Managua, Nicaragua -- Hugo Chávez's October 14 Alo Presidente TV program, telecast live from Santa Clara (Cuba) is a historic turning point in the gathering showdown between the imperialist North and the popular upsurge taking place across the lands and islands of Abya Yala (the "Western" Hemisphere), the south of the Rio ‘Bravo' and the infamous U.S. Border Wall.
As my 19 year-old granddaughter and I watched Hugo and Fidel, members of Che Guevara's family, and a range of other leaders of
The Alo Presidente event, coupled with Hugo Chávez's meeting with Fidel Castro the day before, stands - in my view -- as our 21st Century Zimmerwald, a Zimmerwald Plus.
In September 1915 two coach loads of outstanding socialist leaders from the antiwar left wing of Socialist (2nd) International affiliated parties, including two future leaders of the October Soviet Revolution - Lenin and Trotsky -- met at Zimmerwald (in neutral Switzerland) to unite those revolutionary socialists prepared to carry out serious and consequent opposition to the imperialist world war. They issued a manifesto calling on soldiers, workers and oppressed peoples and nationalities of
The solid core of the Zimmerwald group, despite its small size, went on to lead the Russian October revolution. Under the impact of Soviet power in the former Tsarist Empire, the capacity of the German and other ruling classes in
Chávez's October 13 meeting with Fidel Castro lasted for over four hours. On Alo Presidente the next day he played a ten-minute segment of that meeting. The clip appeared to be an unedited part of their longer chat (it is available on the internet).
I am struck by how comfortable and at ease our two leaders are, how much they enjoy each other's presence and being, and how much they want to learn from each other's experiences and thinking. This was especially evident in videos of previous encounters during Fidel's long convalescence, when emotions ran higher because of uncertainty about Fidel's recovery during that period.
The next day Fidel called into Chávez's show and remained on line for well over an hour. The back-and-forth with Chávez and his live audience ranged from serious political discussion, announcements about new economic agreements between
The outdoor audience consisted of a large representation of
The Cuban-Venezuelan commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Che's capture and murder on October 8-9, 1967 was held on the grounds of the Che Guevara museum and memorial. The
Guevara's entire family -- his wife Aleida March and his surviving children, attended the
Chávez's TV program is almost always dynamic and participatory. Throughout the five hours he often invited compas (brothers and/or sisters) in the audience to take the mike and offer their opinions on some matter, usually their appreciation of the significance of the Che anniversary and commemoration.
The latter part of the program took viewers to five or six locations in
The political significance of the encounter between Chávez and Fidel, and the
- Fidel appears stronger and recovering well. He clearly still plays a big role in key strategic discussions facing
Cuba, , and the ALBA alliance.Chávez spoke about a firm alliance of four countries - Venezuela Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and . He called for a federation of nations, beginning with those four. He interjected fluid ideas about some kind of common, federative government. He distinguished that idea from the longstanding pancontinental dream of "one Latin American country." In a federation of nations or countries some common state and semi autonomous institutions could handle questions delegated to them through agreements among and between member states and governments. Ecuador
- Many indigenous activists and leaders question existing borders and/or the authority of many states in the hemisphere. They will surely appreciate the open-ended nature of the ALBA leader's tentative proposals on this theme. A genuine confederation along the lines of an expanded ALBA would have to incorporate the essence of indigenous views on this problem, one with deep roots in the history of European political and cultural colonization.
- Chávez and Castro discussed what Hugo calls "the rise of two, three many
Vietnams" in South and Central America, and the . Caribbean Basin Iraq's people, they noted, have just inflicted a Vietnam-scale defeat of U.S.imperialism that threatens to revive the syndrome with a vengeance. Chávez explained, however, that his concept of "two, three many Vietnam " is not an armed struggle strategy. He sees the Vietnams erupting up and down the continent as insurrections of "conscience and ideas," the forging a new morality based on human solidarity, and the escalation of political struggle to a level, scope, and scale capable of delivering major defeats to the empire builders; and above all, capable of scoring major victories for their victim. We already have 21st Century Vietnams breaking out, or well on their way. That's mainly because we - the grassroots toilers and workers of society, the dispossessed and damned, are simply but loudly saying "enough!" We are refusing to back down and carry out our role as oppressed and exploited pawns. We want the whole board, and we want it now, in our lifetimes. We want to save our Mother Earth so that our grandchildren and great grandchildren can know her bosom and drink from her springs. Fidel shares Chávez's ‘many Vietnams ' concept. When the younger revolutionist asked for his opinion on that, Fidel added something significant to the mix. New Vietnams are blossoming all over the world, not just in our hemisphere, he explained. Hugo was quick to nod agreement on that point. Vietnams
- Chávez repeatedly referred to the dangerous political situation in
-- the threat of a pro-imperialist, right wing coup against the MAS government and "brother Evo Morales.""If the Bolivian oligarchy manages to overthrow Evo Morales or assassinate him, you Bolivian oligarchs should know that we Venezuelans will not stand by with our arms crossed," Chávez warned. In the same vein, the Bolivarian president pointedly cautioned those who are trying to squash the democratically elected Bolivian government and Constituent Assembly. He told them they were playing with fire, because if they carry out such plans the result "would hardly be a Bolivia Vietnamof ideas or a Constituent Assembly process; rather, they would beget, God help us, a of submachine guns." He added, "no consensus is possible with any oligarchy," because they are only concerned with "hegemony and imposition." Vietnam
- The ALBA leadership team acts upon its strategy of open discussion with supporters, with the grassroots of their countries and the rest of the globe. They are completely comfortable with that - unlike their imperialist enemies who prefer the basement White House, secret negotiation, hidden agendas, and a dumbed-down public for their "leadership formula." The distinction is simple. One approach is based on convincing millions of supporters to undertake a course of action through open discussion and shared information. The contrary method is to impose policy decisions through lies, deception, and fiat - the way the Bush and Blair administrations dragged their countries into the war against
, imperial occupation, and ultimate catastrophe for victims and aggressors alike. Iraq
The presence of virtually the entire Cuban leadership -- and the public and participatory nature of the tribune from which this united, clear defiance was proclaimed -- leave no doubt among friend and foe alike that this is an affirmation of strong will and intent to unite in a life-and-death struggle against imperialist war and intervention. The ALBA alliance is re-invigorating the struggle against imperialist domination, regime-change, and coup making. This is nothing less than subversive, wide-open peace advocacy based on the right to self-determination, on harmonious relations with Mother Nature, and on freedom from imperial oppression, exploitation, and plunder.
The just concluded For the Historic Victory of the Indigenous Peoples of the World Encounter, held in Chimoré, Cochabamba - Bolivia (October 12, 2007), also issued an urgent call for the defense of the MAS government and "brother Evo Morales - President of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala." -- See http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2007/10/formal-summons-to-world-states-by.html
"We commit ourselves to support the historic effort led by bother Evo Morales, President of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala [the lands and islands of the Western hemisphere], in the construction of a new plurinational state. In the face of any internal or external threat, we remain vigilant over what is happening in
The appeals from Hugo and Fidel in
First published at Venezuela Analysis
 See Presidente Chávez
"No nos quedaremos de brazos cruzados."
"No hay consenso posible con oligarquía alguna."