Chí¡vez is Urged in Brazil to Keep Democracy Strong

Brazil's Lula da Silva and Argentina's Nestor Kirchner called on their Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez to avoid decisions that could "debilitate" democratic institutions in Venezuela reported the Brazilian press this Sunday.

According to the prestigious daily O Estado de S. Paulo, the issue was addressed during a private meeting between the South American leaders last January 18 in Rio do Janeiro in the framework of the 32nd Mercosur summit.

"Lula told Chavez of the need to avoid measures that could debilitate democratic institutions in Venezuela", reports the São Paulo newspaper.

Chavez arrived in the Mercosur summit after having been inaugurated for a second six year mandate and having announced the nationalization of what he describes as "crucial" sectors of the economy, energy and telecommunications.

During the meeting in the Copacabana Palace Hotel between Lula and Chavez, Argentina's Kirchner also participated and, reports the Brazilian press, "the Argentine president was far more direct and vehement than Lula" because allegedly "Kirchner questioned the nationalizations' policy".

Chavez has announced the nationalization of the Venezuela's main telecommunications corporation CANTV, electricity utilities and the non renewal of the television concession to the private channel RCTV which his administration accuses of having promoted the aborted April 2002 coup.

Chavez has also requested special powers, for a limited period of time, from Congress to rule by decree and rapidly implement his "socialist model", which also includes eliminating the Central Bank's autonomy and investing "idle funds".

Meantime in Caracas President Chavez spent most of his Sunday program "Aló Presidente" to dissipate fears about his announced "Socialism Century XXI" and promised to respect private property.

In his colloquial message Chavez said "No good fellow; don't let yourself be scared…we've begun to build our Socialism where you have a role to play, you private businessman, you small farmer have to fully participate in this cause."

Chavez also made it a point to distance himself from the "Cuban model Socialism", which he described as a "moral, ideological and political reference", but each country "has its own historic process and time opportunity".

Venezuelan press has revealed that the Chavez administration is also intent in nationalizing the country's main airport in the capital Caracas, and a baseball team.

"Don't let anybody spread fears…we can only be scared of capitalism, which destroys society," underlined the Venezuelan president.



  • Show Comments (9)

  • john p

    The piece by Barahona and Sprague is excellent
    I do not understand why these idiots engage in defamation of character. Sprague and Barahona are excellent and well respected authors within the alternative media community. They have consistently exposed the role of transnationals in destabilizing elected popular governments in Latin America. I am guessing the poster above is tied to one of these transnational orgs.

  • Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprague are lying again

    Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprague lie in print
    Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprage are a pair of nut-fringe loonies that no one takes seriously. When they are not busy helping to murder workers in Haiti, they can be found in clouds of ganja smoke enjoying being rich in southern California.

  • I am a I.R.I. member in Brazil and other 37 countries

    Reporters Without Borders and Washington’s Coups

    British press baron Lord Northcliff said, “News is something that someone, somewhere wants to keep secret, everything else is advertising.” If this is true, then U.S. government funding of Reporters Without Borders must be news, because the organization and its friends in Washington have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover it up. In spite of 14 months of stonewalling by the National Endowment for Democracy over a Freedom of Information Act request and a flat denial from RSF executive director Lucie Morillon, the NED has revealed that Reporters Without Borders received grants over at least three years from the International Republican Institute.

    The NED still refuses to provide the requested documents or even reveal the grant amounts, but they are identified by these numbers: IRI 2002-022/7270, IRI 2003-027/7470 and IRI 2004-035/7473. Investigative reporter Jeremy Bigwood asked Morillon on April 25 if her group was getting any money from the I.R.I., and she denied it, but the existence of the grants was confirmed by NED assistant to the president, Patrick Thomas.

    The discovery of the grants reveals a major deception by the group, which for years denied it was getting any Washington dollars until some relatively small grants from the NED and the Center for a Free Cuba were revealed (see Counterpunch: “Reporters Without Borders Unmasked”). When asked to account for its large income RSF has claimed the money came from the sale of books of photographs. But researcher Salim Lamrani has pointed out the improbability of this claim. Even taking into account that the books are published for free, it would have had to sell 170 200 books in 2004 and 188 400 books in 2005 to earn the more than $2 million the organization claims to make each year À‚­ 516 books per day in 2005. The money clearly had to come from other sources, as it turns out it did.

    The I.R.I., an arm of the Republican Party, specializes in meddling in elections in foreign countries, as a look at NED annual reports and the I.R.I. website shows. It is one of the four core grantees of the NED, the organization founded by Congress under the Reagan administration in 1983 to replace the CIA’s civil society covert action programs, which had been devastated by exposure by the Church committee in the mid-1970s (Ignatius, 1991). The other three pillars of the NED are the National Democratic Institute (the Democratic Party), the Solidarity Center (AFL-CIO) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). But of all the groups the I.R.I. is closest to the Bush administration, according to a recent piece in The New York Times exposing its role in the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide:

    “President Bush picked its president, Lorne W. Craner, to run his administration’s democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in three years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building ‘a growth industry.'” (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)

    Funding from the I.R.I. presents a major problem for RSF’s credibility as a “press freedom” organization because the group manufactured propaganda against the popular democratic governments of Venezuela and Haiti at the same time that its patron, the I.R.I., was deeply involved in efforts to overthrow them. The I.R.I. funded the Venezuelan opposition to President Hugo Chavez (Barry, 2005) and actively organized Haitian opposition to Aristide in conjunction with the CIA (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006).

