Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chavez marks Venezuela independence, foes unhappy

Chavez marks Venezuela independence, foes unhappy

By Andrew Cawthorne
Sunday, April 18, 2010; 2:43 PM
CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez kicked off a national party on Sunday for the 200th anniversary of Venezuela's independence, but critics used the date to accuse him of turning the nation into a Cuban-style dictatorship.

The socialist leader -- who casts himself as the heir to 19th century South American independence leader Simon Bolivar -- was due to welcome fellow leftist heads of state, including Cuba's Raul Castro and Bolivia's Evo Morales, during the day.

On Monday, exactly 200 years after Venezuela's initial declaration of independence from Spain, the leaders of the Chavez-led ALBA alliance of nations are to hold a summit in Caracas amid celebrations across the nation.

"We are just a few hours away from the great party," Chavez wrote. "Happy commemoration of 200 years of struggle. Fatherland, Socialism or Death! We will overcome!"

As well as adopting the language of his friend and mentor Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, Chavez has likewise presented his 11-year rule as a chance for Venezuela to finally achieve true independence after decades of capitalist rule.

The Venezuelan socialist, who came to prominence in a failed 1992 coup and then won power at the ballot-box six years later, has taken over Fidel Castro's role as the continent's leading critic of U.S. power.

Street-parties and special events were beginning all over Venezuela on Sunday. Armies of workers and volunteers -- dressed in the red T-shirts and caps of Chavez supporters -- swarmed over Caracas, sprucing up streets and buildings ahead of a military parade and other events planned for Monday.

Opponents, who have only beaten Chavez once in about a dozen votes since 1998, fumed as they saw him turn the anniversary into a massive show of support for his government.

Some supporters of the "First Justice" party rallied at a Caracas square for an alternative "independence declaration".

"After 200 years, we are again under an odious foreign domination," its leader Julio Borges said, accusing Chavez of an "indignant submission" to the Castro brothers. "The freedom fighters 200 years ago did not fight for ... dictatorship."


Thousands of Cubans are working with the Chavez government, deployed in shanty-town medical clinics and sports training centers and delicate areas such as security agencies and energy projects.

Chavez supporters view that as a model of international cooperation, while critics say it breaches sovereignty.

Former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, whom Chavez failed to oust in 1992, also weighed in.

"It is not possible to celebrate when a militarized, authoritarian and pro-Communist regime, headed by a murderous coup-monger, has kidnapped the nation," he said.

Perez even compared Chavez to Hitler in his buildup of a pro-government militia. The training of teenage "communications guerrillas" -- to counter the anti-Chavez push of private media -- has divided Venezuelan opinion this week.

Chavez and his critics are building up to a September assembly vote, where opposition parties hope to cut into the government's majority and show his popularity is waning.

Though opinion polls are difficult to follow in Venezuela, due to accusations of political bias, it is clear Chavez's popularity has fallen in the last year, from more than 60 percent to about 50 percent or less.

That, however, is still a relatively high rating and enough to help him win in September, analysts say. Venezuela's poor majority give Chavez high marks for social policies including free clinics and schools, and subsidized food networks.

"This idea that Chavez is losing approval and is on the way out is absolute rubbish," said pensioner Edith Valencia, eating at a state-run "socialist pancake" shop in Caracas.

"We admit not everything is perfect and it is a tough year, we even admit he has made some mistakes. But will we vote for him? You bet! I am a Chavista to the core."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko -- both recent visitors to Venezuela -- sent congratulations for the 200th anniversary.

Chavez is seeking to strengthen global ties that work against U.S. dominance and would have been hosting Chinese President Hu Jintao this weekend were it not for a major earthquake in western China.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Twitter photo venezuelan protest

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hugo Chavez's presidential Strikeout

Hugo Chavez's presidential strikeout

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

VENEZUELAN STRONGMAN Hugo Chávez is having a bad month. He's been forced to devalue the currency and impose nationwide power cuts, steps that will worsen a serious recession and Latin America's highest inflation. The U.S.-led humanitarian intervention in Haiti has undercut his propaganda about an evil American "empire." As his baseball-crazy country watches its annual championship series, a new slogan has gone viral: "Chávez -- You Struck Out."

