September 9, 2017 - No. 27

Round Two of NAFTA Renegotiations Concludes

Mexican People Oppose Sell-Out
of Their Country


Anti-NAFTA rally, Mexico City, September 1, 2017.

Duplicitous Demands to Expand Institutions
for Regulatory Harmonization

- Enver Villamizar -

For Your Information
Areas of Collusion and Contention

Labour Day Not Liberal Day

Develop the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
- K.C. Adams -
MANA Still Running Using Scabs!!
- USW Local 1005 -
Striking Airport Workers Hold Spirited Action at Pearson Airport
Successful Labour Day March and Celebration in Prince George
Photos from Across Canada

People's Forces in Action to Defend the Bolivarian Revolution
World Summit and Days of Solidarity in Defence of Peace and
Democracy in Venezuela September 16-17

People's Empowerment Through the Work of
National Constituent Assembly

Dirty Work Against Bolivarian Revolution by U.S.-Led
Regime-Change Forces Continues

- Margaret Villamizar -

Round Two of NAFTA Renegotiations Concludes

Mexican People Oppose Sell-Out of Their Country

Rally of tens of thousands of supporters of Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, where NAFTA was also opposed, September 3, 2017.

Official negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resumed in Mexico from September 1 to 5. Reports state that on September 1 the trade unions held a rally to oppose NAFTA and that the rally, attended by tens of thousands of supporters of Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also opposed  NAFTA. At the rally Obrador expressed the Mexican people's opposition to the sell-out of their country and vitriolic attacks against their dignity by U.S. President Trump.

Disinformation about Progress and Roadblocks

During this round more than two dozen working groups, comprised of trade experts and technical officials, met. Generally, news reports and official statements seek to embroil the people in discussing what the rulers claim are areas of "progress," "possible roadblocks to an agreement" and sensational statements, especially from the U.S. President. This disinformation, similar to celebrity gossip, seeks to channel everyone into taking the side of one contending section of the ruling class against another. The statements of collusion or contention amongst the rulers are meant to make it difficult for the people to grasp what is really happening and to discourage and divert them from investigating the facts of the situation.

A trilateral statement released by the three countries was vague, stating nothing of substance: "In several groups, this engagement resulted in the consolidation of proposals into a single text upon which the teams will continue to work throughout the following negotiation rounds." The statement continued in this vein stating the three countries are committed to "an accelerated and comprehensive negotiation, with the shared goal of concluding the process towards the end of this year."

The Globe and Mail reports that according to sources with knowledge of the closed-door talks in this round, "The United States has signalled it will demand an American-content requirement in autos manufactured in the NAFTA zone; demanded that Canada's protectionist system of supply management for milk, eggs and poultry be loosened; and pushed for the gutting of the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution system that Canada and Mexico insist on. "The round ended without the United States providing specific numbers on the American-content requirement, detailing exactly how it wants supply management loosened or proposing an exemption for "Buy American" laws from government contracting rules, the Globe reports "the sources" saying.

These "signals" from the U.S. are presented as the main "roadblocks" to Canada in the negotiations, which the Trudeau government is supposedly facing. In fact, through the government's previous support for and signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which contains similar measures, it has already shown a willingness to submit to these U.S. demands. The central issue of economic sovereignty is never addressed.

Also hidden in the highlighting of contention is the extent of the three executives' congruity. They agree that significant matters of decision-making over the economy and territories of the three countries should be further "harmonized" to meet the demands of the monopolies.

The next round of the renegotiations is scheduled to take place in Ottawa from September 23 to 27.

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Duplicitous Demands to Expand Institutions for Regulatory Harmonization

Anti-NAFTA rally as second round of renegotiations begin, Mexico, September 1, 2017.

CPC(M-L) has stated in the past, "The entire field of regulations and what is being done with them requires the serious attention of the working class and its allies. It is the domain which has to do with discretionary powers, formerly dealt with by the civil servants and government agencies with definite mandates to uphold public right. When it comes to the interpretation/implementation of laws, if the laws are premised on serving the public good, it is one thing; if they are premised on favouring the monopolies and providing them with impunity, it is another. Who decides and who controls the decision-making process is crucial. Decisions permitting torture, such as those enacted by the Bush and Obama administrations, were all made by executive decree and have regulations attached to them! When these regulations no longer defend the citizen or resident but violate her or his rights, a real problem is created for society."

The Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was established as part of the Beyond the Border agreement to establish a North American Security Perimeter. Through the RCC, the monopolies of North America were given a direct say over the North American economy through various sectoral councils. Those councils tell governments what to do to ensure North American competitiveness. Through this mechanism the monopolies carried out a coup against the national and what are called sub-national governments of the three countries. They have been able to decide what laws should be enacted and where laws need to be changed to enhance the monopolies' free operation.

All Ministries and government bodies, which oversee all aspects of Canadian life, were made to integrate with their U.S. counterparts and meet regularly so that decisions could be made as one in the service of the North American monopolies.[1]

The Harper government, for example, even passed new legislation regarding governmental approval of regulations. This legislation permits Canadian government decision-making bodies to delegate and sub-delegate regulatory powers to other bodies. In this way, decision-making over all aspects of Canadians' lives can be tied to those of U.S. decision-making bodies. Once tied together, if the U.S. regulation changes, this automatically changes the Canadian regulation.[2]

Regulatory Cooperation Councils already exist between Canada and the U.S., and between Mexico and the U.S. There can be no doubt that a trilateral council would be desired by all three countries. It appears Canada is taking the lead in bringing it forward. A likely concern is that it not appear to be coming from the United States.

