Venezuela Hosts Global Solidarity Summit

 Human rights activists, grassroots organizers, and progressive political party representatives from around the world have gathered in Caracas to denounce US economic and military aggression against Venezuela. 

By Jeanette Charles

Caracas, Venezuela, September 18, 2017 ( – Venezuela welcomed the international summit "We Are All Venezuela: Dialogue for Peace, Sovereignty and Bolivarian Democracy" this past weekend in Caracas with more than 300 participants from 60 countries representing five continents. This event comes in the wake of escalated actions by the Trump administration against Venezuela last month, including financial sanctions and threats of a "possible military option". 

National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Delcy Rodríguez, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and United Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV) International Coordinator Adán Chávez inaugurated the summit, accompanied by the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra, who performed traditional genres to an auditorium packed with over 600 international delegates representing social movements, left political parties, armed forces, and organized communities.

"Defending Venezuela is to defend humanity and its right to exist," declared Arreaza. He framed the current political, economic and social context in Venezuela, asserting that US aggression against Venezuela started with the emergence of the Bolivarian Process. "In 1999, the Bolivarian Revolution rang the alarms of US imperialism with our National Constituent Assembly. We criticized the US and NATO bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan and later, we came up against the coup against Commander Chávez in 2002," Arreaza continued.  

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also denounced US attacks against Venezuela in corporate media and its alliances with re-emergent right-wing governments in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the European Union's proposal to move forward with sanctions against the South American nation.

Dr. Sonya Gupta of the Center for European and Latin American Studies in New Delhi, India addressed the summit on behalf of the international delegates, affirming the urgency of international solidarity. "We are here to defend Venezuela because we see [the Bolivarian Process] as an example, a leader. The brave Venezuelan people are writing a new history, not just for Venezuela but for all of Latin America and the Caribbean. [Venezuela] is inviting us to build a new democracy, a popular democracy, a democracy in the streets," she affirmed.

Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Namibia, Kenya, Philippines, China, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Saint Lucia, Mexico, United States, Canada, Italy, India, Nicaragua, and Russia are among the 60 countries represented in this week’s events by delegations comprised of human rights activists, journalists, grassroots organizers, political party members, peace promoters, authors, among others.

Saturday’s inaugural activities concluded with short documentaries covering the right-wing opposition violence that took place four months this year resulting in the deaths of at least 126 people in Venezuela.

¨Venezuela witnessed four months of fascist violence, with some of the most horrendous forms of violence, where people were burnt alive simply for being or appearing Chavista, for being poor, Afro-descendant and Indigenous," Rodríguez stated. 

"These were terrible expressions of fascism and North American white supremacy. We are facing an empire that is based on racial supremacy," she added.

Following the inaugural address, Venezuelan and international participants moved to discuss global solidarity and action plans in multilingual working groups. For several hours, delegates exchanged ideas of pre-existing solidarity campaigns and their proposals for future work to defend Venezuelan sovereignty.  

Working groups presented their final results during a session moderated by Vice-Minister for International Communication William Castillo.  Among the proposals outlined were multilingual information and multimedia campaigns on the Bolivarian Revolution's achievements and current context, solidarity brigades, legislative work against US sanctions, electoral observation for the upcoming October regional elections, cross-border work between Venezuela and Colombia, as well as gatherings with Indigenous peoples. Likewise, the Dominican delegation announced they will commit to ongoing public demonstrations in solidarity with Venezuela as the Caribbean country continues to host talks between the national government and opposition.

Delegates additionally identified the first two weeks of October as global days in solidarity with Venezuela, calling upon organizations and communities around the world to host events accompanying Venezuela’s Day of Indigenous Resistance (October 12th) and the regional elections (October 15th).

President Nicolás Maduro and Bolivian President Evo Morales also participated in the summit, hosting a forum with delegates Sunday during the Venezuelan head of state's weekly television program. 

"While capitalism and imperialism exist, the struggle will continue. [Venezuela], please know, that we will not abandon you, whatever the right-wing does or says,¨ proclaimed Morales. The Bolivian contingent represented the largest participation in this week's events with 60 delegates, including coca farmers, miners, women’s rights activists, and Indigenous movements.

The rest of this week’s activities include visits to community councils and communes, public housing developments, the National Constituent Assembly as well as forums on civilian-military unity and anti-imperialist struggles.

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