    The man who links RSF to these activities is Otto Reich, who worked on the coups first as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, and, after Nov. 2002, as a special envoy to Latin America on the National Security Council. Besides being a trustee of the government-funded Center for a Free Cuba, which gives RSF $50,000 a year, Reich has worked since the early 1980’s with the I.R.I.’s senior vice president, Georges Fauriol, another member of the Center for a Free Cuba. But it is Reich’s experience in propaganda that is especially relevant. In the 1980’s he was caught up in investigations into the Reagan administration’s illegal war on the Sandinistas. The comptroller general determined in 1987 that Reich’s Office of Public Diplomacy had “engaged in prohibited covert propaganda activities.” (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006). In early 2002, once George Bush had given him a recess appointment to the State Department, “Reich was soon tasked to orchestrate a massive international media defamation campaign against ChÀƒ¡vez that has continued until this day” (Conkling and Goble, 2004).

  • I am a I.R.I member in Brazil

    Lobby: Suspected sources raise questions on humanitarian organizationˢ۪s actions.

    In order to spread what he understands by À¢€œdemocracyÀ¢€Â, the American president George W. Bush not only invaded Iraq in 2003 and supported Israel in the recent slaughtering in Lebanon, but also would be using non-profit organizations (NOGs), frequently infiltrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to influence the political scenario worldwide. NOGs such as the American Freedom House accept gratefully economic aid by the US government to accomplish secret activities.

    And foreign NGOs, such as Reporters San FrontiÀƒ©rs (RSF), with headquarters in Paris, also fed, mostly, with Washington dollars, would be behind the campaigns to overthrow Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, and Fidel Castro À¢€“ or at least the structure he built À¢€“ in Cuba. That is what the American journalists Diana Barahona and Jeb Sprage alleges in an article published on August, 6 by RÀƒ©seau Voltaire, NGO based in Paris.

    But the NGOsÀ¢€™ caixa 2 is not only fed with Washington dollars. Another part is from Soros Foundation, from investor George Soros. In 2004, this foundation directed 1,2 million to NGOs produce À¢€œelection related projectsÀ¢€Â in Ukraine, in favor of the so called Orange Revolution from Viktor Yuschenko, says the British historian Timothy Garton Ash. This makes sense, at least from SorosÀ¢€™ viewpoint, with East European origins himself: Yushenko is pro- market and pro-Occident.

    We donˢ۪t know, however, how this generous amount expended by Soros was distributed. Like the investor, between 2002 and 2004, the Bush administration invested 65 million dollars in NGOs linked to Yushenko movement. On the other hand the Russian government donated 200 million dollars to the pro-Russia candidate in Ukraine.

    There are other American lobbies financing NGOs. It is not needed, for example, to detail who finances the Iran-Syria Operations Group besides the Department of State of United States.

    It is no secret that the À¢€œspy community is being encouraged in getting more involved in the US projects to promote democratic governmentsÀ¢€Â wrote Guy Dinmore, from the British daily Financial Times. And the promotion of this supposed democratization should occur in a global level. In a conference held in Washington about the subject in June, 2006, John Negroponte, director of intelligence of the USA, intended to assess how better construct a global democracy. To the encounter attended academics, experts of highly regarded think thanks and spies (from academies of shrewd thinkers and intelligent services) from USA and Europe.

    On this context one fact draws the attention: How Reporters without Borders , NGO founded 2 decades ago in Paris to advocate for threaten journalists, accepts grants from American NGOs? Lucille Morillon, executive director of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) admits that the International Republican Institute (IRI), a satellite Non Government Organization of NED, subsidized RSF (french acronym the Reporters without Boarders) for 3 years.

    According to the New York Times, the IRI had an essential role in the coupe dÀ¢€™Àƒ©tat against Aristede overthrown, ex-president of Haiti, and in the attempts to overthrow Hugo Chaves. The New York Times explains: À¢€œThe president Bush picked as its president (of IRI) Lorne W. Craner, to run his administrationÀ¢€™s democracy-building efforts. The institute, which works in more than 60 countries, has seen its federal financing nearly triple in 3 years, from $26 million in 2003 to $75 million in 2005. Last spring, at an I.R.I. fund-raiser, Mr. Bush called democracy-building ‘a growth industry.” (Bogdanich and Nordberg, 2006)

    Obs: President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko had half face paralyzed by food poisoning during 2004 election campaign and Assassinated Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, a scion of one of Lebanon’s most prominent Christian political dynasties, was assassinated in November, 2006.

  • aesaac

    One need only look at China to see the falacy of the premise. It is socialism that cripples society. Chavez wishes to become ‘king’ of South America. He is Castro standing in the wings. He is threatened by a ‘free press’. . .is rampage in Rio condeming O’Globo was dispicable. . .Chavezism the new frontier of the America’s, one opinion, one voice, one IQ somewhere around 100. . .the ‘benificent dictator’. . .again Adolph?

  • usa

    capitalism destroys society!!…says chavez!!!…well then don,t expect any capital to flow into venezuela from the u. s. a.!!!! once again this little impotent blowhard is a laughing stock of the free world….south american socialists/ communists march to their graves in lock step behind their pathetic leaders…

  • ch.c.

    Mercosur…the only certainty……
    …is agreement in public and diplomatic speeches…but total disagreement on everything else.

    Doubtful you will be successful….ONCE !

  • Ric

    Canouan and Copacabana. ThatÀ‚´ll be the day.


    Chavez appears to be a crude individual. He seems to have a goal of uniting Latin America and Carribean countries which is a good thing.

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