Members of Latin American solidarity organisations from various Australian cities met in Canberra on May 9 for a Gathering in Solidarity with Latin American Struggles and in Defence of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution. Around 40 representatives attended from Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
The final statement issued by the meeting declared: “The purpose of this gathering was to express our solidarity with the peoples of Latin America in their struggles and resistance against neoliberal policies and for justice, dignity, autonomy and popular sovereignty, as well as to celebrate the advances made towards Latin American unity.
“At the same time, this gathering sought to provide a space to share ideas and proposals for co-ordinating solidarity actions with our peoples here in Australia, particularly in support of the Bolivarian Revolution that is currently under threat from Washington.”
The meeting expressed opposition to the repressive policies of the Guatemalan government against the poor and indigenous people of the country; declared its support for the Mapuche Indigenous people of Chile and called for the release of all Mapuche political prisoners; and emphasised its “unconditional support for the Bolivarian government of Venezuela in its struggle against neoliberalism and the Venezuelan oligarchy that simply follows orders from the Obama administration [in the US].”
Among the agreements reached in the meeting were: to petition SBS to broadcast the TeleSUR Spanish-language news service in place of the current Latin American commercial, news program screened on Sundays; support activities held around July 5, Venezuelan Independence Day, and July 28, former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez' birthday; endorse and promote the solidarity delegation to Colombia in September 4-15, 2015, and the solidarity brigade to Venezuela in 2016; and support the proposal to invite two activists (a woman comrade from Guatemala and a comrade from Venezuela) to the Conference in Solidarity with the Struggles and Resistance in Latin America, to be held November 14-15, 2015, in Melbourne.
The meeting also agreed to increase national co-ordination among organisations in solidarity with Latin America in the various Australian cities. It was proposed to increase communication and exchange of information as a step toward this goal.