Venezuela's oil coup-strike-lockout for the
In 1974 80% of oil income went to the state. Today 80% of Venezuelan oil income goes to the rich, and to "operating costs." Only 20% goes to the state.
Chavez reforms will help reverse this in January 2003. This is why the coup-plotters, "strike"-promoters, and corporate media are in such a hurry to overthrow the fairly-ELECTED Chavez government. They want to prevent these reforms, and reverse others already-implemented.
Reforms that help the poor and lower middle class.
Massive corporate-media disinformation, destabilization campaign going on inside Venezuela.
Support President Chavez! Please forward widely.
Search Venezuela news sites. Progressive news search
engine. Choose site from dropdown window
This search form below can be emailed in HTML (color and graphics)
email. Or just send the URL of the page where you found this. You can click
"save" in the file menu of your browser. This will save it to your
computer for use anytime you are online. It is easy to add or delete site
choices in the search form below. Just look at the HTML code in any web page
editor. Google indexes some sites more often than others. So for the very latest
info you may have to go to the websites directly, and browse there, or use their
site search engines there if they have one.
Choose news site:
aporrea.org (in Spanish)
San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia
Venezuela's Electronic News. vheadline.com
Enter more search terms. Put quotes around phrases:
Some Venezuela news sources.
http://www.aporrea.org (in Spanish)
Spanish. Use search engine there to find Venezuela articles and many comments)
SEARCH Venezuela news sources. Standard Google
searches. Click, and then add additional search terms. Some sites are also
indexed daily by Google News, so try clicking the "News" tab. For the
absolute very latest news click the site's homepage link in any of the result
KPFA Flashpoints Radio. (English).
San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia. After clicking this link, you can also
click the "News" tab to get very up-to-date results for the only
Indymedia site indexed by Google News. SF Indymedia also has its own
excellent search engine.
Google News. Some search shortcuts for very up-to-date Venezuela
Click, and then add additional search terms. Can also click the
"sort by date" link.
Approximately 4000 Google News sites.
Indymedia.org sites. Only San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia shows up.
San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia. Sorted by date.
San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia. Sorted by relevance.
Google does not seem to be indexing the "Local News" or "Global
News" columns on the San
Francisco Bay Area Indymedia homepage here:
http://sf.indymedia.org Only the items
in the "Other/Breaking News" column is indexed by the Google News
spider when it shows up daily. If an item is transferred too quickly out of "Other/Breaking
News", then the spider may not see the item during its daily (or more often?)
indexing of selected news sites. I suggest the Indymedia staff leave copies of items in
"Other/Breaking News" because, for now, San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia
seems to be the
ONLY Indymedia news site indexed by Google News.
A Search Form, and compilation of news
Bold formatting and larger text sizes have been added to some of the text in
the excerpts below.
Outside observers and organizations find Venezuelan
elections to be free and fair.
"Human Rights Watch, in 2000, cited Venezuela as the only Latin American
country where human rights had improved. The viciously anti-Chávez Organization
of American States sent a team of election observers to monitor both the
1998 and the 2000 elections in Venezuela, and despite all motive to
discredit the vote, was forced by the facts to conclude that the elections were
scrupulously fair. As for press freedom, Venezuela has stood alone among Latin
American nations: Not a single journalist has ever been imprisoned under
-- Al Giordano. NarcoNews.com - April 15 2002.
and many more articles:
The vast majority of Venezuelans are poor or poor lower
"The average annual salary of these 22 'strike' leaders is 6,000 U.S.
dollars a year; almost 100 times the per capita income of the average Venezuelan
citizen of ,760 dollars per year."
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - December 22 2002.
"When the captain of the Pilin Leon first dropped anchor, he was
expressing his solidarity with the anti-government strike in Caracas. But the
tanker's crew were opposed to the strike and their captain's piratical action.
When the marines boarded, on the orders of the embattled president Hugo Chavez,
only the captain needed to be replaced. ... The trump card of the opposition, in
April as in December, has been the state-owned oil company, Petroleos de
Venezuela, often described as the fifth largest oil exporter in the world, and
an important supplier to the US. Nationalised more than 25 years ago, it has
been run over the years for the exclusive benefit of its employees and managers
- its profits being invested everywhere except Venezuela. Before the arrival of
Chavez, it was being prepared for privatisation, to the satisfaction of the
engineers and directors who would have benefited. But with a block placed on
privatisation by the new Venezuelan constitution, the company's middle class and
prosperous elite has been happy to be used as a shock weapon by the leaders of
the Pinochet-style opposition, and they have tried to bring their entire
industry to a halt."
