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Venezuela Week of Solidarity 9-15 August 2004

In Venezuela any elected official can be removed mid-term by a simple referendum majority. This extremely democratic constitutional right (imagine if we could've voted out Blair a year ago, before the war) was originally suggested by President Hugo Chávez, who ironically will be now the first person to face this test, on 15th August 2004.

Supporting him are the country's poor majority, who have seen their lives transformed with new schools, hospitals and housing, finally tasting their slice of the huge oil-revenue pie. Against him are the local elite who are used to owning Venezuela, and the Washington warmongers who are used to owning its oil.

In London we are holding a week of events in solidarity with the Venezuelan people, and to tell the US and UK governments, who've already backed one coup against Chávez, to keep their hands off Venezuela! Get involved now if you want to help or find out more about how power to the people is a reality and spreading throughout the world.

PROGRAMME OF EVENTS

Venue for the week unless specified: the rampART Creative Centre, 15-17 Rampart St, E1 (off Commercial Rd, nearest tubes Whitechapel & Aldgate East, buses 15, 25, 67, 100, 115, 205, 254). All events are free.

Monday 9th

Opening of Latinamerican Liberation exhibition at the RampART Creative Centre, Whitechapel.

6pm artists speak about their visions of a peaceful Latin America, followed by open discussion on the Bolivarian Movement in Venezuela, served up with Caracas-style veggie-hotdogs.

Tuesday 10th

Cuba & Venezuela: two countries the US thinks have "gone bad". Rock Around the Blockade host a day of joint-solidarity at the rampART.

2pm films: "Comandante" (Oliver Stone, 2003) plus rare footage of the Cuban revolution.

5pm discussion & debate on how Cuba & Venezuela have liberated themselves from US imperialism, and about the strengths & weaknesses of "democratic revolution".

8pm mixing it into a social evening with authentic food and drink, plus live jamming with Paradox, the Rub and drummers from Rhythms of Resistance. "It's not my revolution if I can't dance to it!"

Wednesday 11th

2pm-10pm Exhibition open at rampART all day, chilled-out reading room.

7pm-9.30pm "Creating a Caring Economy"@ the London School of Economics, with women from the Bolivarian Circle of the Global Women's Strike.

Venezuela has prioritised women and the poor with new banks, and is trading oil for doctors with Cuba and food with Argentina. Cuba's state run economy protects the vulnerable and promotes equality. Haiti has an economy the US is proud of: sweatshops and death-squads. Hear from speakers on all three countries.

This event takes place in room S75, St Clements building, LSE, Aldwych (Holborn tube).

Thursday 12th

2pm-10pm exhibition open all day, screenings in cinema room.

Networking evening for the emerging "Pachamerican" solidarity movement. Activists, campaigns and institutions come together for a joint-perspective on the regional issues of war and neo-imperialism (and Washington's attempts to "Africanise" Latin America).

7pm starting off with a report back from Colombia Solidarity Campaign on the flashpoint region of Arauca, the river border between Venezuela and Colombia. This area is known as the "laboratory of war" and with good reason; it is where the seeds of wider conflict are currently being sown.

Friday 13th

"Media-Coup" in Venezuela, front-line in the war of ideas. 2pm-10pm documentary and shorts screenings, including the seminal "Bolivarian Venezuela: the people and their struggle in the Fourth World War".

Debriefing from Tariq Ali, just back from Venezuela, and round-table with indymedia and the NUJ on the battle between community and corporate media world-wide, from 7pm.

Why is the news from Venezuela the opposite of what's really happening there? How did the internet, email & text messaging prove vital to defeating the 2-day coup in 2002 against Chávez? What language can the solidarity movement use to counter the right-wing propaganda, and what are they planning next?

Saturday 14th

Proper Propaganda @ the European Creative Forum. 1pm-1am, Project 142, 142 Lea Bridge Rd, E5.

Prop-making for Sunday's demo: banners and puppets, screen-printing stickers & posters, software skill-sharing and more. Case-study: "Boycott Coca-Killa" campaign with the International Caravan who've just returned from Colombia, where Coke hires right-wing death-squads to assassinate trade unionists.

Get your message across ethically with No Sweat and Funky Gandhi printing T-shirts on demand. Premiere of new GWS documentary on the oil workers of Venezuela.

Sunday 15th

Day of Referendum

Worldwide US Embassy picket to tell Washington: Keep your hands off Venezuela! In London, we shall be ranting and raving from 1pm at Speakers' Corner (come early for a picnic in Hyde Park) then 2pm we take our message to the embassy in Grosvenor Sq. Speeches and an open mic, followed by the presentation of a letter from victims of US imperialism in Latin America.

6pm exhibition closing party at the RampART with plenty of good food, music & information. Plus what to do next, after the result...

solidarityweek@yahoo.com
www.handsoffvenezuela.org