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Why Venezuela Suspended the Recall Referendum Against Maduro PDF Print E-mail

Venezuela’s electoral authority has suspended the referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro, citing an order from the country's Supreme Court regarding allegations of fraud on the part of the right-wing opposition during the initial signature drive.Several states have now annulled the results of the first phase after the opposition submitted a large quantity of invalid signatures.The National Electoral Council, known by the Spanish acronym CNE, specified that the lengthy recall process cannot continue and the next phase in the referendum process — the collection of 4 million signatures to trigger the vote—is canceled.

Of the 1,957,779 signatures submitted during the first phase, over thirty percent—or 605,727—had irregularities, including signatures from over 10,000 deceased persons.The submission of false signatures is a major offense and allowing the recall to proceed under those circumstances would have undermined the credibility of the entire Venezuelan electoral system.

The country's right-wing opposition responded to the suspension of the recall referendum process with indirect calls for a military coup.However, government officials warned as early as June that the massive amount of irregularities could spell doom for the recall process.“It is very serious that these right-wing politicians have again submitted to the electoral authority a package with 600,000 fake, fraudulent, signatures. The proponents of the referendum said they conducted an audit and declared that all the signatures presented were spotless,” said President Maduro in June.Nonetheless, the opposition is crying foul and has called for street protests, claiming the constitution has been violated.

In a press conference Friday, the opposition announced that a delegation from the assembly will travel to the Organization of American States, or OAS, to denounce the suspension of the referendum and demand the OAS apply the Democratic Charter against his country.


The opposition is striving to portray themselves as helpless victims who have been thwarted by the socialist government.

However, the opposition's narrative is at odds with the facts on the ground. 

The opposition was well aware that there would be intense scrutiny at every stage of the recall referendum.The MUD, as the opposition is known, submitted its initial petition for the recall referendum on May 2, many months after they took their seats in the National Assembly after winning parliamentary elections in December 2015. That delay is now widely attributed to the arrogance of the right-wing leadership of the National Assembly, who overplayed their hand thinking that their parliamentary victory meant they were now the dominant political force.

In January, the opposition boasted that they would oust Maduro within six months and tried several, ultimately unconstitutional, efforts to achieve that aim, such as trying to retroactively shorten Maduro's term.

Henry Ramos Allup, head of the National Assembly, himself admitted in an interview in February with Colombia's El Tiempo newspaper that the constitution sets a high bar to hold a recall.“(The recall) itself is cumbersome. It is enough to just read the Constitution to see that. It is a deceptive proposal that looks very nice, but when you start to look at the details, you see it is very difficult to implement,” said Ramos Allup.

That delay proved to be costly for the opposition as it meant it was all but impossible that a recall vote will occur this year. It was only after exhausting other efforts that the opposition finally sorted out its differences and settled on initiating a recall referendum.That is significant, because under the Venezuelan constitution if Maduro is in office on the fourth anniversary of his four-year term—Jan. 10, 2017—his vice president would serve the remainder of his five-year term in office in the event that voters did recall him.This was a fact that the opposition was perfectly aware of, since the recall they launched against the late Hugo Chavez in 2004 took approximately eight months.

Had the process been initiated by the opposition in January of 2016, it would have most likely ensured the recall vote occur in 2016.

When examining the presidential recall vote in 2004, a span of eight months took place between the opposition submitting the signatures at the end of November 2003 and the vote being held in mid-August of 2004. Chavez ultimately remained in power after the recall was rejected by a wide margin.Knowing full well that the timelines were tight, the opposition then rushed to collect signatures during the first phase.That hurry is believed to be partially responsible for the high number of fraudulent signatures, the very same that have now led to the suspension of the entire process.

Ultimately, the inability to meet all the requirements of the recall process is a failure that rests on the shoulders of the right-wing opposition.

5 Reasons Why Comparing Trump to Hugo Chavez Is Nonsense PDF Print E-mail


This U.S. elections cycle, Billionaire turned reality TV star turned far right-wing politician Donald Trump, has been compared to various—and often nefarious—historical figures.

Donald Trump has been compared to revolutionary Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Few of these comparisons could be more inaccurate and foolish as the various articles, and now Clinton campaign video, comparing the sexist, race-baiting Trump to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.It’s true that both men speak loudly, at times with colloquial or even colorful language, but their views, backgrounds and actions could not be further apart.

Below are just five of the many reasons why any attempt to compare Trump with Chavez should laughed out of whatever space it’s presented in.

1. Trump’s Silver Spoon vs. Chavez’s Humble Origins

Throughout the election campaign, anyone who for some reason was unaware as to the source of Donald Trump’s wealth, has learned that he began his real estate empire with a "small loan" of US$1 million from his father, and later inherited an additional US$39 million.

