At the recent U.N. general assembly addressing water and sanitation, Bolivian president Evo Morales once again has demonstrated why he is considered by many activists to be such an important voice on the international circuit.
More than two billion people across the world have no access to sanitation facilities and clean water. (Global population c.7billion) U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned representatives that the world would not achieve the Millenium Development Goals set for 2015, and that "It is not acceptable that poor slum-dwellers pay five or even 10 times as much for their water as wealthy residents of the same areas of the same cities,"
and added: "Let us be clear: a right to water and sanitation does not mean that water should be free."
Bolivians famously rebelled against water privatisation by US corporation Bectal in 2000 and Morales lacks no clarity on the subject: "Water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, it should be available to all the people,"
and challenging the notion that water management by private corporations will accelerate the process of development he said "Without water, there can be no food, no life,"
he said, "Competition of any sort cannot resolve the issue of poverty."
He also critisised 'developed' countries for failing to adopt a rights approach for mother earth and linked the struggle for environmental and social justice "If we don't respect the rights of Mother Earth, we cannot respect human rights,"
The U.S. delegate also supported the view that access to water is a universal human right, however avoided discussing the role of the private sector in the supply and distribution of drinking water. "The U.S. is committed to solving the world's water problems,"
Kate Fried of the Water and Food Watch supported Morales's views "Water is a human right. We believe that corporations cannot provide better service to consumers,"
and further that "Water service can be provided more effectively by public-public partnership."
Morales said simply "Water is life. Water is humanity. How could it be part of private business?"
See the brilliant film Even the Rain
to learn more of the Bolivian uprising against US water company Bectal.
In a four-day meeting in Patate, Ecuador in 2008 the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature was formed. People from countries around the world attended, including South Africa, the United States, Australia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The Alliance called for all organizations and people of the Earth to join in a Minka Pachamama , a global project to bring forth the universal adoption and implementation of the Rights of Nature. (Minka is Kichwa and means a collective community work for the betterment of all. Pachamama is Kichwas for Mother Earth)
Ecuador added legal rights for nature in to the national constitution in 2008 (Bolivia has recently done the same). The new constitution incluides the prohibition of the cultivation of transgenic crops and seeds and the patenting of "collective knowledge" associated with national biodiversity, the recognition of water as a human right, and makes nature in general a rights-bearing entity. It was the first country in the world to do so.The Provincial Court in Loja, Ecuador has now recognised and acted on this new constitutional right marking the first successful case enforcing the Rights of Nature.
The case was brought in response to excessive dumping of large quantities of rock and excavation material in the Vilcabamba River from a project to widen a nearby road. This road project had been underway for three years without studies on its environmental impact. The associated dumping violated the Rights of Nature by altering the river’s flow, increasing the risk of disastrous floods and dangerously fast currents, and negatively affecting the riverside populations who utilize the river’s resources. The Provincial Court of Loja ruled in favor of the river and its indigenous communities, detailed in Protective Action 11121-2011-0010.
In the photo at right, the blue line indicates the path of the river prior to dumping, while the red line indicates the path after dumping.
This message of acknowledgement from Pachamama Alliance website
: The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA), and Fundación Pachamama extend enormous congratulations to those who were instrumental in this first favorable ruling, including lawyer Carlos Eduardo Bravo González, who legally advised the plaintiffs and brought the case before the Court.
Most of all, we praise and applaud the work of the plaintiffs in the case, Richard Frederick Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle. By investing their time and resources, they effectively defended the Vilcabamba river and successfully established a precedent for the enforcement of Rights of Nature.
We urge citizens and organizations in Ecuador and around the world to follow this good example of the defense of the Pacha Mama.
What has happened to Hugo? This photo was taken with Fidel on the 10th of June, there was a brief phone conversation with Venezuelan TV on the 12th, and no Tweets (usually prolific on Twitter, with over 1 million followers) since the 4th June. What we do know is that he is having hip surgery in Cuba.
