Over 17,000 young international activists have gathered in Caracas for the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students, which begins today (Monday 8th August). Several groups in the UK, including Hands Off Venezuela, Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Justice for Colombia and New Generation, as well as various communist groups, have between them sent over 100 delegates. Everyone from Europe is being housed at a newly-completed village, half an hour south of the Venezuelan capital, except for the organisers from the World Federation of Democratic Youth who have been staying at the Hilton Hotel (which is now run as a co-op). The festival is seen as an excellent opportunity to build solidarity with Venezuela's peaceful and democratic revolution.
This Sunday, Venezuelans will vote on whether to keep their controversial president, Hugo Chávez. Elected with a promise to redistribute Venezuela's enormous oil wealth (before Chávez it was the number one supplier to the US) this referendum will be a chance to find out if he still has the support of the people. Having failed to oust him with a traditional (US backed)coup in 2002, and a general "strike" (bosses lock-out) the following Christmas, the opposition's referendum might actually end up strengthening his legitimacy.
This week, groups in London held a week of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their right to self-determination without US interference. Daily events (see programme) took place at the rampART creative centre in Whitechapel, starting on Monday 9th with the opening of a "Latinamerican Liberation" exhibition. The main event is a picket of the US Embassy on the day of the referendum, Sunday 15th, from 2pm; meet beforehand in Hyde Park near Speakers' Corner for a 'Bolivarian picnic'.
New topic created: See Venezuela 2004 for all related posts.
In a stunning reversal of the pro-business coup that ousted him from power on Friday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to the presidential office. Mass protests had erupted in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas immediately after the coup. Thousands of people stormed the presidential palace, 'interim-president' Carmona fled and was later arrested. Read more.
On Friday morning, the Venezuelan army forced President Hugo Chavez to step back from power and put him under arrest. The president of the business council Fedecamaras, Pedro Carmona Estanga, was appointed to head an interim government.
The coup followed days of strikes and mass protests which had been initiated and organised by business councils and business-friendly trade unions. For several months, the national oligarchy opposed to the planned social and land reforms, had provoked civilian opposition to the Chavez-led government. The US-government and international financial institutions had also criticised Chavez for his non-compliance with their demands and had made clear that they would support his removal. Read more here and here.
Background info from:
NarcoNews | Zmag | Schnews
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