Saturday, November 29, 2008

Conversation No.3: The Real News Network Venezuela Report

Conversation No.3: The Real News Network Venezuela Report







Allies of President Hugo Chavez's won a strong majority in Venezuela's local elections on Sunday, winning 17 of 22 state governorships and 265 of 327 mayoral races.



The opposition made important gains, capturing the Caracas mayor's office and two of the most populous states. Meanwhile Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Caracas on Monday to meet with Hugo Chavez, just one day after a Russian fleet docked in the Venezuelan port of La Guaira.




The Russian navy will be conducting joint naval maneuvers with Venezuela in the Carribean. The maneuvers are scheduled to begin on December first. In Caracas, Russian and Venezuelan officials signed a series of accords, including one pledging cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful uses. The Real News Network spoke to Latin American Studies Professor Miguel Tinker Salas who says, the fact that the opposition was able to make modest gains means it's a victory for Venezuelan democracy, and the Venezuelan political process, and the maturity of the Venezuelan population who participated—over 65 percent in this regional election process.


The question, as to Obama's future relations with Chavez is complicated by the people Obama is surrounding himself with. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton receives Kissinger's seal of approval, a man who, in that same position, has a particularly poor record in Latin America, having for instance helped engineer brutal regimes in Chile and Argentina. Timothy Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates, Inc., as well as with the IMF at a time when that organization contributed to the economic turmoil in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. I can't see Obama inviting Chavez over for dinner anytime soon.


Our corporate owned western media is united against Chavez because he took land back from the corporations, returning it to the people, for use in agricultural and other production.


He also has, in PDVSA, a state owned oil company, rather than leaving Venezuela's oil deposits open for plunder by international oil companies, an incidence of colonial imperialism now masked as 'globalization.'


So Chavez, in wanting his own country to profit from its oil, is an anti-globalist. PDVSA is catalyzing oil production in Latin America, making the entire region less dependent on foreign oil (see: ).


Venezuela's nuclear partnership with Russia may have similar inspiration. All of which makes Chavez a prime candidate for, not an American-British sponsored coup, because he's at present too popular, but for assassination. I wonder if this is one reason his Russian friends have some of their navy in town: the message being, if you mess with him, you mess with me.


There is another dimension this growing arrangement that follows the Cuban Issues of years ago.  We are sensitive to any Russian aid, presence or weaponry to our soft southern under belly as are the Russians who during the Cuban Missile Crisis sought and given the withdrawal of our missiles from Turkey.  I am not going into the merits of that trade off.  It is a matter of fact, history and considerable discussion.


Just keep in mind European events of the past year and the “Polish Issue” now on the table, and Russian’s emergence as an oil supplier.


What we are going to have to get through our thick heads are the facts that: we cannot buy and co-opt Latin American States with NAFTA and the like, they are no longer economic weakling “Banana Republics”, and that in fact Venezuela and Brazil have all the makings of rising economic challengers. 


We have an opportunity to shed our old “Monroe Doctrine” Teddy Roosevelt crazed Glazed eyed Imperialist image in Latin America.  It certainly would be preferable to have working partners to our South as opposed to a united Anti-America coalition of states. 

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