I think this many days post-operative, it is genuinely surprising that we have not yet heard anything from the man who could be regarded as the world's most energetic and gregarious president. His many detractors at home and abroad will no doubt try and squeeze some kind of slur from his extended silence. (He was admitted the day the photo was taken). Fox news and co will likely be going with the headline 'Venezuelan dictator deserts his people, whilst on vacation in Cuba' or other such ridiculous items.Cilia Flores, an MP from Chávez's United Socialist party, last week accused opponents of acting "like vampires and vultures trying to see what they can fish from troubled waters".
The Guardian reports: Mystery around Chávez's extended absence briefly thickened on Monday night when one international news agency picked up on a supposed Chávez tweet, in which the Venezuelan leader apparently admitted: "My illness is more complicated than we thought." Fifteen minutes later, however, the agency retracted its story; the Twitter account was a fake. In a text message to the Guardian on Wednesday, Venezuela's information minister, Andrés Izarra, said Chávez was "recovering well" but denied rumours that he would return to Caracas in the coming days. So expect the anti-Chavez campaigners to sharpen their knives in the interim.
When Two Worlds Collide traces the heroic journey of a young indigenous leader forced into exile after resisting environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. The filmmakers hope to bring this important documentary to completion by Sept 2012.
So far the project has received financial support from: Amiel & Melburn Trust, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Cinereach, Lush, Rooftop Films, The Sundance Institute, and The Tribecca Film Institute. However more funding is required. I asked Matthew Orzel from
Yachaywasi Films a few questions about the film.Tell me about Yachaywasi Films
We are a team of three at Yachaywasi Films and have been living in Peru for the past 4 years working on When Two Worlds Collide. Yachaywasi' (ya-chai-wasi) vision is to create innovative, artistic and thought provoking documentary films with a call to action, which explore world and socio-environmental issues. Whilst pushing the boundaries of how documentary films are made and perceived, YFs aim to strengthen the personal, intuitive response of the audience. We bring under-reported issues to international attention through the power of cinematic filmmaking and passionate story telling aiming to inspire individuals and societies to become catalysts for change - both locally and internationally.I note that you require another $5000 for 'When Two Worlds Collide' How much is needed in total?
We are asking for $5000 as it is what we need for the next stage. Fundraising is an on-going process and at the moment we are trying to raise enough to pay for immediate production costs. The entire budget is almost $400,000. we have raised at least $200,000. I know it sounds like an awful lot but for high end docs it really isnt. Also.... more public (non-returnable funding) funds we get... more we can give back to the communities involved in the production.In the past few weeks the fight for the Amazon has led to the murder of several high profile activists. Why is a documentary so important?
Film and television can be very powerful tools. After finding out what was happening in Peru, we knew it was our responsibility as filmmakers to get the message out there, to provide a voice to the voiceless. In addition to the amazing work of the NGO's on the ground working to do this, we hope this film will compliment their efforts by taking this issue to the mainstream. We are planning to attach the film to an international campaign that will bring further awareness to the issue. The film will be screened throughout South America, the U.S and Europe in cinemas and film festivals as well as Universities, Schools, Colleges and local communities. We want to build awareness about the problems facing communities of the Amazon and will provide positive actions for audiences to take.
This documentary is more than just a story, its real life, about real people who are suffering because of unfair corporate and governmental actions. The Peruvian Amazon is the 2nd largest after Brazil and with corporations already taking over 75% of the Amazon and with more to come we have to act with great urgency. Audiences need to understand and feel what is going on in the Amazon, how real people are affected by wrong decisions and where the consequences can lead us - this film will be a portal into the lives of the Amazonians for world audiences to understand and feel what they are going through. How can people help?
One way the public can show their support is by donating to our Kickstarter page, bridge funding ends on Wednesday Jun 22, - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1882866795/when-two-worlds-collide
Depending on the denomination of your donation you are eligible to free DVD's as well as other unique opportunities.
