Discussion:
Polling Firm Said Chavez Was Going To Lose? Democrat Jimmy Carter Licking Hugo Chavez Boots?
(demasiado antiguo para responder)
Bobby Fischler
2004-08-19 15:45:51 UTC
Permalink
Looks like Chavez rigged this election. Chavez pal Jiminy Cater said
it was a fair election - yeah right.

Meanwhile Jimmy Carter shuttles between Caracas and Havana to lick
Castro and Chavez's boots. Carter may return to North Korea soon to
lick Kim Jong Il's boots.

No way this polling firm could have been this far off. All the
lefties in America rally around Castro's boy Chavez.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040819/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_recall_11

CARACAS, Venezuela - A U.S. firm's exit poll that said President Hugo
Chavez would lose a recall referendum has landed in the center of a
controversy following his resounding victory.

"Exit Poll Results Show Major Defeat for Chavez," the survey,
conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, asserted even as
Sunday's voting was still on. But in fact, the opposite was true —
Chavez ended up trouncing his enemies and capturing 59 percent of the
vote.

Any casual observer of the 2000 U.S. presidential elections knows exit
polls can at times be unreliable. But the poll has become an issue
here because the opposition, which mounted the drive to force the
leftist leader from office, insists it shows the results from the vote
itself were fraudulent. The opposition also claims electronic voting
machines were rigged, but has provided no evidence.
Josh Dougherty
2004-08-19 19:00:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many occasions.
They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong in El Salvador's
last presidential election, just to name a couple examples.

And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez winning by
wide margins? How come all those polling firms (including many opposition
and US ones) can all be wrong, but this one can't be wrong?

You're just grasping at straws.
beber
2004-08-19 21:16:43 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:00:01 -0400, "Josh Dougherty"
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many occasions.
They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong in El Salvador's
last presidential election, just to name a couple examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez winning by
wide margins? How come all those polling firms (including many opposition
and US ones) can all be wrong, but this one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
I don't believe there were any exit poles in florida. I think that at
the last minute the results were withdrawn. Can't remember for sure;
but that was a real red flag to me. I think had the networks not
called the election for Gore, Gore would have won Florida. The fix
came in from the panhandle.
Peter Principle
2004-08-20 02:05:37 UTC
Permalink
X-No-archive: yes
Post by beber
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:00:01 -0400, "Josh Dougherty"
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many
occasions. They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong
in El Salvador's last presidential election, just to name a couple
examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez
winning by wide margins? How come all those polling firms
(including many opposition and US ones) can all be wrong, but this
one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
I don't believe there were any exit poles in florida.
Say WHAT!?

Actually, you may be right. I have no idea if any Polish citizens exited
Florida during the election. It is a FACT, however, that there were numerous
exit POLLS of those who had just voted.

Sheesh, what a maroon...

Pete
beber
2004-08-20 14:01:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Principle
X-No-archive: yes
Post by beber
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:00:01 -0400, "Josh Dougherty"
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many
occasions. They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong
in El Salvador's last presidential election, just to name a couple
examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez
winning by wide margins? How come all those polling firms
(including many opposition and US ones) can all be wrong, but this
one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
I don't believe there were any exit poles in florida.
Say WHAT!?
Actually, you may be right. I have no idea if any Polish citizens exited
Florida during the election. It is a FACT, however, that there were numerous
exit POLLS of those who had just voted.
Sheesh, what a maroon...
Pete
I'm pretty sure you're wrong. Just before the election, it was
announced that the League of Woman Voters would not announce results
of exit polls. I don't wanna argue too much, because that is history,
and I'm relying on memory. But I remember when it was announced I
thought the fix was in.

The exit polls, though conducted, weren't jibing with the results, so
the results were not released.
Peter Principle
2004-08-22 00:42:24 UTC
Permalink
X-No-archive: yes
Post by beber
Post by Peter Principle
X-No-archive: yes
Post by beber
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:00:01 -0400, "Josh Dougherty"
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many
occasions. They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong
in El Salvador's last presidential election, just to name a couple
examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez
winning by wide margins? How come all those polling firms
(including many opposition and US ones) can all be wrong, but this
one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
I don't believe there were any exit poles in florida.
Say WHAT!?
Actually, you may be right. I have no idea if any Polish citizens
exited Florida during the election. It is a FACT, however, that
there were numerous exit POLLS of those who had just voted.
Sheesh, what a maroon...
I'm pretty sure you're wrong. Just before the election, it was
announced that the League of Woman Voters would not announce results
of exit polls.
Considering not one single major news organization anywhere uses the LoWV
for *any* exit polls whatsoever anywhere ever, who gives a FUCK what they
said? Not to mention, if they ever said any such thing, all reference too it
has been systematically wiped off of the face of the Net. Well, that or it
never happened.

But just for fun, how exactly, have you come to the brilliant conclusion
that ANYTHING the LoWV do somehow mandates the actions of the HUNDREDS of
other organizations that do or report exit polling?

The indisputable FACT is exit polls are conducted on behalf of news
organizations by a pool commercial polling service. While there were
problems with the pool service in 2000, as there were in 1996, there most
definitely WERE exit polls, period, EOS, your fuzzy, badly flawed
recollections notwithstanding, move the fuck on and stop farting such easily
debunked bullshit.

Pete

Bobby Fischler
2004-08-19 22:17:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many occasions.
They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong in El Salvador's
last presidential election, just to name a couple examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez winning by
wide margins? How come all those polling firms (including many opposition
and US ones) can all be wrong, but this one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
No you licking Castro's boy Chavez boots with your pal Jiminy Carter.
Eric Chomko
2004-08-20 17:51:03 UTC
Permalink
Bobby Fischler (***@yahoo.co.nz) wrote:
: "Josh Dougherty" <***@comcast.net> wrote in message news:<p8OdnREYMbohZbncRVn-***@comcast.com>...
: > "Bobby Fischler" <***@yahoo.co.nz> wrote in message
: > news:***@posting.google.com...
: >
: > > No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
: >
: > Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many occasions.
: > They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong in El Salvador's
: > last presidential election, just to name a couple examples.
: >
: > And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez winning by
: > wide margins? How come all those polling firms (including many opposition
: > and US ones) can all be wrong, but this one can't be wrong?
: >
: > You're just grasping at straws.


