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Posts tagged ‘Democracy’

Ros-Lehtinen: Venezuelan Regime Continuing ‘Assault on Democracy’.


Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says she is concerned there is going to be more bloodshed in Venezuela after three people died in fresh protests.

“[President Nicolas] Maduro is taking advantage of this to continue his assault on democracy. In fact, today, the latest is this: he’s called the peaceful protesters a name that you know is going to justify him taking further criminal action, an armed terrorist insurgency. Now these are peaceful student activists. They’re not armed. I fear the worst is going to be happening in the coming days,” the Florida Republican told Newsmax TV’s John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” Friday.

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Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Florida’s 27th congressional district, became the first Cuban American and Latina in Congress when she was elected in 1989. She was also the first Republican woman elected to the House from Florida, and is currently the most senior Republican woman in the House.

She is highly critical of President Barack Obama’s policy on Venezuela, saying, “[Maduro] wants to take over Venezuela in the same way that the Castro brothers have, and that’s why this administration looking the other way is just not an answer. We have no foreign policy to speak of, no real policy direction, especially in Latin America.

“I’ve written a letter to the president and it was signed in a bipartisan manner, calling on the president to take action similar to the action that he’s taken against Russian human rights violators in the Ukraine, but knowing that the president will probably not take action on Venezuela. I have filed a bill that does the same thing. It would deny visas so that they can’t come to the United States, we’d be blocking property, we would freeze the assets, and prohibit all sorts of financial transactions to members of the Maduro regime who are responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela.”

Ros-Lehtinen continued, “The assembly of citizens in Venezuela is getting greatly curtailed. They’re limiting the access to print and broadcast media and what we’ve seen is that one of the things that we should do is reduce imports of Venezuelan oil. This would prevent Maduro regime from using the profits from the sale of petroleum to further oppress and further violate the human rights of the people of Venezuela. ”

She also had harsh words for the Organization of American States, calling it dysfunctional. “Even more so than the United Nations and we fund them — we fund 40 percent of this terrible body. They get 40 percent of their budget from you, the American taxpayer, and our bill says that our permanent representative to the OAS has got to use the voice, the vote, the influence, to defend what has long been the factor that has entered into U.S. and Latin American relations, which is the inter-American democratic charter,” she said.

“We’re doing all we can to help the folks who have been detained, the peaceful protestors, and just like the Cuban regime Maduro likes to blame the U.S. for his own failure. But the reality is that Maduro’s the one who has been responsible for the trampling of human rights. Do you know the economic situation, the food shortages, high inflation? This is a country that had all the natural resources and all the money and yet people don’t even have toilet paper. ”

Ros-Lehtinen said she is also concerned about organized crime from Latin America spilling over into the U.S. “What we have seen is that when the U.S. is looking the other way, when we’re looking at what’s happing in Ukraine, we’re looking at Syria, we’re looking at Iran—as well we should because those are problem areas for us— but what happens is that the drug traffickers and the cartels and the thugs, including terrorists, will make their way into the United States,” she warned.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Lisa Barron

McCain: Putin Doesn’t Want Democracy Next Door.


Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t want democracy in Ukraine because he thinks it would set a bad example for Russians, Sen. John McCain said.

“Vladimir Putin does not want a democracy on his borders. That would be a very bad example, from his point of view, to be set for the Russian people,” the Arizona Republican told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday.

Last month, a protest movement by Ukrainians seeking closer ties with the European Union ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. In the last several days, as many as 16,000 Russian troops landed in the strategic Crimea region and demanded a surrender of Ukrainian forces.

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McCain has had harsh words for President Barack Obama’s handling of the Russian invasion of Crimea. On Monday, he called the president “feckless,” and charged “nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

McCain defended his criticism, claiming Obama was incorrect when he said the Cold War had been over for 20 years.

“Maybe in the president’s eyes, but certainly not in Vladimir Putin’s eyes,” McCain said.

Russia was likely to keep Crimea, McCain conceded, and predicted, “It’s not going to change.” He said the United States needs to gauge what Putin’s future ambitions are “for the restoration of the Russian empire.” He maintained it was important to view Putin for what he is, and “not what we want him to be.”

“There is has been a fundamental misreading of Vladimir Putin, his intentions, and things that he will do. There is no doubt that he will not give up in Crimea because of his belief in the near abroad,” McCain said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Wanda Carruthers

Luis Rosales: Time for World to Join Venezuela’s Fight for Democracy.


Everyone who believes in democracy, freedom and human rights today should be standing with Leopoldo López, the brave young opposition leader who is defying the growing radicalization of the ruling government in Venezuela.

López, a charismatic, Harvard-educated former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, has emerged as the face of the growing opposition to the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez. On Tuesday, López was arrested on what international human rights groups have called baseless charges for the deaths of three people killed in an anti-government demonstration earlier this month.

Although President Maduro has called him a fascist, Lopez is completely the opposite. He is an honest politician who really believes in democracy. He has devoted his life to helping his country stand up to the growing authoritarianism of Maduro. He has long been persecuted by a government that controls most of the country’s media and its corrupt judiciary.

