Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Luis Eladio Pérez, Gloria Polanco, Jorge Eduardo Gechem and Orlando Beltrán have just boarded the airplane in Venezuelan territory after having been released by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) in a unilateral humanitarian gesture for peace in Colombia. We are expected to receive Luis, Gloria, Jorge and Orlando at approximately 6pm, Venezuelan time, in Maiquetía airport outside of Caracas, where their family members are anxiously waiting. This humanitarian gesture is a result of the international solidarity and humanistic foreign policy of the government of President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and the incredibly persistent and determined work for peace that Colombian Senator Piedad Córdova has been pursuing for over a decade.

The FARC has stated today that this is the last unilateral release of hostages until the Colombian government ceases military operations in the areas where the FARC is residing. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has made NO gestures or taken any steps whatsoever to further peace in Colombia, but rather has agitated the crisis by increasing military offensive measures in the regions where FARC is known to operate. Were it not for President Chávez and the revolutionary process in Venezuela, these four individuals who have been held hostage for 7 years would not be free, nor would Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez have been released in early January after 5 years as hostages in the Colombian jungle.

The US Government has critized and smeared President Chávez's efforts for regional peace by trying to brand him as an "ally of terrorists and drugtraffickers". But time will show that the US Government funded and armed Plan Colombia has been the #1 instigator of war, conflict and misery in Colombia, whereas President Chávez's actions have brought peace, love and hope to the people of Colombia.


Monday, February 25, 2008


My book on a major Paris bookstore bookshelf

So sorry for the slacking on the blogging, folks! The year 2008 has just started out in a whirlwind and I've been a bit busy. But I've also been caught between dreamworld and reality, trying to focus on finishing up my third book (name withheld for copyright purposes) and trying to write another, more personal tale. Sometimes, however, it seems that writing as fiction may be better than writing as real life, so as to avoid any blemishes or cause any public scandals (just kidding! kinda...)

Anyway, I was traveling a bit in France in January, and proudly found my book The Chavez Code - French version Code Chavez - displayed prominently on the shelf of Paris' largest bookstore. That made me feel good, not in a selfish way, but really feel good that the book is reaching wider audiences. Also, I just happen to love France and Paris, so I just felt good in general.

Speaking of books....Bush vs. Chavez is finally really for sale in the US! Monthly Review Press (the publisher) sells it on their website Please do buy and read it and recommend it to your friends!!! Bush vs. Chavez: Washington's War on Venezuela is the continuation of The Chavez Code, from 2005 to the end of 2006 and focuses on short - but detailed and well-documented - descriptions of Washington's latest strategies of aggression against the Bolivarian Revolution. PYSOPS, Asymmetric Warfare (Wizard's Chess), Media Terrorism, Secession, Invasion Plans - these are just a few of the scary gems I researched and detail in the book. Read it and let me know what you think.

So, relations between Venezuela and Washington haven't gotten off to a good start in 2008, in fact, things are worse than ever. Despite President Chávez's "3 R" New Year's Resolution to revise, rectify and re-impulse the revolution, Washington is not rewriting or rectifying its Venezuela strategy, in fact, its revising it and reimpulsing its level of aggressivity and threat against Venezuela. January started out with more slurs against President Chávez by different US government officials, including Drug Czar John Walters calling Chávez a "drug trafficker" (more or less), and Condoleezza Rice hurrying down to Colombia to cuddle with paramilitary leader (and head of state) Alvaro Uribe to express the US Government's full backing of Colombia in its difficulties with Venezuela. Despite more cocaine flowing out of Colombia each day, the US Government has now classified Colombia as "fully cooperative" with the war on drugs and Venezuela as "fully uncooperative". I guess "cooperative" refers to allowing US forces and allies to come in and facilitate the drug flow, since that's how it works under Plan Colombia and that's precisely what the Chávez government has refused to accept.

Hands up to Chávez for ensuring the release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, two former captives held by the FARC in Colombia. Today, we are on the verge of seeing another 4 captives released to Chávez by the FARC in a unilateral showing of desire for peace and the consolidation of a humanitarian agreement with the Colombian government. Unfortunately, Uribe's government has stated it will not negotiate or agree to anything with the FARC. So, if it wasn't for Chávez, no one would get released and peace would never be on the horizon.

