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Report on solidarity meeting with Venezuelan Ambassador 2004-9-14

charley allan, HOV london | 17.09.2004 16:42 | Venezuela | London

quick debrief from tuesday's meeting at the vz embassy - i think i need a sharper suit!

Two activists from Hands Off Venezuela met with Alfredo Toro-Hardy, Venezuelan Ambassador to London, on Tuesday 14th September. Among other things they discussed the recent "Week of Solidarity" with the Venezuelan people, which HOV had organised in the lead-up to the recall referendum against Chávez.

Although Toro-Hardy has a reputation of being anti-revolutionary, the campaigners found him very supportive of their work, with many offers of collaboration in the future, particularly in countering the false propaganda in the mainstream media. He showed a recent copy of the Financial Times in which he had a letter published challenging a piece the FT had written about alleged referendum fraud.

The ambassador seemed particularly impressed with HOV's recent meeting in Parliament with left-wing MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and expressed amazement that there was a block of Bolivarian supporters in the House. McDonnell sponsored the recent Global Women's Strike-inspired Early Day Motion 854, which 30 MPs signed:

Petition sheets in support of Chávez, collected during the solidarity week, plus some recent newspaper articles written by a member of the campaign, were given to the ambassador, who in response handed over various names and phone numbers which the activists had asked for. He also said he planned to meet with the secretaries of all the unions next month, which HOV could help him with.

The whole meeting, which lasted about half and hour, was very good-natured and ended with both sides expressing a desire to work together more. It could be seen as a localised example of the broader theme of progressive governments and the grassroots working together towards a common goal, such as with the recent case of Venezuela, Brazil & Argentina using the massive mandate from the global 'anti-globalization' movement to destroy the heinous FTAA from within.

The activists promised to put the ambassador in touch with the supportive MPs, and realised that this was an example of Venezuelan-style "participatory democracy", as opposed to the "representative democracy" we are used to in the UK. Now we want more!

charley allan, HOV london
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