Thursday, July 31, 2008

President Chávez gets ready for anti-drug summit in Colombia

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez reported on Thursday that he has plans to show up in an anti-drug summit of the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela which is being held in the Colombian city of Cartagena.
'Tomorrow (Friday), I will travel to Cartagena's summit, and I am bringing some ideas,' said Chávez during a meeting with the Venezuelan Association of Catholic Schools, aired on radio and TV, AFP quoted. Salvadorian President Elías Antonio Saca arrived already. The presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and the Dominican Republic are expected also to join their host and Colombian counterpart Álvaro Uribe. The closing session will be held on Friday with the execution of the Cartagena Declaration, to wrap up the participants' endeavors to fight illicit drugs, including production, distribution and consumption.

Venezuela Fosters New Criminal Code

Venezuela is currently fostering creation of a new Criminal Code with the objective to guarantee a greater judicial security to the Venezuelan people, said Iris Valera, vice president of the National Assembly's Domestic Policy Commission in her statements Thursday.
Valera told Venezolana de Television it is necessary to update urgently the text, which came into force in the penultimate decade of the 19th century. She said the document seeks to adjust judicial order to the 1999 Constitution and the current conditions of the national political and social context. The next Criminal Code will include philosophical, political, and constitutional foundation. In this moment, competent people are working on a document, and after its analysis and improvement it should be approbed as the new Crimianl Legislation, Valera pointed out. She criticized the fact that copies of the current Criminal Code, which has been derogated by the Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court of Justice, are still circulating, contributing to citizenry's misinformation.

Chavez' power to legislate by decree expires

President Hugo Chavez's authority to enact sweeping measures by presidential decree expired on Thursday, but lawmakers said Venezuela's National Assembly could renew it if necessary.
Chavez has used the special legislative powers during the past 18 months to seize majority control over Venezuela's last privately run oil fields, nationalize the country's largest telecommunications, electricity and cement companies, create a federal police force and impose new taxes. The president approved more than 30 new laws but rescinded several contentious decrees, including an intelligence measure that Venezuelans worried would be used to force them to spy on their neighbors, as well as legislation that parents feared would allow socialist indoctrination in public schools. Ruling party lawmaker Juan Montenegro said the National Assembly, which is controlled entirely by the president's allies, is rewriting the rescinded laws and is prepared to grant Chavez special decree powers again. 'If the executive branch believes it's convenient to request a new fast-track law for specific objectives or urgent measures, it will be renewed,' Montenegro said.

Chavez to buy out Bank of Venezuela

Hugo Chavez has said that he will nationalize the Bank of Venezuela, one of the country's largest financial institutions.
Chavez has asked the bank's Spanish owners, Grupo Santander, for a meeting to set a price for the deal. 'We're going to nationalize Bank of Venezuela. I'm calling on (Grupo Santander) to come and start negotiating,' Chavez said in a speech on television and radio. 'They wanted to sell the bank to a Venezuelan banker, and as head of state I'm saying no. Sell it to the government, to the state. 'We're going to reinvigorate the Bank of Venezuela. We're very much in need of a bank of that magnitude,' Chavez said.

Breakway church in Venezuela is sympathetic to Chávez

From their makeshift chapel in a room above a schoolhouse here whose entrance is adorned with a portrait of President Hugo Chávez and revolutionary slogans from his government, the bishops of the Reformed Catholic Church of Venezuela welcomed congregants to Sunday Mass.
Monsignor Simón Alvarado, 39, strummed his guitar and led the small congregation in singing hymns. Bishop Coadjutor Jon Jen Siu-García 37, preached a sermon on assisting the poor while his wife, Hiranioris Calles, 24, beamed a smile at him from where she sat on a white plastic chair. 'The church of Rome is fearful that it could lose more priests like us,' said Sui-García, the son of immigrants, a Cantonese father and Colombian mother, who settled in this gritty city on the margins of Lake Maracaibo. 'And it should be afraid, given its level of scandal over internal abuses and hypocrisy in combating poverty.' To be certain, the defection of priests and their formation last month of a breakaway church openly sympathetic to Chávez's government is raising the ire of Roman Catholic leaders in Venezuela and fueling a debate over the collision of religion and politics in one of Latin America's most secular nations. 'What they want to do is put an end to the Catholic Church, but they have not succeeded,' Archbishop Roberto Lückert, one of Chávez's most strident critics in the Venezuelan Roman Catholic hierarchy, said in comments broadcast on radio denouncing the new church.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's round up of news from Venezuela -- July 31, 2008

The announced Socialist Central of Workers (CST) will officially open tomorrow, Friday. According to trade unionist, Juan Reyes, the new trade union central means the breakup of the pro-government National Union of Workers (UNT), since three of the tendencies in the UNT will be joining the new grouping. The new Central will consist of The Bolivarian Federation of Workers, Trade Union Autonomy, and the Alfredo Maniero Tendency. Reyes insists that the new organisation will avoid tendencies and abide by trade union unity. One of the first acts will be to define the statutes, which are currently under discussion for approval and implementation. It would appear that the UNT will continue with the following smaller tendencies: Workers in Revolution Collective, C-Cura and Marea Socialista.

Accion Democratica (AD) leader, Henry Ramos Allup has announced three new unitary candidates for Guarico, Aragua, and Anzoategui States, Reinaldo Armas, Henry Rosales and Antonio Barreto Sira respectively. Because Barreto Sira is banned from participating in elections owing to criminal legal charges, Ramos Allup maintains that if the ban is not lifted, then the candidate will be Primero Justicia (PJ) candidate, Gustavo Marcano.

President Chavez has met representatives from Brazil's second biggest bank, the Caixa Economica Federal do Brasil. No details have been given about the motive of the meeting and the agenda discussed.

The Attorney General's office has undertaken an inspection in the maternity area of Barquisimeto Central Hospital. The investigation comes after the death of several children allegedly from a bacteria that contaminated the neonatology area. The team has requested that the hospital authorities hand over the medical history of each of the babies who died with a report on causes of death and the result of any necropsy.

The announcement by the Southern Cone Economic Zone (Mercosur) human rights commission president, Adriana Pena of a visit to Venezuela to assess the ban on opposition politicians seeking public office has infuriated members of the National Assembly. Deputy Desiree Santos Amaral points out that Pena is a friend of Chacao Mayor and aspiring candidate, Leopoldo Lopez, who is desperate to have the ban lifted. Santos Amaral insists that Lopez is banned not only for political reasons but also for acts of corruption and malfeasance of funds during office. Lopez, she says, must face up to a political and administrative as well as judicial ban and should be penalized.

The pressure to get Venezuela to renew anti-drug agreements with the USA continues to mount as Republican Senator Arlen Specter announces that he would like to meet Cuban President Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez during a tour of Latin America in August. Specter forecasts that the US is on the point of opening formal relations with Cuba and says there are real possibilities now that Fidel Castro is not in charge. The Senator admits that he met President Chavez in August 2005 in Venezuela and one of the results of his visit was a meeting between a "Venezuelan official and a US ambassador," which resulted in the setting up a protocol of mutual co-operation in drugs control.

Six Latin American Presidents, mostly from Central America will attend an anti-drugs summit in Cartagena, Colombia. President Chavez will not attend the session but will be represented by Interior & Justice (MIJ) Minister, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.

Energy & Petroleum Minister, Rafael Ramirez complains of an "absolutely irregular situation" on the part of the Barbados government regarding bidding for offshore hydrocarbon blocks. The Minister complains that some blocks inside Venezuelan territorial waters have been put up for tender. The Minister says the Venezuelan foreign office is taking up the matter and in the past such conflicts have been solved through understandings. Ramirez insists that the government is ready to enforce respect for national sovereignty. It would appear that Barbados had initially suspended the international bidding process but started the process again on June 9. A group called the petroleum and defense front denounced the re-launch and with other organizations sent a letter to Minister Ramirez, warning that the Bottom Bay and Crane Bay Blocks are situated in Venezuelan waters.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.


