Sydney rally calls for 'US hands off Venezuela!'


More than 100 people joined a rally at Sydney Town Hall on April 11 to demand "US hands off Venezuela!"

The rally demands were: "No more coups; End foreign intervention; Respect Venezuela's revolution; and Peace in Latin America!"

The rally was organised by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and supported by a range of Latin American solidarity and progressive political groups, as well as the Maritime Union of Australia and the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

April 11 marks the 13th anniversary of the defeated military coup against former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, when a popular uprising and a majority of the ranks of the Venezuelan armed forces united to overturn a US-backed coup by right-wing business and military groups.

The rally was addressed by Venezuelan ambassador to Australia Nelson Davila, who called for ongoing solidarity with the revolutionary people and government of Venezuela. He stressed that Latin America was united in rejecting US President Obama's declaration of Venezuela as a "threat to the national security" of the United States.

Rita Mallia, NSW president of the construction division of the CFMEU, said: "We support the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their own destiny, without interference by external forces acting in their own interests, with ulterior agendas that do not accord with the interests of the Venezuelan people.

"Whether it's the threat to Venezuelan sovereignty or the attacks on workers' rights, refugees, students and pensioners in Australia, it is all part of the same struggle to counter the ever-growing power of the corporate class, who pursue power and profits without care for the consequences for ordinary people.

"We have to work together to challenge that power."

Coral Wynter, representing the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, said: "Venezuela is the target of a lying campaign by the US government and mainstream media to attack the gains of the Bolivarian revolution.

"The US is trying to turn back the red tide in Venezuela, and Latin America generally, by any means necessary. Venezuela represents the 'threat of a good example’, showing what can be achieved when a country takes back control of its resources in the interests of the people."

Speakers from other solidarity and progressive organisations emphasised the support throughout Latin America, internationally and in Australia for the struggle of the Venezuelan people and government for independence and socialism of the 21st century.

Chairperson Fred Fuentes announced that 10 million Venezuelans had signed a petition calling on President Obama to rescind the US executive order declaring Venezuela a threat to national security. He added that an open letter on a similar theme had been signed by more than 50 unionists, academics and others in Australia.

Photos: Peter Boyle

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