Progressive Calendar 05.16.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 05:05:07 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.16.08

1. NLG/RNC        5.16 8am
2. Elections/KFAI 5.16 11am
3. RNC/courtroom  5.16 1pm
4. Palestine      5.16 4:15pm
5. Art-a-whirl    5.16 6pm
6. NOW/prisons    5.16 8:30pm
7. Moyers/prez    5.16 9pm
8. Body of war/f  5.16

9. Ralph Nader      - An open letter to President Bush on auto safety
10. James Petras    - Salvador Allende and Hugo Chavez
11. Jean-Guy Allard - The Bolivarian Revolution is a global revolution

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From: Ted Dooley Law Office <teddooley [at] winternet.com>
Subject: NLG/RNC 5.16 8am

CLE - representing activists & protesters at the RNC. Friday 16 May from 8
am to 3 pm (box lunch included with pre- registration) At St. Thomas Law
in MPLS. CLE credits applied for (4.5 - 5.5)  $85 ($60 for P.D.'s, $15 for
students)

Guild Mobilizes to Defend Dissent at 2008 RNC When George Bush and the
Republican Party arrive in the Twin Cities for their 2008 national
convention they will be met by mass protest.  Local activist groups are
already making plans and expect tens of thousands to participate in a week
of dissent and protest. A mass march has been scheduled for September 1,
2008.  Some groups are discussing civil disobedience or direct action.
Simultaneous conferences and meetings around progressive causes are also
being planned.

Past experience with the national Republican and Democratic conventions in
2000 and 2004 demonstrate that the government will interfere with and
violate the rights of citizens engaged in protest and dissent.  During the
previous conventions, government authorities confined (or at least sought
to confine) protesters to areas where they could not be meaningfully
visible.  Protesters at the conventions and other national demonstrations
were arrested without legal basis, brutalized by police, subjected to
pre-emptive raids on organizing offices and detained for excessive periods
of time and in unsatisfactory conditions.  At each convention, the NLG
played a key role in challenging restrictions on protests, providing legal
observers at the protests, defending activists against criminal charges,
and initiating civil rights litigation both to prevent and respond to
Constitutional violations.

There is no reason to believe that the same legal problems will not be
present in the Twin Cities. Although local city officials, as in other
cities, have expressed commitment to protecting free speech, it is the
federal government and the Secret Service that will ultimately make the
decisions.  A desperate Bush regime is more committed than ever to raising
the specter of terrorism as a tactic to create fear and inhibit dissent.
Local media coverage has already discussed protesters as a source of
disruption and problems, rather than as participants in a vibrant
democratic exercise. And while the Ramsey County Sheriff is already
arranging for a large outdoor area to be used has a holding pen for
arrested protesters, the St. Paul Police are refusing to issue permits for
marches and protests until at least March of 2008.

Our Minnesota NLG chapter is now gearing up to coordinate the varied and
extensive legal support required by thousands of activists, locally and
from around the country, who will be using the RNC convention as a vehicle
to express their opposition to the murderous and oppressive acts of our
government.  We have extensive experience supporting our vibrant local
activist community with legal observers and criminal defense.  Over the
past decade, the Minnesota NLG chapter has represented hundreds of
demonstrators arrested in protests large and small. The RNC convention
will require efforts on a far larger scale.  We will need to recruit and
train hundreds of legal observers for the protests, and dozens of
attorneys to defend those arrested.  The NLG may also be called upon to
take legal action to challenge restrictions that are ultimately set up for
protests, or to file civil rights lawsuits for violations at the protests.

In initial preparation, the NLG already has a listserve with local and
out-of-town lawyers, activists, local officials to discuss and inform
about legal issues related to the convention and have begun the process of
forming committees to work on Legal Observing, Legal Defense, and
Litigation. We also look forward to working with the Minnesota Civil
Liberties Union and other legal organizations outside the Twin Cities. The
NLG will need as many lawyers, law students and legal workers as possible
in order to deliver on our commitment to meeting the legal needs to
progressive activists.

We welcome all volunteers.  If you can help in any capacity, please
contact Jordan Kushner, the coordinator of the Legal Observer and
Political Defense Committee (612) 288-0545, kushn002 [at] umn.edu.


