International solidarity campaign Hands Off Venezuela is holding a UK National Conference in central London on December 3 when at least two hundred delegates, including representatives of the Venezuelan and British trade union movements, are expected to help mark this important milestone and celebrate the successes so far in building solidarity between these two countries.
The keynote address will be given by Hands Off Venezuela's honorary president, John McDonnell, MP., together with fellow parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn. McDonnell recently tabled an Early Day Motion supporting the left-wing government of Venezuela's advances in education, health and land reform, as well as the work of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, signed by over 30 Members of Parliament.
The campaign has also raised the issue of solidarity within the British trade union movement. Members of Hands Off Venezuela have spoken at numerous union branch meetings, and many unions have now affiliated to the campaign, including the National Union of Journalists, the Fire Brigades Union, T&G, RMT, NATFE, CWU and Amicus.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and Ruth Winters, president of the FBU, will also address the conference.
In September this year Hands Off Venezuela were instrumental to the adoption of resolution 79 at the TUC in Brighton, in support of the Venezuelan government and Bolivarian Movement, which was passed unanimously.
Orlando Chirino from the Venezuelan labor federation UNT, who attended the TUC conference, will be present on December 3 to give an overview of workers' struggles in Venezuela today as well as the effects of new government policies such as co-management.
Hands Off Venezuela has several regional branches across Britain, including three at universities in Cambridge, Edinburgh and UEA. Also, groups from Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Belfast will be sending representatives to discuss and democratically decide the direction the campaign will be taking. As a highlight, veteran left-wingers Tony Benn and Hands Off Venezuela founder Alan Woods will be debating "21st Century Socialism and the Bolivarian Revolution."
Hands Off Venezuela was set up in early 2003 to build solidarity with Venezuela's peaceful and democratic revolution. It is a broad-based, independent and grassroots campaign working with trade unionists, students, activists, journalists and the general public to provide accurate information about the transformation taking place in Venezuela.