By Les Blough in Venezuela. Axis of Logic.
In the article below about President Chávez' trip to Brazil today, the BBC writes about two things:
- Venezuela's entry as a new member of Mercosur today and
- The cancer with which President Chávez was diagnosed over a year ago - emphasizing and raising more questions about his fitness to run as president.
Mercosur: As a new member of Mercosur, Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution have taken a big step forward and the trading bloc has been enriched and empowered. Stating that "The move is controversial within the bloc and in Venezuela" is misleading and to say that "local farmers fear an influx of cheap agricultural products from Brazil and Argentina," amounts to another cheap shot by the BBC to question the value of Venezuelan membership in a disingenuous concern about Venezuela's "local farmers" who have actually benefited greatly by the new Misión Agro-Venezuela, giving the country food independence and sovereignty for the first time in history. But on this, the BBC report is true:
"Venezuela has been attempting for six years to join the bloc, but its entry has been systematically vetoed by the Paraguayan Congress. Paraguay's suspension opened the doors for Venezuelan membership."
The US-backed, right wing coup against President Lugo backfired and ushered Venezuela into Mercosur, deepening the revolution.
The president's health: To say "Mr Chavez has increased his public appearances recently" is a dramatic understatement. President Chávez has been traversing the country in his election campaign, addressing crowds of tens of thousands with an almost superhuman energy and force. To repeat that the president "says he is fit and healthy;" that the details of his cancer "remain a secret;" that "Many doubted that Mr Chavez would be able to recover from cancer;" that "he always maintained that he would be ready to run in October's vote;" that he is "reassuring voters that he is fully recovered" amounts to a pathetic attempt by the BBC to continue casting doubts on his health.
To characterize President Chávez' political campaign as taking place "poorest neighbourhoods in Caracas, dancing, singing and sharing a birthday cake with party supporters" is another futile attempt to make him look silly, ignoring his powerful speeches, educating the public and his many campaign appearances in some of the most wealthy states and neighborhoods in the country where he has been widely and gratefully received.
- Les Blough in Venezuela
July 31, 2012
Hugo Chavez in Brazil on first foreign trip in a year
|Hugo Chavez and daughter Rosa Ines as he boards for Brasilia: leading the polls for the 7 October election
The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has travelled to Brazil on his first official trip abroad since being diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.
Mr Chavez will take part in a regional summit where Venezuela will become a member of the Mercosur trading bloc.
He says he is now healthy and fit to run for a third term in October's elections.
He kept a low profile during his cancer treatment, travelling only to Cuba for medical reasons.
The BBC's Sarah Grainger in Caracas says Mr Chavez has increased his public appearances recently.
"This trip is the latest sign that the president is cranking up his election campaign," she says.
On his 58th birthday on Saturday, he spoke for several hours at a rally in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Caracas, dancing, singing and sharing a birthday cake with party supporters.
Many doubted that Mr Chavez would be able to recover from cancer, details of which have remained secret.
But he always maintained that he would be ready to run in October's vote.
His campaign has focused not only on social and economic issues but also on reassuring voters that he is fully recovered.
To face Mr Chavez in the 7 October vote, the opposition chose a lawyer Henrique Capriles, 40, the former governor of Miranda state.
Cheap food imports
In Brasilia, Mr Chavez will join the leaders of the Mercosur countries. Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are full members, while Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have associate member status.
Paraguay was suspended after President Fernando Lugo was impeached by the country's Congress, in a process that took less than 48 hours and was deemed unfair by Mercosur leaders.
Venezuela has been attempting for six years to join the bloc, but its entry has been systematically vetoed by the Paraguayan Congress.
Paraguay's suspension opened the doors for Venezuelan membership.
The move is controversial within the bloc and in Venezuela, where local farmers fear an influx of cheap agricultural products from Brazil and Argentina.
Before boarding a flight for Brazil, Mr Chavez said that Venezuela took its huge oil and gas reserves into the South American bloc.
He said that Mercosur already had "the leading producer of food on the planet, the largest reserve of biodiversity in the world, the largest fresh water reserves in the world."
"It is the perfect equation; it lacked Venezuela."