Chavez on the other hand, grew up in a poor family of mixed African and Indigenous heritage on Venezuela’s plains. He entered the military, where he became involved politically and rose through its ranks to later lead a political movement called the Fifth Republic. Chavez was elected president of Venezuela on four occasions, each by large margins.

The background of Trump and Chavez respectively, weighed heavy on their political outlook, with Chavez championing the plight of the poor and marginalized while the Donald continues to trumpet the private sector as the cure for all ills.

2. Donald Thinks Markets Work for the Poor vs. Chavez Using the State to Empower the People

Perhaps Donald Trump should be given some credit for raising the plight the U.S. working class—decline in jobs, wages, crumbling communities and schools, lack of opportunities. But while he often attempts to convince the electorate that he is a great guy who loves “Blacks,” “Hispanics,” or whomever he is trying awkwardly to woo, he is definitely more in love with free market economics.

Sure, he may slam the results of NAFTA and warn about the dangers of the TPP, but really, he is simply stating that he would negotiate the terms of such deals to be more favorable to the United States and its struggling proletariat.

Moreover, Trump has persistently argued for less state involvement in basically anything that isn’t the police, military or border patrol, a la Robert Nozick. Make no mistake about it—the capitalist is arguing for market solutions to the problems generated by capitalism.

Many of Chavez’s predecessors, following the trend in the region and the "advice" from Washington, also sought to create more space and less regulations in the private sector with the promise of jobs and opportunity. Not surprisingly, these policies generated more poverty.

Chavez inherited a Venezuela in decline, with rampant inequality and the issues that come with. The response from his government was to empower the poor, through the creation of a wide array of social programs to support people’s needs as well as mechanisms to give them greater say in what was done in their communities and country. Chavez used the state to direct resources to the people, through these programs as well and the local councils.As a result, poverty levels plummeted, access to education and health skyrocketed and Venezuelans remain among the most politically active population in the region.The country is currently experiencing economic difficulties, predominantly due to their decades-long dependency on oil as the only engine of the economy, but this does not erase the tremendous social gains made by rejecting a neoliberal approach to meeting people’s needs.

3. Chavez's Politics of Inclusion vs. Trump's Racism, Sexism and Scapegoating

Chavez initially ran on a moderate platform of increasing distribution of Venezuela’s considerable oil wealth to the country’s poor, estimated at some 55 percent of the Venezuelan population at the time of his election. Throughout his tenure, the Bolivarian Revolution indeed promoted class consciousness, but within a national inclusionary project.

Chavez pushed for women’s right, African and Indigenous rights and heritage, and even LGBT rights in a country that generally swings conservative on these questions. Chavez’s socialist outlook began to be heavily influenced by an environmentalist lens, in spite of Venezuela’s dependence on oil.

The plethora of denigrating statements by Trump regarding women, Muslims, Latin Americans, Black activists etc etc should be sufficient to illustrate the monumental gap between climate change denying Trump’s worldview and that of el comandante. But just as concerning are the friends and supporters he is attracting, including endorsements from neo-nazi organizations, anti-immigrant militants like Joe Arpaio and islamophobic groups.

4. Chavez's Venezuela Accepted Refugees vs. Trump's Demonization of Migrants

A seldom known fact is that Venezuela has taken in the highest number of refugees in the region. The majority of these are from neighboring Colombia, where the country’s 50-year civil war has pushed out millions of Colombians.

A staggering 5 million Colombians live in Venezuela, including some 176,000 with official refugee status. Under Chavez, the government began means of nationalizing Colombians, and even those who are not citizens were eligible for social programs begun under the Bolivarian revolution.More recently, the country offered to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees.Trump’s policies and supporters see migrants and refugees as an imminent threat and have pushed for radical measures including the wholesale deportation of some 11 million people without status, the building of a wall with Mexico, surveillance and branding of Muslim communities etc.

5. Trump Totes War vs. Chavez’s Role for Peace

Some consider Trump to be "less" of a hawk than Hillary Clinton, given her track record at the State Department where she oversaw the destruction of Libya, the onset of the conflict in Syria, and the legitimization of the coup that turned Honduras into the murder capital of the world.

While Trump has a softer take of Russia than Clinton, he is by no means a dove. He has consistently reaffirmed his intention to massively increase U.S. military spending and has argued that the U.S. should sell its imperialistic, military services, rather than reduce or god forbid end them. His appeals to use U.S. military might as a negotiation card when dealing with countries that could resist his plans—say, with Mexico not wanting to pay for his wall—should be telling.

