[Marxism] (Socialist Voice) Tsunami negligence; Venezuela, Cuba strengthen ties
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Dec 31 18:34:55 MST 2004
S O C I A L I S T V O I C E
Debate and dialogue on issues before the workers movement
Number 26, December 31, 2004 www.socialistvoice.com
Editors' Note: With the death toll from the December 26 tsunami now
at more than 100,000, the concern and generosity of donors
charity organizations stands in stark contrast to their governments'
pitifully inadequate response. The $250 million so far pledged by
governments for emergency aid is a pittance compared to the hundreds of
billions committed to the U.S.-led war to conquer Iraq. With millions
more lives at
risk in the aftermath of the disaster, Ottawa is resisting calls for
funding, and it refuses to send its best equipped emergency response
so-called DART, to the stricken zones.
Much of the human loss was preventable. The U.S. government knew of the
tsunami within minutes and warned its military base in the Indian Ocean,
phone call was made to alert authorities in the threatened countries.
CBC Radio One's news program The Current on December 31, Dr. Tad Murty,
physicial oceanographer and Vice President of the Tsunami Society, based
Hawaii, estimated that 95 per cent of the lives lost could have been
saved by an
early warning system.
Tsunami warning systems are inexpensive and have been deployed for 50
to protect U.S. territory. There have been many calls to place such a
the Indian Ocean, most recently at a UN conference in June. The
is $500,000--what Canada spends on "defence" in 20 minutes. But no
taken. (For more, see "The Role of U.S. Criminal Negligence" at
www.iacenter.org/tsunami) --Roger Annis and John Riddell
VENEZUELA, CUBA STRENGTHEN TIES
Leadership Offered to World Anti-Imperialist Forces
By Roger Annis and John Riddell
On December 14, Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President
Chávez Frias signed an agreement strengthening cooperation between the
peoples of their two countries with the goal of "integration and
Venezuela agreed to transfer technology and to finance development
Cuba, and it guarantees that Cuba will continue to receive 53,000
barrels of oil
per day, the majority of its import requirement. Cuba will continue to
more than 15,000 medical professionals to take part in Barrio Adentro.
program brings medical care to the poor of Venezuela and trains
doctors and specialists. Cuba will also grant 2,000 annual scholarships
Venezuelan students. The two countries will work together with other
American countries in large-scale efforts to fight illiteracy.
Cuba also subscribed to the Bolivarian Agreement for the Americas
Venezuelan government's proposal to unite the peoples of Latin America
"the egalitarian principles of justice and equality that are innate in
the well-being of the most dispossessed sectors of society, and a
sense of solidarity toward the underdeveloped countries of the western
hemisphere," advanced as an alternative to the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade
of the Americas. (http://www.kominf.pp.fi/L5extra.html)
"The Cuban revolution and the Bolivarian revolution have demonstrated
better world is not only possible but also is perfectly attainable,"
during a celebration of the agreement in Havana December 14.
the name taken by the popular movement in Venezuela headed by Chávez. "A
different world is essential in order to save life and the planet,"
Visibly moved by the occasion, Castro paid homage to the vision of the
Venezuelan leader, who has visited Cuba 11 times in the past 10 years.
crisis comes, leaders arise.... So arose Chávez when the dreadful social
human situation in Venezuela and Latin America determined that the time
for a second, real independence had come."
The world crisis "affects everyone," Castro added. The "imperial system
economic order it has imposed on the world cannot be sustained. Peoples
have decided to fight ... for their very survival can never be
The impact of Cuban-Venezuelan political collaboration was evident at
December 1-5, 2004 World Forum of Intellectuals and Artists, held in
Sizable delegations from the two countries acted as an informal
leadership in this
conference, securing the adoption of a declaration that called for "a
resistance to confront the attempt to impose worldwide domination." The
conference, attended by 350 delegates from 52 countries, called for the
of a "network of networks" of social organizations and institutions
world to help build "an international movement in defense of humanity."
English translation of the text, see
President Chávez promised that resources would be provided to establish
office in Venezuela for such a movement.
This Venezuelan initiative is reminiscent of efforts by the Cuban
the past 45 years, and by the Soviet Union in Lenin's time, to lend
support to and
join forces with revolutionary processes in other countries. For Cuba,
represents the strongest anti-imperialist ally it has ever had, and the
ally since the defeat of the Nicaraguan revolution in the 1980s. The
Venezuela alignment offers working people worldwide a pole of leadership
Character of the Venezuelan process
The Venezuela-Cuba agreement noted the "political, social, economic and
asymmetries" between the two countries. Venezuela has not experienced a
social revolution of the Cuban type, where the capitalist rulers are
and driven from their seats of power and working people take command of
state and economy. In Venezuela, a pro-imperialist bourgeoisie still
economy and media and most of the state apparatus, and retains influence
The Bolivarian movement, which Chávez led into government in 1998, aims
far-reaching social reforms. Following the movement's victory in the
presidential elections, to the horror of Venezuelan capitalists, it
implement the radical-democratic program approved by the electorate.
broke the rules of capitalist "democracy," according to which electoral
are discarded the day after the vote.
