Adamant: Hardest metal

A fistful of dollars for OPEC

The daily Star, Yamin Zakaria, UK, London

The recent move by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to replace the dollar by the Euro has generated anger as it did with Iraq, when Saddam chose to exchange the oil for Euro in November 2002, sealing his fate. Further resentment was caused by Venezuela's decision to barter its oil with the 13 other Latin American countries, denting the on-going "dollarisation" of South America. Unlike Iraq, Venezuela could not have been invaded, as the political pretexts would require time to build up. Instead CIA has been engaged in various covert operations including the recent failed military-led coup in April 2002.

As the dollar has been already devaluating against the Euro, other significant countries like Russia, China, North Korea, Malaysia has started to hold Euro as part of their foreign exchange reserve, under such climate a move by OPEC to switch to Euro would cause a massive devaluation and consequentially initiating a domino effect. Other wealthy rich Arab businesses would follow, and push other investors to do the same, leading to the unthinkable, a run on the dollar. Further devaluation the US cannot afford due to the massive budget deficit. More significantly it would incapacitate her ability to wage further illegal wars (state terrorism) around the world.

Therefore, we can expect a prolonged US occupation of Iraq under various pretexts until Iraq's oil revenues are switched back to the dollar -- preferably take her out of the OPEC, so no surprise for the "absence" of Iraq's "interest" in the recent OPEC meeting. Iran is also contemplating switching to the Euro, and naturally she is receiving threats under other pretexts. We may witness other "liberation" wars and destabilisation, leading to the dismantling of the OPEC cartel, not in the name of democracy or freedom, but to maintain the dollar as a global transactional currency.

Castro protests his allies' 'fascism'-- Marches against top trade mates

The Miami Herald
Posted on Fri, Jun. 13, 2003
From Herald Staff and Wire Reports

LEADING THE CROWD: Fidel Castro and supporters march Thursday past the Spanish embassy in Havana. JOSE GOITIA/AP

After comparing the leaders of Spain and Italy to Hitler and Mussolini, Cuban President Fidel Castro led a massive march Thursday in Havana against European Union criticisms of his government's crackdown on dissidents.

While an announcer chanted ''Down with Fascism,'' Castro marched past the Spanish Embassy as supporters carried signs referring to Prime Minister José María Aznar as the ''little Führer,'' a nickname Castro gave him in a televised speech late Wednesday.

Across town, Castro's brother and designated successor, Armed Forces chief Gen. Raúl Castro, led protesters past the Italian Embassy, where placards referred to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as ''Benito Berlusconi'' -- a reference to former fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

Castro's outburst of bitter invective showed his willingness to alienate the 15-member bloc that is Cuba's most important source of trade and tourism. Spain is Cuba's second largest trading partner after Venezuela, and the Spanish-owned Sol Melia chain controls 21 hotels around the island, Larry Luxner, a Washington-based journalist who publishes the monthly newsletter CubaNews, told The Herald.

Italian investors own half of the country's telephone company, and Spanish and Italian tourists are two of the most important sources of hard-currency revenues for the island, Luxner added.

''I don't know if the tourists themselves care, but the countries he's attacking might,'' he said. ``It might put some obstacles in the way of investment.''

Castro referred to Berlusconi in his televised address Wednesday as ''a fascist clown,'' the French Agence France-Presse news agency reported from Havana.

Castro also warned that if European ambassadors in Havana carry out an EU decision to invite more dissidents to receptions, Cuban officials will not attend, and his government will respond by isolating the diplomats. ''If they limit their activities to meeting with the dissidents, they are not needed here . . . Let no one say that I have not spoken clearly here,'' the AFP quoted Castro as saying.

Castro lost patience with his allies after the EU issued a statement last week that it was ``deeply concerned about the continuing flagrant violation of human rights and of fundamental freedoms of members of the Cuban opposition and of independent journalists.''

