By: Kiraz Janicke - Venezuelanalysis.com
Caracas, September 10, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Flanked by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned of a plan financed by the United States to derail the democratically elected government of Bolivia, including a plan to assassinate Morales, said Chavez during his weekly television program Aló Presidente.
“I hold responsible the president of the United States, George Bush, for what could happen to compañero Morales, because they are conspiring against the government, including to kill him,” he said.
However, Chavez warned, “If U.S. imperialism attacks our peoples, using their lackeys in Venezuela and Bolivia, they can be sure that we’re not going to wait with our arms crossed.”
“If that occurs,” he continued, referring to the famous phrase of revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who called for Vietnam style guerilla war against U.S. imperialism, “we will shout with Che Guevara and then one, two, three, four, five, or 10 Vietnams will have to be created in Latin America."
“Imperialism has a plan to knock off this Indian. I put to them we have a plan also, but of course we are not going to say. Right, Evo? What is going to happen to the Bolivian oligarchy is what happened to the Venezuelan oligarchy the 12 and 13th of April , when the Venezuelan people came out to confront the tyranny, the imperialist coup. It’s best that we don’t tell more of the plan.”
Chavez’s comments came as up to 100,000 people from Bolivia’s campesino and indigenous movements began converging on Sucre for a Social Summit in defense of the Constituent Assembly. Over the past week Sucre has been wracked with violent protests aimed at disrupting the process of constitutional reform, which would provide a framework for the social inclusion of Bolivia’s long marginalized indigenous majority. Right wing opposition groups demanding that the executive and legislative powers of government be transferred from La Paz to Sucre have burned car tires and repeatedly attempted to shut down the Constituent Assembly, which as a result has called a one-month recess.
“The oligarchy that today is conspiring against Evo in Bolivia is the same oligarchy that conspired here against Venezuela, against our people, it is the same that here made a coup, driven forward and financed by the government of the United States, the same is occurring in Bolivia,” he added.
While U.S. officials have repeatedly denied Chavez’s claims that Washington is attempting to overthrow him and other leftist governments in the region, Chavez said that Morales possessed documentary evidence of U.S. interference and intentions to destabilize his government.
Chavez’s claims are supported by the investigation of U.S.-Venezuelan human rights lawyer Eva Golinger, who last week published a report that documents U.S. government funding of opposition groups in both Venezuela and Bolivia.
Golinger reveals that the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), opened in Bolivia in 2004 has contracted the U.S. Company Casals & Associates Inc. (C&A) to manage US$13.3 million granted to 379 organizations, political parties, and projects in Bolivia. USAID-OTI and C&A in Bolivia have focused their efforts on combating and influencing the Constituent Assembly, and on “promoting separatism in the regions rich in natural resources, such as Santa Cruz and Cochabamba,” Golinger argues.
“The majority of the 13.3 million has been given to organizations and programs working to ‘strengthen regional governments’ with the intention of weakening the national government of Evo Morales,” she continued.
Chavez insisted, however, that Venezuela and Bolivia want peace to increase production of food and to carry out health, education, literacy, and social justice programs and pointed out that Bolivia would soon be the third country in Latin America to eradicate illiteracy after Cuba in 1961 and Venezuela in 2005.
Morales thanked Chavez for being invited to his program and said that while he recognized that his government was confronted by problems from various opposition groups against the Constituent Assembly and the process of constitutional reform, the majority of Bolivians are supporting the process of change for more social equality.
Morales also spoke of the need to change the economic model in Bolivia and Latin America more broadly, “The mineral wealth of Latin American countries had been looted by industrialized nations and nothing had been done to drive forward their development. The governments of Latin America are obliged to take advantage of their natural resources to promote the development of their peoples.”
During the program Chavez and Morales signed a number of agreements for joint development projects between their respective countries, as well as inaugurating the first phase of the Siderúrgica Ferrominera iron and steel plant in the Cuidad Piar in Venezuela’s Orinoco oil belt.
