Industrial Cracks

This blog is a glimpse into the mind of a history nerd sitting behind a laptop screen. Enjoy a series of ideas he hopes to be thought provoking.
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Maduro Creates Council To “Revolutionize" Food Production in Venezuela |


Caracas, September 8th 2014. ( On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the formation of a presidential council of farmers, fishers and rural producers working alongside a state-run food distribution company, aimed at addressing nutrition, food scarcity, and rural production in Venezuela.

The new council, tasked with advancing public policy in the field, is due to begin operations on October 14th. The Venezuelan leader noted that it will “revolutionize” how decisions are made in regards to agrarian issues and food production.

Johan Hernández Lares, vice-minister of the Ministry of Popular Power of Food Production, last week was also appointed to head up the new state-run Corporation of Production, Distribution and Marketing of Foods (Corpo Pdval-Mercal). This new corporation will work alongside other government institutions to improve efficiency. In it’s first phase, Corpo Pdval-Mercal will distribute between 130,000-200,000 tons of food to the private and public sector, Maduro announced. 

State-owned newspaper Correo del Orinoco reports that further details are forthcoming, including the manner in which agricultural producers can register to take part in the new distribution methods that are equally aimed at guaranteeing markets for their crops. 

The council was launched to combat food shortages and speculation but, Maduro said, it forms part of a broader strategy to increase production and improve nutrition in Venezuela. “Our formula is to plant productive capacity in our country, not only in the countryside but in the city too… so that it permits us to climb and climb towards an optimal food situation.” He also noted the importance of the Ministry of Nutrition’s public education campaigns to discourage Venezuelans from eating junk food.

So. Damn. Beautiful. :’)

Understanding the Venezuelan Presidential Election Outcome


Although we technically won last night, even Maduro has recognised that we also lost. Among other things, we wanted to send a message to the world that this revolution goes on, yet the results show some doubt.

By Tamara Pearson -, April 15th 2013

Things are chaotic here, as we recover from the surprise, disappointment, and a bit of hurt from the election results, but also go out in the street to express our support for those results, and to defend the national electoral system, one of the best and most secure voting systems in the world in a country which just loves to vote. We move quickly from sad last night to concerned and determined today, as the caceroles sound around the neighbourhoods and the opposition hangs outside the National Electoral Council (CNE) here in Merida, hundreds of them walking around with rocks and glass bottles in their hands, itching to have something to react to.

Still, as the pan clanging sounds around my neighbourhood and people shout “out! Out!” [referring to the government], making it just a little hard to think, it is important to understand yesterday’s results, as that helps us to understand the situation we’re in now, and plan somewhat for the future.

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Iran offers condolences to Venezuelan government, nation over Chavez’s death
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed the Islamic Republic’s deepest condolences to the Venezuelan government and people over the death of President Hugo Chavez.

Ahmadinejad said in a message to Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, “I express my sympathy over the sad incident to the great nation of Venezuela, the respected family of Hugo Chavez and to all nations in the world.” 

“Indeed, he is a martyr [who lost his life] in the path of serving the Venezuelan people and preserving human and revolutionary values,” the Iranian president stated.

Chavez passed away at a military hospital in the capital, Caracas, on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer. 

Hours before his death, the Venezuelan vice president stated that someday there will be “scientific proof” that the socialist leader was infected with cancer by “imperialist” enemies. “We have no doubt that commander Chavez was attacked with this illness.” 

“The old enemies of our fatherland looked for a way to harm his health,” Maduro stated. 

The Iranian government has declared one day of national mourning for the death of the late Venezuelan leader. 

On February 18, the 58-year-old Chavez returned to Caracas from Cuba, where he had undergone cancer treatment. 

In late March 2012, Chavez began radiation treatment in Cuba after an operation in February 2012 that removed a second cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. Chavez’s first tumor was removed in June 2011, and then he received chemotherapy. 

Chavez became involved in revolutionary movements within the armed forces in 1977. 

Chavez won his first presidential election in 1998. He also won the presidential elections in 2000, 2006, and 2012. 

The Venezuelan leader founded the Bolivarian Revolution movement to establish popular democracy and economic independence and the equal distribution of wealth in Latin America. 

 I know Islam isn’t really a political entity in Venezuela.

But amongst the two theories of role of government, he followed closer to the Islamic view of role of government which dictates that a government is supposed to LEAD the people towards the better, not keep the people happy and fat as is the western model of governance.

I held him in great respect and admired what he did for his people.

Innalilahe Wainna Alihe Rajeoon

Chavez may be gone, but he will be immortalized in the revolution.

Iran expresses solidarity with Venezuela


TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Sunday emphasized Tehran’s solidarity with the Venezuelan people and government.  

