Richard Moore

From: "Bruce Dyer / Harideva" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: PNA Report 095.1
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 22:09:52 +1200

Two fingers to America
Venezuela : The World Social Forum Americas Chapter and 2nd
Social Forum of the Americas


For the last two weeks I have been working with Dada
Maheshvarananda, Suprabhata, and Clark Forden in Venezuela. 
The people here, like the climate, are warm, and when we go to
our meetings with government officials, when we give training
sessions to workers, or give a talk, the people are always
eager to shake our hands and chat,ú be it in a board room, an
auditorium, or on the streets.  This kindness, this cultural
warmth, is an intuitive humanism, and it translates into the

Venezuela is in the process of developing a new economic and
social structure ú a Venezuelan socialism ú based on a local
theory called Endogenous Development*.  The fundamental
concepts describe local and regional economic centres that use
local resources and reinvest back into the local community,
favouring co-operatives.  Due to government support and
training, and generous funding from Venezuela's national oil
company (PDVSA), there has been a surge in co-operatives.
Whereas there were only 1900 co-operatives in the country in
2001, today there are over 70,000. The driving force behind
these economic changes is cultural change. Government leaders
talk of leaving behind the market obsessions of capitalism to
create a system that recognises social, environmental, and
humanistic values, while the oil company uses the nation's
wealth for the good of the people ú with emphasis on the poor
and excluded ú and hires experts in regional development to
help distribute profits to social programs.  Indeed, coming
from the US, I find that I am continually surprised to hear
these kinds of statements coming from politicians and business

So when we give practical training in co-operative formation
and talk about the ideals of PROUT, peoples' eyes light up
with recognition ú"That is like Endogenous Development!" they
say, or, "This is exactly the kind of social humanism that we
are trying to create!"  It is a wonder, for them and for us,
to see our social and spiritual values reflected in each

Our patron and our greatest friend here is Leopoldo Cook, who
has obtained government funding to create a zoological and
botanical park on 200 hectares of land near his home town of
Guatire, one hour east of Caracas.   It is at the base of a
mountainous national forest, with a beautiful small river
running the length of the land.  In his vision, the area will
have a zoo with animals native to this area, botanical
gardens, swimming and camping areas, and educational
facilities, all run by co-operatives with the participation of
the local community. There will also be a historical "village"
with different houses built authentically according to
different eras. He dreams of creating a space where cultural,
sustainable, and spiritual values are integrated into the
co-operative economic structure.

By chance útwo years ago Leopoldo saw Dada smiling on
President Chavez's national TV program, talking about PROUT
and his book "After Capitalism", saying not only that
spiritual values can be a part of the economy, but that they
must be a part of the economy.  After that Leopoldo arranged
for Dada to give professional training and lectures on Prout
to the national petroleum company.  Now he has asked us to
come to consult in the creation of the park, and we are
presently in negotiations to include a PROUT Research
Institute in the project.

In the meantime, when not consulting on the Park, we've been
travelling around Venezuela to meet new people and participate
in conferences and training sessions.

Prout Training
In Guatire, we gave three presentations to 55 people in a
5-hour workshop:   "How to form a co-operative,"
"Eco-spiritualism," and "Consensus decision making." At the
beginning of the workshop we gave everyone a short survey
including the following question:  "What gives you hope for
the future of Venezuela?"  Then, as Suprabhata and Dhruva gave
their presentations, carrying in their voices a genuine love
that is unmistakable in any language, I furiously typed up the
survey responses. Just before the closing, we projected the
results so that everyone could see the shared hopes: "That
Venezuela is becoming more participatory and inclusive;" "that
cooperativism, with government support and training, is
growing more and more;" "that spiritual values and humanism
are being incorporated into our society."

At the end we asked everyone to form a circle, and express
their feelings in one word or phrase.  The most common
responses were "spirituality," "solidarity," and "love." We
then stayed another hour distributing certificates of
completion, answering enthusiastic questions, and going
through the process of shaking hands with everyone in
attendance, trying to thank them as profusely as they were
thanking us.

Conference in Caracas
In Caracas we gave a two-hour lecture about Prout planning
with 13 government officials from the Ministry of Planning and
Development, the agency which created the Endogenous
Development campaign.  Sometimes we get a bit nervous when
meeting with big-wigs ú in this case Vice Minister Raúl
Pacheco Salazar, but one of the nice things about the shake-up
of the Chavez administration is that one often finds sincere
and humble thinkers at all levels of government, top to
bottom.  The Vice Minister is of this type, eager to hear new
ideas about how to develop a balanced economy and promote
cultural change through moral education.