-- The Guardian, Dec 10 2002. Richard Gott: Racist rage of the Caracas
"The organizers of this so-called “strike” are the very same
collection of slimy forces that backed the April  coup d’etat and
Dictator-for-a-Day Pedro Carmona, who, once in power, abolished the Supreme
Court, the Congress, shut down Community TV and Radio Stations, assassinated
50 political activists, and nullified the Constitution. Carmona also freed
the sniper-assassins who had fired shots from rooftops on April 11th into
crowds of people, creating the pretext for what was, back then, a military coup.
(Stay tuned for our upcoming report about the undisclosed conflicts-of-interest
of one of the foreign reporters that helped to create this pretext last
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - December 22 2002.
"Much of this struggle is about oil. Venezuela
is the world's fourth largest oil producer and its oil industry is critical to
its economy. Chavez's 'bolivarian revolution' argues for a role for the
state in the oil industry, the redistribution of oil income, and the use of
revenues from this resource to build economic independence. But since
1974, the oil industry has been moving in the opposite direction. At
that time  , the state-run-oil company kept 20% of its revenue in
operating costs and turned 80% over to the state. In 1990 it was 50-50 and
in 1998, when Chavez was elected, the company kept 80% and turned 20% over.
What the neoliberals had in mind in the late 1990s was full privatization-not a
reversal of the trend of the previous 20 years. Added to this, the
administration of the oil industry is in the hands of anti-Chavez forces, making
it possible for them to go on strike in order to promote privatization.
"What are Chavez's other crimes? Severance pay was restored in
the constitution of 1999, after being eliminated in 1997. Social
security was set to be privatized in 1998, but was also impeded by the
constitution of 1999. The Land Law, passed last year, was an
agrarian reform law that tries to make rural life viable for Venezuelans and
slow rural-urban migration at the expense of large plantation owners and
-- by Justin Podur. ZNet, December 10, 2002.
The Narco News Bulletin
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from
Home | Mailing
List | Search | Print
Why Are the Coup Plotters So Impatient?
…And How Venezuela Can Defeat Them Legally
By Heinz Dieterich Steffan
December 8, 2002
[Snip. Excerpt from article:]
The second reason for the pro-coup haste is the entrance
in vigor of various important laws that come into effect
on January 1, 2003, that touch vital interests of the
economic elite: Among them, the Land Law that affects
not just the large plantation owners in the country but
also real estate speculators and vacant lots in urban
zones. The Hydrocarbon law is even more important
because it will permit the dismantling of the meta-State
of the petroleum business PdVSA, the
corrupt oil group that controls the economic life of the
country and that is an integral part of the New World
Energy Order of George Bush.
Today, only 20 percent of the income of this
mega-company goes to the State. Eighty percent
goes to “operating costs” that enrich secret
accounts of the beneficiaries of this economic cancer.
The power of this petroleum “steal-ocracy” has
become propped up progressively during recent decades. In
1974, the company delivered 80 percent of its income to
the State and kept 20 percent (“operating costs”).
In 1990, the ratio tied at 50 to 50 percent and in 1998
it reached the ratio of 80 to 20 percent. It’s logical
that they are going to fight to the death – of the
nation – to defend “their” black gold.
[Snip. end of excerpt]
December 22 2002.
link to this page at URL:
Former PDVSA director confirms past
Former Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) board director Carlos Mendoza
Potella has confirmed a last Sunday Ultimas Noticias report about
PDVSA’s poor performance compared to other countries based on an
America Economia magazine report “iIt shows the company has been run
with little interest in Venezuela."
In 1976 PDVSA received billion for all its operations and
handed million to the Treasury whereas in 1995 income reached its
highest at 27.261 billion and the treasury receive .9 billion.
[snip. End of excerpt]
The Narco News Bulletin
Chronology of the Strike that Wasn’t
By Al Giordano
December 22, 2002
The Oil Sector Sabotage
[snip. Excerpt begins]
There was, this month, one sector of oil company executives that claimed they
were on “strike,” but who in fact have spent this month actively working to
lock-out rank-and-file employees and, according to their own public statements,
to facilitate the sabotage, including eco-terrorism, of oil facilities.
According to public records at the Venezuela Secretary of Mining and Energy (MEM,
in its Spanish initials), these were the annual salaries of the 22 major oil
“strike” leaders, including their bonuses, paid vacations, and other
benefits, at the trough of the state-owned oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela,
Edgar Paredes makes 837 million bolivars a year (3,000 U.S. dollars).
