VIO News Blog

September 3, 2008

Chavez Recalls Colonial Genocides in Africa and the Americas

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 1:07 pm

Agreements on oil and gas were finalized between Venezuela and South Africa yesterday, AFP reports, a sign of increased cooperation between the Chavez administration and African states. Reuters reports that South Africa’s PetroSA will have a stake in Orinoco Belt reserves, and in turn, Venezuela’s PDVSA will invest in crude refining and storage in South Africa. During his visit, President Chavez urged a recognition of genocides committed by colonial powers in Africa and the Americas. “It is our duty to tell future generations about what really happened,” Chavez said.

Venezuela’s oil agreements abroad are the subject of yet another Reuters article, which continues to exaggerate Venezuela’s alleged “anti-U.S.” orientation. President Chavez is said to be “a top benefactor even to Washington allies who welcome his aid offers to offset rising energy and food import bills.” Venezuela’s humanitarian aid and trade deals in oil and other goods are not a bid to “steal allies” from the U.S., but rather, to forge new kinds of cooperation. Anti-poverty programs that operate across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. are an attempt to build solidarity and help give all countries equal chances to develop.

After President Chavez defended Venezuela’s record on counter-drug operations last Sunday, U.S. officials say they will keep the pressure on, according to Reuters. The State Department claims that the Venezuelan leader asked Washington’s Ambassador in Caracas to resign, and a spokesman said it will “continue to speak out on the state of U.S.-Venezuelan relations … (and) what we see happening inside Venezuela.” Unfortunately, the U.S. take on anti-drug efforts in Venezuela has vastly underestimated the number and effectiveness of programs designed to stop trafficking.

Two news stories today involve the state of Florida. The Sun-Sentinel reports that some right-wing Cubans argue that the ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, who has committed several deadly bombings and now languishes in Miami, should be above the law. This small but vocal group argues that crimes for which he has been convicted in Venezuela — such as the death of over 70 civilians aboard an airliner — are simply “too old” to matter, and that he would face torture if extradited. Though there is no basis for that claim, the U.S. continues to ignore extradition requests for the man.

Finally, a trial begins today for Franklin Duran, one of five Florida-based Venezuelan business men pleading guilty to acting as unregistered foreign agents. The U.S. says the men allegedly funneled campaign funds from Venezuela to Argentina. As Time Magazine reports, officials from both countries dispute the charges and deem it a conspiracy.

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