Bolivarian Alliance Condemns Attempted Coup in Honduras

Nine-Country Bolivarian Alliance Condemns Coup Attempt in Honduras

Declaration of the member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America [formerly known as ALBA] condemning the coup d’état now under way against the president of the Republic of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya.The member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, represented here at the United Nations, are deeply concerned with regard to present events in the Republic of Honduras. They declare the following:

• We emphasize that the coup d’état now under way aims to block the achievement of a democratic vote by the people called to establish whether the people wish to convene a Constituent Assembly.

• We condemn this coup-like action against the genuine aspirations of Honduran citizens who insist on being taken into account through democratic forms of expression and consultation.• We call on the international community to reject this effort to break with the democratic, constitutional order, and to reject any violent and destabilizing moves against the Honduran people and government. We proclaim our unconditional solidarity with compañero Presidente José Manuel Zelaya and the sister people of Honduras.

• We reiterate our firm support of the declaration in support of the people’s referendum in Honduras, adopted by the ALBA summit meeting that took place yesterday, June 24, in the city of Maracay, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
New York, June 25, 2009

Antigua and Barbuda
Plurinational State of Bolivia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Declaration by Indigenous Organizations of Honduras

Honduras: Steps Toward a Coup d’État
Civic Council of People’s and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)

The Civic Council of People’s and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) condemns before national and world public opinion the attempted coup launched during the night of June 24, 2009 against the constitutional government of Manuel Zelaya Rosales and the Honduran people and its most important aspirations. This action is a desperate response by right-wing forces and their allies to frustrate the people’s will to find a democratic path for national transformation.

The reactionary Right has been desperately trying to block a national referendum that will take place June 28 to ask Honduran society if it agrees to include in the November general elections a vote on the convocation of a national Constituent Assembly to draw up a new constitution.

This drive toward a coup was planned and carried out through collaboration between the fascist National Congress, the lords of the communication media, the Ministry of Public Safety, the country’s strongest businessmen, and the Armed Forces, who have acted in open defiance of government decisions. We therefore denounce the army for playing a role similar to that of the 1980s, when it was an agency for destabilization and repression. This campaign, which culminated in an outrageous act of aggression against the Honduran people, was won support from some sectors of the Evangelical and Catholic hierarchy, who have encouraged, justified, and acted as middlemen for the coup-like actions.We also denounce the interference and involvement of the United States government and its ambassador to Honduras. Informed in advance of these actions, they quit the country, and called on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and other institutions under their influence to do the same. This clearly shows their complicity with the pro-coup forces.

We call on the ranks of COPINH and the Honduran people as a whole, whether or not they are organized, to mobilize in their communities, villages, or cities, and especially in Tegucigalpa, to give expression to their defiance and indignation. We call on them not to be intimidated by the terrorist media campaign unleashed against the people’s expressed will, and against its right to imagine and desire a new country with justice and equity.

We call on the international community to speak out decisively against this attack on the Honduran people and to express its solidarity with the people and support for their human rights.

We call for intensification of the organized struggle to establish a Popular and Democratic National Constituent Assembly now, at this historic juncture for our homeland.

Finally, COPINH recognizes Manuel Zelaya Rosales as the only constitutional president of the republic and reject any “substitute” imposed by de-facto and imperialist power.With the power of our ancestors, Iselaca, Lempira, and Etempica, we raise our voices for life, justice, dignity, liberty, and peace.

Adopted in the city of La Esperanza, Intibucá, June 24, 2009, by the Civic Council of People’s and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)
For Spanish text, see
Translated by John Riddel

Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America

ALBA Becomes a Platform of Power

Re-baptized as Alliance, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) enters a new stage Thursday, with an improved organic structure.

The now nine-member integration mechanism created its political, economic, and social councils at an extraordinary summit yesterday in the Venezuelan state of Maracay, and has begun preparations to establish a permanent secretariat.Referring to the new name, President Hugo Chavez clarified it is not a semantic change, but one of "codes, meaning, as ALBA is no longer a theoretical proposal but a territorial political and geopolitical platform, a platform of power."

The summit's resolution conveys the consolidation of the group as a political, economic and social alliance in defense of the independence, self-determination, identity, and interests of the peoples in front of attempts to subjugate them.

Starting from this 6th Summit ALBA will be called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America or "The People's Trade Agreement" (ALBA or TCP in Spanish), a sign of its growth and strength.

Letter to Peruvian Consul



Toronto, June 10, 2009

Gabriel García Pike
Consul General of the Republic of Peru
10 St. Mary St., #301
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1P9

Dear sir,

The Latin American Solidarity Network of Toronto conveys to you its most emphatic protest against the unjustified massacre carried out by your country’s repressive forces on June 5 against the aboriginal people of Abya Yala in Peru’s Amazon region. We have learned that Peru’s security forces, sent to break up a peaceful demonstration by indigenous people, murdered at least 28 of them. The Natives were striving to preserve their ancestral territories from seizure by transnational corporations.
Given the gravity of these developments, the Latin American Solidarity Network requests that you transmit to your government the following demands:The government must withdraw its military forces from Native territory. The civil and military authorities responsible for this massacre must be prosecuted. Peru’s Amazon territories must be preserved as a natural sanctuary, free of interference by transnational corporations who seek only to maximize their gain at the cost of the destruction of nature.