Premature ejaculations that have less to do with concern impoverished Venezuelan workers than an incessant lust for gold

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: To put it mildly, Venezuelan government officials are getting browned off by the flood of emails, telefaxes and English-speaking telephone calls they receive on a daily basis from North American gold-mining investors with reportedly arrogant and sometimes abusive demands for information that individual ministry officials are unable, unwilling or simply not at liberty to provide.

A source at Venezuela's Environment (MinAmb) Ministry who requested (obviously) that s/he should not be identified, says that the barrage and the abuse has reached intolerable levels and that, if anything, it tends to have a "retro effect" on any official's willingness or otherwise to deal with the issues raised. A similar situation prevails at Venezuela's Basic Idustries & Mining (Mibam) Ministry where, nowadays, even legitimate press enquiries are hung-up on or simply ignored.

The pattern is a repeat of what has been experienced by a number of Canadian and United States print newspapers that beat a hasty retreat from any coverage of Venezuelan mining stories simply because once the newsprint hits the stands or the Internet, they can be sure of a deluge of demanding queries and throwaway insults when reporters fail to respond immediately to the most outlandish of quests for details.

The problem appears to be a heightened expectation among North American investors that the companies in which they invest should be at their beck and call for every jot and tittle of information that may (or more often may not) affect their investments and the situation is not helped any in the proliferation of financial gossip forums on the Internet which are invariable used by nefarious and anonymous posters attempting to spread fear or unrealistic expectations in a calculated though highly immoral (perhaps even criminal) effort to scare or attract unwitting investors into making false investment decisions on which they (the criminals) can callously profit, often greatly, in day-trading.

It is also part of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias' political-economic reasoning that it is precisely these exploiters who should be discouraged from profiting on the back of Venezuela's massive oil, gold and other natural reserves and why an urgent reform of the Mining Code is being processed through parliament to regulate an industry where the misdeeds of previous, corrupt government officials must be revised and rectified against present-day realities in a total rejection of foreign stock-exchange manipulations and speculation that does absolutely nothing to enhance Venezuela future economic stability.

Recent international speculation in oil futures, for example, has sent the price of oil soaring to almost $150 and speculators seem to be willing to the world hostage to higher prices while Venezuela and other oil producers are paid only a fraction of the per barrel prices quoted in New York or London. President Chavez has sought to fast-wire the speculators by promising Spain direct deliveries of crude at $100 a barrel and this has sent the New York/London speculators almost into a nervous breakdown as they envisage an early pruning of their ill-gotten greed.

While North American shares in gold-mining stocks have plummeted on the back of Venezuelan intransigence over environmental and other issues, there is little sympathy for the investors in the Venezuelan ministries involved with regulations and permitting ... especially since their email boxes get flooded, their telephones get rung off the hook and their telefaxes go into terminal overheating from non-Spanish-speaking gringos prone to premature ejaculations on gold that have less to do with concern for thousands of impoverished Venezuelan workers than their incessant lust for gold.

VHeadline Venezuela News


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.


VHeadline anchorman John Sanchez back on international radio today after a several months absence from the airwaves

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: VHeadline Venezuela NewsHour anchorman John Manuel Sanchez is back on international radio today (Thursday) after several months absence from the airwaves.

Presenting the all-Venezuela talk-show five-days-a-week on The American Voice Radio Network (AVRN), Sanchez -- from San Cristobal in Venezuela -- is perhaps better known to New Yorkers as the associate head coach of Lehman College NYC basketball ... now into his third year at Lehman his resume includes coaching stops at rival John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hostos Community College.

During his first tenure at Lehman, Sanchez was responsible for the recruitment of the 2002 CUNYAC 'Rookie of the Year' Luis Chavez, two 1,000 points scorers, and several all-conference players ... he also helped the Lighting earn two postseason berths in 2000 and 2003 in the midst of winning the Hudson Valley Men's Athletic Conference Basketball Championships.

A 1995 graduate of Newtown High School in the Elmhurst section of Queens where he was a two-sport letter winner, Sanchez resides in the Woodside section of Queens, New York City. A 1999 graduate of Metropolitan Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, John Sanchez had served as special assistant to the athletic director at Hostos Community College where he played a major roll in the establishment of the athletic department and served as assistant men's basketball coach and interim head baseball coach 2003-2004.

In addition to his duties on the hardwood, Sanchez is the director of player development for True Dreams Sports Agency -- representing professional basketball and baseball players in the United States and overseas. He is also editor of the Spanish-language 'Chamo Times' based in New York but also sold in Florida and elsewhere throughout the United States. John is senior sports correspondent for VHeadline Venezuela and more recently anchor the daily radio program "VHeadline Venezuela Newshour," a social-political news/discussion program on the American Voice Radio Network.

John Sanchez also sits on the board of the Barrio Alternative Media Group, LLC, and is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and is well-known throughout the New York Tri-State area and Latin America having received the Pro-Am Sports "Coach of the Year" award (honoring Latinos in sport).

Most recently, he has joined the Board of Directors of the Chico Carrasquel Foundation, a non-profit organization in honor of the great Venezuelan shortstop who had a stellar playing career for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball. During the summer months, Sanchez sponsors a week-long basketball camp in his native hometown under the flagship of the Chico Carrasquel Foundation where, in addition to teaching the game of basketball, he distributes school supplies and athletic gear to over 150 young Venezuelans.

Join us for the VHeadline Venezuela Newshour on the American Voice Radio Network -- 10am Pacific time, 12 midday US Central, 1.30 p.m. Caracas -- Monday thru Friday (repeated the next following day at 8.30-9.30 a.m. Caracas)

The VHeadline Venezuela Newshour on AVRN

Contact our central news desk via the following telephones:

In Venezuela: telephone/telefax Caracas 0212-771-0141
In the USA: Houston TX: 713-893-1433 - Washington: 240-764-4818 - Miami: 305-831-4843 - New York: 347-983-0249 - Dallas TX: 214-329-9040 - Los Angeles CA: 626-921-4519 - Chicago IL: 708-459-8410
In Europe: London UK +44 / 20 8144 2871 and/or 20 8144 0349 - telefax: UK 0870-131-5644

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.


230+ luxury vehicles have quite simply "disappeared" off the CVG corporate radar ... "donated" in exchange for political favors

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Writing in today's (Thursday) edition of Correo del Caroni, reporter Kristy Spitscha highlights complaints that the state-owned heavy industry conglomerate, the Venezuela Guayana Corporation (CVG) is currently suffering from "administrative paralysis."

Employees trade union Sunep-CVG leaders are sufficiently incensed to threaten industrial action because of what they claim to be "numerous" irregularities by corporation authorities.

Labor and union representative have been unable to hold even a preliminary meeting with CVG president and Basic Industries & Mines (Mibam) Minister, Rodolfo Sanz and they say he is either (incredibly) unaware or completely ignoring problems which they say have only increased because Sanz appears to be "in disconnect" with what is actually happening in various CVG subsidiaries.

The National Public Employees Union's general secretary, Sunep-CVG Juan Gomez describes the situation as "administrative paralysis" that affects CVG suppliers as much if not more than contract workers and permanent employees.

Union executives and CVG employees attended a Wednesday meeting with the government's Labor Inspectorate in an effort to defuse what is bedded to be a major confrontation. They say that excellent long-term employees are being marginalized by new managers who think they can have a free-for-all without any concern for the corporation's key function in regional development.