The monopolies are not against the enforcement of laws and regulations so long as they are designed to uphold monopoly right. Canadian governments have dismantled many of the arrangements in laws and regulations that upheld public right and have constrained the arbitrary powers of Ministers and officials in various ways. With public right out of the way, so to speak, the government now wants laws and regulations upholding monopoly right to be strictly enforced so as to permit the monopolies to do as they please, while criminalizing any opposition or blocks to them being able to do so. An example now used frequently is the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), which enforces monopoly right in a most brutal and arbitrary way. Talk by both the Trump and Trudeau governments that they want to ensure labour and environmental laws are enforced is an expression, in fact, of their desire to enforce laws that uphold monopoly right.


1. See "New Plan for Regulatory Alignment" TML Weekly, October 18, 2014.

2. See "Harper Government Seeks to Change How Regulations Are Made and Who Can Make Them" TML Weekly April 20, 2013.

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For Your Information

Areas of Collusion and Contention

A number of reports indicate that the NAFTA talks are going slowly and are at an impasse on big issues for all the parties. This does not jive with the fact that many of the new issues within NAFTA have already been negotiated through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP will likely act as the framework for "modernization" in many areas.

CTV quotes Robert Holleyman, an Obama-era deputy U.S. trade representative, "I think Canada is being quite smart. [Minister of International Trade Chrystia] Freeland understands that 80 per cent of what is going to be in the renegotiated NAFTA has already been agreed to when the three countries, in October 2015, concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

A commentary by Peter Clark, president of Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates and an international trade strategist, states that the U.S. Trade Representative is keen on using the TPP texts, as the only way to finish in time. Clark says, "Canada and Mexico are not so anxious to rely on texts largely dictated by the U.S. in TPP -- and which Canada accepted based on improved access to Japan."

That the U.S. was able to largely dictate the agreed texts in the TPP but is now supposedly opposed in the renegotiations with NAFTA seems to be lost on Clark. The Canadian negotiators knew from the beginning of the TPP that whatever they agreed to in those negotiations, as well as in the CETA agreement with the EU, would set the new baseline for what the U.S. would want in NAFTA.

Demands to Expand Institutions for Regulatory Harmonization

World Trade Online notes, "The Canadian government is pushing for stronger regulatory cooperation provisions during the second round of NAFTA renegotiation talks, hoping to move beyond the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council established by the Obama and Harper governments in 2011, according to Canadian stakeholders. Canada is looking to include in NAFTA requirements for a regulatory cooperation council that is led at the political level, meets regularly and establishes agendas for future outcomes." (See TMLW item "Demands to Expand Institutions for Regulatory Harmonization" above.)

Locking in Mexican Energy Reforms to Ensure Mexico
Cannot Affirm Its Rights

Reports indicate that one of the areas of agreement of the monopolies and the governments who serve them is to lock in Mexico's privatization of its energy sector through NAFTA. Reuters reports that according to Mexico's chief negotiator Kevin Smith: "U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are zeroing in on ways to enshrine Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's sweeping energy reforms into a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement.

"The 2014 reforms wrung control of the country's oil and gas sector from state hands, opening it up to private investment, and incorporating them into the 23-year-old NAFTA is seen as a way to help preserve them for the long term."

Reuters adds: "When NAFTA was enacted in 1994, Mexico's energy sector was closed and Peña Nieto's reforms ended a decades-long monopoly for national oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL] and ensured competitive oil auctions. Incorporating them into NAFTA would help shield them from any future governments that may want to reverse them... Increasing energy trade and investments through NAFTA would help reduce the $64 billion U.S. trade deficit with Mexico that irritates U.S. President Donald Trump, partly through increased U.S. gas and oilfield equipment sales to Mexico."

Reuters quotes Mexico's chief negotiator Kevin Smith: "We're working in this sense, analyzing all of the elements that need to be included in the energy discussion to reflect the reform Mexico established."

AP reports the Mexican Secretary of the Economy stated, "There are no points of difference or controversy" [regarding NAFTA renegotiations]. The main question appears to be whether energy should have its own chapter or be spread across all chapters.

Bloomberg News openly indicates that the push to lock-in Mexico's reforms is aimed at preventing any future Mexican government from affirming its national sovereignty: "Investors [in the energy sector] have become concerned that leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the early frontrunner for next year's presidential election, will seek to undo parts of the overhaul. Incorporating it into NAFTA and making it subject to international obligations would add an extra layer of reassurance."

Reports also indicate that associations representing oil and gas monopolies operating across North America have stepped up their interventions in the negotiations. Bloomberg reports those monopolies are, "securing formal roles on committees advising the process, unleashing lobbyists to influence it and outlining their priorities for the administration."

The Bloomberg report gives the example of Chevron, which secured a seat on a U.S. "energy focused committee of NAFTA advisors." In Canada, Sophie Brochu, the President and CEO of Gaz Métro, sits on the official advisory committee to Minister Chrystia Freeland, while Lorraine Mitchelmore, the former President and Canada Country Chairman of Shell Canada Limited, sits on Canada's NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment.

A letter from the American Petroleum Institute, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies indicates they are all seeking "more regulatory certainty and the harmonization of industry standards, something factored in to other trade accords."

Bloomberg notes: "Canada, for example, may use the negotiations to push for more predictability surrounding the approval of pipelines and power lines crossing into the U.S., following years of squabbling over TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Keystone XL project.

"Energy companies also are lobbying aggressively to preserve -- and even strengthen -- the investor-state dispute settlement provisions in NAFTA that empower businesses to challenge other countries for discrimination.

"Oil companies are asking negotiators to make it easier for oilfield workers and equipment to move across the U.S. border with Mexico and Canada. The top oil and gas trade groups from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are jointly advocating a new "NAFTA visa program to provide access for skilled energy professionals."

Outlining the significance of energy, Bloomberg says, "[NAFTA] serves as the legal pathway for rising gas sales to Mexico -- 4 billion cubic feet a day last year, or about 60 percent of U.S. natural gas exports."

