Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lehman College in New York -- NOW RECRUITING!

Venezuelan cargo plane found in Ecuador Andes

Authorities located a downed Venezuelan cargo plane on Sunday after it went missing in the snowcapped Andes five minutes before it was due to land in central Ecuador, civil aviation officials said.
The Boeing 737-200, operated by state-owned Venezuelan carrier Conviasa, lost contact with air traffic controllers Saturday night in the town of Latacunga, where it was scheduled to land for maintenance, Ecuador's Civil Aviation Director Gen. Jorge Zurita told reporters Sunday. Two Venezuelan pilots and a mechanic were aboard, Zurita said. Investigators found the plane's wreckage just northwest of the Illinizas mountains, said Diego Valencia, Red Cross chief in Quito. Rescue workers, soldiers and police continued to search for survivors but were having trouble reaching the remote spot, he said. It was not clear what the cargo plane was carrying. It took off from Maiquetia, home to Venezuela's main international airport. Weather had been clear for the flight, Zurita said.

Venezuela Recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia Independence: Venezuela Recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia Independence

The President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, officially declared Saturday his country's support of Russia and of their decision to recognize South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence. With their President's declaration Venezuela became the second country to officially recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Belarus is the other one - they declared earlier their support of the decision of the Russian government. 'We support Russia. Russia has all the right to defend their own interest,' Chavez said in a televised statement.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Violence in Venezuelan prison leaves at lease eight people dead

The administrator of a Venezuelan prison says at least eight inmates are dead and 16 were injured after a surge of violence.
Eli Salgado of Sabaneta prison in the western state of Zulia says three people were killed and five wounded when inmates were handling an explosive device and it went off. He told reporters that fighting broke out later when prisoners from that cellblock were moved to another area. He said at least five were killed and 11 injured in the unrest on Friday. The situation in the facility has returned to normal. Killings are frequent in Venezuela's prisons. The watchdog group Venezuelan Prisons Observatory has recorded more than 260 violent deaths so far this year.

Venezuelan Mining Company is a Buy

'Ian, should we continue holding the Crystallex (KRY) position you recommended in June?' Having just received that question, we wanted to answer it publicly in case you had a similar question. The shortest, quickest answer is yes. The longer answer: There's still no word on Crystallex's future in Venezuela. But the company is reporting that a team led by the Vice Minister completed a site visit of the Las Cristinas project. 'While it's early to predict the results of the process, we are encouraged by the progress made and the completion of the site visit, and remain optimistic about a prompt and successful completion of the process,' says Crystallex's Chairman and CEO. And, we remain as bullish as the CEO.

Pro-choice voters in the United States must not vote for the McCain/Palin ticket

VHeadline commentarist Mary MacElveen writes: In Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, I was glad that he touched one of the third rails of politics namely abortion when he said, 'We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.'

I am with you, Senator Obama since I am pro-life, but more on that later.

With McCain's selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, this third rail was re-touched upon when the news reported that she is against abortion rights. This was a brilliant move by McCain to connect with Evangelical Christians who do turn out in large numbers primarily because of this one issue.

Also this move by McCain was to sway some Clinton supporters who are angry that Obama did not choose her to pull the lever for McCain. I do not know how well this will work since Senator Clinton is pro-choice. This move was also made to sway those still undecided voters and if they are pro-choice, then the McCain/Palin ticket is not the right choice for them.

As many of you already know through past columns, I am pro-life and I agree with Barack Obama that we as a country must do everything possible to reduce the numbers of abortions. I even took heat for my stance on this issue and that is okay since we can agree to disagree. While I am pro-life, I would never interfere with a woman's right to choose since it is protected by the United States Constitution and I believe in upholding that sacred document.

The thing that worries me should McCain and Palin win is that they will appoint more conservative judges to the bench who are anti-choice.

In addressing this issue in the past, I have confronted others who feel as I do of the sanctity of life. In the past, I have emailed groups such as Operation Rescue that they are not doing their part to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. They may show up at abortion clinics, but by that time, it is already too late. Some of these extremists will badger a woman who is already feeling emotionally torn.

When Obama stated in his speech, 'No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.' I suspect that many faced with unwanted pregnancies feel isolated and alone especially if they do not have health care or come from poverty. Are those pro-lifers on the right just talking the talk without actually giving these women the support they need? How many women who become pregnant without health care are on their own?

Before I get into viable solutions to address this issue, many on the right think of the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez a dictator ... but this is a little known secret that is not openly discussed as it pertains to this issue. In Venezuela, abortion is against the law. It is only legal if the mother's life is in danger. I even wrote of it in a past column titled, Imagine a country that actually takes care of its poor and unborn! What do you say to that, Pat Robertson or other fundamentalist Christian leaders who are against a woman's right to choose?
  • Now if those in the pro-life movement truly want to reduce the number of abortions, here are some viable solutions.
As a preventative measure, sex education should and must be taught in our public schools and that does include how to use birth control. This way a girl doesn�t have to find herself pregnant and alone with no where to turn.

We must as a country also give a pregnant woman the health care she needs during that pregnancy so that she does bring a healthy baby in to this world. We must also ensure that that child does have health care once born. They do so in Venezuela, so why not here in the United States of America?

Children born into poverty in Venezuela are being fed at the 1,100 feeding centers in Venezuela which are funded through the profits made by CITGO oil. This diet contains proteins, starches, vegetable and milk.

All forms of birth control should be covered by one's health insurance if they are lucky to have a health care plan. By the way, most health care policies do cover Viagra should a man need it. I guess a man's sex drive is more important than preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Any pharmacist refusing to fill contraceptive medications such as the pill should be told to go find other work. Their moral stance has no place in the work place if we are going to bring down the number of unwanted pregnancies.

If these terms cannot be met by others who say they are pro-life, they cannot interfere with a woman's right to choose. After all what hope do most of these people give a woman when faced with an unwanted pregnancy without giving her the support she needs?

Barack touched upon personal responsibility last night and this is where parents need to get involved in their own child's life to stem the tide of unwanted pregnancies. This means actually having a discussion with your child about the birds and the bees. I have basically had a talk with my two teenage children saying, 'No condom, no sex.' Much to their embarrassment, I even demonstrated how a condom is used.

Until everyone within government, houses of worship and other social organizations can come to some form of consensus to solve this issue once and for all, a woman right to choose must be protected.

In the meantime any woman who is undecided and men for that matter who do believe in a woman's right to choose should not vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. Those who believe in a woman's right to choose and are angry that Senator Obama did not choose Senator Clinton as his running mate must remember that Clinton is pro-choice.

Therefore, they should not pull the lever for the McCain/Palin ticket.

Mary MacElveen

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.


Friday, August 29, 2008

VHeadline Venezuela Newshour on the American Voice Radio Network (AVRN) -- Friday, August 25, 2008

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: A copy of today's (Friday, August 25) VHeadline Venezuela Newshour broadcast around the world earlier today on the American Voice Radio Network (AVRN) is now available as a downloadable MP3 file.

Anchorman John Sanchez in New York introduces gold investors Glenn Clark and Don Mackey in conversation with VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson.

