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Avengers assemble!

Three of the most inspiring, courageous and principled people alive in the world today.

Chavez shows signs of slow recovery from his operation in Cuba. Meanwhile, the rightwing opposition in Venezuela is dealt a humilating defeat in the state governor elections.

chavez castro Meanwhile,

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Who is the terrorist?

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On the nauseating political doublespeak scale, David Cameron’s claim to “support the Arab spring” on a trip to sell weapons to Gulf dictators this week hit a new low. No stern demands for free elections from the autocrats of Arabia – or calls for respect for human rights routinely dished out even to major powers like Russia and China.

As the kings and emirs crack down on democratic protest, the prime minister assured them of his “respect and friendship”. Different countries, he explained soothingly in Abu Dhabi, needed “different paths, different timetables” on the road to reform: countries that were western allies, spent billions on British arms and sat on some of the world’s largest oil reserves in particular, he might have added by way of explanation.

Seumas Milne on the UK backing for repression and torture in the Middle East.

Read the rest here.

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Londonist has published a very good summary account detailing what we know at present about the involvement of the Metropolitan Police in the phone hacking scandal. This follows the resignation of Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson yesterday. As the article explains, very serious questions must now be asked of London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has sought to downplay the extent of the crisis now gripping the British establishment at every turn.

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This speech by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was made yesterday, on the subject of his health and the operation he’s just undergone in Cuba.

I’ve taken the speech from Eva Golinger’s excellent website, and preceded it with her commentary, rather inexplicably in block capitals.

[PLEASE NOTE, PRESIDENT CHAVEZ IS NOT IN CRITICAL CONDITION. MEDIA CONTINUE TO SPIN & DISTORT THIS STORY. HE IS ADVANCING EXCELLENTLY AND SOON WILL REACH FULL RECOVERY. HIS HEALTH ISSUES WERE UNEXPECTED AND PREVIOUSLY UNDETECTED BEFORE, AS HE EXPLAINS IN HIS SPEECH, ARRIVING TO CUBA ON THE FINAL STOP OF HIS LATIN AMERICAN TOUR IN EARLY JUNE. AFTER EXPERIENCING DISCOMFORT WHILE THERE, IT WAS FIDEL CASTRO WHO INSISTED HE UNDERGO MEDICAL EXAMS. AT THAT TIME, THE PELVIC ABSCESS, ON THE VERGE OF BURSTING & SPREADING TO A SYSTEMATIC INFECTION, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN QUITE SEVERE, WAS FOUND & DRAINED. IT WASN’T UNTIL DURING HIS RECOVERY PROCESS THAT THE OTHER MASS WITH CANCEROUS CELLS WAS FOUND & IMMEDIATELY REMOVED IN ENTIRETY. WHILE MANY COULD RIGHTLY CRITICIZE THE FACT THAT THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT DID NOT IMMEDIATELY INFORM THE PUBLIC OF THIS SECOND PROCEDURE, PRESIDENT CHAVEZ HIMSELF EXPLAINS THAT BECAUSE OF MEDICAL UNCERTAINTIES, HE DID NOT WANT TO INFORM THE PUBLIC UNTIL HE WAS 100% CERTAIN OF HIS CONDITION. HE SAYS IN HIS SPEECH BELOW THAT HE TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH A DECISION. AFTER ALL, IT IS HIS PRIVACY RIGHT AND HIS RIGHT TO DISCLOSE THE INTIMATE AND VERY PERSONAL DETAILS OF HIS LIFE TO OTHERS, EVEN THOUGH HE IS BOTH A PUBLIC FIGURE AND HEAD OF STATE. THE MYTHS, RUMORS AND EXAGGERATIONS REGARDING HIS HEALTH RESULTED FROM NOT ONLY THE SPECULATION BECAUSE OF THE PERCEIVED LACK OF INFORMATION, BUT ALSO FROM THE LUST OF MANY TO EXPOSE THE INTIMATE, PRIVATE DETAILS OF OTHERS. THE FRENZY IN THE MEDIA TO KNOW EVERY INKLING OF WHAT PRESIDENT CHAVEZ WAS EXPERIENCING REFLECTS THE DECAY OF OUR SOCIETY, IN WHICH EVERYTHING IS TWEETED, TEXTED, BLOGGED AND MESSENGERED, AND OFTEN TIMES REFLECTION, RESEARCH AND RESPECT FOR ACCURACY AND TRUTH IS NEGLECTED, OR EVEN FORGOTTEN. IN THE END, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THE MOST VALUABLE INFORMATION CAME FROM PRESIDENT CHAVEZ HIMSELF. AND I DON’T MIND THAT HE TOOK THE NECESSARY TIME TO ENSURE HE HAD THE MOST ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF HIS STATUS – AN ISSUE THAT IS INCREDIBLY DELICATE FOR A HEAD OF STATE – BEFORE HE INFORMED THE WORLD. THAT SHOWS RESPONSIBILITY AND COURAGE. -Eva Golinger]

