Monday, September 25, 2006

Venezuela’s Chavez Says World Faces Choice Between US Hegemony and Survival

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2006


Venezuela's President Chavez holds up a copy of Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival during his speech to the UN General Assembly.
Credit: AP

[Editor's note: The transcript of Chavez's speech at the end of this article had some translation errors. We now post a more accurate translation.]

Caracas, Venezuela, September 20, 2006 —Borrowing a line from U.S. linguist and foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky, Venezuela’s President Chavez told the 61st UN General Assembly that the world currently faces the choice between continued U.S. hegemony and human survival. Chavez also called for the re-founding of the United Nations, so as to avert this danger.

"The hegemonistic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very existence of the human species," said Chavez, holding up a copy of Chomsky’s book and to the applause of many attendees. Chavez continued, stressing, "We appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head.”

Chavez’s speech, which, following his well-received appearance at the UN the previous year, as widely anticipated, also went on to refer to U.S. President Bush as the “devil” on several occasions. “Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world,” he said.

Chavez strongly criticized Bush’s speech of the previous day, saying that he seeks to impose an elitist model of democracy on the world. “They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.”

Bush’s reference to the fight against extremists was another issue Chavez rejected, saying that those Bush sees as extremists are those who resist imperial domination, saying, “You can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.”

Chavez went on to mock Bush’s statement that he wants peace, pointing out how he is responsible for wars in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and then Bush says, according to Chavez, “We are suffering because we see homes destroyed.”

The ways in which the U.S. is able to get away with its ambitions are proof that the UN system has “collapsed” and is “worthless,” according to Chavez, and is in need of being “re-founded.”

Concretely, Chavez repeated four proposals that he said Venezuela had made a year earlier. First, the UN Security Council should be expanded, with new permanent members from the Third World. Second, said Chavez, it needs “methods to address and resolve world conflicts.” Third, the abolishing of the “undemocratic” veto in the Security Council. Fourth, the strengthening of the role of the UN Secretary General.

Chavez also referred to his effort to have Venezuela represented on the Security Council, accusing the U.S. of “an immoral attack,” in its effort to prevent Venezuela from obtaining one of the two-year rotating seats. He then listed the many countries that have publicly declared their support for Venezuela’s effort to be on the Security Council, such the members of Mercosur, of Caricom, of the Arab League, of the African League, and Russia and China.

For Chavez, Venezuela is struggling to “build a new and better world,” but it is being threatened by the U.S., which supports his government’s overthrow. Chavez reminded his audience that the U.S. employs hired assassins, such as Luis Posada Carriles, who Cuba and Venezuela hold responsible for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, who but is about to be freed from temporary custody in the U.S. He also mentioned that several other individuals who are wanted for terrorist acts in Venezuela have found safe harbor in the U.S.

U.S. Government Reactions

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said that Chavez’s speech did not deserve a response. “We're not going to address that kind of comic strip approach to international affairs,” stated Bolton.

Bolton added, though, "The real issue here is he knows he can exercise freedom of speech on that podium. And as I say, he could exercise it in Central Park, too. How about giving the same freedom to the people of Venezuela."

A White House spokesperson, Frederick Jones, similarly said Chavez’s speech was, "not worthy of reaction."

State Department Spokesperson Tom Casey said, "You know, the U.N. is an important world stage, and an important forum, and leaders come there representing their people and their country. And I'll leave it to the Venezuelan people to determine whether President Chavez represented them and presented them in a way they would have liked to have seen."

