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      Vancouver Activists Demand “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!”

      By Janine Solanki

      Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution has made huge strides in the last 17 years, with missions to improve literacy, education, health and housing, access to subsidized food and the development of art and technology. The Bolivarian Revolution has the support of Venezuelans who themselves have become engaged and organized as force to move their country forward. This is reflected in the massive demonstrations in support of the Bolivarian Revolution – actions which we don't see reflected in mainstream news here in North America.

      Despite these gains, the U.S. and the right-wing counter-revolutionaries of Venezuela are doing everything they can, including waging an economic war on Venezuela, in an attempt to sabotage the Bolivarian Revolution and turn back the progresses it has made. As one of his final acts as U.S. President, on January 13, 2017, Obama renewed the executive order declaring Venezuela “an extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security. This outrageous action enables the U.S. Congress to continue their sanctions against Venezuela and ensures that U.S. intervention in Venezuela has a smooth transition to the next administration.

      It is clear that the Trump administration also stands for escalating foreign intervention in Venezuela. As the new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in his confirmation hearings, “I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela.” “Negotiated transition” is just another way of saying regime change, and U.S. “democracy” promotion programs in Venezuela means continued funding and arming of violent opposition groups.

      Since December of 2015, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has called on people in Vancouver, in BC, and in Canada to echo the voices of the Venezuelan people for an end to U.S.-led intervention in their country. On February 9th, the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign organized it's monthly action, starting with a picket action in front of the US Consulate in Downtown Vancouver. Activists held up signs demanding “USA: Hands Off Venezuela!” and “Self-Determination for Venezuela!” while picketing and chanting loud and clear against U.S. intervention in Venezuela.

      Following an action of picketing and speakers, the protest moved to the busy square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. As people passed by the huge Venezuelan flag, activists approached passers-by to sign the petition demanding that the U.S. stop its interventions and sanctions against Venezuela. An information table was busy with people stopping to talk to organizers and to get more information about what is really happening in Venezuela.

      The February action wrapped up with the commitment to continue organizing in support of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution. Venezuela is under attack for fighting for a better and more just world, and for working to improve the lives of their people. As peace and justice loving people, it is more important than ever to stand in solidarity and demand the U.S. stop intervening in Venezuela. To find out about more actions from the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign please visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Twitter @FTT_np

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

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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