The lowest paid of these 22 ringleaders, Luis Ramírez, makes 310 million
bolivars a year (8,000 U.S. dollars).
The highest paid, Karl Mazeika, makes 990 million bolivars a year (1,000).
The average annual salary of these 22 “strike” leaders is 6,000 U.S.
dollars a year; almost 100 times the per capita income of the average Venezuelan
citizen of ,760 dollars per year. In the Venezuelan economy, 6,000 gives
somebody more buying power than people who make millions of dollars a year in
the United States.
Check out the rest of their salaries in the Venezuelan currency of Bolivars (at
1,300 bolivars to the dollar), here they are, the annual booties of the
oppressed “vanguard” of The Strike That Wasn’t:
Luis Andrés Rojas: 688 million
Vincenzo Paglione: 979 million
Raúl Alemán: 687 million
Horacio Medina: 320 million
Juan Fernández: 399 million
Edgar Rasquin: 668 million
Rogelio Lozada: 410 million
Luis Matheus: 533 million
Carlos Machado: 542 million
Iván Crespo: 498 million
Luis Aray: 530 million
Andrés Riera: 508 million
Maria Lizardo: 444 million
Armando Izquierdo: 501 million
Luis Pacheco: 542 million
Gabriel García: 322 million
Francisco Bustillos: 643 million
Salvador Arrieta: 596 million
Armando Acosta: 471 million
Each of these oil executives, of course, had their own team of highly-paid
middle managers underneath them: controlling the paperwork, the computers, the
hiring and firing, and all other aspects of the company.
In recent weeks, they locked out the workers, and installed their own men at key
strategic points where sabotage has been committed to facilities under their
The “opposition” complains about graffiti on the wall of a Commercial TV
station and calls it “vandalism” or “violence.” These guys, meanwhile,
have presided over the destruction of pumps, pipelines, tankers and other ships,
trucks, and other key points in the flow of oil from the ground to the consumer,
including to the United States.
If they had tried anything like this inside the United States, we would see the
White House calling them terrorists, locking them up in Guantanamo Bay, and
suing them for the millions of dollars of losses that they have caused. Some of
the members of the “oil-igarchy” have made public statements that some oil
supplies have been contaminated, and some facilities have been booby-trapped to
cause environmental disaster if they are re-started.
Between the oil drilling facility and the gas pump there are many stops along
the road. Shut down or sabotage one of those points, and you shut down the
entire pipeline. That has certainly happened at various points.
[snip. End of excerpt from NarcoNews]
Reports disagree as to how many of the middle
class agree or oppose the Chavez reforms. Pro-Chavez rallies have been huge and have
had many, many middle class participants. The situation is fluid and the
reforms help much of the middle class too. Many progressive Chavez reforms
are listed at this link:
The Gregory Wilpert article below lists some additional progressive Chavez
| A Community of People Committed to Social Change
Venezuela's Middle Class (for the most part) Opposes Chavez
One Sided Venezuela Coverage
Still in Venezuela
and Government Supporters Rally Their Forces
after the Coup Attempt
in Venezuela: An Eyewitness Account
October 27, 2002
[First part of article snipped]
The government's health care and education policies have benefited
the poor more than the middle class because the middle class tends to
rely on private health care and education. In contrast, the poor have
benefited from the institution of universal health care for the
first time in Venezuela's history, even if that health care is
relatively miserable, at least it is more accessible to the poor than
it has ever been. The situation is similar with education. The
government has introduced thousands of "Bolivarian"
schools throughout the country, which provide three free full meals
per day to all students; something they would never be guaranteed
if they stayed at home. As a result, one million new students have
been matriculated in schools, who were never part of the school
One of the most significant achievements of the new constitution is
that it permanently broke the two-party system of Venezuela and has
thus enabled the participation of large sectors of society that were
traditionally excluded from government before. Important in this
regard are the constitution's inclusion of women, indigenous
peoples, and homosexuals, who in the earlier constitution had few
real rights. Again, these are changes that, at best, the vast majority
of the middle class feels quite indifferent about.
Another area that is high on the Chavez government's agenda, but
which leaves the middle class out, is land reform. The government has
introduced two kinds of land reform programs-rural and urban. The
rural land reform has caught quite a bit of attention and its passage
in November 2001 was arguably the beginning of the opposition's
campaign against the president. The land reform law is essentially
designed to put idle land into production and to redistribute idle
land to landless peasants if landowners refuse to put their land
into production. The basic purpose is to both create greater social
justice and to increase the country's agricultural production. This
program is also supplemented by a wide variety of agricultural credit
and training programs.