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From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Elections/KFAI 5.16 11am

Fri.MAY 16, 11am:KFAI: ELECTIONS 2008

Preview an upcoming debate on electoral politics & progressive movements
(event info below) in a conversation with Green Party activist and
supporter of Cynthia McKinney for President DAVE BICKING and
Democrat/Minneapolis City Council-member ELIZABETH GLIDDEN.
 Also: ELECTIONS ON THE REZ: What issues are American Indians dealing with
and how does their self-govenment operate? Hear from RALPH "BUCKY"
GOODMAN who's running for District 3 Represntative of the Tribal Council
on WHITE EARTH RESERVATION. Their Election Day is JUNE 10, with a chance
for tribe members to vote at White Earth,Cass Lake and in Minneapolis(at
the American Indian Center)/ For more information call White Earth
Election Board at:(218)936-5622

Broadcast on CATALYST:politics & culture, Fridays 11am hosted by Lydia
Howell on KFAI Radio 90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St.Paul All shows archived for 2
weeks after broadcast at:http://www.kfai.org


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From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: RNC/courtroom 5.16 1pm

Pack the Courtroom: Support the Demands for Permits to March on the RNC.
Friday, May 16, 1:00 p.m. Federal Courthouse, 4th Street and 4th Avenue,
Minneapolis.

The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War will be in Federal
Court to seek an injunction that forces the City of St. Paul to issue
permits for an anti-war march during the Republican National Convention
(RNC) September 1st. Join others at the Courthouse to support the demands
for permits to March on the RNC. Organized by: the Coalition to March on
the RNC and Stop the War. FFI: <marchonrnc.org>.


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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Palestine 5.16 4:15pm

Friday, 5/16, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St
Paul.


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From: Mizna  <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org>
Subject: Art-a-whirl 5.16 6pm

Art-A-Whirl: May 16 - 18, 2008
Friday:  6 - 9pm
Saturday: 10 - 6 pm
Sunday: 12 - 5 pm

Visit Mizna in their office and get a chance to see where it all happens
during Northeast Mpls's Art-a-Whirl. Complimentary journal for every
visitor who mentions this email. 2205 California Street NE #109A,
Minneapolis.


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From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: NOW/prisons 5.16 8:30pm

NOW | Prisons for Profit
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051308U.shtml
"Corporations are running many US prisons, but are they putting profits
before prisoners? America passed a grim milestone this year: One in every
one hundred Americans is now behind bars. This week, NOW on PBS
investigates the government's trend to outsource prisons and prisoners to
the private sector and examines the controversy it's causing."


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From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: Moyers/prez 5.16 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | A Democratic House Divided
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051408U.shtml
"Bill Moyers interviews Berkeley law professors Christopher Edley Jr. and
Maria Echaveste - he's for Obama and she's for Clinton. They met working
in the Clinton administration and now, having been married for nine years,
Edley and Echaveste are both advising their respective candidates."


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From: McCabe Nuckols <mccabe_nuckols [at] ekit.com>
Subject: Body of war/film 5.16

"Best Documentary of the Year" - National Board of Review
BODY OF WAR
Begins Friday, May 16
Landmark's Lagoon Cinema
1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis

Tomas Young, a 26-year-old veteran, was shot and paralyzed after serving 5
days in Iraq. His story is told in the critically acclaimed antiwar
feature documentary <http://www.bodyofwar.com/>Body of War, produced and
directed by legendary talk show host Phil Donahue and award-winning
filmmaker Ellen Spiro. The film features two original songs by Eddie
Vedder of Pearl Jam.

Body of War is an intimate human drama wrapped in a political documentary
- full of emotion, humor and hope. As the paralyzed veteran Tomas deals
with his disability, he evolves into a new person, finding his own
passionate voice against the war. Body of War also captures the historic
debate in the Congress in the fall of 2002 authorizing the war and
celebrates those that stood up against the rush to invade.

Body of War was voted "Best Documentary of the Year" by the National Board
of Review, nominated for "Best Documentary" by the Producers Guild of
America, and received multiple audience awards at film festivals from
Toronto to Palm Springs. It's been acclaimed in the media and by the
public. Everyone who has seen the film says that everyone should see it.