Speaking about U.S. interests to lock in Mexican energy reforms, the Bloomberg report adds, "In Mexico, U.S. businesses captured five of the eight deep-water oil and gas blocks awarded during December 2016 bidding. Andeavor, formally Tesoro Corp., just opened its first ARCO-branded filling station in northwestern Mexico -- with plans for more as the company leverages refineries in El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles to provide fuel while using newly contracted pipeline capacity to transport it."

Fight Over Workers' Rights

Reports say Canada is seeking to push the U.S. and Mexico on the question of labour rights during this round of negotiations. Both Canada and the U.S. have officially indicated their desire to have labour standards brought into the main agreement as opposed to a side agreement. According to anonymous sources cited by the Canadian Press, Canada specifically wants the U.S. to sign a series of international labour agreements it has so far refused to approve and to change labour laws in Mexico to increase the salaries of auto workers.[1]

Adrian Morrow in the Globe and Mail reports that regarding labour rights, "Canada wants the United States to pass a federal law stopping state governments from enacting right-to-work legislation; the source said the United States has not agreed to such a request. Canada believes that lower labour standards in the United States and Mexico, including right to work, give those countries an unfair advantage in attracting jobs."

According to Morrow, Unifor leader Jerry Dias met with Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul and members of the team working on labour matters the day they were to come up in the negotiations. Morrow reports that Dias said Canada's negotiators are "pushing Mexico on its corporate-sanctioned unions, which are accused of negotiating collective agreements unfavourable to workers; agitating for both countries to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does; and targeting American right-to-work laws that allow workers in unionized shops to refuse to pay dues, draining money from unions."

According to a Unifor news release, Dias is an advisor to the Canadian NAFTA negotiating team. "I'm very pleased with the position the Canadian government is taking on labour standards," Dias told reporters outside the talks. "Canada's got two problems: The low wage rates in Mexico and the right-to-work states in the United States," he said.

Dias also participated in a rally for workers' rights outside the negotiations and participated in a conference of Los Mineros, the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Similar Workers of the Mexican Republic. During the conference, Dias called for the return of the President of the Los Mineros union, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who has been living in exile in Canada. "The attack on freedom of association and on workers' ability to organize must stop," said Dias. "We will not be broken and we will not be intimidated."

Dias also told delegates that a united labour movement must ensure that workers' needs are brought to the NAFTA renegotiation table.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte issued a joint statement following the talks which stated: "We applaud the Canadian delegation for insisting on truly high-standard text -- especially as to labour issues, which were relegated to unenforceable side agreements 25 years ago. Despite a lack of transparency from the U.S. government, we know that the Canadian proposals could do more to protect workers' rights in North America than any previous trade agreement.

"We agree with our governments that a modernized NAFTA will be a model for future trade deals. That's why crafting a chapter that protects workers' rights is central to the success to the renegotiation and a precondition for Teamsters' support.

"On labour, we agree that the substantive protections should be grounded in the ILO conventions[2], and that violations should be enforceable by trade sanctions. We also agree that U.S. state ‘right to work' laws depress wages and thereby arguably constitute an export subsidy to U.S. exporters who move production to those jurisdictions.

"We commend Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and her team for their ambition. We are hopeful that the U.S. and Mexican negotiators will give the Canadian proposal the consideration it deserves. It should be the starting point for continuing a conversation that is premised on the observation that, in the integrated supply chains of North America, the wages and working conditions of all workers always affect trade."


1. Mexico is signatory to 79 of the 179 conventions, including seven of the eight fundamental conventions. Mexico has not signed the convention on the right to organize and collective bargaining. The U.S. is signatory to 14 of the 179 International Labour Organization conventions including two of eight of the "Fundamental Conventions." This non-compliance comes at a time that slave labour in prisons is legal and many states have right-to-work laws that prevent the formation of unions, and others are passing new laws making strikes illegal.

Canada is signatory to 36 of the 179 conventions, including all eight of the fundamental conventions. Canada only signed the final fundamental convention on the right to organize and collective bargaining on June 14 of this year, despite it being adopted in 1949 by the ILO. The convention however does not come into force until June of 2018.

Meanwhile, the Federal Liberal government has not said a word about the Liberal government of Nova Scotia imposing contracts onto all its public sector workers without contracts in the midst of bargaining, something Liberal governments across the country have done in recent years. Successive Canadian and Ontario governments have refused to ensure that migrant workers from countries such as Mexico have the same labour rights on paper as Canadians, including the right to organize, strike and have access to proper workplace health and safety. And at the same time they violate many of these same rights as concerns Canadians.

2. The eight fundamental Conventions are:

1. Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
2. Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
3. Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
4. Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
5. Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
6. Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
7. Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
8. Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)

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Labour Day Not Liberal Day

Develop the Independent Politics
of the Working Class!

The working class has scant opportunities to present its own independent views and agenda. The Anglo-American imperialists established Labour Day as an official holiday in opposition to May Day, the International Day of Working Class Unity and Struggle, in the hope that workers would forget about communism and social progress and adopt Canadian chauvinism. But the material conditions are such that no matter how much the ruling class tries, it cannot get rank and file workers to celebrate the attacks launched against them as if they are positive in any way.

As the essential human factor in the socialized economy and producer of all value needed for society to survive, the working class has much to say about its particular situation and its agenda for the future, free from imperialism and class privilege. The working class does not appreciate that the little official space it has been given is hijacked to promote the Liberal agenda and personalities and to sideline its own demands and struggles. Labour Day is not Liberal Day. Many workers are resolved not to allow this subversion of their space to continue!

This year a pronounced attempt was made to push aside the independent views of the working class and its pro-social agenda on Labour Day, in favour of inappropriate cries of relief that at least Harper is gone. This clash, between the reality the workers face and the progress which is claimed, did not make many sections demonstrating to uphold the dignity of labour at all happy. At this time, the social contract lies in tatters. Most sections of the working class, organized as well as unorganized, are not able to bargain freely for wages and working conditions which benefit them and the work they do. Governments and state agencies and the courts are intervening with legislation that imposes an austerity agenda as well as decisions which deprive the workers of what belongs to them by right, such as pensions. The $15 minimum wage and the ban on asbestos are used to suggest that all is well and rosy in Canada and the anti-social offensive has been stopped in its tracks with the victory of the Trudeau Liberals. The ruling imperialist elite takes comfort in smashing the political movement of the working class in defence of its rights. It wants the people under its sway and control. The working class movement has made "significant strides... so we feel pretty good with where we're at," one liberal labour leader declared on Labour Day.