The urban land reform program, in contrast, is designed to confer ownership
titles to land which the urban poor currently occupy illegally through
land invasions and to help them improve their communities through
self-governance. The urban reform program sets up land committees of
up to 200 families in the poor neighborhoods that help measure plots
of land, determine communal property, negotiate with government for
services such as water and electricity, and create a communal
identity. This democratization of property is to be combined with a democratization
of local governance through participatory planning processes for
local projects, such as has been spearheaded in parts of Brazil under
the Labor Party there.
Other major government programs that primarily benefit the poor,
but not the middle class are the public housing program and the micro-credit
programs. Related to this, the government recently announced the
creation of a new "Social Economy" ministry. This ministry
would support workplace democracy, especially the creation of
cooperatives and other social justice projects, such as the
A policy that directly hurts the interests especially of the upper
middle class is the government's effort to collect income taxes for
the first time in Venezuelan history. Only those with incomes
in the top 20% or so are required to pay income taxes.
[Rest of article snipped]
Gregory Wilpert is a freelance journalist and sociologist, who
lives in Caracas and is currently working on a book on Venezuela
during the Chavez presidency, which will be published by Zed Books in
2003. He can be reached at: Wilpert@cantv.net
This Article To A Friend
Top | Venezuela
Women and the new
Constitution of Venezuela.
72% of men and women voted FOR it. Many more details on the progressive aspects of the new constitution and
legislative reforms, and how they effect women and others, are in the source messages
--Most complete version.
“We women reject the organizers of hate and chaos.
"We women are on the front line for our right to live in
peace and to defend the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which gives us,
for the first time in history, the right to full legal equality, to social
security, to a pension for housewives. We are on the streets backing our
President and our Bolivarian Revolution.
"Long live the Constitution! No to the fraudulent
referendum! No to the pro-coup fascist stoppage! Don’t stop for the
----Go to the link above for many more details.--------
Le Monde diplomatique. June
2002 article. "The perfect crime." by Ignacio Ramonet.
He described the likely scenario for overthrowing Chavez:
“[T]here will be a coalition of the well-to-do,
bringing together the Catholic Church …, the financial oligarchy, the
employers’ organizations, the bourgeoisie and corrupt trade union leaderships
– all repackaged as ‘civil society.’ The owners of major media will
collude ... to support the campaigns that they will each launch against the
president, in the name of defending that ‘civil society.’...
“The press and TV will brandish terms ‘the people,
democracy, liberty,’ etc. They will mobilize street demonstrations and any
attempt by the government to criticize them will be immediately described as
‘a serious assault on freedom of expression,’ ... they will revive the
insurrectional strike and encourage ideas of a coup and an assault on the
presidential palace. ...
“The Venezuelan media currently uses lies and
disinformation in the biggest ever destabilization campaign
against a democratically elected government. Since the world hardly
seems to care, the media hopes that this time it will succeed in committing the
Excerpt above was found toward the end of this article:
Anti-Strike Multitudes Flood Open Market to Defend Democracy
By Al Giordano
A Narco News Press Briefing
December 2, 2002
[snip. First part deleted. Excerpt begins]
Here’s a photo of the “anti-strike day” [Dec 2 2002]
mega-market organized by defenders of the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution and the
elected presidency of Hugo Chávez that the pro-coup elements want to abolish…
Here’s an aerial view of the multitudes who flooded the streets [Dec 2 2002]
to violate the “strike” ordered by the super rich…
See the photos by VenPres in their full size and glory, with moment-by-moment
coverage (in Spanish) of how the “strike” is collapsing in every region of
----end of NarcoNews article excerpt---
The April 2002 coup by media.
"The conspirators, including Carmona, met at the offices of Venevisión.
