Report on a webinar about the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
A virtual meeting in Canada brought together activists to discuss the reality of the “crisis” in Venezuela with the intention of strengthening the Canadian movement in solidarity with Venezuela. The event was organized by individuals and organizations including Calgarians Against War and Intervention, Toronto Venezuela Solidarity Committee and Frente para la Defensa de los Pueblos Hugo Chavez and was live streamed from Calgary on August 28.
The organizing group stated in a media release: “The U.S. government has issued several rounds of sanctions against Venezuelan officials, and President Trump has recently declared that a “military option” is still a possibility. The latest White House set of sanctions [was issued] on August 25.” Also stating that the Canadian government has “intervened in the affairs” of Venezuela with “unfounded accusations against the Maduro government.”
The panel of five presenters included four analysts from Canada and a community organizer living in Venezuela. They shared analysis on issues affecting Venezuela to an audience in Calgary and were joined by many viewers via live stream.
Miguel Figueroa, acting President of the Canadian Peace Congress, stressed the point that even when Venezuela has the “largest proven oil reserves, this is not just ‘blood for oil’. It is much more than control of resources. The economic war on Venezuela is part of the imperial take over.” He asked: “What can we do in Canada?”
Juan Restrepo, a community activist from the Toronto Venezuela Solidarity Committee, spoke about the significance of the Bolivarian Revolution for the Region. He referred to Venezuela’s important contribution to ending the conflict in Colombia, and observed the utter hypocrisy of the US/Western mainstream media coverage which gives continuous and exaggerated reports of casualties arising from the violent protests in Venezuela – which are invariably blamed on the Maduro government – while saying virtually nothing about the assassinations of community, labour and human rights activists by right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia with the aim of undermining the Peace process in Colombia.
Sarah Ali, a grassroots community organizer and digital advocacy specialist from Toronto, spoke about the need and the possibility of building a national digital network for solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution. She explained how to identify and target an audience in order to raise their knowledge and interest about Venezuela.
Nino Pagliccia, a spokesperson for the Frente Hugo Chavez para la Defensa de los Pueblos, reported on the solidarity activities undertaken by his organization addressing broader people’s struggle in Latin America with a special focus on Venezuela. He stressed the point that not only Venezuela is under attack, “indeed all of Latin America is under attack.” “We cannot lose Venezuela. That would mean a return to the hegemonic and colonial domination by the US in Latin America,” he added.
The last speaker Carlos Perez a community leader involved in the local CLAP (Local Committee for the supply and Stock) initiative. The program delivers essential food items to members of the community on a bi-weekly basis. He spoke about the local community work and the importance of the CLAP. He focused his presentation on the period he called “Between counter-revolution in 2015 to Revolution 2.0 in 2017.” The reference is to the time in 2015 when the “right-wing took parliament with an overwhelming majority, but their campaign was filled with irregularities,” — said Carlos. He added, “The aim of the right-wing was to force the people into civil war, and set the panorama for foreign intervention.” This had to be done through a political, media and economic war.
Maduro realized that Chavismo needed “revolutionary contingencies to protect the spiritual epicenter of the revolution.” That is, Chavez’s vision for all Venezuelans through social programs like Mision Vivienda that has provided “homes to 1.7 million families across the country,” and the CLAP (Local Committee for the supply and Stock) program introduced by Maduro “as an emergency measure to intervene against the sabotage affecting food and hygiene items in the marketplace.”
According to Carlos, “the Constituent Assembly took over duties to pass legislature and work with the rest of the state powers in order to get the political system up and running again.” That is the Bolivarian Revolution 2.0 taking place in Venezuela today.
Carlos, speaking from his community base in Venezuela ended his presentation with a call to Canadians, “Your solidarity, your marches, your debates and critiques, your voice of hope gives us strength. The revolutionary fight belongs to all of us. It is the fight to keep alive the Bolivarian struggle for La Patria Grande.”
The webinar was very successful and helped achieve the goal of the organizers, to build a national network of Solidarity with Venezuela in Canada.
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