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      Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
      in the Streets Against Canada's Sanctions on Venezuela!
      U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela

      By Janine Solanki

      In Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution is charting a new path for its people, favouring equality, education, healthcare and housing for all Venezuelans. Historically, Venezuela, under corrupt regimes, had high levels of inequality. In 1998, the year in which Chavez was elected and the Bolivarian Revolution began, poverty was at 50% of the population, according to World Bank figures. By 2012, after social programs were introduced under the Chavez government, the United Nations Agency for Human Settlements reported Venezuela as having the highest wealth equality in Latin America. While wealth disparity in the rest of Latin America is increasing, in Venezuela it is decreasing.

      However, the progress of the Bolivarian revolutionary process has been in the face of great challenges. The former ruling elite in Venezuela is still trying to regain power and turn back the Bolivarian Revolution. This opposition has resorted to violence and an economic war in which essential goods and food are hoarded and factory production is cut. External forces are also part of this economic war on Venezuela, especially the governments of the U.S. and Canada who have imposed sanctions against Venezuela and are part of a dangerous campaign of threats and propaganda aimed at overthrowing the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro.

      Now more than ever, peace and justice loving people in Canada have the responsibility to demand that the governments of Canada and the U.S. respect Venezuela’s sovereignty and end their sanctions. The Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been organizing monthly actions in solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, and against U.S. and Canadian sanctions and interference in Venezuela’s affairs. On November 3rd, activists and supporters gathered for a picket action in front of the U.S. Consulate in Downtown Vancouver. With picket signs reading “USA: Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No Regime Change in Venezuela!” protesters marched and chanted in front of the U.S. Consulate, and listened to local speakers in between rounds of picketing.

      The protest was at an especially relevant time, as on the same day, the government of Canada announced further sanctions targeting an additional 19 Venezuelan officials and public figures, on top of the sanctions Canada imposed on September 22, 2017.

      Following the picket action, activists marched up to the Vancouver Art Gallery, and setup an information table at the busy plaza. Many passers-by stopped to get more information at the table and to ask questions about that is happening in Venezuela, and activists approached people walking by to sign on to a petition demanding Canada end its sanctions on Venezuela.

      The Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is committed to continue organizing against the actions of Canada and the U.S. against Venezuela, and in support of the sovereignty and self-determination of Venezuela. FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is also supporting a new parliamentary petition against Canada’s threats and sanctions on Venezuela, which can be signed online at https://petitions.ourcommons. ca/en/Petition/Details? Petition=e-1353 The next FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign action will be on Friday December 8th. For more info go to www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook and Twitter @FTT_np

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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