Adamant: Hardest metal

Grupos contrarios a la globalización y al neoliberalismo muestran su apoyo al presidente Chávez. Caracas acoge el primer encuentro mundial de Solidaridad con la Revolución bolivariana

E.D. / Efe
Caracas

El I Encuentro Mundial de Solidaridad con la revolución bolivariana reúne desde ayer en Caracas a representantes adversos a la globalización y al neoliberalismo, en apoyo al presidente Hugo Chávez. El encuentro, que finalizará el 13 de abril, fue inaugurado con la intervención del director del periódico francés "Le Monde Diplomatique", Ignacio Ramonet, quien habló sobre "la guerra en Iraq y el nuevo orden mundial".

El programa de actos conmemora el primer aniversario del regreso de Chávez a la presidencia, luego de haber sido derrocado durante 48 horas el 11 de abril de 2002, por un golpe de Estado cívico-militar encabezado por el empresario Pedro Carmona, actualmente exiliado en Colombia.
Antes de exponer sus críticas a la invasión de Iraq por parte de Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña, Ramonet expresó su solidaridad con la "democrática revolución bolivariana" y con Chávez, a quien se refirió como un "gobernante democrático".
La única referencia a Venezuela que hizo en su exposición se refirió a la "implicación" de EEUU en el "atentado criminal contra la democracia venezolana" del 11 de abril del año pasado y al riesgo de que, eventualmente, Venezuela podría ser un objetivo de la nueva política exterior estadounidense, sustentada en su supremacía militar.
Ramonet señaló que el dominio que EEUU ejercerá a partir de ahora en Iraq podría tener repercusiones en la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP), a la que considera su "adversaria", y también en Venezuela, que forma parte de esa alianza.
Ramonet planteó que es posible que sea privatizada la industria petrolera iraquí, que ese país salga de la OPEP y que se promueva una política de bajos precios petroleros.
En cuanto a la invasión de Iraq, Ramonet reiteró su carácter "colonial e ilegal" y consideró que no tiene nada que ver con la defensa de la democracia o la libertad, sino con el concepto de "control global" que tiene el sector más "reaccionario e influyente" de la actual administración estadounidense.
"No hay que tener lástima porque desaparezca una dictadura pero sí por las circunstancias en que se ha producido, con tantas víctimas civiles inocentes", dijo el director de "Le Monde".
Durante su intervención fue interrumpido por sectores del auditorio que corearon "Iraq, aguanta, el mundo se levanta". Ramonet añadió que la invasión "abre una profunda crisis en el derecho internacional" y advirtió que es difícil predecir las consecuencias que tendrá en el futuro de organizaciones como la Unión Europea y la OTAN.
También dijo que es "indispensable que los ciudadanos del mundo se movilicen" contra esta nueva concepción de las relaciones internacionales, que ha convertido en "forajido" al gobierno del presidente estadounidense, George W.Bush.
Entre los asistentes al Encuentro figuran el sociólogo estadounidense James Petras; el líder campesino francés José Bové, y el ambientalista filipino Walden Bello.
Además participan Hebe de Bonafini, representante de las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo; el historiador británico Perry Anderson; el economista húngaro István Mészaros, y el ex candidato presidencial y líder indígena de Bolivia, Evo Morales.
Los participantes debatirán en conferencias y mesas de trabajo sobre la actualidad del pensamiento de Simón Bolívar, la Constitución Bolivariana de 1999, el neoliberalismo y sus alternativas y la unidad cívico-militar frente a las corrientes golpistas, entre otros.
Héctor Navarro, ministro venezolano de Educación Superior, dijo a los periodistas que el Encuentro celebra "el triunfo de la democracia sobre la dictadura, de la libertad sobre la tiranía, de la vida sobre la muerte y de la paz sobre la violencia".
Ana Osorio, ministra del Ambiente, declaró que la revolución venezolana "es un proceso que se ha convertido en la esperanza de muchos pueblos del mundo para alcanzar un futuro mejor".
La inauguración se realizó en el Teatro Teresa Carreño de Caracas con la asistencia de Chávez y numerosas delegaciones de América Latina y Europa principalmente.

Chavez Frias will let international observers in to monitor recall referendum

www.vheadline.com
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

President Chavez Frias says he will be open to allowing international observers monitor a recall referendum. Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorin broke the news after meeting Venezuelan Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel in Brasilia.

