Attend Peoples Assembly on Climate Change April 19-22

The most important world conference being organized today will take place in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on April 19-22.

This assembly will be discussing the most crucial battle for the survival of Mother Earth and all its forms of life -- humans, animals, plants. We urge anyone who has the time and funds to participate. Toronto Bolivia Solidarity is sending several people, and assisting the attendance of Robert Lovelace, a leader of Ardoch Lake Algonquin First Nation, who served a jail sentence for peacefully resisting uranium exploration near Sharbot Lake in 2008..

The article below invites all to participate in countering the Brokenhagen debacle which has led to no changes in the emergency situation we face as a planet. To register and find out more information about Bolivia's World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth check out:

For more info on this project and other activities of Toronto Bolivia Solidarity, write: torontoboliviasolidarity[@]
BOLIVIA: Activists from across the globe to attend Peoples Conference on Climate Change

Renowned human rights activists, scientists, academics, and social organisations from various parts of the world have confirmed their participation in the Global Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which will be held in Cochabamba, April 19-22.

Among those who will be present are Naomi Klein, author of No Logo; Eduardo Galeano, author of The Open Veins of Latin America; Danny Glover, actor in films such as Lethal Weapon and 2012; Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel; Jim Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and NASA climate expert; Bill McKibben, director of; the philosophy Samir Amin, North American Jerry Mander and others.

Moveover, eight "undeveloped" countries, as the UN refers to them, have confirmed their presence, among them Franck Armel, foreign minister of the Republic of Benin; Idi Nadhoim, vice-president and agriculture minister of the Union of the Comoros; Thant Kyaw, director of foreign relations of Myanmar; Konte Cheikh Abdel Kader, international expert on environment of Senegal; Brima Munda Sowa, general administrator of environmental issues for Sierra Leon; Abdullah Ali Fadhel Al-Saadi, Minister Plenipotentiary of Yemen; and Khampadith Khammounheuang Ang, director general of Laos, as well as a representative from Nepal.

Bolivia has invited the 192 member nations of the United Nations to participate in the summit that was convoked by president Evo Morales following the failure of the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.

International social movements who felt defrauded by the document signed in Copenhagen have also confirmed their presence. Representatives from countries such as Belgium, France, Mexico, Malaysia and the US will attend the summit in Cochabamba.

There will be various working groups. In the working group "Reestablish harmony with nature" will be Frei Betto, one of the maximum exponents of Liberation Theology; Bolivian Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca; and Nobel Peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchu.

In the working group "Rights of Mother Earth" will be Leonardo Boff, one of the main promoters of the rights of the Earth; Corman Cullinan, who in his Wild Law proposes not only changing jurisprudence in the world, but also creating a jurisprudence of the Earth.

As panelists in the working group "Climate Justice Tribunal" will be present the South African bishop Desmond Tuto; the ex-president of the General Assembly of the US, Miguel d'Escoto; and writer Adolfo Perez Ezquivel.

In the working group "Climate debt" will be the writer Eduardo Galeano; Michael Meacher, research on the social impact of the exploitation of oil; and Andrew Sims, among others.

In the working group "Climate migrants" will be the author of No Logo, Naomi Klein; and John Davidson.

In the working group "Forests, food and water under climate change" will be present Pat Money, Alberto Gomez, Hildebrando Velez, Timothy Byakola and others.

In the working group "Do we need a referendum on climate change?" will be present Amy Goodman, journalist Ignacio Ramonet, Joao Pedro Stedile and Antonio Hill.

Moreover, ten presidents have confirmed their participation in the summit, who will debate some alternatives to confront climate change.

For Venezuela, There Is No Going Back

Dear Friends,

This is a comprehensive and interesting interview by Ali Mustafa with Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke, conducted in Toronto during their Canadian tour in defense of Venezuela. It discusses the positive accomplishments of the government but also warns of the threats the revolution posed by U.S. imperialism and counterrevolutionary forces within Venezuela, as well as the challenges the revolution faces in continuing its forward march. We are serialising the article to compensate for its length. This is the first installment.
'For Venezuela, There is No Going Back': A Discussion with Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke
By Ali Mustafa

As Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution enters a new decade of struggle and defiantly advances towards its goal of '21st Century Socialism,' serious challenges to the future of the process emerging from both inside and outside the country still abound. As a result, key questions surrounding Venezuela's mounting tensions with the West, the role played by its fiery and outspoken leader Hugo Chavez, and the future of the process itself remain as relevant today as ever before. Australian-based journalists and long-time Venezuela solidarity activists Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke have been carefully following Venezuela's ongoing political transformation for several years now, countering mainstream media Spin and providing invaluable on-the-ground coverage and analysis about the process as it unfolds. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit down and speak with them both in Toronto before they were set to return to Caracas, following a 10-day Canadian solidarity tour.

