Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

TRINIDAD-AMERICAS-SUMMIT-CHAVEZ-OBAMA

It finally happened…the moment we’d all been waiting for! After years of strained relations in which George Bush would scarcely say his name, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at last got the respect he deserves from a US president.

Those of you who’ve hoped for improved US – Venezuela relations all these years no doubt smiled all day Saturday after seeing the photos. Maybe a few of you were even a little misty-eyed. The now-famous handshake even made the front page of the Saturday New York Times and has since been the subject of endless television, radio and print commentary.

The two leaders were friendly and gregarious, and Chavez presented Obama with a seminal work by Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America. The book has since enjoyed a meteoric rise in sales on the internet. It may not be easy to find in the library for a while, but is worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy.

It appears that the Summit of the Americas was a monumental step forward. From easing restrictions on Cuba to greeting leaders with an air of mutual respect and equality, things seem to be changing for the better.

Since the handshake, both the US and Venezuela are now considering the return of ambassadors. It remains to be seen how bilateral relations will play out, but prospects for respect and cooperation seem a bit brighter this Monday morning.

Read Full Post »

mongrel-better-than-heavy-463710

According to Billboard Music, the band Mongrel is “genre smashing”. The supergroup promotes peace and political consciousness in their lyrics.

Comprised of  members from several bands, including Reverend & the Makers, Poisonous Poets, Arctic Monkeys, and Babyshambles, Mongrel is set to put some Venezuelan flavor in their tunes.

This month they’ll travel to Venezuela to launch a musical program and give a free show.

Mongrel is dedicated to sharing music and will give away thousands of CDs when they arrive in Caracas later this month. 400,000 copies of their last album “Better than Heavy” were distributed for free throughout Britain.

They’ll also make an appearance on the President Chavez’s weekly television show Aló Presidente. Plans are in the works to do a new album based on Jamaican reggae and Venezuela folk music, hopefully featuring Damian Marley.

Watch this video of their song “The Menace”.

Read Full Post »

The “Metrocable” that is set to revolutionize transportation in crowded Caracas will open next month. It will reportedly travel 1.8 kilometers through the following neighborhoods: Parque Central, Hornos de Cal, La Ceiba, El Manguito y San Agustín.

What’s so cool about the Metrocable, you ask? For one, it whisks travelers overland through the clouds to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. It also helps reduce travel time to work for low-income residents in the city’s peripheral areas.

A Reuters article yesterday suggested that this project is well-liked in San Agustín. It prompted one resident to call Hugo Chavez “the only president who has really worked for the poor.” This sentiment is reflected in the statistics: a recent UN study shows poverty has dropped by 16.5% in the last five years.

And while the Venezuelan leader has been known to tout those numbers, he stressed earlier this year that the newest government-funded transportation project was designed for the good of all citizens:

None of the projects promoted by the Venezuelan government does [have political colors]; they will benefit all Venezuelans.

The technology and materials used to build the Metrocable were purchased from Austria and Brazil. The project may have been inspired by an existing aerial transportation system in Medellin, Colombia. Investments total $149 million, and it should create 200 direct jobs and 250 more indirect ones. It will carry 1,500 people an hour for a total of 15,000 commuters every day. See more pictures of the construction phase here.

Read Full Post »

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales announced today that Bolivia will soon begin building recycled “petrocasas” with the help of Venezuela. These low-cost plastic dwellings are built with waste generated by oil refining, and are providing a solution to economic and environmental pressures. Tens of thousands have already been erected in Venezuela as well as Cuba and Peru. It was in Peru where Morales first saw the petrocasas and the role they played in the country’s recovery after a 2007 earthquake.

With an investment of $80 million, Bolivia will open a factory to produce petrocasas in Oruro. The first recipients will reportedly be the relatives of the victims of Bolivia’s “gas wars” of 2003. The eco-friendly houses will go up in low income areas, including El Alto and Trinidad. The project was announced at an event commemorating the 228th anniversary of the first uprising against the Spanish colonists.

See our last post on petrocasas here. For coverage in Spanish, see Reuters.

Read Full Post »

The World Social Forum began yesterday in Belém, Brazil, a city located at the edge of the Amazon Rainforest. The Presidents of Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Paraguay (pictured above from left to right) are attending this massive ninth annual event, which brings leaders and citizens together under the slogan “Another World is Possible.”

The summit coincides with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. With economies across the globe in crisis, the alternative view provided by the Social Forum is particularly important this year. Here is what people are saying about the forum:

We are raising our voices as a wake-up call to the world, especially the rich countries that are hastening its destruction… [for] we are the ones who were born and raised in the middle of the forest, and who lead a lifestyle that contrasts with the ambition of capitalism, which does not bring benefits to all.

Edmundo Omoré of Brazil’s Xavante Indigenous community

We are launching an SOS to the world. The planet is in danger and is heading for destruction. That’s why we’re here asking for solidarity. …The big multinationals are going into our territories, sometimes with the help of paramilitaries, sometimes with the assent of the government, pushing out our own communities. And those who resist are persecuted.

— Miguel Palacin, Andean Coordination of Indigenous Organizations

Indigenous and environmental issues top the agenda this year. See coverage from the BBC, AFP, and IPS. A good video can be found at Euronews.

Read Full Post »

The wildly popular Mexican norteño band Los Tigres del Norte has a new song about Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez called “Corrido de un Hombre Valiente” (The Song of a Brave Man).

The song is a corrido, a traditional a Mexican musical style often used to recount the stories of legendary figures and heroes. Chávez’s corrido tells of his struggle to defeat corruption and alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Los Tigres applaud the Bolivarian movement, singing:  “the elderly and the children have education and health.”

They call President Chávez “a great example and a great man,” and express hope that other countries in Latin America will follow his example.

Click here to listen. Article in Spanish.

Read Full Post »

oliver-stone-chavezOliver Stone and crew have been hard at work on a documentary about the Venezuelan Revolution, starring President Chavez and “huge cast of characters.”  According to Stone, Chavez is a “world changer” full of “intoxicating” energy. The film will explore the progress he has inspired in Venezuela and the region.

Stone interviewed people throughout the United States and Latin America and says he has enough footage “for two documentaries.” The film is meant to “capture the spirit” of the social movements in Venezuela and will be released in a few months.

Check back here for more info when the film is released!

In the meantime, check out these great articles from Variety and the AP.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »