Solidarity Activities

A series of very successful meetings were held in solidarity with the revolution in Venezuela at the annual Communist Party festival — la Fête de l’Humanité — which was held in the Paris area last weekend. In France, Hands Off Venezuela (HOV) is led and organised by the supporters of the Marxist paper and website La Riposte, who have been waging an energetic campaign in support of the Venezuelan revolution over a number of years.

The international secretary of the campaign, Jorge Martin, spoke at three separate meetings on Saturday 10th September. The first of these took place at 12.30. Marie-Antoinette Borjas, of the Venezuelan Embassy in Paris, had invited Jorge to speak at the meeting organised by the Embassy in order to explain the significance of the revolutionary events unfolding in Venezuela. More than 60 people attended this meeting.

Greg Oxley, Jorge Martin and Marie-Antoinette Borjas

Jorge opened his speech by comparing the attitude of the Venezuelan government to that of the Bush administration in relation to the humanitarian disaster in New Orleans. He explained the reforms being carried out by the Chavez government, and retraced the history of the Venezuelan revolution, emphasising the way in which the big capitalists and landowners, supported by US imperialism, had consistently tried to overthrow the government and sabotage the reforms. This explains the socialist and revolutionary conclusions being drawn by Hugo Chavez and by the workers and youth of Venezuela, he said, and why the revolution was now moving in the direction of the overthrow of capitalism. Nonetheless, he also warned that the revolution is still in danger, as is Chavez personally. Jorge was warmly applauded. Marie-Antoinette Borjas, speaking on behalf of the Embassy thanked Jorge for his speech, and was clearly very enthusiastic about the work being carried out in France and internationally by the HOV campaign.

The second meeting was held in the stall of the Ardèche federation of the French Communist Party. François Jacquart, the Federal Secretary, gave a brief introductory speech, in which he underlined the importance of learning the lessons of the events in Venezuela. The 85 people who crowded into the stall to hear Jorge were extremely attentive and enthusiastic. They applauded at great length, and queued up at the end of the meeting to buy copies of La Riposte and the latest pamphlets produced by the organisation on Venezuela and on Cuba.

Finally, in the evening, Jorge spoke to an impressive gathering of no less than 250 people in the main meeting hall of the “Village du Monde” (the international area of the Fête de l’Humanité). Jorge’s speech was interrupted more than once by applause and cheering. Towards the end of his speech, he spoke of the necessity of building the forces in all countries, and especially in France, in order to spread the revolutionary ideas of Marxism and work towards the overthrow of capitalism internationally.

This last meeting was jointly organised by La Riposte and the association Forum pour un Autre Monde, led by André Meyer. André made a decisive contribution to the success of this meeting. His association sent out some 1500 invitations, and distributed a considerable number of leaflets at the festival. Without his support, this memorable event would never have taken place. Before Jorge began his speech, André explained the importance of the solidarity work being carried out by the Forum pour un Autre Monde, and also emphasised the work of the Marxist organisation La Riposte. Marie-Antoinette Borjas was on the platform alongside André Meyer and Jorge Martin. She made a short but very moving speech, giving concrete examples of how the social reforms of the Chavez government were changing the lives of ordinary working people, and particularly of the most oppressed sections of society.

Overall, more than 400 people heard Jorge speak at the Fête de l’Humanité. All three meetings were organised with the support of the Bolivarian Circles of Paris and Toulouse. In the last meeting, Daniel Yegrès, on behalf of the Bolivarian Circle in Paris, made a characteristically militant and enthusiastic speech. For my part, and on behalf of all the comrades of La Riposte, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to André Meyer, for his unfailing support in the preparation of this meeting, and of course to Marie-Antoinette Borgas. It is no exaggeration to say that without her support and personal involvement, this final meeting would never have taken place.

Greg Oxley

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An adjournment motion has been moved in the National Assembly of Pakistan condemning the assassination threats against Hugo Chavez the democratically elected President of Venezuela. This threat was given a concrete expression on August 22, by a US televangelist priest Pat Robertson, a close ally of George W and a leading right-winger of the Republican Party.

The motion is now up for debate and has been signed by six members of the National Assembly. The promoter of the motion is comrade Manzoor Ahmed, Member of Parliament and the convener of the group of MPs in the Pakistani parliament that support the Hands Off Venezuela (HOV) campaign in Pakistan. The signatories to this adjournment motion are the following: CH. Aitzaza Ihsan. (MP), Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira. (MP), Abdul Rauf Mengal. (MP), Zammurad Khan. (MP), Zulfikar Gondal. (MP), Manzoor Ahmed. (MP)

Alan Woods’ book on the Venezuelan Revolution is also being published in Urdu this week. The inauguration meetings of this book will be held in provincial capitals and major cities across Pakistan over the next two months.

