The Union frequently comments on events or receives news of general interest and these are documented on this page.
will march towards the apex of their greatness at the same pace as their
Educational achievements in Venezuela since the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution have, along with health care, come to symbolize the humanitarian aspect of this popular social revolution. The educational aspect of the Bolivarian revolution is part of the new socialist fabric being woven into the society. The Bolivarian revolution has achieved and has sustained universal access to free and secular public education at all levels and with a high degree of equity.
When the revolutionary government came to power spending on education was one of the areas that was focused upon the most. By 2001 public spending on education increased to 4.3% of GDP (or $220 per capita), twice the level of 1996 and one of the highest levels in twenty years. Much of the new investment in education went towards the building of new schools and the transformation of old ones into “Bolivarian Schools”. Also public school enrollment (primary and secondary) increased from 5.5 million in 1998 to 6.5 million in 2001 an increase of one million (or 18%) during three years, when in the previous six years there had been no increase at all in public school enrolment by Pre-Revolutionary governments.
The increase in basic education enrollment represented 8.6% of children age 5 through 14, in other words nearly half million children are in school who would otherwise be without education. For secondary education, the increase meant that 14.7% of children age 14 through 19, or nearly 400.000 children have been able to stay as a direct result of improved social investment.
The largest gain has been in higher education: from 1999-2000 school year to 2006- 2007 enrollment increased by 86%. The Bolivarian revolution also initiated The Ribas Mission to provide secondary education for returning adult students. The Ribas Mission began in 2003 and its first students graduated in 2005. In its first three years of operation, the program graduated over half a million students- about three percent of the country`s adult population. The revolution also carried out a large scale literacy training program Misión Robinson.
On October 28, 2005, UNESCO declared Venezuela illiteracy-free territory acknowledging the educational teaching-learning method known as “Yo Sí Puedo” (Yes, I Can) which was designed by Cuba, and implemented through the social program known as Misión Robinson (Robinson Mission). During the mentioned year 1,486.000 Venezuelans became literate as the result of the government`s efforts to guarantee all its citizens the right enshrined in the Bolivarian Constitution (1999) on articles 102, 103, 110, and, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines that “everyone has the right to holistic, comprehensive, good quality education, with opportunity offered equally.
The late president Hugo Chavez along with Cuba`s help, promoted the Post-literacy program known as “Yo Si Puedo Seguir” (Yes, I Can Continue), Misión Robinson II, later adding other educational programs such as Ribas and Sucre for diversified university levels, respectively.
According to data from the Ministry of Education, during 2011-2012 the access to education was at 96.50% while in 2012 and 2013 it stood at 95.50%. This year the government will distribute 35 million textbooks to state primary and high schools from its Bicentenary Collection, which covers the national curriculum. This marks an increase from last year when 30.75 million books were distributed under the system, and 12 million in 2011.
The government is also planning to distribute 5 million copies of the National Constitution to schools this term in order to raise awareness of the constitution’s contents and promote the values defended in its articles. It will also distribute 650,000 free “Canaima” laptops to children from 1st to 6th grade this school term. A further 1.4 million will be handed out in 2014, bringing the total distributed since 2008 to 4 million, the Canaima laptops are manufactured in the country as part of a cooperation agreement with Portugal. Today, the Venezuelan state allocates 7 percent of its GDP to education, while in 1998 the contribution was barely 3.9 percent.
Without including the socialist missions that target those left outside of the formal education system, enrollment in 1998 stood at 6.2 million and has now increased to 7.5 million in both public and private institutions. Venezuela has Latin America’s second-highest rate of enrollment in higher education: 83 percent.
This figure rivals that of developed countries like Finland (92 percent). The average rate of enrollment for the region stands at 29.6 percent. Investment in higher education: Funding for university has increased by 814 percent, up from less than $300 million in 1999 to $2.6 billion in 2011. 2010 marked the year when the most universities were created in the history of Venezuela- a total of nine universities. Student admissions: the policy of inclusion was consolidated in 2010, when 128,382 people were admitted to universities through the National Enrollment System (RUSNIEU).