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An Open Letter to President Bush on the NHTSA
You're Either with the American People or You're with the Big Auto Bosses
By RALPH NADER
CounterPunch
May 14, 2008

Dear President Bush,

You and your White House have been sitting on the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) since your arrival in January 2001, thus
assuring the giant auto companies that NHTSA - toothless under President
Bill Clinton and previous administrations - continues morphing even
further away from the technology-forcing, life-saving regulatory agency it
is supposed to be, to an industry consulting firm.

The result has been tens of thousands of American fatalities and serious
injuries that could have been prevented had you and President Clinton
simply urged NHTSA to follow its statutory obligations, lately under
Congressionally mandated deadlines, with readily feasible, practical
safety technologies.

Instead, you stacked the deck with your Chief of Staff, Andrew Card,
former president and CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers
Association (AAMA). The rest, as they say, "is commentary".

NHTSA is now set to replace an obsolete motor vehicle roof crush
resistance standard that became effective in 1973. You can continue to
condemn thousands of Americans to preventable deaths by permitting NHTSA
to issue a new, deficient standard, or you can take command and smoke out
the corporate lobbyists from Detroit and allow NHTSA to issue FMVSS
216.Roof Crush Resistance at a strength-to-weight (SWR) ratio of at least
4 from the present inadequate standard of 1.5.

Eight models from such companies as Volvo, Saab, Toyota, VW and Honda
already meet or exceed the SWR of 4. Note the countries of origin. Note
the absence of U.S. manufacturers. The Dodge Ram pickup truck and the Ford
F-250 pick-up truck have a SWR down at 1.7.

You may wish to brief yourself about the horrible toll on our country's
highways during the past 35 years due to marshmallow structured roofs. The
American fatalities and serious injuries alone total more than the entire
number of soldiers you have driven to Iraq, many of whom were deployed
without adequate body and Humvee armor.

Then there are the quadriplegics and the paraplegics and the thousands of
other human beings left defenseless by an auto safety agency under your
command that has been at a standstill for years instead of functioning as
a law enforcement branch in the Department of Transportation.

You need to see the visuals. You need to see the pictures of the crushed,
the pictures of the vehicles whose roofs displaced the "survival space" of
the drivers and passengers. You need to speak to the families of the
victims who were on the receiving end of such obstinate, criminal
negligence by the auto manufacturers -  executives who will not let their
own engineers put in the simple technical fixes year after year.

Remove the corporatists from your White House schedule for a day and
invite some of these suffering citizens, their families and champions.
Include Senators Mark Pryor and Tom Coburn who will preside over a Senate
hearing on this subject in early June.

Keep in mind that even NHTSA, in its industry-indentured cautious fashion,
managed to declare the obvious in 2005:

"In sum, the agency believes that there is a relationship between the
amount of roof intrusion and the risk of injury to belted occupants in
rollover events. But the agency still mimics the resistance of GM, Ford
and Chrysler to any dynamic rollover test that safety advocates favor to
assure effective compliance".

A President is not selected or elected to close the doors of state courts
to wrongfully injured people who want and need to hold their corporate
perpetrators accountable. You must recall your oft-repeated phrase about
holding people responsible for their behavior, and actions, with the
exception of yourself, and drop your attack on our civil justice system.
Therefore, delete the federal pre-emption clause expected in the
forthcoming standards that prevent the state judiciaries from hearing
product liability suits in this area of vehicle design and construction.

Your legal advisors should point out that in the National Traffic and
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, there is a specific provision that
reads: "Compliance with a motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under
this chapter does not exempt a person from liability at common law".

Those words were put in the law to prevent just such a federal pre-emption
as NHTSA now prepares to facilitate. Twenty-six State Attorneys General
opposed pre-emption in a letter to NHTSA back in 2005.

With your invited guests, suggested above, hold a White House news
conference. Point to the CEOs in Detroit, and exclaim "Bring 'em on".
Remember, you're either with the American people or you're with the big
auto bosses.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent.