So it should surprise no one that Mr. Chávez has taken new steps to tighten his authoritarian grip. On Sunday, without so much as a hint of due process, his government ordered cable systems to drop six television channels -- including RCTV, the country's oldest and long its most popular station. The alleged offense was failing to broadcast Mr. Chávez's live speeches -- of which there have been more than 140 in the past year alone, lasting up to seven hours each.

This is not the first attack on RCTV, which produces Venezuela's most popular entertainment programming as well as news programs with an opposition bent. In 2007, Mr. Chávez ordered the channel off the public airwaves, also without the due process nominally required by law. That action prompted the birth of a student movement that under the slogans of free speech and democracy helped defeat the caudillo's attempt to rewrite the constitution, and propelled opposition candidates to victory in Caracas and other major cities and states last year.

The students have returned to the streets of Caracas and at least four other cities this week, with violent results -- two were killed and dozens injured in the town of Merida in clashes with security forces and pro-regime thugs. On Tuesday, Mr. Chávez's vice president and defense minister resigned, along with the environment minister. International criticism is raining down on his government, most of it considerably stronger than the milquetoast reaction of the State Department, which observed that "any time the government shuts down an independent network, that is an area of concern."

Mr. Chávez may calculate that all the turmoil is worth it. Later this year, an election for the National Assembly is due, and what is now a rubber-stamp body could fall into the hands of the opposition if the vote is free and fair. The currency devaluation will, at least, allow Mr. Chávez to spend far more in the domestic market in the coming months; the attack on RCTV will eliminate a major opposition platform. The student protests may provide a pretext to arrest key organizers, or even to declare an emergency and put off the elections.

If Mr. Chávez were a right-wing leader or an ally of the United States, Latin American governments and many Democrats in Congress would be mobilizing to stop his latest abuse of power, and to encourage peaceful and democratic opposition. But he is not, and they are mostly silent. The Obama administration, too, has done next to nothing to defend democracy or encourage the opposition in Venezuela. Now -- when Chávez's regime threatens to disintegrate into chaos and violence -- would be a good time to start.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Colombians, Venezuela protest over Chavez actions

Colombians protest in streets over Chavez actions
By Luis Jaime Acosta
Reuters Friday, September 4, 2009; 5:52 PM
BOGOTA (Reuters) - Several thousand people marched in the streets of Colombia's major cities on Friday to protest against what they criticize as meddling by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as tensions rise between the Andean neighbors.
Chanting "No More Chavez" and waving Colombian flags, the marches snaked through Bogota. They were accompanied by smaller protests on Friday in other cities including Caracas, Miami and Madrid after organizers called for demonstrations in North America and Europe through the Internet social networks Facebook and Twitter.
Venezuela and Colombia are caught in a diplomatic dispute fueled by Bogota's charges the Chavez government supports Colombian FARC rebels and over a Colombian plan to allow U.S. troops more access to its military bases. U.S. foe Chavez warns the dispute threatens more than $7 billion in bilateral trade.
"Chavez has to know that Latin America doesn't belong to him," said Miguel Fierro, one protest organizer.