: No you licking Castro's boy Chavez boots with your pal Jiminy Carter.

The right-wing plans divison of the CIA fails to foster a coup in
Venezuela for cheap access to oil (CATO), so you ballistic on anything and
everything that is leftist? You folks are too predictable anymore.

Eric
FREEPME
2004-08-19 22:56:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Bobby Fischler
No way this polling firm could have been this far off.
Sure it could. Exit polls can be wrong and have been on many occasions.
They were wrong in Florida in 2000, and most were wrong in El Salvador's
last presidential election, just to name a couple examples.
And what do you say to all the pre-election polls that had Chavez winning by
wide margins? How come all those polling firms (including many opposition
and US ones) can all be wrong, but this one can't be wrong?
You're just grasping at straws.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE TOUCH SCREEN VOTING MACHINES WHERE MADE IN FLORIDA

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FREEPME
Sayan Bhattacharyya
2004-08-19 19:08:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bobby Fischler
Looks like Chavez rigged this election. Chavez pal Jiminy Cater said
it was a fair election - yeah right.
"Exit Poll Results Show Major Defeat for Chavez," the survey,
conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, asserted even as
Sunday's voting was still on.
In fact, this fact itself, that they announced their "results"
even *while the voting was still on*, shows that they were hardly
a disinterested party. In all elections, it is improper to announce
any results of exit polls while voting is still ongoing, because
if the claimed margin of defeat is large, it demoralizes the
"defeated" party's supporters who still had not voted
and they might not go out and vote thinking that the cause is
lost.

Why would they make such an announcement while the voting was
*still on*? The only reason would be to try to demoralize
Chavez voters who had not yet voted, into not voting.
Josh Dougherty
2004-08-19 22:01:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sayan Bhattacharyya
Post by Bobby Fischler
Looks like Chavez rigged this election. Chavez pal Jiminy Cater said
it was a fair election - yeah right.
"Exit Poll Results Show Major Defeat for Chavez," the survey,
conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, asserted even as
Sunday's voting was still on.
In fact, this fact itself, that they announced their "results"
even *while the voting was still on*, shows that they were hardly
a disinterested party. In all elections, it is improper to announce
any results of exit polls while voting is still ongoing, because
if the claimed margin of defeat is large, it demoralizes the
"defeated" party's supporters who still had not voted
and they might not go out and vote thinking that the cause is
lost.
Why would they make such an announcement while the voting was
*still on*? The only reason would be to try to demoralize
Chavez voters who had not yet voted, into not voting.
Good question. It should also be noted that it was not just "improper", but
also *illegal* for them to release such results before the polls had closed.

It's also come out that "Penn, Schoen & Berland had members of Sumate, a
Venezuelan group that helped organize the recall initiative, do the
fieldwork for the poll, election observers said. Roberto Abdul, a Sumate
official, acknowledged in a telephone interview that the firm "supervised"
an exit poll carried out by Sumate".
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040819_91.html

So the exit poll was actually conducted not by PS&B employees, but by a
group of partisan opposition activists.

Here's an excerpt from an interview with one of Sumate's exit polsters from
referendum day. Perhaps it gives a bit of a hint as to why their polls got
it so wrong:
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1248

...According to one of Súmate’s Altamira volunteers, “we are here to provide
food for the people in line, to provide them with water, to help them in any
way we can to facilitate the voting process. And to do exit polls, to see if
they voted ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”

“And you have volunteers providing food in all the lines all over the
country?”

“Yes, absolutely. Everywhere,” responded another white-clad Súmate pollster.

“But I was just in Petare, a very Chavista neighbourhood, and I didn’t
notice anyone from Súmate handing out food or water,” I said coyly.

“That’s because the people in those neighbourhoods don’t like the
Coordinadora, not because the Coordinadora doesn’t want to help them,” she
exclaimed, visibly perturbed.

“So if you can’t get into Chavista neighborhoods, you can’t do exit polls
there, right?” I asked.

“No…” she hesitated, “I’m sure they are doing exit polls everywhere.” End of
interview.

In light of Democratic Coordinator leader Enrique Mendoza’s pronouncement
last week that he would be releasing his exit poll results this afternoon,
Súmate’s less than representative polling may be cause for concern."
T.Schmidt
2004-08-20 05:54:08 UTC
Permalink
To me it looks like mafia dealings.

T.Schmidt
===========================
Post by Josh Dougherty
Post by Sayan Bhattacharyya
Post by Bobby Fischler
Looks like Chavez rigged this election. Chavez pal Jiminy Cater said
it was a fair election - yeah right.
"Exit Poll Results Show Major Defeat for Chavez," the survey,
conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, asserted even as
Sunday's voting was still on.
In fact, this fact itself, that they announced their "results"
even *while the voting was still on*, shows that they were hardly
a disinterested party. In all elections, it is improper to announce
any results of exit polls while voting is still ongoing, because
if the claimed margin of defeat is large, it demoralizes the
"defeated" party's supporters who still had not voted
and they might not go out and vote thinking that the cause is
lost.
Why would they make such an announcement while the voting was
*still on*? The only reason would be to try to demoralize
Chavez voters who had not yet voted, into not voting.
Good question. It should also be noted that it was not just "improper", but
also *illegal* for them to release such results before the polls had closed.
It's also come out that "Penn, Schoen & Berland had members of Sumate, a
Venezuelan group that helped organize the recall initiative, do the
fieldwork for the poll, election observers said. Roberto Abdul, a Sumate
official, acknowledged in a telephone interview that the firm "supervised"
an exit poll carried out by Sumate".
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040819_91.html
So the exit poll was actually conducted not by PS&B employees, but by a
group of partisan opposition activists.
Here's an excerpt from an interview with one of Sumate's exit polsters from
referendum day. Perhaps it gives a bit of a hint as to why their polls got
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1248
...According to one of Súmate's Altamira volunteers, "we are here to
provide
Post by Josh Dougherty
food for the people in line, to provide them with water, to help them in any
way we can to facilitate the voting process. And to do exit polls, to see if
they voted 'Yes' or 'No'."
"And you have volunteers providing food in all the lines all over the
country?"
"Yes, absolutely. Everywhere," responded another white-clad Súmate
pollster.
Post by Josh Dougherty
"But I was just in Petare, a very Chavista neighbourhood, and I didn't
notice anyone from Súmate handing out food or water," I said coyly.
"That's because the people in those neighbourhoods don't like the
Coordinadora, not because the Coordinadora doesn't want to help them," she
exclaimed, visibly perturbed.
"So if you can't get into Chavista neighborhoods, you can't do exit polls
there, right?" I asked.
"No." she hesitated, "I'm sure they are doing exit polls everywhere." End
of
Post by Josh Dougherty
interview.
In light of Democratic Coordinator leader Enrique Mendoza's pronouncement
last week that he would be releasing his exit poll results this afternoon,
Súmate's less than representative polling may be cause for concern."
Barney Lyon
2004-08-20 01:11:19 UTC
Permalink
Colombia and Venezuela: A Clash of Two Models
Friday, Aug 06, 2004 Print format
  Send by email
 