Gomez says there is widespread discontent following the "unjustified and illegal" dismissal of some 250 CVG employees in complete violation of President Hugo Chavez Frias' decree imposing a firing freeze across all sectors in Venezuela. He explains that many of those dismissed had had between 20 and 25 years service with CVG subsidiaries and that under Sanz' regime they have been replaced by "outsiders" ... mostly Cubans. Although it is generally recognized that central government changes administrative staff with change in political color, Gomez says it does not bode well for the state-government of Guayana and certainly does not serve the interests of professionals throughout the region.

"Besides that the newly-imported managers receive higher salaries than their predecessors who have had long-term experience and greater loyalty to the company ... it is disgraceful that political interests should be given priority over the CVG's primary role to serve and protect regional interests ... executives are moved at the whim of politicians ... everyone is tired of all this institutional neglect, and we are demanding a meeting with the board of directors."

"The conflict can go national if you consider the wealth of complaints from the corporation's service providers in Caracas, Tucupita, Puerto Ayacucho, Santa Elena del Uairen etc. The Labor and Social Security (Minpptrass) Ministry along with Mibam is patently aware of the situation existing at the CVG, but nothing has happened so far," said Gomez.

Meanwhile it is claimed that a fleet of some 230 luxury CVG vehicles has quite simply "disappeared" ... the vehicles, which should have been allocated to key managers are nowhere to be found and it is generally suspected that they have been conveniently "donated" to individuals within the government administration in exchanged for "favors rendered."

VHeadline Venezuela News


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.


Venezuela - The Bolivarian Revolution at the Crossroads

The defeat of President Hugo Chavez in the referendum last December marks an important turning point in the Bolivarian process, which began more than ten years ago.
Following this defeat a crucial choice arises: to accelerate the process towards a socialist society or on the contrary to prefer the status quo by centring the revolution solely around the image of the president. After thirteen electoral victories in a row, the defeat in December was a body blow for the whole of the Bolivarian Left. For the first time in ten years, the Venezuelan people had expressed its disapproval, in spite of the widely-recognised gains of the revolution. In a country which is the fourth world exporter of oil and which has the greatest oil reserves in the world, oil is a very powerful financial weapon. The profits generated by PDVSA (the state oil company) make it possible to finance the “missions” of the revolution. Among the most important are those concerning education: The Robinson mission aims at teaching illiterates how to read and write. The Sucre mission gives access to the university to students that the former republic had excluded. To this end, a Bolivarian University has been established and located all over the country. It functions parallel to the traditional Venezuelan universities, of which the best known are the Central University of Venezuela (in Caracas) and the Andean University (in Merida).

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's round up of news from Venezuela -- July 30, 2008

The father of a Colombian army officer being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Gustavo Moncayo has announced that he will go into the jungles with his daughter to search for his son held hostage for 10 years. Moncayo became famous in Venezuela when he walked from Bogota to Caracas to gather public support for the release of his son and earned the name of "peace-walker."

Chrysler of Venezuela has handed the National Anti-Drugs Office (ONA) two vehicles to allow them to carry out their work. ONA director, Colonel Nestor Reverol says the vehicles will be used by the drug prevention team.

The ONA training session on money-laundering for judges and state prosecutors dealing is being organized and financed by the Organisation of American States (OAS) Inter American drug abuse control commission (CICAD). Its director, James F. Mack is prominent at the sessions. Mack is described as a "retired career member" of the US State Department foreign office and has led the "inter-agency task force that coordinated US antinarcotics assistance to Plan Colombia and other countries in the Andean region." It has also been learned that Mack has served in several US embassies in South America, mostly connected to US antinarcotics assistance. Some observers suggest that the visitor will be testing the ground to set up negotiations for a renewal of anti-drugs cooperation between the US and Venezuela.

As the opposition led by affected Mayor of Chacao, Leopoldo Lopez, pursues a campaign to get the inhibition ban against candidates facing legal charges lifted, the National Assembly has denied reports that a delegation from the Southern Cone Economic Zone (Mercosur) human rights commission will come to Caracas to investigate the political ban. AN deputy, Saul Ortega, who is a member of said commission, has denied the rumors as false, saying that the human rights commission has not even met to discuss the matter. The rumors started with a positive declaration from the president of the commission, Adriana Pena.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and minority parties composing the Patriotic Alliance (AP) have finally met and have agreed to support candidates to state governorships in 10 States. PSUV spokesman and State Governor of Miranda, Diosdado Cabello announced the results of the meeting. There was an agreement also to continue working on unitary candidates for the rest of the States and what is important, Cabello insists, is to have the candidates that the revolution merits. Cabello mentions Aragua, Barinas and Tachira as States where there is no unanimity but a consensus.

According to the Tierra Nuestra Collective, land owners are supposedly responsible for assassinating peasant leader, Ramon Martinez at his home in Bolivar municipality, Barcelona (Anzoategui). Martinez belonged to the local communal council and along with 36 persons, has been occupying 120 hectares in the zone for five years as part of the government's agrarian reform program.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CITGO and Venezuela Partner for Coffee

During a joint press conference, chairman, president and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corp., Alejandro Granado, and the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bernardo Alvarez, unveiled the new Cafe Venezuela program, which will bring imported coffee to c-store patrons.
Granado explained the goal of the Cafe Venezuela program is to promote sustainable development in rural Venezuela where coffee is grown, while providing quality coffee to CITGO patrons in Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. 'This is a win-win initiative. Not only are we helping to improve the quality of life for small Venezuelan coffee growers, but we are also providing CITGO customers with a quality product they can be proud to purchase,' Granado said in a statement. Golden Valley Farms Commodity Group will market the Cafe Venezuela coffee on behalf of CITGO and its approximatly 2,000 locations over the next two years. 'This new business endeavor, promoted by CITGO, will allow consumers the opportunity to enjoy one of the best quality coffees in the world, the Arabica Coffee from Venezuela,' John Sacharok, president of Golden Valley Farms, said in a statement.

Jackson man gives another view of Chavez's Venezuela

A Jackson man has helped create a documentary about alternative media that presents a different view of Venezuela under controversial leader Hugo Chavez than the one many have seen. Sean Kriletich, who was raised in Calaveras County, farms in Paloma, Mokelumne Hill and between Jackson and Pine Grove as part of a venture called Paloma Pollinators. He also has traveled extensively in Venezuela and throughout South America, returning to Venezuela in 2006 with Greg Miller of UnEarth Productions to document what he discovered there previously. 'I noticed a stark difference between what I saw on the ground and what was being reported in the mainstream media in the United States and also in Venezuela,' Kriletich said. Making three visits in the course of a year, the pair produced a DVD running just under a half-hour examining community television and radio stations in the country. It is called 'La Revolucion Comunicativa' and won Best New Documentary at the Punky Li'l Kid Film Festival in February in Monterey and also screened at independent film events in San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Jackson Hole, Wyo., Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City.

Venezuela Forex Board Increases Dollar Sales For Machinery

Venezuela increased by 17% its sale of dollars at the official exchange rate to importers seeking to bring heavy machinery into the country in the first half of the year against the same period in 2007, the government said in an official press release.
The Cadivi currency board, which is responsible for deciding which companies can buy dollars at the official peg of 2.15 bolivars, said that in the first half of this year it has sold $857 million for heavy machinery imports. The 17% increase is below the 23% increase in total dollar sales by Cadivi for imports in the first half of 2008 against the same period a year ago. Companies and individuals that don't receive approval to buy dollars at the official rate have to turn to the black market, where they must currently pay a hefty premium. Venezuela imposed capital controls in 2003 amid massive capital flights during an economic crisis.