Chavez, a Cuba ally who urges socialist revolution to counter U.S. influence, says allowing the U.S. military more access to Colombian bases for anti-drug and counter-guerrilla missions is a threat to Venezuela and South America.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and U.S. officials say the plan does not include using the bases to attack other nations. But Chavez has ordered Colombian imports replaced with goods from other countries, though bilateral trade is still flowing.
In Bogota and other cities, protesters carried banners demanding Chavez respect Colombian sovereignty and images mocking the Venezuelan leader who has dismissed the marches against him as "stupid."
"We're protesting with our Colombian brothers because we know what we have in Venezuela is a tyranny, a dictatorship disguised as a democracy," said Maurilio Gonzalez, a Venezuelan engineer marching in Bogota.
In Miami, 200-300 Chavez opponents, mostly Venezuelan and Cuban exiles carrying banners and Venezuelan and Cuban flags, held a rally in a waterfront park.
They carried a large stuffed ape wearing the Venezuelan leader's trademark red paratrooper's beret and bearing a sign reading "No more Chavez" in Spanish.
"Chavez is a paper tiger; he doesn't have power. Power belongs to the people who can defy him," one speaker, Elio Aponte, told the Miami crowd.
The Colombian government recently protested before the Organization of American States over Chavez's "interventionist" project after the leftist leader ordered members of his party to reach out to sympathetic Colombian lawmakers and citizens.
Ties between OPEC member Venezuela and Colombia have soured before in the last five years: once over the arrest of a Colombian rebel in Caracas and last year when Colombian troops killed another guerrilla boss hiding in Ecuador. But trade and diplomatic ties soon resumed after both incidents.
(Additional reporting by Carlos Barria in Miami; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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No more Chavez - around the world

Multi-city protests call for 'No More Chavez'
Susana Londono
Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held protests Friday against the leftist leader in cities across Latin America, in an effort coordinated through Twitter, Facebook and a Web site titled "No More Chavez!"
They grasped banners and signs with images of Chavez in a straitjacket and wearing a red clown nose. "Chavez, the shame of Bolivia," read a banner in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Police in Colombia estimated more than 5,000 marched in Bogota waving flags. Thousands also took to the streets in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Some said they were protesting what they called Chavez's growing authoritarianism, while others said he should stop meddling in other countries' affairs.
Honduras' interim leader, Roberto Micheletti, defended the June coup that deposed Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya while addressing protesters in Tegucigalpa.
"Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won't achieve it," Micheletti said. "We'll stop him."
Chavez — who was traveling in Syria — ridiculed the protests on Thursday, likening Micheletti to a gorilla and saying: "Those who want to march, march with 'gorill-etti,' the dictators, the extreme right."
Chavez supporters held smaller counter-demonstrations in Caracas, where about 100 people gathered, and elsewhere.
Turnout for the global anti-Chavez protest was far from massive in many cities. Crowds ranging from a dozen to 200 people gathered in New York, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Panama City and the capitals of Argentina and Ecuador.
Protest organizer Marcela Garzon in Colombia said there were no figures available on how many people participated globally, and that more important than the number was the opportunity to "express ourselves."
"The quantity doesn't interest us, but rather the quality," Garzon said.
Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela, and Freddy Cuevas in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, contributed to this report.
The Associated Press

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Friday, November 30, 2007

In Chavez Territory, signs of dissent

In Chávez Territory, Signs of Dissent
Published: November 30, 2007
Venezuela, Nov. 29 — Three days before a referendum that would vastly expand the powers of President Hugo Chavez, this city’s streets were packed with tens of thousands of opponents to the change on Thursday, a sign that Venezuelans may be balking at placing so much authority in the hands of one man.
Demonstrators at a rally in Caracas against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's proposed constitutional changes.