The agreements, which form part of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), initiated by Venezuela in opposition to the U.S. promoted Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, include plans to form joint-ventures in mining, cement and forestry projects, build a petrochemical plant in Cochabamba, as well as a bi-national company to exploit the Mutun iron deposit in Bolivia's Santa Cruz department, which, according to a statement today from Venezuela's information ministry, has 42 billion metric tons of reserves.
During the broadcast Chavez also spoke of his offer to mediate peace negotiations in neighboring Columbia between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), saying he would travel to territory controlled by the FARC, if necessary, "I'm willing to go into the deepest part of the largest jungle to talk with Marulanda."
"I have faith that we will succeed. Nobody said it would be easy,” he added.
CARACAS, August 5.— President Hugo Chavez demanded Sunday that the United States release the Cuban Five, imprisoned for fighting against terrorism, and admonished Washington for protecting international criminal Luis Posada Carriles, wanted in Venezuela for the midair bombing of a passenger plane.
Speaking on his Alo Presidente radio and TV program, Chavez said the Cuban Five are "heroes imprisoned by the empire" and called for an international effort to obtain their freedom.
Chavez said the cases of the Cuban Five and Luis Posada Carriles constitute two sides of the same problem. He added that the United States uses its so-called war against terrorism as a pretext.
He recalled that Posada was once the operations chief of the Venezuelan secret police (DISIP) and was responsible for the murder of political and community leaders, tortures, persecutions and disappearances.
Chavez statement followed comments on Alo Presidente from Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban parliament, who said the Posada Carriles case legitimizes the actions of the Cuban Five, who were in Florida gathering information to help Cuba defend itself from terrorist attacks. (PL)
Who are the Cuban Five?
They are Fernando Gonzalez Llort, Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo, Ramon Labanino Salazar, Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, and Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez
These men are poets, artists, scholars, fathers, husbands, and sons; they were arrested in September 1998, spent 17 months in solidarity confinement, and were convicted in June 2001 in a U.S. federal court for defending their country of Cuba from terrorists based in Miami. They were sentenced to prison terms which range from 15 years to double life sentences. Some of the Cuban 5 have been denied visitation from family members in several years.
The Cuban 5 were convicted after a politically charged trial in Miami, in which the U.S. government charged them with threatening national security and engaging in espionage against U.S. military bases.
Nothing could be further from the truth, the Cuban 5 infiltrated Cuban-American right-wing terrorist organizations based in Miami to monitor their actions; these proven CIA-sponsored organizations have been responsible for the deaths and injury of hundreds of people in Cuba and other countries.
The Cuban 5 infiltrated these organizations to protect the national sovereignty of their homeland Cuba and to safeguard the American populous from terrorist actions within the United States. The Cuban 5 shared the information with U.S. officials when dangerous actions were planned by these terrorist organizations.
Cuba has repeatedly offered information and cooperation to the U.S. government to combat these terrorist organizations, but the U.S. government has always declined to cooperate with Cuba.
With a trial based in Miami, it was impossible for the Cuban 5 to receive a fair trial. Under the threat of Cuban American right-wing terrorist organizations, defense attorneys made motions for a change of venue, which were denied. The judge, prosecution and U.S. government officials suppressed defense evidence and made sure that key witnesses for the defense would not testify.
Also, in 14,000 pages of transcript, no espionage evidence was ever introduced. It was also found that the information that the Cuban 5 had amassed was not government classified, but public information that did not threaten national security. It was clear that the charges brought up against the Cuban 5 were politically motivated fabricated, yet on June 8, 2001 they were found guilty of espionage and threatening national security.
On March 10, 2004, oral arguments were heard at the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals for a change in venue, on the espionage conspiracy, and on Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo's murder conspiracy conviction. As of yet, the court has not made a decision. The most important issue in the appeal is the change of venue; if the court finds that the trial should not have occurred in Miami then all the charges will be thrown out and the Cuban 5 could get a new trial in a different city.
The U.S. government has waged war on Iraq and invaded Afghanistan all in the name of fighting terrorism, yet Orlando Bosch, anti-Castro Cuban terrorist responsible for the murder of 73 passengers on a Cubana jetliner, and Luis Posada, a known CIA-sponsored international terrorist that has murdered countless people throughout Latin America, are allowed to walk free in Miami. It is this contradiction that proves that the Cuban 5 are a target of U.S. repression and a continuation of the U.S. hostile policies against Cuba.
Below you will find an Indigenous Youth Declaration drafted by the Spirit of Youth, a Six Nations-based youth organization, and presented to the United Nations in August 2007. The declaration is instructive in many ways, and a window into what militant indigenous youth in Canada are thinking.
We learned of this declaration through the Venezuela Coalition’s work in helping organize an indigenous delegation from Canada to a hemispheric conference in Venezuela. This led to attending a meeting recently organized by the Women’s Canada Chile Committee to raise funds for the Six Nations.
One of the speakers there was Melissa Elliott, an indigenous student at York University. She read and discussed the youth declaration to the United Nations. After the meeting, she asked us to publish this important document, which does not appear to be available elsewhere, and requested that we distribute it widely.
Since then, the United Nations has adopted a declaration of rights of indigenous peoples by a vote of 143 to 4. All ALBA nations voted in favour. Shamefully, Canada and the U.S. were opposed.
Indigenous Youth At The United Nations
I would have never dreamed that such a seemingly simple act of writing The Indigenous Youth Declaration in 2004 at the Elders Summit in Six Nations would lead me to such a place that it did: dancing our traditional Haudenosaunee social dance in front of the United Nations. The night was warm on that August 9, 2007 as we ran through the Times Square towards our most important destination along this year's unity run – New York City. We ran all through the night, so as to get through Manhattan as safely as possible, which meant that we had to sacrifice sleep, running for hours, to present our message to the United Nations.
When we got there it was 6:00 in the morning and we were filled with so much fire, we couldn't hold it in: we were there, we were finally at the United Nations. Being at the U.N., recognized and listened to is a huge thing for our people, since it has rarely happened before, even to our most prestigious leaders. This is not even mentioning the fact that we were merely youth who are rarely even recognized by our own communities, let alone the whole world. However, no matter what it cost, were there with a copy of our Youth Declaration, four years in the making.
We walked through the security check, fully wearing our traditional dress, and made our way to the gathering directly outside the U.N. to meet the organizers of the event. Filled with the awe of the moment, we proudly walked up to them, smiling all the while, to discover that we only had 15 minutes to introduce our Unity Run and message, and only 10 minutes to present the declaration.
These words devastated us and made it all the more difficult to put our heads on straight and speak. However, we spoke for the 15 minutes we initially had about our group and the Elders Declaration that was also created at the 2004 Indigenous Elders Summit. We spoke within the time limit on that occasion, but while presenting later that day on our Youth Declaration, we threw the rules out of the window and found the courage inside of ourselves to speak without limits. It was the only way we felt we could be heard, respected and understood. We spoke for more than an hour.
Our words just flowed out as we had over 25 runners on the small stage, it was as though our ancestors were speaking through us. I mean, we were there for them, we were there for us, and we were there for the future generations, so it was only natural that they were also there for us in spirit. Either way, our words touched the crowd so much that they invited us back to speak at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations again next May. It was an amazing experience that took us on a journey beyond our wildest dreams. We laughed, we cried, we yelled, we smiled, we danced, we sung – we did it all.
As one of the main writers of the Declaration and organizers of our presentation, I was amazed at what we accomplished there, as youth and Indigenous people. Of course we were criticized for things such as our age, our use of the word "demand" (in the declaration) and of our persistence in speaking without any time restraints. However, if we did not do these things, our entire experience there would be different. Who says, as youth, we can't demand change in our world for the better? As proved by this year's Unity run, we can do anything if we just believe in ourselves, think positively, and stay focused.