In Caribbean, analysts expect little change regardless of who wins U.S. election

While Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, appears to be the rage across the Caribbean, some analysts express concerns about how his policies would affect the region.
And, although John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, generates less attention in the Democratic-leaning Caribbean, some observers say his support of free trade and his policy experience could be better for the islands. Still other analysts see the Caribbean as a low priority for each and express little optimism that either will produce radical change. Neither McCain nor Obama has 'expressed serious positions on the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, where there is a difference between the two candidates,' said Rupert Lewis, a political science expert at the University of the West Indies (Mona) in Jamaica. In a speech in Miami, McCain singled out several Spanish-speaking nations - but not any in the Caribbean. And Obama has shown little interest in the region - aside from an Easter vacation in St. Thomas.

CNE: Barred Venezuelans Must Respect Law

The vice president of Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE), Janeth Hernandez, on Wednesday urged Venezuelans barred from holding public office to respect the decision by the Comptroller's Office.
Interviewed by “Venezolana de Television” channel, the official ratified those citizens cannot run for the regional elections on November 23. Hernandez stressed the electoral power complies with the decisions by the judicial power. There is a Constitution and it must be respected, sustained Hernandez, pointing out that the Supreme Court of Justice can change decisions dealing with the nomination process.

Consideran saludable para sistema financiero postergar plazo para venta de notas estructuradas

Este miércoles, los economistas Pedro Palma y Leonardo Buniak en una entrevista concedida a Unión Radio, manifestaron que la decisión de postergar el plazo para que los bancos terminen de vender las notas estructuradas es saludable para el sistema financiero del país.
Pedro Palma indicó que de mantenerse el período previsto del 19 de agosto muchas entidades financieras que compraron este tipo de papeles podrían ver expuestos sus capitales. 'Hay otros bancos que aparentemente están muy expuestos, y obviamente debe darse un período mucho mayor para darle la oportunidad a esos bancos de poder salir de esas notas estructuradas, sin que ello les cause severos problemas que pueden obviamente generar consecuencias muy negativas'. Ante esta situación para el economista Pedro Palma, 'ha sido sabia la decisión de postergar, o dar un período más largo para la salida de estas notas estructuradas, para esos bancos que pueden estar en una situación de exposición algo mayor'. Aclaró el economista que todas las actividades financieras que se realizan en materia cambiaria son de alto riesgo. Explicó que la emisión por parte de Fonden de notas estructuradas y la venta de bonos en dólares formaron parte de la estrategia gubernamental para controlar el incremento del precio del dólar en el mercado paralelo.

Venezuela 'implements eco-friendly policies'

An environmental plan announced by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez can benefit his country's citizens as well as the wider world, it has been suggested.
The project to swap lightbulbs across the country with energy-efficient replacements will mean the population spends less money on energy bills over time as fuel costs increase, while the nation will reduce its level of carbon emissions, according to the report on It says that other schemes to provide electrical power through alternative energy sources are also being introduced in the country. Overseas buyers in the market for a Venezuela off-plan property investment may be encouraged to hear the latest developments in the Latin American country's environmental plans. Earlier this month, the Calgary Herald reported on a new government initiative, under which car importers and assemblers will be required to install dual tanks for gasoline and natural gas in at least 30 per cent of models by next April.

OPEC production cut not ruled out by Venezuela

The Venezuelan delegation to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considers that a recent decline in oil prices 'is a proof' that the increase in crude oil prices until June was closely linked to speculation in future markets, rather than supply issues, said Minister of Energy and Oil Rafael Ramírez.
'We have always endorsed the position that there is no need to put more barrels in the market. It would be a mistake to flood the market with oil in order to build up inventories. This would provoke a collapse of prices,' Ramírez insisted. However, when Ramírez was asked about the possibility of discussing a cut in OPEC production during the meeting of the oil organization next September, the official replied that 'this is something we have to examine.' In recent months, the world's largest oil producers have heightened production.

Venezuela pleads for construction of a multipolar world |

The Minister of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro, who attended to the XV Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting, expressed the support of Venezuela to build a multipolar world based on justice. “We fully share the concept of the NAM, most of all its goal of moving towards a multilateral world, but based on respect to international laws, transformation of the United nations (UN), and such transformation would be the expression of a new world”, Maduro stated during the Meeting that is taking place in Tehran, Iran. According to a press release emitted by the Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, Naduro made emphasis on member countries' necessity to end the hegemony of some nations imposing their political domination through weapons. “We need an era without empires, without hegemonies, without the use of force to gain control over natural resources and the wealth of our nations”, he stated.

Bush’s Plan Against Venezuela

Venezuela does not only represent a political and a sovereignty problem to the United States of America, but additionally Venezuela owns the energy resources from which the American economy of tomorrow depends.
For this reason, after trying all possible and thinkable coups d’état, and having failed each time, Washington tries indirect military action using Colombia. With this perspective the Bush’s administration begins to intoxicate media information to justify a conflict. The hostility of Bush’s administration toward the Venezuelan government has marked a new milestone, with the 'Anti-Drug Czar,' John P. Walters’ declarations on January 19, 2008. In fact, during a visit to Colombia, he accused President Hugo Chávez of 'having turned into a great facilitator of the cocaine traffic towards Europe and other parts of the hemisphere.' This new attack against the most popular Latin American leader, far from being gratuitous, is part of the demonization strategy of the Bolivarian administration orchestrated by the White House to justify a more radical action against Venezuela. Now, Washington and Bogotá try to relate Caracas with the international narco-traffic in order to stain President Chávez’s image.

Socialism, Not Capitalism, to Blame for High Oil Prices

More than 75% of the world’s oil reserves are controlled by national oil companies. Of the world’s top 20 oil-producing firms, 14 are state-run.
Those areas where private companies have been able to drill have recently been shrinking, and remaining private companies are facing hostile governments that may try to nationalize them. Meanwhile, Congress, pandering to the least economically sound sentiments of the American public, recently tried to pass a bill to curb oil market speculation. This, lawmakers argued, was the way to get prices down. Speculation is just trading on the future price of a good. There have been many reasons to expect the price of oil to continue to rise. Along with rising demand, and subsidies to aid the rise in demand, there is a lot of risk. Risk causes volatility and drives prices up — at least in the short term. There is risk because of the war in Iraq, because of the government in Iran, terrorism, and then there is additional risk because of the growing number of countries where the governments are trying to nationalize the oil supply.

Venezuelans celebrate liberator’s birthday

The charge d’affair of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in The Gambia, on Friday, celebrated the birthday of the country’s great liberator, Simon Bolivar, at a colourful ceremony held at the Old Jeshwang-Simon Bolivar’s Lower Basic School.
The day is celebrated every year by Venezuelans across the globe. As part of the activities marking the day, the charge d’ affair donated over 1400 school bags and at least 4000 exercise books and pencils to Simon Bolivar’s Lower Basic School. Speaking at the occasion, Lourdes E Pirez Martinez, the charge d’affair of the Venezuelan embassy in The Gambia, said Simon Bolivar earned himself the title of liberator due to the fact that he liberated Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, as well as Venezuela. She noted that his dream was to see the unity of the South American countries, but died in Colombia on December 17th, 1830, before it could be realised. ‘’But in reality, his dreams never died since political leaders in Latin America are now going by his dreams. His ideas are recalled through our actions, our struggle to gain unity and integration, as well as solidarity within our countries’’ she said. She underscored the realisation of the historic Bolivarian integration, which according to her is based on political compromise to eradicate poverty, guarantee the independence and sovereignty of their natural resources in their quest to achieve the developments that the Venezuelan people truly deserve.

CVG-Minerven "endogenous development" seeks prosperity through gold-mining cooperatives, social production companies

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: The Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) subsidiary CVG-Minerven is reporting progress with a number of social projects in the gold-mining communities of El Callao and Roscio municipalities in southeastern Venezuela. Describing it as "endogenous development" CVG-Minerven's coordinator of social welfare, Jesus Nino says "we are working on the basis of community organization to achieve the goals of increased prosperity within the communities through cooperatives, social production companies ... supporting people to organize better and to implement projects in community councils which identify the locality and work perfectly well."