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Salvador Allende and Hugo Chavez
by James Petras
May 15th, 2008
CounterPunch

I have known and advised three left wing president including President
Papandreou (Greece 1981-85), President Salvador Allende of Chile (1970-73)
and President Hugo Chavez.

Both Allende and Chavez share many strategic goals and embrace policies
favoring the working class, peasantry and the urban poor. They also
pursued programs regaining national control over the strategic sectors of
the economy, redistributing land (agrarian reform), reallocating budgetary
expenditures in favor of social programs for the poor and pursuing
independent anti-imperialist foreign policies.

In broad historical and sociological terms, they also share a common
belief in constitutional, electoral processes, in a multi-party system, a
mixed economy and independent trade unions, business and civic
associations.

Despite the convergences and similarities between Allende and Chavez,
there are important political differences, which account for their
different trajectories. Chavez proceeded toward political change before
undertaking a deep socio-economic structural transformation, thus creating
a solid constitutional and political framework. Allende, on the other
hand, accepted the existing political system and proceeded to implement
radical socio-economic changes. As a result, Allende constantly faced
political blockages, institutional obstacles that limited his capacity to
realize the full potential of the structural changes. In contrast, Chavez.
political reforms led to the compatibility between political institutions
and socio-economic change - minimizing opposition obstructionism.

Secondly Allende's government lasted less than three years, while Chavez
has governed for nearly a decade and is still very popular. The military
coup in Chile in September 1973 destroyed the Popular Unity Government and
the military dictatorship lasted 15 years (until 1989). In Venezuela, a
military coup (April 11-12 2002) lasted 48 hours before it was defeated
and Chavez was restored to power. The reason why the coup succeeded in
Chile and failed in Venezuela was because Chavez had built a substantial
loyalist base among the military and developed a strategic alliance
between the military-popular masses, while Allende mistakenly trusted the
so-called "professionalism" of the military. Both Allende and Chavez faced
"bosses" lockouts, attempts by the capitalist class to shut down the
economy in order to foment discontent and overthrow the government. In
both countries the mass of workers, technicians and some managers
intervened to support the government. However, while Allende returned the
majority of the factories to their capitalist owners, Chavez fired 15,000
managers and supervisors who led the lock-out and replaced them with
loyalists. Similarly while Allende allowed the rightwing generals to purge
loyalist military officers in the run-up to the coup, Chavez expelled and
jailed military officers after the failed coup.

In other words, Chavez is a political realist who understood better than
Allende the limits of bourgeois democracy, and was willing to use the
prerogatives of executive power to defend popular democratic rule against
its internal oligarchic and external imperial enemies.

Chavez sees the revolutionary democratic and socialist transition process
based on institutional and popular power organized through mass
organizations. Allende saw socialist change principally through the
established institutions and minimized the role of popular power
institutions - creating a constant tension between the political parties
and the community councils.

Chavez and Allende opposed US imperialism, its wars (Vietnam in the
1960-1970.s), Iraq and Afghanistan (today). But Chavez' foreign policy is
much more pro-active, in promoting Latin American integration via ALBA,
Banco Sur and bilateral trade and arms agreements with China, Russia,
Iran, Brazil and Argentina. Allende looked more to the Andean Pact, the
Non-Aligned Movement and links with social democratic European regimes
like Sweden and Germany. As a result Chavez has been more successful in
isolating and defeating Washington diplomatically than Allende with his
constant effort to conciliate with the US.

The political paradox is that the Allende government, based primarily on
self-identified "Marxist" parties and trade unions, never achieved
hegemony over the majority of the masses (especially poor women) while
President Chavez has established Chavista majorities in 12 national and
local elections and referendums.

During his tenure in office President Allende represented his time - a
clear democratic-socialist alternative to US-controlled client regimes.
Even today, the establishment of worker-controlled factories, popular
neighborhood councils and popular power under Allende serve as important
reference points for the present transition to socialism in Venezuela. But
President Chavez has gone much further and deeper in some areas of social
transformation: He has introduced popular militias, decentralized the
budgetary expenditures to local neighborhood councils and organized a
unified mass socialist party, to avoid the intra-party conflicts which
plagued the multi-party coalition of the Allende Government.