People can also help by sharing the link for the trailer http://vimeo.com/10805348
and by visiting the facebook fan page and sharing it with as many people as possible: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1251400164#!/event.php?eid=231138216902382
Exit Polls indicate the dictators daughter has failed. Datum gave Humala 52.7 percent of the vote and Fujimori 47.3 percent, Ipsos Apoyo give Humala 52.6 percent and Fujimori 47.4 percent. Assuming the exit polls are representative,
we can reflect that right wing neoliberal candidate Fujimori has played a most polished rhetorical game, but inevitably the baggage she carries with her was just too heavy and no amount of spin could lighten the load.
The majority has spoken against her fathers crimes; 1000's of women steralised without consent, mass 'dissapearances', death squads, a coup and subsequent dictatorship and looting of the governmental pot of millions of dollars.
Fujimori's team included many of the same advisors as her Father, and she had openly expressed her desires to free him. Humala is likely to be more Lula than Chavez and will head a divided congress. The rural poor, indigenous, human's rights organisations, and activists are under no illusions that Humala is a perfect candidate but will feel huge, huge, relief that it is he that has (probably) won.
(Click here to read yesterdays theecosocialist article re Peru's election and why Humala must win)
Mainstream reporting from supposedly left leaning publications has in my view been wholly inadequate when addressing the upcoming (Sunday)
Peruvian presidential election. It's as if it has been co-opted toward the right without framing the issues adequately with necessary weighting toward those who are most vulnerable and have the most to lose. Instead reports have been weighted around questions such as is neoliberalism correct for Peru? (When was that ever a reasonable question for the left) or non-commital centred around the notion of an overall lack of choice; the oft quoted Vargas Llosa 'Choosing between candidates like Keiko and Humala is like opting between cancer and AIDS'. That's not to deny that there are reasonable grounds to throw mud at both remaining candidates but what about framing the issues from an indigenous perspective, those at the cole-face of social and environmental justice, what do they think? Well here there is no longer need to be bamboozled by the rhetoric, the latest wiki-leaks cable and so on, here the choice is obvious and it's in this spirit this article is written and it's Humala all the way. The following is a montage from various sources referenced below. 1. What do the ‘left’ indigenous peoples, activists and human rights organisations think?
According a report by the ombudsperson's office, there were 233 protest demonstrations in the country in the month of April alone, most of which were held in the poorest regions, involving socio-environmental complaints and demands. There has been an overt lack of acknowledgment of these concerns in left leaning mainstream western media. In the first round of voting, on April 10, Ollanta Humala won in the regions with the highest poverty rates, predominantly in the rural highland regions of Apurimac, Huancavelica and Ayacucho. Aidesep the organisation of Peruvian indigenous people in the Amazon are calling on all Peruvians to vote for Ollanta. They released this statement, translated by Derek Wall: The CDN of Aidesep has today exhorted the people and all Peruvians to vote with hope, without fear, without forgetting, on 5th June voting for a country without discrimination, respecting the rights of indigenous people to free self-determination of their ancestral territories and respecting international law with convention 169 of the ODT and the UN declaration of Indigenous people.
In this context, the polarization of the presidential campaign is depressing where the injury, the lies, the insults are transformed into the main form of media communication, forgetting the suffering of our country in the 1990s during the Fujimara government, the seizure of the main forms of media communication including writing, radio and audiovisual, the forced disappearance of college students, the control of judiciary, the destruction of the constitutional Tribunal, the buying of Congress, the armed forces, etc.
So the (indigenous) people have decided to support the project because Gana Perú as the best replacement option for the country, because they (Humala's Party) supported indigenous peoples during the peaceful protests of 2008 and 2009, where we sought to stop the government of Alan Garcia from meeting his dream of deforesting the Amazon for cash.
It’s not just in rural areas that people are mobilizing for Humala and against Fujimori:
On Thursday, May 26, thousands of people took to the streets in Lima, and activists organized various actions and marches across the nation against Keiko Fujimori, and the political Fujimorismo
that she embodies. Silva Santisteban, a human rights leader participating in the march, told La Republica
newspaper. . “Keiko Fujimori represents the worst period in our history, we don’t want this dark period of our history to return and that’s why we're in the streets.”