By the way, Uribe is pushing for yet another constitutional amendment to allow him to run again for president in 2010. Colombia's constitution pre-2004 only allowed for 1 presidential term of 4 years. Uribe pushed for an amendment to allow for a 2nd term reelection, which was passed despite heavy opposition, and he ran and won the presidency again. Now, he wants to amend the constitution to allow for a 3rd term. Do I hear cries of "president-for-life", "indefinite president", "dictator" or anything like that coming out of the US?????? Yet another double standard at play.

The US Directorate of National Intelligence and National Intelligence Director General Michael McConnell released its Annual Threat Assessment in early February and dedicated 3 1/2 whole pages to Venezuela - almost the same Iran, Syria, Irak and Russia got!!!! Boy has Venezuela really moved up on the list of US targets! Actually it's a pretty serious (and very scary) matter. Venezuela is now a direct military target of US defense and intelligence agencies as confirmed by this "threat assessment". Watch how this new classification plays out over the next few months. No doubt there will be an increase in US military presence in this region and a lot more bad mouthing of Chávez coming out of Washington - mark my words.

Meanwhile, ex-Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who moved next door to Colombia, can't seem to keep his mouth shut. He's talking more now about the Venezuelan government than he was when he was shacking up in Valle Arriba in Caracas. His latest statements about the drug trafficking "explosion" in Venezuela (since he left) made on a Colombian radio station, got him in to trouble with the Colombian government, which received a formal complaint from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry about Brownfield's big and lying mouth. He apologized, but not for what he said, only for saying it on the radio.

Did you all hear about the Peace Corp and Fulbright Scholars getting busted in Bolivia for spying?? Evo is just kicking some US spy ass these days. He's exposed US Ambassador Philip Goldberg on numerous occasions for spying, consorting with paramilitaries, funding Bolivian opposition groups illegally, trying to run illegal "special ops" units around Bolivia and now using Fulbright Scholars to spy on "venezuelans and cubans" in Bolivia. I think it is especially cool that Fulbright Scholar Alexander Van Schaick came forward about all this and exposed CIA dirty tactics. Read about it here.

OK, that's enough catching up for today. I hope to stay on track with the Blog more in the upcoming days and weeks. We have regional elections here in Venezuela this year and believe me, things are only going to get more intense.

Feel free to write in the comments sections any questions or suggestions on things to write about from the ground here in Caracas.


Monday, December 31, 2007


The following is the Commencement speech that nobel-prize winning writer Toni Morrison gave at my university, Sarah Lawrence College, in 1993. It is my gift to you for the New Year.

"If you don't feed the poor, they will eat you. And the manner of their eating is as varied as it is ferocious. If you don't give them the help, them the courtesy, them the respect you had in becoming educated, then they will educate themselves. And the things they will teach, and the things they will learn, may destabilize all you know. And by education, I don't mean hobbling the mind, but liberating it. By education, I don't mean passing on monologues, but engaging in dialogue, listening sometimes, assuming sometimes that I have a history, that I have a language, a view, a specificity, assuming that what I know may be useful, may enhance what you know, may extend or even complete it.

My memory is as necessary to yours, as yours is to mine.

Before we look for a useable past, we ought to know all of it. Before we start reclaiming a legacy, we ought to know exactly what legacy is - all of it. And where it came from. In the business of education, there are no minorities, there is only minor thinking. Because if education requires tuition, but no meaning, it is going to be about NOTHING other than careers. If it's about NOTHING other than defining and husbanding beauty, isolating goods and making sure enrichment is the privilege of a few - then it can be stopped in the sixth grade - where everybody learned it. Or the Sixth century - where everybody had mastered it.

Well, what would it be like to live without that putrifying hatred that we have been told and taught was inevitable, natural among human beings? INEVITABLE, NATURAL, after a presence of what, five million years? After recording ourselves for four thousand years - we haven't thought of anything better than that? And which one of us was born that way? Which one of us prefers it that way? Hating or grabbing or despising. Racism is a scholarly pursuit. And it always has been. It's not gravity or the ocean tides. It's the invention of our minor thinkers. Our minor leaders. Our minor scholars. And our major entrepreneurs. And it can be uninvented. Deconstructed. It's annihilation begins with just dreaming about, visualizing it's absence. Lose it, and if it can't be lost at once or just by saying so - then BEHAVE as if it were. BEHAVE as if our free life depended on it. Because it does.

