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Venezuelans determined to defend their country in face of provocations

Alberto Garcia lives in the Petare barrio, in the east of Caracas, but was born in Maracaibo, Zulia state. Like thousands of others, he didn't wait for election results to be announced before taking to Avenida Urdaneta, the road which runs through the centre of the capital up to Miraflores, the Presidential palace.  

"Chavez is more dangerous now he has died than when he was alive," Alberto tells me. "He liberated us from the imperialist powers ... here, we have democracy!"

 Fifteen year-old Jonayca is also in the crowds, too young to vote, surrounded by a group of friends from school. "We are here for our future," he says, "we want to defend our country."

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Close election in Venezuela, but too much at stake to win or lose in a single day

A tense celebration last night in Caracas. (Photo: Joka Madruga / flickr)

Sol has a long journey to get to work every day, living in Junquitos, an hour's bus drive into the mountains outside of Caracas.

On Sunday, the collectively-run café she works at was shut, but Sol was awake even earlier than usual. At 3a.m., she was helping to organise her local voting station and making sure people knew which table they were registered to vote at. By 8a.m., she was driving around in a car, looking for disabled or elderly people who might need help walking to their voting station. "Of course, we all need to vote," Sol says, "they will not return."

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People with disabilities want Venezuelan revolution to continue: 'We need even more of a voice'

Disabled people have always positioned themselves at the forefront of the Bolivarian project in Venezuela, but their role is often understated.  

I took a trip to the Metropolitan Council of Popular Power for People with Disabilities, an independent organisation campaigning for the rights people with disabilities, and spoke to Luis Roja. It appeared that he was one of the leading figures of the Council, but he tells me that he is "just another one," gesturing towards the many people who come and go as our conversation develops. Luis spoke to me as a passionate supporter of the political process taking place in his country, but was adamant that more needs to be done. 

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The ugly truth about Stephen Harper's foreign policy

The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy

by Yves Engler
(Fernwood Publishing co-published with Red Publishing,
2012;
$19.95)

For a long time now, there has been a serious weakness on the part of progressive movements in the most over-developed countries of the world. The ability to recognize that so much of the privileges we enjoy, but that governments and corporations enjoy even more so, comes from years of exploitation, subjugation and extreme levels of violence towards countries of the Global South, but too often, our history and continued practice of imperialism is either forgotten or ignored.  In The Ugly Canadian, Yves Engler sets out to provide "a small spark in lighting a fire of interest in Canadian foreign policy."

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