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  • Letter to Hugo Chavez from the Green Party Peace Network

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on March 11, 2008

    Green Party Peace Network

    The Party of Peace

    http://peace.greens.org

     

    Date:  March, 2008

    To President Hugo Chavez:

    As members of the Green Party Peace Network in the USA, we express our admiration for your government’s support for human rights and our appreciation for the fuel you have donated or offered at discounted prices to low-income people internationally.

                This generosity and the reforms instigated by your government serve as a model of political accountability and participatory democracy that demonstrates a better world—a world free from war, poverty, and hunger–is possible. Such reforms include enhanced opportunities for free speech through public access to hundreds of private community radio and TV stations; social justice through grassroots participation in decision-making by community and workers’ councils organizing local resources through local initiatives; and economic justice through the redistribution of oil revenues to benefit people rather than profits.

                The redistribution of Venezuela’s oil wealth is replacing the former market economy with a developing social economy that works to close the gap between rich and poor. Government social spending has increased by nearly ten times since you were elected in 1998. Tax revenue has increased by 50%, funding an increase in the minimum wage and the development of other areas of the economy in order to overcome economic dependence upon oil. Public education in neighborhood schools, as well as free college tuition, has increased literacy rates dramatically for children and adults; free public health clinics staffed by highly-trained Cuban doctors are available in urban and rural neighborhoods; food prices are subsidized for the poor; unused land is purchased for the use of landless farmers; unemployment is addressed through the proliferation of worker-owned cooperatives that coordinate production to meet the people’s needs.

                Recognizing that prosperity for your people is tied to the prosperity of the world’s peoples, Venezuela has also extended your cooperative values to your neighbors and to the broader world community. Last year London was able to reduce the cost of public transportation for the city’s poor by half because of your agreement to offer a 40% discount on the cost of oil in return for British expertise in the rebuilding of your public transit system. Here in the U.S. this winter, CITGO’s Petroleum Program is donating an estimated 112 million gallons of fuel oil to more than 224,000 low-income households grappling with record heating bills in 23 states, up from 16 states last year. Your generosity doubtless saved lives this winter, and we thank you.

                Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, agreed to by most of the nations of the world in 1948, states:

    “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”            

                We applaud your country for upholding these high standards for human rights and values and for fostering democracy and hope in the face of much adversity, and we strongly disagree with those in the current US administration who would like to see your presidency end.  We are also grateful for your recent successful efforts to negotiate the freedom of six of the hundreds of hostages held by the FARC in Colombia, including Green Party member Clara Rojas. And we applaud the people of Venezuela for demonstrating their power to bring about positive change and hope for a more peaceful tomorrow.

    Sincerely,

    Deanna Taylor, Co-founder Green Party Peace Network

    Jacqueline Deveneau, Co-founder Green Party Peace Network

    (With a personal thank you for your help in heating my home this winter)

     

    cc: Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Citizens’ Entergy (joe@wordsarenotenough.com)

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