Ali Mustafa: Over a decade now has passed since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Can you provide an overview of the type of gains that have been made since President Hugo Chavez has come to power and what Venezuela looks like today?

Federico Fuentes: Well, I think the first thing to note in regards to the gains that have been made in the 10 years of the Venezuelan Revolution is the huge improvement that has occurred in peoples' daily lives. The fact that the previously excluded majority of people now have access to free health care, free education, unemployment has fallen by more than half of what is was before, the level of poverty has decreased, and many other statistics and social indicators that show that general Venezuelan living standards have improved dramatically. But also extremely important has been the active political participation of people in daily life; we are talking about a country where, literally, something like 80 percent of the nation were excluded and felt that they were not represented at all by the sort of representative democracy and two party system that had existed.

It's the collapse of that system and the important movement for change that erupted -- prior to Chavez's election but, of course, which then has been stimulated even further by Chavez's election -- in the re-writing of the new constitution that's brought about these important gains that Venezuelans have been able to achieve... This reflected itself in important mobilizations that occurred particularly in 2001, 2002, 2003 that defeated a military coup and an attempt by the capitalist class to strangle the economy, which of course meant that the government basically was unable to carry out a lot of the 'missions' that it first set out for itself, but through that struggle was able to move into a position where it could begin to carry out a lot of these social programs, and as always places emphasis on the people involved in them. I think one of the most exciting things is, for instance, the health care social missions -- it's not just that free health care is now being provided but that this health care is being carried out by the people, for the people.

So, I think the Venezuela that exists today is fundamentally different from what it was like 10, 11 years ago in the social aspect, in the political aspect -- and I think it's a Venezuela that today, in its large bulk, refuses to go back to what existed before. That's one of the most common things that you'll find amongst Venezuelan people: that no matter what problems, or whatever they may be encountering, they strongly feel that there is no going back to what Venezuela was like before and they are willing to die to defend what they've won.

Kiraz Janicke: Yeah, I think that for the first time the Venezuelan people have a government that's actually truly independent of US imperialism. But of course in addition to all of the social gains, one of the most fundamental changes is this kind of mass political awakening of the Venezuelan people and the amount of participation of the Venezuelan people in political life through many instances of grassroots participatory democracy. For instance, the communal councils that since the end of 2005 have developed and spread all around the country. You have now approximately 35,000 of these communal councils...where the highest decision making body is the General Assembly of the local community, and importantly they have the ability to recall elected officials or elected spokespeople. This is something that was also another major democratic gain of the 1999 Constitution...which was the first constitution that the Venezuelan people were ever able to democratically decide upon themselves. They democratically voted on that constitution in a popular referendum, and that in many ways has provided a legal framework for further changes. But the real driving force behind the change has been the mobilization of the people.

Initially when the Chavez government came to power, Chavez said he thought that there was a third way between Capitalism and Socialism and that it was possible to create Capitalism with a human face. For every time that the government attempted to implement reforms in the interest of the poor majority of Venezuelans, they were met with extremely violent resistance by the traditional ruling elite; for instance, the carrying out of the coup in 2002, the bosses lockout of the oil industry, and so on. It's actually been through this process that Chavez himself came out and said that, 'I've come to the conclusion that it's not simply possible to reform the system but it's necessary to change the system entirely,' and he came out and made his famous speech at the Porto Alegre World Social Forum in 2005, where he called for 'Socialism of the 21st century'. And that really has sparked a huge debate in Venezuela... People are very politically aware, people are participating and debating and discussing an alternative to the capitalist system, which is currently in crisis.

AM: Can you further elaborate on the formation of these communal councils and how they fit into the notion of participatory democracy currently taking root in Venezuela?