Chavez on the other hand, may have been a military man, but he actively promoted peace in the region and abroad. His role in initiating the historic peace negotiations between Colombia and the country’s guerrilla movements has been widely acknowledged by both parties, and the late leader often intervened personally to pressure for the release of people taken into custody by the FARC.

Venezuela’s president was also a lonely voice opposing the onset of the so-called war on terror and its first mission in Afghanistan, as well as the follow-up invasion and occupation of Iraq. In addition, Chavez forged strong ties with Palestinians, going as far as to break diplomatic relations with Israel following the 2009 conflict which left 1,200 Palestinians dead and over 5,000 wounded

Courtesy TeleSur

Venezuelan Chocolate ICOA wins for the fifth time best award for White chocolate of the world PDF Print E-mail

19 octubre, 2016

After beating chocolates from over 100 finalists from all the continents, Chocolate White Carenero Superior (ICOA) won the Gold Medal at the International Chocolate Awards 2016, being crowned for the fifth consecutive year as the best in the world.

This type of chocolate belongs to the Venezuelan company Chocolates El Rey, which also came first in other categories, specifically: "Producer of Chocolate", "Producer Country of Origin" and "direct trade".

The awards were granted by a panel of experts from various nations, including chefs and internationally renowned confectioners.

Once again, Venezuelan chocolate continues to lead. Congratulations to this brand for its great achievement and to maintain the national Chocolate as one of the best in the world.


President Maduro congratulates Antonio Guterres on his election as Secretary General of the UN PDF Print E-mail




The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, had a phone conversation with the new Secretary General of the United Nations, former Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic, Antonio Guterres. The Venezuelan President extended, on behalf of the People and the Venezuelan government, its warmest and fraternal congratulations to the latter on his election as Secretary General for the period 2017-2021.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela avails itself of this opportunity to renew, its full commitment and support to the three pillars of the Organization: Peace, Security, Human Rights and Development, as a founding member of this multilateral forum and fierce promoter of strengthening multilateralism and building a multipolar and multicultural word, based on solidarity, social justice, complementarity and integration of peoples.

The Venezuelan government is convinced that the Lord Guterres, who conveys his best wishes, possess professional credentials, diplomatic skills, and understanding of international politics, to address the pressing challenges currently facing the multilateral system, which suffers the ravages of unilateralism, violence, terrorism, imperial expansion and increase in animosity among world powers.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, avails itself of this opportunity to Mr. Guterres of its willingness to support your management, not only in Venezuela, but also from its seat as the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), in favor of the interests of South people and building a world where peace prevails and development; a more just and equal world; a world where the fraternal friendship and solidarity is a reality to consolidate a multipolar, multiculture world in harmony with the Universe.

Caracas, October 13, 2016

India’s Clarion Call at the Margarita NAM Summit! PDF Print E-mail

Mainstream, VOL LIV No 42 New Delhi October 8, 2016

India’s Clarion Call at the Margarita NAM Summit!

Sunday 9 October 2016

by Sudhanshu Tripathi

The Non-Aligned Movement, while holding fast the true spirit of the doctrine of non-alignment, must act as the vanguard of all principal international debates on political, strategic and socio-economic issues and must also suitably modernise itself to remain relevant in the world.


The 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned countries of the Third World, spreading over the continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America, was held at the Margarita island in Venezuela during September 13-18, 2016 with all enthusiasm and fervour, though India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, could not attend the summit and instead its Vice-President, Hamid Ansari, represented the country, leading the Indian delegation. As the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which began its journey in 1961, during highly tense days of the ongoing fierce Cold War between the two antagonistic blocs led by the USA and the then USSR, as a global movement of just 25 countries, now consists of 120 countries and that proves its continuing popularity and relevance since the origin of the movement after the Second World War.

Obviously the NAM, which is based upon the doctrine of Non-Alignment, known as the brain-child of India’s first Prime Minister, late Jawaharlal Nehru, today has enough grounds to stay as well as sustain due to the continued adherence and upholding of its core ideals, namely, “freedom of action” and “independence of judgment” and also “sovereign equality of nation-states”, established by the Peace Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. All these were very popular then among the newly independent countries of the Third World because they had long suffered the agony and trauma of centuries of inhuman and wicked course of colonialism and, therefore, they had the sole desire to protect and preserve their new hard won freedom and also to rebuild themselves as independent nations in the international community.