They stayed until 2am to prepare "the next stage", along with Rafael
Poleo (owner of El Nuevo Pais) and Gustavo Cisneros, a key figure in the
coup. Cisneros, a multimillionaire of Cuban origin and the owner of
Venevisión, runs a media empire - Organización Diego Cisneros. It has 70
outlets in 39 countries (9). Cisneros is a friend of George Bush senior:
they play golf together and in 2001 the former US president holidayed in
Cisneros's Venezuelan property. Both are keen on the privatisation [theft] of
the PDVSA [Venezuelan oil company] (10). Otto Reich, US assistant
secretary of state for Interamerican affairs, admits to having spoken with
Cisneros that night (11). At 4am on 12 April , to avoid bloodshed,
Chávez allowed himself to be arrested and taken to the distant island of
-- Maurice Lemoine. Le Monde Diplomatique. August
"After the shooting began, authorities of the
government of President Hugo Chávez immediately apprehended some of the rooftop
snipers who had lit the fuse to the violence. But after Chávez himself was
placed into custody later that day by military generals, the rooftop assassins,
whose identities are still unknown, were incredulously set free by the
dictatorship of Pedro Carmona - and this tells us everything about which
side hired those snipers - as the dictator-for-a-day Carmona simultaneously
abolished the Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. For a more
detailed history of these events, in which the Venezuelan people overthrew the
U.S.-sponsored dictatorship within three days and changed the history of our
América, see "Three Days that Shook the Media," (Narco News, April
18, 2002: http://www.narconews.com/threedays.html
-- Al Giordano of NarcoNews.com - Summer 2002.
Venezuela opposition, state waging battle through media.
Caracas, Dec 21 2002. AP
In recent days, seven national private TV channels repeatedly have
broadcast slickly produced ads blaming Chavez for everything from street crime
to gasoline shortages. The gas problem stems from the TV-supported strike.
"We will not give up the fight, we won't give up until he
resigns," one ad drones on Venevision.
"Not one step backward. Out! Leave Now!" states another, paid for
by the Democratic Coordinator opposition umbrella group and repeatedly
broadcast on the Globovision 24-hour news network.
Yet another ad, titled "History of a Failure," shows clips of
dirty street kids, long unemployment lines and acts of political violence. A
voiceover repeatedly accuses Chavez of "Failure! Failure!"
Commercials for Christmas gifts have been replaced by political propaganda
since the strike began Dec. 2. Normal programming - soap operas, cartoons,
sitcoms - has been swapped for near-constant news coverage and marathon talk
shows with opposition politicians.
Associated Press. Centralized propaganda.
"Associated Press (AP) is a 'non-profit' company run by the AP Managing
Editors Association; your local managing editor or news director is
technically the boss, and therefore responsible for the errors and
distortions of fact that have plagued AP's coverage from Venezuela and
"But there's zero accountability at AP. 'The AP is
unaccountable to its millions of readers,' notes Feder. 'Unlike at many
newspapers, there is no AP ombudsman who 'speaks for the readers.' There is no
letters page for the AP, and individual newspapers rarely print letters
responding to wire stories.'
"And it's only going to stop when your local managing editors and news
directors find the backbone to send inaccurate stories back to AP - like they
would with one of their own reporters - and insist on a rewrite."
-- Al Giordano. NarcoNews. Dec 18 2002 email to his Yahoo Group:
--Many more details at links below:
From San Francisco Indymedia homepage:
News on the Venezuelan Coup, the Media and How to Stop Both of Them
Interview with Al Giordano: San Francisco IMC has
interviewed Al Giordano, of Narco News,
about the Venezuelan coup attempt, the media's complicity in the coup, and
perspectives on how we can stop them. Read
After carrying out a two-week "national strike," or lock-out, and
despite a helping hand from Associated
Press and other media agencies, the Venezuelan elite has so far failed
to force populist President Chavez to resign. In implementing reforms which
benefit primarily the poor, Chavez has inspired well-funded opposition by oil
barons and other business leaders, union
bureaucrats and portions of the military,
with the complicity of corporate
Thousands of Venezuela's poor have rushed
into the streets to prevent the "coup of the rich."
The Organization of American States has voted overwhelmingly to reject any
future coup attempt in Venezuela or alteration of that nation's
constitution. US religious and labor organizations and some members of
Congress have asked President Bush, who had previously called for
elections," to support democracy by opposing any move to oust
Chavez by force. In San Francisco on 12/18, around 50 protesters
gathered at noon at the Venezuelan consulate to show support for Chavez and
the Venezuelan democratic process. Photos
Read more: 1 2
-----end of San Francisco Indymedia homepage excerpt---
*Terrorism of USA. Death Squads, Drug War. LINKS
worldwide. Revised. Millions killed over decades. Mostly US-run or
US-aided terrorist death squads worldwide. Other death squads, too. Today's
death squads, and older ones such as the US-run Phoenix Program during the Vietnam war.
Terrorism and corruption at all levels of politics, police,
society, media, business, unions, government, etc.. Lists in alphabetical and chronological order. Huge LINKS list.
*Stop corporatism. "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito
Mussolini (from Encyclopedia Italiana, Giovanni Gentile, editor).
Hemp for Oil! Stop Big Oil!
Hemp biomass conversion to fuel. No more oil wars, oil politics, and oil coups.