The Washington DC HOV Campaign and Venezuelan Embassy Commemorate the Events of April 2002

 On Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 pm, around 30 people filled the Andres Bello Hall of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC to view the Hands Off Venezuela documentary No Volverán. The crowd included members of the Farabuno Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador, people from Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela, and many workers from the Venezuelan Embassy itself. The meeting was opened by the Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires, Dr. Angelo Rivero Santos, who introduced the Chair of the meeting, comrade Matt Wylie of the DC Hands Off Venezuela Campaign.

The Chair then introduced the first speaker of the event, Karl Belin of the HOV national board of directors, who is also a member of the local campaign. Karl began by talking about his experiences in Caracas and Los Teques, Venezuela in August of 2005 as part of a US delegation to the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students. He gave his impressions on what he considered the most valuable gains of the Bolivarian Revolution at the time of his visit, the Social Missions. He especially emphasized the gains of the Ribas and Robinson educational missions and shared a story about an old woman who, prior to her learning to do so in the Missions, could not write her name. Karl told the audience that this woman now had an 8th Grade education.

Karl then introduced the film about the revolutionary process and the 2006 HOV delegation to Venezuela during the presidential elections. Karl explained that the role of the HOV campaign is not to simply offer moral support, but to participate in the revolutionary wave that is sweeping Latin America, draw lessons from the struggles, and carry them to all 40 countries where HOV is now active.

The audience gave an enthusiastic ovation when the film was over. Following the movie, Attaché of Cultural Affairs Patricia Abdelnour encouraged all those in attendance to visit the Embassy regularly for cultural events and art exhibits. She also thanked the HOV campaign once again for their efforts in making the event possible and for their solidarity with the people of Venezuela before giving the floor to Marcos García, Second Secretary of the Labor Attaché. Marcos, a former trade union organizer, gave an enlightening speech on the nationalization of the Inveval and Invepal plants in Venezuela. He also emphasized the role of workers’ struggles in the revolutionary process. These, he said, were the most important part of the revolution. The HOV campaign in Washington would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Marcos for his work in obtaining the Andres Bello Hall for the film showing and for making the event possible.

 Following Marcos’ speech, the floor was opened to questions for Marcos and Karl about the film, the revolution, the Embassy, or whatever questions the audience wished to ask. A very fruitful discussion ensued, and people expressed great enthusiasm for the HOV campaign and for the Venezuelan Revolution. One particularly well-dressed gentleman, who identified himself as “an employee of an often unpopular financial institution,” who had been seen shaking his head and laughing throughout the film, asked the the HOV representative exactly “what is the rationale, as American citizens, for making such biased and bold political statements” in defense of a process which we “have no part in.” The comrade replied that we have every possible reason to make such statements in the United States and in every country, because the struggles of the Venezuelan workers and poor are the struggles of the working people in every country around the world. The struggle taking place in Venezuela knows no artificial boundaries, as the factory occupations in Chicago, France, the UK and other countries have shown in recent months. The workers of Venezuela are our brothers and sisters!

This reply from HOV received the enthusiastic support of the crowd, with everyone clapping and calls of “that’s right!” The crowd further delivered their own opinions about the subject and this particular representative of the financial elite was roundly admonished by the crowd in each case.

When the meeting was formally closed, the HOV members were very touched by how many people stayed to chat with us informally about the process in Venezuela, the struggle at home, and the international work of the HOV campaign. Particularly we would like to thank the Venezuelan Embassy once again for providing the hall, attending the event, and making available refreshments to the attendees. Our thanks also goes out to all those individuals who came to the event, the delegation from the FMLN, and the encouraging words we received from all those present. This event was just the first of many and with the help of those who came to this film showing, we are sure to have even greater success in building the solidarity movement in the future.

¡Viva La Revolución!

Are you a communist?
Then apply to join your party!