If I spend my life despising you because of your race, or your class, or your religion, then I have become your slave. If you spend yours hating me for similar reasons, it's because you have become my slave. I have your energy. I have your fear. I have your intellect. I can determine where you live. How you live. What your work is. I can determine your definition of excellence. And I can set the limits to your ability to love. Which means that I have shaped your life. That is the gift of your hatred. You are mine.

Well, now you may be asking yourselves - what is all this? I can't save the world. What about my life, you ask? I didn't come here for this. I didn't even ask to come here. I didn't ask to be born. You insisted on your life. That's why you are here. There is no other reason. It's too easy not to have been born. And now that you're here - you have to do something. Something you respect - don't you? Your parents may have wanted you. But they did not dream you up. You did that. I'm just urging you to continue the dream you started. Because dreaming is not irresponsible. It's first order - human business. It's not entertainment, you know. It's work. When Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream," he wasn't playing. He was serious. When he imagined it, envisioned it, created it in his own mind - it began. Now - we have to dream too. And give it the heft and stretch and longevity it deserves. But don't let anybody convince you - this is the way the world IS and therefore must BE. Nobody prefers mindlessness. Appetites for self-murder can be erradicated. No addict or suicide wants to be one. Enemies, races, nations - they can live together. Anybody over eight years old has already witnessed the expedient, commecial, almost whimsical nature of national friendships.

I have seen resources commited to the disenfranchised, the discredited, the merely unlucky. And before we can reap the harvest of these resources, before legislation put in place could work, it was disassembled. That determined committment must be re-dreamed, re-thought, re-activated by me and you. Otherwise, as nationalisms and racisms solidify, as coasts and villages become and remain forces of turmoil and dispute, as eagles and doves hover over the remaining sources of the raw wealth of the earth - as guns and gold and cocaine topple grain, technology and medicine to win first place in world trade - if these things go on we will end up with a worth not worth sharing or even dreaming about.

What I mean to say is - we are already life. Chosen by ourselves - humans as far as we know - there aren't anymore - we are the moral inhabitants of the galaxy. Why trash that magnificent obligation after working so hard in the womb to assume it? You will be in positions that matter. Positions in which you can decide the nature and quality of other people's lives. Your errors may be irrevocable. So when you enter these places of trust and power - dream a little before you think and solve. So your thoughts, your solutions, your directions, your choices about who lives and who doesn't, who flourishes and who doesn't, will be worth the very sacred life that you already chose to live.

You're not helpless. And you're not heartless. And you / have / time."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in Caracas

(Cartoon by Angél Boligan)

Caracas has been in a crazed consumer frenzy during the past 2 weeks. Finally, things are settling down since most people have left the City for vacation spots around the world and lots have gone to spend their holidays at the beach. The City, which normally is over-congested with traffic and madness, was in particular form after December 15 (payday). The traffic was un-mysteriously concentrated in huge jams around...the MALLS! Spend, spend,, buy, buy...oh, and light of firecrackers day and night!!! The "bin ladens" and the "mother-in-law-killers", as the powerful cherry bombs are called, have been waking up the more peace-loving caraqueños in cold sweats since December 1, and probably won't stop until after the New Year.

But, despite those obstacles, Caracas is beautiful in Christmas time! Especially with most of the people gone from the City!!! Lots of lights and decorations and celebrations everywhere. Venezuelans are a happy people who love to party!

President Chavez hsn't stopped to rest since the December 2 referendum vote. He's been traveling throughout Latin America and just finished up overseeing the Petro-Caribe summit in Cuba, which further solidifies the discounted petroleum agreement Venezuela inaugurated last year along with a dozen Caribbean nations. Petro-Caribe will provide low cost oil to neighboring nations, particularly poor ones like Haiti, in return for payment through goods and services. This is yet another aspect of Venezuela's foreign policy based on cooperation and solidarity.

The ridiculous "maletin" scandal that has been filling up airwaves and newspaper front pages during the past 10 days will be brought to surface yet again on December 28, when supposedly the 4 men detained in South Florida will have a hearing. So far, no evidence has been produced that actually demonstrates that these individuals were acting with the "direction" and "authority" of the Venezuelan government, which is a necessary step in order for the US Department of Justice to prove their case that the guys were acting as "agents" of the Chavez administration. So far, looks like a bogus case since the only connection proven between the detainees and the Venezuelan government are some very legitimate business deals. Imagine if every single person who did some kind of business with a foreign nation was considered an agent of that government! Most corporations, multinationals and even small and medium size businesses would be in danger then of violating US laws. The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) of which these men are accused of violating, only applies to those individuals who are acting as agents under the direction and authority of a foreign government on US soil, and they have to be engaging in work relating to the political sphere (political activism or lobbying). This generally refers to lobbyists, public relations representatives, consultants (lawyers are exempt from FARA) and spies. Seeing as how those 4 men implicated in this scandal appear to be none of the above, looks like the case is just another attempt to smear the reputation of the Chavez government. No surprise that such dirty work is being done in the hands of the Bush administration and its Justice Department.