Florida Republican Connie Mack called on the international community to block Venezuela's entry as UN Security Council member, saying, "Chavez's diatribe in the United Nations against liberty only strengthens the fact that he is no more than the paladin of demoralization and of despoitism and a sworn enemy of hope and opportunity," quoted the news agency EFE.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Latin America Solidarity News September 20th 2006

Events, actions, trade and more news

Web blogg -
Voz Latinoamericana Wellington Access Radio 783AM Mondays 5-6pm
(radio streaming -


Mexican Embassy Protest October 2nd

Protest against Felipe Calderon assuming the Mexican presidency.
and commemorate the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968

Next Zapatista hui Monday 25th September 6pm
If you are interested in joining the Zapatista solidarity fundraising group, the next meeting is on:
Monday 25 September at 6pm at 128 Abel-Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington. Contact:
For inspiration check out “Walking, We Ask Questions” The Other Campaign in Spanish Harlem

Peña Cultural Latina 6th October, Friday 6pm
Films, live music, food and conversation from 6pm
128 Abel-Smith St, Wellington. All welcome. Please come along and bring your friends

"Eyes of the Rainbow" film screening Monday 9 October.
128 Abel-Smith St, Wellington

Auckland 27th September–11th October 2006
Wellington 10th–14th October 2006
Hamilton 5th–7th October
Raglan 8th October

The Festival features a tantalising programme of films – shorts, features and documentaries - that will captivate and entertain, including the first feature film directed by a Cuban woman, De Cierta Manera, and a short documentary about women in Cuban cinema, Cualquier Mujer

GLORIA ROLANDO WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS FROM 21 September. For press enquires and to arrange an interview with director Gloria Rolando (Gloria’s English is good), please contact:

AUCKLAND: Rebecca Russell, 0211 700 792,
WELLINGTON: Bronwyn Wilson , 021 33 23 93 or (04) 970 2217,
HAMILTON: Helen Ritchie 07 8257470,


Melbourne Latin American & Asia Pacific Solidarity October Gathering
Visit LASNET site and find info about the Latin American & Asia Pacific
Solidarity Gathering to be held in Melbourne-Australia on October 21-22 October 2006

Main Speakers from: Mapuche Communities from Chile-Argentina, MST (Movimiento sin Tierra-Landless Movement) representative form Brazil, Coalition in Defense of Water and Gas from Bolivia and a representative from Simon Ridriguez Trainning Centre from Venezuela....more updates later on during September...
LASNET, Melbourne-Australia

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network is organising its fourth Brigade to Venezuela, to coincide with the Presidential elections in December 2006. The Brigade is currently
scheduled to start on November 23 and end on the election date December
3 [Running for 10 days], and will also be facilitating the participation of Brigadistas as international election observers.

Visit Cuba and see for youself. Dec 26, 2006 -23 January 2007. An
Australasian brigade spends a month in Cuba visiting historic sights,
having discussions with unions and womenâ•˙s groups, staying with
families ∑ and doing a little agricultural labour to express your
support and solidarity with Cuba in the face of the US blockade. Total
costs are about $5000 for fares, accommodation and meals. And there is
also time to lie on a beach, walk along the Malecon and dance in a Havana nightclub.
Contact Ina for info and registration details 09 3031755;



Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans marked Independence Day on
Sept. 16 by holding a massive meeting, which they called the
"Democratic National Convention" (CND), in Mexico City's main
plaza, the Zocalo. The crowd voted up plans to carry on a
nonviolent struggle against Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, official
winner of the July 2 presidential election, who is to start his
six-year term on Dec. 1. The convention declared center-left
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the "legitimate president"
of Mexico and announced that he will be inaugurated on Nov. 20,
the 96th anniversary of the start of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

The CND also laid out plans for disruptions of official events,
for an election for a constituent assembly to rewrite the
Constitution and for a boycott of companies that had financed
Calderon's campaign, including the US firms Coca-Cola and Wal-
Mart, and the Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex), which is owned
by the New York-based Citigroup. CND sources said slightly more
than 1 million "delegates" had registered to be part of the
convention, which set up permanent committees and made plans to
meet again on Mar. 21, 2007. [La Jornada (Mexico) 9/17/06;
Univision website 9/16/06 from EFE]

The CND followed complex negotiations over Independence Day
ceremonies between Lopez Obrador's representatives and the
government of outgoing president Vicente Fox Quesada, which
strongly supported Calderon, a member of center-right National
Action Party (PAN).

