Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Venezuela's Independence Day: Literacy, Petrocaribe, and the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas

Today is the 195th anniversary of Venezuela's independence. There are three developments to mark the happy occasion.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Declares Venezuela Free of Illiteracy during a TV Show in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 3, 2005 (Miraflores Press/AP)Venezuela has won its battle for universal literacy, thanks to Cuba's assistance: "The two-year Robinson Mission, in the process of concluding, has taught 1.5 million adults learn to read, while Robinson Mission II will help those without prior opportunity to study to reach a sixth grade level, and the Ribas and Sucre programs are concentrating on university education" ("Venezuela´s New Independence Day," Prensa Latina, 5 Jul. 2005).

Venezuela created Petrocaribe.
"Today I propose to the Caribbean that we form an energy alliance," Chavez told the visiting leaders, saying the oil plan would be a new force for integration.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Castro called the plan an important step toward greater solidarity, "the only method of survival for our countries" as oil prices continue to rise.

 Caribbean Leaders Pose for a Group Photo during Their Meeting in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, June 29, 2005. (Howard Yanes/Reuters)The initiative, called Petrocaribe, would extend and improve special financing arrangements under past oil deals and use an expanded fleet of Venezuelan tankers to deliver fuel directly to bypass costly intermediaries, Chavez said.

He said the Venezuelan state oil company had created a new affiliate called PDV Caribe to coordinate the project and that Venezuela would be willing to accept goods such as bananas or sugar for a portion of payments. He said Venezuela also was prepared to help build new oil depots in the islands to help.

The initiative could help small Caribbean countries save a projected $6 a barrel on fuel, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez said. (emphasis added, Associated Press, "Caribbean Plan for Cheap Regional Fuel," CNN, 29 Jun. 2005)
And Venezuela launched the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) for a true social and economic integration of Latin America, declaring "the US-sponsored Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (ALCA) dead and impracticable in current regional conditions" ("Venezuela Celebrates Independence and Integration," Prensa Latina, 5 Jul. 2005).


Anonymous said...


new today from Asia Times Online

Re: Chavez and Ahmadinejad


an excerp: "Both leaders have pledged themselves to consummate a social revolution based on a model of development that is at great variance with mainstream market democracy. They are advocates of a "new socialism" aimed at responding in their own way to the imperatives arising from their countries' acute underdevelopment and social divisions. The programs of both reflect eclectic tendencies - both are ardent nationalists on the one hand, while being "continentalists" at the same time. Both have pledged to take recourse to selective state intervention in the economy, while being tolerant of the private, independent business sector ("bazaari" interests). In political terms, both emphasize their concern for the welfare of the "pious poor"; and, both play on intense nationalism, invoking patience and sacrifice for reconciling interest groups. Both intend to mobilize the people by penetrating society through their respective variants of "revolutionary" parties."

Anonymous said...

Another take on Ahmadinejad

July 9
New today ZNet

time will tell...

Anonymous said...

Demeaning Ahmadinejad.
Imperial America, still incensed by the Iranian Revolution over 25 years ago, wants to get Iran back.

"The fall of the Shah was an enormous setback to U.S. imperialism in Southwest Asia, including the Gulf, and the imperialists have never forgiven the Iranian people for their rebellion, nor given up on efforts to reassert control over the country. So they need to misrepresent the revolution, exaggerate the role of the reactionary clergy in it, minimize the role of the secular and leftist forces, downplay the viciousness and unpopularity of the Shah, and generally depict the upheaval as a terrible setback to U.S.-sponsored "progress" in Iran."

Read more:
"Now the Leader of Iran is a Terrorist"
Accusing Ahmadinejad



Anonymous said...

Remembering Our Past of Torture In Iran
by Daniel Kovalik
July 15, 2005

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There is now quite a bit of hand-ringing about the past of Iran's president-elect, especially as to whether, as a youth, he participated in the hostage taking of the 52 Americans who were held for 444 days, beginning in 1979. While this is certainly fair game for consideration, it is my belief that, from a moral and even practical perspective, it is more important to examine our own collective conscience about the U.S.'s long-time role in Iran, particularly for the three decades leading up to, and indeed largely precipitating, the 1979 Iranian revolution. For it is from our own history in Iran that we will gain some perspective about why the Iranians feel the way they do about the U.S., and why, in my view, the U.S. should rightfully take a much more measured and gentle approach with Iran and with the Middle East in general.

On June 11, 1979, the New York Times published an article entitled "Torture's Teachers." In this article, which dealt with the varied misdeeds of the CIA, the author, A.J. Langguth, discussed a conversation with a CIA operative in Iran who revealed "that the CIA sent an operative to teach interrogation methods to SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, that the training included instructions in torture, and the techniques were copied from the Nazis." None of this is much of a secret anymore, though it is rarely discussed in the media even in the context of our musings over what transpired in Iran in 1979. This is incredible in that this history is so vital to understanding these events.

GlobalSecurity.org, a fairly conservative website which provides information relating to U.S. national security concerns, has a whole section on Iran's "Ministry of Security SAVAK." In this section, the website soberly describes the fact that it was the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency which helped to install the "one-party rule" of Shah of Iran in 1953. As the website relates, the "CIA mounted a coup against the left leaning [and democratically-elected] government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq, which had planned to nationalize Iran's oil industry." Further, the "CIA subsequently provided organizational and training assistance for the establishment of an intelligence organization for the Shah." This intelligence organization, as the website tells us, was indeed the SAVAK, which, with CIA support and instruction, went on for the next thirty-some years to engage in the "torture and execution of political prisoners, suppression of dissent, and alienation of the religious masses." Globalsecurity.org, relating all of this to national security, then goes on to explain that "The United States reinforced its position as the Shah's protector and supporter, sewing the seeds of the anti-Americanism that later manifested itself in the revolution against the monarchy" in 1979.

Placed in the context of these undisputed facts, the U.S.'s incessant and incendiary rant, about Iran's shortcomings in democracy, about the possibility that Iran would seek a nuclear deterrent against aggression, and about the current president-elect's conduct in 1979 seems ill-informed, unnecessarily aggressive and indeed downright hypocritical. The media's publication of these rants, devoid of any criticism or any mention of the aforesaid shameful conduct of the U.S. in Iran which largely brought about the fundamentalist government the U.S. now fears, is even more troublesome. With the U.S. now involved in an unpopular and clearly unnecessary war in Iraq - another war made possible by a compliant media - it would seem that pointing out the above facts is critical at this time when the U.S. is poised for its next failed and misguided foreign military venture. By familiarizing ourselves, and our elected officials about this history, it is my hope that we can greatly subdue the unjustified righteous indignation many in the U.S. feel about Iran, and, as a consequence, avoid the next war before it starts.

Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights attorney living in Pittsburgh.

Frank Partisan said...

I found this blog surfing blogs.

The tango between Chavez and Bush today in Argentina is exciting.

Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, are all moving left.