Anyway, if Chavez really wanted to give Cristina some money for her campaign, he would have just brought it himself on his own plane, which would never have been subject to search because of diplomatic immunity. He certainly wouldn't have authorized some sketchy mafiosa businessman to carry a briefcase full of cash on a private plane to Argentina. Please!!!!

The revolution doesn't rest for Christmas, I'll be working on finally finishing up my next book over the next 2 weeks. 2008 should be a year full of progress and achievements! The best gift of all is the contribution we each can make to building a more just and peaceful world.
Happy Holidays to all!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Reflection and Revolution!

President Chavez with his new grandson, Jorge.

After the loss by a narrow margin of the referendum on the Constitutional Reform last Sunday, things are getting back to normal here in Venezuela. President Chavez's very graceful acceptance of the results has been an extraordinary showing of dignity and integrity to the world community, which had gotten used to calling him a dictator. Had the SI vote won by such a narrow margin, the opposition surely would have cried fraud and taken to the streets in violence. In fact, those scenarios were ready to go on Sunday, and the "guarimbas" (street violence & destabilization) was starting to begin that afternoon as the opposition prepared for a defeat. Believe me, the government and people were ready to defend themselves against the violence the extremist right-wing opposition had prepared for Sunday night, but Chavez made the right decision. He even admitted that had his reform won by a slight margin, he would't have accepted it. He would rather have peace in the country than a reform approved by a slim majority. What other head of state in the world would act in such a dignified, mature way??? Probably none. Certainly not Bush in the US who has won all his elections by narrow, questionable margins. Anyway, now is time to reflect on the elections, the campaign, the proposed reform, and analyze where errors were made and what can be improved.

The opposition here is still trying to say fraud was committed even though they won. They are beyond ridiculous. Extremists from the Un Nuevo Tiempo party are trying to claim the government committed fraud because the opposition exit polls and quick counts done by Sumate - a group funded by the USAID and NED - shows the opposition winning by 8 points instead of the 1.5 points that the official results show. So, when they lose, they cry fraud, and when they win, well, they also cry fraud. I think that Chavez's democratic credentials stand much stronger today than any member of the so-called opposition.

Be alert to happenings in Bolivia. Looks like the opposition there is heating up the streets and trying to overthrow Evo Morales' government. Tonight, Evo called for a recall referendum on his own presidency and that of the country's governors, most of whom are opposition. If that initiative takes place, things could get really ugly there. I may take a trip there soon to check out the scene and document some of the US intervention that is contributing to the destabilization of Evo's government.

It's December in Venezuela and Christmas is coming! The streets are full of decorations and lights and the traffic is unbearable. People are out spending their end-of-the-year bonuses and demonstrating that Venezuela is still as capitalist as ever, despite the opposition's constant whining about the imposition of a "castro-communist" state.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Just a quick update. It's almost 6pm and the voting day is pretty much over. Most centers are beginning to tally up the figures and send them on to the National Elections Council (CNE) for final auditing and counting. We expect the first official report to be released within about 2 hours. I voted early this morning with little difficulties - there were some minor technical problems at the voting center where I voted, but CNE technicians quickly resolved everything and got the voting on track. There appears to have been a lot of participation- little abstention, despite what many polls had suggested. The Plan Republic, which is the defense and security operation that secures the electoral processes here, has detained approximately 50 people for electoral crimes (fraud primarily - voting with fake ID cards, usurping identities, etc.). But otherwise, there have been few incidents.

Venezuelans, as always, have spent the voting day peacefully in a joyful, festive environment.

Once results are in, the celebrations of victory will begin!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Last night CNN en Español aired the above image, which captions at the bottom "Who Killed him?" by "accident". The image of President Chavez with the caption about killing him below, which some could say subliminally incites to assassination, was a "production error" mistakenly made in the CNN en Español newsroom. The news anchor had been narrarating a story about the situation between Colombia and Venezuela and then switched to a story about an unsolved homicide but - oops - someone forgot to change the screen image and President Chavez was left with the killing statement below. Today they apologized and admitted it was a rather "unfortunate" and "regrettable" mistake. Yes, it was.