The custom is for the president to go to the Zocalo shortly
before midnight on Sept. 15 and give the Grito, the "cry" of
"Mexicans, long live Mexico!" with which Rev. Miguel Hidalgo is
said to have started the 1810 war for independence from Spain.
The next day, on Sept. 16, the military holds a massive parade in
the plaza. Lopez Obrador and his supporters agreed to end the
occupation of the Zocalo which they started on July 30, while
Fox--who had been prevented by protesters from giving his state
of the union report on Sept. 1--agreed to give the Grito in
Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato state, the site of the original
Grito, instead of Mexico City. Federal District (DF, Mexico City)
head of government Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez, a member of Lopez
Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), gave the
Grito in the Zocalo, with Lopez Obrador standing beside him. The
military held its parade in the plaza in the morning, and the CND
took over the Zocalo for the rest of the day. [Notimex 9/15/06;
LJ 9/17/06]

Traditional Independence Day ceremonies were also suspended in
the southern state of Oaxaca, where striking teachers and their
allies have been occupying much of the state capital since May.
The strikers organized the celebrations, and a teacher gave the
Grito. [LJ 9/17/06]

Mexican leftist says will never accept rival's win:
Mexico's leftist opposition leader said he will never recognize his right-wing rival as president and vowed a "radical transformation" of the country by setting up a parallel government.

By Diego Enrique Osornoâ?¨Special to The Narco News Bulletin
Following the CIA's "Psychological Operations" Manual for the Nicaraguan Contras, the State Government Has Unleashed a Bloody Counterinsurgency Strategy to Eliminate the Social Movement
.......they are part of the armed convoy that the Oaxaca state government has sent to try to eliminate the dissident Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials) once and for all.....

"Capitalism Has Only Hurt Latin America",1518,434272,00.html
Bolivia's President Evo Morales, 46, talks to DER
SPIEGEL about reform plans for his country, socialism
in Latin America, and the often tense relations of the
region's leftists with the United States.

US warns Nicaraguans not to back Ortega
The US ambassador to Nicaragua has issued a vigorous warning to this small Central American country’s electors against supporting Daniel Ortega, the veteran leftwing Sandinista leader and the frontrunner in November’s presidential election.

In a frank interview with the FT, Paul Trivelli said Mr Ortega was “undemocratic” and would roll back much of the advances made in recent years. And, underlining the concern felt in Washington about the regional influence of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the ambassador said he had no doubt that Venezuela was playing an important role in the election.....
The ambassador said that an Ortega victory – while vague on many issues, the 60-year-old former rebel leader has talked of increasing the role of the state and renegotiating Cafta, the trade agreement between the US and Central America – would force Washington to “re-evaluate” relations.

What is the U.S. Military Doing in Paraguay?:

The U.S. military is conducting secretive operations in Paraguay and reportedly building a new base there. Human rights groups and military analysts in the region believe trouble is brewing. However, the U.S. embassy in Paraguay denies the base exists and describes the military activity as routine


On Sept. 6, Chile's Senate voted 20-13 with two abstentions
against a bill introduced by Socialist senator Alejandro Navarro
which would have granted conditional release to jailed Mapuche
activists. In May, four Mapuche political prisoners ended a 70-
day hunger strike on the promise that the bill would be approved
[see Updates #847, 850, 851, 853]. Navarro said the bill sought
to "correct an injustice" imposed on the Mapuche activists when
they were given harsh sentences under a widely criticized anti-
terrorism law. [Adital 9/11/06; La Nacion 9/6/06; El Mostrador

Carbon credits and the green desert
By Heidi Bachram
As the struggle for land and water resources in Brazil intensifies,
Heidi Bachram discovers that the new carbon market is an added burden
For vulnerable communities.

Please do not sponsor this tree
We need to kick the fossil-fuel habit, and that won’t happen if people
And corporations are led to believe that it is OK to pollute because we
Can ‘offset’ those emissions.

