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      "Already we can say that Venezuela has much for which to thank the Cuban people."
      Speech by Wilfredo Perez Bianco, Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic
      of Venezuela, in Vancouver, Canada

      From October 27-29, 2017, the 7th International Che Guevara Conference, organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) was held in Vancouver, Canada. Over three days, more than 350 people came together for workshops and discussions on the theme "From the Russian Revolution to the Cuban Revolution: The Question of Leadership, Implementing the Socialist Project & Where We Are Today!”

      “Building Solidarity with Venezuela Today” was the workshop given by Wilfredo Perez Bianco, Chief of Mission, Consul General of the Venezuelan Consulate in Vancouver. Wilfredo has been working for Foreign Affairs for 7 years in the Venezuelan Ministry of Popular Power, and held various positions in public administration institutions in Venezuela between 1999 and 2017. He joined the student struggle from an early age and stands firmly in the defense of the Bolivarian Revolution.

      It was a great honour to have Wilfredo Perez at the conference, and the topic of building solidarity with Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolutionary process was an important and informative workshop and discussion. Below is an excerpt of his speech. For the full speech, and further photos, reports, and videos of the 7th International Che Guevara Conference: www.cheguevaraconference.ca

      Good afternoon sisters and brothers. First of all, I would like to thank the Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) for inviting me to participate today in the 7th International Che Guevara Conference. Secondly, I wish to extend a cordial greeting, revolutionary, Bolivarian, Zamorano and Chavista, to all the compañeras and compañeros with whom I share this honorable activity; and of course, to all of you, sisters and brothers, for being present at the time we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the murder of our beloved heroic guerilla, Ernesto Che Guevara, Commander of the Ñancahuazú guerrilla army, which was made up of Bolivian, Peruvian, Cuban and Argentine guerrillas. Honor and glory to the memory of all of them! Beacons of our struggle for the definitive liberation of the Patria Grande!

      Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to make a brief account of the cooperation and international solidarity between Venezuela and Cuba.

      Already we can say that Venezuela has much for which to thank the Cuban people. The Cuban mission in our country has brought more than 60,000 doctors, who have given health, life and love to our people. At the Integral Community Medical School of Cuba they have trained more than 23,000 doctors and integral doctors, and in the coming years they will be graduating another 30,000.

      Recently, President Maduro announced that Misión Barrio Adentro 100%, Venezuela’s main program in public health, has provided complete coverage in all of the 24 states that make up the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This program provides free and universal care in primary, preventive and community health. It is run through the Community Integral Health Areas. Venezuela has thus reached second place in the region in this area, after Cuba.

      To this we must add literacy, education, culture, sports, just to name some areas where we Venezuelans have to say THANK YOU, and keep learning from Cuba, the world champion of solidarity in Our America and in the world.

      I cannot finish my contribution to this important forum, without denouncing once again the new claims of the hegemonic government of the North. The US president, Donald Trump, has threatened a possible "military option" for Venezuela, issued a new Executive Order with new sanctions, this time economic, no longer against high Venezuelan officials, but against the economy and the financial system of all Venezuela.
      […] President Nicolás Maduro said that the new economic and financial sanctions of the United States against the country "violate international law and the United Nations Charter, and ratify an imperial policy of aggression against Venezuela, Latin America, the Caribbean and the peoples of the South."

      At the same time, he expressed that the Bolivarian government will take the necessary measures to that protect the Venezuelan people from aggression. By protecting the national and international finances of the country, with the purpose of breaking the economic and financial blockade.

      "Everything they are trying to do against Venezuela will fail and Venezuela will emerge freer, stronger, more independent, we have entered the post-US hegemonic era," President Maduro said.

      Along these lines, on September 22, 2017 the Canadian government, following in the footsteps of the North American empire, announced unilateral and coercive sanctions, against 40 high-level officials of the Government of Venezuela.

      In this regard, Venezuela denounced these unfriendly and hostile measures, which seek to undermine the peace and social stability achieved, as well as the efforts made in favor of dialogue and political understanding, to the international community. These sanctions are aimed at undermining the support of members of the international community. Their main purpose is to repudiate the institutions of the Venezuelan State and to continue supporting the violence of the extremist groups which the government of Canada has protected and promoted in international forums. A very recent example of this was an event called "The Crisis in Venezuela," organized by the Canadian Council for the Americas, and sponsored by powerful mining companies, on Thursday, October 26, in Toronto. There they gave space and prominence to characters such as Mrs. Luisa Ortega Díaz, former Attorney General of Venezuela, fugitive from the Venezuelan Justice, among others.

      The Venezuelan government has considered that the government of Canada has established, with these adopted measures, an aberrant subordination to the government of President Donald Trump, with the explicit purpose of overthrowing the constitutional government of Venezuela using an economic weapon as a political weapon. At the same time, Venezuelan government has also considered that this decision of the Canadian government has deeply damaged the bonds of friendship and respect that for years have guided the relations between both countries.

      Without signs of rectification or rapprochement, on the contrary, the Bolivarian government felt the need to call its diplomatic representative for consultation, bringing the bilateral relationship to its worst moment. I take advantage of this moment to offer Ambassador Wilmer Barrientos, from this podium, all our solidarity and support, and our desires for the recovery of relations; and with it, a path of dialogue, understanding and integration; the union and peace among our peoples.

      We regret that the US and Canada continue in their efforts to promote and manage the so-called "Lima Group", 12 countries in the region, which incidentally, have also just met in the same city of Toronto, which promote and finance the destabilizing actions in Venezuela, whose ultimate goal is to produce a regime change in the country.

      The Venezuelan people, the revolutionary people, the Chavista people, in less than two months, have responded to the imperialist and pro-imperialist governments in the world with two very valuable electoral victories, amid accusations on top of accusations that there is an iron-fisted dictatorial regime in Venezuela.

      Two electoral processes in two months, where the Venezuelan people exercised their right to free, secret and universal vote, under an automated system considered by international specialists as one of the best in the world. At the same time, on September 26, Venezuela passed its examination before the Human Rights Committee of the UN and that added to the affirmation by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) that in Venezuela there has not been, and there is not, a humanitarian crisis. And with this the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has dismantled the three large media attacks that the presidents of the Lima Group have used, they themselves are systematically violating the international order, and even worse, leading to the near extinction of the Organization of American States (OAS).

      To conclude, I return to the words of President Nicolás Maduro Moros during the Political-Cultural Act of Solidarity with Venezuela, which was held at the Havana Convention Center, within the framework of the XV Political Council of ALBA-TCP, the event I was referring to the beginning of my speech, I quote:

      "The space to achieve development is not the OAS, no! It is the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), it is PetroCaribe, it is the Caribbean, it is Central America, it is South America, that is our path, that is our space, we have no doubt of that.

      Venezuela is not going to surrender, Venezuela is going to follow the course of a revolution founded by a giant, Hugo Chávez, and that course will continue beyond threats, beyond aggression! It will not be the OAS and it will not be the pro-imperialist right that cuts the victorious course of a revolution that has been born of history and that has a single destiny through history: victory, victory and victory!”

      Long live Cuba! Long live Venezuela!
      Long live the ALBA-TCP!
      Long live Fidel! Long live Chávez!
      Long live the Bolivarian Revolution!
      Long live the Patria Grande!
      Long live CHE GUEVARA

      Follow Wilfredo Perez Bianco on Twitter:@ConsuladoVenVan

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