BY JORGE JORQUERA
Beginning in Perth on September 4, Venezuelan student activist Alvaro Guzman will start a speaking tour of Australia. Guzman is the national director of the Bolivarian Student Front. He will address public meetings in all capital cities on the unfolding Venezuelan revolution.
Located on the northern coast of the South American continent, Venezuela is an oil-rich country with a population of almost 25 million people. Under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, the workers and poor farmers of Venezuela are carrying out a social revolution.
Chavez and his supporters call this the Bolivarian Revolution, a contemporary echo of the struggle led by early 19th century revolutionary Simon Bolivar to free the people of Latin America from foreign domination and social injustice.
The reforms of the Chavez government have ignited a life-and-death struggle between the old business elite and the growing counter-power of the working people. "Between victory and death, there can only be victory", Chavez told over a million people on August 24 in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
Guzman's tour is being organised by the Committees in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean, in collaboration with the socialist youth organisation Resistance. It is the first speaking tour to Australia of a leader of the Bolivarian movement.
Guzman has been especially active in the recent campaign to radically reduce illiteracy in Venezuela. For the last few months, 100,000 volunteers have been working in every village and urban neighbourhood teaching peasants and workers to read and write. This has been one of the many important reforms of the Chavez government aimed at empowering the working people in Venezuela.
As with every other reform it has been savagely attacked by the business elite and media of the country. The technical support of Cuban pedagogical experts has been singled out by the country's capitalist oligarchy as further "proof" that Chavez is leading "the communist takeover" of Venezuela.
For all those who oppose war and corporate globalisation, the tour of Alvaro Guzman is a unique opportunity to consider not only how we can organise the movements of resistance but also how we can support the movements of social transformation.
From Green Left Weekly, September 3, 2003.
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