On Saturday, September 3, the “Hands Off Venezuela” campaign in Kashmir was launched at a rally of more then 1000 youth at Hajira in Kashmir, and on Friday, September 9, a demonstration in support of the Venezuelan Revolution was organized by the HOV campaign in the centre of Lahore. A plan is being finalized for the activities of the HOV campaign throughout Pakistan for the next few months.

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One hundred and sixty years ago, Ezequiel Zamora – a Venezuelan revolutionary peasant influenced by the ideas of the French revolution and utopian socialism - also known as the General of the Sovereign People, led crowds of peasants who were fighting for land reform, freedom and democracy. In his flag everybody could read “Horror to the Oligarchy”. For the past six years the Venezuelan masses have been involved in a process that is filling the oligarchy and their imperialist allies in the US with horror- the Bolivarian revolution.

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As every year at the end of September and beginning of October, universities up and down Britain open their doors to restart lectures. This is always preceded by the Freshers' Fairs. In the Freshers' Fair all societies and organisations that are involved in the university's social and political life display stalls with information and invitations to be part of their societies.

The Hands Off Venezuela Campaign - echoing the interest we have received from the student movement on the issue of the Venezuelan revolution - wants to spread the message of revolution that comes from Latin America into the British universities. Therefore, we appeal to all Hands Off Venezuela supporters in university (students, lecturers and non academic staff) to help us to be present at the Freshers' Fairs.

There are different ways to get involved. You can help us to establish a society, you can have a stall with Hands Off Venezuela material, you can show a film on Venezuela or you can give away Hands Off Venezuela leaflets. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a ring on 07956676363 (ask for Ramon)

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The great thing about the Festival of Students and Youth is the opportunity to meet young people on the left from all over the world. From the perspective of the Hands off Venezuela campaign, the most interesting aspect is listening to the delegates' view of the process in Venezuela.

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As Goethe once said, “All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.” This statement completely applies to the situation in Venezuela. We have written many pamphlets, articles, and books on the revolutionary situation in Venezuela, but it is actually being in Venezuela that is the best way to confirm these theories.

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El 8 de agosto vio la inauguración de la 16ª edición del Festival Mundial de la Juventud y los Estudiantes (FMJE) que se está celebrando en Caracas este año. Bajo el lema “Por la paz, la solidaridad y contra el imperialismo”, más de 15,000 jóvenes de todo el globo terráqueo se han reunido para discutir una amplia gama de temas; todos ellos de carácter antiimperialista.

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Yesterday, August 8 saw the start of the 16th World Festival of Students and Youth, which is being held in Caracas this year. Under the slogan "For peace, solidarity and against imperialism", more than 15,000 young people from all over the globe gathered to discuss an entire range of issues, all of them anti-imperialist in nature.

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ABN reports: Over 120,000 youngsters from 133 countries are expected to be present at the XVI World Youth and Students Festival to take place in Venezuela from August 9-15.

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Hands of Venezuela (HOV) Toronto’s Alex Grant delivered a successful address at a Latin American solidarity evening in Hamilton, Ontario on July 8. Organized by the McMaster University Socialist Movement, “The Struggle for Sovereignty in Latin America,” featured speakers on Guatemala, Columbia, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela.

The goal of the evening was to increase awareness of the political situation in these Latin American countries and outline what Canadians can do to show their support. The meeting was held at the local 1005 Steelworkers hall in Hamilton. Hamilton is known informally as “Steeltown,” due to its status as home to some of the largest steel refineries in North America. The steelworkers are currently embroiled in a struggle to protect their pensions.

Lisa Valenti of Pastors for Peace gave a moving address about her group’s efforts to provide goods from throughout North America to Cuba. She encouraged the 60 people assembled to show their support at a border crossing at the Peace Bridge in Niagara Falls on August 1. “You can join a caravan at any point. We’re very flexible,” Valenti said, when asked how to join their movement.

Sheny Rodriquez and Andy Altilia spoke about efforts to increase equality for women in Guatemala. “The statistics are that 1 woman dies every day.” Programs geared to increase awareness in Guatemalan woman are currently running in the Latin American country.

Larry Wells, a spokesperson from the Oakville Labour Council, spoke about the “Killer Coke Campaign,” in Columbia. More trade unionists are killed in Columbia than in any other country and Coca Cola is one of the leading offenders. Jamila Ghaddar spoke on behalf of the McMaster University Socialist Movement and presented a short address on the Canadian and American backed coup in Haiti as well as including some historical information.

HOV’s Alex Grant presented a short history of the events in Venezuela and emphasized the importance of supporting the revolution. The current movement in Latin America provides a unique and powerful opportunity to provide support and solidarity while the revolution is going forward rather than after a defeat, as was the case in Chile and Nicaragua.

