Venezuela's oil coup-strike-lockout for the rich.
In 1974 80% of oil income went to the state. Today 80% of Venezuelan oil income goes to the rich, and to "operating costs." Only 20% goes to the state. Chavez reforms will help reverse this in January 2003. This is why the coup-plotters, "strike"-promoters, and corporate media are in such a hurry to overthrow the fairly-ELECTED Chavez government. They want to prevent these reforms, and reverse others already-implemented. Reforms that help the poor and lower middle class. Massive corporate-media disinformation, destabilization campaign going on inside Venezuela. Support President Chavez! Please forward widely.
Search Venezuela news sites. Progressive news search engine. Choose site from dropdown window below.
This search form below can be emailed in HTML (color and graphics) email. Or just send the URL of the page where you found this. You can click "save" in the file menu of your browser. This will save it to your computer for use anytime you are online. It is easy to add or delete site choices in the search form below. Just look at the HTML code in any web page editor. Google indexes some sites more often than others. So for the very latest info you may have to go to the websites directly, and browse there, or use their site search engines there if they have one.
|Choose news site: NarcoNews.comaporrea.org (in Spanish)einnews.comSan Francisco IndymediaVenezuela's Electronic News. vheadline.comZNet. zmag.org|
Enter more search terms. Put quotes around phrases:
Venezuela news sources.
http://www.aporrea.org (in Spanish)
http://www.narconews.com (English, Spanish)
Bold formatting and larger text sizes have been added to some of the text in the excerpts below.
The vast majority of Venezuelans are poor or poor lower middle class.
"The average annual salary of these 22 'strike' leaders is $426,000 U.S. dollars a year; almost 100 times theper capita income of the average Venezuelan citizen of $4,760 dollars per year."
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - December 22 2002.
"When the captain of the Pilin Leon first dropped anchor, he was expressing his solidarity with the anti-government strike in Caracas. But the tanker's crew were opposed to the strike and their captain's piratical action. When the marines boarded, on the orders of the embattled president Hugo Chavez, only the captain needed to be replaced. ... The trump card of the opposition, in April as in December, has been the state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, often described as the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, and an important supplier to the US. Nationalised more than 25 years ago, it has been run over the years for the exclusive benefit of its employees and managers - its profits being invested everywhere except Venezuela. Before the arrival of Chavez, it was being prepared for privatisation, to the satisfaction of the engineers and directors who would have benefited. But with a block placed on privatisation by the new Venezuelan constitution, the company's middle class and prosperous elite has been happy to be used as a shock weapon by the leaders of the Pinochet-style opposition, and they have tried to bring their entire industry to a halt."
-- The Guardian, Dec 10 2002. Richard Gott: Racist rage of the Caracas elite.
"The organizers of this so-called "strike" are the very same collection of slimy forces that backed the April  coup d'etat and Dictator-for-a-Day Pedro Carmona, who, once in power, abolished the Supreme Court, the Congress, shut down Community TV and Radio Stations, assassinated 50 political activists, and nullified the Constitution. Carmona also freed the sniper-assassins who had fired shots from rooftops on April 11th into crowds of people, creating the pretext for what was, back then, a military coup. (Stay tuned for our upcoming report about the undisclosed conflicts-of-interest of one of the foreign reporters that helped to create this pretext last April.)"
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - December 22 2002.
"Much of this struggle is about oil. Venezuela is the world's fourth largest oil producer and its oil industry is critical to its economy. Chavez's 'bolivarian revolution' argues for a role for the state in the oil industry, the redistribution of oil income, and the use of revenues from this resource to build economic independence. But since 1974, the oil industry has been moving in the opposite direction. At that time  , the state-run-oil company kept 20% of its revenue in operating costs and turned 80% over to the state. In 1990 it was 50-50 and in 1998, when Chavez was elected, the company kept 80% and turned 20% over. What the neoliberals had in mind in the late 1990s was full privatization-not a reversal of the trend of the previous 20 years. Added to this, the administration of the oil industry is in the hands of anti-Chavez forces, making it possible for them to go on strike in order to promote privatization.
