ALBA leaders at Celac conference

 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for an “eradication” of “colonialism” in Latin America at the annual summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

During the summit held in Havana, Cuba over 28 and 29 January, Maduro called for Puerto Rican independence and an end to the United Kingdom's administration of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, which are disputed by Argentina. The former was offered full membership of CELAC under a proposal made to the summit by Venezuela.

“Venezuela has come to Havana with its proposals and contributions, which is to declare the region 'free of colonies' and invite Puerto Rico to formally join the family,” he stated.

There was no immediate response from Puerto Rico, which remains an unincorporated United States territory. Maduro also spoke in support of Puerto Rican independence from Washington.

Launched in 2011 in Caracas, CELAC was founded as an alternative to the Organisation of American States (OAS) and currently boasts 33 member states.

Unlike the OAS, CELAC excludes the US and Canada.

28th January 2014

Combatting HIV in Venezuela

 Although the Venezuelan government has provided people with HIV or AIDS with free medicine and care since 2000, the health ministry met with national and regional coordinators of the HIV and AIDS national program to discuss strategies to improve the service on Friday.

The health ministry released a statement saying that the meeting aimed to “strengthen and guarantee the right to health of people living with HIV, as the constitution... establishes”.

According to the ministry, the meeting produced “advances” in strategies to prevent transmission of the virus, and in legal aspects of the issue, in terms of combating stigmatisation and discrimination.

State coordinators reported that they had enough antiretroviral drugs for all patients involved in the program for 2014.

Published on by Tamara PearsonJose Vivanco HRW

In the six pages that HRW dedicates to Venezuela in its World Report 2014, released this week, it manages to tell at least 30 serious lies, distortions, and omissions. Pointing out these lies is important, because many people believe that HRW is a neutral authority on human rights, and the mainstream press publish articles and headlines based on HRW report conclusions. Here are some of the headlines in both English and Spanish (translated to English) that have come out of the 2014 report:

Global Post – Venezuela intimidates opponents, media: HRW report , PanAm Post – Human Rights Watch: A black eye for Latin America , AFP –HRW criticises Venezuela in its annual report on human rights, El Economista – HRW: Democracy in Venezuela is fictitious, El Universal –Human Rights Watch report denounces persecution of media in Venezuela, El Siglo – Human Rights Watch: Venezuela is an example of “fictitious democracies”, El Colombiano: HRW describes Venezuela as a fictitious democracy , NTN24 – HRW warns that Venezuelan government applies “arbitrary” measures against media that is critical of its policies

The headlines which talk about a “fictitious” or “feigned” democracy, are referring to the start of the report, where HRW put Venezuela, along with other countries, under the category of “abusive majoritarianism”. There, HRW provides a very limited definition of democracy; “periodic elections, the rule of law, and respect for the human rights of all” and argues that Venezuela has adopted “the form but not the substance of democracy”. HRW cites Diosdado Cabello not letting legislators who didn’t recognise democratically elected President Maduro speak in parliament – yet the punishment seems soft, considering the crime.

Below, I’ve grouped the lies and omissions according to HRW’s own subheadings in its chapter on Venezuela. Unlike with other countries such as the US, HRW omits all of Venezuela’s human rights achievements in its assessment, and in reality a range of other subheadings would be deserving, such has right to have access to housing, people’s right to be consulted about policy, right of the poorer people to be heard in the media, right to education, the right to health care, to land, and so on. Of course, nowhere in the report does HRW mention the economic crimes committed by the business sector against Venezuelans’ right to access affordable goods (hoarding, speculation, etc).

RCG in Quito EcuadorAlerta Alerta que camina, la juventud del mundo por America Latina!

(Watch out watch out, the youth of the world are marching for Latin America!)

This was the chant and message ringing out around the World Festival Of Youth & Students, held in Quito, Ecuador, this December. Our organisation the Revolutionary Communist Group, fundraised to send a delegation of three comrades from London, Newcastle and Glasgow. They were able to speak with and interview anti-imperialists from around the world and bring back with them awealth of information and inspiration for the fight against the cuts and imperialism here in Britain, the belly of the Beast.

The gains and achievements of socialist Cuba, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the movement for socialism in Ecuador and Bolivia show in practice that socialism is the only system capable of meeting the needs of humanity. This lesson must be taken up in Britain where thousands are being punished by cuts to welfare while the ruling class plan their next imperialist venture abroad. To successfully resist the war on welfare and peoples abroad we must support the struggle for welfare and freedom from imperialism taking place across Latin America.

2014 will be a key year in the fight for socialism in Latin America. From the Colombian Peace talks and upcoming elections in Bolivia and Ecuador, to the student movements in Chile and the fight for against economic sabotage on the streets of Venezuela, Latin America is on the frontline of the battle for socialism globally. These social movements are fighting for a real alternative to racism, war and poverty-for a collective socialist society. Their fight is our fight! Another world is possible! Another world is being built!

Come to the meetings listed below, get involved, get active in Britain as real solidarity with Cuba and the revolutionary movements internationally is building a movement for socialism here.