The activists were mobilizing largely under the banner of The National Coordinator of Human Rights and the “Fujimori Never Again” Collective, which brings together 79 social and activist organizations. With their chants and banners they urged voters to not to vote for Fujimori in the upcoming elections.
Concordantly this statement was released in the Peruvian Times, viewing Fujimori as a threat to human rights, democracy and the most vulnerable in Peru:As political scientists we especially value democratic government, because it permits pluralism and open debate, it protects fundamental liberties and human rights, restrains opportunities for corruption and favours achieving agreements that generate development and public policies in favour of the most vulnerable population.2. What do the polls say?
Two or three weeks ago the Keiko team had been confident of a safe though perhaps not solid victory. The latest survey by the Ipsos Apoyo polling firm shows Fujimori in the lead, with 50.5 per cent support, but just one point ahead of Humala, who has 49.5 per cent. According to another leading pollster, Imasen, Humala is the front-runner, with 43.8 per cent support, but barely ahead of Fujimori, with 42.5 per cent.3. What did daddy do? And will daddy's girl be any different?
When Alberto Fujimori came to power in 1990 he unleashed neoliberal reforms, often referred to as the Fujishock. Electricity costs quintupled, water prices rose eightfold, and gasoline prices rose by 3000%. In this period Peru was made ripe for capitalism and globalisation. It wasn’t enough however for Alberto, feeling that Congress i.e. democracy was holding him back. With the support of the military he carried out a presidential coup and formed a dictatorship.
During his reign torture, murder, rape, and the disappearance of thousands of Peruvians took place in the midst of the Shining Path guerrilla movement. Amnesty International stated “the widespread and systematic nature of human rights violations committed during the government of former head of state Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000) in Peru constitutes crimes against humanity under international law.”
He is serving a 25-year sentence for embezzlement and directing death squads.
In addition, from 1996-2000 Fujimori’s administration waged a sterilization campaign against poor, indigenous and rural women. As a result c.300, 000 women in rural and marginalized urban communities were sterilized without
consent. Note the image in the top left. This painful past of what could be considered a form of ethnic cleansing has clearly not been forgotten but remarkably has not condemned his daughter’s chances of success. Even more remarkable, when one considers that Fujimori junior is surrounding herself with her father’s advisors, the very same people who supported his ‘crimes against humanity’. During an interview with Beto Ortiz,
the host of TV program Buenos Dias Peru, Keiko Fujimori’s vice president running mate, Rafael Rey, was questioned about the government’s forced sterilization program in the 1990’s and about a specific woman Mrs Victoria Vigo. The interview has caused concern among human rights organizations, Rey said the forced sterilization of Victoria Vigo was not “against”
her will, but rather “without”
her will. As if this was adequate justification. He went on to say that “while doing an operation, they sterilized her, without being consulted.”
When Host Ortiz pointed out reports in the media that Vigo was forcefully sterilized by the government she made the analogy. “Is that to say that if one is castrated while sleeping, it is not against your will but without your will?”
Rey lamely responded that NGOs and human rights organizations supported the government program. Daniel Roca, the Coordinator of National Organizations of People Affected by Political Violence in Peru (Covanip
), rejected that claim. “Human rights organizations and associations for victims of internal violence have never kept silent in the face of the sterilizations,”
Another rare blunder in an otherwise polished campaign came from Ms. Fujimori’s main spokesman Jorge Trelles. When asked about Mr. Fujimori’s record he flippantly replied “We killed fewer people than the two prior governments”The making of Daddy’s girl:
A few years before Fujimori’s reign ended with his incarceration he had separated from his wife Susana Higuchi. He formally stripped her of the First Lady title and gave it to his daughter Keiko instead. Susana Higuchi publicly denounced Fujimori as a “tyrant” and claimed that his administration was corrupt. She claimed that she herself had been tortured.