Other activities in Guatire and Caracas
We have had pretty good press coverage during our stay.  Early
in the trip we met with an official in the Venezuelan
petroleum company's (PDVSA) information section, who published
in the newspapers invitations for our various lectures and
workshops.  These notices have also been complemented by
general support from PDVSA, which has funded our trip and also
organised many of our events.  Dada is becoming a real star,
appearing on two TV interview shows, and sending his voice out
over the radio.  I think people like his stage presence and
his stylish wardrobe. We've also been learning a lot about the
co-operative culture here.  We've meet with representatives of
SUNACOOP (National Superintendency of Coops), given workshops
to coop workers, and met with a group of kiosk owners who are
going to be integrated into the park as food vendor coop. I
particularly liked the last meeting, since I didn't have to
wear a tie, and could speak informally from my heart.

Venezuela Conference Tour
Perhaps our most intense endeavour was a whirlwind tour,
sponsored by PDVSA, in which we gave three conferences in
three days, starting in Caracas and then flying to Puerto la
Cruz and to Maracaibo.  Our tour gained momentum: the first
conference in Caracas had about 130 people in attendance, the
second had about 140, and the last one had well over 200.  

We ourselves got caught up in this enthusiasm, improving our
presentations every day,  selling out the last 200 copies of
Dada's book "After Capitalism", and of course, answering
questions and shaking hands for hours.
*What is Endogenous Development?
The Endogenous Development model condemns the traditional
economic model that focuses on independent accumulation of
wealth, noting that wealth in Venezuela has traditionally been
concentrated in the hands of internal oligarchies and foreign
investors. As an alternative, "Endogenous development," or
internally directed development focuses on regional
development, which incorporates humanistic values into the
economic system and provides a democratic distribution of
wealth. The key tenets of endogenous development are as

a. To recognise particular regional and national features and promote the 
development of those strengths.
b. To drive a transformation of natural resource use, constructing chains of 
production that link production, distribution, and consumption.
c. Efficient use of infrastructure.
d. To incorporate excluded populations.
e. To adopt a new lifestyle with a new model for consumption.
f. To develop new forms of organisation that are productive not only 
economically but also socially.
g. To construct productive networks that vary in size and technological 
structure, such as microbusinesses and co-operatives.

In brief endogenous development seeks to provide a
socio-economic climate that:
    Is self-sustaining (and sustainable),
    Uses national products (regional and local) as much as possible,
    Generates dignified local employment,
    Respects the local environment,
    Achieves profits,
    Reinvests surpluses rather than removing them from the system,
Provides a system of collective ownership of the means of production, and 
incorporates excluded populations.
    Makes full use of infrastructure and local resources,
Creates solidarity with the environment, social responsibility (non- 
mercantilist criteria), and participation.
    Has an efficient and just social comptroller
Promotes spirituality (not "fundamentalism," but rather emphasis on morality, 
ethics, and personal development),
    Is humanistic (the human being is central, after God),
    Promotes our uniqueness, our culture,
    Promotes our style of life and of consumption,
Constructs productive networks of varied sizes and technological structures, 
such as microbusinesses and co-operatives.
    Appropriates technology as needed.

The above is taken from an abbreviated translation of the
document outlining a new biological reserve "El Ingenio,"
Guatire, in the state of Miranda, Venezuela. The document
comprises a general introduction and overview (described
above). The second part gives a more detailed exploration of
the developmental theories that the government wants to
implement. The last part discusses how these theories will be
applied directly in the biological park. For the complete
document contact <mailto:•••@••.•••>•••@••.•••

Two fingers to America

by Richard Gott
The Guardian    August 25, 2005

Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, is a genial fellow
with a good sense of humour and a steely political purpose. As
a former military officer, he is accustomed to the language of
battle and he thrives under attack. He will laugh off this
week's suggestion by Pat Robertson, the US televangelist, that
he should be assassinated, but he will also seize on it to
ratchet up the verbal conflict with the United States that has
lasted throughout his presidency.