Conclusion

While there are important historical continuities between the democratic
socialism of Allende and the 21st century socialism of Chavez, and both
reflect important milestones on the road to national liberation, it is
clear that Chavez, much more than Allende, sees the clear and decisive
importance of building a mass base for popular power outside of the
strictly electoral parliamentary arena. Where Allende mistakenly idealized
Chile's bourgeois democratic institutions, attributing to them a classless
character, Chavez combines the democratic norms of electoral politics with
the need to build independent organizations of class power. History has
demonstrated, at least so far, that Chavez' realism has been much more
effective in gaining and retaining popular power than Allende's idealism.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University,
New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser
to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of
Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). His latest books are The Power of
Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006) and Rulers and Ruled in
the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants (Clarity Press, 2007). He can
be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or
visit James's website.

This article was posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 5:00 am and is
filed under Capitalism, Class, Communism/Marxism, Imperialism, Philosophy,
Revolution, Socialism, Solidarity, South America, Venezuela. Send to a
friend.


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EVA GOLINGER
The Bolivarian Revolution is a global revolution
BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD - Granma International staff writer-
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2008/mayo/mier14/EVA-GOLINGER.html
Havana.  May 14, 2008

HER name and her accent are from the movies. Her youthful manner, bold
sense of humor and ironic smile touch everyone. The daughter of a U.S.
father and Venezuelan mother, Eva Golinger is a most unusual woman.

A lawyer specialized in international human rights law and educated in New
York, she left that U.S. metropolis to live in Venezuela, a country that
she passionately defends.

Her book, /The Chávez Code/, which reveals U.S. intervention in this South
American nation, was described by José Vicente Rangel, then vice
president, as an "incredible record of Venezuelan experiences from
2001-2003."

Her most recent work, /Bush v. Chávez/: Washington's War on Venezuela,
documents the constant escalation of imperial aggression towards the
Bolivarian Revolution.

She attacks without blinking and without fear, the CIA, the Pentagon, the
NED, RSF, USAID, the Venezuelan mafia in Miami or Colombian
paramilitarism, with the ardor of an attorney confronting the court with
irrefutable evidence in her portfolio.

 From Caracas, the Venezuelan-U.S. lawyer and researcher Eva Golinger
responds to a few questions.

 It has been affirmed that the coup against Chávez was CIA-backed. You
have studied this case closely: how is this most evident to you?

Golinger:  There are distinct factors that I have been able to detect and
expose through an investigation that I began more than five years ago,
utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to demonstrate the
involvement of the CIA and other U.S. government agencies in the coup
against Chávez. The most conclusive facts and evidence include a series of
documents classified Top Secret by the CIA, dating from March 5, 2002 to
April 17, 2002, which clearly refer to plans for a coup against Chávez:
who, how, where and when, everything laid out in detail. One in
particular, dated April 6, 2002; in other words, five days before the
coup, emphasizes how the opposition sectors, the CTV, Fedecámaras (the
country's main business federation), dissident soldiers, the private media
and even the Catholic Church were going to march through the streets in
those first weeks of April and the coup conspirators would provoke
violence with snipers in the street, causing deaths, and then they would
arrest President Chávez and other important members of his cabinet. After
that, they would install a civil-military transitional government. Anyone
who knows what happened that April 11-12, 2002, knows that's what went
down. And after taking President Chávez prisoner, it was only U.S.
government spokespersons who came out and recognized the coup government
of Pedro Carmona, and moreover tried to put pressure on other countries to
do the same.

So, those documents that clearly show knowledge of the detailed plans for
the coup against Chávez, written by the CIA, are the most damning evidence
confirming the role of the CIA in the coup. However, the fact that
financial and advisory agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy
(NED), the International republican Institute (IRI), the National
Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for International Private
Enterprise (CIPE) financed all the groups, NGOs, trade unions,
businesspeople, political parties and the media involved in the coup, also
demonstrate overwhelming evidence of the role of the CIA and the other
U.S. agencies in the coup against Chávez. After the coup, those agencies
even increased their funding for the coup organizers themselves, something
that re-confirms their commitment to them and their intention to continue
efforts to overthrow Chávez.