"What are Chavez's other crimes? Severance pay was restored in the constitution of 1999, after being eliminated in 1997. Social security was set to be privatized in 1998, but was also impeded by the constitution of 1999. The Land Law, passed last year, was an agrarian reform law that tries to make rural life viable for Venezuelans and slow rural-urban migration at the expense of large plantation owners and real-estate speculators."
-- by Justin Podur. ZNet, December 10, 2002.
The Narco News Bulletin
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
Why Are the Coup Plotters So Impatient?
... And How Venezuela Can Defeat Them Legally
By Heinz Dieterich Steffan
December 8, 2002
[Snip. Excerpt from article:]
The second reason for the pro-coup haste is the entrance in vigor of various important laws that come into effect on January 1, 2003, that touch vital interests of the economic elite: Among them, the Land Law that affects not just the large plantation owners in the country but also real estate speculators and vacant lots in urban zones. The Hydrocarbon law is even more important because it will permit the dismantling of the meta-State of the petroleum business PdVSA, the corrupt oil group that controls the economic life of the country and that is an integral part of the New World Energy Order of George Bush.
Today, only 20 percent of the income of this mega-company goes to the State. Eighty percent goes to "operating costs" that enrich secret accounts of the beneficiaries of this economic cancer. The power of this petroleum "steal-ocracy" has become propped up progressively during recent decades. In 1974, the company delivered 80 percent of its income to the State and kept 20 percent ("operating costs"). In 1990, the ratio tied at 50 to 50 percent and in 1998 it reached the ratio of 80 to 20 percent. It's logical that they are going to fight to the death - of the nation - to defend "their" black gold.
[Snip. end of excerpt]
|From vheadline.com December22 2002.|
External link to this page at URL:
Former PDVSA director confirms past poor performance
Former Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) board director Carlos Mendoza Potella has confirmed a last Sunday Ultimas Noticias report about PDVSA's poor performance compared to other countries based on an America Economia magazine report "iIt shows the company has been run with little interest in Venezuela."
In 1976 PDVSA received $9 billion for all its operations and handed $7 million to the Treasury whereas in 1995 income reached its highest at 27.261 billion and the treasury receive $4.9 billion.
[snip. End of excerpt]
The Narco News Bulletin
Chronology of the Strike that Wasn't
By Al Giordano
December 22, 2002
The Oil Sector Sabotage
[snip. Excerpt begins]
There was, this month, one sector of oil company executives that claimed they were on "strike," but who in fact have spent this month actively working to lock-out rank-and-file employees and, according to their own public statements, to facilitate the sabotage, including eco-terrorism, of oil facilities.
According to public records at the Venezuela Secretary of Mining and Energy (MEM, in its Spanish initials), these were the annual salaries of the 22 major oil "strike" leaders, including their bonuses, paid vacations, and other benefits, at the trough of the state-owned oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela, or PdVSA:
Edgar Paredes makes 837 million bolivars a year ($643,000 U.S. dollars).
The lowest paid of these 22 ringleaders, Luis Ram?rez, makes 310 million bolivars a year ($238,000 U.S. dollars).
The highest paid, Karl Mazeika, makes 990 million bolivars a year ($761,000).
The average annual salary of these 22 "strike" leaders is $426,000 U.S. dollars a year; almost 100 times the per capita income of the average Venezuelan citizen of $4,760 dollars per year. In the Venezuelan economy, $426,000 gives somebody more buying power than people who make millions of dollars a year in the United States.
Check out the rest of their salaries in the Venezuelan currency of Bolivars (at 1,300 bolivars to the dollar), here they are, the annual booties of the oppressed "vanguard" of The Strike That Wasn't:
Luis Andr?s Rojas: 688 million
Vincenzo Paglione: 979 million
Ra?l Alem?n: 687 million
Horacio Medina: 320 million
Juan Fern?ndez: 399 million
Edgar Rasquin: 668 million
Rogelio Lozada: 410 million
Luis Matheus: 533 million
Carlos Machado: 542 million
Iv?n Crespo: 498 million
Luis Aray: 530 million
Andr?s Riera: 508 million
Maria Lizardo: 444 million
Armando Izquierdo: 501 million
Luis Pacheco: 542 million
Gabriel Garc?a: 322 million
Francisco Bustillos: 643 million
Salvador Arrieta: 596 million
Armando Acosta: 471 million
Each of these oil executives, of course, had their own team of highly-paid middle managers underneath them: controlling the paperwork, the computers, the hiring and firing, and all other aspects of the company.
