by Lisa Sullivan
For 32 years I have called Venezuela home. Its mountains have given me beauty, its barrios have given me music, its struggles have given me purpose, and its people have given me love.
Its Bolivarian Revolution gave me hope. How could I not feel hope when most of my neighbors -ages 2 to 70, were studying, right in our little potato-growing town in the mountains of western Venezuela. How could I not be hopeful when 18 neighbor families received new homes to replace their unhealthy, crowded living spaces?
by Carlos Aznarez
(Originally published in Spanish at “Resúmen Latinoamericano”, Argentina. 24 June 2016. Translated by VSC.)
It has been a long time, ever since those years when Cuba was still participating in the OAS, that we had not heard words so clear and emphatic as those spoken these days by Bolivarian Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez. It was a real hurricane of fresh air blowing in that tribune, which has always officiated as a tentacle of US foreign policy in Latin America.
by Frederick B. Mills
The atmosphere at the special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on June 23 to hear Secretary General Luis Almagro’s report on the situation in Venezuela was tense, with both pro-Chavista and pro-opposition demonstrators outside the building and a formidable media presence inside. The President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup, was watching the proceedings on a monitor elsewhere in the building while the Venezuelan mission and its allies inside the Simon Bolivar Room were indignant that the meeting was even taking place. There was a great deal at stake for the future of the OAS as well for Venezuela.
On June 4, 2016, members of the Venezuela Solidarity Committee of Boston, had the opportunity to hear a report from Venezuelan Congressman Vivas (PSUV), about the delicate situation the Venezuelan people confront at this moment. The video conference lasted for about an hour and a half and people in the audience had an opportunity to ask questions and share views about the subject matter.
Congressman Vivas explained the constitutional mechanisms of referendums in Venezuela, and in particular about what the right-wing is seeking, a presidential recall referendum. Vivas indicated that there will be no chance of such referendum this year, since the legal procedure for it has not been fulfilled by the right-wing opposition.
The 34 members of the Organization of American States, after 10 hours of discussion agreed on a statement and recommendation on the situation of Venezuela which emphasizes dialogue in search of a solution to the problems in Venezuela. This is in contrast with the interventionist approach taken by its Secretary General Luis Almagro. The decision was reached on June 1st., a day after Almagro’s move to call on the so-called OAS Democratic Charter which could mean the expulsion of Venezuela from the organization. Following is the official agreement.
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals from the United States and Canada, are deeply concerned by your intervention in Venezuela on behalf of the opposition United Democratic Roundtable (MUD) and its allies in Washington as well as your relentless attacks on the administration of President Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela is at a crossroads, facing both an economic crisis and political polarization. Far from helping Venezuela move toward a peaceful and cooperative resolution of these challenges, your intercessions over the past year have served to exacerbate the conflict. We urge you to avoid further partisanship and play a more constructive and impartial role in promoting peace and dialogue. For an example of such an approach one only need look to the mediation efforts of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which has the backing of UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.
Boston-area activists founded the Venezuela Solidarity Committee on March 5, 2016 at a meeting at Encuentro 5 in downtown Boston. The new group will support self-determination and the rights of all historically oppressed peoples in Venezuela and oppose any form of US intervention. In addition to serving as a media resource, activities will include education, lobbying, sister-city programs and campaigns such as supporting the CITGO Heating Oil Assistance Program.