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      Vancouver Stands in Defense of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution!

      By Janine Solanki

      On Thursday January 26, Venezuelan President Maduro announced that the Venezuelan government had reached the goal of building 1.4 million homes for Venezuelans across the country. The public housing mission was launched by former President Chavez in 2010 to provide free or low cost housing for all Venezuelans, and has continued under President Maduro.

      You might think that such an impressive accomplishment would be reflected in North American news media. However, the mainstream news is saturated with reports of economic crisis in Venezuela, with the blame squarely placed on the Venezuelan government and the Bolivarian Revolution. However Venezuela is not simply facing an economic crisis, but a US-led economic war.

      Despite this economic war, the Venezuelan government and the Bolivarian revolution has not reduced it's commitment to improving the lives of its people. Venezuela's 2017 total state budget allocates 73% to social missions, public works and neighborhood organizations known as communal councils.

      Here in Vancouver, Canada, social justice activists have joined together to show their support for Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution and to protest US interference, sanctions and threats against Venezuela. The Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been holding monthly protest actions since December 2015, and were out on the streets again on January 6th, 2016. Activists first gathered for a picket action in front of the US Consulate in Downtown Vancouver, raising picket signs and voices to demand “US Hands Off Venezuela!” After rounds of picketing and hearing from speakers, protesters moved to in-front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to setup a petition drive and informational display declaring “Maduro is our President”. Passers-by on the busy downtown streets stopped at the table to pick up information and talk with organizers, and teams of petitioners collected signatures demanding that the US government stop its sanctions and interference in Venezuela, including revoking Obama's Presidential Decree which labels Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security”.

      The great gains of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, even in the face of counter-revolutionary forces and an economic war, shows us a lot about how a government can prioritize its people over profits. The Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is committed to working in solidarity with Venezuela, both on the streets in protest and in public education about the real situation in Venezuela. For more info on events in solidarity with Venezuela visit www.firethistime.net or follow @FTT_np on Twitter.

      U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!
      Repeal the Decree Now!
      U.S. Respect the Sovereignty & Self-Determination of the Venezuelan People! Long Live the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution!

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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