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      Hands Off Venezuela!
      Vancouver Activists Strongly Oppose Sanctions on Venezuela by the U.S. & Canada

      By Janine Solanki

      On May 20, 2018, Nicolas Maduro was reelected as the President of Venezuela with a clear majority of 68%. This free and fair election was a clear victory for the people of Venezuela in defence of their sovereignty - which has been under increasing attack from foreign governments. Even before President Maduro's victory was announced, the governments of the U.S. and Canada, as well as their allies, decried the results as "illegitimate" and "antidemocratic." The Canadian government even took the provocative and anti-democratic move to deny the 6,000 Venezuelan citizens living in Canada their right to vote!

      Fire This Time was invited to participant in the International Observers Delegation to the Venezuelan Election. From May 18 ± 22, three FTT representatives were able to see firsthand how the Venezuelan people were engaged in their democratic process. (For more, including video reports, photos and interviews direct from Venezuela visit the website “Venezuela: This is What Democracy Looks Like” at https://firethistime-venezuela2018.tumblr.com or check the special section in FTT Volume 12 Issue 6.)

      On June 7, the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front - Southwest chapter organized a report back from the Venezuelan Election. The event, which took place at the Chilean Housing Cooperative in Vancouver, gave an opportunity for participants to hear from delegates to the International Observers Delegation, including representatives from Fire This Time.

      On June , the next day, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign held the monthly action demanding “U.S./Canada Hands off Venezuela! The action started in front of the U.S Consulate with a picket, where protesters heard from speakers in between rounds of marching and chanting “U.S. Hands off Venezuela!” The group then moved up to the busy downtown plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where an information table accompanied by a large Venezuelan flag attracted many people passing by. Activists also approached people walking by, collecting

      signatures on a petition demanding that Canada end its sanctions and threats against Venezuela.

      On June 21, the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front organized a rally in downtown Vancouver in defence of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. Fire This Time endorsed and participated in the rally.

      Fire This Time delegates to the Venezuelan elections had a chance to give a comprehensive report back from their experiences on June 21, at the Fire This Time event “This is What Democracy Looks Like! Venezuela Election Report Back”. Alison Bodine, Thomas Davies and Michael Larson dispelled the myths and outright lies being told in mainstream Western media about the elections, with their anecdotes and firsthand accounts that showed how Venezuela’s elections were fair, transparent, and carried out calmly and peacefully. With details of how voting is carried out in Venezuela’s unique, cross-referenced paper/electronic system, and stories of conversations with Venezuelans lined up to vote, those in attendance came away with a deeper understanding of Venezuela’s democracy in motion! Following the delegate’s accounts, photos and videos, participants had the opportunity to ask more questions during a discussion period.

      To find out about Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign events visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook and Twitter @FTT_np

      Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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