"It is important that this book is being released at this time. It allows us to better understand the reality of the Venezuelan revolution", Nelson Davila, Venezuelan Charge d'affaires, told a meeting in Wollongong on October 4. Davila was launching Voices from Venezuela: Behind the Bolivarian Revolution, a new book by Green Left Weekly correspondents Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter.
The book is based on interviews with participants in the revolutionary upheaval which is sweeping Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America, conducted in Venezuela in 2006. Voices from Venezuela aims to communicate the spirit of the grassroots popular movement led by socialist President Hugo Chavez.
The launch was one of a number taking place in cities in recent weeks, attracting audiences of 50 in Brisbane, 40 in Sydney, 50 in Canberra, 20 in Wollongong and 30 in Melbourne. The launches were co-sponsored by publisher Resistance Books, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and Nelson Davila.
"This book is part of the solidarity effort we can see developing around the world with Venezuela, as one way of communicating directly with the people of Australia and elsewhere in the English-speaking countries", Davila told the Wollongong audience.
Helping to launch the book in Melbourne on October 8, former Victorian Electrical Trades Union organiser and AVSN May Day Brigade co-ordinator John Cleary said Voices from Venezuela "tells stories of popular struggle, stories of building socialism of the 21st century. For the Venezuelan people to win, it requires us to support their struggle. This book assists us to build the solidarity movement."
Speaking at the Brisbane launch on September 26, AVSN activist Marg Gleeson said, "Reading the book gives you a real feel for what it is like to be on a Venezuela solidarity brigade, the wonderful activists, community leaders, workers and students whom we have the great joy of spending time with. It is very important that these voices of the revolution be documented in English and readily accessible."
Wynter presented a slideshow of photos to illustrate the background to the book at several of the launches. McIlroy explained that in the context of an international capitalist financial crisis, Venezuela's example of the use of government resources to provide better health, education and other social needs for the population provided inspiration.
The book seeks to show that the revolutionary process is backed by a popular democracy, which helps to drive social change forward in the face of bureaucratic and political challenges, nationally and internationally.
The book is available from Resistance Bookshops, or can be purchased online at <http://www.resistancebooks.com>.