FF: Well, when Chavez was elected he said that the only way to get rid of poverty was to give power to the people, and I think that the communal councils are probably the most concrete example of that. The background to the communal councils is that throughout the 90's there was an explosion of community organizing -- particularly in the poor areas in Caracas, but also in some of the other large cities -- and what you saw was the emergence of a lot of small, localized committees dealing with a lot of issues: health, education, housing, roads, water, but all campaigning around local issues. The communal councils emerge out of that necessity to bring together all of these committees, so that rather than being just simply campaigning groups to demand that the government or state do things, it's actually organizing those communities so that they themselves can take control over these issues.

The communal councils today represent 200-400 families in an urban area, 20-50 families in a rural area (given that they are more spread out), and it's essentially the community getting together to discuss what are their most urgent needs and, within those needs, which are the ones that they as a community...can collectively come up with a plan for how to combat those problems... The emphasis is, again, not on asking someone else to do it, but doing it themselves -- of course with the help of the government -- but really empowering the people through that process.

KJ: And there's a vision that is being presented now -- and it's a very new development in Venezuela -- that is, the formation of what they call communes. These are more than just an aggregate number of communal councils but also other organizations such as cooperatives in a particular geographical area that will coordinate grassroots decision-making on a larger scale than what a communal council can do. For instance, a communal council can make a decision over a smaller project in their local community but they can't necessarily make a decision to build a new school because that's something that affects a much larger area. But the important aspect of these communes is the idea that they have communally owned property or control over the means of production in their local area. So, the idea is not only that communities can get together and make decisions about how resources are distributed; they can also own the means of production that benefit these communities and collectively control them...

This fits into the idea that Chavez has spoken of many times and was part of his proposed reform referendum in 2007 of what he refers to as 'creating a new geometry of power in Venezuela,' and essentially this is a vision of creating a new superstructure that's different to the old superstructure of the traditional Venezuelan state. So, in addition to creating the communal councils and the communes, there's a vision of coordinating the activities of communes on a broader scale; so, for instance, creating communal towns or communal cities and then ultimately what they call communal territories. And just before we left Venezuela, there was a new law passed called the 'Law of the Federal Government Council', and the idea is that it will create a space where these representatives or spokespeople for these grassroots institutions -- as well as representatives of the traditional structures such as governors and mayors and the national executive -- can participate...This is one key example where you see an attempt to decentralize power from the traditional structures of the capitalist state...

AM: Typically, media coverage surrounding Venezuela tends to represent one of two extremes: uncritical praise and acclamation from supporters on one hand, and of course, especially in the Western mainstream media, a sort of reflexive, de-contextualized vilification of Chavez on the other. As two individuals who have spent much time covering Venezuela both inside and outside the country, what is the main misconception about the Bolivarian Revolution that you would like to dispel?

KJ: Well, for me, I think the main misconception or lie that is often repeated in the media is the idea that this is an undemocratic government -- that Chavez is a dictator. Most of the international media overwhelmingly focuses on Chavez, but they always ignore the fact that the Bolivarian movement, which is led by Chavez, is a movement that's made up by millions of people that support Chavez: the workers, the urban poor, campesinos, students, sectors from right across Venezuelan society... They feel that the Chavez government is implementing policies that are in their interests. If you look at all the opinion polls over the years, they will show that Chavez has consistently higher levels of support within Venezuelan society, and it's always hovering around 60% support. And it's not only that people are just passive supporters of Chavez, they are active supporters as well, and active participants in the Bolivarian Revolution.

FF: Yeah, I think that definitely one of the main myths of the media is this idea of Venezuela drifting towards an undemocratic dictatorship -- which is ironic because I think there is possibly no other country in the world that has more electoral processes than Venezuela. Almost every year there is an election, and there has been at least one example of an election that the government has lost, and that was the Constitutional reform vote in 2007, which generally under a dictatorship doesn't happen... The other major lie is this idea of the restriction of the freedom of the press; I think it's an important issue, particularly in the case of RCTV [Radio Caracas Television Internacional]...It's worth just quickly explaining that no TV station has ever been shut down in Venezuela. What we have is RCTV, which in 2007 -- after having actively participated in provoking and carrying out a coup that, by law, would have easily justified them being taken off air in any country -- was not taken off air; instead, their license was up for renewal...and the government, or the broadcasting authority, decided that at this time it was not in its best interests to continue to give a license to a company that would use it to destabilize the country.