We could also talk of the role of the Pentagon and U.S. military, which
trained the coup members, equipped them with weapons and promoted their
actions.

In what way is the U.S. embassy in Caracas keeping up its interference?

 The U.S. embassy in Venezuela is very active. These days, its main
strategy is subversion. This is manifested by USAID, NED, IRI, Freedom
House, CIPE, etc. funding of opposition groups, but there is also an
attempt to penetrate pro-Chávez sectors and communities. This last tactic
is one of the most dangerous and effective. In 2005, William Brownfield,
then U.S. ambassador in Caracas (he is now the ambassador to Colombia),
began to open what they call "American Corners" in different Venezuelan
cities. Currently, they are operating in Maracay, Margarita, Barquisimeto,
Maturín, Lecherías and Puerto Ordaz. They are little propaganda and
conspiracy centers that function as nuclei to recruit and bring together
opposition members. To date the Venezuelan government has not taken any
concrete steps to eradicate this illegal initiative (despite the clear
violation of the Vienna Convention - these are considered "satellite
consulates" by the US government, despite the lack of permission from the
Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Relations).

The CIA and the State Department maintain various fronts in the country,
as they always do. There is Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), a U.S.
corporation based in the El Rosal sector in Caracas, which functions as a
filter for funding from USAID to opposition NGOs and groups. Then there
the Press and Society Institute, part of the Reporters sans frontiers
(RSF) network, which receives funds from the NED, USAID, the CIA etc. to
execute its neoliberal, pro-U.S. policy and to attempt to accuse the
Venezuelan government of being repressive and violating the rights of free
expression and a free press.

Freedom House and the USAID are also financing right-wing student leaders
and movements and sending them to Belgrade to train with experts in the
Orange Revolution (Ukraine) and other so-called processes for
"overthrowing dictators." Recently, the neoliberal right-wing Cato
Institute think tank, which advises Bush and receives funding from Exxon
Mobile and Philip Morris, awarded a "prize" worth $500,000 to the
opposition Venezuelan student Yon Goicochea. The prize, which bears the
name of Milton Friedman, who was advisor to Nixon, Reagan and Pinochet and
is the architect of the neoliberal policy and the economic " shock
doctrine," will be used to finance a new, "fresh-faced" political party in
Venezuela - a group of young people trained since 2005 by U.S.  agencies
that have had some influence over certain political sectors during the
last year.

The thought is that this group could come to be a powerful political force
since it does not come from corrupt political circles of the past.
However, we have been able to unmask the majority of them and demonstrate
their relationship with Washington as well as the political elite that
governed here before.

With the new CIA Special Mission for Venezuela and Cuba (set up in 2006),
we know that the Agency is more active than ever in the country.  The
stronger and more popular Chávez and the revolution become, the more
resources the CIA and US government dedicate to neutralize him.

 The residue of various Latin American dictatorships is currently to be
found in Miami. The pro-Batista Cubans have dominated the city for years,
but the number of so-called anti-Chavists is growing. What are your
observations on this subject?

Golinger: Miami isn't an ugly city. Unfortunately, the pro-Batista Cubans
took control of the city decades ago and now they have welcomed the
anti-Chavista Venezuelans, many of them coup organizers, with open arms.
There is talk of "Westonzuela," an area on the outskirts of Miami where
the self-exiled Venezuelans live. I think that they are totally
disassociated from reality, just like those Cubans who are still living in
the 50s. They are aggressive from a distance and have conspiratorial
plans, but I don't believe that they constitute a serious threat to our
revolution.

They go about creating their ruckus over there and working with
Cuban-American congress members, as well as fanatical Connie Mack, trying
to demonize President Chávez and the revolution. Their latest initiative
was to place Venezuela on the State Department list of terrorist
countries. Despite the pressure that they brought to bear and the stories
that they invented about a supposed link between the Venezuelan government
and terrorist groups, they failed in their final objective: Venezuela was
not classified as a state sponsor of terrorism.  On the contrary, many
congresspersons and members of U.S. society rejected that initiative and,
to a certain extent, that coupster community was left discredited.