The fundamental cause of the Native protests is the damaging effects of the U.S.-Peruvian free trade agreement on their economy, lives, and culture, which more and more evident. This treaty should be cancelled.

We thank you for conveying to your government this indignant protest.

Yours truly,
Carlos Torchia
Latin American Solidarity Network-Toronto

The Latin American Solidarity Network includes the following organizations: Casa Salvador Allende, Canadian Solidarity Action Alliance, Ontario Coalition of Salvadorian-Canadian Associations, Toronto Bolivia Solidarity, Toronto Forum on Cuba, Venezuela We Are With You Coalition, Victor Jara Cultural Association.

REPORT and Video on Food Sovereignty in Canada and Global South

Dear Friends,

On Friday evening, June 5, a public forum was held on "Food Sovereignty: An Open Discussion of Food, Ecology, and Farming." The meeting was initiated by the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition as one of its series of forums on 21st Century Socialism. It was supported by Toronto Bolivia Solidarity and the Latin American Solidarity Network. This effort was to build a bridge between food activists and Latin American solidarity movements. We thank Pance Stojkovski for making the meeting available at

Prior to the actual meeting is a dedication of the meeting to Cecilia Rosalia Paiva, a co-founder of Toronto Bolivia Solidarity who recently died in her home country of Peru.

The panel included two prominent figures in organizations working to assure the right to food in Canada and to access locally grown, sustainable, and healthy food: Mustafa Koç of Good Secure Canada and Debbie Field of Foodshare. The chairperson, Mary Jo Nadeau is a leading activist in the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid. She made the connection between the Israeli sanctions on Gaza and the people lacking significant nutrition.Experiences in Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela were portrayed by Juan Valencia, a Bolivian agronomist and activist in Toronto Bolivia Solidarity; Jorge Soberon. Cuban Consul General) and John Riddell, Venezuela We Are With You Coalition, respectively.

The panel found a common reference point in La Via Campesina, the peasant International, which originated the concept of food sovereignty. Koç pointed out that this concept, rooted in farmers’ and popular control of the food supply, is much deeper than that of “food security,” which involves only access to food.

Koç and Field spoke of the leading role being played by Latin American countries, and in particular Cuba, in advancing the food sovereignty agenda. Soberon gave a powerful presentation on Cuba’s achievements, including in the ALBA framework – and ALBA’s food program was taken up by other speakers.Some speakers discussed the questionable conflict between the interests of poor people (cheap food) and working farmers (high prices for their products). Field pointed out that the answer is government intervention, including through subsidization of food prices. The Venezuelan experience shows this concept in action.

Several speakers pointed out that the food industry urgently requires a fundamental change in Canadian society, and in fact throughout the world, if humankind is to survive. The concept of social transformation from capitalism to socialism was developed in a very natural way by the panelists and in the discussion by the participants in the audience.

The initial presentations are well worth watching – food for thought.

Venezuela Nationalises to Defend Workers' Rights

‘When the Working Class Roars, Capitalists Tremble’
30 May 2009
Addressing the 400-strong May 21 workshop with workers from the industrial heartland of Guayana, dedicated to the “socialist transformation of basic industry”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez noted with satisfaction the outcomes of discussions: “I can see, sense and feel the roar of the working class.”

“When the working class roars, the capitalists tremble”, he said.

Chavez announced plans to implement a series of radical measures, largely drawn from proposals coming from the workers’ discussion that day.

The workers greeted each of Chavez’s announcements with roars of approval, chanting “This is how you govern!”

Chavez said: “The proposals made have emerged from the depths of the working class. I did not come here to tell you what to do! It is you who are proposing this.”

Nationalisation and workers’ control

To the cheers of the workers, Chavez announced the nationalisation of six iron briquette, ceramics and steel companies, one after the other.

He said this started “a process of nationalisations” aimed at creating an integrated basic industry complex as part of building socialism.

Chavez also said it was necessary for there to be workers’ control along “the entire productive chain”. Plans for the industrial complex had to be “nourished with the ideas of the working class”. Throughout the day, workers from local steel, aluminum and iron companies raised demands for greater worker participation in managing production, more nationalisations, and the need to sack corrupt and counterrevolutionary managers. The workers were affiliated to the Socialist Workers’ Force (FST), which organises unionists in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV — the mass revolutionary party led by Chavez).

Saying this new phase would have to be “assumed with responsibility”, Chavez called on the workers to wage an all-out struggle against the “mafias” rife in the management of state companies.

Chavez said he would approve a new law to allow workers to elect state company managers.