Chávez, now 51, is the same age as Tony Blair, and after
nearly seven  years as president he has been in power for
almost as long. But there the similarities end. Chávez is a
man of the left and, like most Latin Americans with a sense of
history, he is distrustful of the United States. Free
elections in Latin America have often thrown up radical
governments that Washington would like to see overthrown, and
the Chávez government is no exception to this rule.

Chávez is a genuinely revolutionary figure, one of
those larger-than-life characters who surface regularly in the
history of Latin  America - and achieve power perhaps twice in
a hundred years. He wants to  change the history of the

His close friend and role model is Fidel Castro, Cuba's
long-serving leader. The two men meet regularly, talk
constantly on the telephone, and have formed a close political
and military alliance. Venezuela has deployed more than 20,000
Cuban doctors in its shanty-towns, and Cuba is the grateful
recipient of cheap Venezuelan oil, replacing the subsidised
oil it once used to receive from the Soviet Union. This, in
the eyes of the US government, would itself be a heinous crime
that would put Chávez at the top of its list for removal. The
US has been at war with Cuba for nearly half a century, mostly
conducted by economic means, and it only abandoned plans for
Castro's direct overthrow after subscribing to a tacit
agreement not to do so with the Soviet Union after the missile
crisis of 1962.

The Americans would have dealt with Chávez long ago had they
not been  faced by two crucial obstacles. First, they have
been notably preoccupied in recent years in other parts of the
world, and have hardly had the time, the personnel, or the
attention span to deal with the charismatic colonel. Second,
Venezuela is one of the principal suppliers of oil to the US
market (literally so in that 13,000 US petrol stations are
owned by Citgo, an extension of Venezuela's state oil
company). Any hasty attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan
government would undoubtedly threaten this oil lifeline, and
Chávez himself has long warned that his assassination would
close down the pumps. With his popularity topping 70% in the
polls, he would be a difficult figure to dislodge.

Chávez comes from the provinces of Venezuela, from the vast
southern  cattle lands of the Llanos that stretch down to the
Apure and Orinoco river system. Of black and Indian ancestry,
his parents were local schoolteachers, and he has inherited
their didactic skills. His talents first came to the fore when
he joined the army and became a popular lecturer at the war
college in Caracas. He is a brilliant communicator, speaking
for hours on television in a folksy manner that captivates his
admirers and irritates his opponents.

He never stops talking and he never stops working. He has time
for  everyone and never forgets a face. For several years he
travelled  incessantly around the country, to keep an eye on
what was going on. This was not mere electioneering, for he
would talk for hours to those who had  hardly a vote among
them. He exhausts his cadres, his secretaries and his 
ministers. I have travelled with him and them into the deepest
corners of  the country, and then, after a 16-hour day, he
would call the grey-faced  cabinet together for an impromptu
meeting to analyse what they had  discovered and what measures
they should take.

There was always a touch of the 19th century about this
frenetic  activity, as though the president were still on
horseback, and Castro is known to have warned Chávez not to
absorb himself unduly in the minutiae of administration. "You
are the president of Venezuela," he is reported to have  said,
"not the mayor of Caracas." Chávez has taken the advice to
heart, and has become less the populist folk hero and more the
impressive statesman. Concern about possible assassination has
long predated Robertson's outburst,  and for the past two
years Chávez has cut down his travels inside the country and
been accompanied everywhere by fearsome-looking guards.

Abroad, however, he is a frequent visitor to the capitals of
Latin  America, and he is widely perceived as the leader of
the group of  left-leaning presidents recently elected in
Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, as well as the inspiration of
the radicalised indigenous movements now  clamouring at the
gates of power in Bolivia and Ecuador. There is another  touch
of the 19th century here, for Chávez is a follower and
promoter of the  ideas and career of Simón Bolívar, the
Venezuelan leader who brought the philosophy of the European
Enlightenment and the French Revolution to Latin  America, and
liberated much of the continent from Spanish rule. Chávez has 
labelled his movement the "Bolivarian Revolution", and he
hopes that his  political ideas will spread throughout the

This in itself would be alarming enough to the United States,
had it the time to pay proper attention. Equally worrying for
the Americans is the time Chávez has devoted to the Middle
East, successfully courting the governments  that belong to
OPEC, the oil producers' organisation, some of whom have been
labelled by the Americans as "the axis of evil". Today's high
oil price has  much to do with increased demand from China and
India, and from the Iraq  war, but the spadework that has
given OPEC fresh credibility was put in by  Chávez. Soon he
will be helping to show the new Iranian president, using the 
Venezuelan example, how to increase the revenues of a
state-owned oil  company and channel them into programmes to
help the poor.

