Assessing the Legacy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Aummary of qwwk’a news:
Compiled by Bob Nixon

Afghan teenager Bacha Zarina was collecting firewood when a drone missile struck and killed two Taliban commanders last fall. Shrapnel from the attack hit Zarina. She died while being rushed to a hospital a half hour away. (“US drone strikes up sharply in Afghanistan,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 21, 2013; “How does the US mark unidentified men in Pakistan and Yemen as drone targets?” ProPublica, March 1, 2013; “Rand Paul Rising: Has filibuster made him a star?” Christian Science Monitor, March 7, 2013)
Arizona day laborers won a major victory in the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals which upheld an injunction against a specific section of the state’s immigration law HB 1070 that prohibits people from stropping to hire day laborers if it creates a traffic jam. (“Court backs block on Arizona law aimed at day laborers,” Reuters, March 4, 2013; “Brewer loses appeal of Arizona day laborer rules,” Arizona Republic, March 5, 2013; “Day laborers defend their right to public space in court,” In These Times, March 6, 2013)
With $85 billion in sequester cuts biting into the federal budget, House GOP leaders are looking to expand and deepen austerity policies by reviving Republican 2012 vice presidential candidate and House budget chief Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to turn the Medicare program into a voucher system for the nation’s senior citizens. (“Republicans revisit Medicare reform to cut spending,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2013; “Paul Ryan floats change to Medicare plan,” Politico, March 4, 2013; “Paul Ryan budget to balance by 20123 with modestly deeper cuts,” Reuters, March 6, 2013)

Interview with Gregory Wilpert, Sociologist and cofounder, conducted by Scott Harris

One of Latin America’s most flamboyant and popular politicians – Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela – died on March 5 while recovering from cancer surgery in a military hospital in Caracas. Chavez, who lost his two-year battle with cancer, had just won a hard-fought re-election campaign in October, but was never sworn in to serve his fourth term. Chavez was remembered at a lavish funeral ceremony that attracted more than 30 leaders from around the world and over two million Venezuelans who waited in long lines to view his body lying in state.

Before he left to undergo his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba in December, Chávez designated his Vice President Nicolás Maduro to run as his party’s candidate should a new election become necessary. With Chavez’s death, that election is now scheduled for April 14. Maduro will face opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in last October’s presidential election.

Chavez will be remembered by millions of Venezuelans for his programs that effectively reduced poverty in his nation – and for his defeat of a U.S.-supported military coup in April 2002. People across Latin American and the Caribbean will also remember Chavez for the institutions he founded, with the help of Venezuela’s oil wealth, to establish the region’s independence from U.S. power and influence. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Gregory Wilpert, a sociologist who lived and worked in Venezuela from 2000 to 2008, cofounder of news site and author of “Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Government.” Here, he assesses the legacy of the late Venezuelan leader, and the future of his Bolivarian 21st century socialist revolution.

For more analysis and commentary on the legacy of Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan politics, visit

Related Links:

mp3 Interview conducted by Scott Harris, Counterpoint, March 11, 2013 (22:38)
Correo Orinoco International English Edition
Visit Eva Golinger’s blog at
“Latin America After Chávez,” New York Times, March 6, 2013
“What Chavez Left Behind,”, March 11, 2013

Austerity Budget Cuts Disproportionately Affect Women

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Posted March 13, 2013

Interview with Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women President, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

On March 8, International Women’s Day, National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill released a statement criticizing governments around the world for balancing their budgets on the backs of women. She called upon leaders in the United States to firmly reject austerity policies that have been economically devastating to women in Europe. She wrote, “Call it what you like – austerity, sequester, deficit reduction. I call it a stealth attack on women.”

O’Neill went on to assert that women, people of color and individuals with disabilities, groups that disproportionately rely on social service programs, are sectors largely underrepresented in the halls of power and make easy scapegoats. She says that politicians proposing deep cuts to the nation’s social safety net are willing to cut programs for the poor, given that they naturally want to protect the interests of big business and the wealthy contributors who fund their political campaigns. O’Neill points out that many conservative politicians, already predisposed to slash social programs, frequently use government debt as an excuse to cut even deeper.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with O’Neill about her concerns, including the fact that although men lost jobs at a higher rate than women at the beginning of the Great Recession, for the past few years women – who make up a majority of teachers and other public sector workers – have suffered higher job losses than men. Here, O’Neill talks about growing economic inequality, the lack of proportional representation of women in Congress and the need for members of the nation’s emerging progressive majority to become actively engaged in holding politicians accountable for their stand on the issues.

Learn more about NOW’s ongoing campaign for gender equality by visiting

Related Links:

“On International Women’s Day, NOW Denounces Anti-Woman Austerity Policies,” Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill, March 8, 2013
“Paul Ryan’s budget: Social engineering with a side of deficit reduction,” Washington Post, March 12, 2013
“Sequester Cuts Disproportionately Hurt Poor Women and Children,” International Business Times, March 5, 2013
“Stuck Between the Fiscal ‘Cliff’ and a Hard Place – But There’s Another Way,” Huffington Post, Nov. 27, 2012

Posted March 13, 2013

Interview with Craig Scott Rosebraugh, “Greedy Lying Bastards” documentary film director, conducted by Scott Harris

In the current environment of the fiscal cliff and sequester program cuts, the $10 billion to $52 billion of taxpayer-funded subsidies received annually by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies remains off the table and immune to cuts in congressional budget negotiations. With so many politicians’ election campaigns being bankrolled by Big Oil, it’s not hard to explain why the most profitable industry in the history of the planet still receives a fortune in government handouts. A similar display of the raw power of the fossil fuel industry can be seen in the decades-long deadlock on U.S. policy to address climate change. Apart from occasional political rhetoric about the threat of climate change, Washington has not initiated any credible initiatives to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions linked to global warming.

A new documentary film that investigates the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry exposes the funding provided by Big Oil to a network of climate change deniers who charge that global warming is a myth. The film, “Greedy Lying Bastards,” directed by Craig Scott Rosebraugh and produced by actor and climate activist Darryl Hannah, illustrates a deliberate campaign of disinformation designed to confuse the public and create doubt about the need for government action to address climate change. Through interviews with climate scientists, “astroturf” activists funded by the multi-billionaire Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil – as well as people around the world whose lives have been devastated by flood, drought and wildfires linked with rising temperatures, the film makes a powerful case for grassroots mobilization to challenge the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with “Greedy Lying Bastards'” director, Scott Rosebraugh, who talks about the film’s message – and how he hopes information presented in the documentary can be used as an organizing tool within the emerging international climate change movement.

For more information about “Greedy Lying Bastards,” visit

Related Links:

mp3 Interview conducted by Scott Harris, Counterpoint, March 11, 2013 (27:09)

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