VIO News Blog

November 17, 2008

After G-20, Venezuela Plans Summit of Smaller Nations

After the emergency G-20 Summit in Washington last weekend, President Chavez expressed doubt that poorer countries would benefit from solutions to the global economic crisis proposed by rich countries. Reuters reports that the Venezuelan leader announced plans to host a summit of small nations, saying “One small thing together with other small things creates big things.” According to the AP, the meeting would likely include member nations of Petrocaribe and ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas).

With one week left ahead of regional elections in Venezuela, a spate of articles predict difficulty for pro-Chavez candidates and highlights opposition accusations against the government. The AP reports on the gubernatorial race in which President Chavez’s brother, Adan Chavez, is running for the top seat in their home state. Reuters articles over the weekend highlighted the issues of crime and alleged government spying. Of the latter, opposition interviewees were dismissive, saying that they were “relaxed” and that Venezuela is “not a police state.”

A Washington Times op-ed about the upcoming elections is riddled with hate-filled language and errors that undermine its claim that Caracas and Venezuela are on an “unstoppable downward slide.” Venezuela is not, as it states, under “autocratic rule”; Sunday’s elections mark 11th time that Venezuelans have been to polls since President Chavez was first elected in 1998. The op-ed attempts to suggest that President Chavez will not accept the defeat of candidates that belong to his political party, the PSUV, however, no mention is made of the fact that he quickly and calmly conceded defeat after voters narrowly rejected a package of draft constitutional reforms last December.

Finally, the AP reports that Venezuela anticipates the visit of Russian President Medvedev next week. The countries will collaborate on nuclear energy that will help “fuel the health and electricity sectors” in Venezuela. A Los Angeles Times report on the upcoming visit points out that “a U.S. embargo on arms and technology sales to Chavez has led the Venezuelan leader to shop for Russian military hardware.”

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