Solidarity activists who recently returned from a fact-finding tour of Venezuela are calling for concrete actions by the Australian community to assist the Venezuelan people currently facing economic hardship, primarily as a result of harsh US sanctions.
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network
More than 300 international representatives from organisations such as the African Union, the Caribbean Community and the Electoral Experts Council of Latin America, as well as former heads of states, parliamentarians, trade unionists and solidarity activists, were present for Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote. Among them was Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, a Venezuelan-born activist with the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
A farewell gathering for Venezuelan Ambassador to Australia Nelson Davila was held at the Resistance Centre on June 25. About 40 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) and the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
Chairperson Fred Fuentes explained that Davila is being recalled to Caracas after 11 years as Ambassador to Australia in Canberra. He praised Davila's role as a campaigner for the Bolivarian Revolution in addition to his diplomatic post.
My Friend Hugo, a moving film tribute to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made by well-known Hollywood director Oliver Stone, was screened at the Resistance Centre on March 4 to mark the third anniversary of the death of the leader of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.
The showing was organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and the Latin American Social Forum (LASF), with the support of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Australia.
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!"
Australian groups have condemned the decision of US President Barack Obama to issue an executive order on March 9 declaring Venezuela “a national security emergency” and imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials.
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network co-convenor Roberto Jorquera said: “We are extremely concerned at this latest escalation in US attacks on the sovereign nation of Venezuela. We share the concern of the Venezuelan government and many others that this could be a prelude to an economic blockade or even military attack.
Over October 16-17, 120 people participated in lively and informative discussions at the Latin America Solidarity Conference.
“Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world” was organised by the Latin America Social Forum. LASF brings together the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN — Australia), Guatemala Human Rights Committee, Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic (Uruguay), Honduras’ National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and Socialist Alliance.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For several years this has been met with denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chavez, from TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson to establishment figures like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom liken the nation to a military dictatorship.