Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome! ¡Bienvenidos!

¡Saludos desde Caracas! I have finally decided to start a Blog as part of a project I am working on for a 4th book, yes, with this very name, "Postcards from the Revolution" or "Postales de la revolución" en español. Since I am completely new to this, I am open to any help and suggestions regarding posting images and graphics to the Blog, and of course, things you would like to hear about progress and conflicts within the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. I am now embarking on my third year living in Caracas full time, writing for several local papers and running two radio programs. Soon I'll have a television show, "El Código" on Canal de Noticias, a new private station in Venezuela. These days things are focused on President Chávez's proposed reforms to the 1999 Constitucion. He's proposed significant changes to 33 articles that will alter the type of economy in the nation, making it more beneficial to the people in an equitable and humane way, and focusing on the creation of new "socialist companies", "social production companies", the prohibition of monopolies and the diversification of State companies so there will be more worker control and local investment. The proposed reforms will also restructure the geopolitical and territorial nature of the country by creating new federal districts, including the capitol of Caracas, which will no longer be divided in 5 municipalities and different states but will be one united entity. The territorial changes, titled the new "geometry of power", will also allow the Executive to create special zones in Venezuela's vast maritime region, which reaches as far as Puerto Rico. Within this concept, new provinces may be created, with Vice-Presidents to oversee them, which has been cause to question the expansion of Executive power in these proposed reforms. Of course the biggest news has been the proposed elimination of presidential terms, and the allowance of "immediate reelection" once the now proposed 7-year presidential term ends. However, this will still be subject to nomination of candidates and of course, elections!

I'm somewhat opposed to one of the reforms which will reduce the workday to just 6 hours. Personally, I think people need to work more. There is a lot to do in this world. However, the way work is viewed needs to change so that people feel that what they do contributes to the construction of a better world. In that sense, I agree with the reform, because the article, Number 90, also specifies that workers should allot more time (in their free time) to educating themselves, socializing in healthy ways, contributing to their communities, engaging in volunteer work and spending more time with family.

My favorite reform is to Article 67, which will now prohibit the foreign funding of organizations, groups, political parties and campaigns in Venezuela. This is a direct result of four years of investigation, public denunciation, hundreds of articles and two books written on the subject, and frankly, I'm quite pleased with the outcome. It's hard to complain about having one's hard work manifested in a constitutional reform.

The best part about this process of constitutional reform in revolutionary Venezuela is the public debate. Everyone is engaged and participating, everywhere. It's hard to imagine such a scenario in a nation like the United States, for example, where the constitution was written by 50 white men, rich landowners, who never consulted with anyone, claimed Afro-Americans as 3/4 of a person and excluded women, and it has never been reformed!! The US Constitution has only been slightly amended. But the process in Venezuela is quite extraordinary. Remember, this is a constitution that was written by the people, for the people, in an incredibly participatory way, and then voted on in a national referendum in 1999, with more than 70% acceptance. The process of reform appears to be equally, if not more, participatory. Even today, for example, the National Assembly (Congress) officially dialogued with representatives from opposition parties (no longer represented in the legislature because they boycotted the last elections in 2005) about their concerns regarding the proposed reforms. Since the President proposed the reforms to the Constitution, he initiated the process, and therefore can determine how the vote will be structured (voting together for all 33 articles or separately; he chose together as one "block"). However, the rest remains in the hands of the National Assembly, which has to have 3 debates to determine whether or not the President's proposal will be approved or changes will be made. So far, changes have already been made to certain articles proposed by the President, and even changes to other articles left out of his proposal, such as reducing voting age to 16 and including more explicit rights and recognition for Afro-Venezuelans. After the National Assembly approves their version of the reform, it will go to a national referendum vote, currently scheduled for December 9, 2007; this year.

In future posts, I'll discuss more in depth certain proposals that Chávez has made, but overall, things are in flux - a heated debate is in session nationwide, and the results are unpredictable as of now. Otherwise, Caracas has been quite rainy in the afternoons. The mornings and middays are good for jogging and running errands, because once the rain comes, traffic is unbearable and what could take an hour in the morning takes 3 hours at 5pm. School will be back in session next week, which will bring the city back into full capacity. For now, I am still enjoying some quiet mornings (I have two schools out back of my building).

Until the next post, signing off from the port of South America, and loving it.


BoRev.Net said...

Holy Crap! Golinger's got a blog. Boyd's going to plotz. The rest of us better pack it up and go home. Seriously, welcome aboard and good luck! -Eric

Eva Golinger said...

Thanks Eric! I'm proud to be a sister to! I laughed like crazy catching up on your posts....

elsoberanomanda said...

Geez! I was struggling to be the first guy to comment here.... almost fighting with my better half to get her out of the PC... well, here I am anyway.
Why did it take you so long to do this, may I ask? This was a very much expected tool for us English speaking revo soldiers, Eva. Being part of and getting doors shut at our calls to MINCI (The information and Communication Ministry, for those not familiar with Venezuelan state infrastructure) for expanded coverage on Venezuela in other tongues than Spanish, I've felt the need to counterattack the satanization of our struggle. Twisted-tongued guys like AB get to spew their sarcasm abroad while we have to watch in disbelief, unable to spell the truth to those guys out there, all those persons at the borderline of hopelessness who would welcome any good news regarding true democracy and true people empowerment.
Let me send this first, I'll come back later on the issue of constitutional reforms.
Franco Munini.

