Venezuela updates

2005-11-14

Richard Moore

Friends,

Chavez, with the overwhelming support of the people of
Venezuela, has clearly become the most progressive actor
on today's world stage.

There are even more articles available on BBC:

    VENEZUELA UNDER CHAVEZ 
    
    KEY STORIES 
    
    Chavez to eject US preachers 
    Venezuela speeds up land reform 
    Chavez revokes agent immunity 
    Venezuela to seize 'idle' firms 
    Caribbean oil initiative launched 
    Chavez creates new loyal reserve 
    
    FEATURES AND ANALYSIS 
    
    Democracy at work 
    President Chavez wants workers to help decide how
    factories are run
    
    Chavez: Charming provocateur 
    Venezuela sets up 'CNN rival' 
    Chavez's 'citizen militias' 
    Land reform gets going 
    US wrestles with Venezuela policy 
    
    BACKGROUND 
    
    Profile: Hugo Chavez 
    Timeline: From Columbus on 

rkm

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Story from BBC NEWS: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/4636067.stm 

Caribbean oil initiative launched

The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, has launched a
regional oil initiative to provide fuel at cheaper prices
to 15 Caribbean nations.

Mr Chavez announced the Petrocaribe plan at a regional
summit in Venezuela's city of Puerto La Cruz.

He said the region had suffered centuries of imperialism
and needed to strike out on its own.

Critics say Mr Chavez is using Venezuela's oil to secure
diplomatic influence in the Caribbean.

Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter,
producing 3.1 million barrels a day.

It is a leading oil supplier to the US, but Mr Chavez is
seeking to develop diversified energy ties with the
Caribbean, Latin America and Asia.

The Petrocaribe initiative aims to further cut the
preferential prices Venezuela gives to communist Cuba and
other nations.

'Regional solidarity'

"Today I propose to the Caribbean that we form an energy
alliance," Mr Chavez said at the opening of the summit.

He said that Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA had already
created an affiliate, PDV Caribe, to implement the
initiative.

Mr Chavez pledged highly preferential oil prices, with
Caracas picking up 40% of the cost if oil was selling at
more than $50 a barrel, as it is now.

He promised further concessions to the Petrocaribe
signatories if prices hit the $100 a barrel mark.

Venezuela is putting $50m into a fund to kick-start the
plan, and Mr Chavez said Caracas would pay for oil
shipments and help with setting up storage facilities
across the region.

But he insisted all this new business must be between
governments, saying that the region could not hand any
more over to Texaco and other private companies.

This condition may alarm international oil companies.

Cuban President Fidel Castro - who is also attending the
summit - hailed the initiative as an important step toward
greater regional solidarity.

Mr Castro said it was "the only method of survival for our
countries".

The summit is also attended by delegations from Antigua
and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica,
Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent
and the Grenadines, Surinam and Trinidad and Tobago.

Published: 2005/06/30 02:11:01 GMT 

© BBC MMV 

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Story from BBC NEWS: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/4282672.stm 

Venezuela to speed up land reform 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has vowed to accelerate
his controversial programme of land redistribution.

Broadcasting his weekly Sunday TV programme from a
recently-seized farm, Mr Chavez called on ranch owners to
negotiate with the government.

"We are not carrying out expropriation, this belongs to
the nation, to the state," he said at the Marquesena farm.

Mr Chavez's opponents have argued that plans for land
reform violate property rights enshrined in the
constitution.

'No claim'

Under President Chavez's administration, new laws have
been passed to allow the state to seize underused ranches
without compensation.

The 8,490-hectare (20,978-acre) Marquesena ranch is one of
about 20 so far claimed by Venezuela's left-wing
government.

Mr Chavez said the family who had run the farm for decades
had no legal claim to it.

But he said he was willing to offer the Azpurua family
1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of the ranch. The rest, the
president said, would be used to establish a state farming
co-operative.