The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela increased higher education enrollment by 170 percent, up from 785,285 students in 1998 to over 2.12 million in 2009. Public and free access to higher education has been boosted under the Bolivarian Revolution. Enrollment in public universities was at 61 percent in 1998, while in private universities it stood at 39 percent, but by 2009, the enrollment in public universities reached 75 percent and 25 percent in private universities.
Special Education: In 2012, Venezuela’s National Assembly authorized the executive to approve about $40 million for the Ministry of Education to build 1,200 special classrooms in Bolivarian public schools for children with disabilities. These and other governmental initiatives are designed to empower the until-now disenfranchised and impoverished majority of people in the country to build a socialist future rather than a capitalist one.
The issue involving Christophe Grant and the letter
issued in his name cannot be allowed to rest until certain issues it brought
into stark relief are recorded if only for those who centuries down the line are
conducting digs to determine how come
the island people of T&T perished in the way
record as follows:
letter issued in Mr. Grant’s name reflected a position and included statements
which in other circumstances would have been considered libellous – given the
truths that he, at some risk to himself, found it necessary to make public.
clearly was challenging the inaccuracies and untruths attributed to him in the
letter issued in his name - and the letter having found its way into the public
domain had to be denied in the public domain – not privately to the person in
whose defence they were issued. Any other approach would not have served to
protect and preserve Mr. Grant’s good name and establish truth.
facts emerging proved him right and further suggested the use of a supposed
“protocol” in a way that made him the fall guy. As to whether this was
intentional or not is not yet clear but what is, is that such “protocols”
cannot be used as a rationalisation for the defamation – intentionally or
otherwise, and to misrepresent facts to the public. We cannot seek to trump
law, morality, civil rights and justice with public service “protocol”.
is interesting that the responses from the PM and her AG did not seek to deny
Mr. Grant the right he claimed and the public right to know - and indeed sought
to offer rationalisations and apologies for the injustice done to him. And I say
this even though I am no fan of Kamla and the AG who have jointly put in
writing that they do not have to respond to FOIA Enquiries from the public.
is worse is that the AG has in a separate matter broken the Law by refusing to
respond to or even acknowledge the receipt of FOIA Enquiries. But that is par
for the course on the road to hell.
interesting is the fact that certain persons whose views represent and shaped
those of public servants over the years, if not decades, did not take the line
the PM and the AG did and instead took issue with Mr Grant for defending his
name and integrity in the way he did. Their attack on Mr Grant was indeed a
revelation as to the “ethics and practices” that has informed the actions of
these “servants of the public”.
represented a clear assault, from those
we pay as public servants to represent and protect our interests, on the right
of the public to be educated and informed (an acknowledged and essential
requirement in a functioning democracy).
real concern in all of this is it is another manifestation of the
transformation of public servants into political servants. The denial of the
public’s right to know what goes on in the conduct of public affairs can only
be challenged by good Law.
have evidence of such denial in letters I receive from Permanent Secretaries in
almost all the Ministries including from Reynold Cooper who is the head of the
public service. The real danger is that no one is able to discipline or fire
these miscreants who preside over and promote the destruction of our society
and purposefully stand in the way of us taking any action to save ourselves.
I cannot close unless I mention that our
leaders never tire of telling us about the rule of Law with the inference that
once you cannot prove their guilt or transgressions they will continue doing
course this means that right in their logic and morality is whatever you can
get away with until and unless the Law determines otherwise. This places them,
those who have the resources or influence to challenge or corrupt the Law and
those who frame and administer it, above the Law. The evidence in reality
supports this in that the big fishes are never caught.
persons who frame and administer the Law are public servants and those who have
the influence to facilitate its corruption are also public servants and it has
proven impossible to find a corrupt or dishonest public servant in this town:
at least that is what the President and his appointees at the Integrity
Commission have been telling us.