By: Justin Podur and C.P. Pandya - ZNet

Carlos Andres Perez, a former President of Venezuela and leader of the
Venezuelan 'opposition' against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said
in a recent interview that "Violence will allow us to remove [Chavez].
That's the only way we have," and that Chavez "must die like a dog,
because he deserves it." (1)

Chavez "deserves it" because of efforts to create home-grown
development and regional integration in ways that offer a genuine
challenge to the neoliberal model.  Because such programs are popular
with the poor, "violence is the only way" to stop them. 

In a recent article about the Venezuelan referendum, James Petras
predicted the consequences of a Chavez defeat:

"If Chavez is defeated and if the Right takes power, it will privatize
the state petroleum and gas company, selling it to US multinationals,
withdraw from OPEC, raise its production and exports to the US, thus
lowering Venezuelan revenues by half or more. Internally the popular
health programs in the urban "ranchos" will end along with the
literary campaign and public housing for the poor. The agrarian reform
will be reversed and about 500,000 land reform recipients (100,000
families) will be turned off the land. This will be accomplished
through extensive and intensive state bloodletting, jailing and
extrajudicial assassination, and intense repression of pro-Chavez
neighborhoods, trade unions and social movements." (2)

If Venezuela provides a new, albeit fragile, model of social and
economic progress for the region, then its Andean neighbor Colombia,
can be seen providing a less-favored, more dangerous alternative - one
of neoliberal repression and privatization.
Venezuelans will decide which model to pursue in the referendum of
August 15.  But the clash of the two models has taken some unexpected
turns recently.

The Colombia Model

The package of privatization, anti-poor programs, and intense
repression is best exemplified by Colombia, where imposing
privatization and the kind of 'development' that displaces and
impoverishes millions takes so much violence that it has forced even
its US sponsors to make public, if hypocritical, statements against
it. 

On July 26, John Kerry, John Edwards, and several other US senators
sent a letter to Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe Velez.  Kerry and
friends were "encouraged by the decline in the level of homicides,
massacres, kidnappings, and forced displacement."  But they were also
"deeply concerned" about "extrajudicial killings and forced
disappearances, attributed directly to Colombian security forces." 
They urged Uribe to follow the UN's recommendation to "cut ties
between the army and the paramilitary forces".  The letter named
names, citing the cases of Carlos Bernal, an activist assassinated on
April 1 with his bodyguard, and Carlos Alberto Chicaiza, a unionist
killed on April 15. 

The good senators could have benefited from more up to date
information. For example on August 3, Kankuamo indigenous activist
Freddy Arias Arias was killed riding home on his bicycle in
Valledupar.  The Kankuamo nation has some 5000 people, 92 of whom have
been assassinated and 1732 displaced in the past two years. In
Bucaramanga, on July 15, Carmen Elisa Nova Hernandez, a health
worker's union activist, was assassinated by motorcycle gunmen.  She
was the mother of a 5-year-old daughter.  On July 3, Colombian police
detained Fanime Reyes Reyes of the agicultural union, FENSUAGRO, in
Sincelejo, Sucre.  On July 7, they detained Nubia Gonzalez, daughter
of a union worker, in the same city.  On June 19, members of the 3rd
Brigade of the Army rounded up 25 people in the Municipality of
Corinto in Valle del Cauca department.  A local human rights
organization said the military's mass detention: "took the form of the
military violently entering into their houses, violently searching
people, intimidating them and detaining many in a highly arbitrary
manner."  On June 17, Colombian police in Barrancabermeja attacked a
demonstration by oil workers of the Union Sindical Obrera and youth,
"beating them physically and threatening them verbally," not
discriminating between journalists and demonstrators; Luz Dary Innes
of Canal Enlace Television, along with at least four other
journalists, sustained moderate injuries.  The police detained 9 USO
workers as well.  There are numerous other reports from the past few
weeks and months of paramilitary intimidation and terror in the
countryside (like at the La Balsita peace community in mid-June).  But
Kerry and friends selected a few drops out of an ocean of terror and
state violence: just what they needed to make the point.  And to be
fair, their point was clear: that army-paramilitary links need to be
cut.

The senators ought not to hold their breath though.  Uribe has chosen
an odd way to cut army-paramilitary links: bringing the paramilitaries
to make speeches in Colombia's House of Representatives.  The speeches
were part of the "negotiations" that are going on between the
government and the paramilitary killers the government has been using
in order to destroy independent social forces and displace peasants
from resource-rich areas in advance of 'development'.  The head of the
national paramilitary organization, Salvatore Mancuso, a major killer,
asked for new demilitarized zones under exclusive paramilitary
control.  He proudly told the nation (the day after the senators sent
their letter) that "The ceasefire declared by the self-defense groups
does not absolve us of our responsibility for defending the
populations and regions where the state is not present from
guerrillas".  But who will defend the populations from the
paramilitaries?  The Organization of American States can't do it.  The
OAS observer team excused itself from the process and didn't attend
the paramilitary speech (no explanation was given). 

