Thousands March In Caracas Protesting US Interference,Solidarity Concert In Havana
18 March 2015
Thousands Of Cubans Express Their Unconditional Solidarity With Venezuela And Opposition To US Aggression. Photo: Jorge Luis González, Granma
In the face of imperialist intervention Venezuelan people are mobilizing themselves.
Thousands of citizens in capital Caracas have joined in marches protesting US interference in Venezuela. Venezuelan social movements took to the streets to oppose US aggression. Over 100,000 Venezuelans were mobilized throughout the country for a series of national military exercises in defense of their national sovereignty. A contingent of Russian soldiers and naval craft participated in the exercise. And, thousands of Cubans gathered at the University of Havana’s Grand Stairway to express their unconditional solidarity with Venezuela and opposition to US aggression.
The last several days have seen large marches in solidarity with Venezuela staged in capitals in countries including Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Spain, China, and Russia.
A report by Lucas Koerner said:
Thousands of Venezuelans filled the streets of the capital on March 15, 2015 in support of a new constitutional enabling law that authorizes the Venezuelan president Maduro to pass legislation in defense against US threats to national sovereignty. The law was approved in a special session of the National Assembly on that very day.
Waving banners that read “peace” and “Yankees go home,” the seemingly endless columns of demonstrators reached Miraflores Palace, where they were addressed by Maduro.
Praising the displays of national unity and international solidarity that have been witnessed in Venezuela and diverse countries around the world, the Venezuelan leader called for mobilizations in defense of Venezuelan sovereignty to continue.
“In name of the Venezuelan people, I call on all the popular movements, all of the solidarity movements, all of our sister peoples in the world, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, [...] to stay mobilized in order to speak the truth and demand throughout the world that president Barack Obama revoke the [executive] decree threatening Venezuela.”
For his part, the Venezuelan head of state emphasized his government’s willingness to dialogue with the Obama administration, “wherever, however, and whenever [...] with respect, with equality, without pretence, without arrogance.”
President Maduro urged Venezuelans to communicate directly with the US president, calling on 10 million people to sign a letter addressed to Mr. Obama demanding the repeal of his latest executive order.
“I propose that we take this letter [...] to all of the public plazas of the country in order for no less than 10 million Venezuelans to sign,” announced the Venezuelan president, outlining a popular and democratic response to US aggression.
An earlier Caracas datelined report by Lucas Koerner said:
Venezuelan social movements converged in Plaza Venezuela in the center of the capital on last week to manifest their firm rejection of the latest round of US sanctions.
The latest move by the US has been roundly condemned by a host of nations and regional bodies, including Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, UNASUR, CELAC, and most recently China and Russia.
Among the movements assembled in the center of Caracas were collectives such as the Pioneers Encampament, government-affiliated social missions such as the Great Housing Mission and Barrio Tricolor, as well as a plethora of people representing their neighborhood communal councils.
Chanting "Yankee go home" and "Venezuela respects itself", thousands of Venezuelans of all ages filled the streets with their characteristic red shirts, exhibiting national pride and indignation in response to the White House’s announcements.
"We are here to defend the motherland left to us by Chávez, Bolívar, Zamora, and all of our heroes and heroines, because we've also had many heroines, many barefooted women who defended this country. We're following in the same legacy as all of them," Lies Guzmán of the Socialist Environmental Workers' Front told Venezuelanalysis.
"We are steeled for anything that happens, with the women in the vanguard, prepared on all fronts, including the diplomatic, military, and guerrilla fronts if necessary."
Olenia Quintana, 32, of the Pioneers Encampment collective challenged what she perceives to be a clear double standard underlying the US president's accusations.
"If you're talking about human rights, the first thing that Obama needs to do in his country is revise all of the laws. [The United States] is the only country [in the hemisphere] with the death penalty. Here there is no death penalty."
This critique has been repeated on numerous occasions by president Maduro who has denounced the U.S. government's human rights record vis-a-vis its own people.
The Venezuelan leader called on Obama to defend the rights of US citizens including "Black people killed in US cities every day, the thousands of people who don't have a place to sleep and die of cold on the streets of New York, Boston, or Chicago, and those detained in Guantánamo."
Venezuelans attending the rally were keen to distinguish between the actions of the US government and its people.
"The message to the people of the United States is that they should rise up," declared José Zegarra, 36, a construction worker and general coordinator of the Revolutionary Hugo Chávez Workers' Front.
"In the United States, there are many dignified people who know that their government has regrettably interfered in the affairs of other countries, believing itself the world policeman. But the average North American person isn't any kind of world policeman, but a person who has to work to eat, work to pay the mortgage, work to pay the heat and everything else."
Guzmán echoed this sentiment, underscoring the need for social and political transformation in the US.
"[The US people] must organize and make the necessary changes in their country, which is a noble but subdued country, whose people are much more subdued than our own [people]."
Organized by the Ministry of Defense, the military exercise participated by more than 100,000 Venezuelans comes in response to an executive order issued by the Obama administration branding Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” and sanctioning seven top Bolivarian officials.
“The defense of the motherland is the duty of all Venezuelans, which should be taken up by private enterprises, public institutions, and all instances of the government and the state,” declared defense minister Vladimir Padrino López from the capital’s principal military installation at Fuerte Tiuna.
The exercise featured the participation of 20,000 civilian volunteers who joined an additional 80,000 soldiers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in nationwide preparations for a potential US aggression against the Bolivarian Republic.
Alongside active duty soldiers members of the Bolivarian Militia participated in the exercise. The militia was expanded by over 35,000 members by President Chávez in 2010. The Bolivarian Militia represents the foundation of a popular “civic-military alliance” that has kept the Bolivarian Revolution in power amid repeated efforts to overthrow the government, including the reversed 2002 coup backed by the US.
“These exercises are not a bellicose demonstration of our armament systems, but are more than anything about bringing our people together,” added Padrino López.
Bolivarian soldiers and civilians welcomed the participation of a contingent of Russian soldiers and naval craft, who assisted in exercises testing Venezuela’s air defense system, which included the launching of Russian-made BM-30 Smerch ground to air missiles.
The defensive preparations will continue over the course of ten days, encompassing approximately 30 exercises.
The defensive military exercise that began on March 14, 2015 plans to identify key defensive points in the country.
Thousands of Cubans gathered at the University of Havana’s Grand Stairway to express their unconditional solidarity with Venezuela and opposition to US aggression.
The evening concert began with the two country’s national anthems – the Venezuelan heard in the voice of Commandante Hugo Chávez, via a recording made during the final days of his 2012 election campaign.
In the name of Cuba’s youth, Yosvany Montano, president of the Federation of University Students (FEU) welcomed the crowd to the event saying that Cuba’s youth sings for peace and self-determination for the peoples of Our America; that at a time when the Bolivarian Revolution is attacked, Cuba’s youth reaffirms its unconditional support to the Venezuelan people and government.
Comments are moderated