In recent weeks, they locked out the workers, and installed their own men at key strategic points where sabotage has been committed to facilities under their watch.
The "opposition" complains about graffiti on the wall of a Commercial TV station and calls it "vandalism" or "violence." These guys, meanwhile, have presided over the destruction of pumps, pipelines, tankers and other ships, trucks, and other key points in the flow of oil from the ground to the consumer, including to the United States.
If they had tried anything like this inside the United States, we would see the White House calling them terrorists, locking them up in Guantanamo Bay, and suing them for the millions of dollars of losses that they have caused. Some of the members of the "oil-igarchy" have made public statements that some oil supplies have been contaminated, and some facilities have been booby-trapped to cause environmental disaster if they are re-started.
Between the oil drilling facility and the gas pump there are many stops along the road. Shut down or sabotage one of those points, and you shut down the entire pipeline. That has certainly happened at various points.
[snip. End of excerpt from NarcoNews]
Reports disagree as to how many of the middle class agree or oppose the Chavez reforms. Pro-Chavez rallies have been huge and have had many, many middle class participants. The situation is fluid and the reforms help much of the middle class too. Many progressive Chavez reforms are listed at this link:
The Gregory Wilpert article below lists some additional progressive Chavez reforms.
ZNet | A Community of People Committed to Social Change
Why Venezuela's Middle Class (for the most part) Opposes Chavez
|by Gregory Wilpert|
October 27, 2002
[First part of article snipped]
The government's health care and education policies have benefited the poor more than the middle class because the middle class tends to rely on private health care and education. In contrast, the poor have benefited from the institution of universal health care for the first time in Venezuela's history, even if that health care is relatively miserable, at least it is more accessible to the poor than it has ever been. The situation is similar with education. The government has introduced thousands of "Bolivarian" schools throughout the country, which provide three free full meals per day to all students; something they would never be guaranteed if they stayed at home. As a result, one million new students have been matriculated in schools, who were never part of the school system before.
One of the most significant achievements of the new constitution is that it permanently broke the two-party system of Venezuela and has thus enabled the participation of large sectors of society that were traditionally excluded from government before. Important in this regard are the constitution's inclusion of women, indigenous peoples, and homosexuals, who in the earlier constitution had few real rights. Again, these are changes that, at best, the vast majority of the middle class feels quite indifferent about.
Another area that is high on the Chavez government's agenda, but which leaves the middle class out, is land reform. The government has introduced two kinds of land reform programs-rural and urban. The rural land reform has caught quite a bit of attention and its passage in November 2001 was arguably the beginning of the opposition's campaign against the president. The land reform law is essentially designed to put idle land into production and to redistribute idle land to landless peasants if landowners refuse to put their land into production. The basic purpose is to both create greater social justice and to increase the country's agricultural production. This program is also supplemented by a wide variety of agricultural credit and training programs.
The urban land reform program, in contrast, is designed to confer ownership titles to land which the urban poor currently occupy illegally through land invasions and to help them improve their communities through self-governance. The urban reform program sets up land committees of up to 200 families in the poor neighborhoods that help measure plots of land, determine communal property, negotiate with government for services such as water and electricity, and create a communal identity. This democratization of property is to be combined with a democratization of local governance through participatory planning processes for local projects, such as has been spearheaded in parts of Brazil under the Labor Party there.
Other major government programs that primarily benefit the poor, but not the middle class are the public housing program and the micro-credit programs. Related to this, the government recently announced the creation of a new "Social Economy" ministry. This ministry would support workplace democracy, especially the creation of cooperatives and other social justice projects, such as the micro-credit programs.
