August 2004: Chávez Referendum Venezuela.
The Venezuela subsection on Indymedia UK has been created at the request of Indymedia activists in Venezuela. It is being edited from there and here by IMCistas in the UK. Reports will be posted directly, and translated from Spanish originals.
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Over 17,000 young international activists have gathered in Caracas for the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students, which begins today (Monday 8th August). Several groups in the UK, including Hands Off Venezuela, Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Justice for Colombia and New Generation, as well as various communist groups, have between them sent over 100 delegates. Everyone from Europe is being housed at a newly-completed village, half an hour south of the Venezuelan capital, except for the organisers from the World Federation of Democratic Youth who have been staying at the Hilton Hotel (which is now run as a co-op). The festival is seen as an excellent opportunity to build solidarity with Venezuela's peaceful and democratic revolution.
October 12th is traditionally celebrated as the day Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. In reality, this is nothing to celebrate, as it unleashed a wave of terror across the continent which continues today. The colonial mentality there is still very much alive with a tiny white elite holding power over a mixed afro-indigenous majority.
Three years ago, Venezuela's self-proclaimed "revolutionary" president, Hugo Chávez, decreed that October 12th should henceforth be known as "Day of Indigenous Resistance". The icon of Columbus has become offensive to the majority of the population and Chávez himself has described him as "worse than Hitler". For the neo-colonialists, however, Columbus stands symbolically as a role-model of conquest.
On "O12" this year, actions in solidarity with Venezuela's "Bolivarian Revolution" and against neo-imperialism and corporate-colonialism happened worldwide. In London we held a picket outside the Mexican and US Embassies, and in Amsterdam a caravan of cyclists denounced multi-national corporations outside their various headquarters. Solidarity actions also happened in Athens, Puerto Rico and Zimbabwe.
previous updates: 2004-9-29 | 2004-10-6 | 2004-10-8
Cesar Zelada is a well known student activist in Peru. He is also a member of the Fuerza de Izquierda Socialista, a left wing group, and the organiser of the Hands off Venezuela campaign in Peru.
He was in Bolivia as part of a delegation of Peruvian student activists invited by the Youth wing of the Bolivian Workers' Union (COB - the Bolivian TUC) to show solidarity with the struggle of the Peruvian students, particularly those at the Oruro Technical University.
He was arrested on September 14th, in the capital La Paz. He was strip searched and handcuffed by the PTJ police and then questioned without having access to a lawyer. He is being kept in jail in the San Pedro Penal, in La Paz. When making the case against him at the hearing, the prosecutor alleged that he was in possession of explosives, had lied about his address in Bolivia and was carrying "Marxist propaganda" with the aim of "subversion".
The level of solidarity between the UK grassroots movements and the Venezuelan people, alongside their popular radical government, has reached a new high. Activists from all political stripes are transcending ideological and personal differences to defend Venezuela's embryonic "Democratic Revolution".
All eyes are focussed on the upcoming "Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution" on October 12th. Events are planned world and UK-wide, with at least three happening in London on this Tuesday of ESF week: a day-school in Middlesex University with the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, a rally with Rhythms of Resistance, and a debate at NUJ headquarters. The day will also be an opportunity to launch a "Bolivarian Block" to carry through the rest of the week's activities, culminating at the big demo on Sunday 17th.
The opposition has not yet made any move against the government or the popular assemblies, tensions have largely relaxed, and it appears that the crisis has passed [full report in the article].
Venezuelan social movements have put President Chavez on notice that their support for him during the referendum does not mean that they see his presidency as an end in itself; rather, his presidency should protect the grassroots from Venezuela's ruling elites so that the reach of directly democratic neighbourhood assemblies can be extended. "While Chavez has done some to improve the lives of the poor in Venezuela, the revolution can only advance when the people themselves seize control of all the resources and means of production owed to them." Further information and timeline in the article and in the Venzuela special subsection.
On the 15th of august, the International Day of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, protesters took to the streets and meadows of Edinburgh to inform the public about the importance of the co-inciding referendum on the president in Venezuela in the struggle against neoliberalism, privatisation, exploitation and globalised trade competition.
In the distributed leaflet, the activists state, that they will support a Global Day of Action on October 12th, 2004. [reports and pictures: 1 | 2 | call | video]
Other international solidarity events happened in London during the week before the referendum [report] in the RampArt social centre, [video], protests took place in support of the Bolivarian Revolution in front of the embassy in The Hague, Stockholm, London [report | pics | video], Amsterdam [1|2], Mexico, Dominican Republic.
The Venezuelan referendum on the left-wing presidency of Hugo Chavez began at 6:00 am (Venezuelan time), 11am BST, today. Indymedia UK is getting live reports from the streets of Caracas and are distilling news from other media sources as they become available. Things have been calm so far, but tensions are expected to rise during the vote.
Full timeline reports in the article, please read on.
Newswire Reports[ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
Photos[ 1 ]
Videos [ 1 ] [ 2
Zmag Reports [ 1 ][ 2 ]
This Sunday, Venezuelans will vote on whether to keep their controversial president, Hugo Chávez. Elected with a promise to redistribute Venezuela's enormous oil wealth (before Chávez it was the number one supplier to the US) this referendum will be a chance to find out if he still has the support of the people. Having failed to oust him with a traditional (US backed)coup in 2002, and a general "strike" (bosses lock-out) the following Christmas, the opposition's referendum might actually end up strengthening his legitimacy.
This week, groups in London held a week of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and their right to self-determination without US interference. Daily events (see programme) took place at the rampART creative centre in Whitechapel, starting on Monday 9th with the opening of a "Latinamerican Liberation" exhibition. The main event is a picket of the US Embassy on the day of the referendum, Sunday 15th, from 2pm; meet beforehand in Hyde Park near Speakers' Corner for a 'Bolivarian picnic'.
New topic created: See Venezuela 2004 for all related posts.
20-04-2002 22:00THREE DAYS THAT SHOOK VENEZUELA
In a stunning reversal of the pro-business coup that ousted him from power on Friday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to the presidential office. Mass protests had erupted in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas immediately after the coup. Thousands of people stormed the presidential palace, 'interim-president' Carmona fled and was later arrested. Read more.
On Friday morning, the Venezuelan army forced President Hugo Chavez to step back from power and put him under arrest. The president of the business council Fedecamaras, Pedro Carmona Estanga, was appointed to head an interim government.
The coup followed days of strikes and mass protests which had been initiated and organised by business councils and business-friendly trade unions. For several months, the national oligarchy opposed to the planned social and land reforms, had provoked civilian opposition to the Chavez-led government. The US-government and international financial institutions had also criticised Chavez for his non-compliance with their demands and had made clear that they would support his removal. Read more here and here.
Background info from:
NarcoNews | Zmag | Schnews