Postcards from the Revolution

PERMANENT AGGRESSION: War on the horizon in Latin America

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Empire will stop at nothing to find mechanisms and techniques to achieve its final objective, and we cannot disregard the possibility of a military conflict in the near future. If the US places Venezuela on the "terrorist list" this year, we could be on the verge of a regional war.

Latin America has suffered constant aggressions executed by Washington during the past two hundred years. Strategies and tactics of covert and overt warfare have been applied against different nations in the region, ranging from coup d'etats, assassinations, disappearances, torture, brutal dictatorships, atrocities, political persecution, economic sabotage, psychological operations, media warfare, biological warfare, subversion, counterinsurgency, paramiliary infiltration, diplomatic terrorism, blockades, electoral intervention to military invasions. Regardless of who's in the White House -- democrat or republican -- when it comes to Latin America, the Empire's policies remain the same.

In the twenty-first century, Venezuela has been one of the principle targets of these constant aggressions. Since the April 2002 coup, there has been a dangerous escalation in attacks and destabilization attempts against the Bolivarian Revolution. Although many fell beneath the seductive smile and poetic words of Barack Obama, it's not necessary to look beyond the past year to see the intensification of Washington's aggressions against Venezuela. The largest military expansion in history in the region -- through the US occupation of Colombia -- the reactivation of the Fourth Fleet of the US Navy, as well as an increased US military presence in the Caribbean, Panama and Central America throughout the past year, can be interpreted as preparation for a conflict scenario in the region.

The hostile declarations from various Washington representatives during the past few weeks, accusing Venezuela of failure to combat narcotics operations, violating human rights, "not contributing to democracy and regional stability", and of being the "regional anti-US leader", form part of a coordinated campaign that seeks to justify a direct aggression against Venezuela. Soon, Washington will publish its annual list of "state sponsors of terrorism", and if Venezuela is placed on the list this year, the region could be on the brink of an unprecedented military conflict.

Evidence seems to indicate a move in that direction. A US Air Force document justifying the need to increase military presence in Colombia affirmed that Washington is preparing for "expeditionary warfare" in South America.

The 2009 Air Force document, sent to Congress last May (but later modified in November after it was used to demonstrate the true intentions behind the military agreement between the US and Colombia), explained, ""Development of this CSL (Cooperative Security Location) will further the strategic partnership forged between the US and Colombia and is in the interest of both nations…A presence will also increase our capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach, support logistics requirements, improve partnerships, improve theater security cooperation and expand expeditionary warfare capability".

The first official report outlining the defense and intelligence priorities of the Obama administration dedicated substantial attention to Venezuela. The Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community -- which has mentioned Venezuela in years past, but not nearly with the same emphasis and extension -- particularly signaled out President Chavez as a major "threat" to US interests. "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has established himself as one of the US's foremost international detractors, denouncing liberal democracy and market capitalism and opposing US policies and interests in the region", said the intelligence document, placing Venezuela in the same category as Iran, North Korea and Al Qa'ida.

Days after the report was published, the State Department presented its 2011 budget to Congress. In addition to an increase in financing through USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to fund opposition groups in Venezuela -- more than $15million USD -- there was also a $48 million USD request for the Organization of American States (OAS) to "deploy special 'democracy promoter' teams to countries where democracy is under threat from the growing presence of alternative concepts such as the 'participatory democracy' promoted by Venezuela and Bolivia".

One week later, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the OAS -- funded by Washington -- emitted a whopping 322-page report slamming Venezuela for human rights violations, repression of the press and undermining democracy. Despite the fact that it was a report -- and a Commission -- dedicated to the topic of human rights, the detailed study barely mentioned the immense achievements of the Chavez government in advancing human rights; advances which have been recognized and applauded over the past five years by the Unted Nations. The evidence used by the OAS to elaborate the report came from opposition testimonies and biased media outlets, a clear demonstration of dangerous subjectivity.

Simultaneous to these accusations, a Spanish court accused the Venezuelan government last week of supporting and collaborating with the FARC and ETA -- organizations considered terrorist by both the US and Spain -- provoking an international scandal. President Chavez reiterated that his government has absolutely no ties with any terrorist group in the world. "This is a government of peace", declared Chavez, after explaining that the presence of ETA members in Venezuela is due to an agreement made over 20 years ago by the government of Carlos Andres Perez in order to aid Spain in a peace treaty with the Basque separatist group.