Earlier this year, the Cuban government jailed 75 dissidents, journalists and artists, all of whom Amnesty International later named prisoners of conscience. European officials also unanimously agreed to reduce visits to Cuba by high-level EU officials and to invite dissidents to holiday celebrations at their embassies in Havana as a sign of support.

Castro called the statement a ''stupidity'' that must have been written in an ''act of drunkenness'' and accused the Spanish and Italian leaders of being behind the statement.

In Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Thursday called Castro's words ''threatening.'' He said that he had summoned Cuba's ambassador, Angeles Flores Prida, ''to express the indignant protest of the Italian government over this behavior,'' The Associated Press reported. The march was ''a sad example of what a dictatorship is,'' Frattini was quoted as saying. ``In Cuba, demonstrations only take when they are called by the government.''

Herald staff writer Marika Lynch contributed to this report.

Venezuelan lawyer pips US candidate on to IAHRC at OAS general assembly

venezuela's Electronic News
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Jorge Valero says he's pleased with the election of Venezuelan Freddy Gutierrez as a member of the Inter American Human rights Commission ... "it's a triumph for Venezuelan diplomacy."

Gutierrez is a lawyer, university professor and although he is not well known inside Venezuela in the human rights circles, Valero claims that Gutierrez has indeed has worked on human rights issues ... "he has the highest ethical and professional qualities."

  • The lawyer split from Causa R to join Patria Para Todos (PPT) and is said to be an expert on foreign debt.

34 OAS member countries voted Gutierrez in, despite pressure from the USA fielding a candidate for the same post. Chilean newspapers consider the election a blow for US aspirations to regain lost ground.

Things are said to have been sluggish for US Secretary of State because OAS members are not keen on the US call for concerted diplomatic pressure on Cuba ... instead countries have complained that the US have been taking too many things for granted in US-Latin American relations pointing to the presence of a minor US official at the inauguration of Argentinean President Jorge Kirchner.

As a leader of Causa R in 2000, Dr. Gutierrez Trejo had served on the then Chamber of Deputies special committee to study Venezuela's foreign debt commitments. He had lectured on Legislation & Protection of Public Patrimony, Constitutional Principles, Norms & Inalienable Rights and has a prestigious track record in the defense of human rights in Venezuela. He also served on the AN Committee for integration and Foreign Community relations.

Gutierrez went on record a couple of decades back (1982), commenting the then "tequila crisis" in Mexico, where Venezuela discovered it had an external debt of approximately $40 billion, of which $5 billion was strictly State indebtedness, that $35 billion was foreign commercial debt acquired by State-owned entities CANTV, SIDOR, VENALUM, PDVSA and a group of important joint venture organizations particular to the Venezuelan government.

"The first deal was detrimental to Venezuelan interests," Gutierrez is quoted as saying. "The first agreement for the reconstruction of Venezuela's foreign debt was a monstrosity, Venezuela's legal counsel in New York did nothing to protect our interests." Instead, payments made on foreign debt from 1983 onwards were only payments of interest ... indicating that Venezuela's foreign debt remained at $40 billion with no capital repayments.

WE the American people do not believe in communist propaganda

Venezuela's Electronic News
Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2003
By: Bob Frobenius

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 22:59:09 -0500
From: Bob Frobenius
Subject: subjective reporting?

Dear Editor: Coup April 11 ... your report was false and misleading, specifically designed to inflame and had no basis in true fact. All your reporting was hearsay and pure speculation on events that you or any one else cannot prove.

But you are more than willing to promote them as pure face when they are your speculation from a paranoid mind.

WE the American people do not believe in communist propaganda which YOU put out as fact. Which is a lie...

We will fight for Freedom, for all mankind ... not your Dictatorship of the people that you hold as correct. One person, one vote. Democracy is our way. You can go to Hell. And we will be more than happy to help you get there.

The people, all the people will create a world that excludes the types that exclude free speech; freedom of the press; one person, one vote; a free judiciary from creating a society that represents all the people not just YOUR beliefs.

Are you totally biased Yes, Yes Yes. Not anti-American you lie ... if you were for true Freedom you would read the Constitution of The United States Of America and realize that this document is the basis of YOUR Freedom whether you live in the Ukraine or Venezuela.