Author of Lancet article on Haiti investigated

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, is investigating complaints about a potential conflict of interest involving the author of a recent article that found systemic human-rights violations in Haiti despite the presence of a Canadian-led United Nations police force and peacekeeping mission.

The study, co-authored by Athena Kolbe, found that 8,000 Haitians have been slain and 35,000 women and girls raped since the ouster of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in early 2004. Ms. Kolbe said that according to local Haitians, Canadian peacekeepers made death threats against them during house raids, and sexual advances against women while the peacekeepers were drunk and off duty.

However, Ms. Kolbe herself is now the subject of controversy after revelations that the 30-year-old master's degree student at Wayne State University's school of social work in Detroit used to be an advocacy journalist who wrote under the name Lyn Duff and worked at a Haitian orphanage founded by Mr. Aristide.

"How can Kolbe/Duff's research into the issues of human-rights violations be regarded as objective when she herself states that for 3.5 years she worked with the Lafanmi Selavi centre for street children, where she befriended Aristide himself and presumably some of the boys who later left the centre . . . [who] then acted as armed enforcers?" Charles Arthur, co-ordinator of the British-based Haiti Support Group, wrote this week in a letter of complaint to The Lancet.

"There is a concerted international campaign to distort news and manipulate information about Haiti with the apparent aim of repairing the reputation of Aristide. I am concerned The Lancet has unwittingly been used as part of the pro-Aristide propaganda campaign."

Nobody from The Lancet was available to comment yesterday, but Ms. Kolbe said the magazine is investigating, and she is confident it will find no conflict of interest.

"The Lancet would have appreciated hearing it from me and not from an outsider," she said in an interview. "But it's not like they wouldn't have published the article. The findings aren't at issue."

Ms. Kolbe said she used to write articles under the name Lyn Duff -- an old nickname and her mother's surname -- but wanted to go by her father's surname and her real first name once she entered academia.

She also said that from 1994-1997, she worked at an orphanage founded by Mr. Aristide, met him several times, and was an admirer of the then-president. Some of the children at the orphanage maintained links with him. "I am not a supporter of Lavalas [Aristide's political party]. I have warm feelings toward Aristide, but I am critical of some of his decisions."

She and her co-author, assistant professor Royce Hutson, defended the results of their survey, which has prompted some groups to call for a parliamentary inquiry into Canada's role in Haiti.

Mr. Aristide's first term in office was interrupted by a 1991 military coup and his second ended abruptly on Feb. 29, 2004, after a rebellion of thugs and ex-soldiers forced him out. He argues the United States forced him into exile.

Canada sent 450 soldiers to Haiti in March, 2004, part of a UN peacekeeping mission of 6,700 soldiers and 1,600 police. The soldiers left in August that year, and there are currently 66 police officers in Haiti leading the UN police force.

The Lancet peer-reviewed study of 5,720 randomly selected Haitians living in the capital found that in the 22-month period since Mr. Aristide's ouster, 97 had received death threats, 232 had been threatened physically and 86 sexually. According to survey respondents, one-third of those who issued death threats were criminals, 18 per cent were Haitian National Police and other government security agents and another 17 per cent were foreign soldiers. Only 6 per cent were Lavalas.

Mr. Arthur said these findings contradict independent human-rights investigators who report that many of the violations have been committed by criminals, Haitian police and anti-Aristide groups -- as well as Lavalas supporters. "My concern is that either the conduct or interpretation of the research was skewed or biased in order to exonerate Fanmi Lavalas/Aristide supporters from accusation of involvement in human-rights violations," he said in his letter.

Nicholas Galletti, with Rights and Democracy, a Montreal non-governmental organization, said the author's background further calls into question a study "based on flawed methodology" whereby responsibility for crimes is attributed to groups without a proper criminal investigation or trial.

However, Prof. Hutson says the study acknowledges the limitations of having to rely on subject recall.