"We are making efforts to deploy people productively, giving them the know-how to produce efficiently and effectively in every community or sector. In Caratal we are supporting people through a social fund which approves the implementation of small-scale business projects ... we have nine other projects under which community councils receive our support."

CVG-Minerven says it has tried to get the (Bolivar) State Governor (Francisco Rangel Gomez) to take an interest in what the company's social welfare department is doing and they have met with representatives from public water supplier. Hidrobolivar, to have them shoulder certain social responsibilities. They are also dealing with health problems through the central government's Barrio Adentro Mission to ensure supplies of pharmaceuticals, surgical interventions and hospital transfers to support various communities ... "We are satisfied with Minerven's endogenous development work," Nino says.

In the Loco de Caratal neighborhood there are 17 families affected by explosions at the open-pit Union mine. CVG-Minerven says it is constructing 43 houses to resolve the situation but some families are refusing to leave their homes although we tell them that they will get new homes in agreement between all parties concerned --- "we want to give people back their family dignity to deal with social debts to help them strengthen their ties in Roscio and El Callao."

VHeadline Venezuela News


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.


Labor conflict could have dire consequences for progress at Venezuela-Russia "socialist" gold-mining company

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Bedding for labor conflict and its follow-on consequences that could affect progress at a "socialist" gold-mining company in 50/50 partnership between the Venezuelan government and the Russian Agapov Group's Rusoro Mining, community council leaders have met in urgent session with the government's Labor Inspectorate urging immediate measures to prevent or at least reduce current chaos that has been inflicted on the township of El Callao in southeastern Bolivar State.

Labor Inspector Jose Rodolfo Devera has tried, unsuccessfully, to bring clarity to widespread doubts over what is to happen with revenues from "socialist" mining joint venture following continuing disputes in the Isidora mine. Unemployed mine workers have gathered at the mine gates from nearby villages in search for jobs and sporadic riots have broken out because there is little or no news about payroll or investments at the mine.

Ministry of Labor (Minpptrass) officials from Caracas have sought to establish parameters to continue at the now-defunct Hecla workings. Union leader Edwar Lopez has called for calm although authorities appear to have no clear policies and the fundamental concern is over who is to be re-hired and who will be made redundant. "The problem is that false expectations were raised," Lopez says. "Local community councils have been deceived ... they asked for something to be done to help the people living around El Callao."

In La Carioca, Maria Corales says that requests for a meeting with CVG-Minerven last week were denied ... "We still have a long way to travel and then we must queue and pay bribes to even get into to the company ... it is such an abuse ... all we ask for is that there should be participation by the workers in Roscio and Sifontes municipalities ... we do not want problems in El Callao ... we want jobs."

Agapov/Rusoro representatives say they have undertaken a review of the situation and that some 250 should be re-hired but further to that they they may organize organize the labor force to take in locally unemployed people.

VHeadline Venezuela News


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Former Bolivar Gold/Gold Fields/PMG personnel assured that Ramel Construction deal does imply intent to lay-off workers

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Ramel Construction president and chief engineer, Babottini Cesar has sought to assure former Bolivar Gold/Gold Fields/PMG personnel that a deal struck between the mine owner and his company does not signify any intent to lay-off workers but that operations at the PMG gold mine will continue as normal.

PMG workers have expressed concern that some 123 employees were scheduled for redundancy, but Ramel Construction says there will be improvements and that the new company has a long tradition of positive personnel relations.

Babottini Cesar says "I would like to assure all of the trade union leaders and to remove all doubts ... there will be no redundancies. The deal struck with PMG does NOT change the employment relationship, simply that the PMG miners at El Choco in El Callao will be absorbed by my company. There is no need for confusion. Workers will continue their activities and, instead layoffs, there will be improvements made."

VHeadline Venezuela News

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mercosur legislator expects Chávez to stop political ineligibility measures

The Chairwoman of Mercosur Human Rights Commission, legislator Adriana Peña, expects that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez would take all the necessary measures to prevent that political bans of candidates implemented by the Comptroller General affect democracy in Venezuela.
Mercosur or Common Market of the South is a trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Venezuela signed a membership agreement on June 17, 2006, but before becoming a full member its entry has to be ratified by the Paraguayan and the Brazilian parliaments. The member of the Mercosur Parliament expects that President Chávez takes a decision on this matter. On the contrary, she said, she would be forced to travel to Caracas to examine the case of political ineligibility of candidates. 'I pray to God because it is not my intention to travel to Caracas to study the case. (...) The Comptroller General is provoking this situation and I trust that President Chávez will take all the necessary measures to stop this, and assure free elections,' Peña said.

Next Paraguayan Foreign Minister sees strong ties to Venezuela

The government of Paraguay's President-elect, Fernando Lugo, will maintain close ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, with whom he feels politically identified, said the nominee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alejandro Hamed.
The assertion of Hamed, whose nomination was reportedly objected by Washington due to his diplomatic career in the Middle East, sheds some light on the foreign policy of the next Paraguayan President, since he aims to favor ties with leftist governments in the region such as the Venezuelan, Bolivian and Ecuadorian administrations. Lugo will take office on August 15, amid great expectations, after he ended the 63-year reign of Colorado Party, the world's longest ruling party. The former Roman Catholic bishop surprised local analysts with the nomination of Hamed, a historian expert in Middle East affairs. Hamed was the Paraguayan ambassador to Lebanon.

Venezuela says speculation driving oil price fall

The recent tumble in oil prices is the result of financial speculation and not production levels, Venezuela's energy minister said on Tuesday, adding OPEC should not 'flood the market' with more barrels.
'The price of oil has fallen $20 in recent days, which backs our position that this is not a problem of volume, it's not a problem of production but rather it's linked to speculation,' Rafael Ramirez told reporters. 'Obviously when the price of oil oscillates $20 up or down ... in such a short time it doesn't have anything to do with production.' US crude was down more than $3 per barrel at mid-day to around $121.50, its lowest level in nearly three months after reaching record highs above $147 on July 11. Ramirez said OPEC should not boost production because it would be 'an error to inundate the market with oil such that inventory levels rise, which would lead to a collapse in the price as occurred in the 1990s.' OPEC President Chakib Khelil on Tuesday said oil could fall further to $70 or $80 per barrel but said the producer group should not consider cutting output at this point. Venezuela under the leadership of socialist President Hugo Chavez has been one of OPEC's most ardent price hawks, consistently seeking higher oil prices even as other OPEC members express worries that high prices reduce global demand.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's round up of news from Venezuela -- July 29, 2008

The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) is the first of the minority pro-government parties to respond to President Chavez' ultimatum yesterday. PCV general secretary, Oscar Figuera says he sees no problem if agreements cannot be reached with the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) regarding unitary candidates for regional elections in November. Recalling President Chavez' own words when the latter suggested the creation of the Patriotic Alliance (AP), Figuera reminds people that the AP is not an electoral alliance but a strategic alliance and therefore, should not suffer if electoral agreements are not reached. The PCV is supporting its own candidates in five state governorships and claims that it hopes to advance in the revolutionary camp. Figuera did not respond to charges that AP parties are dividing the revolutionary camp by presenting their own candidates but insists that the PCV is acting on the premises set out by the leader of the process, Hugo Chavez and that its performance has been coherent in each historical moment and in the need to join forces towards creating a revolutionary popular movement of the left.

The reply to President Chavez' ultimatum from Patria Para Todos (PPT) is that the party will accompany the President, whether he likes it or not because history has put both the President and the party to walk along the same route. PPT general secretary, Jose Albornoz reaffirms the alliance with parties that support the President but insists that his party is "co-author of the process." However, it would appear that the PPT will continue to support its own candidates in certain parts of the country.

