This is the first of a series of articles by Joe Montero, following his recent trip to Venezuela
Six Australians went to Venezuela to participate as international delegates at a major congress sponsored by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which is more than the elected government of Venezuela.
It’s huge, having more than 6.5 million members out of a population of 32 million. The suggestion that it is isolated from the people is absurd on this fact alone.
It is this base of support that has enabled Nicolas Maduro and his government to survive, despite the ongoing and foreign based political and economic war being waged against them.
Some 1,100 foreign delegates representing many political parties and social movements were registered. Unfortunately, only 403 managed to make it to Venezuela. The United States and other governments within its orbit had succeeded in stopping the rest. Apparently even the airlines had been threatened with sanctions, if they let the delegates on board.
The Australian delegation nearly suffered the same fate.
Troubles began in Melbourne, with an unusual security check and a pnone call from U.S. Border Security. And the plane was delayed for almost three hours. The gate was kept under Australian and US surveillance.The plane was held up for 3 hours,and the departure gate was surrounded by US and Australian security personnel. We muddled through somehow. There were more problems in Los Angeles. We got through this too. Lucky.
As it was, 51 countries were represented, and they came from all the continents. Despite the stopping of more than half the delegates, the turnout was still an impressive achievement.
There were also government representatives from a range of countries, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Iran, Palestine, Russia, China and Vietnam.
We joined in the sessions and workshops, with many Venezuelans from all walks of life also taking part.
Strict censorship has meant that the news hasn’t got out. But the scale and breadth means that it is going to have a global impact anyway. This can’t be stopped.
The title was the World Meeting Against Imperialism: For Life Sovereignty and Peace. The sessions and workshops dealt with a range of themes, including neoliberalism and culture, the role of workers, the liberation of women, Issues of indigenous peoples and people of afro origin, LGTB rights, geopolitics in the Middle East and the resistance, religion and change, the self-determination of peoples, a sustainable economic model, intellectuals in defence of humanity, media, the decline of US hegemony, the experiences of progressive governments, and the building of grass roots political power to change the world.
The discussion was lively, passionate and infectious, augmented by the Latino penchant for music and heart felt slogans. Again and again, delegates were brought to their feet, punched fists into the air and shouted out vivas (long live). This was no textbook politics. It had the feel of living participation in bringing about change. There is a great deal of difference between the two.
Opening of the World Meeting Against Imperialism Opens in Caracas
Video from TeleSUR English
The final document was overwhelmingly approved by the delegates. It calls on “the peoples of the world to fight for the defense of life, the preservation of nature and to join wills to overcome the structural conditions that generate climate change”: Backs the demand to, “place the people’s interests in the forefront and the development of policies to overcome the prevailing inequalities between developed and developing nations”.
Ii calls on the “citizens of the world to accompany the legitimate struggles for socio-economic progress, on the basis of broad, unitary platform against U.S. imperialism and repudiates the implementation of coercive measures by the United States, with particular condemnation of the economic blockade,” and rejects “the presence of US military bases in Latin America, the Caribbean” : Condemns “the aggression committed by the U.S. against the Middle East peoples. The “violation of Syria and Iraq” are specifically referred to.
There is a call for “respect for the sovereignty of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, whose legitimate governments are striving to maintain peace, based on independence and democracy”.
The document concludes with an agreement to build an “alternative to neoliberalism,” based on “the battle of ideas and anti-capitalist awareness” and the building of a unified global front.
A more detailed statement and strategy for action will be available soon.
Delegates also took part in a massive rally on 24 January. Nicolas Maduro spoke there.
Video from Liberation News
The Australia delegation submitted its own statement
The Australian delegation to the International Meeting Against Imperialism expresses our solidarity with the Venezuelan nation and people.
We support the building of an international united front against imperialism and recognise the necessity for concrete actions aimed at building the resistance against United States intervention. This extends to opposition to wars of aggression, economic sabotage and unjust diplomatic pressure.
A United Front Against Imperialism must involve all possible forces and isolate the common enemy.
Our delegation pledges to contribute to joint global action and work towards building the Australian part of this united front.
- Building a broad alliance of trade unions, social movements, organisations and political parties.
- Action aimed at achieving Australian independence from the US-Australian alliance, including the removal of United States military bases and communications centres from Australian soil.
- Building a campaign to force the Australian government to withdraw from the United Sates instigated sanctions against Venezuela, the recognition of Maduro as president of Venezuela.