On July 7, 2017 the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front - Southwest Chapter jointly organized a successful action in defense of Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolutionary process. It is to be noted that this was also the 20th picket and rally organized by the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.
Through both a picket at the US Consulate, and a rally and petitioning at the Vancouver Art Gallery, peace-loving people and Venezuela solidarity campaigners from diverse backgrounds came together in the streets of Vancouver and demanded loud and clear “US Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to Regime Change in Venezuela!”
This action was a great success, and not only because it demonstrated the support of people in Vancouver for the Bolivarian Revolutionary process and the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. This action was also a great success because it once again defeated the aggressive and violent right-wing Venezuelans in the streets of Vancouver.
On June 2, just one month prior to July 7 rally, pro-US right-wing Venezuelans attempted to intimidate and shut-down a Venezuela solidarity demonstration in Vancouver organized by the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. Although the violent and aggressive right-wing thugs brought 150 people to their counter-protest, they were defeated in the face of the peaceful and united supporters of revolutionary Venezuela, who held their ground and refused to be bullied and silent.
These same provocateurs vowed to return to disrupt the July 7 Venezuela solidarity protest as well. However, they didn’t even show up. It seems that they knew that if they did, they would once again be defeated by voices united in defense of Venezuela as well as in defense of our rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.
Without the verbal and physical attacks by the pro-intervention Venezuelans, participants at the July 7 Venezuela solidarity actions were able to focus all of their energy towards educating passers-by about foreign intervention in Venezuela and the right of the people and government of Venezuela to their sovereignty and self-determination.
The July 7 actions began with a picket action at the US Consulate. This lively protest filled the air of downtown Vancouver with loud chants of “US Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to Sanctions! No to Intervention!” After rounds of energetic picketing, participants marched up from the US Consulate to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the second part of the action of the day.
In the large plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front - Southwest Chapter brought together over 110 people under the demands of “US Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to Regime Change in Venezuela!”
At the rally, there was a dynamic program of speakers and music, as well as an information table and petitions demanding “US Hands Off Venezuela!” Following an opening by Eagle Eyes, a hereditary chief from Sechelt, speakers at the rally included, Alison Bodine, Coordinator of the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Azza Rojbi from Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), Thomas Davies from Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and Brian Sproule from the CPC-ML, as well as Eagle Eyes. The speeches and solidarity greetings were interspersed with beautiful live Latin American music from Maria Luisa Melendez.
Over the last four months the people of Venezuela have been facing an escalating right-wing campaign of violence and terror, which is funded and supported by the US government and their allies. The violent counterrevolutionary opposition has, among other crimes, burned people alive, barricaded hospitals, and lit food reserves on fire, all in an attempt to overthrow democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and reverse the gains made by poor, working and oppressed people in the last 19 years of the Bolivarian revolutionary process.
In the face of these attacks, international solidarity with President Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution has become important than ever before. From here in Vancouver, Canada the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice (FTT) - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been organizing monthly solidarity actions since December of 2015 in response to the increasing right-wing and imperialist assault on Venezuela.
We invite all peace-loving people and organizations in Vancouver that support Venezuela’s right to sovereignty and self-determination to join us at further actions. We must continue to defend Venezuela, as well as our own right to express our support for the government of Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolutionary process without threats, abuse and violence by right-wing thugs and counter-protestors!
For more information about the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign go to www.firethistime.net or follow @FTT_np on Twitter.
Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter: @Alisoncolette
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