On a scarier note, an internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007, references the "Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers", and confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd. The Electoral Scenario, as it's phrased, confirms that the voting tendencies will not change substantially before Sunday, December 2nd, and that the SI (YES) vote in favor of the constitutional reform has an advantage of about 10-13 points over the NO vote. The CIA estimates abstention around 60% and states in the memo that this voting tendency is irreversible before the elections.

Officer Steere emphasizes the importance and success of the public relations and propaganda campaign that the CIA has been funding with more than $8 million during the past month - funds that the CIA confirms are transfered through the USAID contracted company, Development Alternatives, Inc., which set up operations in June 2002 to run the USAID Office for Transition Initiatives that funds and advises opposition NGOs and political parties in Venezuela. The CIA memo specifically refers to these propaganda initiatives as "psychological operations" (PSYOPS), that include contracting polling companies to create fraudulent polls that show the NO vote with an advantage over the SI vote, which is false. The CIA also confirms in the memo that it is working with international press agencies to distort the data and information about the referendum, and that it coordinates in Venezuela with a team of journalists and media organized and directed by the President of Globovision, Alberto Federico Ravell.

CIA Officer Michael Steere recommends to General Michael Hayden two different strategies to work simultaneously: Impede the referendum and refuse to recognize the results once the SI vote wins. Though these strategies appear contradictory, Steere claims that they must be implemented together precisely to encourage activities that aim toward impeding the referendum and at the same time prepare the conditions for a rejection of the results.

How is this to be done?

In the memo, the CIA proposes the following tactics and actions:
*Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across the nation
*Generate a climate of ungovernability
*Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
*Engage in a "plan to implode" the voting centers on election day by encouraging opposition voters to "VOTE and REMAIN" in their centers to agitate others
*Start to release data during the early hours of the afternoon on Sunday that favor the NO vote (in clear violation of election regulations)
*Coordinate these activities with Ravell & Globovision and international press agencies
*Coordinate with ex-militar officers and coupsters Pena Esclusa and Guyon Cellis - this will be done by the Military Attache for Defense and Army at the US Embassy in Caracas, Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO)

To encourage rejection of the results, the CIA proposes:
*Creating an acceptance in the public opinion that the NO vote will win for sure
*Using polling companies contracted by the CIA
*Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
*Generate a sensation of fraud
*Use a team of experts from the universities that will talk about how the data from the Electoral Registry has been manipulated and will build distrust in the voting system

The CIA memo also talks about:
*Isolating Chavez in the international community
*Trying to achieve unity amongst the opposition
*Seek an aliance between those abstentionists and those who will vote "NO"
*Sustain firmly the propaganda against Chavez
*Execute military actions to support the opposition mobilizations and propagandistic occupations
*Finalize the operative preparations on the US military bases in Curacao and Colombia to provide support to actions in Venezuela
*Control a part of the country during the next 72-120 hours
*Encourage a military rebellion inside the National Guard forces and other components

Those involved in these actions as detailed in the CIA memo are:
*The CIA Office in Venezuela - Office of Regional Affairs, and Officer Michael Steere
*US Embassy in Venezuela, Ambassador Patrick Duddy
*Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO) at the US Embassy in Caracas and Military Attache Richard Nazario
---Venezuelan Political Parties:
*Comando Nacional de la Resistencia
*Accion Democratica
*Primero Justicia
*Bandera Roja
*Alberto Federico Ravell & Globovision
*Interamerican Press Society (IAPA) or SIP in Spanish
*International Press Agencies
**Pena Esclusa
*Guyon Cellis
*Dean of the Simon Bolivar University, Rudolph Benjamin Podolski
*Dean of the Andres Bello Catholic University, Ugalde
*Students: Yon Goicochea, Juan Mejias, Ronel Gaglio, Gabriel Gallo, Ricardo Sanchez

Operation Tenaza has the objective of encouraging an armed insurrection in Venezuela against the government of President Chavez that will justify an intervention of US forces, stationed on the military bases nearby in Curacao and Colombia. The Operation mentions two countries in code: as Blue and Green. These refer to Curacao and Colombia, where the US has operative, active and equipped bases that have been reinforced over the past year and a half in anticipation of a conflict with Venezuela.

