Millions participate in Venezuela’s 2024 National Popular Consultation

Venezuela's grassroots collectives at a rally to discuss local development projects – 4,500 local projects will be assigned US $10,000 each

On Sunday, the 2024 National Popular Consultation concluded with a massive participation of citizens throughout Venezuela.

Carried out through over 15,000 polling centres, this democratic process allowed residents to decide on 4,500 development projects that the Venezuelan government will finance and the communities will execute.
Carolina Arellano, the spokesperson for the National Electoral Commission (CNE), stated that the approved projects will begin to be implemented starting next week.
The 2024 National Popular Consultation was preceded by a process of activation of grassroots organisations which allowed some 27,000 development projects to be discussed and proposed throughout Venezuela.
During election day, over 49,000 communal councils and 1,300,000 people took part in audits.
Some 158 international observers also participated.
Arellano congratulated the communal councils for their organisational work and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) for the delivery of the electoral material.
A statement released by the Venezuelan government said: ‘The massive participation of Venezuelans in this day demonstrates the commitment to democracy and the willingness to work together for the common good.
‘The exercise of participatory democracy is essential to build a more just and inclusive society.’
Meanwhile, United States sanctions on Venezuela are directly linked to the fact that the country has now got the largest oil reserves in the world, President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday.
He added: ‘If you want to hurt us you hurt yourselves, and these sorts of actions are directly responsible for the price of oil going up and the effects on the world economy.’
Currently, Venezuela’s oil reserves are around 300 billion barrels, surpassing those of Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries.
According to the new guidelines from the United States Treasury Department, American and European companies who obtained individual licences after October 2023 are required to reapply for new licences to work with Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA.
Otherwise, they must end their operations in Venezuela by 31st May, 2024.
To justify the reimposition of sanctions, Washington alleges that Maduro has not fully met the commitments made under the electoral roadmap agreement.
General License 44, introduced by the Biden administration in October 2023, allowed some oil transactions to take place and Venezuela crude to reach the international market.
The 6-month sanction relief took effect when the Venezuelan government and opposition leaders from Unitary Platform reached an agreement on the 2024 elections.
Several Western companies, including ENI of Italy, Repsol of Spain, and Maurel and Prom of France, resumed their operations in Venezuela.
Oil production rebounded in Venezuela as a result of the sanction relief.
Both the International Energy Agency and the US Department of Energy projected that Venezuela’s oil production would return to one million barrels per day by the end of 2024 from 690,000 barrels per day in 2022.
Energy analysts suggest that several factors may have influenced the Biden administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela.
First, the Biden administration might have lost confidence in the roadmap of a Venezuelan presidential election the US had wished.
Second, US domestic oil production is on pace to set another production record, while production growth from Guyana and Brazil is faster than the growth in Venezuela.
However, the problem with that is the price that this oil is produced at. Oil analysts said that the US production costs for oil are much higher than in several other countries and therefore its increase in production will not necessarily lead to a fall in the oil price globally.
The Israeli war on Palestine and its attacks on Iran are also forcing oil prices up.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kana’ani last Saturday condemned as a violation of human rights and international law the US administration’s re-imposition of oil-related sanctions against Venezuela.
Kana’ani said: ‘The use of unilateral illegal sanctions as a tool that causes irreparable human and economic damage to countries is rejected as a violation of the principles of international law, human rights and international rules and regulations.’

  • A delegation from the Communist Party and the Chinese Government began a visit to Nicaragua on Sunday which ran until yesterday (Tuesday 23rd) and which met with representatives of Daniel Ortega’s Government of National Reconciliation in order to strengthen ties of friendship and economic cooperation.

The Chinese delegation was headed by the vice-chair of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Commission and governor of the Chuxiong Prefectural People’s Government, Zhang Wenwang, who met in Managua with Laureano Ortega Murillo, Presidential Advisor for Investment, Trade and International Cooperation of Nicaragua, and Vice President Rosario Murillo.
Ortega Murillo expressed his gratitude for the visit of the Chinese delegation, highlighting the strong relationship between the two countries based on the principles of brotherhood between the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the Chinese Communist Party, strengthened by the strategic partnership between Nicaragua and China.
The Presidential Adviser on Investment indicated that a series of meetings are planned to address issues related to investment in trade, agriculture, energy and mining, tourism, creative economy, fashion design and higher education.
Among the agreements to be signed between the Asian and Central American delegations are understandings on educational cooperation between the University of Chuxiong and the CNU of Nicaragua.
In addition, an agreement was signed for China to invest in the Nicaraguan mining industry.

  • On Monday, the administration of far-right Mexican President Javier Milei announced a substantial reduction in funding for the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA).

On April 10, the Milei administration had suspended INCAA’s activities for 90 days due to ‘existing budgetary and financial deficits’.
The decision is part of Milei’s policy to make big cuts in the public sector.
The world of cinema has been expressing itself in various forums, the latest being last Saturday at the Platino Awards gala held in Mexico, against the austerity policies of Milei’s government.

  • Barbados has announced its decision to officially recognise Palestine as a state, becoming the 11th member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to adopt such a measure.

Foreign Minister Kerrie Symmonds said the Barbadian cabinet had ‘made the determination that the time is ripe for us to have a formal diplomatic recognition of the State of Palestine.
‘How can we say we want a (so-called) two-state solution if we do not recognise Palestine as a State.’
He stressed that the island nation has always maintained at the United Nations that there should be a two-state solution.
Symmonds criticised, however, the fact that Barbados has not recognised Palestine until now.
He added: ‘I think (it was) an error that we have made through the years. And now, we have formally reached out to the State of Palestine to signal our intention to formally recognise them as a State,’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has welcomed the decision of Barbados to recognise the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The foreign ministry said in a statement that it reflects Barbados’ eagerness to support the Palestinian people and their inalienable and legitimate rights in their land.
It emphasised that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being systematically destroyed as a result of the Tel Aviv regime’s escalatory policies and plans, especially through the continuation of the genocidal war in the Gaza Strip and the expansion of colonialism.
It further called on all countries that have not yet recognised the State of Palestine to take such a step as soon as possible to confirm the international community’s determination in order to end the suffering of the Palestinian nation.