No fare deal for London or Venezuela

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Boris Scraps Venezuela Oil Deal

Canceling London-Venezuela Deal: Mindless Vandalism

Not many Londoners can be happy as they grope through the frozen murkiness of the commute to their first days back at work after the winter break. Adding to their misery is London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, who has made their journey much more expensive with huge fare rises.

Critics of Johnson’s transport policies have highlighted how these massive increases – 20 percent for single bus fares alone – would not have been so high if Johnson hadn’t trashed other sources of funding for London’s transport. Continue reading

Hugo Chávez Writes on “The Battle of Copenhagen”

December 22nd 2009, by Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Copenhagen was the scene of a historic battle in the framework of the 15th Conference of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP15). Better said, in the beautiful, snowy capital of Denmark, a battle began that did not end on Friday, December 18, 2009. I reiterate: Copenhagen was only the beginning of a decisive battle for the salvation of the planet. It was a battle in the realm of ideas and in praxis.

Brazilian Leonardo Boff, a great liberation theologian and one of the most authoritative voices on environmental issues, in a key article, entitled What is at stake in Copenhagen?, wrote these words full of insight and courage: What can we expect from Copenhagen? At least this simple confession: We cannot continue like this. And a simple proposition: Let’s change course.

And for that reason, precisely, we went to Copenhagen to battle for a change of course on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA), and moreover, in defence of the cause of humanity and to speak, with President Evo Morales, in defence of the rights of Pachamama, of Mother Earth.

Evo, who together with yours truly, had the responsibility to be a spokesperson for the Bolivarian Alliance, wisely said: What this debate is about, is whether we are going to live or we are going to die.

All eyes of the world were concentrated on Copenhagen: the 15th Conference on Climate Change allowed us to gauge the fibre we are made of, where hope lies and what can we do to establish what the Liberator Simón Bolívar defined as the equilibrium of the universe, an equilibrium that can never be achieved within the capitalist world system. Continue reading

Venezuelan President’s Speech on Climate Change in Copenhagen

December 17th 2009, by Hugo Chavez

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, Excellencies, friends, I promise that I will not talk more than most have spoken this afternoon. Allow me an initial comment which I would have liked to make as part of the previous point which was expressed by the delegations of Brazil, China, India, and Bolivia. We were there asking to speak but it was not possible. Bolivia’s representative said, my salute of course to Comrade President Evo Morales, who is there, President of the Republic of Bolivia.

[Audience applause]

She said among other things the following, I noted it here, she said the text presented is not democratic, it is not inclusive.

I had hardly arrived and we were just sitting down when we heard the president of the previous session, the minister, saying that a document came about, but nobody knows, I’ve asked for the document, but we still don’t have it, I think nobody knows of that top secret document.

Now certainly, as the Bolivian comrade said, that is not democratic, it is not inclusive. Now, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t that just the reality of the world?

Are we in a democratic world? Is the global system inclusive? Can we hope for something democratic, inclusive from the current global system?

What we are experiencing on this planet is an imperial dictatorship, and from here we continue denouncing it. Down with imperial dictatorship! And long live the people and democracy and equality on this planet!

[Audience applause]

And what we see here is a reflection of this: Exclusion.

There is a group of countries that consider themselves superior to us in the South, to us in the Third World, to us, the underdeveloped countries, or as a great friend Eduardo Galeano says, we, the crushed countries, as if a train ran over us in history.

In light of this, it’s no surprise that there is no democracy in the world and here we are again faced with powerful evidence of global imperial dictatorship. Then two youths got up here, fortunately the enforcement officials were decent, some push around, and they collaborated right? There are many people outside, you know? Of course, they do not fit in this room, they are too many people. I’ve read in the news that there were some arrests, some intense protests, there in the streets of Copenhagen, and I salute all those people out there, most of them youth.

[Audience applause]

Of course young people are concerned, I think rightly much more than we are, for the future of the world. We have – most of us here – the sun on our backs, and they have to face the sun and are very worried.

One could say, Mr. President, that a spectre is haunting Copenhagen, to paraphrase Karl Marx, the great Karl Marx, a spectre is haunting the streets of Copenhagen, and I think that spectre walks silently through this room, walking around among us, through the halls, out below, it rises, this spectre is a terrible spectre almost nobody wants to mention it: Capitalism is the spectre, almost nobody wants to mention it. Continue reading

Chavez renames iconic waterfall

Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday renamed Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall, saying it should be called by its indigenous name Kerepakupai Meru.

Angel Falls are named after a US explorer Jimmie Angel, who in the 1930s crashed his plane onto the table-top mountain where the roughly kilometre-long drop begins.

“This is ours, long before Angel arrived there,” Chavez said on his weekly television show, in front of a large painted mural of the falls and surrounding jungle.

“This is indigenous property, ours, aborigine.” He said thousands of people had seen the falls before Jimmie Angel “discovered” them.

The falls are in the Canaima National Park in the Gran Sabana region in south-eastern Venezuela, near borders with Brazil and Guyana. About 15 000 Pemon Indians live in the region.

Chavez initially said the waterfall was to be called Cheru-Meru, also spelled as Cherun Meru, but corrected himself when his daughter pointed out that was the name of a smaller waterfall in the same region.

He spent several minutes practising the name Kerepakupai, before declaring he had mastered it.

The socialist Chavez said the remote falls normally reached by plane and boat were only visited by the wealthy, and called on a publicly owned airline to fly poor Venezuelans to the site.

The unique landscape of sheer table-top mountains known as tepuis juts out of the rainforest and inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World.

“Kerepakupai merú”, means “waterfall of the deepest place”, in Pemon language.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Falls

“If the climate was a bank, [the United States] would already have saved it”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses COP15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Criticizing the destructive practices of the capitalist system, Chavez fears that the “infinite model” of capitalism will exhaust the finite resources of the environment.