Daniel said...

Imagine my surprise that on your first day and one of my readers sent me your link to your brand new blog. I do have diligent readers, you know.

I must say that I am not disappointed by your first article, including the rojo-rojito jacket. So bolivarian chic!

In a way I do welcome you in all earnest. At least it will be an official propaganda blog written from Venezuela, hopefully much less stale than other revolutionary products written from who knows where. You and me, differing as we do, at least will be writing from "el ojo del huracan". Heck! You even acknowledge that life in Caracas is not easy!!!! Probably more than any other pro Chavez blog has ever acknowledged! And you know what? I also have two schools under my windows! But I am moving soon, hopefully when school starts.

rebelrhythm said...

!hasta la victoria siempre! thanks for keeping us connected..especially los venezolanos who wish we were there living and breathing the revolution! que viva la patria! keep up the good work! con mucho amor mi pana!
monica vera

GJPW said...

I'll use this first & last comment here to note how your title so perfectly evokes the political tourism in Venezuela nowadays that I find so problematic and - as with most forms of tourism - reactionary.

But, as Daniel says above, maybe you'll be useful to me as a reference point for the official party line, so as to help gauge por donde van los tiros del chavismo.

I suppose that for writers such as yourself and Eric Wingerter, Venezuela isn't just a source of money, it also provides adventure and fun ("I laughed like crazy catching up on your posts....").

Maybe the humor is simply your way of processing the fact que la vaina en Venezuela es en serio.

Aleksander Boyd said...

It's hard to complain about having one's hard work manifested in a constitutional reform.

Thanks for admitting it so publicly Eva. Your coming out of the revolutionary closet is complete now. Will US authorities now start paying attention to my denounciations about you? What do you reckon?

john said...

first stop the bleeding. shorten the work week. then let those with more time participate in what to do next. said...

I dig the initiative, Hope you get great participation and material for your next book in this blog. I will forward blog out. freako alek Boyd found you already, good luck. He's such a pain in the asno.
Good Hunting.

Slave Revolt said...

Eva, it is about time!

BoRev doesn't let us comment--but, again, that would detract from the sheer snark-bark of what he posts.

Don't worry about Boyd--he is too rightwing for even the PJ types, and him trying to get you in trouble with his master--Uncle Sammie--merely points up his lack of power at this juncture.

Your first post is insightful, and this blog is going to be an invaluable gathering point for people that believe that we don't have to accept oligarchy and savage neoliberal capitalism as a way of life.

Lastly, Eva, I would hope that you don't ban people or censor comments. Daniel's blog--the 'daniel' that commented above--regularly engages in such ignoble activity. Yes, his is a classic case of projecting his own dictatorial proclivities on others. I helped make his blog the most popular rightwing blog from Venezela a couple of years ago--but since he has started censoring he only gets about ten, regular, rapid, rightwing readers a day.

Alas, you will set the tenor of the discussion on this blog. The idiots will distinguish themselves as such in the eyes of those of us concerned with social justice.

Welcome to blogging Eva (revolutionary huggs here ;) )

Now.....about my idea for the 'oligarch plow' that I have been trying to present to President Chavez.....

Anonymous said...

Hola Eva!! Saludos desde Suecia!! Aqui estamos trabajando en la traducción integral y completa del texto al Sueco de la propuesta para darlo a conocer en Escandinavia. Es un trabajo delicado e importante. Creo que la mejor manera de mostrar el caracter democratico de la propuesta a la reforma constitucional es mostrar publicamente el texto en si.Saludos y abrazos desde Suecia.
Marc Leon

Hello Eva! Greetings from Sweden! Here we are working with the complete and integral translation of the proposal to Constitutional reform to Swedish in order to make it public available in Scandinavia.

It is a delicate and important work because we believe that the best form to show the profound democratic character of the proposal is to show the complete text of the proposal (without interpretations. One more time greetings and a big hug from Sweden! Your work is important and we support it! Ciao Marc Leon

PS: My blogg:

In Sweden I support the site: www.

dvdchshm said...

When I consider the defeat of the referendum, I found only one reference about some of the more contentious proposals. the writer suggested that while the proposals would help President Chavez in his work, the same laws if they had been enacted would be used in the future by the "right wingers" against the people who are now Pre. Chavez supporters. I am particularly interested in the the emergency measures that would limit the popular access to information during such a crisis. If there is a time when people need access to information from all points of view it is during these times. While it is true that the "right wingers" were able by way of their monopoly on commercial stations to swamp all "leftist" programming, this is something that surely could be changed by granting licenses to many low powered community radio stations and requiring the larger television stations to provide equal time for all other political points of view at no cost.
naively yours
David Chisholm