On Thursday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke to the Venezuelan people live on national television, referring to recent health issues he has faced that include a cancerous tumor that was succesfully removed by medical professionals in Havana, Cuba.

President Hugo Chávez’s Address to the Venezuelan People:

“I put my hope on time. Its huge womb holds more hopes than past events, and future events shall be superior to the past ones.” Simón Bolívar.

Time and its pace; time and its mandates; time and its designs, as noted in Ecclesiastes, makes me read this communiqué over to the Venezuelan nation and international public opinion, for they are waiting to learn about the progress in my health conditions, since it has now been several weeks since it started showing deterioration.

After our superb tour of Brazil and Ecuador, between the fifth and seventh days of last June, we arrived in the always supportive Cuba to complete the tour with the wrap-up and signing of new cooperation agreements. I must admit that, as for my health, I had only planned to check out my left knee, which was almost recovered from an injury that occurred in early May.

Throughout my life I have always made one of those mistakes that could perfectly fit into a category that some philosopher called fundamental errors – neglecting my health and being reluctant to get checkups and medical treatments. What a fundamental error indeed! Particularly in a revolutionary with some humble responsibilities such as the ones entrusted to me by the revolution over 30 years ago.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, on Wednesday evening, June 8, in Havana, there we were again, with Fidel, with such a giant who has gone beyond all times and places. Surely it was not difficult for Fidel to note some discomfort, in addition to my left knee, that I had been trying to conceal for several weeks. He inquiried as to the discomfort, almost as if he were a doctor; and I made my confession, almost as if I were a patient. That same night, the whole medical breakthrough achieved by the Cuban revolution for the sake of its people and for most of the world was made available to us and a set of diagnostic tests started.

Hence, a foreign mass in the pelvic area was found, leading to an emergency surgery in the face of the impending risk of widespread infection. That was on Saturday, June 11, very early in the morning, some hours before the address read over to the country and the world, giving rise to many expressions of solidarity, which do not stop moving me every single moment.

After that surgery which initially succeeded in draining the abscess, an intensive antibiotic treatment started with a positive assessment, I mean, positive progression, which brought along notable improvement. Nevertheless, despite the overall favorable progress, throughout the process of drainages and cures, some suspected additional cell masses thus far undetected arrose.

Therefore, another set of special cytochemical, cytological, microbiological and anatomical pathology studies was conducted and we confirmed the existence of an abscessed tumor with cancerous cells. This made a second surgery necessary which allowed us to fully remove said tumor. It was a major surgery without complications. After that, I have continued evolving satisfactorily, whereas I receive supplementary treatments to fight the various cells found and thus keep along towards my full recovery.

In the meantime, I have kept up and continue to be informed and in command of the actions of the Bolivarian government, in direct contact with the Vice-President, comrade Elías Jaua, and all my government staff.