Last week, on tour in Latin America, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couldn't stop attacking Venezuela during her different declarations made before international media. She expressed her "great concern" for democracy and human rights in Venezuela, accusing President Chavez of not "contributing in a constructive manner" to regional progress. In a cynical tone, Clinton advised President Chavez to "look further south" for inspiration, instead of towards Cuba.

Clinton's regional trip was part of a strategy announced by the Obama administration last year, to create a divide between the so-called "progressive left" and the "radical left" in Latin America. It's no coincidence that her first tour of the region coincided with the announcement of a new Latin American and Caribbean Community of States, which excludes the presence of the US and Canada.

A military conflict is not initiated from one day to the next. It's a process that involves first influencing public perception and opinion -- demonizing the target leader or government in order to justify aggression. Subsequently, armed forces are strategically deployed in the region in order to guarantee an effective military action. Tactics, such as subversion and counterinsurgency, are utilized in order to debilitate and destabilize the target nation from within, increasing its vulnerability and weakening its defenses.

This plan has been active against Venezuela for several years. The consolidation of regional unity and Latin American integration threatens US possibilities of regaining domination and control in the hemisphere. And the advances of the Bolivarian Revolution have impeded its "self-destruction", provoked by internal subversion funded and directed by US agencies. However, the Empire will not cease its attempts to achieve its final objective, and a potential military conflict in the region remains on the horizon.

About Eva Golinger
Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”, “La Mirada del Imperio sobre el 4F: Los Documentos Desclasificados de Washington sobre la rebelión militar del 4 de febrero de 1992” and "La Agresión Permanente: USAID, NED y CIA". Since 2003, Eva, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and CUNY Law School in New York, has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about the US Government’s efforts to destabilize progressive movements in Latin America. Her first book, The Chávez Code, has been translated and published in six languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian & Russian) and is presently being made into a feature film.

Report on Venezuela Solidarity Tour

Venezuela Solidarity Tour Sparks Interest, Debate, Support
Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke concluded their ten-day tour of Canada March 7 with a rally in Vancouver entitled "Change the System, Not the Climate." Fuentes shared the platform with Pablo Solon, Bolivian UN ambassador and chief spokesperson on climate change.

Fuentes described the leading role played by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, together with Bolivia's Evo Morales, in rallying forces to oppose the climate sell-out by Canada and other rich countries at the recent UN conference in Copenhagen.

Fuentes and Janicke are Australian-based activists who live in Venezuela and write for and other publications. Fuentes is also editor of the Bolivia Rising blog and an associate of the Centro Internacional Miranda, a government-funded research institute in Caracas.

The Fuentes-Janicke tour included almost two dozen presentations, attended by audiences totalling more almost 800 persons. Meetings were held in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Waterloo, Vancouver, and Victoria.

The tour provided a vivid picture of the state of Venezuela solidarity across the country. "Meetings were sponsored by a wide spectrum of groups, including every Venezuela solidarity current in the cities where we spoke," says Fuentes. "The audiences were not the same old faces. Many new people came, asking probing questions about Venezuelan reality." Yet almost all those present agreed in supporting the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela, he adds.

"Typically, people hung around after the meetings, full of questions," Fuentes says.

"Take Montreal, for example," says Janicke. "Meetings were sponsored by all three local groups: the Bolivarian Society, Hands Off Venezuela, and the Peace Base, with strong presence and moral support from the local Venezuelan consulate. Federico and I had fruitful discussions with consular and embassy representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto, and we distributed many copies of the embassy's excellent publication, The Bolivarian (

The nature of events varied widely. "There were graduate seminars and open campus meetings; union gatherings and city-wide events," says tour organizer Suzanne Weiss. "Federico and Kiraz related the Bolivarian process to Venezuela's support for world struggles: Haiti and Bolivia (in Vancouver), Palestine (in Waterloo), Indigenous nations (in Kingston)."

In Vancouver, Fuentes spoke at a luncheon of the Vancouver & District Labour Council as well as at a regional meeting of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. "They wanted to know more about the labour movement in Venezuela," Fuentes says. "They were interested in the labour tours of Venezuela organized by the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network ( They wanted to help Bolivarian unions in Venezuela win support in the International Labour Organization."