Article ;published by Hands off Venezuela on 10 December. The Revolutionary Communist Group seconds their congratulations of the Bolivarian Revolution in this important electoral victory. Chavez vive! La Lucha Sigue!

The December 8th municipal elections in Venezuela gave yet another victory to the Bolivarian revolution, with the Socialist United Party (PSUV) and its allies in the Great Patriotic Pole receiving 5.1 million votes (49.24% of the total) against 4.4 million votes for the opposition (42.72%). Including votes for Bolivarian candidates outside of the main GPP alliance, the total for the revolution adds up to over 54%.

maduroresultadosThe turnout was 58.92%, much higher than in most European countries for similar elections.

The opposition had presented these elections as a plebiscite on Maduro's presidency. They promised to win the overall vote and get 100 mayors elected. If that was the case, then the result is clear: not only did they lose the vote, but the advantage of the Bolivarian revolution over the opposition significantly increased, from only 1.49 % in the April 14 presidential election to 6.52 %. As for the number of mayors, with most results already in, the PSUV and allies elected 234 against the opposition's 67.

The Caracas Libertador municipality in the capital was won by PSUV candidate Jorge Rodríguez with 474.227 votes (54,55%), winning even in 4 parishes which had voted for the opposition in April.

The Caracas Metropolitan race resulted in a very close win for the opposition, with incumbent Antonio Ledezma winning with 50,81% of the vote, a reduced margin from his previous win with 52.4% in 2008.

The opposition won in important state capitals such as Valencia and Barquisimeto (which previously had Bolivarian mayors) as well as mantaining Barinas, Maracaibo, Mérida y San Cristobal. The PSUV won solid victories in the state capitals of Apure, Aragua, Vargas, Anzoategui, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Portuguesa, Trujillo and even in the state capital of Miranda which is ruled by opposition leader Capriles. Significantly it defeated the oppositon in Heres, the capital of the industrial state of Bolivar. The defeat of the PSUV in Valencia, Carabobo, can be explained by the fact that the party had expelled the previous mayor on corruption charges. However, the PSUV won in the state of Carabobo as a whole, where the opposition had a lead of 108,000 votes in the April presidential elections and now lost by 59,000.

In celebrating the election results, president Maduro pledged to intensify the offensive against the "economic war", the campaign of hoarding, speculation and sabotage of the economy launched by the "parasitic bourgeoisie! and to take harsh measures against corruption.

This was the 19th democratic election contest in the 15 years since Hugo Chávez first came to power in 1998.

The Hands Off Venezuela campaign would like to congratulate the Bolivarian people on yet another vitcory and calls on the solidarity movement to remain vigilant for, as PSUV vicepresident Diosdado Cabello explained on election night “the opposition will never cease to conspire”.

 Below we reprint an article appearing in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 236, December 2013, that sets out the background to the municipal elections held on 8 December. The Maduro government won an important victory, with forces supporting the Bolivarian Revolution totalling over 54%.

‘They underestimated me. They said Maduro was an amateur… what you have seen is little compared to what we’re going to do to defend the people’s rights.’ 
(President Maduro, 19 November 2013)

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has passed a series of economic decrees to protect job stability and savings

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has passed a series of economic decrees to protect job stability and savingsOn 19 November, Venezuelan President Maduro secured the votes he needed from the National Assembly to empower him to legislate by decree for 12 months. This ‘Enabling Law’, as he explained, gives the Bolivarian Revolution vital powers to ‘fight corruption, usury, money-laundering and the economic war unleashed in recent times against the country by the national oligarchy’.1 It follows a series of active measures taken by the government to exert greater control over the Venezuelan economy. 

via | 10/12/13 

Raul CapoteYesterday we attended a meeting given by Raul Capote, an agent of the Cuban state who was instrumental in destroying carefully laid plans by the CIA To orchestrate an uprising in Cuba. Read more about his history and his biography ‘Enemigo’ (enemy) here:

Capote was recruited in 2004 to the CIA after years of contact initiated by the US interests section which was trying to influence young creators in the Hermanos Saiz foundation.

18 World festivalDuring 7-13 December, three supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group will be in Quito, Ecuador at the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students

As the capitalist crisis bites in Britain, it spreads war, poverty, austerity and despair worldwide. To successfully resist the war on welfare and peoples abroad we must support the war for welfare and for people’s freedom taking place across Latin America.

We will be blogging from the festival, putting you in contact with activists from all over the globe, gaining an insight into the citizens’ revolution in Ecuador and the movement towards socialism across Latin America today.

Visit the blog at:

Please share widely. We will organise report-back meetings in January; details will be posted here soon.  Ewan Robertson

Maduro wins enabling lawOn 23 November, President Nicolas Maduro passed two laws to “reorder” the Venezuelan economy and combat the economic problems the country has been experiencing this year.

The laws are the first passed under the decree powers granted to Maduro last Tuesday by the National Assembly.

One of the new pieces of legislation is the Law for the Control of Costs, Prices and Profits. It will regulate all economic activity related to costs and prices, with the aim of tackling the overpricing, speculation and inflation which have been affecting consumer spending power. The second law aims to allow more control over foreign trade.