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Venezuela, Paraguay and Brazil

06 December 2013

Venezuela, Paraguay & Brazil

Dear LAB supporter and friend,

LAB EmergencyAppeal: A big thank you!

We wrote to you on November 13, warning about LAB’s unprecedented financial crisis.  The good news is that, although we fell short of our target – current total, still increasing, is just under £7,000 – we have enough funds for LAB to remain open to prepare applications to charitable trusts and institutional donors which have always been the most likely source of long-term, sustainable funding for LAB. LAB sends you all a very big THANK YOU for your generous donations!  Anonymity: Many of your donations appear as “anonymous”. If that was your intention, then of course, we will respect your wishes. Many thanks for your gift and for your solidarity with LAB! If, however, you don’t mind LAB knowing who you are, then please send an email to to let us know. We will be sending out a thank-you note to all identified donors in the next few days. If you’ve not received one by Monday December 9th, then it will be because your donation was “anonymous”. Above all, we want to personally thank you but we also want to reassure you that your gift has been received so please drop us a line.   Finally, we’ve decided to extend the appeal to individuals for a further two months. If you’ve not already donated, please consider giving LAB a one-off gift of £20. It’s easy to donate. All you need to do is follow the link to its easy-to-follow and secure JustGiving page: Also, don’t forget to tick the gift-aid box. Your donation will be worth 25% more if you do. Also, even if you decide not to leave a message, please leave your name and email so we can write to thank you!    Thank you once again. We will keep you updated on our fundraising success in due course!

Venezuelan elections

On Sunday 8 December, the government of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela faces its first  electoral test since its razor-thin victory in the presidential elections in April. In an exclusive article for LAB, Venezuela expert Julia Buxton says that the president has moved away from his earlier strategy of forging broad support to narrowing his political base. It is a political gamble and will it work? Read more  


Jan Rocha, based in São Paulo, has been back to Paraguay after an absence of over ten years. Surprisingly little has changed, she says. The poor remain as  poor as ever, despite the current economic boom, and the conditions in the main prison in Tacumbu remain dire. But today there are no political prisoners and a few are daring to speak out about corruption, which is rife. Read her two blogs here and here.


Extraordinary footage has emerged of the opening in 1970 by General Emílio Garrastazu Médici of construction work on the giant Transamazônica highway that was to cut through the Amazon forest from east to west. The commemoration of the felling of the forest, with the camera lingering lovingly as giant Brazil nut trees tumble, looks gross to us today. But, asks Sue Branford in her blog, has the change in attitude been more than a cosmetic makeover?

 El Salvador

A video from Nueva Esperanza in Usulután depicts the work of a successful farm co-operative growing non-GM maize for seed. The project is supported by ALBA Alimentos, one of the various ALBA initiatives established by agreement between the Salvadorean and Venezuelan governments (Read more). PARTNERS LAB welcomes Minguarana Producciones to its list of partners: they are an association of communication professionals established to give voice to all affected by the giant hydro-electric projects in the River Tapajós basin in Pará, Brazil. Sue Branford and Nayana Fernandez met them during their recent Amazon journey. Minguarana’s profile can be read here. Any organisation wishing to become a LAB partner can do so (it’s free) by completing a profile questionnaire (in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French) here. Best wishes, The LAB Team

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