In Toronto, the main tour events formed part of a "Three Days for Venezuela" event co-sponsored by eleven solidarity and progressive organizations. Fuentes and Janicke were among more than 25 presenters at an all-day Venezuela teach-in. "About 100 participants took part in the twelve different workshops and plenaries," Weiss reports. "After a long day of discussion, a good majority of participants stayed for the final session, on organizing solidarity in Canada."

Participants in the teach-in represented a wide range of opinion on Venezuela, Weiss notes. "There was a frank exchange among different viewpoints. But all were agreed that Venezuela faces grave dangers today. Everyone stood firm with Venezuela against threats from imperialism and rightist forces within the country."

Probing Questions
"The most frequently asked question," Fuentes says, "was what would happen to Venezuela if Chavez were removed from the scene -- or, another variant -- whether the Venezuelan process was too much of a top-down process. I tried to explain Chavez's indispensable role in linking together a Bolivarian movement that is both socially and ideologically very diverse. I talked of the movement's great strength at the grass roots, and of how it has progressed through an interplay between initiatives at the base and at the presidential level."

There was much interest in questions concerning oil and the environment as well as the community councils, Fuentes says.
"Almost all questions were sympathetic to the Venezuelan process," Janicke recalls. "I was asked about the character of nationalizations, popular education, what the changes mean for people's lives, and whether socialism in Venezuela is possible. Others asked what Canada's role is in Venezuela and why [foreign affairs minister] Peter Kent is making such sharp attacks on Venezuela's government."

According to Suzanne Weiss, the tour highlights the great potential to expand support for the Venezuelan people in their quest for sovereignty and twenty-first century socialism. "There is an urgent need today to broaden the active solidarity movement beyond the ideologically committed, to a broader spectrum of progressive opinion in Canada," says Weiss. "The tour shows that this can be done. The Venezuela solidarity movement is still small. But its participants come from many backgrounds, many milieus; they can be catalysts for action on a broader stage. The solidarity movement can become more inclusive and more diverse in point of view -- yet remain firmly united in defending the revolutionary process in Venezuela."

For further information on the tour and to contact sponsoring organizations, write To watch a video of a tour meeting, go to

Log of Tour Events
February 25:
Toronto: Demonstration in defence of Venezuela outside Venezuelan consulate.

February 26:
Toronto: Graduate seminar at York University, Toronto.
City-wide forum on "Venezuela: Profile of a People's Movement".

February 27:
Toronto: Teach-in on "Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution -- The Second Decade." Sponsors: Ontario Public Interest Research Group -- Toronto • Centre for Social Justice • Barrio Nuevo • Hands Off Venezuela • Latin America Solidarity Network--Toronto • Latin@s Canada • Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle • Socialist Project • Toronto Bolivia Solidarity • Toronto Haiti Action Committee • Venezuela We Are With You Coalition/Coalicion Venezuela Estamos Contigo

March 1:
Kingston: Meeting on "Indigenous Resistance and Popular Sovereignty in Bolivia and Venezuela."

Ottawa: Meeting at headquarters of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, sponsored by Socialist Project and co-sponsored by the Critical Social Research Collaborative, Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa, Territorio Libre, and Communist Party of Canada.

March 2:
Waterloo: "Venezuela's Support for Palestinian Struggle" at Israeli Apartheid Week.

Ottawa: Meetings at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in Ottawa.

Gatineau: Meeting at the Universite du Quebec (Outaouais campus).

March 3:
Toronto: "Popular Education and Endogenous Development in Venezuela," public seminar at Ontario Institute of Studies in Education.

Victoria: "The Bolivarian Revolution: The Second Decade -- Profile of a People's Movement," Goods for Cuba Campaign and the Island Solidarity Centre Society.

March 4-5:
Montreal: "The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela: Internal and External Threats," meetings at McGill University, Dawson College, Universite du Quebec à Montreal, Concordia University, visit organized by Societe Bolivarienne du Quebec/Hands Off Venezuela, supported by Base de Paix Montreal.

March 4-7:
Vancouver: "Venezuela: The State of the Bolivarian Revolution," sponsored by Vancouver Socialist Forum.

"Hope for Haiti in Latin America," organized by Haiti Solidarity BC.

"Venezuelan Labour in Revolution," luncheon with Vancouver and District Labour Council and meeting with Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Council.

"Change the System, Not the Climate," citywide forum sponsored by Canada Bolivia Solidarity Committee, Vancouver Socialist Forum, Hands Off Venezuela Western Canada Chapter, Unitarian Church of Vancouver Social Justice Committee.

