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by Global Women’s Strike Sunday, Jun. 06, 2004 at 2:21 PM +1-323-292 7405 PO Box 86681, LA, CA 90086-0681, USA

A referendum to recall President Chavez as well as a number of anti-chavista elected officials is being called for August. US pressure to overthrow President Chavez and get its hands on the oil of the venezuelan people is greater than ever. We demand that the media report what is happening in Venezuela rather than act as employees of the hated and unelected Bush administration.


Global Women’s Strike

Email: Tel: (020) 7482 2496

================= STOP PRESS 5 June 2004 ===========================




A referendum to recall President Chavez as well as a number of anti-chavista elected officials is being called for August. US pressure to overthrow President Chavez and get its hands on the oil of the venezuelan people is greater than ever. We demand that the media report what is happening in Venezuela rather than act as employees of the hated and unelected Bush administration.

On 1 June, the Global Women's Strike Bolivarian Circles and organizations and individuals from all over the world (see full list below) wrote:

As with Iraq, the most respected newspapers are being used to justify overt US intervention in Venezuela. Unlike Saddam Hussein, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected and has one of the best human rights records anywhere. Yet we hear constant references to him as dictator, demagogue, populist.

As with Iraq, the Bush administration wants to privatize, that is, take over, Venezuela's oil. Those who elected President Chavez want to use their oil revenue to tackle the poverty suffered by 80% of Venezuela's population, mainly people of African and Indigenous descent. This refusal of the corruption and theft which ruled oil production for over 40 years is presented as "undemocratic".

Far from being isolated, President Chavez has wide and growing support among people in many countries and increasingly among governments, especially in Latin America. The same cannot be said of President Bush.

Chavez is attempting to bring together countries of the South, beginning with Latin America, to refuse IMF privatization policies. Such policies have caused over trillion to flow from Latin America to the US and Europe during the past 20 years. There are many examples of what this has meant for Latin Americans. We mention only two: the "Caracazo" (Caracas's 1989 popular uprising against the overnight doubling of fares), violently repressed by the army, left 2000 people dead; and the economy of Argentina under the IMF's direction, collapsed, reducing 50% of its population to poverty.

While women in Argentina had to run barter markets to save their families from starvation and children died of malnutrition, in Venezuela the poorest women were getting subsidized micro-credits from the Women's Development Bank and child mortality went down. They also been helped by Cuba which has sent 10,000 doctors to provide free healthcare to communities that have never seen a doctor before.

For 40 years prior to Chavez's election, two parties ruled Venezuela for the benefit of a wealthy minority and their US corporate friends. It was known as one of the most corrupt countries in Latin America. Torture, disappearances and other repression were rife. Successive US administrations never complained.

Henry Kissinger declared of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile: "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people." The CIA organized a coup with General Pinochet, including by getting the American Institute for Free Labor Development (now American Center for International Labor Solidarity) of the AFL-CIO to act for the State Department. Allende was assassinated, at least 3000 people disappeared and a million went into exile. There was a similar coup against President Chavez in April 2002 - it was defeated by a popular uprising that motivated troops loyal to the Constitution to act and get the President back.

An oil coup followed in late 2002 - the CIA, oil executives and corrupt trade union leaders, which have also had backing from the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, tried to bring the government down by paralyzing the oil industry. It was defeated by the oil workers refusing to take part in the employers' "strike" and together with the community working round the clock for months to regain control of their industry.

There have been other attacks and assassination attempts, the latest a few weeks ago when over 100 Colombian paramilitaries were arrested in Venezuela.

The US administration has now thrown its political and economic weight behind the referendum to recall President Chavez. Democrat candidate John Kerry and much of the US and UK media are doing the same. They have attacked the National Electoral Council in charge of validating the necessary 2.4 million recall signatures for insisting on the ratification of signatures that may be fraudulent. A further 550,000 valid signatures are needed for the referendum to go ahead. Such ratification took place last weekend and the results are expected on 4 June.

In March 2004, when the National Electoral Council first ruled on the validity of the signatures collected for the referendum, it was under enormous pressure from the US administration and its friends in the Venezuelan elite to allow the referendum to go ahead regardless of evidence of widespread fraud - this fraud was a "technicality" to the US administration which itself gained power through electoral fraud.

On 26 March, 2,000 oil workers marched to the US embassy in Caracas to deliver a letter to Ambassador Shapiro. Their letter said:

"As oil workers we witnessed the active collaboration of US corporations with the actions of those who tried to sabotage and break our oil industry at the end of 2002. . . . Functionaries of your government are now intervening with . . . the National Electoral Council regarding the validation of signatures for a presidential recall referendum, a problem which are the affairs only of our institutions and our people. . . .

"We have come to your residence today to express the oil workers' strong rejection of such policies and the practices that implement them. We have also come to let the government you represent know that if . . . there were attempts to divert us from the constitutionally established path of national independence, we the oil workers, who were able to get the production of an almost paralyzed complex industry back on its feet in record time . . . will call on the people to propose to our government that not a single barrel of oil leave these shores for the United States."