You may download the audio file for FREE at:

VHeadline Venezuela Newshour is broadcast daily on the American Voice Radio Network at 10 a.m. Pacific, 12 midday US Central, 12.30 p.m. Caracas -- Monday thru Friday -- (repeated the next following day at 3 a.m. Pacific = 6.30 a.m. Caracas)

The VHeadline Venezuela Newshour on AVRN

Contact our central news desk via the following telephones:

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

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.


Ecuadorian President arrives in Venezuela

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, landed early Friday in Manuel Carlos Piar airport, located in the city of Puerto Ordaz, southern Bolívar state, in the context of an official visit.
He was welcomed in the airport by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro, Minister of Basic Industries and Mining Rodolfo Sanz, Bolívar state governor Francisco Rangel Gómez and Ecuadorian ambassador to Venezuela René Vargas Pazos, reported state-run news agency Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (ABN). Correa's visit is intended to strengthen bilateral relations, particularly in the energy field. Both the Ecuadorian president and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez are expected to execute on Friday an agreement on the potential joint development of the Ayacucho oilfield, located at the Orinoco Oil Belt.

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

Finance Minister, Ali Rodriguez Araque admits that he expects inflation to reach around 27% by the end of the year. One of the factors contributing to the high level of inflation, the Minister states, is food. According to the national price index (IPC), food represents around 30% of factors contributing to high inflation rate. However, the Minister does stress that inter-month inflation rate increases have been diminishing.

Another problem, the Finance Minister adds, is the fact that historically the capacity of purchase has surpassed national production since 1934 when there was a strong currency revaluation that had a strong impact on food production.

The external public debt is expected to increase 9.4%, while internal debt is down 40.30%, which, the Minister announces, brings the increase down to 0.42%. Relating public debt to the gross domestic product (GDP), Rodriguez Araque argues, means it is reducing significantly ... "the relation between the two has been diminishing from 47.6% in 2003 to 19.3% in 2007."

In other economic news, the Finance Minister says slight increases have been registered in the oil and manufacturing sectors. The latter is above 4% with the tendency of new increases boosted by new initiatives, such as a fund to finance new companies and expand existing ones presented last Tuesday by the Planning Minister.

In the agricultural sector, Rodriguez Araque points out, there are now 2.5 million hectares under production bringing increases in certain products, thanks to the government's agrarian reform. Although domestic agricultural production does not satisfy demand, the Minister announces that the government has covered demand for rice till the end of the year, along with white and yellow maize. The government is continuing to import fertilized eggs for chicken production and is setting up policies to boost production and supply to meet requirements.

President Chavez states that Argentina and Venezuela are growing close together in setting up national development projects. Chavez made the statement during the signing of contracts with Argentinean companies. The President recalls that links of strategic operations started under the presidency of Nestor Kirchner and a number of mechanisms have been set up to free the economies of both countries from neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Among the agreements signed yesterday are: to set up three oil pipeline recovery factories in Cabimas (Zulia), a factory of medium- powered motors in Tinaquillo (Cojedes), three cereal, vegetable and oil transformation plants in Mene Grande (Zulia), La Fria (Tachira) and Bobare (Lara), and four factories in Zulia, Monagas and Barinas to build structures for buildings .

Several military officers have been sentenced to prison for irregularities in the administration of funds for the construction of the Ezequiel Zamora Sugar Agri-Industrial Complex (Caaez) situated in Barinas. Army Captain Franklin Jose Castillo, and Major Orlando Herrera Sierralta received sentences of seven years and seven months prison, while civilians, Juan Carlos Herrera Sierralta and Roberto Valecillos Jara received a prison sentences of one-year nine months. Two others were freed of charges after being accused of facilitating the scam. The investigation started in 2004 after the above attempted to cash a check for Bs. F 220,000 bolivares, along with other checks. In 2006, the Attorney General's Office presented charges against those sentenced. In the case of General Delfin Gomez Parra accused of the same charges, it has been learned that the court in Barinas will proceed with charges.

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.


The Same old Baloney: Put simply ... unprincipled jerks do whatever they must do to protect their cushy jobs!

VHeadline's Washington DC-based commentarist Chris Herz writes: We read that a significant number of low-level Republican officials are abandoning their party throughout the middle of the USA -- in districts lily-white and formerly thought safe for our conservatives. These are people like state representatives, city councilmen, etc. This is all quite reminiscent of the period from 1980 to the present when similar elected officers left the Democrats to join the Republicans.

  • Put simply, unprincipled jerks do whatever they must do to protect their cushy jobs.

This is the first concrete indicator I have seen to counteract the corporate media spin that Barack Obama's Democrats are actually slightly behind McCain's Republicans in various polls. Frankly readers, I cannot yet abandon my frequently-stated opinion that, somehow, the Democrats will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the coming elections, but this one shakes my certainties ... for such local officials are uniquely positioned to read the tea leaves at the grass roots.

But still, it is an absolute fact that across broad reaches of the USA it is simply beyond credibility to believe that most Anglo male voters will EVER, under any circumstances at all, vote for a Black for president. It is this inveterate racism, pure and simple that has accounted for the success of the conservatives here since 1968.

This racism focused overwhelmingly against Blacks, but evident also in our national debate on what is a predominantly Hispanic -- or really native-American immigration from Latin America -- is in every sense equivalent to the most virulent racial or ethnic hatreds to be found anywhere in Europe. Croat versus Serb, Irish versus English, compare it to the worst you know and you barely begin to understand us. In the USA we are all either Black or White. It does not matter much here whether your ethnicity is French, English, German, Irish or Italian -- or even Asian. You are White, not Black, and therefore 100 percent American.

And it is to anti-Black racism that we owe this national unity. Here in Northern Virginia where I work more Whites will abstain, correctly understanding that no likely government will support working people of whatever race than will vote for Obama. Likewise in my homeland in Western Maryland ... and I suspect this tendency is just as strong in nearby Pennsylvannia, Ohio and West Virginia. No one can win the presidency without these states. I am also certain that this is also so in all the ex-urban districts of all other states.

The prevailing attitude in the southern states of the old Confederacy goes without saying.

In my wife's home state of California, the vote will go for McCain and the conservatives everywhere except in the Los Angeles and San Francisco urban areas: Which because of their massive populations may deliver that state to the Democrats. Again reflective of this deep and intractable ethnic divide. But here as in many other urbanized states, like New York or New Jersey the new ethnic identity of the USA where Whites are already in the minority, as they will be within the next 25 years throughout the country, brings a new dynamic to our polity.

This is going to be a fun election for us observers -- so long as we do not expect any major policy changes. Those have already been ruled out decisively. After all, both candidates are corporate militarists. Please observe our electoral process as if it were a football game: Lots of action but in the end it does not greatly matter who wins.

But what is much more interesting is whether the USA will be able, as it becomes more multi-racial, to maintain its national cohesion. I suspect that it will not. Because beyond ethnic politics we nowadays have little that defines us as American. Like between Georgians and Ossetians and Russians the insults, the violence and suppression have gone so far that reconciliation may be impossible. After all, in most of our urban areas, as many as a third of all male Blacks have been criminalized since 1968. And all others live under constant police surveillance, stupid and petty harassment and a total economic and social control. Then also the police state which has long since replaced the Great Republic already focuses its baleful attentions upon Hispanic and native-American citizens as well.