In a short comment, Amorin welcomes the idea, which, he says, would be accepted by the six-nation 'Group of Friends' set up to seek a definite solution to Venezuela’s political crisis.
Rangel, who is on a tour of Latin American countries, confirms that normalcy has returned to Venezuela after the crippling national stoppage which he describes as a coup attempt by terrorists. “The efforts of the Group of Friends could determine settling concrete aspects that would allow for a negotiated settlement.”

Vice President sets off on Latin American tour

www.vheadline.com
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2003
By: Robert Rudnicki

Venezuelan Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel has held talks with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim to discuss the political situation in Venezuela as part of a trip that will also take him to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Rangel will now hold talks with his Brazilian counterpart Jose Alencar on the Friends of Venezuela group's role in the breaking the Venezuelan political deadlock, but the meeting Rangel had scheduled with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been cancelled.

Rangel will then head to the other Latin American countries on his list to further spread the government's position on the current crisis.

This follows similar initiatives from opposition representatives who have also looked abroad to drum up support.

Huge wedding thrown for Chavez's daughter

washingtontimes.com

 CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threw a magnificent wedding for his daughter yesterday, with a cake big enough to serve 1,000, including Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who is reported to have declined his invitation.  
 Venezuela's press has dubbed it the "revolutionary wedding," after the president's leftist politics.  
 Rosa Virginia Chavez, who appears at her father's side more often than the first lady, was married to the defense minister's nephew Pedro Manuel Prieto in a 19th-century chapel on the grounds of the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.  
 Rosa Virginia is the second of Mr. Chavez's four children from two marriages.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Democrats redefining 'Hispanic'

www.lenconnect.com

It is now possible to conclude that some people born in a Spanish-speaking country who came here as immigrants speaking little English are in fact not Hispanic.

More specifically, you are not Hispanic if you were born in Honduras, came here as an immigrant who spoke little English, graduated from Harvard Law, and became a conservative candidate to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals whose nomination is blocked by Senate Democrats.

That's the problem with Miguel Estrada, who was born in Honduras, came here as an immigrant who spoke little English, graduated from Harvard Law, and became a conservative candidate to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals whose nomination is being blocked by Senate Democrats.

He's just not Hispanic enough. At least, according to Democrats.

Angelo Falcon, head of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, spoke of a "Latino Horatio Alger story that's been concocted" and said, "It's not good enough to simply say that because of someone's genetics or surname that they should be considered Hispanic."

New Jersey Rep. Robert Menendez is another Democrat who supports this ethnic litmus test. "Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname," he said the other day. "It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic-American."

Bob, my old buddy from high school -- you should know better.

There sure are legitimate grounds for liberals to oppose the nomination of a conservative judge, just as there are legitimate grounds for conservatives to oppose liberal judges. In fact, it would be hypocritical for liberal Hispanics to support the conservative Estrada solely because he is a fellow Hispanic.

But this is an effort to define "Hispanic" in political terms.

It is a particularly American absurdity. People in the Spanish-speaking world -- in other words, "Hispanics" -- span the ideological spectrum, from Pinochet and Franco on the right to Castro and nutty Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on the left. But when Hispanics come to the United States, we find we are required to be liberal, on pain of losing our ethnic identity.

No better example of this absurdity than Estrada himself. One could argue that, say, a white farmer from Nebraska who happens to have the surname "Perez" because of a Mexican great-great-grandfather is not Hispanic. Fine. But that's not the case with Estrada. The man grew up speaking Spanish in Honduras and came to the United States as a teenager. And that's enough. Whatever political ideology he developed as an American is utterly irrelevant to his ethnicity.

Falcon's implication was that Estrada did not come from a poverty-stricken family and therefore did not qualify as a true Latino struggling to overcome barriers of race and social class. But Bob Menendez did not come from a desperately poor family either, and neither did I. Doesn't make me or Bob any less Hispanic.

There is something else at play here: the Hispanic vote in 2004.

Republicans want it, and the Estrada nomination puts them in position to tell Hispanic voters, "Hey, don't pay attention to our policies, even if some of us are anti-immigrant racists -- look, we nominated one of your people for a top judgeship!"

This worries Democrats. Their decades-long lock on the Hispanic vote endures in part because most Hispanics see themselves as the heirs of generations of Democratic voters. Now, Estrada's appearance on the national political scene endangers that perception by suggesting, "You, too, can be Hispanic and at the same time a conservative."

Not surprising that some Democrats are replying, "No, you can't."

Syndicated columnist Roger Hernandez can be reached via e-mail at rogereh@optonline.net.

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