Colombia's Vice President Francisco Santos said that the OAS refusal,
combined with the fact that paramilitary cooperation has not been
'total', has given the 'negotiations' a 'credibility problem'.  Other
politicians used stronger language: Gina Parody, a pro-Uribe
representative, called having the paramilitaries in the Congress a
"shameful and lamentable spectacle." The same could be applied to the
negotiations.

Perhaps the most shameful and lamentable part of the episode came when
Mancuso said paramilitaries would not go to jail.  "The reward," he
said, "for all our sacrifices for the nation cannot be prison." 

This was too much even for the US ambassador.  Even though the US is a
sponsor of the government-paramilitary negotiations, William Wood came
out against Mancuso's speech.  "To hear Mancuso talk about sacrifices
for the nation is scandalous."  (3)

Despite this newly discovered moral fiber by the likes of Kerry and
Wood, there is plenty they aren't complaining about.  When Cali's
public utilities company, EMCALI, sacked 60 workers including the
union's president on July 14, Wood didn't find anything 'scandalous'
in the violation of union rights.  Perhaps that is because the union
is the single biggest obstacle to the privatization of the very
important company, and the United States is pushing for a great deal
more privatization from Colombia in its free-trade negotiations with
that country.  The US demanded, for example, that the Colombian
government leave the telecommunications sector altogether.  And the US
flexed its muscles, vetoing Colombia's chosen negotiator on
intellectual property rights in the accord.  Colombia walked away from
that session as a result.  But the outcome was predictable regardless:
when the US flexes its muscles, it gets what it wants. Colombia is
planning $10 billion in privatizations, and the US is sending it $108
million for 'counterinsurgency' and $313 million for chemical warfare
(also known as 'aerial fumigation') in return (4).

So, if the new plan for Colombia is at all different from the old
plan, it is only in one simple way: instead of celebrating the
murderous repression while pushing for it, paying for it (though
Colombians are paying much more), and profiting from it, US officials
might occasionally make some noises about how they don't like it,
while continuing to finance it. 

The Plan for Venezuela

By tendering at least some protest at the horrors going on in
Colombia, US establishment figures like Kerry and other liberal voices
can sound marginally more consistent when they do their inane
posturing on Venezuela.  The Washington Post (footnote: Washington
Post Editorial, July 30, 2004.) says that Venezuela's President Hugo
Chavez "does not genuinely accept democracy or the rule of law. He
delayed the referendum for a year through legal manipulation and
political dirty tricks. Now he flirts with outright political
repression in an attempt to determine its outcome."  The referendum
referred to is a referendum to recall the President, something allowed
for by the Venezuelan constitution of 1999, enacted under Chavez's
government (the US has no such provision in its constitution). 

Incidentally, Uribe's own plans for re-election were thwarted by a
referendum he lost in October 2003 (5). Undaunted, Uribe ignored the
people's will and is ramming his re-election through Congress (where
is the Post article discussing how Uribe "does not genuinely accept
democracy or the rule of law", one wonders).  Alas, all Chavez can
manage to do is  'flirt with political repression'.  He could take
lessons from Uribe, or indeed from US Presidents who gave us
COINTELPRO and the PATRIOT Act.

Kerry talks even tougher on Venezuela than the Post and his
condemnation of the Chavez government goes far beyond the mild
criticism of Uribe's murderous regime expressed in the July 26 letter.
And unlike that letter, Kerry's 'Statement on Venezuela' (6) comes
with no supporting evidence for its outrageous accusations, which are
standard by now:

Chavez "has compromised efforts to eradicate drug cultivation by
allowing Venezuela to become a haven for narco-terrorists, and sowed
instability in the region by supporting anti-government insurgents in
Colombia." He has "repeatedly undermined democratic institutions by
using extra-legal means, including politically motivated
incarcerations", and worst of all, he has a "close relationship with
Fidel Castro"!  In his statement, Kerry then criticizes Bush for
"acquiescing in a failed coup" in Venezuela in 2002. "Having just
allowed the democratically elected leader to be cast aside in Haiti,
they should make a strong statement now by leading the effort to
preserve the fragile democracy in Venezuela."  One wonders if Kerry's
problem with Bush is that he acquiesced to the coup or that the coup
failed at all. 

Kerry and the Washington Post need not worry: the forces of
'democracy' are continuing their noble work in Venezuela.  Several
dozen Venezuelan military officers are in hiding after stealing 63
kilograms of C-4 plastic explosive and 80 detonators from a naval
base, probably for use during the referendum campaign.  These officers
are also accused of bombing the Colombian and Spanish embassies in
Venezuela in 2003 - three of them were also involved in the coup in
2002.  This, on the heels of a previous plot to assassinate Chavez
involving Colombian paramilitaries (7), which itself was followed by
an announcement of a plot to deploy Colombian tanks to the Venezuelan
border (8). 

Fine-Tuning the Plan (with Megaprojects)?

Tough talk and dirty war are certainly tried-and-true US strategies in
Latin America.  But, like the weak expressions of protest against
state terror in Colombia, the US and Uribe have other games afoot, as
Uribe's visit to Venezuela in July showed.  Colombia's role as a
resource-rich territory and a corridor between Central and South
America are important enough to the United States.  But as a base from
which to destabilize the region in various ways, Colombia is even more
valuable.

Colombia's president visited his Venezuelan counterpart on July 15, to
discuss a 205km, $98 million natural gas pipeline project that will
cross both countries and make it possible for countries to export gas
through Central America.  The mystery, however, is why Uribe didn't
wait for the outcome of the referendum before visiting.  A major
pipeline takes time: what could be lost by waiting a month?  Since
Uribe's sympathies are violently on the side of the Venezuelan elite
and against Chavez, why visit him? 