But the working class does not "feel pretty good with where it's at" precisely because spreading illusions about the Trudeau Liberals and others in the ruling elite undermines the fighting spirit and strength of the working class and leaves it vulnerable to attack. Every effort is made to block the working class from building and strengthening its own independent voice and organizational presence in Canada, weakening its defence of the rights of all and sidetracking it from preparing itself for empowerment in a democracy and nation-building project of its own making.

Canadian workers are vulnerable to attacks so long as they do not safeguard the independence of the working class movement. The movement faces serious problems which are of concern to the entire movement, not just this or that section of the working class. More than 50 members of USW Local 1005 have been locked out of their jobs at MANA in Hamilton for more than four years, not to speak of the open assault on their pensions, benefits and employment. So too scabs are used by the Swissport monopoly at Canada's airports and the workers have no means whatsoever provided to them by the system to protect their wages, working conditions and very jobs. Part-time and contract workers feel even more vulnerable, with no collective expression or voice of their own that is independent from their employers and the state, which is not neutral and does not defend them in any way.

Workers can only find security if they consciously participate in the defence of their rights within the context of defending the rights of all. Security lies in their fight for the rights of all, not in illusions that ruling elites have workers' interests at heart. It is irrational nonsense. In the immediate sense this means opposing liberal illusions and working out a line of march which favours them.

The modern world belongs to the actual producers who are determined to change it and move it forward through their own efforts in opposition to those who are happy with the cozy lives they lead as a result of being bestowed with class privilege. Workers must occupy the space for change with their own independent views, institutions and agenda that favour the working class, its active defence of the rights of all and the birth of the new, a humanized society where the rights and well-being of all are guaranteed.

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MANA Still Running Using Scabs!!

Benefit Dance for Locked-Out MANA Workers

Saturday, October 14 -- 3:00 - 10:00 pm
Steelworkers Banquet Hall, 1031 Barton St. East
Tickets $10, all money raised will be donated to Hamilton area food banks.

For more information visit 1005's website: 

The Disgusting and Tragic History of MANA in Hamilton

When the German company Max Aicher Corporation bought the Bar and Bloom Mills off U.S. Steel (USS) in 2010, it was called a "rejuvenation" of the steel industry and a "great economic story for Hamilton" by Ontario's then Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello. What it became is an ongoing tragedy for the workers, the City of Hamilton, the United Steel Workers, and the whole Trade Union movement. To the shame of all levels of government, yet another foreign corporation has bought a Canadian manufacturing asset and been allowed to thoroughly trample on the rights and livelihoods of Canadian workers.

U.S. Steel had taken over Stelco in 2007 and in a short time had proven to be a brutal, profit-greedy employer, locking out Lake Erie Works (LEW) in 2009 and the Hamilton plant in 2010. (USS would lock out LEW again in 2013.) So it appeared to be a blessing when Max Aicher took over the Bar and Bloom Mills. Such would not be the case.

Max Aicher North America (MANA) had been interested in buying a plant in North America to supply its customers in the auto industry. Negotiations with USS had progressed through 2010, closing with a sale on November 12th. At the time MANA STATED THEY HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THE 2006 CONTRACT WITH Local 1005.

Hamilton Labour Day 2017

U.S. Steel had idled both mills in January 2009, the workers dispersed to other USS divisions. When the deal closed, 59 former Bar and Bloom Mill workers were SOLD as a part of the asset sales agreement and ORDERED to report for work on November 15th, 2010. THEY HAD NO CHOICE! USS was no longer their employer. Eight days before, on November 7, USS had locked out the Hamilton plant, and it appeared that these 59 (plus an additional 54 retirees and 4 apprentices) had won the lottery, having escaped the brutality of U.S. Steel.

The Mill was up and running by the end of 2010 and ran through September 2011, when MANA stopped production. In June 2011, 40 workers were laid off and by November only a little over 20 workers remained in the plant.

The laid-off workers were called back to work in April 2012. Only 3 workers took a severance package. Many of the rest were short of the 35 weeks in a 52-week period to qualify for severance. This was a pattern that would be repeated until all of the work force was laid off by December 2012.

MANA played a USS style of hardball in negotiations with Local 1005. Their first and final offer included a 30% WAGE CUT, NO COLA, REPLACING the Defined Pension Plan with a Contribution Plan, MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN BENEFITS, and a general GUTTING of the basic agreement. The workers turned down this offer by a vote of 73 per cent in June 2012. With the entire work force laid off in March 2013, they rejected another offer by 86 per cent.

MANA would not consider any counter-offer by Local 1005. Breaking the union seemed to be the intent of its strategy. The second rejection of its offer led MANA to lock the union out on June 23, 2013, 6 DAYS BEFORE SOME OF THE WORKERS WOULD QUALIFY FOR SEVERANCE!!!

In October 2013, assets paid for by Canadian taxpayers were removed to the European Operations of MANA while the lock-out continued. The Ontario government helped finance this new equipment with a $9 million loan, and the City of Hamilton contributed $200,000 to dispose of 18 PCB laden transformers.

MANA began bringing in scabs to do bargaining unit work and in May 2014, signed a collective agreement with the Building Union of Canada (BUC), a rogue outfit not affiliated with the CLC and with a history of raiding unions and providing scab labour during disputes.

Since January 2015, MANA has been running the mill using scabs. They wound up the workers' pension, which has been challenged by Local 1005. MANA has continued to trample on the rights of workers to this day.