Even some of Mr. Chavez’s most fervent supporters are beginning to show signs of hesitation at supporting the constitutional changes he is promoting, including ending term limits for the president and greatly centralizing his authority.
New fissures are emerging among his once-cohesive supporters, pointing to the toughest test at the polls for Mr. Chavez in his nine-year presidency.
In the slums of the capital, where some of the president’s staunchest backers live amid the cinder block hovels, debate over the changes has grown more intense in recent days.
“Chávez is delirious if he thinks we’re going to follow him like sheep,” said Ivonne Torrealba, 29, a hairdresser in Coche who supported Mr. Chávez in every election beginning with his first campaign for president in 1998. “If this government cannot get me milk or asphalt for our roads, how is it going to give my mother a pension?”
Both Mr. Chávez and his critics say opinion polls show they will prevail, suggesting a highly contentious outcome. For the first time in years, Venezuela did not invite electoral observers from the
Organization of American States and the European Union, opening the government to claims of fraud if he wins.
Violence has already marked the weeks preceding to the vote. Two students involved in antigovernment protests claimed they were kidnapped and tortured this week by masked men in Barquisimeto, an interior city. And in Valencia, another city, a supporter of Mr. Chávez was shot dead this week in an exchange of gunfire at a protest site.
Tension has also been heightened by rare criticism of the constitutional overhaul from a breakaway party in Mr. Chávez’s coalition in the National Assembly and former confidants of the president, and the government has reacted to this dissent by describing it as “treason.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Chávez and senior officials here have exhibited increasingly erratic behavior ahead of the referendum. Mr. Chávez has lashed out at leaders in Colombia and Spain and asked for an investigation into whether CNN was seeking to incite an assassination attempt against him.
Reports of such plots are not in short supply here. State television also broadcast coverage this week of a memorandum in Spanish claimed to be written by the
C.I.A. in which destabilization plans against Mr. Chávez were laid out. A spokesman for the United States embassy here was unavailable for comment on the report.
Other analysts, including investigators who had previously uncovered financing of Venezuelan opposition groups by the United States government, expressed doubts about the authenticity of the memo, dubbed by Venezuelan officials as part of a plan called “Operation Pliers.”
“I find the document quite suspect,” said Jeremy Bigwood, an independent researcher in Washington. “There’s not an original version in English, and the timing of its release is strange. Everything about it smells bad.”
The simple home of Ms. Torrealba, the hairdresser, located near open sewage alongside a deafening highway in southwestern Caracas, is a case in point. Last December, she and her siblings awoke at dawn with fireworks to celebrate Mr. Chávez’s re-election to a six-year term, which he won with 63 percent of the vote.
This year, the mood in Ms. Torrealba’s home is glum. Her sister, Yohana Torrealba, 20, said she was alarmed by what she viewed as political intimidation by teachers in Misión Ribas, a social welfare program where she takes remedial high-school-level courses.
“The instructors told us we had to vote in favor and demonstrate on the streets for Chávez,” Yohana Torrealba said. “They want Venezuela to become like Cuba.”
Throughout the slums of Coche, confusion persists about how life could change if the constitutional changes are approved. Many residents who own their homes, however humble they may be, fear the government could take control of their property, despite efforts to dispel those fears by Mr. Chávez’s government.
Others wonder what will happen to the mayor and the governor they elected if Mr. Chávez wins the power to handpick rulers for new administrative regions he wants to create. Still others said they were afraid of voting against the proposal out of concern the government could discriminate against its opponents if their vote is made public.
But Mr. Chávez also commands an unrivaled political machine, with his supporters controlling every major institution of government and the loyalty of many voters in Coche and elsewhere. “It’s a lie that they’re going to take our houses away,” said Yanelcy Maitán, 40. “No one has done more for the poor than Chávez.”

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pictures Protest November 3, 2007 - Giancarlo

Students with chains

Herman Escarra

This is what Venezuelans think: Chavez=Coward, abusive, assassin, ...

Don't kill me





Don't touch my kids, they are not alone

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Gunmen fire on Venezuela protest

These bad guys probably are part of Chavez political Party.

