Sunday, May 10, 2009

Socialism vs Labour

Sad that my pretty country is destroying by one man: "Hugo Chavez", and the venezuelan citizens against Chavez don't know what else to do......
vdebate reporter
May 7th 2009
Curbing opposition to chavismo
HIS government espouses "21st-century socialism" and claims to stand for the working class. Yet Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, has never been a fan of his country's trade unions. He portrays them as corrupt vestiges of a capitalist past and of the previous political order. Ever since he was first elected, in 1998, he has sought ways to bring them to heel.
Having first tried and failed to take over the main trade-union confederation, he encouraged a pro-government rival. Now he wants to bypass the unions altogether, by establishing in their place "workers' councils" that amount to branches of the ruling Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

A bill in the government-controlled National Assembly would eliminate collective bargaining and give powers in labour matters to the new councils. "The government's policy is the total elimination of the union movement," says Orlando Chirino, a former CHAVISTA who is one of the architects of the Labour Solidarity Movement, a new group which embraces unions from both sides of the country's political divide and which defends union autonomy.

The bill comes hand-in-hand with the slowdown in the economy and a government crackdown on opposition politicians. Its onslaught on the unions, and its refusal to negotiate collective contracts--or to respect them once signed--is meeting resistance. Labour disputes are increasing, from 46 in January, to 59 in February and 113 in March, according to figures compiled by Victorino Marquez, a labour specialist at the Catholic University in Caracas.

With budgets slashed following the fall in the oil price, the government can no longer buy industrial peace. It is starting to resort to force. A strike in the Caracas metro was averted by the threat of military intervention. Mr Chavez called the metro workers "corrupt" for insisting on the implementation of an agreement that had already been signed. According to press reports, dozens of trade unionists are being prosecuted. Their alleged crimes include "subversion" and holding demonstrations in "security zones" such as those around big factories.
Scores have been murdered, in disputes over contracts that mainly involve pro-government unions.

Only about 11% of the workforce belongs to a union. The bedrock of Mr Chavez's support has long lain with non-unionised workers in the vast informal economy. But unionised workers are concentrated in important parts of the economy, including the oil industry and the heavy-industrial centre of Ciudad Guayana in the south-east. Both are in ferment over wage demands. Disputes are also brewing among teachers, health workers and in the electricity industry.

The oil industry could be the biggest flashpoint. The government is refusing to negotiate wages and conditions until the oil workers' federation elects a new leadership in a ballot due later this month.

There are signs that the government wants to delay the vote. The budget of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state-owned oil company, has been slashed by more than half this year. Rafael Ramirez, the energy minister and head of PDVSA, said there would be no pay rise, even though inflation is close to 30%. He later backtracked.

Mr Chavez insists that only the rich will pay the price of the impending recession. But workers are already feeling its effects. The government seems to welcome the looming confrontation with the unions, as an opportunity to crush dissent and take Mr Chavez's "revolution" to the next level. Jorge Giordani, the planning minister, said recently that the inflation rate should not be the main factor in setting the minimum wage. He added that he knew of no example in the world where socialism had been established on the basis of abundance. "Socialism has emerged from scarcity," he declared.

On May Day the politically divided unions staged two separate marches, as they have for the past few years. The non-government march was broken up by police and national-guard troops using tear gas and water-cannon. "There is no socialism without the working class," Mr Chavez told a rival march of his supporters. By fomenting division and repressing dissent, Mr Chavez may succeed in crushing the labour movement. With it would go one of the few remaining institutions of democracy and pluralism in Venezuela. And Mr Giordani may get the chance to implement the socialism of scarcity in what was once the richest country in Latin America.
See this article with graphics and related items at

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Mugabe victory in Zimbabwe elections a Joke

Where are the UN working against violation of the human rights? Where are the African countries, doing the right thing?. Mugabe is a cruel dictator. These elections were not fair.
vdebate reporter

Mugabe Victory in Zimbabwe Elections a 'Joke'
By LOUIS WESTON and PETA THORNYCROFT, The Daily TelegraphJune 30, 2008
HARARE, ZimbabwePresident Mugabe was last night sworn in to a sixth term as president of Zimbabwe, extending his 28 years in power after officials proclaimed he had been re-elected by a landslide

CONTESTED VICTORY President Mugabe of Zimbabwe at his inauguration ceremony yesterday at State house in Harare. Mugabe was sworn in following a run-off election in which he was the sole candidate following the withdrawal of the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Maintaining the fiction that the vote was a contested poll, the Zimbabwe Election Commission said that Mr. Mugabe received 2,150,269 votes — or more than 85% — against 233,000 for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who won the first round in March.
Between the two polls Mr. Mugabe's Zanu-PF movement launched a campaign of violence against the opposition in which at least 86 people were killed, and Mr. Tsvangirai pulled out of the election.
"This is an unbelievable joke and act of desperation on the part of the regime," the MDC's spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said. "It qualifies for the Guinness Book of Records as joke of the year. Mugabe will never win an election except when he's contesting against himself."
Prayers at the inauguration were led by an Anglican ally who broke away from the church, Nolbert Kunonga. "We thank you Lord for this unique and miraculous day," he said. "You have not failed our leader." Mr. Mugabe waved a Bible as he recited "so help me God," to cheers from his supporters.
Mr. Tsvangirai was invited to the event but declined. "The inauguration is meaningless," he said. "The world has said so, Zimbabwe has said so. So it's an exercise in self-delusion."
Ambassadors in Harare were conspicuous by their absence from the event.
Although Mr. Mugabe offered to hold talks with the opposition the absence of the word "negotiations" was noticeable and analysts said he intends to remain in office as long as possible.
"It is my hope that sooner rather than later, we shall as diverse political parties hold consultations towards such serious dialogue as will minimize our difference and enhance the area of unity and co-operation," Mr. Mugabe said.
Election observers from the Southern African Development Community said that the poll failed to reflect the will of the people.
Almost 400,000 Zimbabweans defied the threat of violent retribution by Mr. Mugabe's thugs to vote against him or spoil their ballot papers, official results released on yesterday show.
According to the Zimbabwe Election Commission's figures, the turnout of 42% was almost exactly the same as the first round.
But many polling stations were virtually deserted throughout election day. Papers were spoiled.
With 21,127 votes in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city and an opposition stronghold, Mr. Mugabe lost to the combined total of 13,291 votes for Mr. Tsvangirai and 9,166 spoiled papers.
Only a few independent observers were accredited for the election.
And the Zimbabwe Election Support Network — which mounted the most comprehensive monitoring exercise in the first round — pulled out in protest.
Consequently, no unbiased verification of the figures is possible and the true tallies may never be known.
For weeks, Zanu-PF militias have terrorized Zimbabweans, warning them they will launch Operation Red Finger, which will target anyone whose digit is not marked with ink to show that they cast a vote.
They will also target anyone who checks show to have backed Mr Tsvangirai.

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