These workers had no choice, they were sold to MANA! Isn't slavery illegal in Canada?

Respect Local 1005's Picket Line! This Affects Us All!

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Striking Airport Workers Hold Spirited Action
at Pearson Airport

On September 3, close to 300 striking workers who belong to Teamsters Local 419, their fellow airport workers and allies from other unions and political groups, including a contingent from the Workers' Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), took part in a militant Labour Day rally and march at Pearson International Airport. The action was organized by the Toronto Airport Workers' Council. Workers converged at Terminal 1 and marched to Terminal 3 for a rally, shutting down traffic between the terminals.

The striking workers are ground crew, cargo handlers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and those who do other work that enables the airport to run safely and smoothly. Thirty airlines are serviced by the workers, employees of the monopoly Swissport, which is contracted to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to do this work.

The workers have been on strike since July 27 to back their demands for an increase in wages, benefits and respect for the work they do. On August 23, nearly 700 of the workers voted 98 per cent in favour of continuing their strike. They have twice turned down company offers, rejecting Swissport's attempts to impose a three-year wage freeze on the majority of its workers, cut benefits, and give itself the right to change schedules on short notice.

The majority of the workers earn less than $12 an hour and slightly more than Ontario's current minimum wage of $11.40 an hour. In May, Swissport hired 250 temporary workers, in part to put pressure on the workers who were in contract negotiations at the time. These workers remain as strikebreakers -- something the workers demand must end.

The striking workers and other speakers from the Toronto Airport Workers' Council expressed their determination to carry on their fight until they win their just demands. They expressed the importance of their fight to airport workers across the country that they not agree to the deterioration of the working conditions and the use of poorly-trained temp agency workers, which endangers both workers and airline passengers. They pointed to numerous serious accidents which have occurred during the strike, and the fact that these temp agency workers are working without standard security clearance, something demanded of other airport employees. Workers also reiterated their demand that airports not be privatized.

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Successful Labour Day March and Celebration
in Prince George

Over 1,500 people participated in Labour Day celebrations in Prince George, BC, on the lawn at City Hall. The event was organized by the Labour Day Organizing Committee and the North Central Labour Council, and sponsored by over 30 unions, labour organizations, businesses and community groups. The overall theme was: Labour movement -- past, present, future: Fighting for the rights of all!

Activities began with a spirited march through downtown Prince George. This was followed by speakers, food, and musical entertainment that continued for several hours.

Throughout the afternoon, the bands Cottonwood and Far From Linear played popular, folk and labour-oriented songs for the attending crowd. Various unions, businesses and community groups set up booths and tents, engaged in discussion and information-sharing with those in attendance and handed out free hotdogs, popcorn, fruits, juices, fudge, cookies, candy and other treats.

Natalie Fletcher, who chaired the proceedings on behalf of the Labour Day Organizing Committee, enthusiastically welcomed  everyone and thanked all the sponsoring and supporting organizations for their contribution to the success of the march and celebration.

Victor Joseph then came forward to welcome participants to the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation. This was followed by the Khast'an Drummers, a drumming group made up of Lheidli T'enneh members and friends, who performed several traditional songs.

City of Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall spoke next, highlighting the important role labour plays in the community and specifically thanking the City's inside and outside workers for their contribution to the operations of the city.

Peter Ewart, from Stand Up for the North and the May Day Organizing Committee, spoke about the importance of the labour movement fighting not just for its own rights, but also for the rights of all in our society, two aims that give the movement the strength and resilience of steel cable.

President of CUPE BC Paul Faoro talked of his optimism for the future in the province now that a new government has been elected. He also paid tribute to Janet Bigelow, the well-known and respected president of the city's inside workers, who tragically passed away recently.

The keynote speaker for the Prince George Labour Celebration was Aaron Ekman, Secretary Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. He emphasized the crucial role of labour solidarity, pointing out that for the last 100 years, employers have continually tried to divide workers in the province on the basis of skin colour, country of origin, language and sexual orientation. This continues today with temporary foreign workers being subjected to modern-day slavery and indenture that deny them fundamental rights. He concluded by pointing out that it is incumbent on the labour movement to stand in solidarity with and ensure the inclusion of all workers, whether they belong to a union or not, whether they are from this country or not.

The final speaker, Don Iwaskow, President of the North Central Labour Council, thanked all those in attendance for helping make Labour Day 2017 a great success.

Once again, workers and community allies worked hard to organize this highly successful event. It has generated a lot of enthusiasm in the community and represents another important step in the building of a strong labour movement in Prince George and region, one that stands and fights for everyone's rights.

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Photos from Across Canada




North Bay; Barrie









(Photos: TML, Foundry Photography, CUPE, HEU, BCGEU, ONIWG,, N. Legualt, A. Farrow-Giroux, J. West, Unifor Local 444, OSSTF District 9)


People's Forces in Action to
Defend the Bolivarian Revolution

Demonstration opposes U.S. threat of military intervention, Caracas, Venezuela, August 14, 2017.

On August 14, thousands of Venezuelans filled the streets of Caracas to denounce the threat of a U.S. military intervention. Demonstrations have also been held in other parts of Latin America and the world, over the past weeks to stand with the people of Venezuela against the attempts of U.S. imperialism and the forces it has put in motion inside and outside the country to attack the Bolivarian revolution. U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was met with protests in Latin American countries he visited for that purpose in August following the U.S. Southern Command's "Defence" conference in Peru (see item below, "Dirty Work Against Bolivarian Revolution by U.S.-Led Regime-Change Forces Continues").

Caracas, August 14, 2017

Demonstration in support of Venezuela and against visit of U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence,
Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 17, 2017.