a recognised poll indicated that the public is less trustful of the Judiciary
than it is of Politicians/Parliamentarians. In delivering his recent address
the CJ seemed totally unconcerned about this in that he spoke to the
politicians and those who were there to cheer; never to the public who pay
their salaries, who they are there to serve and who are on the receiving end of
the questionable quality "justice" he and his team dispenses.
this hopelessness and mindlessness goes on year after year, the
Parliamentarians, the Judiciary the IC, the Police, the Army, the Coast Guard,
etc. all complain that money is their problem; that is why they cannot catch
and prosecute the real thieves/villains among us who we all know either by
reputation or name. Our protectors mentioned in the aforementioned were all
once public servants but have today become “political servants” or “corrupted
the rich continue to bitch about transfers and subsidies to the poor in the
country (even though most of these go to the rich) when in effect it is just
giving to the poor a very small portion of what is their birthright, instead of
allowing public servants to steal/waste/squander it or just give it away to
those whose interests they really serve.
History according to Karl Marx first occurs as tragedy then as farce. Or is it fast? Media reports suggest that Dr. Kublalsingh has appointed/anointed the leader of the Movement for Social Justice as his successor if his fast does indeed end in tragedy. The process/protocol for appointing someone to fast in your place we do not know and there is no need to speculate on such a serious matter.
There are some real 'fat cats/heavyweights' in the Labour Movement who could shed a few pounds and their BMW's and Audi's would hardly have suspension troubles, but leave that to the leader of the ILP who has found it in his heart to now support the Highway Re-Route leader's initiative. I do not know what kind of archives the "Sunshine ' has built up but wasn't the leader of the ILP suggesting, in a previous incarnation, that Dr. Kublalsingh was secretly eating 'doubles' at night?
Oh, do not bring that up! Yesterday was yesterday and elections are in the air and the Budget has not made any provision for removing fire trucks. Damn you Larry Howai!
But given that the Highway Re-route Movement now has a 'potential/likely/possible/acting' leader, who lacks the consistency of his former President General, what should we expect from the MSJ/JTUM/HRM coalition now? Last time they marched from Memorial Park to the President's Home to ask him to defer signing the Constitution Amendment Bill. Now, one can understand that. It is like going to a political Privy Council now that you have exhausted all your appeals and you know that this run-off arrangement effectively seals your fate…if you had a chance in the elections anyway…kind of like looking for a political "Pratt and Morgan''
We don't know if marching in the night has clouded their vision but have they not noticed the politics of the President is leaning heavily to the right?
Weren't these guys talking to Ramesh and Jack a couple months ago at Rienzi? It would surprise no one if they ended up talking to Errol again? But they would have to hurry because his acting career has taken off in a big way. Ever notice no one else acts in Kamla's absence? Some of us believe if a certain period passes and Kamla has left the country, he urges her to go somewhere even if it is for a day so he can get his fix; like a chain smoker who needs only 'two pull' and passes the cigarette. No, the term 'two pull' is not patented or copyrighted and can be used outside of hotel rooms and away from foreign guests.
So our best wishes go out to the leader of the MSJ on his anointment into the House of Kublal and away from the house of David.
We wish to place on public record our disgust and extreme disappointment with the treatment meted out to Dr Ian Hypolite, a most distinguished professional and son of the soil, by The Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
We choose to write at this time because of the deafening silence by all those in authority and other members of the national community since the Independence awards 2014 were given out.
The Minister of Sport publicly proclaimed during the euphoria of Mr. Jehue Gordon's triumphant return from his successful performance at The recent World Games that Dr Ian Hypolite (Jehue's coach from school days) would be recommended for a national award amongst other things
What subsequently transpired was that Dr Ian Hypolite was sent a private and confidential letter from the Permanent Secretary in August 2014 that Cabinet had rescinded the award, full stop. No explanation given.
For the information of the national community I wish to very briefly state who Dr Ian Hypolite is: Dr Ian Hypolite is a medical professional, consultant psychiatrist, former Hospital Medical Director of St Ann's Hospital well known and respected throughout The Caribbean and beyond having represented this country at many world fora.