Mehmanparast wished Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a speedy recovery, saying, “Mr. Chavez is one of the popular and revolutionary leaders and of Latin America who has always been respected by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and at this juncture, we emphasize the solidarity of the Iranian nation and government with the revolutionary people and government of Venezuela.” 

(via canadian-communist)

The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators


The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national 

oil company in the first quarter of 2003. Since then, real (inflation-adjusted) GDP has nearly 

doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually. 

¾ Most of this growth has been in the non-oil sector of the economy, and the private sector 

has grown faster than the public sector. 

¾ During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, 

from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. 

Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash 

income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education. 

¾ Over the entire decade, the percentage of  households in poverty has been reduced by 39 

percent, and extreme poverty by more than half. 

¾ Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen 

to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47  in 1999. This represents a large reduction in 


¾ Real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006. 

¾ From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than one-third. The number of primary 

care physicians in the public sector increased 12-fold from 1999-2007, providing health care 

to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access. 

¾ There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross 

enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008. 

¾ The labor market also improved substantially  over the last decade, with unemployment 

dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by 

more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains. 

¾ Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.  

¾ Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of 

GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP. 

¾ Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has 

been falling over the last half year (as measured by three-month averages) and is likely to 

continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide. 

(via chavista-deactivated20140204)

The “Socializing” City Vs. the Alienating City: Taking the Venezuelan Example to Italy


This year, the Venezuelan government will present the concept of its new socialist cities at the International Architecture Biennale in Italy, which is due to be held from August 29th to November 25th. The architectural exposition, which will be hosted in the cultural hub of Venice, was founded in 1980 as a way of promoting the development of urban spaces across the globe.

In a joint effort between the ministry of culture and the ministry of foreign relations, the Venezuelan government’s contribution to this international celebration of architecture will focus on the Chavez administration’s “great housing mission,” which aims to construct 3 million “dignified” houses before 2017 with the help of organised communities. The exposé will be called “the socializing city vs. the alienating city” and will be presented by national architect and artist Domenico Silvestro.

According to Silvestro, the presentation is aimed at exploring the “home” as the nucleus of social transformation, the urban reality of Venezuela in the 21st century and the solutions that the Venezuelan government has used to solve the housing problem in Venezuela.

The artist has used sketches and paintings in an attempt to depict the lived experiences of the government’s new housing mission, as well as audiovisual testimonies from families who have already received their houses as part of the scheme. These testimonies also feature recordings from families who helped to build the houses, in an attempt to explore the individual and collective experience of constructing your own home and then later living in it.

“The piece will depict the solutions that the State has been implementing to resolve the housing deficit in the poorest and most vulnerable areas of society. It’s a presentation which explores the human and essential dream of having a dignified home,” said Silvestro.

The Venezuelan presentation has been celebrated as an examination of the social and human component of architecture which brings it to life, yet it is also an exposé which asks questions and poses solutions; it reflects the ongoing creation of a new kind of socially inclusive architecture, both in construction and design, that is currently being promoted by the Venezuelan government.

Inside the socializing city

So what is it exactly that makes Venezuela’s new communal cities a socializing experience? How different are they to the barrios in the country’s cities, which are all too often described as dens of inequity, violence and poverty by the Western press, with little respect for the inhabitants who live there and in fact, constructed them?

It is true that for decades Venezuela’s barrios have been sites of social, economic and cultural exclusion; yet it is undeniable that the houses and communities which welcome you at Caracas airport and span all the way into the city have a certain charm.

The millions of brightly coloured homes built haphazardly on top of one another, with absolutely no regard for the rules of town planning or even gravity, are a vibrant testament to human resilience and creativity. It is unsurprising that they have been described as symbols of anti-capitalism, and there is certainly something subversive in their asymmetrical and unregulated design.

The buzz of barrio life on the ground can be felt right up in the hilltops, sometimes a 25 minute jeep ride away, and there is always music, usually salsa, being played. The mountain air is a surprising and refreshing change from the smog which engulfs the centre of Caracas, and some people even raise chickens in their makeshift courtyards.

It is the same atmosphere inside. The design of the houses, which traverse numerous levels and are a labyrinth of stairs and building blocks, means that you have to pass the entrances to numerous homes before you reach your own. This set-up promotes a certain kind of cooperation and interaction inside the home; community meetings and politics become topics which are discussed on doorsteps as you make your way to your front door.

Yet it is less easy to construct this experience outside on the street. The lack of infrastructure, communal spaces, and the very real, albeit exaggerated, violence in the barrio, are all elements which impede the construction of communal life.

Walking around Venezuela’s new socialist city Caribia in the evening time, the barrio feels as if it were a million miles away. For a start, children are still out playing in the street or in the various communal spaces at 7 o’clock at night, even though it is dark. There are both stairs and ramps for disabled access, communal squares which are lit up at night and there is no rubbish in the street. People are watering the grass and trees and there is a well-attended communal meeting on the local economy and transport being held in the community primary school. It is hard to imagine how the BBC managed to qualify these cities as “ghettoes” earlier in the year.