The document confirms that psychological operations are the CIA's best and most effective weapon to date against Venezuela, and it will continue its efforts to influence international public opinion regarding President Chavez and the situation in the country.

Operation Tenaza is a very alarming plan that aims to destabilize Venezuela and overthrow (again) its legitimate and democratic (and very popularly support) president. The plan will fail, primarily because it has been discovered, but it must be denounced around the world as an unacceptable violation of Venezuela's sovereignty.

The original document in English will be available in the public sphere soon for viewing and authenticating purposes. And it also contains more information than has been revealed here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Festivals, Referendums and Revolution

Venezuela is just rockin' these days!! The Third Annual International Circus Festival is kicking off this week in Caracas, and folks can enjoy circus entertainment from Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom and France through Monday, December 3rd. There will be street performances, acrobatics, theatrical events, music and artistic expressions all over town. Who said we couldn't have fun during the referendum campaign?

In the meantime, the state of Zulia, where the opposition passion runs high, is hosting the First Annual Festival of the Earth, where lovers and artists of clay and rock are coming together to create brilliant earthy artworks.
Caracas is also hosting the annual Festival of Artesans in Parque del Este, which I hope to visit tomorrow in order to find some unusual local handmade Christmas presents for my family and friends!

But oh, let us not forget the crazy violent opposition that today actually killed an innocent 19-year old worker from PetroCasa, a government company that builds affordable housing for low income families in Venezuela. Yes, that unfortunate event occured this very morning in the State of Carabobo after the opposition decided to launch a series of violent "guarimbas" in the streets across the nation as part of what their extremist faction has named "the march with no return". Well, we hope they will never return with all their violence and destabilization. Actually, in Caracas, this "guarimba with no return" had little affect. Just a few private university students blocked traffic in the late morning hours, but were quickly (and peacefully) dispersed by authorities. However, in the states of Carabobo and Aragua, the groups got violent, and at least 80 were arrested by security forces. The assassin of the the 19-year old has been detained, identified and will be charged with murder. We do have a legal system and a state of justice here, despite what the opposition thinks. But the oppositional media showed and said nothing. They only seem to care when the one who is hurt or killed is from the middle or upper classes. Event the international media, like CNN en Español, which has religiously covered the opposition student marches all month, aired nothing about the tragic incident. So much for media objectivity.

This Sunday is the referendum vote on the Constitutional reform. The "SI" to approve Chavez's proposal will most likely win by a clear margin, but the opposition will not cease its tactics. They will probably increase their violent actions over the next few days and after the referendum is won in order to prevent the Chavez government from implementing the new laws and regulations that will bring social and economic justice, and power, to the people.

The Colombia situation is deteriorating by the minute. Now, relations between Venezuela and Colombia are frozen because President Uribe of Colombia cut off President Chavez's mediation efforts (which Uribe had originally approved), because of a very short telephone conversation held between Senator Piedad Cordoba from Colomba, who is the main mediator in the humanitarian peace process in Colombia, President Chavez, and the head of Colombia's armed forces, during which the discussion was about the detained members of the FARC. Chavez says the conversation was necessary and authorized by Uribe, since Chavez was charged with negotiating between the FARC and the Colombian Army that is holding members of the guerrilla group as prisoners. But Uribe claims the conversation violated the terms of the mediation efforts and therefore, not only did he terminate Chavez's role, but also Senator Cordoba's efforts, which date back months, if not years, and include several assassination attempts against her by right wing Colombian forces. And, to top it all off, the Colombian government is now charging the Senator with "betraying her country", and the government of France has offered her political asylum. So, she risked her life to bring peace to her country, with the authorization of her government, and now she is a traitor???? This situation between Colombia and Venezuela plays right into the hands of the United States government, which has been searching for a reason to create a conflict between the two neighbor nations in order to justify an international intervention. Lets hope things don't get any worse.

Just four days left of campaigning and tensions are running high. Be on the lookout for massive media manipulation and wacky opposition tactics to deceive and distort the mere reality on the ground here that gives every indication of a strong "SI" in favor of the reform this coming Sunday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We just culminated the III Annual International Book Fair here in Caracas, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the National Book Center. This year's theme was "Is Revolution Possible in the United States?" and authors and long term activists such as Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka, amongst other important voices, gathered together for a week engaging in this very intriguing debate with the people of Venezuela. The event was extremely informative, inspiring and successful and led to the final determination that YES! revolution is possible in the USA, but it certainly needs a major push and some massive stimulation!!!!!

