Venezuela & ALBA News, 1.27.2023: CELAC Revived; Tours to Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua

Peoples Dispatch: At CELAC, Latin American and Caribbean leaders reaffirm commitment to regional integration The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to advance in regional integration and unity at the 7th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Argentine President Fernández called for strengthening “institutionality and democracy in the face of a recalcitrant and fascist right.”  He also called for CELAC to raise its voice against the criminal and inhumane US blockades on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The pressing political and human rights crisis in Peru was left out of the Buenos Aires declaration despite the strong condemnations from Honduran President Xiomara Castro, Mexican President AMLO, Bolivian President Arce, and Colombian President Petro who all demanded the immediate release of constitutional President Pedro Castillo and the immediate cessation of repressive violence against the people. Such statements have received sharp backlash from Peru’s far-right, who even threatened the military invasion of Bolivia over Arce and Evo Morales’ condemnations of violence.


Venezuela In Venezuela, the US Recognizes a Nonexistent Government In a piece of bizarre political theater, the US now officially recognizes a government in Venezuela that does not exist. In an October 6, 2022 meeting of the Organization of American States, only the US, Canada, Guatemala and Paraguay supported Guaidó as the legitimate head of state. State Department spokesman Ned Price now states, “we continue to recognize what is the only remaining democratically elected institution in Venezuela today, and that’s the 2015 National Assembly.” But even the Venezuelan opposition recognizes the 2020 National Assembly election as legitimate.

Venezuelanalysis: US Congressman Jim McGovern urges Biden to lift Venezuela Sanctions, Restore Diplomatic Ties He demanded Washington expedite the unfreezing of a $3 billion social fund agreed to in the government-opposition talks.“The [Biden] administration should assess the humanitarian and human rights impact of all sanctions imposed on Venezuela and seek to lift any whose principal effect, intended or not, is to undermine the livelihoods and well-being of the millions of people who have stayed in the country.” McGovern requested Biden urgently communicate a “realistic timeframe” for the release of the Venezuelan assets with the Maduro government and the opposition in order to incentivize the continuation of talks, “which have currently stalled as the parties await greater clarity on the issue.”

Orinoco Tribune: Venezuela’s National Assembly Approves Law for Financial Transparency of NGOs This law allows for oversight and regulation of the financing and performance of NGOs. Cabello warned that 62 NGOs are operating in Venezuela for political purposes. “They receive money from foreign organizations, from foreign governments, and their purpose is no longer humanitarian or social but to impose their version of democracy.” “Everyone wonders, where does the money of these NGOs come from?” Rodríguez continued. “With what money did some politicians finance their past elections campaigns?”

Orinoco Tribune: Venezuela’s Message to US: Latin America is Not a Piece of Land for Plunder US Southern Command General Richardson noted the presence of approximately 60% of the world’s lithium reserves in the “lithium triangle” of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina; “the largest oil reserves,” including those of “light and sweet crude discovered off Guyana more than a year ago,” and the resources of Venezuela like oil, copper and gold. She said that these resources have a lot to do with “the national security of the United States” and, therefore, the US has to up its game. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López stated that Latin America is not a place to plunder in response to US interests in the region’s resources.


Political Prisoner Alex Saab
National Lawyers Guild & International Association of Democratic Lawyers delegation meets imprisoned Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, urges his release Audrey Bomse, a member of the NLG’s International Committee, and Suzanne Adely, NLG President and IADL Bureau Member, met with the imprisoned Saab to convey the support and solidarity of progressive lawyers in the U.S. and internationally and the growing movement for his freedom.“Saab is a victim of U.S. imperialism. He is being criminalized for challenging US Economic Coercive Measures on Venezuela. The case against him has raised dangerous precedents of judicial abuse by the U.S. in enforcing these policies, applying U.S. laws extraterritorially in an attempt to violate the sovereignty and trade relations of independent nations.” said Adely.


Granma: President Miguel-Diaz Canel Speech to CELAC Summit  In Washington, the determination to divide us, stigmatize us and subordinate us to their own interests persists, almost 200 years after the enactment of the Monroe Doctrine. This became evident at the exclusive meeting held in Los Angeles, where, abusing its power as host and closing its eyes and ears to the demands of the majority, it excluded, fractured and ignored us…At this time, the Peruvian people deserve our attention and solidarity. It is up to our Peruvian brothers and sisters to find solutions to their challenges on their own.The US “ uses its technological hegemony and control of the media and digital platforms to carry out destabilization operations [against Cuba], an unprecedented media war, to promote the so-called “regime change”, with the support of tens of millions of dollars from the federal budget.

Ben Norton: US funds ‘independent journalists’ in Cuba to spread propaganda, ex CIA spy admits Former CIA analyst Fulton Armstrong told The Guardian that, in Cuba, “a lot of the so-called independent journalists are indirectly funded by the US”. They spread anti-government disinformation with the support of the NED. Two right-wing Cuban opposition media outlets, called El Toque and El Estornudo, he admitted are both bankrolled by the US government. The NED has spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding right-wing opposition media outlets and so-called “civil society organizations” in Venezuela. Many of these groups have been complicit in violence and participated in coup attempts against democratically elected Presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.


AFGJ: Women in Nicaragua: Power and Protagonism – Delegation Report We met with community organizers, workers, and public officials: from peasant feminist farmers to self-employed unionists; from urban community health workers to nurses and doctors; from battered women’s program directors to women leaders in the police, National Assembly, and Ministry of Women. Over the past 16 years, the Sandinista government has promoted proactive, preventive, and community-based programs that prioritize the needs of women, children, and the marginalized. Nicaragua’s leadership in sustainability and popular democracy proves that another world is possible: one freeing itself from the grip of predatory imperialism through empowering and promoting the rights of people. It’s for this reason that the US continually seek to demonize Nicaragua and undermine its advancements.

NicaNotes: Sixteen Years of Sandinista Government The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations in 2015 is a good filter with which to assess progress, stagnation or setbacks in the development of a country at a given moment in its history. This article looks at how Nicaragua measures up.


Thursdays: WTF is Going on in Latin America & The Caribbean with Teri Mattson (or watch here or here)
January 28: International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism: Sanctions, Blockades, and Economic Coercive Measures 
January 28:  Latin America Conference, London
January 31: Hands Off Venezuela! Free Alex Saab! Monthly Online Picket & Letter Writing
February 4: Free Alex Saab Reportback
February 5: Nicaragua Webinar with Camilo Mejia “Journey of a Native Son”
February 19: Washington DC demonstration against the War Machine; David Swanson interview with the organizers
February 25-March 11: Revolutionary Figures art exhibit by Carlito Rovira
March 11-12: International US-Cuba Normalization Conference


March 2-12: Venezuela, 10 years commemorating Chávez’s Legacy
March 11-19: Nicaragua Coffee and Cooperatives Brigade
March 10-20: Visit Cuba with The Center for Global Justice
April 4-13: Cuba Agroecology Tour
April 25-May 7: Building Relation with Cuban Labor: Celebrating Labor and May Day in Cuba
April 23 to May 7: NNOC-ICAP 2023 May Day Brigade Interest Form
May 26- June 4: Lessons from Cuba: Exploring Art, Healthcare, Sustainability and Education
May 13-22 and June 19-26 delegations to Nicaragua


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