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      Viva Venezuela!

      Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign Gains Momentum!

      Activists from Ottawa to Vancouver, Resolve to Continue
      Actions in Defense of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

      By Alison Bodine & Janine Solanki

      The mainstream media and U.S. politicians are all touting the same line on Venezuela – that the country has fallen into an economic crisis, which has brought it to a humanitarian crisis. The only protests on the streets which are reported on are those by right-wing, anti-government forces aiming to overthrow the legitimate Venezuelan President Maduro.

      What the mainstream media is not reporting is that this is not just an economic crisis, but an economic war orchestrated by the US government and their imperialist allies, working hand-in-hand with the violent counterrevolutionary opposition. That the shortage of goods can find its source at the hands of Venezuela's right-wing opposition, who owns most of the food and commodity production. U.S. politicians and mainstream media are not applauding the efforts of the Venezuelan government to combat price gouging and the hording and smuggling of goods. Mainstream media is definitely not showing video footage or photos of the massive demonstrations in support of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, or publishing the dangerous threats of violence called for by the Venezuelan counterrevolutionary opposition.

      It is in the interests of U.S. imperialism to see Venezuela return to the impoverished country it was before Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution came to power and started working in the interests of poor and working people in Venezuela. Here in Canada, peace-loving people are working in defense of the Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, armed with the truth in the face of imperialist lies.

      On August 7, 2016 the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign was invited to participate in the second conference “Day of Solidarity with Venezuela,” a gathering organized by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Ottawa. This conference included presentations and workshops about the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela as well as an opportunity for solidarity groups and activists to discuss how to build a stronger Venezuela solidarity movement across Canada.

      Among other presentations, there was a powerful speech by the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada Wilmer Barrientos, as well as a lively and informative discussion on the role of social media and how to use social media in a Venezuela solidarity campaign. Participants in the solidarity conference also received materials to use in their continuing work for Venezuela; this included a copy of Fire This Time newspaper, which was given to every participant by the Venezuelan Embassy.

      Back in Vancouver, Canada the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign organized a day of action for Venezuela on August 19. This action once again brought people from a wide-range of backgrounds to the streets of Vancouver in solidarity with Venezuela. First, at a protest at the U.S. Consulate, then at an information table and petitioning for U.S. Hands Off Venezuela at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      The picket at the U.S. Consulate was MC’d by Max Tennant, a central organizer with the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, who led rounds of lively chants and picketing. He introduced also welcome speakers at the demonstration including Brian Sproule from the CPC-ML and David Whittelsey, a long-time antiwar activist. There were also greetings from Alison Bodine, the Coordinator of the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, who was participating in an antiwar conference in London, England. The picket closed with poetry by social justice and Cuba solidarity activist Shakeel Lochan.

      As the U.S. began intensifying its attacks on Venezuela following the December elections, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has organized an action in the streets of Vancouver every month. From Ottawa to Vancouver, we are committed to working with other groups across Canada and around the world build a stronger and more united movement in solidarity with Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution to demand:

      U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!
      Self-Determination for Venezuela NOW!

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