Category Archives: Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez and race: The shift from avoidance to inclusion

By Janvieve Williams Comrie, for Al Jazeera.com
In the wake of the death of the President of Venezuela, an Afro-descendant view on the meaning of Hugo Chavez.

“Racism is very characteristic of imperialism and capitalism. Hate against me has a lot to do with racism. Because of my big mouth and curly hair. And I’m so proud to have this mouth and this hair, because it is African.” – Hugo Chavez, September 21, 2005

The death of democratically elected President Hugo Chavez Frias (1954-2013) has evoked serious thoughts and reflections on the meaning of his life and the process he led from peoples and communities throughout the Americas and the world. Despite much criticism by many right wing governments and people in the West, Hugo Chavez led a process in Venezuela that symbolised the new assertiveness and self-consciousness of nations in Latin America that saw a future for themselves, liberated from the heavy-handed, oppressive and economically draining policies of their powerful neighbour from the North.

But along with the symbolism connected to the new politics of authentic decolonisation that many of the centre-left states embraced, Chavez was committed to a process of providing real, substantive support to states in the region who were willing to pursue a course that could result in a real shift in power in the region. What that signified for many of us in the Afro-descendant communities in the Americas, was that the rise of Chavez and the Bolivarian process that the people of Venezuela had embarked on would raise the spectrums of a new kind of politic in the region. We hoped that with the new commitment to social inclusion and the ending of all forms of oppression that the issue of race and racial discrimination would become an acceptable and indeed an essential element of the transformation process in the Americas. Continue reading

Latest Step in a Long Road: The Venezuelan Elections by Jeffery R. Webber

Chavez voting in Manuel Palacios Fajardo High School, in 23 de Enero, Caracas (Ryan Mallet-Outtrim)That Hugo Chávez had to win last Sunday’s elections in order for the Bolivarian process to continue – in whatever form – was recognized by close to the entirety of the Venezuelan Left over the last several months, including those sectors especially critical of the limits to the political economic program of the government, and the lingering influence of an important conservative bureaucratic layer within the ruling party. Chávez’s victory straightforwardly represents a stinging blow to the domestic right, represented through their candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, and a setback for the interests of the United States in the region, a region which has – in no small part due to the ascendancy of Chávez, and the oil power he exercises – established a new relative autonomy from its Northern neighbour since the late 1990s. Continue reading

Unbearable or sustainable development? by Jesus Chucho Garcia

http://www.lameca.org/dossiers/afro_venezuelan_music/IMAGES/32%20Chucho%20Garcia.JPGBy Jesus Chucho Garcia, AFRODESCENT NETWORK VENEZUELA
(translated from Bamboshe Shango (W.Dc.)Spanish by Google translator)

DEVELOPMENT IS UNBELIEVABLE?

No doubt we are reaching the end of the world and I am not a chronic pessimism, but to many objective concern that we are experiencing daily troubles. In Mexico City they sell almost the oxygen to breathe. In some U.S. states, most fish are contaminated with mercury and its reserves in New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River were destroyed before the disaster of the British Petroleun nearly two years ago. The world’s largest lung, the Amazon, as never before is suffering an accelerated process of deforestation, losing more than 6,418 miles last year alone Boques, and to say to the mountains of the Mayombe (from Angola to Gabon) representing15% of oxygen on the planet ….. the effect of extraction of timber resources is detrimental to the ecological balance of Central Africa and the continent suffer four times more deforestation at the global level, than the rest of the world, letting go to desertification despite the tears I shed the Nobel laureate Wangari Maati to grow every tree in Kenya. Nuclear power was demonstrated that there was no alternative energy substitution since the disaster Fukuyama plants I and II in Japan (2011) are still leaving a trail of suffering in proportions similar to those at Chernobyl (Ukraine 1987). The perverse effects of oil are not made to wait in different regions of Africa, killing, as did the Dutch oil company Shell in Nigeria’ Niger Delta killing Ken Saro Wiwa in November 1995, in opposing his writeing and environmental activist the ecological crimes against ethnic Ogoni. In Ecuador, Lago Agrio, a province of Sucumbios Chevron Texaco provoked death and disaster to the Indians (Jivaro) where there are oil fields. Continue reading