There was an opportunity to ask questions afterwards. When the panel was asked what prevented people from becoming more active, Grant answered that “fear, was the reason for paralysis in most countries. “Nothing is more successful than success and that is why Venezuela is so dangerous to the Imperialists. It’s a positive example,” he said.

After the event, people had the opportunity to meet and discuss. There was a good deal of interest in the HOV information table, with a number of people signing up to show their interest and support. The information provided on Venezuela garnered more than $100 in sales. There are currently plans in place to hold a showing of “Venezuela Bolivariana” at McMaster University in the new academic year. The DVD was one of the top sellers at the event. There was also talk of presenting HOV at a Steelworkers union meeting in the near future.

The evening, which included buffet and information tables, capped off with music and live Latin dancing.

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The World Festival of Students and Youth will take place this August 7-15th in Caracas, Venezuela. The theme of this festival is international, anti-imperialist solidarity. That is a very fitting theme for a festival taking place in Caracas.

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On July 5th, Venezuela's Independence Day, British Member of Parliament John McDonnell, who is also the Honorary President of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, tabled two Early Day Motions. One of them recognised the advances made by Venezuela's Bolivarian governent and the other urged the US to extradite Posada Carriles (see When is a terrorist not a terrorist?) to Venezuela.

We ask all supporters of the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign to write to your MPs asking them to sign these Early Day Motions numbers 487 and 488. You can find out who your MP is and write to him or her through the House of Commons website

This is the full text of the motions and a link to the House of Commons website where you can check how many MPs have signed it: 


EDM 487


McDonnell, John

That this House recognises, on this Venezuela Independence Day, the advances made by the democratically-elected Bolivarian government of President Hugo Chavez in the fields of education, health care, land reform and Latin American integration; and congratulates the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign for the work it has carried out to spread information about Venezuela and the role of the Chavez government.



EDM 488


McDonnell, John

That this House urges the United States Administration to extradite Luis Posada to Venezuela where he escaped from prison whilst on trial for the terrorist crime of blowing up a Cuban airline killing 73 people; and is concerned that recently declassified United States Administration documents have identified Posada as a CIA operative.


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The U.S. Hands Off Venezuela Campaign, San Francisco Labor Council, and Open World Conference have invited Stalin Perez Borges of the Venezuelan UNT (National Union of Workers) for a series of meetings in California between September 22 and October 2, 2005.

Stalin Perez Borges will be speaking at ILWU Local 34 hall, 4 Berry St., SF, on Sunday Sept. 25th at 3 pm.

ILWU Local 34 Hall is located next door to SBC Park.
Use the "N" line of Muni toward SBC Park.
For more information about the event call

The UNT was founded in August 2003 as the response of democratic trade unionists in Venezuela to the fact that the unelected and illegitimate leadership of the CTV had supported and participated in the military coup in April 2002 and the bosses' lockout in December 2002. The UNT has now become the main trade union organization in Venezuela and is actively participating in the struggle for workers' control and co-management which it has already achieved in state-owned companies like Alcasa and Cadafe and recently nationalized ones like Venepal and CNV.
stalinperezborges01.jpg (53229 bytes)Stalin Perez Borges is one of the national coordinators of the UNT. He comes from the UTIPC (Union de Trabajadores de la Industria Procesadora del  Cigarrillo) [Union of Workers of the Cigarette Processing Industry], the  union at the big Filtrona cigarette filter factory in Valencia. He has been  a long time union leader in Valencia was a member of Fetracarabobo  [Federation of Workers of the state of Carabobo], and is a founding member of the UNT. With decades of experience in the trade union movement, Borges became one ofthe main trade union leaders in the industrial state of Carabobo. He played a key role in the struggle against the coup in April 2002, and the bosses' lock out of December 2002.
These meetings are aimed at promoting a wide ranging discussion about the situation facing the labor movement as well as other important developments in Venezuela.  Trade unionists and human rights activists in this country need to know the truth in order to effectively defend the struggle for trade union freedoms and justice in Venezuela.
We invite all Hands Off Venezuela supporters in California, across the United States and around the world to support this important initiative.  We hope Stalin Perez Borges' visit to California will be the first in a series of exchanges between Venezuelan and U.S. trade unionists. To make this visit possible, we are launching a fund raising drive to cover the many expenses we will incur.  Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Letters of support for Stalin Pérez Borges' visit are also appreciated and can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The SF Bay HOV committee will be holding a series of local meetings and fundraisers in preparation for this important visit.  More details on these meetings and events featuring Stalin Perez Borges will be made available regularly on this site.   Please contact the US HOV campaign for more information.

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