On May 7, the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign made a presentation at the 1st annual Winnipeg Social Forum, held at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Joining some 60 people who had participated in a full day of presentations, workshops, discussions, musicians, food, and street theatre, the supporters of Hands Off Venezuela and Fightback participated in a lively discussion on the important issue of Venezuela. Cy Gonick of SMAC facilitated the session.

John Peterson, from the U.S. HOV campaign, briefly introduced the film "Venezuela Bolivariana", an overview of events in Venezuela from the 1989 "Caracazo" uprising to the aftermath of the 2002 coup against democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the film was cut short. Peterson picked up where the film left off, bringing the audience up to the present situation in Venezuela. Many questions were asked after his introduction, and many in the enthusiastic and attentive audience expressed an interest in forming a Winnipeg HOV committee. Peterson also informed the audience of the World Festival of Students and Youth taking place this summer in Caracas, Venezuela, and issued an appeal for trade unionists in Canada to support the latest petition of the campaign (see Open Letter to U.S. Trade Unionists).

After the event, many of those present visited the HOV / Fightback table to sign the HOV petition, pick up leaflets and other materials, ask further questions, etc. There was broad interest in the revolutionary events taking place in Venezuela, with eagerness to build solidarity and raise awareness through film showings, visits by trade unionists from Venezuela, visits to Venezuela to learn from the grassroots movement, etc.hovwinnipeg.jpg

"Winnipeg, with its history of class struggle and workers' movements is a great place to build upon the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, which I believe will play a huge role in the fight to allow the Venezuelan people self-determination free from U.S. intervention. Educating the people of the world about working, evolving alternatives to capitalism and imperialist governments is key in the struggle for a world wide workers' revolution," said Aly Malabar, an HOV supporter in Winnipeg.

A meeting to formally launch the Winnipeg HOV committee will be announced soon. We invite you to join us in this important campaign. The effects of the Venezuelan Revolution will be far-reaching, and will shape the politics of the entire hemisphere in the coming years. Please write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get involved or for more information.

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On the eve of May Day, forty people gathered at the Unitarian Church to launch the Hands off Venezuela campaign in Vancouver. Four speakers briefly addressed the meeting before the floor was opened up for discussion – both political and tactical.

Well-known Vancouver City Councilor Tim Louis (from the Coalition of Progressive Electors) linked the Bolivarian revolution to the struggle for socialism in Canada. Political Science professor Peter Prontzos discussed US imperialism in Latin America past and present, and Jay Hartling reported on the recent trip of the Bolivarian Circle of Vancouver (Bob Everton) to Venezuela. Miriam Martin from Fightback and the International Hands off Venezuela campaign reviewed the gains of the revolution so far and emphasized the need for the revolution to be carried to its logical conclusion - socialism. An organizing committee was struck, and it was agreed that public events should continue monthly—including pickets, film screenings, parties with food and music, and a book launch for Alan Woods’ new book The Venezuelan Revolution - A Marxist Perspective. $100 was collected to be shared with some youth from the church’s Social Justice Committee, who will be attending the World Festival of Students and Youth this summer in Caracas. The collection also contained 35,000 Bolivars!

The launch was filmed and will be aired on Global Justice television on Shaw cable 4.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Hands off Venezuela campaign in Vancouver, please contact vancouver[at] handsoffvenezuela.org.


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A major trade union initiative in solidarity with Venezuela has been launched by the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. Coinciding with the celebration of International Workers' day, Hands Off Venezuela is promoting an "Open letter to US trade unionists". The appeal comes after the recent belligerent statements and attacks on President Chavez on the part of the representatives of the Bush Administration, which, according to Jorge Martin, HOV international secretary, "pose a direct threat to the working people of Venezuela".

The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness within the labour movement in the United States about what is really happening in Venezuela and particularly about the threat posed by the aggressive stance of the US administration. "Such aggressive statements from the White House are of the same kind of language that was used to prepare the ground for US intervention in Vietnam, Cuba, Chile, Iraq and elsewhere," said Jorge. "The democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez has been accused of everything, from linking up with North Korea, supplying arms to the Colombian FARC guerrillas and funding the ‘subversive’ MAS in Bolivia, to forming an axis of evil with Cuba's Castro, starting an arms race in Latin America, and harbouring Al-Qaeda terrorists" he added, "but there is not a single shred of evidence for any of these accusations".

For this reason the campaign will be participating in May Day marches in more than 20 countries in three continents to highlight the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and collecting signatures of trade union activists and leaders for the "Open Letter to US trade unionists".

"We think that the only force that can stop intervention against Venezuela is the US labour movement, together with the youth, students and intellectuals and artists," Jorge explained. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has always stressed that the Bolivarian movement has nothing against the people of the US, only against the aggressive policies pursued by the Bush administration.

The Hands Off Venezuela campaign, active in more than 30 countries around the world, has been campaigning to defend the Venezuelan revolution for more than two and a half years. The campaign has been publicly backed by President Chavez, and more recently by Adan Chavez, the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba who said, "I recognise the invaluable work of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. I appeal to you to go forward, be sure that this work will give important fruits in the end".

Orlando Chirinos, national coordinator of the UNT (National Workers Union) in Venezuela recognised the campaign as "an extraordinary initiative. It is the only significant campaign that is taking place internationally." In an interview with Alan Woods, who was in Venezuela attending the 3rd World Gathering in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, he said that he "considers the links between the UNT and the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign as very important". The campaign has been fighting to get recognition for the newly created UNT within the trade union movement in Europe.

It was in discussions with leading figures in the Bolivarian movement and the Venezuelan trade unions during Alan Woods’ visit, that the idea of the campaign was raised. "Revolutionary activists in Venezuela are very keen to reach ordinary working people in the US so that they can break the campaign of lies and propaganda of the mass media about what is really going on in Venezuela," said Alan Woods. The struggle in Venezuela is, amongst other things, against privatisation and for free health care and education for all. The labour movement in the United States surely can relate to these issues.

Hands Off Venezuela has also given material and moral support to the struggle of the workers in the occupied factories in Venezuela, particularly the Venepal paper mill and the valve making CNV factory. These companies were closed down by their owners as part of the campaign of sabotage against the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez. The workers decided to occupy them, and after a long struggle the companies were expropriated and are now run under joint management of the state and the workers. At a meeting to discuss the role of the workers in the economy, which took place at the Caracas Central University (UCV), representatives of the workers in both factories thanked the Hands Off Venezuela campaign for the role played by international solidarity in their victories.

You can participate in the campaign by downloading the information leaflet and the petition and using it in your area, trade union branch or university.

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