Blood has been shed and will not easily be forgotten.

And then, as ever in our past, some of the most extreme of White racial supremacists have already made their statements: In Florida a potential assassin has been arrested; likewise a group of Aryan Nation neo-Nazi types in Colorado. Much more that we or the authorities cannot know is probably in train. I fear Obama is doomed to fall to the bullets of these weirdos, as did Martin Luther King, Jr. before him. That too will be a divisive event of the first magnitude.

Barack Obama has made a serious mistake, I believe, in underestimating the magnitude of the threat to his life.

One rooted as I have shown you in the deepest definition of what it means to be American. Had he been capable -- and as a corporate politician he is not -- of estimating the real nature of the American polity he would never have nominated as his vice an apparatchik like Joe Biden. No indeed ... he would have nominated as extreme a leftist as his party affords ... someone like Dennis Kucinich.

Only that could motivate the US establishment to protect his life.

From the Imperial Capital

Chris Herz


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.


Ambassador Odeen Ishmael: Petro-Caribe alliance tackles the food crisis

VHeadline commentarist, Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela, Dr. Odeen Ishmael writes: As part of the effort to promote regional food security, Ministers of Agriculture of the 18-member Petro-Caribe alliance met in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on July 30 to discuss urgent issues affecting food production in their respective countries.

Two weeks before, at the 5th extraordinary Petro-Caribe summit in Maracaibo, Venezuela, heads of delegations had expressed grave concerns over the escalating prices of agricultural inputs, especially urea, a bi-product of the petroleum industry.

To alleviate this situation, President Chavez then proposed a Venezuelan offer of 100,000 metric tonnes of this commodity annually to Petro-Caribe countries with a 40% discount at market price.

Chavez, at the same time, also announced the creation of a Petroalimentos (Petro-Food) Fund, expected to accumulate more than US$500 million annually through a donation by Venezuela of $0.50 from each barrel of crude oil sold at more than US$100 to non-Petro-Caribe member-states. All of these initiatives, no doubt, will help revitalize the agricultural sectors of member countries seeking to boost their agricultural production and offset the current high prices for food products.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya then suggested the holding of an emergency meeting of agriculture ministers in his country to assess each country�s fertilizer requirements and develop areas of cooperation to improve agricultural production.

Another purpose of this Honduras ministerial was to establish an organizational structure for the Petroalimentos Fund while addressing the issues of rural development through the implementation of various projects. The overall aim would be to assist member countries in ensuring food security with the overall objective of improving the quality of life within the region.
Attending the meeting were representatives from Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Surinam and Venezuela. Delegations from Bolivia, Costa Rica and Ecuador participated as observers.

In opening remarks, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya stressed that said the Petro-Caribe alliance was trying to deal with the current crisis, because "the most vulnerable countries are the most affected." He noted that the crisis has been mainly caused by the gap between demand and supply and by market speculation. He revealed, too, that his country would submit projects on irrigation, agriculture research, agricultural supplies, fertilizers and improved seed production, machinery and production equipment, drying and storage, lab installation and rural funding.

Other countries are currently in the process of submitting project proposals. So far, St. Kitts has submitted three, namely, the establishment of a fruit and vegetable packing house, irrigation development for crop farmers, and small ruminants� development. And even before the Honduras meeting, Guyana presented a request for the purchase of a substantial quantity of fertilizers under the special discount concessions announced by Venezuela.

In the ensuing discussions, the participants also agreed to identify funding for innovative farming projects that seek to promote sustainable food production, distribution and exchange under principles of equity and co-operation.

In addition, the delegates decided to promote national public investments and cooperation alliances among the member countries in the areas of agricultural knowledge and science and technology. Emphasis will be placed on crop and cattle systems, fishing industries, improvement of irrigation systems in areas affected by recurrent drought, and the development of ecological systems, taking into consideration the impact brought about by climate change.

Significantly, the meeting set up a Council of Agriculture Ministers headed by Venezuela's Agriculture and Land Minister Elias Milano. He will lead an eight-member technical executive committee to gather the proposals by the various member states and administer the Petroalimentos Fund. On this committee, the Central American region is represented by Honduras and Nicaragua; the Caribbean islands by Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba and the Dominican Republic; and South America by Venezuela and Suriname. (Guyana and Suriname subsequently agreed to share this responsibility).

This executive committee subsequently met in Havana on 11-12 August where they examined a list of projects submitted so far by member countries. And with regard to fertilizers, each country will submit its needs and the secretariat will be tasked with acquiring this commodity for the region, instead of each country attempting to procure supplies on its own.

The Havana meeting also finalized the terms of reference of how the Petroalimentos Fund will be administered in terms of the criteria, the focus, promoting local production, consumption and trade between member countries and ensuring that it does not conflict with other institutions like Caricom.

But the highlight of these deliberations was the release of $40 million accumulated so far from the Petroalimentos Fund for use by 18 member-states. In the short term, approximately $2 million will be allocated to each of the 18 countries for specific areas of food production and productivity, such as machinery, fertilizers, planting materials and feeds, training and any other critical areas to support emergency food initiatives.

These decisions on the administrative terms of the Fund will have to be ratified by the respective countries, and a follow-up ministerial is proposed for September in Honduras for the official signing of the agreement related to the allocation for each country.

Odeen Ishmael

(The writer is Guyana's Ambassador to Venezuela. The views expressed are solely those of the writer.)


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.


Rusoro Mining Reports Q2 2008 Financial Results

During Q2 2008, all Venezuelan operations, development and exploration projects were hit by higher than expected costs due to the depreciation of the U.S.-dollar-to-Venezuela-bolivar exchange rate from 4.98 during Q1 2008 to 3.51 bolivars per dollar during Q2 2008.
Steps are underway to mitigate this situation by changing the nature and currency of some of the major mining, development and exploration contracts. - Some mine fleet equipment ordered in Q4, 2007, started to arrive on site at Choco 10 mine towards the latter part of Q2 2008 and is being readied for trials and production. Although the Company has suffered delays in the importation of key equipment into Venezuela, it is expected that most of the ordered equipment will arrive in the next several weeks. - Choco 10 mill performed beyond expectations with another record performance of a monthly average of 209,414 Mt tonnes treated in Q2 2008. - During Q2 2008, the Company awarded the mandate to complete scoping and feasibility studies for Choco 10 mine to Micon International Ltd. - Significant gold exploration discoveries were made at the Valle Hondo, Increible 14 and Yuruan projects during Q2 2008.

Venezuela-China US$6bil fund likely to double in size

President Hugo Chavez says a US$6 billion Venezuelan-Chinese fund to finance joint development projects between the two countries could double in size. The fund partly aimed at increasing Venezuelan oil exports to China from 150,000 to 800,000 barrels a day was part of a series of agreements signed last year. Chavez says the fund could be increased to US$12 billion during his upcoming visit to China.
Chavez said on Thursday that 'it's likely that we will renew the fund for six billion more.'' Venezuela invested US$2 billion in the fund while China allocated US$4 billion. Under Chavez, Venezuela has fostered increasingly close ties with China as it seeks new markets for its oil beyond the United States.