The Second Annual Festival with the Peoples of Africa is also taking place right now in Caracas. Cultural and political representatives from the Congo, Namibia, Benin and other African nations are meeting with high level members of the Venezuelan government and sharing cultural traditions with the people of Venezuela. These initiatives are part of the Chavez Government's foreign policy based on cooperation and integration with other people's around the world that share similar characteristics with Venezuela: poverty, rich natural resources, colonized past, developing status, immense potential for social and economic development.

In the meantime....the violent opposition students and political leaders are still trying to wreck havoc in the streets. Today is National Student Day in Venezuela and the streets are full of marches from all sides. We are expecting President Chavez to arrive in a few hours to address the crowd of tens of thousands of students that support the Bolivarian Revolution and the Constitutional Reform that will be voted on next December 2nd.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007



This week has been pretty active in Venezuela, to say the least!! On the ground, things are heating up with the campaign for the referendum on the constitutional reform, which will take place on December 2, 2007. The pro-reform folks are the "SI" (YES) block and the anti-reform and opposition folks are "NO" this time around. On Sunday, we had a major march in favor of the reform. There were tens of thousands of pro-reform supporters in the streets of Caracas that marched 7 miles from Parque del Este to Avenida Bolivar to hear President Chavez speak. Most international media didn't report on that, but rather has spent its time reporting on the minor opposition student protests that continue to destabilize and provoke violence throughout the nation.

Today, Wednesday, November 7, there was an opposition student march to the Supreme Court in Caracas to symbolically hand over a document protesting the constitutional reform as unconstitutional to the members of Venezuela's highest court. The students marched relatively peacefully throughout the center of Caracas and a small commission of students entered the Supreme Court, were received by the judges and even had a chance to read a statement before the high court members that was broadcast live on national television. This event went without any violent incidents, unlike last week's opposition student march to the National Elections Council (CNE) that resulted in students trying to illegally chain themselves to the staircase inside the CNE headquarters. That incident did end in some violence and obvious reaction from state security forces, though no major injuries occurred.

After the march to the Supreme Court (TSJ), the oppositional students returned to the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and proceeded to kidnap a group of approximately 60 pro-reform and pro-Chavez students, including Libertad Velasco, one of the more well known leaders of the revolutionary student movement. Since public universities have autonomy over their security, state security forces were not able to enter immediately to resolve the situation and rescue the hostages. Private media, such as Globovision, reported that there was an "irregular situation" at the UCV, and later showed images of what they termed "pro-Chavez" supporters armed and firing at the oppositional students. What they did not tell their viewers was that those oppositional students had kidnapped a group of about 60 pro-Chavez students inside the Social Work school of the UCV and the "armed" individuals that entered the ground were members of Venezuela's Civil Protection unit, that entered the UCV after almost an hour had passed, to rescue the hostages. Images broadcast later on national television clearly show the hostages running out of the building on the UCV campus once rescued by the Civil Protection officers. Gunshots were fired up into the air to ward off the violent kidnappers, not to injure them in any way. Unfortunately, in the confrontations before the Civil Protection officers were able to enter the UCV grounds, 9 students were injured, one critically.

International media and wire services, such as Associated Press, published this photograph: and claimed that government forces are repressing students in Venezuela.

Take it from someone on the ground who is closely monitoring all events: The Venezuelan government is doing everything in its power to allow these students to freely enjoy their rights to protest without permitting them to destabilize the country, create chaos, and place in danger the lives of citizens. These types of protests that these students freely enjoy in Venezuela would NEVER, I repeat, NEVER be permitted in the United States. There is just no way the US Government or any city, state or county's police force would permit students to take the streets and public spaces almost daily, throwing molotov cocktails and bottles, as well as other debris, at the police, while damaging public property. In the US, thousands of them would be jailed and subjected to severe repression. Venezuela, on the other hand, is overly permissive with these protests and despite the ample freedom enjoyed by all sectors in this country, the international media distorts the scenario and attempts to paint a portrayal of the Venezuelan government as repressive. Repressive is the US government, permissive is the Venezuelan.

Stay alert to the media manipulation and the growing threat of a "colored revolution" (termed the "Marigold Revolution") in Venezuela (like Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia, etc).