Economic warfare in Venezuela

by  and 

MR Online | October 23, 2017

Port in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela

Given the thick haze of disinformation surrounding the economic situation in Venezuela, we thought it would be useful to publish the first chapter of Professor Pasqualina C. Curcio’s excellent volume, The Visible Hand of the Market: Economic Warfare in Venezuela (available for free online). We are grateful to Steve Ellner for writing a brief introduction to Professor Curico and the excerpted chapter. Note that the present version has been edited from the original PDF to improve readability. —Eds.

Introduction by Steve Ellner

For several years, university professor Pasqualina C. Curcio has presented a wealth of empirical information in order to refute the notion that market logic, government incompetence and a flawed socialist model are responsible for the severe problems of shortages and inflation that afflict Venezuela. In The Visible Hand of the Market: Economic Warfare in Venezuela, Curcio discards the various explanations put forward by the Venezuelan opposition and the corporate media and concludes that the shortages have been induced as has the nation’s triple-digit inflation. The shortages are the result of hoarding and contraband, not due to the decline in national production or the failure of the government to provide the commercial sector with the necessary foreign currency to pay for imports. In fact, for the years that she analyzes between 2003 and 2013, the correlations claimed by government adversaries were not borne out by the facts: declining national production did not produce shortages nor did the state’s failure to sell sufficient dollars to finance imports. Furthermore, the types of goods that are in short supply are those controlled by oligopolistic companies, as opposed to small-sized businesses. All this demonstrates that what Curcio calls “planned shortages,” or economic sabotage, are largely responsible for the pressing economic problems facing the nation, similar to the case in Chile under Allende and in other leftist-governing nations throughout history.Read More »

Four Opposition Governors Swear in Before Constituent Assembly, One Boycotts

by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas


Four opposition governors for the Democratic Action party swear in before the National Constituent Assembly Monday. (ANC_VE/Twitter)

Four opposition governors for the Democratic Action party swear in before the National Constituent Assembly Monday. (ANC_VE/Twitter)

Bogota, October 24 2017 ( – Four opposition state governors for the Democratic Action party took an oath before the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) Monday – despite previous declarations from the opposition that its new governors would not swear in before the body.Read More »

US: AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics


People’s World | October 25, 2017

AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics

Lee Saunders, Randi Weingarten, and Mark Dimondstein. | Credit: AFL-CIO and APWU

ST. LOUIS – The AFL-CIO convention here passed yesterday a political resolution that calls for a break with “lesser of two evil politics” but came up short when it comes to projecting a clear path to how that will be accomplished.

“The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils,” reads the main political resolution passed Tuesday by the AFL-CIO convention delegates. Lee Saunders, chair of the AFL-CIO’s political committee and president of AFSCME, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, introduced the resolution. They lead the labor federation’s two largest unions. Convention managers yoked the resolution to another measure it also approved discussing a labor party, though not by name.Read More »

Have a little faith: Union leader preaches the “union gospel”


Have a little faith: Union leader preaches the “union gospel”

North Carolina AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan speaking at a rally, with Rev. William Barber on her right. | North Carolina AFL-CIO

ST. LOUIS—Constant attacks on the rights of working people by the current administration occupying the White House have put the labor movement on the defensive across the country. The tough fight to spread the narrative about union power, push back the threat of anti-labor policies, and protect shrinking unions can make the outlook for the labor movement seem bleak.Read More »

Brazil: Oligarchy versus the Amazon rainforest


Brazil: Oligarchy versus the Amazon rainforest

A deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil’s northern state of Para. Brazilian President Michel Temer vetoed legislation that would have reduced the size of the country’s protected environmental reserves, most of them in the Amazon. | Andre Penner / AP

In Brazil, we have a national parliament that seems to be working at a double-quick speed for the disintegration of all civilized norms in the country, whether in labor legislation, social security, or other relevant spheres.

In May 2017, the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament) approved an amendment to the statutory limits of the Jamanxim National Forest in the southeastern state of Para. Shortly after this, the Senate voted on boundary changes to environmental preservation areas in both Para and Santa Catarina states.Read More »

Cuba in U.N. report: U.S. economic blockade violates international law


Cuba in U.N. report: U.S. economic blockade violates international law

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez speaks to the U.N. General Assembly. | Bebeto Matthews / AP

Annually for 25 years, the United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly for an end to the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. The nations of the world vote again on November 1, 2017. Last year, the United States and Israel abstained, but all other nations voted “No” to the blockade.Read More »

US: The Disinformation Playbook: New Website Exposes Tactics of Attacks on Science

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) | October 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – Funding fake studies. Intimidating and silencing scientists. Manufacturing doubt. Buying credibility. Manipulating federal policy processes. It’s a pattern we’ve seen repeatedly, from the tobacco industry and fossil fuel producers to soda manufacturers and the National Football League. With a new website, the Disinformation Playbook, the Union of Concerned Scientists is offering the tools to fight back. Read More »

US: Corporate Tax Cuts Will Not Increase Wages For Working Families

Economic Policy Institute | October 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – In a new paper, EPI Research Director Josh Bivens provides evidence that corporate tax cuts (like those included in the recent “Unified Framework” Republican tax plan) will not boost American wages, and demonstrates that claims to the contrary are based on faulty theory and evidence. Bivens looks specifically at a recent report released by the Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, which claims that their proposed tax cuts for large corporations will somehow trickle down to help American workers by boosting economy-wide productivity and wage growth, giving households an income increase of at least $4,000.Read More »

Listen, the revolution blooms in silence

Faridabad Majdoor Samachar | October 19, 2017

What in your phone is making you laugh?

It’s a meme: A thief entered my room last night. He was looking for money. I joined him in the search.

Lovely one. An accurate, mischievous description of today.

On the train, a person was calling out loudly: From tomorrow, all over India, everyone’s salary will be 18,000 rupees. Equal. No one will be thief, and no one king. Long live the government.Read More »

Half a Century of India’s Maoist Insurgency

The Diplomat | September 21, 2017

With the largest Communist guerrilla army in the world — the FARC of Colombia — handing over its guns to the United Nations on June 27 this year and preparing to contest elections in the coming month, a curtain has been drawn on the once ubiquitous phenomenon of “Marxist insurgencies.”

Once present all across the globe, Communist guerrillas and their armed offensives against governments had shaped much of the 20th century. From small bands of deadly fighters to full-fledged armies with combatants numbering in the thousands, such groups once held significant firepower and control of land across Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. But as things stand today most of these groups have either been crushed, chosen the ballot over the bullet, or have withered into political irrelevance.Read More »