What Uribe said during the visit is even more inconsistent with his
own life's work of paramilitarism and destruction (9)  He paid
complements to Chavez more than once, first in the form of praise for
Simon Bolivar when he said: "Any work we can think of doing today was
already been done by the Liberator (Bolivar)... today, 200 years
later, we are trying to make these things happen, so that history
doesn't pass us by." He said it was time to leave rhetoric behind and
expressed admiration for Chavez who was "talking and doing, taking
advantage of his vigor and dynamism."  The famous deal between Spain
and Colombia for tanks to be posted to the Venezuelan border having
been cancelled by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government, Uribe
said that he didn't want the tanks any more in any case: "I don't want
the tanks any more; I hope that with the government of President
Zapatero we can make a deal where, instead of selling us these tanks,
they can sell us something more useful."  Chavez was gracious, saying
that there had been bad relations between Colombia and Venezuela,
including war plans between them, but that what was really needed was
"a joint war against poverty and underdevelopment." Uribe then replied
that there would "never be war" between the two countries. 

The press conference then descended into the realm of the bizarre,
with both presidents joking about these life-and-death matters.  Uribe
said he would miss not being able to learn how to drive a tank, and
that he wished Chavez could teach him how: "The only thing I deplore
is that I've lost the chance to have President Chavez as my teacher.
How many tanks will you loan me, President Chavez? Please loan me some
tanquecitos!" (10)

Chavez's reason for meeting Uribe is easy enough to understand: he
wants, indeed needs, good relations with Colombia, for the safety of
the Venezuelan people if for no other reason. Wanting to defuse the
Washington-fueled conflict between the two countries, which would be a
disaster for both, is in Chavez's interest.  But Uribe's interest is
much more difficult to speculate on.  But the answer might have to do
with the politics of megaprojects.  Perhaps by sending Uribe, the US
minion in the region, to visit Chavez and make peace, the U.S. can get
another hand on what Chavez is doing with its natural resources -
using the velvet glove instead of the iron fist. In return, Colombia
gets windfall revenue from the pipeline project and becomes more
foreign-investor friendly. This is the politics of megaprojects. The
western world sees them as unequivocally good, and profitable - and
the heads of developing nations see them as a way to provide visible
evidence of "development" even though many believe that these projects
do little but displace and kill people and produce inefficient,
low-productivity output.

Most of the political organizations of Colombia's 3 million+ displaced
people talk about megaprojects.  They believe that they were displaced
from their lands in order to make way for such projects: dams,
drilling, oil and gas pipelines, mega-scale agricultural monocultures
- all forms of 'development without people' designed to profit
transnationals and the segment of the local elite than can sell the
country to them.  Afro-Colombians have been displaced all along the
Naya River on the Pacific Coast in anticipation of such projects.  The
U'wa and the Embera Katio have been subjected to murderous campaigns
for fighting oil and dam projects.  The list in Colombia goes on and
on.  Outside of Colombia, megaprojects despoil landscapes from one end
of the continent to the other, from Plan Puebla-Panama in Central
America (11) to the BR-163 superhighway planned to cut the Brazilian
Amazon (12).

But megaprojects are not a monopoly of neoliberals, and the
'Bolivarian project' of nationalist development does not exclude them.
Development has the potential to become a wedge that divides
Venezuela's population and ultimately succeeds in undermining the
Bolivarian process in a way that all the violence cannot.  If the
government cannot deliver 'development', the people will turn against
it.  But if the government delivers the kind of 'development' that
displaces indigenous people from their lands and contributes to
violence in the countryside, it will also alienate its constituency. 
These are serious risks for a progressive government to face. 

As an example of the kind of problems and divisions that can arise,
consider the Pemon indigenous of Venezuela, who waged a struggle
against a 676 km electricity project from Venezuela to Bolivia for
several years.  According to Michael McCaughan, (13) the Pemon's
struggle was repressed - including the May 2002 shooting of Miguel
Lanz, a 25-year old indigenous activist who was killed by a soldier,
who was not punished.  "The community retreated, unwilling to risk
more bloodshed.  The battle was over.  The electricity pylon project
signed by [Then President of Venezuela] Rafael Caldera and [Then
President of Brazil] Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1997 was finally
inagurated in August 2002 when Cardoso and Chavez were joined by Fidel
Castro to celebrate a victory for progress.  Insult was piled on
injury when it was revealed that… the vast project is currently only
feeding electricity to two small border towns, one in Brazil and one
in Venezuela."  If solutions to problems like these cannot be found,
they could undermine the whole program of developing the region for
its people, including the very real successes in genuine development
and regional integration, in which Venezuela is exemplary.

Frustrated Movements

Most Andean countries live somewhere in between the horrors of the
Colombia Model and the fragile progress of Venezuela's government. 
The recently demonstrated ability of Latin America's indigenous and
poor to oust regimes that are overly contemptuous of their populations
and too obedient to US dictates suggests there is a possibility for
true social and economic progress.  Unfortunately, the initial
momentum created by many social movements in Latin America has
repeatedly been lost when the subsequent leaders betrayed their core
constituencies in the poor and indigenous citizenry.

In Bolivia, the indigenous threw business tycoon and President Gonzalo
Sánchez de Lozada out of power in October 2003 in part because of the
government's plan for a $5.2 billion natural gas pipeline project that
was to be controlled by a consortium of multinational energy
companies, and sold to the U.S. The mostly indigenous uprising against
Lozada and his plan brought to power his vice president, Carlos Mesa,
who in the 10 months since becoming president has slyly pushed through
a referendum paving the way for privatization, and ultimately robbing
the Bolivian people of the right to determine the use of their
country's resources. Bolivia's indigenous leaders, after helping Mesa
come into power, have quickly become alienated, and are again left
with no alternative means to ensure lasting progress.

In Ecuador, indigenous leader Lucio Gutierrez won the presidency in
the November 2002 elections with promises of social justice and an end
to corruption. Gutierrez, in fact, led the indigenous uprising against
notoriously corrupt President Jamil Mahuad in 2000. Since coming to
power and initially appointing indigenous leaders to his cabinet,
Gutierrez has broken ranks with the country's leading confederation of
indigenous people, Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del
Ecuador. Against their will, he signed a letter of intent with the IMF
in August 2003 to privatize the petroleum sector, electricity,
telecommunications, and natural resources like water (14).  More
recently, the Ecuadorian congress has been in a battle with Gutierrez
to stop the president from opening up the country's oil fields to
foreign oil companies.