Venezuela considers repurchasing debt

Venezuela is considering plans to repurchase debt, as well as the possible issuance of new securities, Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez said.
''We are analyzing the subject.'' The government is seeking to slow Venezuelan inflation without resorting to measures that will restrain consumption. The economy is ''structurally inflationary,'' he said, reiterating his expectation that prices will rise 27 percent this year, above the country's 19.5 percent target.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Putin: US orchestrated conflict in Georgia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of pushing Georgia toward war and said he suspects a connection to the U.S. presidential campaign — a contention the White House dismissed as "patently false."

In another sign of unraveling Russia-U.S. ties, Putin said that 19 U.S. poultry producers will be barred from exporting their products to Russia. Putin, the former president and architect of an assertive foreign policy that stoked East-West tension even before Russia's war with the U.S.-allied ex-Soviet republic, suggested in an interview with CNN that there was an American presence amid the combat with a potential domestic U.S. political motive.

"We have serious grounds to think that there were U.S. citizens right in the combat zone," he said the interview broadcast on state-run Russian television. "And if that's so, if that is confirmed, it's very bad. It's very dangerous."

Putin's acid attack on the United States came as Moscow's bid to redraw Georgia's borders hit an obstacle among its Asian allies. France, meanwhile, said the European Union is considering sanctions against Russia for its conduct in the Caucasus. The Russian leader said the poultry decision was unrelated to the Georgia issue. He said that the unnamed American producers ignored demands that they correct alleged deficiencies after examinations by Russian inspectors last year.

"We try and keep our industry out of politics and into marketing opportunities, but sometimes it's very difficult to separate the two," said Jim Sumner, president of the U.S.A. Poultry & Egg Export Council. He said Russia is a major market for American producers.

Putin said that Russia had hoped the U.S. would to restrain Georgia, which Moscow accuses of starting the war by attacking South Ossetia on Aug. 7. Instead, he suggested the U.S. encouraged the nation's leadership to try to rein in the separatist region by force.

"The American side in fact armed and trained the Georgian army," Putin said. "Why hold years of difficult talks and seek complex compromise solutions in interethnic conflicts? It's easier to arm one side and push it into the murder of the other side, and it's over. It seems like an easy solution. In reality it turns out that it's not always so," he said.

The United States has close ties with the Georgian government and has trained Georgian units, including for service in Iraq. But Russian officials have made statements aimed to convey the idea that Americans may have directly supported Georgia's offensive.

At a briefing Tuesday, the deputy chief of Russian military general staff, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, showed off a color copy of what he said was a U.S. passport found in a basement in a village in South Ossetia among items that belonged to Georgian forces. "We found a passport for Michael Lee White," Nogovitsyn said. "He's a Texan."

The U.S. Embassy in Georgia said it had no information on the matter.

Putin appeared to link claims of an American presence amid the combat with a potential domestic U.S. political motive. "If my guesses are confirmed, then that raises the suspicion that somebody in the United States purposefully created this conflict with the aim of aggravating the situation and creating an advantage ... for one of the candidates in the battle for the post of U.S. president." Putin did not name a party or candidate.

White House press secretary Dana Perino called Putin's contentions "patently false." She said "it also sounds like his defense officials who said they believe this to be true are giving him really bad advice." She added: "To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate just sounds not rational." Perino said Russia is facing the consequences of a diminished global reputation and that "there will be other" consequences as well. She refused to say what they would be and said there is no timetable.

Putin said the imminent ban on imports from 19 poultry producers was "purely economic." He said another 29 producers would receive warnings.

U.S. producers supply nearly 75 percent of the total poultry import quota set by Russia, which stands at 1.2 million tons. Russia represented the largest export market for chicken broilers made by U.S. producers in the first half of this year, said Jim Sumner, president of the U.S.A. Poultry & Egg Export Council. Sumner said he expected the alleged plant deficiencies to be corrected within weeks or a few months and said the stoppage would not have a major impact on U.S. producers.

In Tajikistan, China and four Central Asian nations joined Russia in criticizing the West. Wary of separatists and restive religious groups at home, however, they stopped short of heeding Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's call to carve out two new nations in a volatile region at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Medvedev had appealed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — whose members are Russia, China, and four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — for unanimous support of Moscow's response to Georgia's "aggression." But none joined Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, as independent countries.

"The participants ... underscore the need for respect of the historical and cultural traditions of each country and each people, and for efforts aimed at preserving the unity of the state and its territorial integrity," the declaration said.

The statement offered some praise of Moscow's actions, at least in the context of the peace deal signed five days after the war began. It said members welcome the cease-fire and "support the active role of Russia in promoting peace and cooperation in the given region." But Alexei Malashenko, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said the summit highlighted Russia's isolation, noting that not even U.S. foes Cuba and Venezuela have followed Russia's lead on recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"The Soviet Union was not so alone even in 1968," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio, referring to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that crushed a liberal reform movement in the Warsaw Pact nation.

Western leaders have added condemnation of Russian recognition to their accusations that Moscow used disproportionate force in its Georgia offensive and has fallen far short of its withdrawal commitments under an EU cease-fire deal. The EU is "trying to draw up a strong text signifying our unwillingness to accept" Russia's stance, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Thursday.

"Sanctions are being considered ... and many other means as well," Kouchner told a news conference. The Foreign Ministry said later that France was not behind a sanctions proposal and that France's role would be to help reach a common EU position.

Katrina survivors turn to Venezuela for support

Some survivors of Hurricane Katrina say they aren't getting enough attention from the Bush administration, so they're turning to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez for help.
Ishmael Muhammad of the New Orleans Survivor Council has visited Venezuela three times to seek funding and forge ties. He says the group hopes to raise US$45,000 for a center to house 50 people as they rebuild their homes. He says the community knows the Venezuelan government «could use it for political propaganda, but they're OK with that. Venezuelan Congressman Francisco Torrealba says his government is trying to secure funding. Friday is the third anniversary of Katrina's landfall in Louisiana.

Ken Livingstone, out of touch and out of office

Have you heard the news, yes it's true Ken Livingstone is in Venezuela and he is to become a consultant to the left wing President Hugo Chavez.

Well for once I honestly think Ken Livingstone has found his long awaited role and calling in life and that's working for a good old left winger, because the only place in the United Kingdom that needs a left winger is the England football team.

Just imagine what life will be like in Caracus if Ken Livingstone gets his way, maybe he could broker a deal with our present Mayor Boris Johnson and rid London of the awful costly bendy buses. Surely the good citizens of Caracus will have a Ken-gestion charge to look forward to, you know the £8.00p a day charge that's done nothing to improve the flow of traffic within central London. Oh let's not forget CCTV enforcement of parking laws and a tough enforcement regime for those who dare to say you've got it wrong.