“Every factory should be a school, in order, as Che said, to create not only briquettes and sheets and steel and aluminium, but also, above all, new men and women, a new society, a socialist society”, he said.

Chavez also called for workers to organise an armed militia. Worker battalions in each factory should be equipped with weapons “in case anyone makes the mistake of messing with us”.

Post-referendum offensive

These moves are part of a push to deepen the Venezuelan revolution after the February 15 referendum that voted to remove restrictions on the number of terms public officials could stand for election.

At stake was the future of the revolution. Its central leader, Chavez, was unable to stand for re-election in 2012 under pre-existing regulation limiting a president to two terms.

The referendum initiative followed the November regional elections, in which the PSUV won a majority of governorships and mayoralties, yet lost some key states to the right-wing opposition.

The opposition used newly won offices to launch an assault on grassroots organisations and the government’s pro-poor social programs. The referendum was part of a counter-offensive to strengthen the organisation of the revolutionary forces and win another mandate for the revolution’s radical program.

As part of the campaign, around 100,000 “Yes committees” were organised in factories and communities across the country. The “Yes” campaign, which won nearly 55% or 6.3 million votes, was a decisive mandate to deepen the revolution.

The campaign raised the level of organisation among the revolution’s base — workers, students, peasants, the urban poor and other sectors.

After the referendum, Chavez called for the restructuring of the PSUV. The Yes committees were to be converted into “socialist committees” as grassroots units of the party.

Special emphasis was put on strengthening the social fronts.

In early May, Chavez reshuffled the PSUV regional vice-presidents, appointing those seen as his closest collaborators.

Attacks on capital

With this momentum, the government gave clear signals of how it intended to fight the global economic crisis and falling oil prices.

Rather than a pact with the capitalist class, as some within the revolutionary movement had called for, Chavez launched an offensive — with state intervention into, and in some cases expropriation of, capitalist firms. This followed previous nationalisations in oil, steel, telecommunications, electricity, and other industries. This is part of ensuring state ownership over strategic sectors of the economy, to direct such sectors towards social needs.
Rice-producing factories owned by Polar, Venezuela’s largest company, were temporarily taken over by the military in February after it was found the company was deliberately evading government-imposed price controls.

Under Venezuelan law, food companies are obliged to direct 70% of production towards selected products at a set price. This is to ensure enough affordable food is available to the poor. said on March 11: “During a recent surge in land reform measures, Venezuela’s National Institute of Lands (INTI) [took] public ownership of more than 5000 hectares of land claimed by wealthy families and multi-national corporations.”

INTI said it would review tens of thousands more hectares as part of its drive to ensure fertile land is directed towards food production for social needs, rather than corporate profits.

On May 7, the National Assembly passed a law ensuring state control over a range of activities connected to the oil industry, previously run by multinationals.

The next day, “the government expropriated 300 boats, 30 barges, 39 terminals and docks, 5 dams and 13 workshops on Lake Maracaibo, where there are large crude oil reserves”, a May 9 article said.

On May 20, it nationalised a gas compression plant in the eastern state of Monagas under the same law.

Five days before, the government took over a pasta processing plant owned by US multinational Cargill after government inspectors found it was not producing price-regulated pasta as required.

Food vice minister Rafael Coronado said that after the 90-day intervention period, inspectors “together with the workers, the communal councils” would decide what to do with the company.

Revitalised working class

On April 30, announcing plans to expropriate the La Gaviota sardine processing plant, Chavez told a gathering of workers that “wherever you see a private company, a capitalist company that is exploiting the workers and is not complying with the laws, that is hoarding, denounce it, because the government is willing to intervene”.

La Gaviota had been shut for two and a half months by workers’ protests demanding the boss comply with the collective contract.

The same day, the government and workers took over the Cariaco sugar processing plant, the scene of similar protests. Some of the companies Chavez said would be nationalised on May 21 have also faced industrial disputes.

Chavez had previously threatened to nationalise Ceramicas Carabobo if the bosses refused to come to an agreement with the workforce. Workers at Matesi had called for the company be nationalised due to the unwillingness of management to sign a fair collective contract.

Matesi and Tavsa were part of the previously state-owned steel production complex, Sidor, before being sold off separately in the 1990s to Techint, an Argentine company.

After a 15-month dispute over the signing of a collective contract, the government nationalised Sidor, which was majority owned by Techint, decrying the “colonialist mentality” of the bosses overseeing super-exploitative conditions.

However, in Matesi and Tavsa, negotiations over collective contracts continued. Inspired by the Sidor example, where a collective contract was signed after nationalisation, Matesi workers demanded their factory also be nationalised.

This increase in industrial militancy has resulted in a number of factory occupations. This includes the Tachira-based coffee processing plant Cafea, which was closed by its bosses.

Its workforce, together with unions and the local community, have occupied the plant and are demanding it be nationalised.

See video of a portion of Chavez's remarks at