He has devoted considerable time and effort to youth development through sports and continues to make the sacrifices necessary to do so. He is also a sport administrator par excellence as evidenced by the numerous positions and postings he has held nationally, the most recent being Head of mission for this country's team at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, Scotland 2014 .He has coached Mr. Jehue Gordon since his school days proving that a totally local trained and prepared athlete can face and beat the world, Jehue's achievements provides the proof.
This hard working, distinguished and internationally recognised professional is now left to speculate as to the reasons behind the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago's decision to rescind the award. To date no one publicly or privately has communicated with Dr Hypolite to offer any explanations. This approach raises the perception that there may be skeletons, character or otherwise, in Dr. Hypolite's closet that debar him from such an award. This perception is not just local in scope but also international; remember he has appeared on the international stage as a representative of this country.
We the undersigned wish to vehemently condemn this behaviour and approach by both administrative and political public servants to an esteemed son of the soil. They have embarrassed Dr Ian Hypolite nationally, regionally and internationally
To Dr Ian Hypolite we say congratulations to you for all your outstanding work and achievements to date. We are sure that we speak for thousands of citizens in T+T, Keep the flag of the country flying high and you will receive your acknowledgements and rewards from higher authorities than the present Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
"The greatest reward for a job well done is that sense of self-satisfaction; you feel when you know that you have achieved your goal. Medals and trophies are just outward symbols."
Dr. Anton Cumberbatch
The Peoples Partnership (PP) government in its 2014/2015 Budget presentation stated that the protective services would soon acquire Armoured Personnel Carriers in its unsuccessful fight against criminal gangs. There is still uncertainty as to the number of these deadly machines that will be purchased.
The government spokespersons have said these armoured vehicles will not be used against citizens engaged in legitimate protest actions and that some will be used to protect government officials and deal with criminals.
The current Minister of National Security speaks like a man devoid of any civil rights principles and analytical understanding of the causes of crime and a strategy to combat the criminal elements, except through comic book methods. Who and what caused this man to be in such a major position in government?
This country doesn’t need those vehicles to deal with the criminal elements. What we need are proper law enforcement strategy and tactics. In other words we need an efficient, well trained and well paid police service not more weapons that will be ineffective against the criminal gangs. As for protecting government officials, when did we last assassinate a government official?
It is an indictment against our government and leaders of law enforcement that a few hundred gangsters can terrorize our society for so long without being crushed. Who would these armoured vehicles be used against when the criminals reside in heavily populated areas? Are we to see peaceful citizens and children becoming collateral damage? Or are there other reasons for the use of these armoured personnel vehicles?
The main causes of crime in this country are poverty, inequality, and a broken education system that fuels the dangerous drugs trade and illegal guns. Therefore we need to deal with the importation and transhipment of cocaine into and out the country by some of the higher ups in the society, who while not dirtying their hands, do provide the foreign exchange for the purchases.
We need to deal with corrupt government officials who facilitate this wicked trade and politicians who are financed by the drug dealers and provide protection from the law for these evil drug dealers.
This PP government since its election into office in May 2010 has presided over the highest level of immorality, corrupt practices, unethical behaviour, immoral conduct, gross nepotism, victimization of citizens in the work place and lack of transparency for government jobs and contracts, ethnic chauvinism and worst of all massive corruption.
This government declared a state of emergency on the flimsiest of pretexts, detained and warehoused hundreds of urban youths without charge. Who can forget Section 34 when the government used the parliament to enact a new law to end the prosecution of corrupt financiers of their party. Then there is the “Reshmi” appointment as head of a major intelligence agency of the state as a payback for information even though she was just a clerical worker in the agency and faked her qualifications.
There are also the countless false qualifications tendered by operatives of the PP government that landed these falsifiers big jobs and big money in State agencies and enterprises.
Additionally, we have seen a total breakdown in the State Enterprise Sector to the extent that many of these enterprises are draining the treasury due to non-profitability or steep drops in profits due to inefficient cronies of the PP government being placed in high management levels without experience or qualification.