Perhaps our world would be different if it just took the time to listen to and include it's youth.
Melissa Elliott, 17yrs old, York University Unity Runner, Organizer Spirit of the Youth Working Group
Indigenous Youth Declaration
Kindling the Fire
Spirit of the Youth Declaration Presented to the United Nations
We as Indigenous Youth have gathered on the Haudenosaunee territory for four years to share our achievements and future prospects on peace and unity. We are the seventh generation and we accept the responsibility for the prosperity of the next seven generations and of our Mother Earth. Our Ancestors look to us to re-speak the words that once fell on deaf ears and to stand strong as one. Therefore as our leaders have done before us, we as Indigenous Youth unify in order to rise to the challenge of continuing to wipe the tears of all nations. The Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island wish to reach our goals and to share with the world peace and unity. We will continue to collectively gather all peoples to push our motion forward. The following statement calls for immediate action. Our collective minds and hearts hereby declare the following a living document:
1. Voices of the Youth
We as the Indigenous youth of Turtle Island demand that our voice be recognized and respected as equals.
We demand equal representation and recognition at all gatherings and councils to network, debate and to contribute to decisions on all matters affecting us and our communities.
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that historical truths be told.
All books that are used in the education system will be rewritten to include the stories of Indigenous Peoples, and written from the perspective of Indigenous Voice.
Indigenous Peoples have the choice to provide education, which serves our best interests to preserve our culture for the coming faces.
We will create educational, social and recreational programs and opportunities to promote, encourage and maintain healthy traditional lifestyles, which nurture our talents whether they be traditional, artistic, athletic or academic.
All programs will be supported by our communities and by our elders.
3. Protecting / Preserving Language
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that our children have opportunities to learn their native language as their original language.
We demand that more high quality programs be created and that funding be allocated to revive our Indigenous Language.
We demand that language programs be made available to all Indigenous peoples whether they live off or on-reservations.
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that each and every on of our treaties be honoured.
We demand that a separate and un-biased commission be set forth to investigate all broken treaties.
We demand that all negotiations and discussions between governments and nations be fair and respectful.
We will assert jurisdiction over our lands and resources.
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that discrimination against Indigenous Peoples not be tolerated.
We demand that all governmental policies, acts and laws which discriminate against Indigenous peoples be abolished immediately.
Nepotism will not be tolerated.
We demand that all internal discrimination against youth, elders and groups of people within our communities stop immediately.
We demand that all external discrimination against any other race, religion or culture to be stopped immediately.
We are all brothers and sisters on this Mother Earth and we should be respected equally.
6. Respect of our Culture
We as the Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand unrestricted access to our traditional, historical artifacts whether they are in museums, private collections or any other possession.
Our traditional ceremonies must be recognized and respected by governments, school boards, business owners and the greater society as equal to other religious holidays and practices.
We will not allow our culture and tradition to be defined by outside or foreign influences.
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that media highlight the positive aspects of Indigenous culture rather than perpetuate stereotypes.
We demand that all news reports relating to Indigenous peoples accurately represent our perspective.
Media black-outs will not be tolerated.
We demand that governments support Indigenous created media bodies.
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island refuse to be subject to any form of colonization.
We refuse to allow all previous effects of colonization to pass onto the next seven generations. All hate, resentment and anguish ends now.
We forgive all peoples who have damaged our culture, lands and our people.
We ask that all peoples of Mother Earth join us in this healing.
8. Our Mother Earth
We as Indigenous Youth of Turtle Island demand that our Mother Earth be protected at all costs.
We demand unrestricted access to sacred sites. Sacred Sites will be maintained in their natural, original state.
We demand that all environmentally destructive behaviors stop immediately. The health and well-being of our people and our ceremonies is dependent on the well-being of our Mother Earth.
We as Indigenous peoples must re-establish our connection to the land.
As guardians we implore ourselves to take action to protect, preserve and restore Mother Earth and all creation.