The 2000 oil workers were not received by the US Ambassador and we saw no media coverage of their action.

Instead, on 20 May the Washington Post reported that: "The Bush administration is stepping up the pressure on President Hugo Chavez. State Department officials say they are talking with U.S. editorial writers, hoping to send a clear message to Chavez through the press: let the recall referendum happen or face the consequences." On May 27, The Financial Times also threatened: "What seems certain is that change will take place - through internal or external means."

There is evidence of further US meddling in Venezuela's electoral process. According to journalist Greg Palast: "The company responsible for wrongly classifying roughly 90,000 thousand people in Florida as felons and barring them from voting in the 2000 election, sold the U.S. government a database of information about thousands of Venezuelans." And there have been allegations that two election monitors for the Organization of American States and the Carter Center are State Department employees!

On 26 May, the editors of the New York Times apologized for allowing its pages to be used to spread disinformation that justified the invasion of Iraq. ". . . we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. . . . The [claims] depended at least in part on information from . . . informants, defectors and exiles bent on "regime change" . . . whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. . . the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq." (The Times and Iraq)

But it is too late for the many thousands who died, or were raped and otherwise tortured as a result. Will recognition of this deadly manipulation prevent a repeat with Venezuela? Will it not matter once again how many people may die as a result?

Venezuela is a beacon for all those opposing coups, assassinations, paramilitarism, wars and occupations - in Iraq, Haiti, Colombia and elsewhere. We demand that the media allow the Venezuelan people to decide their own destiny, and stop espousing views that make way for US intervention.

No more blood, rape and other torture for oil.

Issued by:

Andaiye, Global Women’s Strike, Georgetown, Guyana

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike, London, UK

Phoebe Jones, Global Women’s Strike Bolivarian Circle, Philadelphia, USA

Nina López, Global Women’s Strike Bolivarian Circle, London, UK

Margaret Prescod, Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike, Los Angeles, USA

Maggie Ronayne, Global Women’s Strike, Galway, Ireland

Sara Williams, Global Women’s Strike Bolivarian Circle, Barcelona, Spain

Endorsing organizations:

Associació Catalana de Brigadistas a Nicaragua, Spain

Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Alternatives to Globalization & Militarization Program EPICA (Ecumenical Program On Central America & the Caribbean), Washington DC, US

APDH Tucuman Mujeres, Tucuman, Argentina

Band of Mothers, USA

Bolivarian Circle of Boston, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boston, MA, USA

Bolivarian Circles International-Cyber Solidarity

Brandywine Peace Community, Swarthmore, PA, USA

CENI Kurdisches Frauenbüro für Frieden, Germany

Centro de Estudios sobre la Diversidad Cultural de la Facultad de Humanidades y Artes de la Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina

Christian Peacemaker Teams, Chicago, IL, USA

Círculo Bolivariano "Hermanas Mirabal", Colorado, USA

Circulo Bolivariano de Suecia “Simon Bolivar Studiecenter”, Sweden

Círculo Bolivariano de UTA, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Círculo Bolivariano Prof. Alberto Lovera, New York, USA

Círculo Bolivariano de Miami Manuel Valera, Florida, USA

Code Pink, USA

Col.lectiu Gai de Barcelona, Spain

Col.lectiu Bolivarià Cayapa de Solidaritat amb el Poble de Veneçuela, Barcelona, Spain

Colombia en el Exilio

Columbus Progressive Alliance, Ohio, USA

Community College of Philadelphia, PA, USA

Community Oganizing Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Congregation of Divine Providence, SF, USA

Droits Devant! Paris, France

English Collective of Prostitutes, London, UK

European Women's College, Switzerland

Feminist Net, Athens, Greece

Foundations for Our Nu Afrikan Millennium (FONAMI) Oakland, California, USA

Gabriola Island/Nanaimo Raging Grannies, Gabriola, B.C., Canada

Glendale Peace Vigil, Los Angeles, USA

Global Women’s Strike, Santa Fe, Argentina

Global Women’s Strike, San Francisco, USA

Global Women’s Strike, Los Angeles, USA

Green Dove Network, Bloomington, IN, USA

The Greens/Green Party USA, Chicago, IL, USA

Hawai'i Solidarity Committee, USA

Identidad Bolivariana, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Indian National Trade Union Congress, India

Industrial Workers of World (IWW), Milwaukee, WI, USA

International Action Center, Co-Director, International Action Center, New York City, USA

