As the United States ratchets up its sanctions on Venezuela, organisations in Australia are stepping up efforts to promote people-to-people solidarity, writes Federico Fuentes.
Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN)
A rally was held outside the United States Consulate in Martin Place on July 27 to condemn the US government's campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through illegal sanctions and threats of military intervention.
"We are resisting", is the answer that Venezuelan-Australian activist Eulalia Reyes receives when she speaks to friends and family back home. "Right now, international solidarity is so important for the Venezuelan people, who are fighting against US sanctions and threats of military intervention", she said.
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.
Solidarity activists who recently returned from a fact-finding missions to Venezuela reported to a meeting organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (Melbourne) and the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) on March 27.
Protests were held in various Australian cities on February 23 as part of a global day of action against US-led aggression towards the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
La Trobe University Latin American studies lecturer Ralph Newmark told a meeting of 80 people on February 20 that the English-speaking media misrepresents the causes of the crisis in Venezuela.
The meeting was organised by the newly-formed Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.
Newmark said the crisis is being caused by external pressure from the United States and internally by the Venezuelan middle and upper class who oppose the government’s pro-poor measures.
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).
Campaigning is well underway for Venezuela’s May 20 national vote to elect the nation’s president and representatives to municipal councils and state legislatures. To get a sense of the campaign and situation in the South American country today, Federico Fuentes spoke to Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) Brisbane co-convenor Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, who has been back in her home country for the past several months.
In the face of an escalating international campaign by the right-wing Venezuelan opposition, backed to the hilt by the US, to bring down the left-wing government of President Nicolas Maduro, solidarity activists around the world, including Australia, are stepping up their activities. Supporters of the Venezuelan right-wing opposition are also escalating their efforts aimed at undermining and attacking the solidarity movement.
Since April, the people of Venezuela have been under constant attack from violent protests orchestrated by the right-wing opposition to the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Message of solidarity from branch secretary Paul McAleer on behalf of the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch.
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