"We can't stop with the Marquesena, we have to accelerate
all of this," said Mr Chavez, who was accompanied by
members of Brazil's Landless Movement.

"I extend my hand to the supposed landowners to find a
constructive solution," he added.

Mr Chavez has said he aims to reclaim 500,000 hectares
(1,235,000 acres) of farm land this year.

Landowners have said they will challenge the land reform
programme in the courts.


Published: 2005/09/26 12:48:27 GMT 

© BBC MMV 

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Story from BBC NEWS: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/4692165.stm 

Venezuela to seize 'idle' firms 

By Iain Bruce 
BBC News in Caracas 


The Venezuelan government has warned it will confiscate
hundreds of private companies that are lying idle if they
fail to re-open.

President Hugo Chavez said the firms' workers would be
given help to set up co-operatives and re-start production
for the benefit of the community.

He said the move was needed to fight poverty and end
Venezuela's dependence on "the perverse model of
capitalism".

Some business leaders fear it may lead to a wider attack
on private property.

'Perfectly productive'

Speaking on his weekly television programme, Mr Chavez
said the measures were necessary.

Either capitalism, which is the road to hell, or
socialism, for those who want to build the kingdom of God
here on Earth President Hugo Chavez "It's against our
constitution," he said. "Just as we cannot permit good
land to lie uncultivated, so we cannot allow perfectly
productive factories to stay closed."

The Venezuelan leader said that more than 700 companies in
the country were idle.

Of these, 136 were being examined for possible
expropriation and a small number were already in the
process of being taken over, he said.

The president's TV show was broadcast from a
cocoa-processing plant in eastern Venezuela, which is
re-opening as a workers' co-operative after shutting down
nine years ago.

'Dictatorial powers'

But Mr Chavez did hold out an olive branch to employers.

He said more than 1,000 firms in Venezuela had partially
closed down simply because of economic difficulties.

"We want to work with you to help restore your
production," he told company owners.

Venezuelan business leaders have expressed concern that
government policies on land reform and co-management in
industry could signal the beginning of a wider attack on
private property.

Earlier on Sunday, Venezuela's most senior Roman Catholic
Cardinal, Rosalio Castillo, accused the president of
acquiring dictatorial powers.

But in his broadcast, Mr Chavez again insisted that
Venezuelans have a clear choice.

"Either capitalism, which is the road to hell, or
socialism, for those who want to build the kingdom of God
here on Earth," he said.

Published: 2005/07/18 07:51:59 GMT

© BBC MMV 

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Story from BBC NEWS: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/4443727.stm 

Chavez creates new loyal reserve 

By Iain Bruce 
BBC, Caracas 

Venezuela has sworn in commanders of a new military
reserve which President Hugo Chavez says is meant to deter
aggression against his country.

Twenty-thousand reservists paraded before Mr Chavez at the
main military barracks in Caracas.

The new formation, which the president wants to become a
two million-strong force in the near future, will be
directly under his command.

The move comes amid growing tension between Venezuela and
the US.

The parade marked the first part of a day of events
marking the anniversary of a failed attempt to overthrow
the Venezuelan leader in April 2002.

Defending sovereignty

The new reserve force is an initial step towards what the
Venezuelan government is calling its new military
doctrine, which is also expected to involve training
larger numbers of civilians to take part in local militia.

Making what is now an unusual appearance in his military
uniform and familiar red beret, President Chavez said the
aim of the reserve was to defend Venezuelan sovereignty
against what he called imperialist aggression.

In recent months the Venezuelan authorities have
repeatedly accused the US government of planning to
destabilise Venezuela, and even to assassinate Mr Chavez.

The US ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, has
dismissed as ridiculous the suggestion that Washington
might consider invading Venezuela.

However, the government in Washington has expressed
concern about Venezuela's plans to buy 100,000 rifles and
ammunition from Russia.

Published: 2005/04/14 09:37:25 GMT 

© BBC MMV 

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