From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Sat Dec 03 2005 - 16:13:51 EST

>Please circulate as widely as possible
>In Defense of Democracy in Venezuela
>For the past six years we have witnessed how, in 
>the midst of great adversity, millions of 
>Venezuelans have taken their ! destiny into 
>their own hands and worked together to achieve 
>the construction of a society rooted in the 
>values of solidarity, democracy and social justice.
>Strengthened by the Bolivarian Constitution –one 
>of the most democratic in the world-  the 
>Venezuelan People have ratified this project in 
>seven elections over the past six years. 
>Nevertheless, an elite sector of society, with 
>the support of the U.S. government and 
>Venezuela’s private media, has repeatedly tried 
>to derail Venezuela’s democratic process. They 
>attempted a coup d’Etat in April 2002, that was 
>reversed by the People of Venezuela who took 
>to  the streets armed only with their 
>Constitution.  In December 2002 they tried to 
>sabotage the country’s oil industry, and 
>succeeded in deeply damaging the Venezuelan 
>economy. But the Venezuelan people, organized 
>within their communities, once again prevailed.
>Today, on the eve of the December 4th 
>legislative elections, the minority opposition 
>in Venezuela, unwilling to face a new political 
>defeat, have cynically called for the withdrawal 
>of its candidates claiming lack of confidence in 
>Venezuela’s electoral authorities.
>Despite the fact that recent elections in 
>Venezuela have been characterized by an 
>unprecedented level of transparency, attested 
>repeatedly by international observers, the 
>opposition conditioned its participation in the 
>legislative elections on a new series of 
>demands.  However, once these demands were 
>agreed to by the electoral authorities, the 
>opposition abandoned its original commitment and 
>withdrew from the elections with the goal of 
>delegitimizing Venezuela’s institutions.  This 
>cynical move demonstrates once again that the 
>Venezuelan opposition is prepared to undermine 
>democracy and violate a people’s sovereign right 
>to self-determination in its desperate gambit for power.
>This new attempt to disrupt Venezuela’s 
>democratic process has been tacitly supported by 
>U.S. government officials who have publicly 
>questioned the credibility of Venezuela’s electoral authorities.
>We, friends of the Venezuelan people, reject 
>this new attempt to sabotage democracy.  We 
>place our trust in Venezuela’s electoral 
>authorities and in the Venezuelan people's will 
>to defend their right to vote.
>First 30 signatures:
>Joăo Pedro Stedile (Brazil)
>Emir Sader (Brazil)
>Jose Dirceu (Brazil)
>Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay)
>Bernard Cassen (France)
>James Petras (USA)
>Ignacio Ramonet (Spain)
>Tariq Ali (Pakistan)
>Atilio Borón (Argentina)
>Samir Amin (Egypt)
>Francois Houtart (Belgium)
>Richard Gott (UK)
>Fernando Morais (Brazil)
>Jean-Pierre Chevenement (France)
>Georges Sarre (France)
>Sergio Lobo (Venezuela)
>Robin Blackburn (UK)
>Socorro Gomes (Brazil) !
>Vanessa Grazziotin (Brazil)
>Carlos Lima (Brazil)
>Sydnei Liberal (Brazil)
>Paul-Emile Dupret (Belgium)
>Rémy Herrera (France)
>Valter Pomar (Brazil)
>Ramon Chao (Spain)
>Aminata Traore (Mali)
>Michael Löwy (Brazil)
>Leila Jinkings (Brazil)
>To add your name please send an e-mail to 

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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