From the beginning, when he was first elected mayor in 2000, Lopez challenged this repressive system. Chavez ordered judges to ban him from holding further office after saddling him with trumped up charges. The government consistently has used this method to eliminate popular opponents. As one of the three most popular political leaders in the country, Lopez stepped back and unselfishly endorsed another opposition candidate for president, Henrique Capriles, in order not to fracture the anti-Chavez opposition.

Chavez died in March, 2013. Maduro, a declared Marxist who many observers consider to be a puppet of Cuba’s Castro regime, succeeded him and was elected after a very controversial process fraught with charges of fraud. The opposition believed it was robbed. But the official apparatus, tightly controlled by the Chavistas, ignored the claims and stifled any official audit of the vote.

That was Maduro’s original sin, the first of many. His rule has been an unmitigated disaster. Venezuela, a global oil power, leads the South American continent in inflation. As the economy has collapsed, it also has taken the lead in other negative indicators like the rate of crime and domestic violence. And that is what feeds the growing opposition movement.

Over the last several weeks, millions have taken to the streets across the country to express their discontent. The government has responded by mobilizing its own armed mobs, backed by both the military and the police, to attack peaceful demonstrators. This, in turn, has divided the opposition.

Capriles leads a group that believes that change can be encouraged through dialogue and nonviolent demonstration. Lopez, however, believes that a repressive government must be challenged with strength when it attacks its own people. He believes that Maduro, like Lenin and Castro before him, is trying to create the conditions for a “proletarian dictatorship,” the first step toward totalitarian socialism.

The history of the last century is replete with nations that have succumbed to this tactic: Russia, the nations of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba to name just a few.

In every case, when socialists took power, they immediately suspended individual liberties, freedom of press and private ownership to end what they considered an “outdated” capitalist and bourgeois systems. The new elites, backed by a massive, authoritarian bureaucracy, never saw any reason to reverse course. What emerged were single party states with either no elections or cruel parodies of them, without freedom, and heavily militarized at all levels of society.

This is the system that Leopoldo López fears will emerge in Venezuela if the people do not stand up and fight now. And it’s going to take democrats and human rights activists from all over the world to help him in his fight. There needs to be a push now to stop Maduro from repressing students and other demonstrators and force him to release Lopez before it’s too late.

We the people have to put international pressure on Maduro’s regime and push our democratic governments and elected representatives to do the same. And we need to do this now, not only for the sake of Lopez, but also for the future of Venezuela and Latin America.

Luis Rosales is a political strategist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the author of the new book, “Francis: A Pope for Our Times.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

On The Practice Of Nigerian Democracy By Felix Di Netimah.


By Felix Di Netimah

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of people in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it. – Frederic Bastiat

The President has convened a national conference. From all corners of the country chosen delegates will pour forth upon the nation’s capital. The principals will meet in private. There will be initial discussions (horse-trading), negotiation (you scratch my back and I yours) and finally agreement (a nod and a wink). Thereafter, their factors will pronounce our fate in public. They will say the ‘people’ have decided. They will say this is democracy.

Is it?

My friends, it is not. It is a kleptocracy. Our leaders practice a form of government designed to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population and with the pretence of honest service . This national conference will do nothing other than to further the interests of the elite.

On the one hand, we should be honest enough to acknowledge corruption is the normal condition of human society. From the dawn of human societies whether Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon or Republican Rome, whether Victoria’s England or Boer South Africa, social organisation has been based on the use of force to seize assets and gain power. Once seized, the elite then create and cement rules that legitimise and sustain their hold on power.

So modern Nigeria is not unique in the history of human social organisation. Our corruption is endemic not because we are different from the rest of the world but possibly because corruption itself is part of human nature.

But on the other hand, we decry the greed of the elite, we decry their avarice, we decry their materialism. And why? Because this national conference, if properly done, represents a golden opportunity for change in the country.

It presents an opportunity to change the ethos of the elite. Major Nzeogwu condemned the ethos of ‘ten percent’ in explaining why he felt compelled to seize power in the coup of 15 January 1966. Then the elite creamed ten percent off official contracts in bribes and such like. But in the decades since, our elites have arguably taken corruption to deeper, more pervasive levels. Where once ten percent would do, the new elites take it all instead. Where once those in power showed self restraint in asking for 10 percent, our modern leaders will take it all, award a new contract for the same work and then help themselves to more again.

The national conference offers a real opportunity for the leaders to get together and impose self restraint on themselves. Let’s not talk about the aspirations of Nigerians, the type of democracy we should have, the composition of the National Assembly or Jonathan’s bid for a second term. No. The people do not want to know whether Jonathan had an agreement with the ‘North’ (more on that later!) They want to know when they will have uninterrupted power, food in their bellies and education for their children.

The starting point for ensuring we achieve the aspirations of the people lies in ensuring we spend more of the national wealth on the people. We cannot eliminate corruption overnight. But restricting our elites to 10 percent for starters would go a long way to ensuring our evolution to a modern socially progressive nation.