There is still no explanation for the continuing foreign exchange shortages and speculation is that the shortages of foreign money is being spirited out of the country into various types of investments by the ruling elites and in financing the importation of illegal drugs.
Constitutional amendments have been pushed down the throats of our people without proper consultations and worse a provision for runoff elections (for candidates with less than 50% of the votes) that was not discussed by the advisory body on constitutional change. This constitutional change to our elections is now awaiting the President’s signature to become law. Some believe this is an attempt by the government to steal the next election due in one year’s time.
This is the current political and economic environment that prevails in Trinbago. There are peoples’ protests at various areas in the country particularly at the parliament. Trade unions and various civic groups are incensed at the decay and various dastardly acts of the PP government over the last four years. New democratic and patriotic groups are being formed to struggle against the many violations of the people and the treasury by our current government.
History is filled with corrupt, inefficient and undemocratic regimes militarizing their police and defence forces and then using these sophisticated and deadly weapons to stop protests against their decadent rule. When a government is corrupt and facing the possibility of being put before the courts for their misdeeds, there are three (3) options available to the despotic rulers. And they always prepare for the use of all the options due to any eventuality.
Option 1: The Election Option: Steal the elections by rigging and corrupting the process. This is a Soft Option. Is this what more than (50% votes) runoff(s) is about? A candidate can win the first round and lose the second round or other rounds by the party in power corrupting and wheeling and dealing with the third force party and other small parties.
Option 2: The Repressive Option: Use the Military and Police against democratic protestors. Kill some of them if necessary, particularly the leaders of Trade Unions, Opposition Political Parties and Civil and Democratic Rights leaders. This will instil fear in those who wish to protest or engage in civil protests. As a result of raw military might the corrupt and repressive government will stay in power having pacified the population through brute force.
Option 3: Bank ill-gotten gains overseas and invest overseas particularly in safe havens for stolen money. If Options 1 and 2 fail: fly out with your family to meet your money.
Beware Trinbagonians. Act before it’s too late. The most dangerous animal is a wounded animal. We have elected a government that does not know how to run a country and they are insecure, paranoid and scared of the people.
The people of Trinbago need to act before it’s too late. Don’t feel it can’t happen here. Ask the people of Haiti under Duvalier or Guyana under Burnham. Ask Venezuelans under the rule of Pérez. What about Iran under the Shah and Grenada under Gairy?
Peoples of the world have lived in misery, suffered from poverty and have died under the rule of nepotistic, corrupt, undemocratic and inefficient governments. Once in power they use every available arm of the state to maintain their unpopular rule. Are we going to let this happen in Trinbago? The People, organized and united, is the only vehicle to restore our country to a level of decency and honesty in governance.
On September 11th 2014, representatives of the National Health Workers Union (NHWU) visited the San Fernando General Hospital along with representatives of the National Workers Union (NWU) to which the NHWU is affiliated. The party of trade unionists was led by Nigel Small, the Chairperson of the North Central Regional Authority branch of the NHWU.
The visit was to inform the workers at the leading health institution in the South of the need for health workers to build their own union and to spread the word that the NHWU which was registered on June 25th 2014 was on a campaign to recruit members.
At the hospital the party of trade unionists spoke to workers in different departments and distributed a flyer titled GET ORGANISED which answered many questions that workers were raising about the NHWU since the union started recruitment activities in the North Central Regional Health Authority. (see flyer here)
The visit was warmly received by many workers who expressed the sentiment that health workers needed to get organised in order to correct the multitudinous wrongs plaguing the sector and the relationship between the workers and management which is characterised by horrible industrial relations practices.
The workers agreed to strengthen their contacts with the NHWU and to organise follow up meetings with the union with a view to clarifying issues and becoming members of the union. The NHWU reps assured the workers that they would return before the end of September to advance the recruitment process.
The NHWU has set itself the following strategic objectives
To secure the complete organisation of all health care workers in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Represent members, either collectively or individually, to ensure that their labour is sold for the highest price and the terms and conditions under which they work for the employing class is the best obtainable;
Further the interests of the Union, its members and the working-class.
