On July 5, the people of Venezuela celebrated their Independence Day. On this date they not only marked their independence from Spain 208 years ago, but also their continued struggle against hostile foreign intervention – especially from the United States.
The imperialist intentions of the U.S. government to bring Venezuela under their domination are clear. Earlier this year a U.S.-backed coup attempt failed against the democratically elected Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro. On June 25, 2019 the U.S. government’s special envoy to Venezuela, war criminal Elliot Abrams, once again insisted that the military option against Venezuela was still on the table.
The U.S. government and their allies, including the government of Canada, are also responsible for waging an economic war against the people of Venezuela through a brutal blockade. This includes over 150 sanctions which are estimated to have cost Venezuela more than $130 billion since 2015.
Despite the severe economic pressure, the Bolivarian Revolution is still committed to provide for its people. One of many examples is the Barrio Adentro Mission. This program, started in 2003, provides free comprehensive healthcare, dental care, and physical rehabilitation to poor and marginalized communities at hospitals and clinic throughout the country.
Around the world, peace-loving people are standing in solidarity and defense of Venezuela’s right to self-determination and sovereignty. Here in Vancouver, every month the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign holds a protest action demanding “U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!” On July 5, Venezuela’s Independence Day, this action started with a picket in front of the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. The protest also demanded that all charges be dropped against members of the Embassy Protection Collective who were arrested by the U.S. government in their heroic defense of Venezuela’s sovereignty. For 37 days the Embassy Protection Collective protected the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC from takeover by supporters of the U.S.-backed puppet, so-called “interim President” of Venezuela Juan Guaido. After energetic picketing and chanting, protesters held their picket signs and banners up under the building sign for the United States Consulate.
The picket was followed by outreaching to Vancouverites at the busy downtown Robson plaza, with an info table, a huge Venezuelan flag and banners that attracted people walking by. Activists distributed hundreds of brochures, talked to passersby about what is really happening in Venezuela and collected petition signatures demanding Canada and the U.S. end their sanctions on Venezuela.
The day wrapped up with the resolve to keep organizing in defense of Venezuela, on the streets of Vancouver as well as by sending Fire This Time organizers to participate in solidarity trips and conferences in Venezuela. From July 25-28 Fire This Time attended the Foro de Sao Paolo in Venezuela, and this issue of Fire This Time features a report on their trip starting on page 8.
To find out about the next action in defense of Venezuela, visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook, on Twitter @FTT_np and on Instagram @FTT.Venezuela
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