Many human rights activists in Peru believe the younger Fujimori signals the resurgence of her father’s dictatorial policies, what’s more she has been frank about her mission to free her father. In 2008, she famously said that after being elected president, her “hand would not tremble” if she signed a pardon for her father. She has been more guarded since then, recognizing that a pardon would be unconstitutional, there is little doubt that she’ll do what she can to help her father and that this is a large part of her motivation for running. Upside down world reports that Hector Bejal, a Peruvian lawyer and member of Global Call to Action Against Poverty has stated that:“There is no doubt that she would encourage judicial powers to end the sentence or give him home detention, citing his age or sickness”
Wikileaks have released cables that corroborate suspicions that if elected Keiko might use her power and influence to gain political amnesty for her disgraced father. In a 2006 communication with US diplomats in Lima both she and uncle Santiago Fujimori told the Americans that they sought to cut political deals with the government in exchange for an end to "political persecution" of Alberto
The above mentioned views are summarised in this statement reported in the Peruvian Times: Owing to these considerations of principle we are very concerned about the election of Ms Fujimori as President of the Republic, as it will constitute a vindication of her father’s government which, precisely, wiped out democracy in Peru and imposed an authoritarian regime that committed crimes against humanity as policy organized from the height of power and turned exclusion, patronage, abuse and corruption into its principal mechanisms of government.
The current Fujimori campaign, unfortunately, has not broken away from the practices that we deplored in the Alberto Fujimori government. In the past several weeks we have seen how their spokespersons have praised, justified or minimized these practices, which makes it impossible for us to believe that Ms. Fujimori represents a different and democratic government. Therefore, and because we believe that the defence of democratic values is fundamental to our commitment to Peru, we declare that we are against Keiko Fujimori’s candidacy.Lastly, independently of who wins the presidential elections, we believe that we will need to remain alert to any attempt to act above the rule of law and democratic institutions.”4. Who wants K?
Money talks as clearly here as anywhere else and what the market is saying is that it expects from a Fujimori government all the good things and more that it got from Alberto, i.e. pro-business, pro-growth legislation and non-bloated administration (dictatorship!) Stock markets shot up sharply by seven points on Thursday, as polls favoured Fujimori. Backed by record copper, gold, silver and other exports and a massive tract of rainforest to exploit, Wall Street will have a clear favourite. On the flipside Wikileaks cables confirm that the US view Humala as a threat.5. Don’t believe the spin
Keiko Fujimori’s campaign has been polished and ‘silver-tongued’. She knows rhetoric and how to play the game. For example through grinning teeth she doesn’t say ‘crimes’, she says ‘errors’ or ‘mistakes’. She made light work of Humala in a last-ditch face-to-face TV appearance on Sunday evening Telling him “to go and talk it over with her dad in jail if he wanted to complain about the old days”
Propaganda is full of her hugging indigenous women, kissing indigenous babies and wearing indigenous costume. Matt Wootton a member of the England and Wales Green Party is currently in Peru and reports
that: Keiko’s campaign is a million times more slick than Ollanta Humala’s. You see, she even tricks me into calling her “Keiko”. The political party she’s created for this campaign is just the letter “K”. Everybody loves her. Everybody thinks she’s part of their family. With her clear, populist bribes of free school meals, her politics are kind of Jamie Oliver meets Pol Pot.
Distancing herself from the Fujimori name is of course a mindful part of the rhetoric. Her campaign, Fuerza 2011, has handed out t-shirts, cooking utensils and even food, in an open show of patronage. (These practices are not banned by the election laws in Peru) "We simply want to reach the disadvantaged so they will remember the considerations that Alberto Fujimori had towards the neediest segments of society," 6. What about Humula?