The scenes in the photos accompanying this article are what greeted me and others at about 6.30 am on Independence Day as I entered our national Park, Chaguaramas. While the managers were feasting with our rulers, the corbeaux and stray dogs were doing the same as the photos show and yes there are metaphors and messages in the aforementioned.
Notice the pool of water which is caused by the construction works on the other side of the road. Danny Solomon and his crew have created this problem – and it is causing traffic to hang to the outside on a corner
where deaths have occurred in the recent past by Solomon and his crew approving the erection of a hoarding and making the corner a blind one.
It is amazing that this is all achieved by careful and intelligent planning by supposedly competent and specially selected men who are being handsomely paid by the State. Surely it could not have been worse without such.
And the President of the country, the business people and all of these men who themselves survive on “transfers and subsidies” (despite obviously low levels of productivity and competence and high levels of wastage and “all else” that is bad) from the State are bitching about such transfers and subsidies reaching the poor of the country through “make work” programmes - when it is their birthright due from the national patrimony.
I, and many persons I know, have not seen a Government cheque in more than 25 years and the little subsidy we get in the form of oil and gas for my car is being disproportionately shared with big oil and big business; who by the way are also unfairly given the lion’s share of the oil and gas revenues which is the god-given patrimony of citizens of T&T to be shared equally by all and not disproportionately as is done now.
The political dismantling of the “democratic security doctrine” applied from 1959-1998 in Venezuela began when Commander
Hugo Chávez became President and started a new era of relations between the State and Venezuelan society.
The systematic application of repressive methods designed by the State Department of the United States based on Hemispheric Security Doctrine that was applied in Venezuela and Latin America came to an end.
The understanding of these doctrines, their origins, the ways in which state resources, including the use of force, were used to dominate the people, and violate human rights, illustrates how these methods were and still are the materialization of colonization processes. Today the circumstances and methods are different, but the goals of the United States remain the same as during the Cold War.
There are some documents showing the relationship of Romulo Betancourt with CIA and U.S. State Department to discuss issues relating to the situation in Venezuela before 1958.It is said that in December 1957, Betancourt met Serafino Romualdi, head of the Labour Relations Office for Latin America and member of the AFL (American Federation of Labour), CIA official and South American Affairs Coordinator at the State Department.
What was discussed at that meeting is not documented but it is believed that they planned the New York Pact between Betancourt, Rafael Caldera and Jovito Villalba that began a process of political interference by the U.S. in Venezuela.
The political practice after signing the New York Pact of Punto Fijo and the management of the Betancourt Government of 1959-1963 and successive governments until 1998 provide insights into what may have been said at that December 1957 meeting.
On the political level Venezuela`s stability was cemented in 1958 with the Pact of Punto Fijo a pact that was signed by the three main political parties of the time, the social-democratic Acción Democrática (AD Democratic Action), the Christian Democratic Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente (COPEI) and the small leftist Union Repúblicana Democrática (URD).
The essence of the pact was to share power and resources among the pact`s signatories and to exclude any challengers. Part of the reasoning for the pact was, first to ensure political stability by excluding more radical groups. Second, AD which was almost certain to win the 1958 presidential election, realized that it had to share with at least some of the other parties, if it wanted to avoid a repeat of 1948 coup that overthrew its democratically elected president Romulo Gallegos.
In 1948 AD governed alone and dominated all branches of governments, excluding all challengers, which then led them to support a military coup against Gallegos, which eventually led to the Marcos Pérez Jiménez dictatorship. The stable Punto Fijo arrangement though rapidly led to rigidity (Crisp, 2000, 173) and political apathy.
Chávez would later rail against the arrangement, blaming the pact for practically everything that was wrong with Venezuela during those years. It is important to highlight the New York Pact of Punto Fijo provide its background and allude to the damage it`s done to Venezuela and other Latin American countries.