Gunmen fire on Venezuela protest

Some of the gunmen opened fire on students from motorcycles
Gunmen in Venezuela have opened fire on students returning from a peaceful march in Caracas against President Hugo Chavez's planned consitutional reforms.
At least eight people were hurt during the clashes on a university campus, including at least one by gunfire.
The students were protesting against plans to remove presidential term limits, the subject of a referendum.
Thousands had marched to Venezuela's Supreme Court and filed a demand for the December vote to be suspended.
Last week, troops used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of students protesting in Caracas against the proposed amendments.
Students fled
It is unclear how Wednesday's violence erupted.
A number of gunmen arrived at the Central University of Venezuela campus on motorcycles, law faculty dean Jorge Pabon told AFP news agency.
They set a bus alight, and later fired at students from inside one of the university buildings.
State TV showed footage of angry students setting fire to benches and throwing rocks at the university building where the gunmen were hiding.
Photographers for the Associated Press news agency saw at least four masked gunmen firing handguns at the crowd, as terrified students fled.
Globovision television, which is openly critical of the government, showed images of hooded men throwing objects into university classes and other people, apparently students, running away.
Civil defence chief Antonio Rivero said at least eight people were hurt, one of them by gunfire.
'Power grab'
The government described the protest, one of several recent student-led demonstrations against the constitutional reforms, as an opposition effort to destabilise the country ahead of the referendum on 2 December.
The amendments up for approval include giving the president control over the central bank, and the creation of new provinces governed by centrally appointed officials.
President Chavez is also proposing to bypass legal controls on the executive during a state of emergency, bring in a maximum six-hour working day, and cut the voting age from 18 to 16.
Supporters say the changes will deepen Venezuela's democracy but critics accuse Mr Chavez of a power grab.

More Pictures at:

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Venezuelan Student in Washington - Geraldine Alvarez

For release at will

Press advisory: Venezuelan Students seeking to protect Freedom of Expression and other Civil Liberties will discuss deterioration of democracy in Venezuela

Sponsored by: The National Press Club Newsmaker Committee
Friday, June 29, 9:00-10:30 AM

Contact: Carla Bustillos, Cell phone: (202) 415-2370; Alt cell phone: (202) 277-6627. E-mail

Geraldine Alvarez, a student from the Universidad Católica Andres Bello and one of the leaders of the Venezuelan Students Movement, will address at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW. Washington, DC 20045, Friday, June 29, 9:00-10:30 AM, the progressive erosion of civil liberties in Venezuela and will explain the objectives of the student movement that has taken the lead in the struggle to counteract the government's efforts to limit free speech, the right to protest and University autonomy. The student movement she represents was galvanized by the recent unlawful closure of the country's oldest and most watched TV station: Radio Caracas Television (RCTV).
Ms. Alvarez's presentation will be complemented by observations made by experts in the fields of human rights, Latin American politics and academia who will provide additional details of the current state of Democracy and Human Rights in the country.
· Thor Halvorssen, President of Human Rights Foundation, who will speak on the works of his organization covering cases in Venezuela where individuals have been persecuted and jailed for expressing their views or exercising their rights to free speech.
· Roberto Izurieta (TBC), Director of Latin American Projects for The Graduate School of Political Management, The George Washington University, who will give a scholar analysis on the situation of freedom of expression, academic freedom and overall democracy in Venezuela.

This event will be sponsored by the National Press Club Newsmaker Committee with the coordination of Lucha Democrática. Moderating the panel will be Peter J Hickman of NPC. Carla Bustillos from Lucha Democrática (Restore Democracy) and Venezuelan Students Abroad-Washington, D.C. will give opening remarks and panel introduction. Lucha Democrática is an organization established in 2001 by Venezuelan citizens residing or studying in the Washington, DC area, to highlight Governmental abuse and threats to Venezuelan democracy.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Copa America

The Copa America will start this coming June 26th. The students will be protesting against Chavez government showing, that they don't agree with Chavez politics. Three weeks ago, Chavez government closed a TV channel that criticized him. He doesn't want any media talking bad about him. He has been the worse Venezuelan president ever. I wish the Venezuelans succeed in their protest again his government. By the way, the tickets to the Copa America, soccer events where sold only to people that work for the government. Chavez was afraid that people will protest him in from of foreign media. Check this cartoon:

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