But let's not forget when Londoners voted Ken Livingstone out of office gun and knife crime was out of control, it will take at least two to three years of intelligent proactive policing to redress the balance by enforcing the law firmly and fairly across all communities. In the year ending 2007 twenty seven youths lost their lives to a gun or knife. Ken Livingstone never had the answer, in fact it was under his watch that here in London we had seen a rapid increase in disaffected young people, for all the spin and hype and the Lond"ON" logo's the capital became a much harder place for young people from working class backgrounds to live and grow up in. Opportunity didn't knock and the ex Mayor never really harnessed the goodwill of the wealthy and the corporate world within the M25, this was a wasted opportunity to make a real difference to people's lives.

Transport never really improved when you consider the vast sums of taxpayers money ploughed into bus services which for the best part of the day and night remain empty and only manage a average occupancy rate of fourteen passengers per hour because of the morning and evening rush hours. Traffic levels dropped but journey times increased, red traffic lights stayed that way for longer and roads narrowed with pinch points, which only added to the misery of people trying to earn a living by travelling to work.

You see in the modern world of Politics people accused the Rt Hon Tony Blair of spinning yet here was the ultimate spin merchant, if it wasn't for Monty Panesar Ken Livingstone would have been drafted into the England Cricket team !

Londoners came out and voted for Boris Johnson because Ken Livingstone failed, failed to live up to his own spin and hype. Having taxed hard working Londoners and ignored all those who lived beyond central London he finally paid with a electoral defeat that should have consigned him to the history books, but like a heavyweight boxer desperate for fame and fortune Ken Livingstone gets up after a knockout and tries desperately to undermine his victorious opponent, whilst seeking a rematch from the position of the defeated.

The Labour Party rid themselves of a winner in the Rt Hon Tony Blair and I'm sure they won't make another disastrous mistake and pick a loser for Mayor in 2012. Ken you are not just out of touch, 1.1 million Londoners voted you out of office, Goodbye.

Techint likely to sue Venezuela over Sidor takeover

Argentinean-Italian conglomerate Techint is pondering the possibility of filing an action against Venezuela, after President Hugo Chávez Wednesday suspended the talks on the terms under which the holding is to sell to the Venezuelan state a majority stake in the country's largest steelmaker Sidor, said sources of the group quoted by Buenos Aires newspapers.
Techint officials said they were likely to bring an action before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid), the arbitration tribunal of the World Bank, after Techint was 'surprised' by the 'arbitrary and unilateral' decision taken by Chávez, EFE reported.
The Venezuelan president on Wednesday suspended negotiations with Techint and said he would pay 'the real value.' 'We will pay them at the pace that we can,' Chávez claimed.

Chávez, Néstor Kirchner to meet in Caracas next September 10

Former Argentinean President Néstor Kirchner will travel on September 10 to Venezuela for talks with President Hugo Chávez on bilateral issues, including the negotiations with Argentinean-Italian Techint group and the possible new issuance of Argentinean bonds, newspaper Crítica said.
Kirchner is visiting Caracas before his wife, Argentinean President Cristina Fernández, travels to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, sources close to the Peronist politician said, as reported by DPA. The meeting would take place after Chávez's decision to suspend negotiations with Techint with respect to the nationalization of Venezuelan steelmaker company Siderúrgica del Orinoco, Sidor. One of the issues to be discussed could be the high interest rate charged by Venezuela this month to purchase USD 1 billion in Argentinean bonds and the crisis provoked by the immediate resale of those papers, which caused the Argentinean bond prices to tumble.

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

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo to investigate an alleged expansion of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua as well as some European countries. The prosecutor is in Bogota at the invitation of the Colombian government. Moreno Ocampo says the ICC has asked several governments to clarify if there are FARC support networks operating in their territory. The prosecutor, who is from the Argentine, says the existence of international networks of a group responsible for committing crimes in Colombia could come under the competence of the ICC and he clarifies without providing names that some of Colombia's neighbors have asked the court to investigate possible FARC activities in Mexico, and Denmark, Holland and Switzerland.

Former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone has met President Chavez in Miraflores. Livingstone had been invited to visit Caracas when President Chavez visited to London in 2005. The return visit planned for the end of 2005 had to be aborted because of the agitated presidential electoral schedule. It has been learned that President Chavez has called on Mayor Livingstone to act as an adviser in municipal matters to the city of Caracas. The new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson terminated an agreement between the Venezuelan government and the London Mayor's Office, offering subsidies for poorer Londoners on buses in exchange for technical aid in municipal matters, such as traffic control and garbage collection.

President Chavez has denied the existence of any new telecommunications law, stating emphatically that the Enabling Law period has ended, and he warns Venezuelans not to heed opposition media campaigns. The President also says there is no law pending in the Executive or the National Assembly ... the opposition is just creating a fuss about nothing.

President Chavez has dismissed the opposition's signature collection campaign and other actions against the 26 laws decreed as part of the enabling law. Chavez says the laws were executed within the legal framework, and he will not accept interference on the part of any international organs on the matter after the opposition announced that it will take the issue to the Organisation of American States (OAS) and international courts.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) accuses the opposition of converting the 26 decree laws into its electoral campaign manager.

A settlement has been announced with the Mexican cement company, Cemex. President Chavez reveals that the agreement was reached thanks to the intervention of Mexico's Ambassador in Venezuela. Executive Vice President, Ramon Carrizalez says negotiations with Cemex are different from those with the other cement companies because negotiations with the Mexican company centered around the right price and took place within the framework of a decree of expropriation. The Venezuelan government, Carrizalez maintains, will respect the company's rights without abandoning its own rights.

President Chavez has been speaking about the new law draft aimed at reordering the internal market of liquid combustibles, which is due up for discussion in the National Assembly. The President says the idea is to get rid of intermediaries and set up a direct chain of distribution from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to gasoline stations. Chavez insists that the new legal instrument wants to eradicate vices generated by intermediaries and increase profit margins. Opposition broadsheets proclaiming so-called expropriation of gasoline stations came under presidential attack as "part of their media laboratories."

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.


Gold investors Glen Clark and Don Mackey are scheduled to discuss the latest developments in Venezuela's gold mining industry

VHeadline Venezuela News reports: Gold investors Glen Clark and Don Mackey are scheduled to discuss the latest developments in Venezuela's gold mining industry on Friday's edition of the VHeadline Venezuela Newshour to be broadcast internationally on the American Voice Radio Network (AVRN) at 10.00 a.m. Pacific (1.00 p.m. New York) on Friday, August 29.

At issue is the imminent issuance of the final EIS permit for Crystallex International (KRY) to start-up operations at the 100% Venezuela-owned Las Cristinas gold mine under its exclusive contract with state-owned Venezuelan Guayana Corporation (CVG). The Environment Ministry (MinAmb) has signaled Crystallex' full compliance with all points previously raised by the Ministry and no further objections have been raised to the full and final permitting.

The program will also discuss the latest developments with regard to the Agapov Gorup's Rusoro Mining's alleged US$90,000,000 offer to take over a Gold Reserve (GRZ) claim to a "concession" at nearby Las Brisas del Cuyuni which gas remained paralyzed since the middle of may when the Environment Minister (MinAmb) Yubiri Ortega de Carrizales shocked the investment work in a tangental claim that she would halt all mining operations in resource-rich Venezuela.

