Peasants are stepping up pressure on Venezuela’s government to enforce the land reform law, decreed by President Hugo Chavez in November 2001. Over a million hectares of public lands were redistributed in the first three years of the law under the “Plan Ezequiel Zamora,” named for a nineteenth-century populist leader. This year, for the first time, the government is starting to redistribute private lands—mostly titling disputed lands to peasant settlers. In response, the rural oligarchy is striking back against campesino organizers. The latest assassination is reported from the west-central state of Portuguesa. Meanwhile, Rev. Pat Robertson’s comments point again towards a natural anti-Chavez alliance between reactionary sectors in Venezuela and the US alike.—WW4 REPORT

from Weekly News Update on the Americas


On Aug. 12, campesino Carlos Hernandez was shot to death at the La Felicidad cooperative in Guanarito, in Venezuela’s Portuguesa state. The murder was apparently carried out by a group of five hired killers (sicarios) accompanied by a woman named Noly Carmona. The cooperative includes about 25 families who have rights to agricultural use of 200 hectares on the Romulo Lepage settlement. The murder was reported in an Aug. 17 statement issued by the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) in conjunction with several international groups–including Brazil’s Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST)–participating in an “International Bolivarian Camp” in Venezuela. (FNCEZ, Aug. 17, via Colombia Indymedia)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 21


On his nationally televised “700 Club” program for Aug. 22, rightwing US televangelist Pat Robertson complained that left-populist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias “is a dangerous enemy to our south controlling a huge pool of oil.” Robertson said: “If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.” Robertson, a strong supporter of President George W. Bush, initially denied making the remark, then apologized for it on Aug. 24.

The US government was restrained in commenting on the incident, which could get Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesperson, said in Washington on Aug. 23: “We don’t share [Robertson’s] view, and his comments are inappropriate.” US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld remarked: “Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.” (NYT, Aug. 28; Financial Times, Aug. 23)

On Aug. 26, the second day of a meeting in Bariloche, Argentina, the foreign ministers of the 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries in the Rio Group expressed “astonishment” that a man whose organization is “linked to the US Republican Party” could call for the assassination of a “democratically elected president.” The group expressed its confidence that the US government would start “the relevant legal processes.” In a speech the same day, Chavez asked: “What would happen if here, in Venezuela, someone got on television to ask my government to assassinate the president of the US? I can imagine everything they’d say.” (La Jornada, Mexico, Aug. 27)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 28

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #112

See our last blog post on Venezeula


“Land for People not Profit in Venezuela” by Gregory Wilpert, Venezuelanalysis, Aug. 23


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Sept. 1, 2005

Reprinting permissible with attribution