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      Why Venezuela Solidarity Activities Are
      Our Central Campaign Against Imperialism

      World Protest Day Demands Hands Off Venezuela
      In Vancouver and Around the World!

      By Janine Solanki

      The U.S. government has been using escalating methods to force “regime-change” in Venezuela, and to bring the independent, sovereign nation under U.S. imperialist control. The U.S. has engaged in economic warfare, with sanctions that amount to a blockade of Venezuela. This blockade limits Venezuela’s access to imported food and medicine, impacts their ability to trade on the world market, and prevents exports of their resources, particularly oil. A recent report by the Center for Economic Policy Research (cepr.org) also put the malicious intent of the U.S. blockade into figures, finding that U.S. sanctions amount to “collective punishment” and have been responsible for over 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018. This brutality is increasing, and on August 5, 2019, U.S. President Trump signed yet another executive order imposing further sanctions against Venezuela.

      Since January 2019 the U.S. has also tried, and failed, to conduct a coup against the democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. While the attempted coup was directed by the U.S. government and backed by their right-wing allies, it was defeated by the Venezuelan people who defended the Bolivarian revolution and their democratic process.

      As a blockade and attempted coup have not succeeded to bring Venezuela under U.S. domination, the U.S. threats of military intervention are becoming more and more dangerous. The White House press statement on August 6, 2019 didn’t mince words and said, “as the Trump Administration has made clear: All options are on the table.”

      Now more than ever is a critical time to defend Venezuela against sanctions and further imperialist attacks. August 10 was called as a “World Protest Day”, with massive demonstrations that took place in Venezuela and actions by supporters of the Bolivarian revolution around the world. Demonstrations took place across the U.S., in Canada, as well as in Australia, France, Aruba, South Korea, Haiti, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Mozambique, along with other countries.

      Here in Vancouver, activists and peace-loving people joined the global efforts with an action on August 9th. While part of the World Protest Day, the action is also organized every month by the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. The protest kicked off in downtown Vancouver, with picketing and chanting in front of the U.S. Consulate. Between rounds of picketing, activists gathered to hear from speakers including a solidarity message from Dakotah Lilly, a youth activist who was part of the New York City protest in Grand Central Station, organized by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle. Dakotah reminded activists of the many other countries that have been victim to U.S.-backed coups and right-wing governments, and that we will not allow this to happen to Venezuela “like it has happened in Honduras, like it has happened in Argentina, and like it has happened in Chile.”

      Alongside the demands of “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!” protesters also demanded that all charges be dropped against members of the Embassy Protection Collective. The activists 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 take-over by supporters of the U.S.-backed puppet so-called, “interim President” of Venezuela Juan Guaido.

      The picket action wrapped up with the protesters gathered under the U.S. Consulate sign, holding up picket signs and banners, and chanting energetically for photos and a video that was shared hundreds of times around the world on Twitter and other social media!

      The action then continued at the busy Robson street plaza, with banners and a giant Venezuelan flag attracting the attention of people passing by. An information table was set up too, and many stopped to talk to organizers, sign a petition against the sanctions on Venezuela, and to get a better sense of the true situation in Venezuela which is not reflected in mainstream news. Activists also took the chance to take video clips asserting their support for the Bolivarian Revolution, which were shared on Twitter and other social media with the World Protest Day’s hashtags #NoMoreTrump, #NoMasTrump and #HandsOffVenezuela.

      In Venezuela, around the world, and here in Vancouver, activists are defending the Bolivarian revolution and the Venezuela people! Join the next action in solidarity with Venezuela, and find out more at www.firethistime.net as well as on Facebook, on Twitter @ftt_np and on Instagram @ftt.venezuela.

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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