Gold Reserve has already said it had discussed (and rejected?) a government proposal to joint-venture Las Brisas and Las Cristinas ... but is this yet another flight of fantasy on the part of GRZ' redoubtable Belanger/Timm executive combo or is it the end-game for the US-Spokane-based gold seeker's on/off ambitions in Venezuela?

VHeadline Venezuela Newshour will explore these eventualities on Friday's show to be broadcast live at 1.00 p.m. New York time on the American Voice Radio Network (AVRN) across America and around the world. You can monitor today's show on the Internet as well...

VHeadline Venezuela Newshour is broadcast on the American Voice Radio Network at 10 a.m. Pacific, 12 midday US Central, 12.30 p.m. Caracas -- Monday thru Friday -- (repeated the next following day at 3 a.m. Pacific = 6.30 a.m. Caracas)

The VHeadline Venezuela Newshour on AVRN
Contact our central news desk via the following telephones:

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

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.


Wikileaks touts information on Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's regime

The whistle-blowers' website Wikileaks has marked a change in strategy, calling for media organisations to bid for what it claims is exclusive and confidential information that gives insights into the government of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president.

Wikileaks claims to offer a confidential and high-profile platform for documents that will help expose corruption and unethical practice in government and business - but has, until now, provided access to documentation for free.

But on Tuesday, the site announced that it will auction what it claims are three years of emails from an aide of Chávez to the highest bidder.
Written between 2005 and 2008, the emails purportedly give insights into CIA activities in Venezuela, an incursion by the Colombian Army and how Chávez has managed his government. The winner of the auction will receive the emails under embargo, though the documents will eventually be published on Wikileaks.

The move follows comments earlier this year by one of Wikileaks' coordinators, Julian Assange, who told Wired magazine that the site had turned into a "free-for-all" and that it planned to drop the wiki model.

Despite its popularity, the intensive work of analysing and investigating documents posted on the Wikileaks site is still being carried out by its own staff and a small group of academics. Assange said the site would move to pre-release documents to paying journalists.

In an update to Wired last night, Assange blamed mainstream news organisations for wasting "first-rate source material", because they refused to invest in analysis without what he called "additional incentives".

"The economics are counter-intuitive - temporarily restrict supply to increase uptake," he said. "This is not what we wanted to find, but it has been our solid experience over two years and is a known paradox in economics. Given that Wikileaks needs to restrict supply for a period to increase perceived value to the point that journalists will invest time to produce quality stories, the question arises as to which method should be employed to apportion material to those who are most likely to invest in it."

Earlier this year Wikileaks was backed by news organisations and free speech advocates when a Swiss investment bank issued an injunction to close the site down. The bank eventually dropped the suit after a judge reversed a decision to close the site. Swiss investment bank Julius Baer had objected to documents being posted on Wikileaks that detailed its offshore trading activities.

Why I'm NOT taking up an offer of a job to clean the lavatories at Gold Reserve's Spokane HQ...

VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: When I first became embroiled in reporting Venezuela's mining industry in 1996, I already understood that there was a plethora of shady individuals involved in an accumulation of political and economic corruption and political favors given over more than a half century of pseudo-democratic misrule since the fall of the the Marcos Perez Jimenez dictatorship in January 1958.

Certainly, there was more than an urgent need for President Hugo Chavez Frias to deal firmly with its worst excesses in the area of mining for gold and precious stones as soon as he became President in February 1999 ... but it is now more than nine long years since then and the surface has only just been scratched!

The complete nationalization of Venezuela's industrial, financial and mineral & natural resources took place way back in 1976 under the quasi-dictatorship of corrupt President Carlos Andres Perez (CAP), though his patriotic (?) allegiances appear more to have been to Washington D.C. than Caracas ... and who, after impeachment in May 1993 and imprisonment for two years in 1994 on $250 million corruption charges, is now 'suffering' in financially richer retirement in Florida with luxury pads close to Central Park, New York, and in the Dominican Republic ... who says crime doesn't pay?

Corrupt presidential mandates since CAP's Supreme Court demise have sought to profit from a pseudo-privatization of key industries ... mostly oil ... but the massive gold fields in the Guayana region of southeastern Venezuela were largely abandoned or fought-over through the Venezuelan courts, or hauled off to international arbitration procedures that serve mostly to keep a legion of lawyers on the lucrative food-chain for the longest possible delays.

My rather ruder introduction, some 11 or so years ago, to USA-Washington State Spokane-based Gold Reserve (GRZ) came out of the blue when for the first time (but not for the last) I questioned the veracity of a Press Release issued by the (Vancouver stock exchange listed) gold seeker with respect to their "claim" of a concession at Las Brisas del Cuyuni bordering on the then-disputed Placer Dome (PDG) "concession" at Las Cristinas 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Enduring a 40-minute international telephone diatribe of obscenities from a "GRZ spokesperson" I was told that a journalist has NO right to question the veracity of Gold Reserve's PR. ??? Quite frankly, the overall tone of the "conversation" only served to heighten my instinctive misgivings of Gold Reserve's then "representations" and, as the years piled by, the opinion was further enforced by what I can only opine as deliberately misleading statements by GRZ president A. Douglas Belanger and CEO Rockne J. Timm. Sufficient to say that GRZ news was treated with usual suspicion and mostly at the end of a very long barge pole.

NOW, of course, we are treated to the "news" that the Agapov Group's Rusoro Mining is alleged by Bellanger to have offered about US$90 million for Gold Reserve's alleged "rights" at the 10 million ounce Las Brisas gold project ... which he claims to have been trying to put "into production for more than 15 years!"

THAT comes on the heels of a previous (unsupported) claim that Gold Reserve had been in talks with Venezuela's Ministry of Basic Industries & Mines (Mibam) on a combined Las Brisas and Las Cristinas joint venture and, quite frankly, one is left in moderate disbelief as ill-informed but usually savvy North American day traders squabble over what to believe and how to profit best from market movements a few cents one way or the other.

Reportedly Gold Reserve's stock is 71% down this year after Venezuela's Environment Ministry (MinAmb) rescinded a permit at Las Brisas in May this year ... THEN comes the 'out of the blue' news (like the 'news' of the Las Brisas/Las Cristinas JV) that the Russians have outlined "a potential takeover offer" which Belanger alleges to be "worth about $90 million."

In a press release, yesterday, Belanger emphatically states that "Gold Reserve is not for sale" ... which is rather amusing, and quite rich, coming from a North American executive who has been running around for at least the past couple of years with a giant billboard pinned to the back of his jacket proclaiming that it's a "sell" if the exorbitant price is right! Dream on...

At this stage Rusoro president George Salamis has quite rightly declined to comment... And a best bet is that there are no prizes for guessing why!

Like so many other points in time during the Belanger/Timm combo's luckless careers in the jungles of Venezuela, it looks like the PR fest is about to run out of steam. Without much prospect of EVER getting Las Brisas off the starting block (and to my mind not much ambition there either), and with Venezuela's gold (and let's not forget the copper!) mining sector finally coming under government regulation for and on behalf of the true owners of Las Brisas del Cuyuni (i.e. the Venezuelan people!) it's a sure bet that, sooner or later, the stock exchange punters across North America and Europe will wake up to the fact that Gold Reserve (GRZ) doesn't OWN a centimeter of dirt on the land where it's outdated and untenable "concession" lies.