Real freedom for each man and woman ... under the law designed to protect each person.

Black white yellow or red ... your subjective reporting is designed to enslave people not free them.

An American reading your propaganda,
Robert F. Frobenius II
1910 East Crawford St.
Salina, Kansas 67401

PS: All those not willing to put their names and addresses to their beliefs are cowards and deserve our pure distain. responds: Dear Robert ... it is totally frightening that you should believe that the Constitution of the United States of America should apply to a sovereign and independent nation such as Venezuela when the people of Venezuela ... yes, the people of Venezuela ... approved their own Constitution by democratic majority vote in a National Referendum in December 1999. My best guess, then, is that you are willing to enslave people exclusively to your subjective way of thinking rather than -- as guaranteed in the Venezuelan Constitution -- the right of all the Venezuelan people to decide their own destiny under a truly participative rather than representative democracy. Therein lies the rub ... perhaps YOU should read the Venezuelan Constitution and, perhaps, adopt some of its better articles and resolutions to improve your own?

It may disturb you greatly -- and it should! -- to discover what your government in Washington has done in your name as a US citizen, but the fact remains that Venezuela is indeed totally biased towards Venezuela and the positive future of its people ... if you find that subjective, then we're happy to live with our stated editorial policy just the same as the majority of USA newspapers will profess to a distinct bias to USA affairs and policies. If this garners your distain, so be it!

In conclusion, as soon as you have gotten over your myopic umbrage against critique of your country's illegal and unethical involvements in Venezuela's domestic political and homeland security affairs, I suggest you clue yourself up to the undeniable fact that the Venezuelan Constitution does guarantee total freedom of information; including the freedom of opposition newspapers to rant obscenities against the legitimate President. The Venezuelan Constitution guarantees the right of all Venezuelans ... and not just an elite minority as under previous presidencies ... to participate in the government of their own country. This may, of course, be confusing to your totally subjective view of the outside world since you have elected to submit to a representative democracy where you pass the buck upwards to often-corrupt politicians to decide what is best for you and your fellow countrymen.

To us, that is a sad, sad, sad reflection on USA today!

ORIT: CTV should stick to worker's issues and not play second fiddle to politicos

Venezuel;a's Electronic News
Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions America's Region (ICFTU-ORIT) organizer Ivan Gonzalez says the Venezuelan Confederation of Trade Unions (CTV) must recover its role as defender of worker's rights and be carried away by momentary issues.

Speaking at a forum on worker's rights, Gonzalez warns that the CTV cannot expect automatic international solidarity, if it centers activities around political issues.

Addressing CTV human rights committee, the ORIT representative says that the CTV's fight revolves around getting rid of President Hugo Chavez Frias, then it will be difficult for ORIT to accompany them.

Trade union leadership must take up the perspective of the defense of human and worker's rights and be more inclusive as regards enrolling people working in the informal economy... Gonzalez admits that there is a legitimate and respectable way of fighting against a government it is a fine line ... "don't come running to us when there are prisoners or somebody is exiled or when something has to be done."

This is not the first time that ORIT and indeed the International Labor Organization (ILO) has questioned the dominance of immediate political gains over trade union issues on the part of current CTV leaders. ILO and ORIT leaders have commented that the experience of CIA interference in other continental trade unions still leaves a bitter taste ... it has made them suspicious regarding hidden agendas in the current Venezuelan political conflict.

  • ORIT is the America's Region (North and South) of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

Venezuelan human rights group PROVEA leader, Marino Alvarado talked about advances and reverses over the last couple of years, welcoming the quantification of the State's labor liabilities to public sector workers ... "unfortunately it hasn't been done on a State and municipal level."

Alvarado comments that the State has adopted as policy of violating union freedoms ... "Venezuela must ratify the San Salvador Protocol that recognizes the right to strike and the defense of labor rights at the Inter American Human Rights Court ... something that becomes obligatory for all signatories."

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