Celebrating Venezuelan Democracy
Two Years After Defeating a Coup, a Global Gathering in Caracas
By Alex Contreras Baspineiro
Narco News South American Bureau Chief
April 14, 2004
Caracas, Venezuela, April 14, 2004. Workers’ representatives, peasant farmers, indigenous, women’s and youth leaders, intellectuals, as well as journalists from around the world, are assembled in this city to participate in the Second World Gathering of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution.
Two years ago, a fascist revolt of the Venezuelan ruling class, supported by the US Embassy, tried to interrupt the democratic process in this country. But the people always have the power to overturn the ambitions of an oligarchy.
The constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, received the foreign delegations at a lunch in the San Carlos military barracks. In the afternoon, at a rally of thousands of supporters, he thanked the world for the solidarity it has shown this country. Held in front of the Miraflores presidential palace, the rally was a celebration of the victory of the Venezuelan people.
“The revolution is entering a new sage,” announced Chávez, “the stage of social and economic transformation. This year will be a key one in that line of transformation.”
Venezuela is going through profound changes in the areas of health, education, housing, agriculture, land ownership, food security, and others, which benefit the majority of the people in this courageous country.
President Chávez said that the government this year would continue to strengthen these kinds of projects and to benefit the country’s poorest. For years, he said, people have been excluded from the benefits that the many resources in this land should provide.
The events of this gathering for democracy will go until April 17.
Unity in Diversity
Participants here will also be looking for and developing alternatives that can be taken beyond Venezuela’s borders, throughout the entirety of the American continent.
For example, discussion panels will examine the role of the media, the labor unions’ opposition to the revolutionary process, human rights, social movements and participatory democracy, the struggle of rural peasant-farmers, intellectualism and popular identity, the origins of the Bolivarian Revolution, neoliberal globalization, new trends toward libertarian and anarchist thinking, and strategies for stopping the proposed “Free Trade Area of the Americas.”
Experts from all over the world have come to participate in these discussions.
Although some commercial media – known here often as the escuálidos or “squalid ones” – spread falsehoods around the world about the Bolivarian Revolution, the reality in this country is very different: there is a very difficult process of change going on.
Regarding the squalid opposition to the Venezuelan government, Chávez said: “We are constructing a participatory democracy… We are eliminating inequality… We are diversifying the economy along a model of just and equitable wealth… We are developing an ecological, environmentally sound, nation, and internationally we are building a multi-polar world, with many different centers of strength and power.”
The Bolivarian Revolution has been able to unite and mobilize millions of Venezuelan citizens during seven elections over the past six years, but the “opposition” seems unable to gather, legally, the necessary amount of petition signatures to force a referendum to recall Chavez’s presidency.
The foreign visitors at this global gathering will get to know more about the achievements of the revolution on Thursday, April 15, when they visit the barrios, or popular neighborhoods, of Petare, La Vega, El Valle, Antímana, Caricuao, 23 de Enero and Catia. There, they will truly be able to see and feel the campaigns for literacy, healthcare, education, food security, and popular organization that the Bolivarian government is pushing forward.
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