VIO News Blog

September 4, 2008

Dominica Gets $21 Million for Development Through ALBA

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 10:48 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The small Caribbean nation of Dominica will soon receive $21 million in development funds through ALBA, the regional integration initiative spearheaded by Venezuela. According to the AP, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the aid is “testament to the strong bonds of friendship between Dominica and Venezuela within the ALBA.” Honduras joined ALBA last week, becoming its sixth member.

Bush’s White House drug czar continues to issue wild accusations against Venezuela. AP reports that the Bush rep claimed that more cocaine is leaving Venezuela and less is being seized, and also made the vague prediction that “what’s coming is mafias taking over at least sections of the country if not whole institutions of government.” The claim that Venezuela has seen more cocaine trafficking remains unsubstantiated by any reliable figures, particularly because US drug agencies track only “suspected” drug flights. Caracas officials maintain that their anti-drug efforts have increased and been complemented by far-reaching corruption purges. El Universal quotes the head of Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office, Nestor Reverol, who calls the US accusations “irresponsible.”

A Washington Times op-ed repeats the drug accusations against Venezuela and makes the exaggerated claim that the country is a “clear and immediate security threat.” It wrongly calls Venezuela a “dictatorship,” when in fact democratic institutions and norms have been maintained and reinforced under President Chavez. Voter turnout in regular free and fair elections, for example, has reached almost 75 percent. Open debates occur in civil society and in the media, which is still dominated by opposition voices. Finally, “terrorist” groups such as Hezbollah are not permitted to “raise funds freely” in Venezuela, nor is the Chavez administration anti-Semitic. After President Chavez met with Jewish leaders last month, the head of the Latin American Jewish Congress called the Venezuelan leader “a great friend of the Jewish community… who wants to fight anti-Semitism.”

In a speech at the RNC yesterday, Republican VP nominee Palin slammed US dependence on foreign oil. Reuters reports that Palin said, “Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries.” This has never occurred, and most expert analysts rule out the possibility entirely. In recent months, President Chavez has in fact vowed that Venezuela’s vast reserves can supply the US market for decades to come.

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