President Chávez, in 2004, ended the neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela by ending the training of Venezuelan military and police with the Institute for Security Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere, former School of the Americas. History has vindicated “el comandante” Chávez and the Commission for Justice and Truth - which along with the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information - have the important responsibility of spreading information on these documents.
It should be noted that on Monday November 19, 2012, the Vatican`s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had ruled on October 4, 2012 that Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of The Americas Watch (SOA Watch), had been canonically dismissed from the Catholic Church as a result of his decision of not recanting his support for the ordination of women as priests (November 2012).
This fragment is just a sample of a tenacious fight for the American people which has carried out against the atrocities committed during dozens of years by the governments of the United States against the peoples of Latin America in implementing security policies that lackey governments have assumed as their own.
Father Roy Bourgeois and other promoters advocated for removal of this instrument of terror where over 70,000 Latin American officers were trained in the methods of terrorism and violation of human rights from the 50s to today. The above note referred is just a sample of how repressive state institutions to subsume individuals within the cloisters of injustice are articulated.
Father Bourgeois was a goal of the Department of State since the 90s when he began his crusade against the School of the Americas with social justice movements and defending human rights in the United States. That is the reserve with which Venezuela and other countries of the hemisphere intend to carry out, socially, politically, economically, culturally engaged actions.
Thanks to the work of SOA Watch in use of the right to Freedom of Information Act, some newspapers in USA have echoed the calls of these organizations defending human rights. Today Venezuela is also raising the banners of justice and democratic rule of law, especially through the Commission for Truth and Justice, which is the continuation of years of struggle for human rights.
The history of the struggle of our people against the colonial phase of
capitalism, and it's neo-colonial reincarnation, can be described, as a
struggle for the expansion of the rights and freedoms which we have won so far,
and our apparent desire to win more of the same. One feature of this struggle
has been the new found ability of the people to remove governments at the
Without realising its significance when it first occurred in the 1980s,
it has now registered itself in the collective consciousness of the people. And
so, like a well tuned instrument in the hands of an adept musician, the people
have come to the point at which they are now prepared to take charge of the stage
for the purpose of ensuring that the music which they want to hear is the music
which is being played.
While it may appear that the issue in contention is only about
corruption, (specifically in the context which the political parties and their spokesmen
in the media wish to frame the debate) that it is all about good governance and
transparency in areas such as the procurement processes; it is really about the
fact that the system was designed to produce the results which we see before
our eyes every day.
The powers that be, who are really controlling the system, recognize
that the focus of the people is shifting from a desire to receive the crumbs
from the table to one which is about taking charge of what is on the table. This
new found interest is not being influenced by any progressive organized forces
in the society, it is the ills of the society and its negative impact on the
consciousness of the people which has brought them to this cross road in their
collective political development. Marxists usually describe such a development
as the subjective and objective conditions acting on each other to achieve a
OUTLIVED ITS USEFULNESS
This is occurring because the system of society, constructed by the
forces of capitalism, has outlived its usefulness and the objective
relationship of the class forces in contention is creating stresses and strains
which will obviously lead to changes in the system. The type of change will
depend on the strength of the forces in contention and the type of issues which
could stretch their relationship towards a point where it will burst apart.
At this juncture it is the election campaign and the responses of the
“electorate” which will tell us how far the people are prepared to go on the
question of participatory democracy. That, in my view, is the central issue
now. In reading the situation, and the response of the powers that be, which will
be concealed in the promises which political parties will make in their
manifestos, it will tell us how they are prepared to treat with the demands of
the people, and the assessment they have made of their respective strengths,
and whether they are prepared or not to deliver on the people’s demands.
What we are currently witnessing in the utterances of the political parties,
in contention for the approval of the electorate is really a snap shot of the
disagreements existing in the camp of the ruling classes on the question
of how they should proceed on the
question of the implementation of changes to the constitutional structure; if any
changes should be made at all!.