PSUV vice president, General (ret.) Alberto Muller Rojas has confirmed that the party will attend a meeting today with parties belonging to the Patriotic Alliance (AP). Muller Rojas has highlighted the amplitude of President Chavez when he convoked all parties to a debate last year that led to changes and produced policies. The call, he continues, was answered by the majority of leaders of AP parties. The General comes from the PPT and so does Aristobulo Isturiz and Ali Rodriguez, while Roberto Hernandez left to PCV to join the PSUV. "We have attended the call and are debating internally our political positions, which in many cases are not harmonic and through the dialectic we are building a profile of Socialism that is applicable to Venezuela." The General hints that there will be no negotiation with cliques and that will be part of today's agenda. The PSUV, Muller Rojas insists, respects the will of the grass roots.

Opposition Primero Justicia (PJ) national coordinator, Julio Borges admits that there are difficulties in reaching agreement on unitary candidates in Merida, Bolivar, and Lara and states that the issue boils down to the level of civilization of each person, treatment between candidates and fair play. Borges says he has intervened in the fight between Andres Velasquez and Antonio Rojas Suarez in Bolivar State with the result that the latter has promised to abide by the rules of the game. In Merida, the two main candidates have agreed to abide by the results undertaken by two survey poll companies. In Lara, a poll was undertaken by a group of businessmen and the result is that Marisabel Rodriguez beats Alfredo Ramos by a point. As regards the political ban on Leopoldo Lopez, who aspires to the Metro Mayors Office, Borges argues that with a week to go before enrolment of candidacies, it is important to have an alternative candidate that is completely above board, even though the opposition is seeking to solve Lopez' problem.

Two candidates belonging to the opposition Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) are battling in a bitter and divisive campaign to become the official opposition candidate to the Chacao Mayor's Office. The ambitious Liliana Hernandez says her opponent, Emilio Grateron has broken a unity pact causing division and egotism in the ranks and she rejects survey polls shown by Grateron. However, the opposition electoral group, Sumate is preparing to intervene and use its good offices to solve the differences between the warring candidates before the enrolment deadline.

National Anti-Drugs Office (ONA) director, Colonel Nestor Luis Reverol says he does not want to answer queries regarding possible talks to renew anti-drugs cooperation with the USA. Reverol limited his statement to stating that it is President Chavez, who directs international relations and the ONA is awaiting instructions. The statement comes after President Chavez announced the possibility of renewing contacts with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The Colonel made the statement while attending the start of a training programme for judges and state attorneys to deal with the crime of money-laundering. Rivero did not indicate who is financing the training course but it is believed to be one of the foreign governments who have an agreement with the Venezuelan government to train officials in matters concerning proceeds from criminal activities of organized crime.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Gaceta Oficial gives legal status to Mibam revocation of Hecla's gold-mining concessions in southeastern Venezuela

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: According to the Tuesday edition of Venezuela's Gaceta Oficial (official legal gazette), the Ministry of Basic Industries & Mines (Mibam) has officially rescinded, with immediate effect, a gold-mining concession awarded to USA-Idaho-based Hecla Mining. Hecla had, however, submitted an application at the beginning of July waiving their extraction rights extraction to the La Isidora and La Camorra mines in southeastern Bolivar State.

Mibam also announced in today's publication that it had accepted the "resignation" of Hecla's mineral rights and that former Hecla facilities and equipment at the mine ate now in the hands of a government tax inspector. The Ministry, however, is at pains to emphasize that the resignation does not release Hecla from full and final payment of all sums due in respect of taxes, fines and default interest. No amount has been stated.

Hecla Mining -- based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho -- said in June that it was selling its Venezuelan subsidiaries to the Russian-owned Agapov Group's Rusoro Mining for US$25 million and that it planned to get rid of other assets in Venezuela including leases on Isidora and La Camorra.

VHeadline Venezuela News

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Dollar Drops Against Venezuela's Bolivar In Parallel Market

The dollar in the Venezuelan parallel market continued its downward trend against the bolivar Tuesday as the government has been increasing the supply of greenbacks to prevent a possible increase in the price of U.S. currency.
Traders said a dollar in the parallel market fetched around VEB3.2, down from VEB3.25 Monday. This is more than half the price a greenback fetched in December last year. The government recently sold more than $220 million in dollar-denominated structured notes composed of sovereign debt, mostly from Argentina, to supply the parallel market with U.S. currency. The Venezuela government pegs the dollar at an official exchange rate of VEB2.15 and has started to closely monitor the unofficial rate as many retailers use it as a gauge to set prices. Last year the unofficial rate more than tripled the peg and was named as one of the factors driving up prices. This year, the government has responded by increasing the sale of dollars at the official rate and simultaneously selling dollar-denominated structured notes allowing the buyers access to greenbacks at a higher rate than the official peg.

Pemberton Energy Ltd. files defamation lawsuit against rogue poster Simon Verduyn

Energy Ltd. has filed a defamation lawsuit against Simon Verduyn, an Alberta man who criticized the company in forum postings on Stockhouse and suggested that its president, Richard Saxon, misappropriated money. Pemberton filed the case in B.C. Supreme Court on July 21, 2008, complaining about 28 postings made under the alias "tinman50."

by Mike Caswell
The company says those postings were made by Mr. Verduyn. In them, he allegedly suggested that company was incompetent because it had taken three years to begin drilling an oil and gas project in Alberta. He also said that Mr. Saxon was "watching peelers" while the stock price slid, and that the company was wasting time and money.

The postings occurred before the stock went to a 62-cent high on March 10, 2008, and as it declined to a 24.5-cent low on April 14. The poster claimed to own 740,000 of the company's shares. Most of the posts happened after Feb. 20, when the company issued a two-sentence news release saying it had completed preliminary work on its 10-15-82-3W6M well in Alberta.

One from Feb. 24, 2008, read: "I have talked to Richard and his puppet on several occasions. The first time I tried to find out some information about the company and I told them how many shares I owned and was told I was a lying so and so. I then told them I would put my shares up for sale the next day. The next day came, Richard phoned me to apologize and pleaded to me to remove the large block. I did and he was very grateful. To me we should be informed as to what the problems are with the rig this time, so I phoned SS and asked him about it today but he was extremely rude again. A question for all stock holders, are these the kind of people we want running this company?"

Another was on March 31, when tinman50 allegedly stated: "Are we going to get [the rig] in before the SP is at a dime? RS this is no time to be sitting in Vancouver watching peelers, best get things going before we have a foot of mud on the lease!!!"

An April 18 post allegedly read: "For the new invester, if you are going to invest here you might as well throw your money in the toilet you'll get to see your money a little longer, providing you have to flush more than once."

On April 21, he allegedly stated: "When are we going to have the next shareholders meeting. We might have to have it in Vancouver so the Saxons can't run away on us. But I suppose he could always say the cabbie wouldn't let him in the cab, lets try to get your sh_t together boys, no one even wants this crap anymore. But you did good today we only lost 1 cent not 3 or 4."

Then on April 22, he allegedly stated: "These are the first holes the Saxons have ever drilled, not bad only 2 to 3 years to get this far. What is it going to take to complete them, another 3 years. If they do have 600k what is he waiting for does someone have to put the seat down and hold his hand to get his next big job done? SP tells the story here. I don't think you should use the word 'experts' so loosely on this board."

Another post on April 28 allegedly stated: "I have been trying to get info for about 4 weeks. Good luck getting any info on anything here, we probably have two duds or four if you count the Saxon's. For all we know they took the left over 600k and bolted. Just my opinion."

The company complains that the words mean Mr. Saxon is incompetent and needs to be replaced, that he is unable to manage a drilling project, that he is stealing company resources, and unless he is replaced no one will invest in Pemberton, among other things.

Pemberton claims that Mr. Verduyn is motivated by malice, and that he has deprived the company of opportunities to earn income.

