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International anti-imperialist conference begins in Venezuela

By staff

Members of the FRSO delegation with Camila Fabri Saab.

Caracas, Venezuela – Friday, March 3 was the first day of an international anti-imperialist conference in Venezuela held to commemorate the legacy and continuing struggle of the late Venezuelan President and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution Hugo Chavez. A delegation of Chicano and Latino members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), led by long time Chicano activist Carlos Montes, were invited to attend by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Chavez is not dead

The theme of the conference was carrying on the legacy of Hugo Chavez. The mood in the room was lively, with every seat in the large auditorium filled and two rows of standing room only in the back. In between speeches, local delegates from Venezuela led the room in popular Chavista chants. One common chant was “Chavez no murio, se multiplio,” meaning “Chavez is not dead, he multiplies.”

Local delegates representing different sections of Venezuelan society – such as the youth, fishermen, cafeteria workers and more – were in attendance at the conference as well as international delegates. One member of the PSUV told the FRSO delegation, “In every province, in every community, in every street in Venezuela – the PSUV is there organizing the people.”

Popular democracy

Though the U.S. media portrays Venezuela as a dictatorship, the reality is much different. Hector Rodriguez of the PSUV stated, “In the U.S. they have democracy, but it’s only democracy for capital. In Venezuela we have a true, representative, popular democracy.” He invited international delegates to talk with the Venezuelan people about their participatory government and to question the narrative put forth by the U.S. media.

Anacaona Marin, an indigenous leader of the commune movement and councils, spoke about building revolutionary communes and local people taking their own action to solve problems. She said that for the government to meet the people's needs, the people have to “hacer gobierno” or “make government” themselves, by studying, learning and debating.

Multicolor revolution

One aspect that the PSUV emphasized was the diversity of the Bolivarian Revolution and the participation of indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans in the people’s movement. “I was inspired to see the leadership of women in the conference and the government,” said FRSO member Enya Silva, “the people cheering and chanting the loudest were always women.”

This was also evident in the international delegations, as the conference placed special emphasis on elevating Caribbean, African, and other Latin American countries.

Free Alex Saab

A highlight of the first day was a panel discussing the U.S.’s unjust detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who has been held for over 1000 days by the U.S. government for negotiating food and medical aid for Venezuela. Camila Fabri Saab, his wife, spoke about his case. “What the U.S. media doesn’t talk about is how his detention affects our family,” said Fabri Saab. “His oldest child misses him dearly and his youngest child is growing up without him.”

Carlos Montes spoke from the floor of the wide support and work of FRSO in the campaign to demand freedom for Alex Saab. Camila Fabri Saab smiled and expressed gratitude, telling the FRSO delegation that the work we do is important not just for Saab’s family, but to fight U.S. sanctions against Venezuela.

Fighting imperialism

The day ended with a speech from Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. She spoke on the importance of uniting with other nations to combat U.S. imperialism. “The world will be multipolar, but do we multiply capitalist poles? Poles that will put us in the same position as they have in the past? The world needs diverse poles, a pluripolar world.” Rodriguez used the example of China to show how a country can surpass the economy of the U.S. without resorting to the exploitative methods of imperialism.

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