Speaking to residents in the area, I was told that each family pays about 120 Bolivar (US$28) for the houses, to which they hold the titles. In Caracas, just half an hour away, you would be lucky to rent a place for less than 2000 Bolivar (US$465).

“Here, we all work together to keep the city looking nice, on the other hand in the barrio, you’re just looking after yourself, making sure that your house looks nice, and maybe your neighbour can’t do that because they have less income than you… there was more poverty there,” said Francis Yanis, 20, a worker in the local state-run bakery.

This response, along with wide eyed astonishment, was typical of the answers I received when I asked; “so, is Caribia really different from where you used to live?”.

“No way! There is a huge difference! Look, we used to live in a huge barrio, the kids didn’t have squares, they didn’t have anywhere to play or entertain themselves. Here they have parks and squares, or there is the sports pitch,” commented José Villa Suda Cari.

“Here you can walk around and there is always someone about, in the barrio, who are you gonna ask? You live there isolated, in your little street with your family and that’s it. Here you interact with all the people, it’s more social, you get me?” he continued.

José has been living in Caribia for a year now and his sentiments appear to be shared by the wider community.

The local kids I asked, including Jesus Lugo, 10, also seemed to agree. “It’s just better,” he said, “we have parks here.” “We’re safer,” added his friend, Evenso Villa, also 10.

In a conversation with Consuela “Tita” Manzanilla, 35, and Eddy “La Negra” Mata, 33, I was told that in Caribia there are currently 4 communal councils in operation, and that they are hoping to form a commune. Consuela believed that life in the new city had allowed residents to build a true expression of communal self-government.

“We’re organized, because there are projects. For instance, the president said we were going to build a city and develop community projects, and that’s what we are doing,” she said.

Eddy, on the other hand, noted that the workers building the houses were labouring “night and day,” to get them finished, “because they are working for the revolution,” added Consuela. They also noted that government functionaries came to the city to train people as part of the State’s work and knowledge mission; a project aimed at eliminating unemployment. Both women thought that having men and women who both lived and worked in the city increased community cohesion.

To conclude our conversation, I asked Consuela and Eddy what word they would use to describe the socialist city. “Love,” replied Consuela. Eddy went with “co-existence”.

It might be difficult for Silvestro to capture these sentiments in the Venezuelan exposé in Venice, or even to describe them to a European audience, but it is understandable why he wants to try. As Consuela told me, “it’s like an example”. 

An edited version of this article was published in Correo del Orinoco International

Iran hosts conference on Syria

(Reuters) - Iran has launched its latest diplomatic initiative to resolve the intensifying conflict in Syria, warning that the abrupt fall of president Bashar al-Assad would have catastrophic consequences for the country.

At least 12 nations with “a correct and realistic position” would attend a meeting on Thursday in Tehran to discuss the conflict, a senior Iranian diplomat said this week, indicating that no nation that backs the opposition and calls for Assad to leave power would be present.

Russia - which along with Iran has strongly supported Assad since the crisis erupted 17 months ago - has said it will attend the meeting at ambassadorial level but it was unclear which other key players would be present.

Iranian media has reported that China would also be present, along with Algeria, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Pakistan, India and six members of the Arab League but there was no independent confirmation.

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post on Wednesday, Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi warned that the fall of Assad would catastrophic consequences for the countries.

"Syrian society is a beautiful mosaic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures, and it will be smashed to pieces should President Bashar al-Assad abruptly fall," it read.

While Salehi said Iran sought a solution that was in “everyone’s interest”, Western diplomats have dismissed the conference as an attempt to divert attention away from bloody events on the ground and to preserve the rule of Assad.

"The Islamic Republic’s support for Assad’s regime is hardly compatible with a genuine attempt at conciliation between the parties," said one Western diplomat based in Tehran.

It showed Iran was “running out of ideas”, he added. Another Western diplomat said Tehran was trying to broaden the support base of the Syrian leader.

Along with Russia and China, Iran has strongly supported Assad whose forces have launched crushing operations against anti-government protesters and armed opposition groups since the crisis erupted 17 months ago.

The Islamic Republic has resisted an agreement on Syria that requires Assad to quit as part of any political transition. There is no sign that Tehran is ready to adopt a new approach, despite setbacks for Assad including the defection this week of his prime minister.

But analysts say the recent signs of cracks in the Syrian leadership have taken Iran by surprise.

"Iran is trying to show strength and regional presence, but if they were going to make a big play why not do it at the Non-Aligned Movement summit (taking place in Tehran in late August)?" said Scott Lucas of the EA Worldview news website that specialises in covering Iran.

"They seem to be so jittery about Syria, they couldn’t afford to wait," he added.


