Latin America

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LA
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An interactive workshop featuring power point presentations, films and speakers from local work to free the Cuban 5: five US held political prisoners incarcerated 13 years ago for fighting against US based terrorism against Cuba. We will explore the history of the case, the international campaigns that have been created to support the Cuban 5 and how people can get involved in the work. This workshop will educate, organize and mobilize people to support the local work to free the Cuban 5

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LA
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A high-level panel with government representatives from Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Venezuela, who will discuss the challenges that Latin American leftist government are currently facing.

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LA
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In many ways, the challenges faced by Hugo Chávez’s successor Nicolás Maduro are a continuation of those dating back to 1998. Nevertheless, the economic crisis caused by shortages and currency speculation is more intense than during the Chávez presidency. The Maduro government’s reaction both at the level of discourse and specific actions is also distinct in some ways. The panel will attempt to determine what elements are relatively new. It will discuss the government’s activist role against business and political groups responsible for acute shortages, sharp price increases often far above that set by the government, currency speculation and refusal of the opposition to recognize the government’s legitimacy.

The panel will also analyze the reaction of the radical current of the Chavista movement and many in the rank and file who fear that Maduro’s overtures to the opposition signal a softening of government positions and possible concessions to powerful interests. The panel will also examine Maduro’s record in combating corruption. In addition, the panel will discuss developments over the last year on the social front, specifically the amalgamation of community councils into communes and the attempts to promote worker participation in the decision making of state companies. Finally, the experiences of Chavista rule, and specifically over the last year, will be examined for what they tell us about the nature of the state in the democratic transition to socialism.

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LA
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This panel discusses the renewed challenges and opportunities that the left faces in Latin America today, in particular as a result of the recent decline in the prices of oil, natural gas, and other commodities the region exports.

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LA
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In the aftermath of the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question for the left is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” has now stalled or, even worse, been thrown into reverse. The pressing problems that now beset Venezuela have convinced some Chavistas that President Nicolás Maduro is lacking in Chávez’s political acumen. These problems include chronic shortages of consumer goods and an annual inflation rate of over 60 percent. Both of these, according to Maduro, are part of an “economic war” waged by powerful interests to destabilize Venezuela. Another problem is the Chavista leadership’s intolerance toward internal criticism, including the significant number of critical Chavistas who have had their programs removed from state-run radio and television. Nevertheless, those who characterize Maduro’s rule as one of retrenchment fail to recognize that governments in the past never confronted the business sector by temporarily occupying commercial establishments and warehouses, confiscating trucks running contraband operations, encouraging community involvement in the denunciation of business abuses, or placing limits on profits. The radical Chavistas exaggerate when they point to the government’s errors and the problems the country faces as proof that revolutionary goals have been abandoned and that the process of change is fully in reverse.

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LA
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Human Rights in Venezuela and Co- responsibility between the State and Popular Power.

The recent political violence in Venezuela shouldn’t be explained simplistic ‘state repression of peaceful protesters’ narrative. Attempts to do so appear to be politically motivated – as seen with the call for US sanctions. The principal source of lethal violence is linked to opposition street barricades. Yet it is the opposition activists and their allies who will be receiving millions more dollars in US government funding if President Obama passes the sanctions bill.

The Bolivarian revolution is at the current stage constituted in large part by both communal forms of governance and the liberal democratic state. From a Chavista perspective, the transition to the communal state in Venezuela is to be accomplished by the gradual devolution of economic and social policy-making from state institutions to communal structures.