In Toronto on August 29, a militant demonstration was held in front of the headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to demand "CBC, tell the truth about Venezuela!" Demonstrators denounced the disinformation being spread about Venezuela by the CBC in support of those pushing for foreign intervention and a coup against the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Organizing to Win Regional Elections

Since the National Electoral Council announced that at the request of the National Constituent Assembly regional elections would be moved up from December to October, organized forces of the people across the country have turned their energies to fighting in an organized way on the electoral front as they did for the July 30 Constituent Assembly election. This time they are going all out to elect state governors who will defend the gains of the Bolivarian revolution and its nation-building project against elite foreign-backed forces seeking to return Venezuela to the clutches of imperialism. Tens of thousands of citizens organized by the sector to which they belong or in which they work, including volunteer brigades and social missions of all types, are turning out enthusiastically at mass "swearing-in" rallies where campaign teams are being put together to go door-to-door in every neighbourhood to mobilize their peers to elect candidates from parties making up the Gran Polo Patriótico (Great Patriotic Pole) as governors in Venezuela's 23 states.

Swearing-in rallies for campaign teams take place across the country. Shown here from left to right, top to bottom: Delta Amacuro, Miranda, Aragua, Apure and Portuguesa.

Taking part in the election campaigns are members of the Somos Venezuela (We are Venezuela) Brigade -- more than 80,000 volunteers who since June have been in contact with over 10 millon people through home visits to assess household needs and assist the most vulnerable in getting their basic needs met. Local Production and Distribution Committees (CLAP), formed for the purpose of combatting the effects of the economic war by distributing packages of basic foodstuffs and other necessities to households, are also involved, as are members of unions, social and political movements of women and youth, the Bolivarian militia, community medical and sports brigades, among many others.

We Are Venezuela Brigade volunteers at work in Carabobo state, September 3, 2017.

(Photos: PSUV, TeleSUR, TML)

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World Summit and Days of Solidarity in Defence of Peace and Democracy in Venezuela September 16-17

A World Summit in Defence of Peace and Democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will be held in Caracas and World Days of Solidarity in Defence of Peace and Democracy will take place there and elsewhere around the world on September 16-17.

At a preparatory meeting August 26, President Nicolás Maduro announced, "The whole world is invited to the days of dialogue, peace and sovereignty with the people of Venezuela." Representatives of governments that support Venezuela's right to self-determination and reject foreign intervention, as well as movements, organizations, fronts and other social forces that stand for peace in the Latin American region will be invited to attend.

Speaking to the international media on August 22, President Maduro said that what imperialism fears is the plenipotentiary power of Venezuela's "citizen-based, popular, non-partisan Constituent Assembly," meaning that its powers supersede those of all other existing powers.

On August 24, while the U.S. Southern Command was holding its South American Defence Conference in Lima, Peru with the heads of the military forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to "decide on new strategies to face military threats," President Maduro said it was his duty to defend the country's sovereignty in the face of the threat of a possible foreign intervention. He said this could take place in phases and through a series of provocations as opposed to a classic invasion, possibly beginning with a naval blockade of the country. He said the country's military forces would be increased to defend and guarantee peace nationally, in South America and the Caribbean.

Maduro used the occasion to announce that on the weekend of August 26-27 the 2017 Bolivarian Sovereignty Civil-Military Exercises would take place in Venezuela. The exercises, which involved members of the country's armed forces, Bolivarian militias and the organized people, served as a test of the Venezuelan army and people's capacity to defend the country "from the pride and arrogance of imperialism who believe that we are going to be frightened, that we are going to live in fear and that we intend, somewhere in our mind, our heart, to surrender to imperialist threats," Maduro said.

CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to go all out to hold actions during the days of action to express their support for Venezuela and oppose the ongoing interference in its internal affairs by the Canadian government.

World Days of Solidarity in Defence of Peace
and Democracy in Venezuela

The following was posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on August 26.


The Antonio José de Sucre Yellow House in Caracas was the setting this Saturday [August 26] for the preparatory meeting for the World Day of Solidarity in Defence of Peace and Democracy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to be held on September 16 and 17 in the country's capital [Caracas], in the face of the unilateral threats and measures taken by the United States government against Venezuela.

Representatives of social movements, analysts, senators, and academics from Mexico, Chile, France, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, the United States, El Salvador, Italy, Russia, Cuba, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina were in attendance.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of International Communication William Castillo recalled President Nicolás Maduro's call for solidarity in defence of the Venezuelan people in the face of attacks "by U.S. imperialism that are accelerating on a daily basis."

18 Years of Aggression Against the Bolivarian Government

During the day of deliberations, the Vice President for Social Development and Minister of Education, Elías Jaua, analyzed the current situation in Venezuela and highlighted the fight the Bolivarian people have waged to defend the right to decide their own destiny, to exercise their right to self-determination of their political, economic, social and cultural model.

"There have been 18 years of economic, international diplomatic and military aggression; of aggression through destabilization and violence," the Minister said.

In the same vein, he denounced that since last April 1, the decision was taken in the centres of imperial power to definitively overthrow the revolutionary and constitutional government headed by President Nicolás Maduro at any cost.

"The first offensive was carried out by sectors organized to engage in actions of social hatred, of armed violence. What Venezuela experienced the last three months were not riots like those that take place elsewhere in the world; they were attacks by armed groups against the right of the majority of Venezuelans to live in peace, and to destabilize and promote civil war in Venezuela," the Minister explained.

However, he said, these actions were defeated by the Venezuelan State and the more than 8 million people who on July 30 elected the National Constituent Assembly "in defence of the right to live in peace."

Regarding this last issue, and in the face of the campaign of media manipulation and ignorance about the Constituent Assembly, the Social Vice President reaffirmed the legality of the legislative body that was convoked based on articles 374, 348 and 349 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

"We are engaged in a deeply democratic process that cannot be misrepresented; a powerful instrument for liberation," added Jaua, who also rejected the recent measures taken by the Trump Administration against the Bolivarian Republic.