Chávez is widely popular today, but for much of his presidency
he has  been a contested, even a hated figure, arousing
widespread discontent within Venezuela's traditional white
elite. Yet although his rhetoric is revolutionary, his reforms
have been moderate and social democratic. He criticises the
policies of "savage neo-liberalism" that have done so much
harm to the poorer peoples of Venezuela and Latin America in
the past 20 years, yet the private sector is still alive and
well. His land reform is aimed chiefly at unproductive land
and provides for compensation. His most obvious achievement,
which should not have been controversial, has been to channel
increased oil revenues into a fresh range of social projects
that bring health and education into neglected shanty-towns.

The hatred that he arouses in the old opposition parties,
which have  seen their membership and influence dwindle, lies
more in ideology and  racial antipathy than in material loss.
Some opponents dislike his  friendship with Castro, his verbal
hostility to the United States, and his  criticisms of the
Catholic church, and some people still have a residual 
hostility to the fact that he staged an unsuccessful military
coup in 1992  when a young colonel in the parachute regiment.
Many Latin Americans still  find it difficult to come to terms
with the idea of a progressive military  man. But mostly they
are alarmed by the way in which he has enfranchised the
country's vast underclass, interrupting the cosy,
US-influenced lifestyle of the white middle class with visions
of a frightening world that lives beyond their apartheid-gated

Over the past few years this anxious opposition has made
several  attempts to get rid of Chávez, with the tacit
encouragement of Washington.  They organised a coup in April
2002 that rebounded against them two days  later when the
kidnapped Chávez was returned to power by an alliance of the 
army and the people. They tried an economic coup by closing
down the oil refineries, and this too was a failure. Last
year's recall-referendum, designed to lead to a defeat for
Chávez, was an overwhelming victory for him. The local
opposition, and by extension the United States, have shot
their final bolt. There is nothing left in the locker, except
of course assassination.

The fingers of mad preachers are usually far from the button,
but the untimely words of Pat Robertson, easily discounted in
Washington and airily dismissed by the state department as
"inappropriate", might yet wake an echo among zealots in
Venezuela. A similar call was made last year by a former
Venezuelan president. Assassinations may be easy to plan, and
not difficult to accomplish. But their legacy is incalculable.
The radical leader of neighbouring Colombia, Jorge Gaitán, was
assassinated more than 50 years ago, in 1948. In terms of
civil war and violence, the Colombians have been paying the
price ever since. No one would wish that fate on Venezuela.

· Richard Gott is the author of "Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution"

Venezuela : The World Social Forum Americas Chapter & 2nd Social Forum of the 
January 23, 2006 - February 04, 2006

At the World Social Forum, five years of uniting the world's
peoples' movements, indigenous communities, women's movements,
human rights organisations, environmentalists, intellectuals,
students, activists, and citizens of the North and South have
led to the beginning of true alternative economic structures
which prove that Another World is not only Possible, it is

2006 World Social Forums will take place in regionally in the
Americas, Africa and Asia. In 2007 the World Social Forum will
take place in Africa.

Venezuela, home to a peaceful revolutionary process that has
brought education and healthcare to millions through the
redistribution of oil profits, will act as the simultaneous
host of the World Social Forum Americas Chapter and the 2nd
Social Forum of the Americas in January, 2006. Drawing on the
model of regional integration and from the hope and lessons
that may be learned from the process of grassroots social
change in Venezuela, the World Social Forum will occur in
simultaneous regional forums in the Americas, Africa, and
Asia. The regional focus initiates a profound attempt at
strengthening local participation and regional ties between
movements for social justice before moving the Forum to Africa
in 2007.

People's News Agency (PNA) - is a service of Proutist Universal
Support for this service is welcomed and can be sent to 
Proutist Universal 
P. O. Box 984, 
Nelson, New Zealand.
        "A human being is part of the whole, called by us the
        universe. A part limited in time and space. He experiences
        himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from
        the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
        This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to
        our personal desires and to affection for a few persons
        nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this
        prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
        living creatures."
        - Albert Einstein

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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland
blog: http://harmonization.blogspot.com/

"Escaping The Matrix - 
Global Transformation: 
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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