On the 43rd anniversary of the coup that ousted the elected government of President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, a forum “Crisis in Venezuela: An Eyewitness Report” drew parallels with the current situation in Venezuela.
The forum was hosted by the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) Brisbane and Australian Solidarity with Latin America (ASLA).
The keynote speaker was Eulalia Reyes, co-convener of AVSN (Brisbane) who had recently returned from an extended visit to her homeland, Venezuela. The Brisbane forum followed similar report-back forums in Melbourne and Sydney.
Reyes shared her first-hand experiences of the hardships experienced by Venezuelans, such as having to stand in line to purchase essential items. She queried however whether the current economic situation was the cause of the “crisis”.
“The drop in oil prices is the same in other countries” Reyes said .
She commented that the difference in Venezuela was that the anti-Chavista opposition and its media mouthpieces had used the situation to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Economic sabotage by opposition supporters was also creating the “crisis” of shortages.
Reyes compared media distortions with the reality of Venezuela: the Western media reported on opposition demonstrations in the first week of September calling for an immediate recall referendum against Maduro while remaining silent on the demonstrations in support of the government.
The Western media is also silent on measures being taken by the government to relieve the economic downturn, as well as social programs benefitting the people.
Daniel Gasparri, Minister Councillor of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela participated in the forum. A message of support, which had been received from former Ambassador Nelson Davila was read out.
The meeting also promoted the statement of solidarity recently signed by more than 30 solidarity groups.