The other change I would propose for the national conference? An end to federation. The conference should dissolve this union as we know it and set the terms for a confederation of Nigerian States. The terms should then be put to the vote of the people in a referendum.

Felix Di Netimah
London January 2013

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

APC’ll wipe out insecurity in Nigeria, says Buhari.


 

General-Muhammadu-Buhari

Former Head of State and Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said the party would work to wipe out the insecurity in the country. Buhari said this on a current affairs programme on Liberty Radio, Kaduna yesterday.

According to him, the APC is also determined to improve the economic status of Nigerians. “Like I have said, we have to properly secure and manage this country.

“You cannot deny citizens their rights to express their opinion and allow some people to brazenly threaten the corporate existence of the country. “And instead of inviting them and asking them to explain themselves to the nation, they are given a ride in presidential jets, when others do it, you go and lock them up or you harass them.

That is not the way to do things. “There is also this problem of insecurity in the land, both physical and material, which the All Progressives Congress is about to wipe out, God willing.”

 

He stressed the need for the entrenchment of proper democratic culture in the country. “All we are fighting for is to have proper democracy. “What I mean is that whatever people say, whether they reflect briefly on it or not, Nigerians are now well aware of their rights and what they expect from government.

“In APC, we have reduced it to two, your security and sound economic management. “We have to secure this country and manage it properly. I think people have suffered enough, they are now prepared to listen and I believe they are listening and are cooperating.” Buhari said Nigerians were also interested in having free and fair elections, which is key to multi-party democracy.

“We went to court before now to make sure that this multi-party democracy takes firm root in the country. “Our objective as a party is to ensure that the system will be strong enough to guarantee security and prosperity for all.” Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday decried the continued killing of innocent people in the north.

ACF called on the intelligence community to brace up with a view to helping the security agents nib such planned attacks in the bud. In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, over the recent attacks in the north, ACF called on gunmen to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue in the interest of humanity.

The statement said: “The recent attacks on Chakawa village where a Christian cleric and innocent people were killed in Adamawa State as well the killing of Sheikh Auwal Albani and some members of his family in Zaria were killed, all by gunmen is ungodly. Ungodly because certain things are not pleasing to God, especially when innocent people are killed in His name.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Elections Must Be Free And Fair, Says Buhari.


Three time Presidential candidate, and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari, today said that elections must be free and fair as part of deepening democracy in Nigeria.

Buhari, in a live stream interview with Liberty Radio SaharaReporters, followed in New York, also said that Nigerians deserve credible and responsible leadership.

He said, “Elections must be free and fair. We have been to court three times in 2003, 2007 and 2011, not because we were convinced that we were going to win. We went because we want to make sure that this multi-party democracy takes a firm grip on Nigerians.

“If we can come and go, the system will be strong enough to guarantee security for this country and guarantee prosperity for this country. This is our objective. All we are fighting for is to have proper democracy. What I mean is that whatever people say, whether they reflect briefly on it or not, Nigerians are now well aware of their right and what they expect from government.

“Like I have said, we have to properly secure and manage this country. You cannot deny citizens their rights to express their own opinion or you allow some people to brazenly threaten the cooperate existence of the country, and instead of inviting them and asking them to explain themselves to the nation, they are given a ride in a Presidential jet.”

General Buhari also lamented over a recent spate of harassment of citizens over freedom of expression:

“When others do it, you go and lock them up or you harass them. That is not the way to do things. For example, when the seven governors decided to break out from the PDP and we went and visited them; five of the governors took the risk.

“One of the governors still have problem with the police, his children were arrested, and the bank officials that transacted business with his children were locked up. Those are children of governors. You can imagine what will then happen to children of ordinary Nigerians.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Okorocha gets more Islamisation powers from APC as Elected Chairman Of Progressive Governors Forum.


APC-governors

All Progressives Congress (APC) governors under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum have unanimously adopted Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State as their chairman.The choice of Okorocha as chairman of the PGF was contained in a statement by the Director-General of the Forum, Salihu Lukman, in Abuja on Friday.The Imo State governor would be in the saddle in an interim capacity for about six months.The statement said the election of Gov. Okorocha was in furtherance of the commitment of the 16 progressive governors to strengthen democratic governance structures in the country with the overriding goal of rescuing Nigeria and facilitating the emergence of accountable leadership at all levels by the APC.“Okorocha would provide leadership to PGF to realise the collective vision of the progressive governors to engender expeditiously exemplary human development programmes and policies in all APC states” the statement read.It added that “Considering how consistently the PDP has attacked the foundations of our democracy, and the subsequent erosion of Nigerians’ hard-won freedom, the PGF under Okorocha’s leadership, pledges to mobilise citizens towards expanding and deepening democratic structures by focusing on initiatives to guarantee the development of participatory governance structures as well as the guarantee of transparent, credible elections and the results reflect the votes of the Nigerian people.“We urge Nigerians to support the initiatives of our Progressive Governors under the leadership of Rochas Okorocha; Nigeria will be great again”, the statement concluded.

by: daniel

Source: Radio Biafra.

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