Humala is a nationalist and former lieutenant colonel. In 2000 he led a failed revolt against Fujimori's electoral fraud and even kidnapped a general (he later received a congressional pardon). He ran in 2006 and was beaten by Garcia. He would likely renegotiate contracts with foreign oil and mining companies. According to reports investors are nervous about him emerging as president. In 2006 he was overtly socialist linking with Chavez wearing red through his campaign. This time around he has been doing his best to steer clear of any controversy, even speaking warmly of free markets, and has pledged to support investors' rights citing the World Bank when making his points. This time around he is grey suits and ties. When Chavez described him as a "good soldier", one of Humala's own congressional candidates threatened to launch a lawsuit against the Venezuelan president. Humala reportedly told Chavez to butt out of Peruvian affairs. "The Venezuelan model is not applicable in Peru,"
Keiko says, Grow out of poverty. Humala says redistribute. The support I feel for Humala is informed primarily for a profound distrust of his opponent. Whichever candidate wins will have half of the country against him or her and a fragmented congress. I doubt Humala if he were to get in would leave on a ‘high note’. Though Humala is the only leftist candidate he seems to lack something to be desired. It would however be a massive understatement to posit that the alternative must not be given the opportunity to follow in her father’s footsteps. This would be a stab in the back for 3000 indigenous and other rural peoples that are no longer able to give birth after being sterilized without consent. These people and thousands more have let their feelings be known in the hundreds of marches and protests that have taken place over this past month. It would be an understatment to suggest that in view of being backed by the same advisors as her father (who directed death squads, formed a dictatorship and looted the government purse to the tune of 600 million dollars) that democracy and human rights are at stake. Our allegiances are informed by the many issues raised in this article and in this regard it seems bizarre that so much of the coverage has been so non-commital and not overtly backing the Humala camp. The video below is from the 'no a Keiko Fujimori' campaign.
The Murder of Osama Bin LadenBy Fidel Castro
THOSE who pay attention to these issues know that, on September 11, 2001, our people expressed solidarity with the United States and offered the modest support we could provide in the area of emergency care for the victims of the brutal attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
We also immediately offered our country’s runways to U.S. aircraft with no place to land given the chaos which reigned in the first few hours after the strike.
The Cuba Revolution’s historic position in opposition to acts which endanger the lives of civilians is well known.
Unwavering participants in the armed struggle against the Batista dictatorship we were, but opposed, in principle, to any terrorist act which would lead to the death of innocent people. Such a position, maintained over half a century, allows us the right to express a point of view on this delicate issue.
In a massive public event that day at [Havana’s] Ciudad Deportiva, I expressed the conviction that international terrorism would never be ended through violence and war.
He was clearly, for years, a friend of the United States, trained by it, and an adversary of the USSR and socialism, but whatever the acts attributed to Bin Laden, the murder of an unarmed human being surrounded by his family constitutes an abhorrent deed. This is apparently what the government of the most powerful nation ever to exist did.
The carefully crafted speech given by Obama announcing the death of Bin Laden affirms, "…we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts."
This paragraph contains a dramatic truth, but it does not deter honest people from remembering the unjust wars unleashed by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, the hundreds of thousands of children forced to grow up without their mother or their father and the parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace.
Millions of citizens fled far from their peoples in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba and other countries of the world.
Nor have hundreds of millions of people forgotten the horrific images of human beings in Guantánamo, occupied Cuban territory, filing by silently, subjected to months, even years, of unbearable, maddening torture. They are individuals kidnapped and transported to secret prisons with the hypocritical complicity of supposedly civilized societies.
Obama cannot conceal the fact that Osama was executed in the presence of his children and wives, now being held by authorities in Pakistan, a Muslim country of almost 200 million inhabitants which has seen its laws violated, its national dignity offended and its religious traditions debased.
How will he prevent the women and children of the person executed outside of the law, without a trial, from explaining what happened and the images from being transmitted around the world?
On January 28, 2002, CBS journalist Dan Rather reported on this television network that on September 10, 2002, the day before the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Osama Bin Laden was treated with kidney dialysis in a Pakistani military hospital. He was in no position to hide or seek refuge in deep caverns.
