The 15th solidarity brigade from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) joined a long tradition of international brigades to visit Venezuela since 1998, and enjoyed a packed itinerary during its visit from December 2 to 13.
During the 12 days, the delegates visited the Bolivarian missions, communal councils, socially productive agricultural programs, housing programs, the Latin American Medical School, the El Sistema music program, workers’ assemblies, community radio stations, rural workers organisations, the cable car of Mariches, and historic sites such as Llaguno bridge, the birthplace of Simon Bolivar, the National Assembly and the Presidential Palace.
Highlights of the tour included the meetings held with Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Office, the Ministry for Indigenous Peoples, the Correo del Orinoco newspaper, Carolus Wimmer, president of the Latin American Parliament, the ALBA Alliance, and INAMUJER women’s group.
Mikesh Patel from Melbourne commented, “Besides the concrete advances made in living standards — housing, food, healthcare, education — what impressed me most is the commitment of ordinary people in Venezuela to the revolution and deepening people’s power”.
For Olivia Skelton, the visit to the community cultural center Tiuna El Fuerte, where they use culture to encourage popular organisation in the shantytowns, was of particular interest. It was similar to the work she does in Adelaide, but at a much more advanced, revolutionary stage.
The brigade was also invited to the last session of the First Congress of the Great Patriotic Pole, the broad alliance of political parties, social movements and organisations in support of the Bolivarian revolution. There the brigade heard President Nicolas Maduro speak and shared experiences with many of the organisations present.
Following a mixture of formal meetings and informal contact with the people of Venezuela, including time spent in Petare, Palo Verde and Catia, some of the largest shantytowns in Latin America, the delegates returned home inspired and armed with the truth having witnessed an example of an alternative society being created.
“For all progressive people, socialists or anyone interested in an alternative world, I urge you to visit Venezuela”, said Melbourne participant Danesh Chako. “The whole revolution is a massive school.”
[For information about future solidarity delegations from Australia to Venezuela, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Lisa on 0413 031 108.]