To a limited extent, Brazil under President Luis Ignacio Lula da
Silva, has not lived up to the promises he made to the Movimento dos
Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Tera, - Landless Rural Workers Movement,
Brazil. In his October 2002 victory speech, Lula declared that with
his election to head Brazil, the world's fifth-largest democratic
state, "hope has won over fear." This hope, which had been shared by
movements and leftists across the globe, has since largely faded. In
fact, it has seemingly been replaced within Brazil by political and
economic stagnation and at times, repression of the landless (15).
Some members of the Brazilian Workers' Party, Partido dos
Trabalhadores, much like members of CONAIE in Ecuador, have come out
in vocal opposition to Lula's leadership. Brazil continues to be
heavily indebted to the IMF and, the MST contends, the PT has moved
too slowly with land reforms.

But where Lula and the rest have shown signs of weakness in providing
a model of development and governance for the left, President Hugo
Chavez in Venezuela has methodically built strength. This is, in turn,
precisely why he encounters such fierce opposition from the U.S.
government and media. In the months leading up to the referendum,
Chavez has implemented several development measures and fostered
regional economic cooperation to build a base from which to oppose
neoliberal economic policies.

Home-Grown Development

Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has taken advantage
of high oil prices over the past several months. Petroleos de
Venezuela, the state-oil company also known as PdVSA has, with record
revenue coming in as a result of the price per barrel hovering in the
high $30 to low $40 price range, devoted $2 billion for spending on
infrastructure projects. The fund is to be used for revamping power
plants, building roads and launching a state airline. In addition,
PdVSA has earmarked an additional $1.7 billion from windfall oil
revenue for adult literacy programs and free healthcare for the poor.
The two combined social spending measures have created an uproar ahead
of the referendum, despite the fact that PdVSA President Ali Rodriguez
has estimated that, if the price of oil remains at current levels, the
oil company's net revenue for the year will surpass $46 billion. There
is little reason to doubt the veracity of this claim. Oil industry
analysts have estimated the price per barrel of oil may in the near
future go as high as $50, ensuring further windfall revenue to flow in
(16).

Chavez's plans have been met with virulent opposition from critics
even as his supporters say he is the first Venezuelan president to
work to improve the lives of the over 50% of the population living
below the poverty line.

In the past, this opposition has seriously destabilized the economy.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the $2 billion fund is so
contentious. The idea of using even a marginal amount of revenue from
the nation's national resources to create jobs and put in place
institutional alternatives to privately-owned enterprises may be seen
as a serious threat to the Venezuelan elite.

Chavez is using about $16 million from the development fund, to partly
fund the creation of a small new state-owned airline, Conviasa, which
will begin operations in three to four months. The airline plans to
first fly between the Andean nations and eventually to most points
around the world, save the U.S. and Canada.

The Venezuelan government also recently said it would go forward with
plans announced over a year ago to launch a state-run
telecommunications company known as CVG Telecom on Aug. 10. The
company will compete with a number of other providers including the CA
Nacional de Telefonos de Venezuela, known as CANTV. The Venezuelan
telecommunications market is an oligarchy led by CANTV, which is the
largest privately owned telecom corporation in the country. The
corporation's size (and therefore influence) within the greater Latin
American corporate elite structure is worth noting. Shares of CANTV
make up nearly 40% of all shares traded on the local IBC Venezuelan
stock index and the company names as its largest stakeholder, US
telecom giant Verizon Communications. Therefore, any major swings in
the share price of CANTV, say in response to new competition, could
affect the overall performance of the IBC. Among CANTV's 10-largest
institutional shareholders are U.S. investment houses Lazard, JP
Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. (17)

The Aug. 10 launch is important, but shouldn't be overemphasized. It
may be entirely coincidental that CANTV will be providing connection
services for the Aug. 15 referendum, which will be conducted using
electronic touch-screen voting machines.

The building of these, relatively small, state alternatives to major
industries within the Venezuelan economy can in the long-run serve as
institutional alternatives to foreign-owned dominance of the country.
If evidence of this foreign-owned dominance is ever a question, one
should look no further than the US Treasury Department for answers.
The department said recently that US investors bought $72 billion
worth of foreign stock in 2003, a record that handily beat the
previous record of US ownership in foreign markets of $63 billion, set
in 1993. The pace is maddening. Based upon preliminary figures, US
investors will own $90 billion worth of foreign stock this year (18).

The sooner developing nations realize the tragic effects such
ownership can have on their development schemes, the quicker such
institutional can be undertaken. This recognition, on the part of the
Venezuelan government, has made it a target.

National alternatives, however, are not enough to fend off the
pressure from the North for neoliberalism that has become common in
the region. Nor are these economic measures enough to demonstrate the
possibility of development without the overwhelming presence of
institutions from the rich countries.

Regional Integration

By weaving together Venezuela's economy with its neighbors', the
Chavez government is laying the groundwork for Venezuela to be part of
an integrated Latin American economic bloc which could be less
dependent on foreign money and less susceptible to traditional
development pressures. Much of this integration has begun with
Argentina, where president Nestor Kirchner shares Chavez's skepticsm
about neoliberalism.

Among many cooperative measures announced during July's
Venezuela-Argentina Business Roundtable, was the creation of a credit
card called Cabal for small businesses in Venezuela and a financing
fund to provide credit guarantees to entrepreneurs. Also announced was
the creation of a $1 million credit line with the help of government
banks such as Venezuela's Banco de Comercio Exterior, and the
Argentine government bank BCIE, to finance Venezuela's small industry
exports to Argentina, according to a statement released by Bancoex.
(19)

Also according to the statement, the two countries foresee, in the
long run, the creation of a South American bank that would promote
business development in the region.

The economic idea of comparative advantage - so often manipulated in
neoliberal economic policy - has also found its place within the
current Venezuelan-Argentine cooperation. The governments announced in
July a plan to indefinitely extend this year's fuel-for-food accord,
allowing Argentina to continue importing diesel and gasoil from
Venezuela if its current natural gas and power shortages remain a
problem. Argentina signed the $240 million contract with Venezuela in
April 2004, allowing Kirchner's government to import around 1 million
tons of diesel and gasoil. In return, the Venezuelans agreed that they
could receive cash for the imports or request agricultural imports.