Of course, one must never discount the possibility that they will continue
conspiring and inventing new ways of destabilizing Venezuela, just as they
have done with Cuba for almost 50 years. And they can count on financial
support from USAID, the NED and other imperial agencies, but I don't
believe that they will affect the advances of the revolution very much.
They are paper tigers.

 Recently John McCain was boasting to a group of Cuban Americans in Miami,
trying to show that he has always been sensitive to the situation in Cuba,
that he was aboard the /USS Enterprise /facing the Cuban coast during the
hours of the Missile Crisis. What is your perception of McCain's stance in
relation to Venezuela, Cuba and Latin America?

Golinger:  If he should be elected president of the United States, McCain
would engage in a much more hostile and aggressive policy toward Venezuela
and Cuba, and the other ALBA countries. His discourse is already more
precise and directed toward the region and he is constantly mentioning how
he would further tighten policy on what he classifies as dictatorships and
"threats to democracy" in Venezuela and Cuba. That goes beyond simply
wanting the Florida vote. McCain is a military man and an imperialist in
the sense that he won't accept the United States losing its influence over
and domination of its "backyard." He suffers from that same complex that
the other Republicans have about Cuba and Fidel Castro, for example. They
still cannot accept that Cuba has defeated imperial aggression and the 50
years of blockade and attacks.  They persist with selfish and infantile
attitudes that stop them from turning the page and accepting reality: the
most powerful empire in the world could not defeat the Cuban Revolution.
So, with a McCain, we will be even worse off than with a Bush and, believe
me, that is a hard one to surpass.

 The Democrats' position is not always apparent. Will it be very different
from McClain and his clan?

Golinger: I don't think it will be that different; perhaps in form, but
not in terms of the final goal. The democrats love to use the NED, the
USAID and the other agencies with "pretty faces"  and names like Freedom
House or the Institute for Peace to execute their interventionist
policies. I think that a Democrat in the White House will not change
policy on Latin America to any great extent. Maybe there would be more
dialogue, but I don't believe that the interference will end. Moreover,
all the candidates have said that President Chávez is a dictator and that
their administration, if elected, will focus more on the region's
"problems."

Let's remember that it isn't about who occupies the chair in the Oval
Office, but those who are around that person. And that doesn't change much
whether the occupant is a Democrat or a Republican. The
military-industrial complex, the big bankers and the transnationals are
the ones that really govern in the United States. And they are not leaving
power in November.

 On a more personal note, access to the power of President Hugo Chávez has
evidently changed your life. How did it come about that you became an
actor in the political live of Venezuela? Where were you in your life? How
did you experience the Coup?

Golinger:  I experienced the coup from New York, although I was in Mérida
during the strike and oil sabotage, it was over Christmas and I was
visiting family. I left Mérida, Venezuela in 1998 after having lived there
for nearly five years. During that time, I experienced the era of
political repression, forced military draft and suspension of civil and
basic rights, during the administrations of Carlos Andrés Pérez and later
Caldera. I know how the country was before the revolution and believe me
that things have significantly changed for the benefit of all.

Later, when Hugo Chávez won, we all had hopes of change, but no one knew
exactly how this would manifest in real life. Many people can say
beautiful things and captivate the public, but few actually act on those
words to make real change. Chávez proved that he was different when he
encouraged a nationwide assembly to rewrite the constitution. Even though
I was in New York, I was very interested in this process. I was finishing
my Juris Doctorate in international law and international human rights. It
was such an interesting process to witness and the resulting document (the
new constitution) was absolutely extraordinary.  My interest in the
policies of Chávez and the changes happening in the country began to grow
stronger. The media attacks that began against his government when the new
constitution was approved in a national referendum in 1999 got my
attention.

When the coup happened, I was so far away that I just cried because there
was nothing else I could do for my friends and all the victims of that
atrocity. I remember the phone call we received from Mérida telling us
that Chávez had been overthrown. We couldn't believe it. There had been no
news on the US television channels. Only hours later, CNN had a brief note
stating that Chávez had resigned after ordering the massacre of protesters
in the street. I called friends, but it was difficult to communicate
because the lines were congested. Later they told me that it had been a
coup and that people were in the street protesting, and that things were
not over yet.