Murdering him and consigning his body to the depths of the ocean demonstrates fear and insecurity, making him a much more dangerous figure.
After the initial euphoria, public opinion in the very United States will eventually turn against the methods used, which far from protecting its citizens, will multiply the hatred and vengeful feelings against them. Fidel Castro Ruz
May 4, 2011
Translated by Granma International http://www.granma.cu/ingles/reflections-i/5mayo-The%20murder.html
Gallup have placed Venezuela in sixth
place out of 124 countries in a poll on wellbeing. The poll found that 64% of Venezuelans considered themselves to be ‘thriving’.
President Chávez commented on the poll: “This means we are on the right path, even with all the errors that we have to put right. Nonetheless, this is the right path, the path of socialism, the redistribution of income.”
Venezuela was beaten by Denmark (79%), Canada (69%), Sweden (69%) and Australia (66%) and scoring the same as Finland (64%), Venezuela came highest out of those countries considered to be in the “developing world” and first out of the Latin American nations. The United States (59%) and UK (54%) ranked lower in the poll and came in 12th and 17th. Other countries scored: Italy (37%), India (17%) and China (12%) suggesting that higher GDP and national income do not correlate to how citizens view their level of wellbeing.
I'm sure the poll is not perfect and gallup would point out certain limitations, but i'm sure consensus would be the poll is a good overall indicator. A great book related to the subject is 'The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone.
The Authors of which are speaking in London at this years Marxism festival
30th June - 4th July.
The Venezuelan government signed a deal with Russia in October last year commisioning a nuclear power plant that would have provided 4,000 megawatts (MW) of power due to have been on-line in 10 years time. Following the unfolding events in Japan, Chavez has given the plans the red light, stating that the safety risks associated with reactors are too great and that he hoped that Venezuela can set an example for other nations to halt nuclear development and avert potential future humanitarian disasters. Although he is not hopeful that other nations would follow his lead:
“I do not have the least doubt that this (the potential for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan) is going to alter in a very strong way the plans to develop nuclear energy in the world.”
We have to hope that as the socialist revolution marches on in Venezuela ( in the face of an internal corporate media hate campaign and the failed US funded coup of 9 years ago this month ) that the oil dependant Venezuelan economy can also begin to take the lead in harnessing it's potential for wind and solar power.
c.20 million voters from the South American country that stretches from the Amazon to the Andes and the Pacific ocean cast their (compulsory) votes on Sunday and the socialist candidate Ollanta Humala has taken the lead in the first round. Latest Polls
have Humala with 28.06 percent of the votes, Keiko Fujimori, a 35-year-old daughter of the imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori with 22.49 percent and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 72-year-old former World Bank economist and Wall Street Investment banker, with 22.29 percent.
Unlike the relatively indistinct centrist/centrist right imperialist governments and main opposition parties of much of the west, Peru is faced with genuinely contrasting options and they are all in with a shout. The options cover the political spectrum, in a way that one may find in the GSCE political text books; there is the Wall Street capitalist (Kuczynski), the overt Anti-capitalist that led a failed military uprising in 2000 (Humala) and just for good measure the spawn of a disgraced autocrat (Fujimori). Each candidate is apparently conveying a fairly moderate centrist gameplan but one imagines with victory there will be a more extremist expression.
Humala pictured above shaking hands with his mentor Hugo Chavez has been here before. The 48-year-old former lieutenant colonel also won the first round of the 2006 presidential election and later lost to current president Alan Garcia. Apparently it was his relationship with Chavez combined with anti-socialist propaganda that lost him the presidency in 2006. He has since distanced himself from the Venezuelan leader.
Backed by rich mineral resources such as Gold and Copper Peru's economy is one of the fastest growing in the world but there is massive inequality and the gap between the richest and poorest is growing ever larger. Humala has promised a "great transformation and great redistribution of riches". This makes investors twitchy which may elevate his capitalist opponents in later stages. If Humala looses out, be it to the autocrat or the wall street man one must fear for the indigenous peoples and poor of Peru.