The laundry-list of cooperative agreements between Venezuela and
Argentina, as well as the confounding pipeline agreement between
traditional rivals Colombia and Venezuela are a part of the larger
picture of Venezuela's integration into the wider Latin American
economy and the creation of a regional economic force to be reckoned
with.

On July 8, after eight years of lobbying, Venezuela was admitted as an
"associate member" to the trading-bloc Common Market of the South,
also known as Mercosur. The importance of this institutionalization
lies not only in the increased trade opportunities for all the member
and associate countries - Brazil and Argentina are full members with
Paraguay and Uruguay while Peru, Chile and Bolivia are associates -
but also in the strategic and symbolic unity the bloc will offer
Chavez and Venezuela. The attempts by U.S. and Venezuelan corporate
media and government to portray Chavez as a firebrand "dictator"
isolated from the rest of Latin America because of his "communist"
policies, will be less successful given the risk of offending the
economically important bloc.

The legacy the Chavez government leaves behind can form the basis for
long-standing institutional alternatives to U.S.-backed development as
well as a regional means to escape part of the heavy dependence on
foreign direct investment needed to lift the citizens of poor nations
out of poverty.
 
It is for this reason these substantive, lasting, institutionalized
measures are clearly seen as a threat to U.S. neoliberalism in Latin
America. Colombia, in its economic obedience, serves as Venezuela's
doppelganger of sorts - the quiescent country that will haunt its
counterpart. Whichever US administration is in power will forgive the
one and pour vitriol on the other. Nevertheless, resistance to the US
agenda abounds in both Andean countries, despite their varying forms.

The paramilitaries in the Colombian legislature were met with fierce
opposition not only within the parliament itself, but also outside, as
families of disappeared and murdered, social organizations, and others
raised their voices to yell "Neither oblivion nor pardon!"  Movements
in Colombia's cities continue to offer resistance in unexpected and
spontaneous ways even more-established movements aren't expecting
(20). 

The Venezuelan referendum of August 15 is a crucial battle (if it is
at all fair, Chavez will win easily) a long fight.  The populations
will not give up the fight for their region easily.

http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1233
Barney Lyon
2004-08-20 01:15:46 UTC
Permalink
Soweto Resists ANC Privatization Moves
by Interview with Trevor Ngwane by Walter Turner, Africa Today
August 18th, 2004

Ten years after the first democratic elections in South Africa brought
the African National Congress to power, critics claim that
privatization and neoliberal economic policies have usurped the
promise of democracy. Trevor Ngwane, head of the Soweto Electricity
Crisis Committee and member of the Anti-Privitization Forum, tells
Walter Turner about the ANC shift from the South African Freedom
Charter to accepting World Bank prescriptions for development.

Walter Turner: In 1999 the ANC-led government began a policy of
privatization directed at both water and electricity services. In
Soweto as in other areas of south Africa the response has been
organization against the privatization of electricity and water and a
questioning analysis about the direction of government policy. Joining
Africa today to analyze the issues of privatization electricity and
water is Trevor Ngwane chairperson of the Soweto electricity crisis
committee and is a member of the South Africa privatization Forum.
 