The failure of the coup, the rescue of Chávez and the revolution on the
part of the people and the loyal military forces, made me want to return
to the country. When I finished my doctorate in 2003, I began to work
closely with the revolution and started an investigation using FOIA to
uncover the role of Washington in the coup. I felt that it was my
responsibility as a US citizen and lawyer to use my knowledge and
privileges to seek justice. I met Chávez for the first time in January
2003, at the United Nations in New York. He autographed my copy of the
Bolivarian constitution and he told me that since his brother is named
Adam his family had wanted him to be Eva (Eve in English), but Hugo was
born instead. Good thing, I told him.

Later I saw him again on his plane when he invited me to my first Aló
Presidente in April 2004. It was April 11, 2004 and he invited me to talk
about the documents that evidence funding of opposition groups by the NED
and the US government. Shortly thereafter, I decided to dedicate my
lifework to the investigation and the revolutionary struggle, leaving
behind my beloved city of New York and many things that were important and
precious to me. But the struggle for social justice and my duty to
contribute as much as possible to that process is more important.

 It is said that Chávez has called you the "sweetheart of the Revolution,"
- I have heard others, with a wink and a smile, call you the sex-symbol
of the Bolivarian Revolution - you are for many the / Pasionaria/ of this
passionate process. Being both North American and Venezuelan, so young,
attractive, talented, with a successful career in New York, what provoked
you to move to Caracas and risk it all in this struggle?

Golinger:  Hahahaha, "sex-symbol" of the Revolution? I don't even have
a boyfriend! Well, maybe the revolution is my boyfriend, as the President
said. What is certain is that I am married to the fight for justice. What
is also certain is that once President Chávez did call me the "sweetheart
of the revolution," but as always, he was just being affectionate and
recognizing my commitment and passion for this process.  I don't think it
was anything more than that.

To many I am the /Pasionaria/ of this process? Well, I am passionate;
there is no doubt about that. I consider myself to be a revolutionary
combatant committed until death to the struggle for social justice. For me
that means the struggle is above all else. This is not conducive to one's
personal life, as you can imagine. I was married once (to a Venezuelan,
now I'm divorced) I had my practice in New York, I was making good money,
and it's true that I could have taken advantage of the opportunities
within the capitalist system. But that has never made me happy. I have
rejected the "establishment" all my life.  Since I became aware of
injustice and the possibility of changing things, I have been dedicated to
that, whatever the cost.

My first jobs were in the social and political arenas.  I was a
Greenpeace activist, later I defended and fought for animal rights.
Later I opted for humans and began to study CIA and FBI interventions in
revolutionary movements in the US and in Latin America. I was passionate
about the topic. My university friends remember me that way and are not
surprised at what I am doing today. I have always been this way. I was
also, or I am, a singer and a musician, and I will continue to be all my
life. But for me, life is fluid, the form changes, but the spirit remains
the same. If I can contribute to social justice through singing, I'll do
it. If it's my destiny to do it as a lawyer denouncing and investigating,
I'll do that too. I don't consider myself "common." I see life from the
outside, but I live it from inside. I believe in sincerity, honesty,
respect, loyalty, and love. More than anything, I believe in justice.

To me the Bolivarian revolution is a global revolution, one of the most
important in history. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be a witness and
a participant in this process. I was born to be here fighting for justice,
denouncing the interventions and violations of the empire, contributing my
grain of salt to the fight for a better world.

Venezuela is my country, through blood and struggle. My grandfather and
his family were born and lived here. His blood runs through my veins and
his roots attached to me the first time I stepped on this magical soil
more than fifteen years ago. I will never abandon this country. Attacking
Venezuela and this revolution is like attacking me in the very foundation
of my soul, and I will fight with all I have to defend that.


[History has consigned the US to its dustbin. No more "city on a hill" or
"hope for the world"; rather, it is the base camp of fascism-nuturing
toxic capitalism. Other nations, other languages, other races, other
cultures, will lead. Our system will try to destroy them. May our system
lose, and soon. -ed]


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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