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      Venezuela's Revolution is Alive, Advancing, & Winning!
      Vancouverites Hear First - Hand Eyewitness Accounts from Venezuela

      By Janine Solanki

      The U.S. government and their imperialist allies, including Canada, have been escalating their dangerous campaign against the people of Venezuela and their democratically elected President, Nicolas Maduro. The U.S. government recently backed an attempted coup against President Maduro, increased sanctions and has staged dangerous provocations at Venezuela’s borders. While mainstream media has kicked their antiVenezuelan government rhetoric into overdrive, it is up to the Venezuela solidarity movement to provide information about what is truly happening in Venezuela.

      Fire This Time (FTT) Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been sending its organizers on educational and solidarity trips to Venezuela so that they can provide first-hand accounts of what is happening on the ground in Venezuela. Most recently, FTT organizers Azza Rojbi (also an editorial board member of Fire This Time newspaper) and Mike Larson participated in the Che Guevara International Youth Brigade and the International People’s Assembly in Venezuela.

      On March 2, just one day after they returned from two weeks in Venezuela, FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign organized a report back event titled, “Trump and Trudeau Hands Off Maduro! Venezuelan Democracy vs. Imperialist Aggression”. The event took place at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch in downtown Vancouver, and over 80 people came out to hear Azza and Mike’s eyewitness accounts from Venezuela.

      Alison Bodine, the coordinator of the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, welcomed everyone to the evening and started the night with music videos from Venezuelan artists supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution. Alison then spoke to give background into what 20 years of the Bolivarian Revolution has achieved for poor and working people in Venezuela, and how the U.S. attempts to turn back this progress.

      Azza and Mike, still reflecting the excitement of their experiences in Venezuela, then spoke and narrated photos and videos from Venezuela. One video showed a sea of people on the streets of Caracas, marching in a gigantic march and rally in support of their democratically elected President Maduro. In the video, Mike said, “This is what you don’t see on the CBC in Canada!” - highlighting how in Canada our mainstream media is ignoring the huge support that the Venezuelan people are demonstrating for President Maduro. In some of the photos Azza recounted how they volunteered with the “Movimiento Somos Venezuela” (We Are Venezuela Movement) who visit homes in their communities and find out who needs medical care, or improvements to their home, and then with the help of the Venezuelan government are empowered to correct these things and better their communities. Azza and Mike had countless stories of Venezuelans they met who are active in their community organizations, or who explained to them how the Bolivarian Revolution had improved their lives. Azza spoke in depth on how important it is for Venezuela to be defended, and for people in Canada and the U.S. to look beyond the mainstream media to see the amazing achievements and progress being made in Venezuela, which must be defended from the U.S. attempts to destroy it!

      Their presentation was followed by a discussion period with many questions put to the speakers. Even after the event came to a close, participates were eager to talk to Azza and Mike and ask more questions about their experiences in Venezuela.

      The presentation was live-streamed and can be watched in full on the Fire This Time Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/firethistimemovement/videos

      More report back events are to come, as more Fire This Time organizers participate in trips to Venezuela and return with their valuable experiences. Visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook or Twitter @FTT_np.

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