An Alternative Model of International Behaviour

It was this desire that the late Jawaharlal Nehru sincerely grasped immediately after the Second World War and some other prominent leaders of the Third World, like Marshal Joseph Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, President Garnal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and President Sukarno of Indonesia who proposed an alternative and independent course of action for the newly independent Third World countries in the world divided into two hostile ideological camps of capitalism and communism and each vying for increasing its membership by inviting newly independent countries into their respective folds in a bid to consolidate their strength for establishing their supremacy in the world. Thus this dominant desire of the Third World countries later crystallised into the doctrine of “Non-Alignment” and that was first elaborated by Pandit Nehru on September, 7, 1946 in his radio speech to the nation, even prior to the independence of India. In fact, this desire to remain independent of group rivalry and bloc-politics was a very timely remedy to save the world from another impending World War, which was to be a nuclear holocaust in all likelihood, marred by bitter Cold War tensions and several ongoing regional wars.

In this horrible scenario, the NAM under India’s founding leadership, while deriving its strength and sustenance from the country’s ancient cultural ethos and deeply religious traditions advocating eternal moral values, made a clarion call for three Ds, namely, Decolonisation, Disarmament and Develop-ment—all for the noble cause of establishing permanent peace in the world which had already been torn by two humanitarian disasters in the form of unfortunate World Wars.

Present Turmoil

Once again, the world is passing through, perhaps, the worst ever phase of terrorism and religious fundamentalism as well various kinds of heinous and macabre crimes of untold and unimaginable magnitude, besides other challenges like economic recession, environ-mental degradation and sustainable development, feudal-monarchic social set-up both at the national and international levels demanding democratisation of international relations and reforming the United Nations, violation of human rights, gender bias, child abuse and sexual crimes and many more, which cannot be honestly tackled simply by formulating laws or concluding international treaties.

These challenges can only be sincerely addressed if a collective global human endeav-our, based upon a value-based and philosophical vision, is initiated under the aegis of the United Nations, representing the global wishes and aspirations. And that vision is truly provided by the doctrine of non-alignment which, indeed, stands for equality, justice, fraternity on equal footing, and global peace, thereby paving

the way for creating a new world order characterised by these eternal and moral values.

India Exhorts

This is why, India’s Vice-President, Hamid Ansari, exhorted the movement by his inspiring words: “Our theme for the next three years—Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development—is in congruence with our founding principles.” He made India’s founding position of the NAM clear by emphasising upon peace and sover-eignty being the essential prerequisites for development and cooperation along with ensuring the dignity and development of all humankind.

He also recalled the spirit inherent in the unforgettable words of the late Indian PM, Smt India Gandhi, about the NAM “as the largest peace movement of the world” that she had said during the course of the Seventh NAM Summit at New Delhi in 1983. He further stressed in the summit that the NAM must stand as the vanguard of all substantial international debates on political, social, economic and strategic issues and must also suitably adapt itself to the matching times so as to remain relevant and convincingly responsible towards its members in particular, and the entire humanity upon the mother earth in general.

Final Communiqué

The final communiqué of the Summit made a vigorous call for meaningful UN reforms, perhaps in an apparent reference to the United for Peace Resolutions adopted during the Korean War of the 1950s, when the UN Security Council was torn by the Cold War politics and no substantive decisions could be arrived at due to the mutually antagonistic views of the USA and the then USSR thereby crippling the global body, that may return the glory of the UN General Assembly of yesteryears so that it may function effectively despite hurdles created by the UN Security Council. Similarly it addressed all other prominent issues already pending under the forum of the movement, namely, South-South cooperation, New World Infor-mation and Communication Order, protection of environment and maintaining climate balance, inclusive growth and pending economic reforms for a New World Economic Order, Sustainable Development, Restraining Human Rights Violations, Child Abuse and Gender Bias, Total Conventional and Nuclear Disarmament, and last but not the least, elimination of terrorism of all shades and forms etc.—all with a view to establish a just and rule-based international democratic order ensuring equality, freedom, progress and prosperity for all countries in the world.

Thus the NAM, though often called irrelevant and redundant by the crooked American campaign, because it has no reason to exist after the end of the Cold War, has once again proved its vigour and vitality and also its reasons to exist because there is no end to challenges in the world, which come one after the other, and that will always demand a collective global voice and action. And for that the NAM is always useful and meaningful. What else can be the reason of its existence which is further supported by its consistently rising membership. As a British commentator had said a few decades back, “NAM has come to stay and it will stay as long as Super Power elephants threaten to trample the grass where lesser animals also graze.” It still holds true and will hold so forever.


Though the challenges are grave and threats unimaginable, but there is enough scope for sincere efforts with honest intentions and that one is not alone today as there is no dearth of saner minds and conscientious and God-fearing people. Let us all unite to defeat all evil forces in the world, particularly terrorism in all its forms, besides accomplishing all other goals—was India’s clarion call at the Margarita NAM Summit. This is possible because nothing is beyond human endeavour.

Dr Sudhanshu Tripathi is an Associate Professor of Political Science, M.D.P.G. College, Pratapgarh (UP). He can be contacted at e-mail: sudhanshu. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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