Iran’s Shi’ite rulers have accused Western and Arab nations - specifically Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia - of fomenting terrorism in Syria by arming opposition groups.

In turn, Syria’s mostly Sunni Muslim rebels accuse Tehran of sending military personnel to Syria and of providing light arms, as well as tactical and communications expertise to Syrian government forces.

The crisis has soured Iran’s relations with neighbouring Turkey which has hosted opposition meetings, extended assistance to Syrian refugees and demanded Assad leave office.

"Iran wants to co-ordinate efforts among countries that don’t accept the Western and Saudi approach to Syria," said Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University. "It’s a counter-force to the so-called Friends of Syria gathering."

Iranian involvement in the crisis has been complicated by the seizure by rebels of 48 Iranians in Syria on Saturday on suspicion of being military personnel. Tehran has said they were pilgrims, but acknowledged that some of the men were retired soldiers or Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian officials have engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts in the region this week.

On Tuesday, while Foreign Minister Salehi was in Ankara trying to maintain relations, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili was in Damascus to reassure Assad of Tehran’s support.

"They’re in chaos in terms of the bureaucracy. There have been lots of statements but no-one’s co-ordinating it," said EA Worldview’s Scott Lucas.

The meeting comes just days before a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation set to focus on Syria. In recent days Iran has warned the Muslim world of the threat posed to it by the United States.

"In the new plan that the Americans have provided for the Middle East, they have foreseen changes for all countries," Iran’s state news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Wednesday.

"I am certain they have plans for changes in Saudi Arabia as well … they do not want Muslim countries to have power and in opposition we must stand together more than before," he added.

(Reporting by Marcus George; Additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Liberation Theology and Shia Islam vs Capitalism and Secularism

The “secular” countries today are afraid of Liberation Theology of Catholicism, and of Shia Islam of Iran. Both of them go against the Capitalist religion and attack the very idea that let those countries implement Capitalism in the first place. The idea of Secularism.

They were able to subvert Liberation Theology early on but its ideals were able to defeat Capitalism later. Thanks to Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and other Latin American nations who have fought and are fighting for their Liberation.

The rise of “red” Shia Islam (as Ali Shariati put it) came as a surprise with its huge success in Iran. The Capitalists are still trying to subvert it, but inshAllah they will never succeed. In reality, the ideals of “red” Shia Islam became more popular in other Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, etc under different names and social constructs. 

No wonder Iran and Venezuela are in bed with each other. When the true aspect of religion and how it is supposed to direct society are implemented, the differences between them become negligible.

Media Rage and Mainstream Lies about Venezuela

So, I’ve decided there’s a new kind of rage; along the lines of car rage, or mosquito rage (inadequately swearing at that unlocateable and constant buzz somewhere in the vicinity of your head) and I’ve dubbed it ‘mainstream media rage’.  It’s a product of reading, every morning, the Google alert list of English articles published about Venezuela, where so called reputed media conglomerates like Reuters publish pure and direct lies and distortions about the country I live in, with complete impunity.

This morning I came across this article from Policymic; Hugo Chavez Wages War on Free Press in Venezuela, Other Latin Presidents Follow Suit. A charming piece of investigative and meticulous journalism. Or not. More like a knee-jerk reaction, McCarthy style, ‘anything that is left wing is bad and we’ll make up the rest’ type article, something that is all too common in the era of syndicated, factory made journalism.

The Policymic article literally invents the fact that, “Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela, has closed down hundreds of radio and television stations and newspapers… Newspapers have been threatened and fiscally harassed by the Chavez regime”. It’s the sort of stuff that’s hard to respond to, because like people saying ‘Obama cares about Afghanis’ all you feel like you can really say is, ‘no you are wrong, that isn’t true, that’s a lie’. And they say it isn’t, and you’re stuck, fuming, ears red with an attack of media rage and the impotence that goes with it, because unlike in Venezuela, most of the rest of the world does not have media ethics laws, and certainly doesn’t apply them. Only rich individuals who can afford lawyers and are individually attacked by the press have a vague chance of holding that press accountable for defamation. As for its manipulation, its convenient blindness, its chronic long term memory loss, its defiance of context, its love of sensationalism, violence, and the objectified female body, its racism and its Eurocentralism, well we are powerless.

So it’s no surprise when such private press companies (for they are just that, companies as much as McDonalds and Nike… people sometimes forget it, thinking the mainstream press operates for reasons other than for money making) call the fining of private Venezuelan television station Globovision for manipulation, under Venezuela’s Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television “repression of free speech”. They redefine free speech to mean that business is free to lie and the people shouldn’t criticise that, and they definitely don’t have the right to run their own, profit free, democratic media. We all know that under capitalism, “freedom” is freedom for the rich and for capital, not for people. Thankfully, here in Venezuela we’re doing something to change that around.