Walter Turner: Give us a sketch of your impressions of the last ten
years in South Africa; a capsule evaluation of where things have gone
well and not so well.
Trevor Ngwane: We managed to get rid of apartheid, at least formally,
in terms of removing the racial foundation of legislation. Secondly we
won the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to
organize collectively for mass activism organizing unions, meetings
and thing like that.
But what has been bad is that the rich have been getting richer and
the poor poorer in the past ten years. This is according to all social
and economic indicators, both by government and non-governmental
organizations.
The other thing that is more serious for the working class is that the
power of the rich--the capitalists and big business--has been
strengthened. What has happened in South Africa is--instead of the old
ruling classes being replaced by a true people's government, a
democracy-- the old ruling class has been reinforced by elements from
the peoples camp. So we find that the top leaders of the African
National Congress (ANC) leadership, the top leaders of Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the top leaders of the communist
party are all in the government or in the private sector running some
big corporations. Now, some of them for the first time are owned by
black people, but the bottom line is that the ruling class has not
been shaken. Rather, it has been reinforced by elements from our own
ranks.
So this is the problem in South Africa. This makes me pessimistic
about getting rid of this phenomenom where the rich get richer and the
poor get poorer. It looks like this trend will continue.
Walter Turner: There were two economic programs that were considered
during the 90s. The first was the reconstruction and development
program, RDP aimed at creating jobs and transferring wealth to the
poor and the second was the GEAR program. Can you give us a capsule
description of each.
Trevor Ngwane: At one point, about a year or two after 1994 when we
got our independence, even a 5 year old would talk about the RDP as it
was popularly known. That's because the RDP was the program of
transformation. It was the economic and social agenda of the ANC. In
fact, it was the election platform of the ANC which allowed it to win
an overwhelming victory in the first democratic elections. It was a
redistributive economic program. Its most popular refrain or slogan
was: People-driven and people-centered development.
It emphasized that henceforth all development in South Africa must
work to remove the legacy of apartheid, to redress the decades of
neglect of black people, of the working class and to restore the
peoples dignity.
The RDP for example set specific targets around social issues such as
housing, not only a specific percentage of the national budget butt
also a definite target on the number of houses built. In health care
it set targets for free healthcare within the following 5 to 10 years.
In education it set targets to get rid of illiteracy. Education was to
be free for all up to a certain level. It set certain targets for job
creation. And so on and so forth. Basically it was a redistributive
strategy based on Keynesian economics. It was put together through a
popular process of discussion involving the unions the civic
associations and most of the mass democratic movement organizations of
the time.
The GEAR program, on the other hand, was put together a team of 8
experts including 2 officials of the World Bank and 6 professors of
economics and basically, it is a neoliberal program. It prioritizes
growth, first we must have growth and only then can we talk about
redistribution.
It set certain targets such as reduction of inflation. It reversed the
principle of people-driven development by saying that the private
sector, that is big business, was to be empowered to make profits and
through a process of trickle down. the poor would benefit. So the GEAR
policy was a total reversal and abandonment of RDP.
Walter Turner: Talk to us about the connection between the process of
privatization and when it got implemented and the founding of the
Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee.
Trevor Ngwane: GEAR policy was implemented in 1996. Soon after that
the government started moving toward privatization, preparing state
companies such as ESKOM, the electricity provider; TELKOM,
telecommunications, the arms industry and the transport sector for
privatization.
For example if you look at electricity, there was an immediate
increase in the price of electricity for domestic users. The
government logic was that in order to attract investors to buy ESKOM,
the electricity company needed to make a profit-- a return on
investment.
A very strict regime of cost recovery was implemented. In Soweto, the
biggest black working class township in South Africa cutoffs of
electricity were made as part of recouping debt and making sure people
paid for their use of electricity.
At one point ESKOM was cutting off houses at 20,000 houses per month
out of 150,000 houses in Soweto. About 70% owed on their electricity
bills. Soweto was going to become a dark city.
The cutoffs were inhumane and cruel. Some people got cut off for
years. Staying without light, using wood from the forest and things
like that. Through bribery, some of the ESKOM employees would
reconnect for a price, and also if you would plead poverty an pay half
you would be reconnected but within 3-6 months they would be back in
arrears. So this situation was intolerable.
It was at that time we formed the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee.
It united the whole of Soweto around one platform against electricity
cutoffs. Its popular slogan was: Electricity is a right nor a
privilege. It also invoked the promise of the RDP that people should
have access to electricity.
One of the methods of enforcing its demands was the famous "Operation
Khanyisa" Khanyisa is the Zulu word for "to light" or "to connect the
light." So when ESKOM cut off the electricity to a residents house
residents would reconnect themselves. What the committee did, was to
get volunteers from the youth, women and unemployed men and train them
in reconnecting electricity. This was a very popular and successful
campaign. Eventually it led to the government having to stop the
program of cutoffs in Soweto.
Walter Turner: How broad is this movement responding to privatizing of
electricity, water education and even health care and education?
Trevor Ngwane: The movement is broad but it is admittedly still a
movement of a minority. It is mostly in the three big cities,
Capetown, Durban and Johannesburg. In the smaller towns the you get
people fighting against cutoffs, but people are more demoralized. Even
in Soweto we had to struggle very hard to get people to join. Many
people are still living in the twilight and honeymoon period of
national liberation. They still have hope and belief in the ANC
government. Many of them are kind of confused. and not sure how to
respond.
Walter Turner: The same situation has occurred with water. Is that
correct?
Trevor Ngwane: Once we made them stop the cutoffs of electricity they
came with a device called "prepaid meter" You have to pay for your
electricity and water before you get it. In order to pave the way for
privatization they are installing these throughout South Africa. They
are trying this in Soweto but we are fighting them. The consequences
of this policy can be very extreme.
For example, about 2 years ago these meters were installed in a poor
area in Zululand KwaZulu-Natal, a province, and as a consequence there
was a cholera outbreak--cholera is a water borne disease. More than
200 people died because of the installation of prepaid water meters.
Walter Turner: You have the distinction of being kicked out of the ANC
and COSATU. What happened?
Trevor Ngwane: My late father was a staunch member of the ANC. So this
is also something I got in my family. The top leadership of the ANC
shifted to the right. They abandoned policies that millions of south
Africans had been fighting for and believed that once we got our
independence those policies would be implemented. One famous document
is the Freedom Charter it says things such as: "The people shall
govern. The wealth of the country shall be shared among those who work
it. There shall be housing security and comfort. The doors of learning
and cultures shall be opened."
When the ANC shifted to the right and adopted World Bank neoliberal
and privatization policies it was an abandonment of the Freedom
Charter. So when I and a few others stood up and said this was wrong
then we were expelled.
Walter Turner: What is the solution to privatization? What is the
solution to the abandonment of the key policies people fought for?
Trevor Ngwane: What we need in South Africa, indeed in the whole
world, what we need is participatory democracy. We need is
people-centered government, people-driven government. What we don't
need is 5 yearly voting where it's up to the politicians to do what
they like.
We need policies which respond to the needs of the people. One of our
demands is free basic services for all . Electricity, water, housing,
health care, and education. Every citizen should be given these things
irrespective of whether they are rich or poor. I think that would go a
long way in solving these problems in South Africa.
Walter Turner: How are these concerns you are raising in South Africa
being addressed by the international anti-globalization movement? Are
you connected with organizations across the world?
Trevor Ngwane: We feel that we are very much part of the
anti-globalization movement, the anti-capitalist movement, the
movement of the world social forums, the European social forum. Also
we are connected to other movements such as the Zapatistas in Mexico
and the movement in Argentina. We have tried to send our comrades to
the great meetings like the world social forum. In fact, we are
convening the Southern Africa social forum and we are busy encouraging
all countries in Africa to form countrywide forums where social
movements, non-governmental organizations and decent individuals
fighting for social justice can link up and join hands and fight for a
system which prioritizes the needs of people the over and above
profits.
Walter Turner: Do you see a way of taking back some of the goals and
promises lost by the elected government over the last decade?
Trevor Ngwane: The only way forward is for ordinary people to join
hands to stand up and fight for their rights. To form organizations
such as the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, the landless peoples
movement, the Jubilee South Africa and similar social movements that
already exist. This should happen not only in South Africa but
throughout the world.
The problem is not just the ANC. The problem is imperialism. People
like George W. Bush work through international financial institutions
such as the World Bank, the IMF, the World Trade Organization to
pressure governments in Africa and Asia to follow neo-liberal
anti-poor policies.
It is important for us to join hands also with people in the USA. Our
comrades in the USA should campaign against the US government putting
pressure on poorer countries to abandon the interests of their own
people and work to make the big corporations richer.

For more on the anti-privatization struggles in South Africa visit the
Anti-Privatization Forum:http://www.apf.org.za

Trevor Ngwane: was elected councilor for Pimville in Soweto in 1995 on
an African National Congress ticket. He was expelled from the ANC in
1999 when he publicly disagreed with a plan to privatize municipal
services. He then became very active in the anti-capitalist movement
and help found the Anti-Privatisation Forum and
the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee.

Walter Turner is the host of Africa Today at KPFA.org and Professor of
History and Chairperson of the Social Sciences Department at the
College of Marin in Kentfield.

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11501
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