Plan of Action

At the preparatory meeting, the Constituent Assembly deputy, Adán Chávez, referred to the plan of action in the "empire's script" that seeks to create conditions conducive to the overthrow of the Bolivarian Government: psychological and media warfare, the economic war, and direct intervention.

However, he said, Venezuela has the mechanisms to resist and face this "fierce onslaught."

At the same time, he thanked the peoples of the world for their solidarity against Washington's unilateral decisions taken to the detriment of Venezuela.

"As the imperial onslaught has grown, so has the international solidarity with our process, the willingness to wage a joint fight to continue fulfilling one of the Bolivarian mandates rescued by Commander Chávez: the union of Our America, the union of our peoples," said Adán Chavez.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communication and Information, Ernesto Villegas, emphasized that there has been a turning point in the statement of U.S. President Donald Trump -- where he said he would not rule out a military intervention in Venezuela -- and in the executive order he signed August 25 as President of the United States against Venezuela. "It is a declaration of economic war."

Faced with this situation, the Minister of Communication and Information called on the peoples of the world to "watch what is developing in Venezuela with an eye to history, the way our liberators viewed things... The Venezuelan people are developing a historical process inspired by their feats."

(Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores. Translated from the original Spanish by TML. Photos: MPPRE, TML)

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People's Empowerment Through the Work
of National Constituent Assembly

August 29, 2017 session of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly.

The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been carrying out its work since it was elected on July 30. After the leadership of the opposition-controlled National Assembly boycotted a meeting called by the ANC to discuss coordination between the two institutions, the ANC approved a decree on August 18 that will allow it to pass legislation on issues that include the "preservation of peace, security, sovereignty, the socio-economic and financial system," according to its president, Delcy Rodríguez. She clarified that the decree will in no way dissolve the National Assembly, as regime-change forces inside and outside of Venezuela, including Canada, allege.

On August 24, a statute outlining the functioning of the ANC and the process for approving a new draft constitution was unanimously approved. The statute contemplates the creation of 21 commissions charged with drafting changes to the constitution -- 10 of which are to address the ten themes President Nicolás Maduro proposed that the constituent assembly take up when he convoked it on May 1.[1] The law establishes that the ANC will be in session from Tuesday to Thursday every week and at any other time the majority of members present determines that it should meet. Mechanisms will be made available for citizens who wish to share their ideas with the ANC to do so.

Also on August 24, the Commission for a Diverse and Productive Economy was created and charged with giving rise to a new model for the economic development of Venezuela. Thirteen subcommissions are to be created to deal with different sectors of the economy, such as banking and finance, services, construction, mining and oil, and basic industries. There will also be a review of price-fixing practices.

Part of this work will be to devise the means to combat financial speculation and the hoarding of goods to create shortages and give rise to inflation in the country, key components of the economic war against the government and people of Venezuela.

On August 31, organizations representing all sectors of the economy and business were invited to put forward their opinions and proposals to the ANC as part of a national dialogue to discuss ways to improve the country's productive model, strengthen and diversify the economy and defeat the economic war that continues to be waged by external and internal forces intent on overthrowing the government of President Maduro.

The same day, the ANC condemned the new U.S. sanctions imposed on August 25 to block Venezuela's access to credit from the U.S. financial system and specifically target the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

"We condemn and categorically repudiate the illegitimate and illegal executive order of the President of the United States of America imposing economic and financial sanctions against the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," said a statement read out by ANC member Diosdado Cabello.

"These sanctions that [U.S. President] Donald Trump intends to apply ... [are not] against PDVSA ... these are sanctions [against] our people, because when we recovered the oil company we put it in service of our people," ANC member Erika Farías said.

As well, discussion has begun on the draft law for Peaceful Coexistence Against Intolerance and Violence proposed by President Maduro.

The creation of a Truth, Justice and Peace Commission, which will hold public meetings to give a voice to the victims of the terrorist acts promoted by the Venezuelan opposition, has also been created and begun its work. It will address the need for changes in the judicial system to put an end to impunity, particularly as concerns violence engaged in for political purposes. It is headed by the president of the ANC, Delcy Rodríguez.

One of the first acts of the ANC was to suspend Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz, accused of "grave breaches of the law" and playing an active role in the foreign-backed campaign to destabilize the country. She and her husband, a deputy in the National Assembly who is also being investigated for alleged participation in a corruption ring inside the Ministry his wife headed, fled the country for Colombia where they were immediately offered asylum by the government of Juan Manuel Santos. The next day Ortega flew to Brazil (where the coup government also reportedly offered her immediate asylum) to meet with attorney generals of the trading bloc Mercosur from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. At the meeting she claimed to have evidence (without producing any) that President Maduro and other top government leaders were engaged in corruption.

In related news, the National Electoral Council has confirmed that 76 political parties, including all the main opposition parties, have applied to participate in regional elections for state governors to be held in October. The ANC ordered the date moved up from December 10. There were 800 applications from candidates, of which 226 met the criteria for acceptance.


1. See "About Venezuela's Constituent Assembly," TML Weekly, May 20, 2017.

(Photos: @ANC_ve, PSUV)

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Dirty Work Against Bolivarian Revolution by
U.S.-Led Regime-Change Forces Continues

On August 8, a group of countries belonging to the Organization of American States (OAS), including Canada, got together in Lima, Peru to continue plotting against Venezuela outside the OAS. This time, as if to cover up who is directing the entire operation, the U.S. was not physically present. Twelve countries issued what they called the Declaration of Lima[1], containing 16 measures to be applied as part of a continuing effort to isolate and sanction Venezuela in retaliation for the successful holding of the election for the National Constituent Assembly, which these U.S.-led forces had demanded be called off. Among other things, the 12 countries declared that they would continue applying to Venezuela what they call the Inter-American Democratic Charter, even though the measures they pledge to take, including the application of the Charter have never been approved at the OAS, despite more than a year of trying by these same interventionist forces.

