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      Vancouver Stands in Defense of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution!

      By Janine Solanki

      Venezuela today is a country working to create a better and more just society for its people. Under former President Chavez and continuing now with President Maduro, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela has made huge gains to improve housing, healthcare, education and literacy in Venezuela. Even Venezuela’s constitution was rewritten to enshrine in law important advances such as the rights of women, Indigenous people and the environment.

      Despite the huge and commendable progress made in Venezuela, the rightwing ruling class in Venezuela, supported by the US government, has done everything it can to claw back at every step forward by the Bolivarian Revolution. In the last few years this has included an economic war fueled by US sanctions, the US and Saudi Arabia flooding the market with cheap oil to drive down the worth of Venezuela’s oil, and wealthy production owners in Venezuela cutting food and goods production and hording to create shortages and higher prices for food and goods.

      In March the US government and their allies escalated their attacks against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. This included US sanctions against Venezuela’s new Vice President Tareck El Aissami and a heightened Western media campaign demonizing Vice President Aissami, President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution, setting the stage for further US intervention in Venezuela.

      The Bolivarian Revolution is fighting not just to improve the lives of the Venezuelan people, but fighting for a better world for us all. It is up to solidarity activists around the world to stand up in solidarity with Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution. In response to these imperialist attacks, International Days of Action in Solidarity with Venezuela were called for by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity.

      As part of these International Days of Action, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign participated in an international twitter campaign on March 2nd. Using the hashtag #VenezuelaSeRespeta, Vancouver activists tweeted their support for Venezuela and Venezuelan President @ NicolasMaduro directed at US President Trump @Potus.

      Then on March 3rd, Venezuela supporters gathered for a picket action in front of the US consulate. Since December 2015, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has organized these picket actions every month. Protesters held up signs demanding “US Hands Off Venezuela!” and “Self-Determination for Venezuela” while picketing in front of the US Consulate. Along with local speakers, protesters also heard from William Camacaro from the Bolivarian Circle of New York “Alberto Lovera” who spoke from New York over the phone.

      The protest then continued in the busy downtown Vancouver center in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where activists setup an information display complete with a huge Venezuelan flag. Passers-by stopped to find out more about what is really happening in Venezuela, beyond the Western media manipulations, and were asked to sign on to a petition demanding that the US stop their intervening and sanctions against Venezuela. Now more than ever, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution needs the solidarity of peace and justice loving people around the world. The Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign will be out on the streets every month in defense of Venezuela. To join in or find out more, check out www.firethistime.net or follow on Twitter @FTT_np

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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