A policy that directly hurts the interests especially of the upper middle class is the government's effort to collect income taxes for the first time in Venezuelan history. Only those with incomes in the top 20% or so are required to pay income taxes.
[Rest of article snipped]
Gregory Wilpert is a freelance journalist and sociologist, who lives in Caracas and is currently working on a book on Venezuela during the Chavez presidency, which will be published by Zed Books in 2003. He can be reached at: Wilpert@cantv.net
Women and the new 1999 Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela.
72% of men and women voted FOR it. Many more details on the progressive aspects of the new constitution and legislative reforms, and how they effect women and others, are in the source messages here:
http://www.vheadline.com/0212/14352.asp --Most complete version.
"We women reject the organizers of hate and chaos.
"We women are on the front line for our right to live in peace and to defend the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which gives us, for the first time in history, the right to full legal equality, to social security, to a pension for housewives. We are on the streets backing our President and our Bolivarian Revolution.
"Long live the Constitution! No to the fraudulent referendum! No to the pro-coup fascist stoppage! Don't stop for the stoppage!"
----Go to the link above for many more details.--------
Le Monde diplomatique. June 2002 article. "The perfect crime." by Ignacio Ramonet.
He described the likely scenario for overthrowing Chavez:
"[T]here will be a coalition of the well-to-do, bringing together the Catholic Church ... , the financial oligarchy, the employers' organizations, the bourgeoisie and corrupt trade union leaderships - all repackaged as 'civil society.' The owners of major media will collude ... to support the campaigns that they will each launch against the president, in the name of defending that 'civil society.'...
"The press and TV will brandish terms 'the people, democracy, liberty,' etc. They will mobilize street demonstrations and any attempt by the government to criticize them will be immediately described as 'a serious assault on freedom of expression,' ... they will revive the insurrectional strike and encourage ideas of a coup and an assault on the presidential palace. ...
"The Venezuelan media currently uses lies and disinformation in the biggest ever destabilization campaign against a democratically elected government. Since the world hardly seems to care, the media hopes that this time it will succeed in committing the perfect crime."
Excerpt above was found toward the end of this article:
Anti-Strike Multitudes Flood Open Market to Defend Democracy
By Al Giordano
A Narco News Press Briefing
December 2, 2002
[snip. First part deleted. Excerpt begins]
Here's a photo of the "anti-strike day" [Dec 2 2002] mega-market organized by defenders of the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution and the elected presidency of Hugo Ch?vez that the pro-coup elements want to abolish...
Here's an aerial view of the multitudes who flooded the streets [Dec 2 2002] to violate the "strike" ordered by the super rich...
See the photos by VenPres in their full size and glory, with moment-by-moment coverage (in Spanish) of how the "strike" is collapsing in every region of Venezuela:
----end of NarcoNews article excerpt---
The April 2002 coup by media.
"The conspirators, including Carmona, met at the offices of Venevisi?n. They stayed until 2am to prepare "the next stage", along with Rafael Poleo (owner of El Nuevo Pais) and Gustavo Cisneros, a key figure in the coup. Cisneros, a multimillionaire of Cuban origin and the owner of Venevisi?n, runs a media empire - Organizaci?n Diego Cisneros. It has 70 outlets in 39 countries (9). Cisneros is a friend of George Bush senior: they play golf together and in 2001 the former US president holidayed in Cisneros's Venezuelan property. Both are keen on the privatisation [theft] of the PDVSA [Venezuelan oil company] (10). Otto Reich, US assistant secretary of state for Interamerican affairs, admits to having spoken with Cisneros that night (11). At 4am on 12 April , to avoid bloodshed, Ch?vez allowed himself to be arrested and taken to the distant island of Orchila."
-- Maurice Lemoine. Le Monde Diplomatique. August 2002.