Building Support in Canada for Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

Building Solidarity with Venezuela -- Tour Sparks Interest, DiscussionBy Suzanne Weiss, Tour Organizer

March 2, 2010 -- Four days into their eight-city tour of Canada, Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes are encountering broad interest in the Venezuela revolution and deep concern regarding the threats it now faces from the U.S. and Canadian governments. To date, they have given ten presentations and a radio interview in three cities.

Janicke and Fuentes are activists living in Venezuela and writers for To hear what they've been telling Canadian audiences, check out the video of their major Toronto presentation at . Or read Fuentes's February 21 article, "Venezuela's Revolution Faces Crucial Battles," at .

The highpoint of the tour so far was the Toronto all-day teach-in Saturday February 27 on "Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution -- The Second Decade. It was attended by more than 100 supporters of the Venezuelan revolution, including activists in every wing of the Latin American solidarity movement. The teach-in was the first event ever held in Toronto built jointly by all of the city's Venezuela solidarity groups.

Participants represented a broad range of experiences and viewpoints, and debates were lively, open, and unrestrained. Yet all those present were joined by a common commitment to defend the Venezuelan people and their revolution, and exchanges between different viewpoints took place without friction or polemic.

Maria Paez Victor, giving the keynote address, provided a sweeping survey of the struggles of the Venezuelan people for freedom and justice. Participants took part in ten panels on topics including U.S. plans for renewed hegemony, building people-to-people solidarity, women and the Venezuelan revolution, and alternative media in Venezuela and Canada. The closing plenary discussed steps to build Venezuelan solidarity in Canada.

Other speakers were Nicolas Lopez and Pablo Vivanco of Barrio Nuevo; Alissa Trotz, director of Caribbean studies, University of Toronto; Rose Noyola of the Canadian Salvadorian Association Network; Greg Albo, Dept. of Political Science, York University; BC Holmes, Toronto Haiti Action Committee; Camilo Cahis of Hands Off Venezuela/Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle; Paul Kellogg of the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition; nchamah miller of Latin@s Canada; Juan Valencia of Toronto Bolivia Solidarity; and special guests Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes.

Tour Ranges Far and Wide

The teach-in was the final event of three days of Venezuelan solidarity activities in Toronto. On Thursday, Fuentes addressed a solidarity demonstration with Venezuela called by the Latin American Solidarity Network--Toronto outside the Venezuelan consulate on Thursday. (It was Federico's first experience of sub-zero weather -- in a challenging Canadian winter gale.) The following day, Fuentes and Janicke took part in a free-wheeling seminar among 40 political science specialists at York University. They also spoke at a city-wide forum that evening, entitled "Profile of a People's Movement," to an audience of 60 persons.

On Sunday, they led a discussion on lessons of socialist reconstruction in Australia, hosted by Socialist Project.

Yesterday, Kiraz took the train to Kingston, where she spoke on "Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela and Bolivia" to a meeting at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. The meeting was hosted by Prof. Bob Lovelace, widely respected for his prominent role in the resistance by Indigenous people against uranium mining. Federico addressed a city-wide meeting in support of Venezuela organized in Ottawa by Socialist Project.

Today, Kiraz is off to the University of Waterloo, where she will speak to a student-organized meeting on Venezuela's friendship with the Palestinian people. The meeting is part of Israeli Apartheid Week, organized in more than forty cities worldwide. Her tour also includes further meetings in Toronto, Montreal, and with the Algonquin indigenous nation in Ardoch, Ontario.

Federico will address three university meetings in Ottawa today, before heading west to engagements in Vancouver and Victoria.

The February 27 teach-in was organized and sponsored by:
Ontario Public Interest Research Group--Toronto
Centre for Social Justice
Barrio Nuevo
Hands Off Venezuela/Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle
Latin America Solidarity Netowrk--Toronto
Latin@s Canada
Socialist Project
Toronto Bolivia Solidarity
Toronto Haiti Action Committee
Venezuela We Are With You Coalition/Coalicion Venezuela Estamos Contigo

The Janicke-Fuentes tour is organized by Toronto's Centre for Social Justice, Socialist Project, and the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition. Funds have been pledged by tour supporters across the country to cover all tour costs, with no surplus.

For further information on the tour, contact Suzanne Weiss at