The group also asserted that they will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly or any of its decisions, due to its alleged illegitimacy, and they will not support any Venezuelan candidates for representatives to international or regional organizations.[1]

The representatives of five other countries that were in attendance -- Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, and St. Lucia (the only Caribbean countries represented at the meeting) and Uruguay -- did not sign this "Declaration."

The same day, the Political Council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) met in Venezuela and reaffirmed its support for the government of Venezuela. ALBA Secretary General David Choquehuanca of Bolivia said, "The authorities that are in Peru do not represent the wishes of our people. Our people do not want war, they don't want conflict."

At the meeting, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez emphasized that the battle for Venezuela was "the battle for Latin America and the battle for the world."

The Lima meeting and "declaration" were followed by a week-long tour of four Latin American countries by U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence which resulted in the neo-liberal governments of Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama doubling down on Venezuela, at the same time saying they oppose the use of force. While Pence was on his tour, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that he did not rule out using the "military option" against Venezuela.

The "South American Defence Conference" was also held in Peru this year. From August 22-25 the U.S. Southern Command brought together military leaders from seven countries "for discussions on defeating illicit networks and responding to cyberattacks and humanitarian crises." Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd, commander of U.S. Southcom, made a point of saying that because issues under discussion at the meeting were "truly global," there was "not a single country or military out there able to solve them by acting alone." He said, "We all have to work together, sharing information freely and trusting one another implicitly." He called the conference "an important forum to discuss key cooperation to deal with threats in the region."

It should be recalled that an executive order issued in 2015 by President Obama and renewed as one of his last acts in office, declared Venezuela to be an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the national security of the United States.

Like all the schemes of U.S. imperialism to create pretexts for intervention and war, the so-called Declaration of Lima repeats false accusations and is dripping with hypocrisy. As just one example, at the same time it was hosting meetings for the U.S. Southern Command to tighten its grip on the region and for a gang of countries to pontificate against Venezuela for its supposed "systematic violation of human rights and fundamental liberties, violence, repression and political persecution, " the government of Peru was busy criminalizing and using police powers to attack striking teachers in the country. Rather than negotiating with teachers who had been engaged in a national strike over wages, working conditions and the lack of funding for public education for over a month, on July 19 President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski declared a state of emergency, suspending constitutional rights to personal freedom and security, allowing warrantless raids and arrests and suspending freedom of assembly and movement for 30 days.[2]

Striking teachers in Peru take to streets August 10, 2017.

New U.S. Sanctions

On August 25, President Donald Trump stepped up the criminal economic war on Venezuela by signing an executive order issuing a new round of economic sanctions. The same day, Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said at a press conference, "We don't agree with anything Maduro is doing. We wanted to rely on the OAS but they weren't able to do anything. We tried an emergency meeting with the Security Council, but they didn't think it had anything to do with peace and security. Now we've placed sanctions and we'll see if there's anything else we can do."

Showing that it is an orchestrated campaign, the Trudeau government immediately expressed its support for Trump's order, chiming in through the Global Affairs Canada Twitter account, "Canada welcomes #US action to impose additional sanctions on #Venezuela. We continue to call for a return to democracy."


1. Lima Declaration

The Foreign Ministers and Representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, gathered here in Lima, on August the 8th of 2017 to address the critical situation in Venezuela and to explore ways to contribute to the restoration of democracy in that country, through peaceful and negotiated means;

Drawing on the spirit of solidarity that characterizes the region, and on our conviction that negotiation, with full respect of International Law and the principle of non-intervention, does not contravene human rights and democracy, and is the only means that can assure a lasting solution to disagreements;


Our condemnation of the rupture of the democratic order in Venezuela.

Our decision to not recognize the National Constituent Assembly, or any of its decisions, due to its illegitimacy.

Our full support and solidarity with the democratically elected National Assembly.

That legal actions, which according to the Constitution require the authorization of the National Assembly, will only be recognized once said Assembly has approved them.

Our strong rejection of violence and any other actions that involve the use of force.

Our support and solidarity with the General Attorney and the members of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Venezuela and demand the compliance with the precautionary measures issued by the Interamerican Human Rights Commission.

Our condemnation to the systematic violation of human rights and fundamental liberties, violence, repression and political persecution, the existence of political prisoners and the lack of free and fair elections under independent international observation.

That Venezuela does not comply with the obligations and requirements for members of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Our serious concern with the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and our condemnation of the government for not allowing food and medicine to enter the country for the Venezuelan people.

Our decision to continue applying the Interamerican Democratic Charter to Venezuela.

Our support for MERCOSUR's decision to suspend Venezuela in compliance with the Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic Commitment.

Our decision not to support any Venezuelan candidature put forward to regional and international organizations and mechanisms.

Our call to stop the transfer of weapons to Venezuela, in accordance to articles 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty.

That, taking into account the current situation, we will request the [Presidency Pro Tempore] of [the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)] and the European Union, to postpone the CELAC-EU Summit, scheduled for October 2017.

Our commitment to follow the situation in Venezuela, at a Ministerial level, until the full restoration of democracy in that country, and to meet at the latest during the next session of the United Nations General Assembly, [an] opportunity at which other countries may be included.

Our intention to urgently support, with full respect of the sovereignty of Venezuela, all credible negotiating efforts made in good faith, that have the consensus of all involved parties, aimed at achieving a peaceful restoration of democracy in the country.

Lima, August 8, 2017

2. More recently, on August 29, President Kuczynski issued an "emergency decree" to smash the teachers' strike. It provided for those who did not report to work to be fired and for "replacement teachers" to be hired to do their jobs. On September 2, after 80 days during which they received the active support of doctors and other workers, the teachers called a temporary halt to their strike but said the fight was not over. If a four-month study the government committed to carry out into their demands does not yield results, job action will resume.

(With files from AVN, TeleSur, Prensa Latina, Correo del Orinoco, Minrex, Venezuelanalysis, US Southcom, Global Affairs Canada)

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