"The charges of bias are baseless. We were aware Athena had written under another name and found no conflict. Our concern is the way UN soldiers are interacting with Haitians."
Montreal Muslim News Network -

US Press Well Paid to Harm Cuba
Havana, Sep 9, 2006 (Prensa Latina) At least ten influential journalists in southern Florida, including three from the New Herald (Spanish edition), received thousands of dollars over the last few years from the US government for broadcasting anti-Cuba propaganda through radio-TV programs.

Veteran reporters Pablo Alfonso and Wilfredo Cancio and Olga Connor, a collaborator of the New Herald, were the best paid for attacking Cuba through the so called Radio and TV Marti, with sums reaching almost 175,000 dollars, Granma daily, the official organ of Cuba s Communist Party, reads today.

Alfonso and Cancio were immediately fired after The Miami Herald, the main headquarters of the New Herald, learned of the payments.

The list of US media mercenaries also include Helen Aguirre Ferre, from Las Americas daily, Miguel Cossio, news director of Channel 41, and columnist Carlos Alberto Montaner.

The news was no surprise in Cuba, where journalists have repeatedly denounced, even with names, the ethics of reporters paid by the US government to attack the Cuban Revolution, the daily stressed.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Latin America Committee revisited on 9/11

Latin America Committee revisited.

Amigos - once again we are approaching 9/11 when we remember the
events of 1973 and the violent overthrow of the democratically
elected government of the Chilean President Salvador Allende by
the CIA.

The Latin America Committee has been constant in its support
for the struggle of the Chilean people for a return to normalcy
since that fateful day 33 years ago. We pay respect to all those
who have died fighting for the basic human rights of freedom of
expression and the right to earn a fair living, especially for
those hundreds of thousands of Chileans who were forced to flee
their country.

Well over a million refugees left Chile, and some came here to
NZ. We especially acknowledge Rolando Olmedo, one of that
initial group of Chilean in 1975.

Rolando, like most other migrants, has made an enormous
contribution to our community, working tirelessly with people
with special needs through the use of theatre and music,
founding the Theatre company for the Deaf in Palmerston
North, and continuing this work today through the Hutt
Community Arts and Training Centre, and with Incal Casa Latina.

Roland and I meet in 1977 on my return from two years in Chile
and Bolivia, and I well remember the warm hospitality. We
collaborated over many projects. The Chilean Human Rights
Committee lead on to the formation of the Third World Cafe -
a community Cafe which fundraised for aid projects around the
world, the Nicargua Must Survive Campaign and the Latin American
Solidarity Committee.

Refugees such as Rolando Olmedo continue to make a strong
contribution to our community, and we have observed with great
sadness the treatment meted out to refugee Ahmed Zaoui, an elected
Algerian MP, also a campaigner for peace and human rights. Ahmed
Zaoui was held in prison for two years after the Security
Intelligence Service declared him a threat. The SIS never produced
any evidence to support their case, and the case is still pending.

The democratically elected Government of Chile was overthrown on
September 11th 1973, a 9/11 which resulted in a military
dictatorship of 17 years, torture, death, exile, and the
overturning of the progressive social agenda of Salvador Allende.

The US backed military coup was preceded by a long period of
destabilisation involving purchase of local media, the training of
military officials, the infiltration of key trade unions and the
assassination of key public figures. The USA created the
"El Condor" torture network which operated with fellow
military governments in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay.

The return to parliamentary elections in 1993 was not a return to
full democracy. It is still a constrained democracy, with a portion
of the senate claimed by the military and ex Presidents, and the
impunity law still in place. The constitution written by Pinochet
survives in part to this day, and inequalities within the country
are amongst the largest in the world. The Mapuche people continue
the fight to have past wrongs addressed.

However, we welcome the election of Chile's first Women President,
Michelle Bachelet in March this year. She won the 2006 election
with 53.5% of the vote. A moderate Socialist, she campaigned on a
platform of continuing Chile's free market policies, while
increasing social benefits to help reduce the country's gap between
rich and poor.