In addition to seeking general and aggravated damages, the company is seeking punitive damages on the grounds that Mr. Verduyn deliberately published the words and that he knew what he was doing was wrong. The company also says there is a need to deter "irresponsible, self-interested, malicious postings."

Pemberton is represented by Vancouver lawyer Wade Simpson.

NGO reports Barbados is bidding oil blocks in Venezuelan waters

The government of Barbados has launched an oil and gas bid for 26 offshore blocks, two of which are allegedly located in part in Venezuelan waters, claimed on Monday Aníbal Martínez, head of non-governmental organization Frente Nacional Pro Defensa del Petróleo Venezolano (National Front for the Defense of Venezuelan Oil).
Martínez said that the government of Barbados put 26 oil and gas blocks for tender stretching more than 70,000 square kilometers. He added that there are two blocks in the bid, called Botton Bay and Crane Bay, 70 percent of whose area would be in Venezuelan waters. 'This amounts to an area of 5,200 square kilometers. It is a hostile act on the part of Barbados, and we have to be on alert. Even if it was one square centimeter, we cannot let this to happen,' said the Venezuelan oil expert.

Journalists ask Information Minister to condemn attacks on reporters

Alonso Moleiro, the vice-president elect of the Venezuelan Association of Journalists (CNP), Monday asked Communication and Information Minister Andrés Izarra to condemn, on behalf of the Venezuelan government, the attacks against some media workers.
'We are urging Venezuelan top officials, particularly minister Izarra, to condemn these aggressions. The climate of impunity existing in Venezuela is not favorable for the government,' Moleiro said. The vice-president elect of the CNP said that the association's board of directors believes the attacks against reporters 'are happening with the consent of some government officials.'

NGO claims the US was involved in coup against Chávez

The United States was 'involved' in the failed 2002 coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
However, the US role is still unknown, said on Monday US non-governmental organization National Security Archive. Peter Kornbluh, director of Cuba and Chile documentation projects for the National Security Archive, said, 'I have no doubts that the United States was involved in the coup attempt against Chávez,' Efe reported in Santiago, Chile. The Venezuelan leader has repeatedly accused the US of being behind the plot against his government. Kornbluh participated on Monday in the seminar 'Human Rights and access to public information', held in Santiago. The researcher said that his NGO has obtained a group of documents 'showing that the US, its intelligence service and its government were aware of the coup well ahead of it.'

Venezuela To Buy More Weaponry From Russia

Venezuela may purchase man-portable air defense systems, Il-76 transport planes and T-90 tanks from Russian in the near future, a Russian political analyst said Thursday.
According to unofficial reports, Russia and Venezuela signed a new framework agreement Wednesday on delivery of Russian air defense systems, tanks and military transport planes to the Latin American country. 'The new agreement, most likely, involves purchases of Igla man-portable air defense systems, Il-76MD military transport planes and T-90 main battle tanks,' said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Pukhov has estimated that Venezuela could spend $5 billion or more over the next 10 years on Russian military equipment. He said that after the Swedish Saab announced in 2006 it could not continue sales of portable anti-aircraft systems to Venezuela because of a U.S. arms embargo against President Hugo Chavez's government, Russian Igla missiles became the obvious choice for the Venezuelan army.

Alcasa reactivates furnace for recycled material,

Venezuelan aluminum reducer Alcasa has reactivated a furnace for smelting recycled material which was only operating 'at half speed,' a company spokesperson told BNamericas. 'Employees rebuilt the furnace and saved the company a huge amount of money,' the spokesperson said without mentioning the investment involved in the project. The rebuilt furnace will be able to smelt 45t/m of recyclable material. 'And it will start being used for what it was made to do: take advantage of aluminum waste that was being lost,' the spokesperson added. In mid-July, Alcasa reached full installed capacity of 207t/d on production line 3 by getting all 180 of its cells operating. The line produced 70,606t of aluminum in 2007. Alcasa churned out 180,086t of aluminum in 2007. Sales came to 175,644t including 110,383t to the domestic market and 65,261t for export. Alcasa is located in the eastern Venezuelan city of Puerto Ordaz. The company is 92% owned by state heavy industry holding company CVG and the remaining 8% is in the hands of US-based Alcoa.

Venezuela To Spend $566 Million From Fonden Fund On Public Works

Venezuela will spend $566 million from the Fonden development fund, an off-budget spending vehicle, to finance a host of infrastructure projects handpicked by President Hugo Chavez, according to an official press release.
The money was earmarked to pay for the finishing stages of public transportation projects in Caracas, according to the statement released Monday. Chavez said that the projects would be paid for by resources in Fonden, his favorite spending instrument. The Fonden is controlled by the president without any legislative or central bank supervision and receives funds from the central bank's international reserves and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state oil company. Additionally, the government usually approves additional spending through the National Assembly, which so far this year stands at 31 billion bolivars ($14.4 billion), 23% of the official budget, which is set at VEB137.5 billion. That money comes from additional revenue the government receives from high oil prices.

BBVA Latin American banking profits up 28% in H1

The Latin American banks of Spain's BBVA (NYSE: BBV), excluding its Mexican unit, increased first half net attributable profits 27.7% to 329mn euros (US$520mn) over the year-ago period, BBVA said in its earnings release. In a webcast, BBVA COO José Ignacio Goirigolzarri highlighted the positive evolution of the efficiency ratio of this business area - which improved to 43.5% from 45.8% - and asset quality control. The non-performing loan ratio improved 30 basis points to 2.24% in the 12 months ended June 2008. 'We feel very optimistic on upcoming quarters,' Goirigolzarri said in reference to BBVA's South American business area.

Spanish police seize 2.5 tons of cocaine in boat raid

Spanish police seized 2.5 tons of cocaine Tuesday after boarding a vessel from Latin America, Spanish National Radio reported.
Five Venezuelan nationals, crew members of the Rio Manzanares, were detained during the operation in the Atlantic Ocean, the radio said, citing the Interior Ministry. The drugs were to be transferred to another vessel and transported to Spain by Spanish drug dealers. The Rio Manzanares, which is registered in Venezuela, should be towed to the Canary Islands in about a week.

CVG executives to meet worker representatives, Thursday, at the instigation of Miraflores Presidential Palace

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) aluminum subsidiaries CVG-Alcasa and CVG-Venalum, and bauxite producer CVG-Bauxilum have called meeting for Thursday (July 31) with Association of Retirees & Pensioners representatives to assess progress on employee liabilities towards a resolution of a two-month labor dispute that's threatening to disrupt production at all three of the corporation's production units.

CVG-Alcasa Retiree/Pensioner association, Ajupal, chairman Ruben Rodriguez says an urgent decision to call the meeting came after Captain Nelson Pereira (director of the Miraflores Presidential Social Networks Office) received an account of what was (not) happening when he met CVG workers searching for a timely response last Sunday in Caracas/

A working party has since been set up with the cooperation of leaders of associations of retirees and pensioners, industry legal consultants and executives from the industries involved.

Rodriguez says Thursday's meeting will cover progress and what must be done to protect the rights of former CVG workers.

VHeadline Venezuela News


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

CVG-Minerven must settle redundancy liabilities to some 43 employees as well as retirement benefits and pensions to 52 more!

VHeadline Venezuela News reports:
Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG) subsidiary CVG-Minerven labor organizer and United Gold Workers (Sinpro) union secretary general Camilo Torres says that Minerven president, Luis Herrera Mendoza, must be brought to book over his failure to settle redundancy liabilities to some 43 employees as well as retirement benefits and pensions to 52 more.

Speaking to local newspaper Correo del Caroni, Torres says that social justice has not yet reached the southern Bolivar state, specifically in the state-owned mining community, despite the fact that it all belongs to the state-owned heavy industry conglomerate and is demanding similar wage deals to other workers in the CVG.

