armed right-wing groups of “hunting down” Montoya.

“They are fascists, murderers, and then they talk about dialogue,” Cabello stated, referring to armed right-wing activists. The AN head called for calm, and urged against reprisals.

Violent opposition groups also attacked the attorney general’s office in Carabobo Park, Caracas. Photographs of the scene indicate the building’s exterior was damaged.

A building belonging to the government owned Fundacaracas organisation was also attacked by opposition groups. A few hours later the mayor of Caracas’s Libertador municipality, the PSUV’s Jorge Rodriguez also reported that the judicial offices in Chacao, Miranda, were also attacked. Later in the night the National Guard were deployed to the state owned VTV offices in Los Ruices. Disturbances had been reported in the area, though no further details were available at the time of writing.

In the evening, President Nicolas Maduro stated that violent opposition groups had also set fire to five police patrol vehicles. He also stated that a group of around two hundred violent activists had attempted to attack Miraflores Palace after the attorney general’s office.

Merida

After weeks of small, violent protests in Merida, there was a large march by government supporters in one part of the Andean city, and a larger march by opposition supporters elsewhere. Both were observed to be peaceful by Venezuelanalysis. However, violence began shortly after the opposition march finished. Clashes took place in Merida’s streets after individuals began burning garbage in intersections and erecting barricades.

A larger confrontation took place at a major intersection in the city’s north. Witnesses told Venezuelanalys that they saw men in balaclavas occupy a number of apartments, and fire live ammunition into the streets below. Riot police blocked the intersection. Hundreds of government supporters gathered a few hundred metres behind the police lines.

“We’re defending the city centre,” one supporter told Venezuelanalysis.

The Pro-Government March

At the pro-government march in the morning, Roger Zurita told Venezuelanalysis, “I’m worried about confrontations but I’m marching because today is the day of the youth, to celebrate the battle of La Victoria, not because of the opposition march. We have to organise ourselves around our values. We’re celebrating with happiness and peace the youth who struggle, our independence, the struggle for political power. Today we have an anti-imperialist youth and people are waking up, we’re not going to fall for the right wing’s games.”

“I’m marching for various reasons, mainly because I still believe in the project of our country, which still hasn’t been fully realised, but if we work just a bit harder we can do it, we have a lot to do. Also because it’s important to show that we are many, there are a lot of people who believe in this. What’s been happening in Merida is sad, regrettable. It’s a shame that they [violent sectors of the opposition] can’t propose anything without violence. We shouldn’t respond with violence. But the only proposal they seem to have is to get people into power who have never cared about the people, they just want to sell our country to the [US] empire,” Raquel Barrios told Venezuelanalysis, referring to the last four days of violence in Merida.

“I’m marching to commemorate the battle of La Victoria, but they [the opposition leadership] are manipulating the youth of Merida and parts of the opposition, they want to put an end to everything we’ve achieved, but they won’t be able to, because we’re peaceful people but ready for any necessary battle,” said Douglas Vasquez told Venezuelanalysis.

“Basically I’m marching to rescue Merida. We can’t let Merida be in the hands of violent people. I’m a teacher at the University of Los Andes (ULA), and I feel very ashamed that the recent violent incidents are mostly promoted by people from the ULA, who hope to create discomfort in the people in order to overthrow a consolidated and democratically elected government,” Katania Felisola said to Venezuelanalysis.

The Opposition March

The opposition march started at the ULA and went down the Americas Avenue after a last minute redirection.

Fernando Peña, a chemical engineering student at the ULA told Venezuelanalysis’s Ewan Robertson, “The students have felt the need to show themselves against [the goverment], because they have taken students prisoner in Mérida and Táchira just for expressing their right to protest. Right now feelings are very tense, because the people are tired of the government, [and] the students are the centre of the mobilisation throughout the country. The people now deeply disagree with the decisions that the government makes… living in Venezuela has become ever more difficult”.

Jan Carlos Lopez, worker in the Medical Faculty of the ULA told VA, “Some of the main reasons [for the march] are the shortages that are being experienced in the country, criminality, and insecurity. There isn’t an organisation that can protect us at night time so that we can go out. That’s what we’re asking for, security so that all Venezuelans can live in peace.”

Other opposition marchers told Robertson that they blamed the government for the violence, for “sending out motorbikes to attack students”.

In the violence after the marches, two people have been reported as injured, both shot in the legs. One of those was Jilfredo Barradas, a state government photographer.

“It’s a show, everyone knew it would turn out like this, it was planned,” one Merida activist told Venezuelanalysis, referring to the violence both in the Americas intersection as well as on Avenue 3.

Further, Gustavo Bazan told Venezuelanalysis, “On Friday they [violent opposition sectors] wanted to store Molotov cocktails [in the apartment where Bazan lives] and break up bricks in order to have rocks. I stepped out of line a bit and I told them that here they weren’t protesting against the government but rather against their own neighbours. I challenged them to take off their balaclavas and said to them they weren’t capable of coming over and having a conversation. They jumped over the fence and three of them started to beat me up. A friend and a building security guard saved me. I filmed them while they prepared the Molotov cocktails”. 

Other cities

Electricity minister Jesse Chacon informed through his Twitter account that “violent groups” surrounded an electric substation in San Cristobal and threw Molotov cocktails at it.

According to AVN there was also violence in Aragua and Carabobo states “which left material damage”.

The governor of Carabobo state, Francisco Ameliach said that “violent groups burnt a truck with liquid asphalt”. Ameliach alleged that the head of the MUD in the state, Vicencio Scarano had financed the crimes.

The minister for internal affairs, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, said that violent groups had tried to set the Aragua state government building on fire.

Official response

Tonight Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz informed the public that so far there have been a total of two deaths, 23 injured, and thirty arrests. Along with Montoya, student Basil Da Costa died after suffering a gunshot.  She added though that public lawyers were investigating and visiting hospitals to determine the exact number. According to Maduro the two men were both shot in the head, “like the sharp shooters who murdered [people] on 11 April [2002]”.

Ortega also said that four CICPC (Scientific Crime Investigation Body) vehicles were set on fire, as well as other private vehicles.

Regarding the march in Caracas, she said “they were guaranteed security from Plaza Venezuela to the Attorney General’s Office, there was nothing to impede them”.

Maduro also warned tonight that “whoever protests or marches without permission will be detained”.

“These are trained groups who… are prepared to overthrow the government in a violent way, and I’m not going to allow this, so I call on Venezuela to be peaceful,” Maduro said.

Foreign minister Elias Jaua alleged that Leopoldo Lopez was the “intellectual author of the deaths and injuries in Caracas”.

The Ecuadorian government emitted a statement today condemning the “acts of violence and vandalism by irresponsible members of the opposition”.

“We hope for the prompt reestablishment of social peace in our brother country and because respect for the government and its legitimately constituted institutions has precedence”.

Opposition statements and response

“This a call put out by the students and supported by the Democratic Unity [MUD opposition coalition], this march on the day of the youth is taking place when the government is repressing, with jail, with torture,” Leopoldo Lopez told CNN yesterday, in anticipation of today’s events.

“The government has an agenda of violence and as they control the monopoly [sic] over communication in Venezuela they hide it… the call that has been made is to be in the street,” he said, blaming the violence over the last week in Merida and Tachira on the government.

Speaking tonight on Noticias 24, Lopez blamed the national government for today’s violence and deaths. “Who is generating the violence? The government… repression by the national guard, the police,” he said.

Some of the top tweets by the opposition at the moment also blamed the Tupamaros groups. The Tupamaros are now quite small, but are often blamed for any violence that takes place. They support the national government.

“They (Tupamaros) are animals and they should all die,” wrote Daniel Garcia.

“Hitler, come back and put all the Tupamaros in gas chambers” wrote Andreina Leonett.

“When the first student dies all the streets of Venezuela will burn,” wrote Jose Gamboa.

Over the last week far right opposition leaders such as Leopoldo Lopez have been calling for people to “go out into the street” in order to achieve an “exit” of the national government.

February 13, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Theatre Program Launched in Venezuelan Schools to Create “Culture of Peace”

By Tamara Pearson | Venezuelanalysis | September 17, 2013

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President Maduro at the Teresa Carreno Theatre in Caracas launching the Children’s and Youth Theatre Movement (Prensa Presidencial)

Merida – Yesterday the school program titled the “Cesar Rengifo” Children’s and Youth Theatre Movement was kicked off, as students returned to class for the new school year.

The program is being run initially in 135 Bolivarian schools in Caracas, and will gradually be expanded around the rest of the country.

Classes include body language, literature, oral narration, musical appreciation, acting, lighting, and theatre music.

“The idea is to awaken sensitivity, responsibility, and critical and creative thought in children, through theatre,” said the program’s coordinator, Pedro Lander.

Lander explained that actors, directors, theatrical designers, voice teachers, and playwrights have been called on to teach in the schools. He said that Cesar Rengifo’s plays will be used, as well as other local and international ones.

Cesar Rengifo, a playwright, poet, painter, and journalist, was born in Caracas on 14 May 1915, and died on 2 November 1980. He founded the theatre group Mascaras (Masks), was director of Cultural Extension of the University of the Andes, and he won a range of national prizes for his plays. His plays and paintings focused on life in Venezuela, petroleum, and the oppression of marginalised people and the working class.

Children will watch plays in the Teresa Carreño Theatre as part of their initiation into the subject.