Izquierda comunera - Izquierda castellana, Madrid, Spain

Kaabong Women’s Group, Uganda

KFG Charitable Foundation, UK

Legal Action for Women, London, UK

Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention, San Francisco, USA

Marcia mondiale delle donne, Italy

Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, Mill Valley, USA

MAUDE (Mothers And Underdogs Deciding Everything), USA

Middle East Children’s Alliance, CA, USA

Military Families Speak Out, USA

Mujeres y Teología de Madrid, Spain

Niagra Coallition for Peace, Ontario, Canada

North Okanagan Raging Grannies, Vernon, BC, Canada

Northern Utah Peace Alliance, Utah, USA

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, USA

Pakistan Labour Federation, Lahore, Pakistan

Payday, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Payday, London, UK

People for Peace and Justice of Utah, USA

Philadelphia Cuba Solidarity Coalition, PA, USA

Plataforma Bolivariana de Solidaridad con Venezuela de Madrid, Spain

Plataforma Simón Bólivar de Granada, Spain

Progressive South Asian Exchange Net, New York, USA

Queers For Racial & Economic Justice, USA

Raging Grannies, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Raging Grannies, Victoria, Canada,

Red de Solidaridad con Venezuela Revolucionaria-Resolver, Switzerland

Red Thread, Georgetown, Guyana

San Gabriel Valley Neighbors for Peace & Justice, Los Angeles, USA

Santa Cruz, CA, USA

School of the Americas Watch/NE, USA

Sindicato de Amas de Casa, Santa Fe, Argentina

Sintesa Foundation, Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia

South Jersey Campaign for Peace and Justice, USA

Stevens County Women in Black, Kettle Falls, WA, USA

Suburban Philadelphia Greens, Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

Tertulia, feminist e-zine, Guatemala City, Guatemala

The Brecht Forum,:New York, USA

Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory, New York, USA

United Educators of San Francisco, USA

United Washitaw Nation, USA

University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

US PROStitutes Collective San Francisco, USA

Venezuela Va

Video Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Voces de Mujeres, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, México

Wages Due Lesbians, London, UK

William Paterson University, College of Business Wayne, NJ, USA

Endorsing Individuals

Juana Angela Abregú, Pomezia, Italy

Merce Adrove, Barcelona, Spain

Estela Adriana Alarcón, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Amanda Amoros, USA

Pedro Miguel Arias Palacios, El Valle, Venezuela

Elizabeth Arnold, St.Paul, MN, USA

David Ball, Midvale, UT, USA

Tully Bates, Adelaide, Australia

Therese Ballet Lynn (UNA/USA-OC and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, LA, USA)

John Beacham, Los Angeles, USA

Julie Bird, Santa Fe, NM, US

Chris Brandt, USA

Diane Budd, San Francisco, USA

Scott Campbell, Oakland, CA, USA

Paul Chepolis, New York, USA

Judy Christopher, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tara Connor, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gail Davis, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Lucie Desmarais, USA

Arnault Duprez, Giaveno, Italy

Pedro Eusse, CUTV, Venezuela

Dawn Gable, USA

Iris Galindo, Chiapas

Marion A. Garza, San Diego, CA, USA

Shalini Gera, Sunnyvale, California, USA

David G. Gil, Professor of Social Policy, Brandeis University, USA

Karine Gaulin, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Deeg Gold, CA, USA

Pat Gray (Green Party) San Mateo, CA, USA

Ginette Gonzalez (Departamento de Sociología, Universidad de Madrid), Spain

Jim Griffiths, Queenston, Ontario, USA

Barbara Hale, Bath, ON, Canada

Mary E. Hamilton, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Sushil,Handa, Canada

Tanya Handa, Basel, Switzerland

Beverly Hannon, Anamosa, IA, USA

Joan, Hinton, Beijing China

Fred Hirsh (Plumbers and Fitters Local 393), Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Tom King and Deanna Taylor, West Jordan, Utah, USA

Lisa Maya Knauer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African/African- American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA

Steve Krevisky, Member, Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, Green

Roselyne, Lambert, Prince George,BC, Canada

Albert Jorge Lapolla, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gail MacDonald, Bellingham, WA, USA

Carol Maddox, CA, USA

Elizabeth Marsh, Philadelphia PA, USA

Gerardo Martinez, journalist and actor, UK

Taiwan Martinez, Philadelphia, PA, USA

George McCollough, USA

Patrice McSweeney, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Carlos Morales-Mateluna, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Alma Norman, Ottawa, Canada

Isabel Olmsted

Lois Putzier, Tucson, AZ, USA

Mary Quezada, Raleigh, NC, USA

Gloria E. Quinones, USA

David Raby, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool, UK

Ra Ravishankar (South Asian Collective) Urbana, USA

Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg PhD, Toronto, Canada

Carole Roy, Canada

Joan Sage, Philadelphia, USA

Deborah Shafto (Green Party), USA

Eve Terran, Ashland, USA

Ian Thompson, Los Angeles, USA

Shivali Tukdeo (South Asian Collective) Urbana, USA

Joyce Umamoto, San Francisco, CA, USA

Larry Worthington, Los Angeles, USA

Jerry Wharton, Tucson, AZ, USA

Delia Yarrow, USA

Isaac Walker, USA

Sam Weinstein (UWUA Local 132) Washington DC, USA

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