"After the shooting began, authorities of the government of President Hugo Ch?vez immediately apprehended some of the rooftop snipers who had lit the fuse to the violence. But after Ch?vez himself was placed into custody later that day by military generals, the rooftop assassins, whose identities are still unknown, were incredulously set free by the dictatorship of Pedro Carmona - and this tells us everything about which side hired those snipers - as the dictator-for-a-day Carmona simultaneously abolished the Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. For a more detailed history of these events, in which the Venezuelan people overthrew the U.S.-sponsored dictatorship within three days and changed the history of our Am?rica, see "Three Days that Shook the Media," (Narco News, April 18, 2002: http://www.narconews.com/threedays.html ).------------------------
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - Summer 2002.
Venezuela opposition, state waging battle through media.
Caracas, Dec 21 2002. AP
In recent days, seven national private TV channels repeatedly have broadcast slickly produced ads blaming Chavez for everything from street crime to gasoline shortages. The gas problem stems from the TV-supported strike.
"We will not give up the fight, we won't give up until he resigns," one ad drones on Venevision.
"Not one step backward. Out! Leave Now!" states another, paid for by the Democratic Coordinator opposition umbrella group and repeatedly broadcast on the Globovision 24-hour news network.
Yet another ad, titled "History of a Failure," shows clips of dirty street kids, long unemployment lines and acts of political violence. A voiceover repeatedly accuses Chavez of "Failure! Failure!"
Commercials for Christmas gifts have been replaced by political propaganda since the strike began Dec. 2. Normal programming - soap operas, cartoons, sitcoms - has been swapped for near-constant news coverage and marathon talk shows with opposition politicians.
Associated Press. Centralized propaganda.
"Associated Press (AP) is a 'non-profit' company run by the AP Managing Editors Association; your local managing editor or news director is technically the boss, and therefore responsible for the errors and distortions of fact that have plagued AP's coverage from Venezuela and other lands.
"But there's zero accountability at AP. 'The AP is unaccountable to its millions of readers,' notes Feder. 'Unlike at many newspapers, there is no AP ombudsman who 'speaks for the readers.' There is no letters page for the AP, and individual newspapers rarely print letters responding to wire stories.'
"And it's only going to stop when your local managing editors and news directors find the backbone to send inaccurate stories back to AP - like they would with one of their own reporters - and insist on a rewrite."
-- Al Giordano. NarcoNews. Dec 18 2002 email to his Yahoo Group.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/narconews/message/478 Many more details at link below:
From San Francisco Indymedia homepage:
Interview with Al Giordano
: San Francisco IMC has interviewed Al Giordano, of Narco News
, about the Venezuelan coup attempt, the media's complicity in the coup, and perspectives on how we can stop them. Read the Interview
After carrying out a two-week "national strike," or lock-out, and despite a helping hand from Associated Press
and other media agencies, the Venezuelan elite has so far failed to force populist President Chavez to resign. In implementing reforms which benefit primarily the poor, Chavez has inspired well-funded opposition by oil
barons and other business leaders, union bureaucrats
and portions of the military
, with the complicity of corporate media
. Thousands of Venezuela's poor have rushed into the streets
to prevent the "coup of the rich."
The Organization of American States has voted overwhelmingly to reject any future coup attempt in Venezuela or alteration of that nation's constitution. US religious and labor organizations and some members of Congress have asked President Bush, who had previously called for unconstitutional "early elections
," to support democracy by opposing any move to oust Chavez by force. In San Francisco on 12/18,
around 50 protesters gathered at noon at the Venezuelan consulate to show support for Chavez and the Venezuelan democratic process. Photos Read more: 1 2 3
-----end of San Francisco Indymedia homepage excerpt---
*Terrorism of USA. Death Squads, Drug War. LINKS worldwide. Revised. Millions killed over decades. Mostly US-run or US-aided terrorist death squads worldwide.Other death squads, too. Today's death squads, and older ones such as the US-run Phoenix Program during the Vietnam war. Terrorism and corruption at all levels of politics, police, society, media, business, unions, government, etc..Lists in alphabetical and chronological order.Huge LINKS list.
*Stop corporatism. "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini (from Encyclopedia Italiana, Giovanni Gentile, editor).
Hemp for Oil!Stop Big Oil!
Hemp biomass conversion to fuel. No more oil wars, oil politics, and oil coups.