“Today a movement is being started which will make history and will contribute to…achieving a peaceful country. A country of peace is a country which takes on the culture of life, the values of life, the love of life, and respect, as its fundamental values,” President Nicolas Maduro said at the official launch of the program yesterday in Caracas.

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuelan School Year Begins with Free Books and Laptops

By Ewan Robertson | Venezuelanalysis | September 16, 2013

Mérida – Around eight million pre and primary school children began the new Venezuelan school year today, with the government announcing the distribution of free textbooks and laptops to educational centres.

This year the government will distribute 35 million textbooks to state primary and high schools from its Bicentenary Collection, which covers the national curriculum. This marks an increase from last year when 30.75 million books were distributed under the system, and 12 million in 2011.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro lauded the government’s preparations for the school year, stating on Saturday that policies were designed to provide “quality” education to all.

“To begin classes on Monday and take children to school, we’re going to begin handing out 35 million textbooks so that classes start with the best quality,” he said at an official event.

The government is also planning to distribute 5 million copies of the National Constitution to schools this term in order to raise awareness of the constitution’s contents and promote the values defended in its articles.

“This [Bolivarian] revolution can only be made if we fill it with love every day, if the passion of loves moves us; the purest love for our children, our parents…for our grandchildren, love for [late Venezuelan president Hugo] Chavez,” Maduro declared.

In the Venezuelan constitution, passed in a national referendum in 1999, education is described as “a human right and fundamental social duty; democratic, free, and obligatory” (Article 102). In practice education in Venezuela is free including at university level, while private educational institutions also exist.

The government will also distribute 650,000 free “Canaima” laptops to children from 1st to 6th grade this school term. A further 1.4 million will be handed out in 2014, bringing the total distributed since 2008 to 4 million.

Assembled in Venezuela, the Canaima laptops are manufactured as part of a cooperation agreement with Portugal.

Further, under the government social program “A Drop of Love for My School”, repairs were made to 1000 educational centres over the summer holidays.

The authorities of opposition controlled municipalities in the central state of Miranda also reported to have realised repairs to some schools in their areas in preparation for the new term.

Along with the distribution of materials and renovations to infrastructure, the Maduro government is launching a new children’s theatre scheme this school year. School pupils will experience a range of classes such as acting, lighting, oral narration, and music under the program, which is named after 20th century Venezuelan dramatist Cesar Rengifo.

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuelan Government Announces Transition to US Style Democracy

By Tamara Pearson, Gusano (Gus) Momio, & Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis | April 1, 2013

Miami – In a public broadcast yesterday the Venezuelan government announced the transition to democracy. Measures include the sale of community media to business giant Rupert Murdoch, and the privatisation of the health sector.

A Venezuelan government spokesperson told the press, “On the advice of a special US commission, the government will be expanding media diversity by selling all of its community media to Rupert Murdoch”.

“The media package includes Latin America’s Telesur, which will no longer report from the ground and talk to real people, but rather read US government press releases from an autocue,” the government spokesperson said.

Further, the government announced it will be bringing Monsanto into the country to advise on food reform.

“We realised that organised communities shouldn’t participate in politics, they don’t know their own needs, only transnationals like Monsanto and Macdonalds really understand these issues,” the spokesperson said.

On hearing of the transition plans, Donald Trump immediately offered to buy Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, in order to build a golf course. The government has accepted.

“Trump Greens will be South America’s premier golfing destination,” Trump told Venezuelan media yesterday.

“Imagine taking a putt off the world’s highest waterfall. This is my gift to all Venezuelans… and their caddies.”

The government will also sell its Barrio Adentro health system to Richard Branson.

The privatisations will be complemented by austerity policies, with the government hoping to deliver a budget surplus by 2015.

“We have observed the unquestionable success of austerity measures in Europe. While we have struggled to reduce poverty by any more than 66% over the last fourteen years, the rise in living conditions across Europe recently is a testament to the universal fact that free markets make free people,” the spokesperson said.

The US based Human Rights Organisation, which recently declared that Guantanamo Bay is conforming with human rights standards, commented that the latest measures were “a step in the right direction”.

“We hope that within a few years our democracy will be just as good as it is in the US. They have so many types of plastic cheese there, not to mention TV snacks. The Venezuelan economy is a disaster if we don’t have that sort of choice,” said the government spokesperson.

Government officials conceded what many in the international community have suspected for some time. As Simon Hooper wrote for CNN on 6 March, Chavez relied on drawing supporters using “force of personality”.

Indeed, his down to earth rhetoric, and appealing personality tricked many Venezuelans into supporting dictatorial policies such as investment in health and education.

“This day, 1 April, we have decided not to be fools any more and to start taking the international mainstream media seriously. We appreciate everything that the US has done for this continent,” the spokesperson concluded.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | 8 Comments