The ordinary people have been drawn into this campaign -for and against-
because they are required by majority vote not only to decide which band of
Overseers will be placed in charge of the plantation, but also to decide what
new rules/policies will be introduced into the processes by which the estate is
managed. But you see, they are very clever, at hiding behind the support of the
people who are led to believe that all this argument and the hysteria it is
creating is because one of these parties is seriously interested in their
VERGE OF COLLAPSE
In reality the opposite is true. What is really happening is that
repairs are being proposed to a system which is on the verge of collapse. All
one has to do is to compare what is happening at Petrotrin, concerning the oil
leaks which have been occurring on the lines and tanks, with not only the
Constitution Amendment bill, but also, with the plans to privatize the valuable
assets of the people and the many scandals which are being revealed, almost
What is happening here is small, but it is a reflection of the much
larger version which is being played out on the geopolitical stage. For those
who are yet to understand the ramifications of what is unfolding before their
eyes, it will be useful to know that there is no invisible hand which is
responsible for the greed which is driving the desires of the one percent of
the world's population. These
individuals, are the leaders of capitalism at its imperialist stage and have
acquired new tools with which to manage the system.
They are sitting at a point from which, they are viewing the world in
the context of the new globalisation philosophy, they have been preaching from
the 1980s, with the objective in mind of shaping it in their own image and
likeness. Because the system is unable
to yield the returns which they intend to achieve on their investments, they
have resorted to methods which Naomi Klein described as disaster capitalism:
the practice of creating military conflicts in targeted countries with the
objective of gaining control of their mineral and other resources and also to
create a market for the hardware produced by the military-industrial complexes.
Investments in wars and the resultant negative effects which are usually
visited upon the people who become refugees is the new way in which the
capitalists have decided to extract profits from investments they make, in the
global market. That is what the conflicts raging in the Middle East and in
certain countries of Africa is all about.
Here in the Caribbean and Latin America, it has assumed a different
character, relative to the particular concrete conditions existing at this time
in the geopolitical relationship between countries in this region and the rest
of the capitalist world. For example, we
have not seen so far, a direct intervention into the crisis in Venezuela by the
forces of imperialism. In the past they have been known to have done so in some
countries of South and Central America.
Many attempts were made to bring down the Communist government of Cuba.
The Grenada invasion is also a case in point. In the latter case the
opportunity was presented to the anti progressive forces by the internal
conflicts which exploded into the open, precipitated by the failure of the
contending forces in the party in power at that time that could not differentiate
the forest from the trees. What happened
in Grenada holds many lessons for the working class of the Caribbean and what
is left of the progressive forces intent on bringing about change for the
We have to realize that the stage of development at which the capitalist
system has arrived is one where the seeds which it has planted is no longer able
to produce the rich harvest it has been reaping in the past and all the new
methods it has resorted to has not achieved the desired results. So chaos is
the only solution to which it has decided to resort.
That is why we have to watch them with cokey eye leading them to believe
that we don't know what's happening. Let them believe that the people are
foolish. It is imperative for persons who have an interest in understanding the
interplay of the class forces and how political statements can impact on the sensibilities
of the people to recognize when what is said is what we sometimes describe as
attempts at sucking up in order to get on the good side of the masses. But what
they don't know is that the ordinary people know a cocoa scorpion when they see
If I was…
a teacher, especially a primary school teacher who happens to be a member of the teachers union (TTUTA) and a parent to boot, then I would not have been able to remain silent. In fact, I would make it a cause célèbre. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why our society allows primary school children, in particular, to carry such heavy loads of books every school day. Something is wrong somewhere.
If I was…
a councilor in the San Fernando City Council, I would have jostled my colleagues to come up with a traffic plan and be ready to introduce it as soon as the new school term began. Just getting traffic wardens at the known ‘pinch’ points to regulate the flow and some sort of prior media advertisement to the public, would have telegraphed that those in office have a care.
If I was…
a union member I would want to know what all these unions doing about getting recognition for those of us who join a union but cannot get the company to meet and treat with us. I understand the stumbling block is the Minister of Labour who refuses to get a Recognition Board operating. Well then if he cannot hear he must feel.