To mark the four-year anniversary of the attempted coup in Venezuela, defeated within 72 hours by a popular uprising in which President Hugo Chavez was reinstated, a week of activity was organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) from April 11.
Those curious about the Bolivarian revolution attended film screenings, pickets of US consulates and fiestas, including one at the CFMEU offices in Sydney's west. The Venezuela charge d'affaires, Nelson Davila, addressed a seminar in Melbourne.
On April 4, NSW Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon expressed in parliament her support for the Chavez government, singling out its independent foreign policy for special praise. "The Chavez government, as with many Latin American governments ... is showing countries around the world that it is possible to be independent of the United States of America and to stand up to that country.
"Venezuela is remaking itself as a socially just society with priorities in literacy, health care, housing and land rights. President Chavez is backed up by 80% of the Venezuelan people — mainly people of colour living in poverty who elected President Chavez in 1998 and who reaffirmed their support for the country he is leading at the August 2004 referendum."
Rhiannon praised Venezuela for taking over one-third of Argentina's foreign debt, saying, "This is one part of a region-wide effort to free Latin American countries from the control of the International Monetary Fund". (For the full text of Rhiannon's speech, visit < http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3KA HREF="mailto:ey/LC20060404037"><ey/LC20060404037>.)
The socialist youth organisation Resistance helped organise Venezuela film screenings on campuses across the country. It has also initiated a national tour of a leader from the Frente Francisco de Miranda, a youth organisation that works in the social missions and poor communities of Venezuela. Maria Rosa Jimenez will also participate in Resistance's national conference in Sydney, July 8-10.
Responding to a call for a global day of action in solidarity with Venezuela and Cuba on May 20, the AVSN and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society will jointly organise events on that day.
The third Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela, organised to coincide with May Day celebrations, has just left Australia. Trade unionists from Australia and New Zealand will observe workers' co-management, meet with trade unions and visit the social missions set up to tackle poverty.
To stay in touch, or to affiliate to the AVSN, visit <http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org>.
From Green Left Weekly, April 26, 2006.
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