Since they're NOT (apparently) prepared to go into a joint venture with the Venezuelan government; and since they're NOT prepared to take Rusoro's allegedly proffered $90 million (what for?) and scurry away, what's left? Belanger and Timm are in deep doo-doo!

Which is why I'm NOT taking them up on their emailed offer, some months back, of a job brushing the lavatories at their Spokane HQ, cleaning up the mess they've created all by themselves...

Roy S. Carson


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.


Duno draws ire and fire on IndyCar circuit

Milka Duno is eager to make a name for herself in the IndyCar Series, but not the way it came across last month when she had her picture splashed all over the Internet. Duno and fellow IndyCar driver Danica Patrick were caught on videotape having a confrontation in pit row. Patrick took exception to Duno's driving during a practice session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and approached Duno and her team. Duno responded by twice throwing a white towel at Patrick before eventually yelling at her to leave. Patrick responded by saying, 'It's not my fault you are slow.' The fiery Venezuelan was unapologetic as she arrived in Detroit Wednesday to prepare for this weekend's Grand Prix race on Belle Isle. 'It's just in the past,' Duno said when asked if she's sat down with Patrick to sort things out. 'We don't need to.'

Venezuela nets $4.3 bn in windfall oil profit tax

Venezuela has raked in $4.3 billion from a tax on windfall oil profits it started collecting from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela in mid-April, President Hugo Chavez said.
“Up to now we have obtained $4.3 billion,” President Hugo Chavez told his ministers during a publicly broadcast cabinet meeting. Of that, $800 million has already been used by the Chavez administration, while $3.56 billion have been placed in a fund, Chavez said, without elaborating further. Venezuela's legislature im mid-April approved a 'mandatory contribution' on windfall oil profits, as oil prices surged to record levels worldwide. The measure is levied on profits when oil prices rise above $70 per barrel, officials said, beginning at 50 per cent and increasing to 60 per cent when prices top $100 per barrel, using the barrel of Brent crude as a reference price.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tourism in Venezuela grows in options and progresses towards socialism

Progressive incorporation of organized communities, communal councils and other ways of people's participation working to support tourist activities, together with public and private institutions, is the best way to describe the actual stage of tourism in Venezuela.
Following the principles of participatory and protagonic democracy and the values of cooperation, joint responsibility and solidarity, different social actors join efforts aiming to position the tourist activity as a strategic factor of social and economic diversity and sustainable development of Venezuela. Following such premise, the Ministry of People's Power for Tourism (Mintur, Spanish acronym) has stressed its focus on recovering the tourist assets which were in hands of the private sector or the State's through other institutions. The statement was issued by the Minister of that office, Olga Cecilia Azuaje, during an exclusive interview with the Bolivarian Agency of News (ABN). Azuaje recalled that last year, during first stage of her administration, she focused all the activity in recovering the deteriorated, abandoned and even out of order spaces. 'The idea is that Mintur, as ruling body, start to manage and commercialize those assets, refuting the allegation about that all the spaces rescued by the State lose their qualities; on the contrary, those are in better conditions and more affordable for the population,' she stated.

Landowners Attack Venezuelan Indigenous Clamoring for Land Rights in Zulia

A Venezuelan indigenous community belonging to the Yukpa ethnic group, which is demanding legal title to its ancestral lands, was attacked last week by hundreds of armed aggressors.
According to the Yukpa, the aggressors were hired by elite landowners to evict the indigenous population from the vast, largely idle pastures in the region known as the Sierra de Perijá near Venezuela’s northwestern border with Colombia. The attacks were the latest and largest in a string of attempts to intimidate and terrorize a Yukpa community since they intensified their land recuperation efforts efforts over the past year by occupying 14 privately owned estates known as Haciendas. Last month, prominent estate owner Alejandro Vargas and four others, armed with handguns and machetes, attempted to assassinate the Yukpa cacique (chief) who is leading the occupations, Sabino Romero, and in the process killed Romero’s elderly father. “They arrived quietly and hit me over the neck with their guns and hit me in the back. They grabbed me by the hair and dragged me and asked for Sabino, yelling dirty words and saying they are going to kill me,” testified Guillermina Romero, Sabino’s daughter, to alternative media groups who were the only journalists who visited the scene.

London ex-mayor Livingstone meets Venezuela's Chavez

The leftwing former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, on Wednesday met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and agreed to continue to act as an advisor on municipal matters.
Chavez, Livingstone told reporters after the meeting, had asked him to keep advising candidates from Chavez's ruling socialist party running for mayors in November local elections. Livingstone was mayor of London for eight years, until he lost re-election this year to Boris Johnson, a conservative. In February 2007, he arranged with Chavez the importation of cheap gasoline from Venezuela for the public bus network in the British capital in exchange for advice on municipal transport, environmental issues, waste management and tourism. Johnson has since scrapped that deal. Livingstone -- who has the nickname 'Ken the Red' for his leftwing sympathies -- has said he is a personal friend to Chavez, who maintains a virulent anti-US, anti-capitalist stance.

Gold Reserve rejects takeover offer from Rusoro Mining

Gold Reserve Inc. (GRZ ) says it has rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from Rusoro Mining Ltd. (RML).
Rusoro offered two shares for each share of Gold Reserve - a proposal that the Spoke, Wash.-based company's board said was inadequate and not in the best interests of shareholders. 'This highly conditional expression of interest attributed a $90 million value to Gold Reserve's equity,' said Doug Belanger, president of Gold Reserve. 'The expression of interest did not take into account Gold Reserve's current financial position, and gave little value for our company's proven and probable reserves of 10.2 million ounces of gold and 1.4 billion pounds of copper.' Gold Reserve said, however, that it is 'always willing' to discuss any potential opportunities to increase shareholder value.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue's round up of news from Venezuela -- August 27, 2008

Telecommunications Minister, Socorro Hernandez has rejected opposition charges that the new telecommunications law aims to limit access to the Internet. The Minister says what has been circulating is only a draft law and not the definite text and has promised that the content of the law will be put up for public consultation. Hernandez recalls that the law project was part of the enabling law packet and is now being taken for debate to the National Assembly.

The National Elections Council (CNE) has announced that it has scratched 6,862 deceased persons from the voting register as part of a cleansing effort undertaken by the civil and electoral registry committee.

During a radio address from Petare (Caracas), President Chavez has come out in favor of the Yukpa Indians in their campaign to recover ancient land rights. Chavez has criticized government officials and military officers for what he calls "ambiguous" positions. In the conflict between the indigenous communities and landowners in the Perija Sierra (Zulia), the President has stated that if he had to decide between the indians and the landowners, the government will decide in favor of indigenous peoples because the State has an historical debt to fulfill. Interior & Justice (MIJ) Minister, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin and Francisco Arias Cardenas have been sent to the zone to verify the situation, review the demarcation process and report back.

