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      From protests on the streets to the international social media campaign, Vancouver activists demand
      U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!

      By Janine Solanki

      On August 4, 2018, an assassination attempt was carried out against the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Drones armed with explosives detonated above a public event where Maduro was speaking, injuring seven people and putting the lives of the President and Venezuelan people at risk.

      The mainstream media in Canada and the U.S. are constantly demonizing the Venezuelan President Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution. This attack is one of the many violent actions that Venezuela’s right-wing, the U.S.-backed opposition has taken to try to turn back Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution which has made vast improvements for the standards and quality of life for poor and working Venezuelan people. Despite these violent and illegal actions, the western media still falsely paint the opposition in a sympathetic light.

      Another vicious chapter in the campaign to overthrow President Maduro is the brutal sanctions against Venezuela, by the U.S. government and their allies, including Canada. The sanctions being imposed on the people of Venezuela are an act of war; preventing the import of vital foods and medicines, while at the same time cutting Venezuela off from receiving payments for their exports and limiting their access to financing and foreign currency.

      Two days after the attempted assassination, people in Venezuela poured into the streets in mass demonstrations in support of President Maduro and the Bolivarian revolutionary process. Here in Vancouver, Canada, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign held a picket action on August 10 in support and defense of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

      Activists and supporters of Venezuela gathered together in front of the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver, holding picket signs high and chanting to demand “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to Sanctions, No to Threats!” Between rounds of energetic picketing, the protesters gathered together to hear from local speakers who spoke against the sanctions imposed by Canada and the U.S. The demonstrators condemned the criminal and dangerous assassination attempt against Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela.

      The protest then moved up to the busy downtown plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where passers-by were attracted to the giant Venezuelan flag setup by a Venezuela information table. Organizers were able to have discussions with people who stopped at the table and provided them with literature about the real situation in Venezuela. Teams of activists talked to people passing by and collected signatures on a petition demanding that the U.S. and Canada end their sanctions on Venezuela, and respect Venezuela’s right to self-determination.

      Beyond these important street actions, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign was also active on social media this last month. August 14 marked one year since U.S. President Trump’s expansion of sanctions against Venezuela. On this day, Venezuela supporters around the world and here in Vancouver participated, posting their photos on Twitter and holding signs reading #EndVenezuelaSanctions and #SanctionsAreWar.

      This international support has recently been organized into a new campaign, of which Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is a founding member. The North America Campaign to End U.S. and Canada Sanctions Against Venezuela is calling on supporters to sign on to the call to action at https://afgj.org/campaign-to-end-us-and-canada-sanctions-against-venezuela. This new initiative promotes more coordination and cooperation that will build stronger actions in defense of Venezuela and against sanctions on Venezuela.

      With right-wing violence and imperialist attacks increasing, it is now more important than ever before that peace-loving people in the U.S. and Canada join with the people of Venezuela and unite to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty and self-determination! To find out about to join the campaign and the next action from the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook and Twitter @FTT_np

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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