As it is, 43 pensioners receive just the minimum wage even though a pre-agreement on the draft collective wages agreement summarized that pension should be based on average wages for the last year of employment. Rorres says it immediately questions labor stability at CVG-Minerven and its liabilities to workers paid the minimum wage as opposed to other companies where they can earn substantially more. A 70-80% salary increase has been generally recognized for active CVG employees but Minerva persists in paying only the minimum wage.

The CVG-Minerven president has been asked to adjust pensions and to recognize social security coverage effective with the current Law on Pension and other regulations concerning the reinstatement of several employees from when Herrera Mendoza took over the presidency of the company in May 2008. Torres also asks that the hiring of 24 cooperatives is seen by his trade union as "alarming" since other financial arrangements could apply ... "Herrera Mendoza should be careful what he does with CVG-Minerven finances to keep the company alive ... it is important that he should hire local employees and NOT outsiders."

VHeadline Venezuela News

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Ministry of Environment (MinAmb) ban paralyzes 9 mining companies, 480 truckers, throws 4,000+ families out of work

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Nine mining companies and 480 truckers on Margarita have been paralyzed with immediate effect by an Environment Ministry (MinAmb) ban on further mining in the area where Acopradema says it has already restored some 140 hectares and vegetation has been sown on a further 30 hectares.

The MinAmb edict means that construction work on Margarita has been halted and some 4,000 families are without work according to local association representative Francisco Marcano, quoted in Nueva Prensa del Oriente as saying the MinAmb measure is purely political and affects nine mining companies in the region.

"MinAmb says no restoration plans have been implemented -- i.e. re-vegetation and replacement of equipment -- but that's not true! What has happened is that the Environment Ministry has itself, in some cases, put obstacles in the path of full implementation of existing restoration plans!"

Oscar Toro, president of Acopradema, reveals says that management had signed an agreement with Provita for the experimental planting of native plants on Macanao Peninsula, in collaboration with the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), and to conduct research and university studies on developments at the La Chica mine and that other mining companies have concluded agreements with the Environment Ministry's Tree-project for the reforestation with native species of 15 hectares in in various sectors of the municipality.

Undoubedly the local economy and hundreds of families be stunned by the environmental edict although there is some respite inasmuch as control officials from the State Bureau of Mines and Acopradema environmental advisers have managed to delay, at least in part, full implementation of the ban while remaining committed to protecting the environment for future generations.

The Interior & Justice Ministry, the Regional Legislative Council, the Attorney General and the Macanao Mayor's Office as well as construction trade unions have asked for an urgent debate on whether the MinAmb edict should be considered inconvenient for the region's development.

In statistics: 3,500 individual workers are affected by the measure in an activity generates more than 78 direct jobs. 480 truckers have been halted and 120 sub-contractors could be forced to suspend production within next few days.

VHeadline Venezuela News

Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.

Venezuelan president gives national flag to softball team

Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves on Monday gave the national flag to the women's softball team for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games to be opened on Aug. 8.
'You are already writing pages in the Venezuelan history. From my hands of soldier I give you this flag to the daughters of the homeland, to the daughters of the flag,' Chavez said when delivering the flag to team captain Maria Soto. The Venezuelan team was chosen through a poll called 'Flag bearer for the People' in which the civil population participated for the first time with almost 20 percent of the votes. It is also the first time an overall sports is given the flag to represent Venezuela in an Olympic event. 'We made history when becoming the first women's team to classify for the Olympic Games, so you have to believe in us and in every one of the athletes that will represent Venezuela with pride and gallantry,' Zuleima Cirimelle, receptor of the team, said.

Developers, lawyer indicted in $83M mortgage fraud probe

A federal grand jury in Tampa returned a 47-count indictment against three Tampa Bay area businessmen and a lawyer, accusing them of crimes related to a scheme to defraud seven Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insured banks.

A media release from U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill identified those indicted as:

• Neal Mohammad Husani, a Sarasota developer and owner of Capital Force Inc., an entity which purportedly purchased and sold commercial real estate in Sarasota and Manatee counties;

• Michael A. Tringali, also of Sarasota and the owner of G&T Land Development, which purchased and sold commercial real estate primarily in Sarasota and Manatee counties;

• John A. Yanchek, a Sarasota lawyer who represented Husani in some real estate deals;

• Larry P. Nardelli, a Tampa businessman associated with various area real estate entities.

The grand jury indictment charges the four with conspiracy, making false statements in connection with bank loans and money laundering, the release said.

The FBI began reviewing land deals involving Husani in 2006 as part of a nationwide mortgage fraud investigation called Operation Malicious Mortgage that has resulted in arrests in Florida.

Husani could not be reached. He reportedly left the country after the FBI began its investigation.

A real estate investor from Venezuela, Husani purchased land parcels in Sarasota and Manatee counties between 2004 and 2006 for $42 million and sold them to Tringali and others for nearly $100 million while obtaining millions in loans from various banks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's round up of news from Venezuela -- July 28, 2008

On arrival in Venezuela from a tour of Europe, President Chavez says a new stage has been opened in relations between Venezuela and Spain. Speaking on Spanish television, the President described a meeting with King Juan Carlos as "marvelous," "full of jokes," "memories and plans for the future." Among the topics discussed in Spain were energy, the Return Directive and the uncertainties that the directive has created in Latin America. Among other agreements reached, Chavez states that Venezuela has guaranteed Spain oil supplies for a hundred years given the reserves in Venezuela. Both countries agreed to undertake a shared refinery in Spain and Chavez adds that it is a matter of "accelerated business." Part of the agreement will include an exchange of oil for food and technology from Spain. The only government with which Venezuela has deep-rooted and constant problems, Chavez comments, is the US government.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has opened the process for pre-candidates to regional legislatures and councils. PSUV heirarch and official candidate to the state governorship of Miranda, Diosdado Cabello calls the exercise a strengthening of democracy and says this type of activity is the correct methodology to follow to deepen democracy.

In an effort to end the increasingly bitter debate between the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and minority parties composing the Patriotic Alliance (AP), President Chavez warns that if no consensus is reached regarding candidates, then the minority parties can go their own way. The President forecasts that if they do not reflect on the situation, their names will disappear in the next elections. On the contrary, the PSUV, Chavez maintains, will never disappear. Chavez calls on the parties to stop making public declarations and diatribes and he has given them a week to think about things and change course. The AP has criticized the PSUV national directorate for failing to turn up at national meetings.

Speaking on his Sunday radio address, President Chavez says that deep down Patria Para Todos (PPT), the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), the People's Electoral Movement (MEP) and the Popular Unity of Venezuela (UPV) do not recognize him as the leader. "They will never say so but deep down they are not with Chavez ... talk privately to them and that's what they say." Speaking directly to PPT, Chavez says they are playing at division, seeking out candidates and getting those who lost the primaries excited ... "that's called disloyalty." Chavez has backed PSUV vice president, General (ret.) Alberto Muller Rojas calling on minority parties to respect the General.

During his Sunday radio address, President Chavez inspected several infrastructure works in the Caracas area, specifically the Metrocable project in the San Augustin district. The President calls on government employees working on different infrastructure works in Caracas to speed things up and to fight against bureaucracy. "Sometimes work can be held up a year because somebody has not signed a paper or because they haven't passed on the problem and that has got to stop."

Defining Venezuela's policy towards Colombia, President Chavez insists that Colombia should stop accusing Venezuela of supporting terrorism and the guerrillas and being an enemies of Colombia. Venezuela has a different focus, Chavez admits, but does not see Colombia as an enemy. The President insists that there are some people in Colombia such as Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who considers Venezuela an enemy. Chavez dubs Santos a representative of the oligarchy and the extreme right in Colombia and criticizes the level of subordination that Santos shows towards the United States ... "it harms Colombia and South America and is dangerous for peace."

Patrick J. O'Donoghue


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.