Indigenous Peoples Minister, Nicia Maldonado states the demarcation process in the Perija Sierra has advanced 70%. The process includes an area where 164 Yukpa indigenous communities live. Maldonado contends that the demarcation issue is an ancestral demand and confirms that the Ministry is working with habitat & lands assemblies created two weeks ago. However, local communities say they are dissatisfied with the performance of the Ministry and representatives of the National Lands Institute (INTI), accusing them of dragging their feet in the issue and bowing to local and powerful landowners. NGOs supporting the indigenous struggle accuse the army and the National Guard of siding with the landowners and refusing access to the area in conflict, arresting several community journalists and activists covering the struggle.

According to the National Statistics Institute (INE) president, Elias Eljuri, Venezuela has passed the 28-million person mark. Speaking on VTV State television, Eljuri states that at the last count in 2006 there were 27.2 million inhabitants in Venezuela, and he argues that growth of the population is declining, following the pattern of many advanced nations. "Venezuela is a country that has entered into a transition stage ... population growth is beginning to come down in the same way as it does in a developed country." 60 years ago,, Eljuri reports, the growth rate was 3%, and currently stands at 1.67%. The birthrate 60 years ago was 7% and is currently 2.78% with a tendency to be lower than 2% by 2020.

Venezuelan Ambassador to the USA, Bernardo Alvarez has denied any confrontation between representatives of the opposition and the government attending the US Democratic Convention in Denver. Speaking by phone to VTV State television, the Ambassador maintains that government representatives, Calixto Ortega and Francisco Torrealba and himself were invited to attend to attend the convention, along with Primero Justicia (PJ) leader, Julio Borges, who did not turn up and Zulia State Governor, Manuel Rosales. Both Alvarez and Rosales were allowed to address delegates. According to Alvarez, Rosales tried to create tension by countering what Alvarez had told the delegates, but that was as far as it went.

Torrealba and Ortega attended the US Democrat Convention in Denver as members of the recently created parliamentary Group of Friends. The two parliamentarians have criticized the size of Zulia State Governor, Manuel Rosales' group attending a session stating that the invitation was for Rosales only. The two also criticized Rosales' feverish attempts to meet well-known US politicians in the corridors and they claim that he was largely ignored.

Minister of Foreign Relations (MRE), Nicolas Maduro has denied that the government has rejected a visa request to the US anti-drugs czar, John Walters. Maduro, currently in Cuba, explains that Walters requested a meeting with President Chavez on August 27 or 28 but because of President Chavez' intense national and international agenda, such a meeting is not possible. Maduro insists that once a date has been formalized, the US official will be granted a visa.

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.


Venezuelan Officials Received Kickbacks, U.S. Prosecutors Say

Venezuelan government officials received kickbacks in schemes involving the country's bonds, state oil company and National Guard, U.S. prosecutors said before the trial of a Venezuelan businessman.

Franklin Duran and his business partner, Carlos Kauffmann, funneled the kickbacks to officials in the government of President Hugo Chavez for more than eight years, prosecutors said today in a filing in federal court in Miami. Duran is scheduled for a Sept. 2 trial on charges he acted in the U.S. as an unregistered agent for Venezuela.

``Franklin Duran and Carlos Kauffmann amassed their financial wealth by doing the bidding of officials of the government of Venezuela,'' prosecutors wrote. ``Proof that Duran and Kauffmann jointly and improperly conspired'' with Venezuelan officials contradicts Duran's likely argument that ``his actions have been simply misinterpreted,'' according to the filing.

Elio Cequea: Thank God, the sun can not be blocked with a single finger!

VHeadline managing editor Elio Cequea writes: In his last written piece “Chavez’s authoritarian move was predictable” Andres Oppenheimer, the Miami Herald’s syndicated columnist, continues his insolent disinformation campaign against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Thank God, the sun can not be blocked with a single finger.

In his article Oppenheimer calls Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez “authoritarian.” On other occasions he has mentioned that Chavez controls all the public powers.

Paradoxically, the analyst recognizes that Chavez lost the referendum of December 2 last year!

Unless the “analyst” has an intelligent explanation of how a “dictator” that controls everything gets defeated in an election that, by the way, “would have permitted him to stay in power indefinitely,” isn't it to recognize that (contrary to what he is stating) the Venezuelan President at least DOES NOT control whomsoever is in charge of counting the votes?

While talking about banned politicians who were supposedly stripped of their rights to run for office, the acclaimed analyst drowns in his own lies ... he indicates that the government’s decision is unconstitutional because: “under Chavez’ own 1999 Constitution only candidates with confirmed judicial sentences against them by a court of law may be banned from running for office.”

Nothing is further from the truth!

Oppenheimer is referring to Article 65 of the Constitution, which says: “Those who have been condemned for wrong-doings perpetrated during the exercise of their public functions can not opt for a publicly elected position.”

Nowhere in the article does it say that the sentence has to come from “a court of law.”

Comparing apples with oranges is what Oppenheimer does when he tries to draw a parallel between stripping Chavez of his political power for attempting to overthrow the government in 1992 and doing the same to Leopoldo Lopez because of alleged "administrative irregularities."

In Chavez’ case, it was NOT the jurisdiction of the General Comptroller of the Republic to ban him from running for office: Chavez’ “irregularity” was obviously NOT “administrative.” Besides, in HIS situation, there was never a firm sentence from a corresponding public authority.

On the other hand, Lopez was banned from running for public office by the General Comptroller of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ... in his case, the corresponding constitutionally competent public authority.

A disappointing statement from Oppenheimer is the one he makes with regard to the 26 decrees enacted by the President the day his special legislative powers expired.
  • Analyzing like a regular pedestrian would, he considers that the decrees “have already been rejected by the people in the referendum of December 2 ... that is simply erroneous conjecture!

The proposed constitutional reform consisted of modifications to 69 articles. The proposal was presented to the people in two blocks: one with 46 articles and the other one with 23. There were only two options for each block. One was to approve all the articles in the proposal, even though you might not agree with some of them. The other was to reject them all even if you felt like one or two of them were pretty good. The point is that it is possible to dislike an automobile even when it has an impressive transmission and an incredible stereo.

In his article, Oppenheimer mentions (again) the files on the hoary old FARC computer as evidence “that shows Chavez’ active support for Colombia's largest guerrilla army!”

In his open forum in the Miami Herald, Oppenheimer categorized these files as “authentic, as pointed out by the INTERPOL” but, later, his best argument defending that authenticity was a timid “the files were not altered.” When pressured a little bit further, his last stand was that the files were “believable.”

Isn’t it illusory to defend evidence presented in files that are barely considered “believable”?

Oppenheimer opens “Chavez’ authoritarian move was predictable” by saying that the Venezuelan President “always moves one step backward after a political setback.”


One thing that is known worldwide is that Chavez has suffered ONLY ONE of those setbacks...

The pastime of some analysts is to try to shorten ... when suitably convenient ... the distance between the truth and the fallacy.

Generally they do it with perverted analysis ... however, when they need to, they never underestimate the value of telling flat, blatant lies...

Elio Cequea


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.