I am immensely grateful for the numerous and enthusiastic expressions of solidarity received from the Venezuelan people and other fellow peoples, as well as from Heads of State and Government of numerous countries around the world, convinced that all that love, all that solidarity, are the most lofty energy which drive and will drive my willingness to vanquish in this new battle that life has put in front of me. And I am especially grateful to the Cuban people, the Cuban nation, Fidel, Raúl, all that medical legion who has been in the front of this battle in a really sublime way.

However, I have been keenly aware of some degree of anguish and uncertainty that has been overwhelming throughout these days, these nights, in the soul and body of the Venezuelan nation. I think that beyond the manipulating attempts of some well-known sectors, such feelings were and are unavoidable. They form part of the very human condition which nature is also surrounded by, its circumstances, and many times is shaken off, as in this case.

From the very beginning, I took on every responsibility concerning strict care of the veracity of the information to be delivered, based on a two-fold set of reasons – firstly, the medical-scientific reason and secondly, and with utmost, special care from the bottom of my soul and conscience, the human reason, the loving reason. To be more precise; The loving reason.

We have talked somewhat about the first reason. It has been a slow and careful process of approaches and diagnoses, advances and discoveries throughout several stages, where a rigorous scientific procedure has been applied, which procedure admits neither haste nor pressure whatsoever. The supreme rule which governs this mighty reason is full scientific verification beyond any indications and suspicions that might emerge.

As regards the loving reason, I feel obliged now to speak to you from deep inside myself. At this moment, I can remember February 4 of that thunderous year 1992. That day, I had no choice but to address myself to Venezuela from my decline, from a road that I felt was leading me to a bottomless abyss. From sort of a dark cavern of my soul, the “for now” emerged; afterwards, I plunged.

Also, those ill-fated hours of April 11, 2002 come to my memory right now. Then, I also sent to my beloved Venezuelan people that message written from the naval base of Turiamo, where I was held prisoner, a toppled president made prisoner. It was like a painful chant from the bottom of another abyss which I felt was swelling me in its throat and sinking me, and it sank me.

Again, at this new time of troubles and above all, since the very Fidel Castro, the same one of Moncada Military Barracks, the same one of the Granma, the same one of Sierra Maestra, the everlasting giant, came to give me the tough news of the cancerous finding. I started begging my Lord Jesus; my parents’ God, as Simón Bolívar would say; the Virgin’s gown, as my mother Elena would say; the savannah spirits, as Florentino Coronado would say, for them to give me the possibility to speak to you, not from an abyss or a dark cavern or a night without stars. I wanted to speak to you with the sun of the dawn that I feel rising. I think we have achieved it, thank God.

And finally, my beloved fellow countrymen and countrywomen; my beloved daughters and sons; my dear comrades; young people, boys and girls of my people; my dear patriotic women; my people, all and only one in my heart, I tell you that wanting to speak to you today as I prepare once again to return has nothing to do with myself but with you, patriotic people, good people, with you.

I did not want and do not want you at all to join me on any path leading to any abyss whatsoever. I urge you to continue together, climbing up to new summits, “for there are cherries over there, on the hill and a beautiful song to be sung,” as the people’s singer, our dear Alí Primera, keeps on telling us from his eternity.

Let us go, then, with our Father Bolívar, in the vanguard, to continue climbing up to the summit, Chimborazo! Thank God; thank you my people; thank you my life. Until victory always! We will win! Havana, this beloved and heroic Havana, on June 30, 2011.

I tell you from the great homeland, from my heart, from my whole soul, from my supreme hope which is the hope of the people, now and forever. We will live and win. Thank you very much. Until my return.

Hugo Chávez Frías
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
30 June 2011

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There are huge positives to take from the Smiley Culture demonstration on Saturday. An under-represented section of society took to the streets to demand freedom, justice and an end to police brutality. Two and a half thousand people, over-whelming Afro-Carribbean, of all ages, marched with pride, determination and joy in their hearts. No arrests were made; the people were organised, united and refusing to be silent.

A great report from activist-commentator Jody McIntyre on the march for justice for Smiley Culture on Saturday, who died in suspicious circumstances in the presence of the police two weeks ago. Read the rest here.

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