Today, the world is much less safe place with the US on a war
footing. The United States has launched a diplomatic offensive to
block Venezuela's bid for a two-year rotating seat on the United
Nations Security Council. However, Venezuela has now received the
backing of Arab League, Caribbean Community and Common Market
(Caricom) and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) countries.
Robertson, the right-wing evangelist and friend of the Bush
family, publicly called last year for the U.S. government to kill
- or at least kidnap - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. "This
is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil,
that could hurt us badly," Robertson said.

That "problem," quite simply, is that Chavez, a radical populist
who has been voted into office repeatedly by huge majorities in his
own country, controls the largest reserve of petroleum outside the
Middle East.

Even more scandalous for Big Oil, Chavez is using Venezuela's
windfall not to fatten his own country's oligarchy but to benefit
the Venezuelan poor and help neighboring countries.

While Robertson was issuing his accusations, the Venezuelan
president was in Jamaica, where he announced a new oil agreement.

Under the agreement, Venezuela supplied oil to Jamaica for a mere
$40 a barrel. The Chavez plan meant more than half a million dollars
a day in savings for Jamaica.

The agreement is part of a broader Chavez plan called Petrocaribe,
in which Chavez has offered the same kind of deal to the leaders of
more than a dozen other neighboring nations.

Chavez - A dangerous man, indeed! There are parallels between Chile
and Venezuela. However, the US should not be tempted into a new
adventure in the southern hemisphere against Venezuela, because
today there is a much stronger alliance between the major countries
of South America and the Caribbean.

Here in the Pacific Region, another Caribbean nation, Cuba, offered
over 800 full scholarships for young East Timorese to study at
Havana’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM). The first phase of
the scholarship program is well under way, with 361 students from
East Timor already matriculating in the medical school. Creating
a sustainable health system where East Timorese provide health
services for their own is the long-term strategy, says Dr. Francisco
Medina, head of Cuba’s Comprehensive Health Program (CHP) in the
small island nation. There are currently 182 Cuban professionals
and technicians working in East Timor under the medical cooperation
project and in Dili, Cuba has funded a new medical faculty at Dili's
National University.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation programme The World Today, tells
us when the Indonesians pulled out in 1999, there were barely 20
practicing doctors left in the country. Entire communities had never
had a single doctor, under Indonesian rule or the Portuguese.
In the last year it's Cuba that has stepped in to help.
Since 2004, Cuban doctors have spread to every district and
sub-district in East Timor, staffing clinics and field hospitals,
often for a pittance in pay.

Cuban Dr Medina says he plans to stay for at least six years. "We are
just some of the 27,000 Cuban doctors," he says, "working in 69
countries - in Africa, America, countries that need help, like East
Timor. The problems in East Timor are very similar to all the poor
nations throughout the world, Malaria, tuberculosis, infant mortality."

In New Zealand, Latin America Committee solidarity activities are
picking up.

Last year, solidarity events were held with Argentina, Chile, Colombia
and Venezuela, a major forum on the Proposed Chile/New Zealand Closer
Economic Partnership (Prue Hyman), Fair Trade as Sustainable
Development in an Egalitarian Society (Elinor Chisholm), Participatory
Democracy within the Context of Free Trade Agreements (Terence Wood)
and the World Social Forum 2005 Porto Alegre (Gary Williams & Betsan
Martin), and more recently a "Self Determination in Action Workshop"
including eye witness accounts from Mike Treen recently back form
Venezuela. Other solidarity events have been organised on behalf of
Nicaragua, Colombia and the Mapuche in Chile with the support of the
Los Andes Latin American Folk Group and others. LAC has also taken an
active part in the Council for International Development (CID) forums
on trade and the environment, also in the Point 7 campaign (

Coming up this year we can look forward to the launching of a
fundraising project for for the autonomous Zapatista communities of
Chiapas, Mexico, a new brigade to Venezuela as well as the annual
New Year Cuba Brigade, plus lots of Cultural events, such as a video
link up with celebrated Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano!

The film "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived its Peak Oil"
soon showing in your area is also highly recommended. If you miss
the film, contact us to borrow a copy.

Paul Bruce
Convenor LAC
August 2006