[Marxism] Venezuelan envoy tells of social gains

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 7 08:51:15 MDT 2005


(An amazing personal and political odyssey as this former Venezuelan 
military man describes how his understanding of Cuba's role and the 
meaning socialism for his homeland and its future developed. At this 
same time, nearly six thousand local government elections are going 
ahead without significant problems today as the revolutionary process 
proceeds in Venezuela. Yesterday Fidel met with the young Cubans who 
were about to depart for Caracas in a lively dialogue which was also 
broadcast live on Cuban television. In Cuba and Venezuela, it surely 
seems, the revolution is very much being televised.

(Thousands of young people from across the world, including 1500 young 
Cubans and 700 from the United States are gathering for the World Youth 
Festival in Caracas, we can learn from these experiences how a better 
consciousness and a better world is both necessary and possible. The 
few remaining today who don't understand the qualitative change now
going on in the Bolivarian process should take the time to study the 
life experience of people like this, from whom much can be learned.)
===================================================================

http://www.workers.org/2005/world/venezuela-0811/
Venezuelan envoy tells of social gains
By Arturo J. Pérez Saad
New York
Published Aug 6, 2005 8:48 PM

William Izarra, Venezuelan Chancellor to Asia and a former military
commander, gave an informal talk July 11 to a room full of leaders
and activists in the New York area. Describing the revolutionary
process going on in his country as anti-imperialist, he gave insights
into some recent developments.

Last Aug. 15, after the rich with the backing of the U.S. had
campaigned to destabilize Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez won broad
support for his policies in yet another referendum. Since then, quite
a few of the wealthy have left for Miami and there has been relative
calm.

To overcome the poverty of the vast majority, the Venezuelan
government is using 30 percent of the country’s oil profits, which
used to be siphoned off by eight rich families, to fund community
programs.

“Misión Robinson” has reduced illiteracy to less than 4 percent of
the population. “Misión Sucre” is a public health project where
doctors deliver quality health care in the remotest and poorest
sectors of the country. Over 18,000 Cuban medical personnel
participate in this program.

“Barrio Adentro” and many other programs bring subsidized education,
schooling, food, housing and work to the most affected communities.

Izarra told how in May 1967, when he was a military officer who flew
helicopters, the army found a Cuban lieutenant on Venezuelan land
whose goal was to train Venezuelan guerrillas. “I met him as he was
held captive under a tent. I asked him why he was here. He said that
he believed in international solidarity, the participation of the
masses and that he volunteered to fight for justice. The next day,
when I returned, the lieutenant was dead, shot through one side of
his head, his hands tied behind his back.” This made a huge
impression on Izarra. He left the military shortly thereafter.

Today, he says, Venezuela is trying to achieve “the common good for
all.” He talked about Venezuela’s good relations with the Vietnamese
people, “who demonstrated that even the most advanced military with
the most modern equipment can’t win if it does not have conviction.
They first threw out the French, then the U.S.”

He explained how, since the failed coup attempt against President
Chavez, Vene zuela has had nine elections and every time the
revolutionary process has moved forward. Some mayors of towns,
however, still do not follow the constitution and select their own
cabinets. The U.S. is funding groups like Súmate to participate in
political subversion. “It is illegal in any country to accept funds
from another country to overthrow the government. The representatives
of the rich are being held accountable on charges of treason.

“Our goal is to have popularly elected and participatory mayors who
function as the voice of the masses and are rooted in socialism.

“We have a lot of idle land that we are giving back to the peasants
and the indigenous people. We have had many military exercises to
defend our sovereignty. Chá vez has the people behind him and is
increasing the national military reserve to over a million and
building popular militias.”

All Calm in Venezuelan Local Elections

Caracas, Aug 7 (Prensa Latina) The election of 5,999 local
councilmen, a governor, and two mayors in Venezuela is taking place
peacefully Sunday, with only normal, minor glitches, confirming the
political advantage of President Hugo Chávez over both old and new
opposition.

Movimiento V República (MVR), the umbrella group of parties backing
Chávez, predicts a landslide 80 percent of the contested positions,
although more conservative opinions predict a somewhat smaller margin
of victory, but none lower than above 50 percent.

Total candidates are estimated at 38,757 from 906 parties, only
one-third of which belong to MVR or allies who face a divided
opposition, disoriented after seven years of Chávez electoral
triumphs.

Like many countries, turnout is small in Venezuela in off-year
elections (in 2000, 76.5 percent of voters failed to vote);
nonetheless, the National Electoral Board has installed 9,270 voting
booths in anticipation.

Unlike many countries, Venezuela invites international observers to
local elections; one of whom, Eugenio Caligeri, remarked to Prensa
Latina on the political serenity of the country and predicted a
greater than usual showing.

Today's election begins a cycle of power renovation in Venezuela,
which will continue with the December national congressional
elections and the 2006 presidential election.

mh/ccs/arc/ml

Young Cubans Leave for World Youth Festival

Havana, Aug 7 (Prensa Latina) Some 1,500 young Cubans left Sunday for
Venezuela to take part in the 16th World Youth and Students Festival,
that opens Monday.

This is the largest delegation Cuba has ever sent to these events,
that started in Prague in 1947 right after the World War II.

President Fidel Castro met Saturday with the delegates and urged them
to fight for truth and solidarity for the benefit of humanity.

"We must fight and win the battle for truth," the Cuban statesman
told the over 1,000 young delegates to the event after he handed over
the Cuban flag to the delegation at a ceremony at Havana´s Convention
Center on Saturday.

The world should know that humanity is in danger and that the
problems it has suffered so far are nothing compared to those it will
have to deal with if they do not win this battle for conscience.

I think that the Festival is held in a country that is in a
hemisphere with many things at stake. Rather than preserving
something there is a lot to create, and Venezuela now stands as a
symbol of the many things we need to achieve, stressed President
Fidel Castro.

It is not just to preserve independence, well being, or make justice
or human rights prevail, we must fight for all the human rights that
have not been guaranteed since the people can expect nothing noble
nor honorable as long as there is an arrogant and selfish empire on
Earth.

Hence denouncing a probable attack against the Venezuelan people
which is preceded by the ongoing present campaign led by the US
Administration and the corporate media would be the most important
contribution of the Cuban delegates to the Festival.

mh/emw/apf






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