Moreover, confronted by the resistance of governmental ministries, the
set up new agencies, the "Misiones," to implement literacy, public
other programs. They invited the Venezuelan working people to organize
out and defend these measures--with the help of thousands of
volunteers from Cuba. And when the Venezuelan capitalists and their
backers rose in fury to put an end to this defiance, the Chavistas
masses in militant resistance.
The Bolivarian program does not challenge capitalist property relations.
experience proves that so long as the capitalist ruling class retains
decisive sectors of the state and economy, they will use this power to
undermine, destabilize, and ultimately overthrow any government
serious reform. Where necessary, the local capitalists, in alliance with
imperialist backers, resort to murderous force and war.
And indeed, there have been three offensives mounted by the Venezuelan
capitalists--a bosses' strike, aimed at devastating the economy; a
organized with the connivance of the CIA (see www.venezuelafoia.org);
recall referendum. All three met decisive defeat. Never before,
has imperialism been so humiliated in Latin America. The people's
overturn of the 2002 military coup in two days is unprecedented.
Rightists in disarray
These events fully deserve the description given them by the
revolutionary process, in which the masses of working people forcibly
in political life to challenge the power of the ruling class. These
disorganized and demobilized the rightist opposition and forced
postpone plans to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
Following the referendum in the summer of 2004, the pro-Bolivarian
majorities in 20 of 22 states in regional elections October 31, 2004.
is expanding, with a balanced government budget. Yet the
sure to attack again, more fiercely and more murderously. In an ominous
of things to come, Danilo Anderson, the government prosecutor
2002 military coup, was assassinated on November 18.
Venezuela's working people can defend their gains and carry through the
Bolivarian program only by driving the capitalists out of their seats of
power in the
state and the economy, following the example of the Cuban revolution
and the Russian revolution after October 1917. Such an overturn cannot
carried out by governmental decree. Only working people themselves can
such a revolution, when they are convinced through struggle there is no
road that can preserve their gains and save them from devastating
Leaders of the Venezuelan process are not unaware of this challenge.
has spoken since the referendum of the need for a "revolution within the
revolution." In his address to the December Caracas conference, for
"noted the need to study the original principles of socialism as well as
The President ... referred to the importance of early twentieth century
revolutionary Leon Trotsky's ideas, embodied in 'The Permanent
how it explains that there are no national solutions to global
Nieto, venezuelanalysis.com, December 6)
New sources of strength
Many socialist groups that look to the Russian revolution as a model
the Venezuelan process puzzling. Few of these groups supported the
forces in the August referendum struggle. Many have hesitated, or
negatively. Indeed, the Venezuelan process does not correspond to the
blueprint. There is no revolutionary party, no Stalinist party, and
much resembles Social Democracy. The main trade unions lined up with the
bosses. Chávez came from the officer corps, and his program is not
But the Venezuelan process has found new and powerful sources of
And the weakness of procapitalist workers' leaderships, who have
many revolutionary uprisings, is an immense plus. As Fidel Castro noted
December 14, referring to the Bolivarians' struggle for power, "It was a
lesson for revolutionaries. There are no dogmas, nor [is there] only one
doing things. The Cuban Revolution itself was also proof of that."
In responding to a revolutionary advance, the first rule is to get
that means telling the worlds' peoples the truth about Venezuela,
international initiatives of Venezuelan and Cuban revolutionists. It
defending Venezuela and Cuba against the inevitable imperialist
assaults. In so
doing, we will draw invaluable lessons of this revolution in the making,
will help point us in a political direction out of the morass of the
SOME ENGLISH-LANGUAGE WEB SOURCES ON VENEZUELA:
www.rethinkvenezuela.com/index.html -- Venezuela Information Office
www.venezuelanalysis.com -- Comprehensive information and comment
www.venezuelafoia.info/ -- "A website devoted to U.S. meddling in
www.vheadline.com/main.asp -- "Venezuela's electronic news"
www.handsoffvenezuela.org/ -- Hands Off Venezuela Campaign
www.zmag.org/venezuela_watch.cfm -- Venezuela page of Znet
www.granma.cu/ingles/ouramerica-i.html --Cuba's leading daily
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