|English | Español||January 16, 2018 | Issue #29|
Thousands of Voices, United in Venezuela
On the Anniversary of the defeated coup, the Bolivarian Revolution gathers strength
By Alex Contreras Baspineiro
President Hugo Chávez
This morning’s inaugural ceremony in the Teresa Carreño theatre was marked not only by the crowds, but also by their conviction. When President Chávez took his seat, the orchestra fell silent before the cries of “¡Uh, Ah! ¡Chávez no se va!” (“Ooh! Aah! Chávez isn’t leaving!”) from every section of the theater, and, above all, from the depths of every heart.
This global gathering commemorates the first anniversary of the popular insurrection that toppled the dictatorship imposed by the coup d’etat of April 11 last year. At that time, the commercial media, along with the Venezuelan fascist oligarchy, proclaimed the success of the reactionary coup and the overthrow of the President of the Bolivarian Republic to be a success. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
At a conference on the ideas of liberator Simón Bolívar, Samuel Moncada, Director of the School of History at the Catholic University of Venezuela, remembered those days:
“April 11 was labeled the day of tragedy, when a group of military officers, together with the multinational corporations, CEOs, and some trade unionists, carried out a violent massacre against the people of Venezuela. The 12th was defined as the day of the boss’s revenge, as the new junta imposed a climate of terror, violating human, social, and political rights. The portrait of Bolívar (that hangs in the presidential press conference room) was removed and hidden, and the name of the Bolivarian Republic changed.
“But April 13th was the day of the dignity of the Venezuelan people. First dozens, then thousands, then millions of men and women confronted the coup to demand Chávez’s return to power. Unarmed except for the copies of the Constitution in their hands, the power of the people overthrew the fascist generals.”
Ignacio Ramonet, editor of the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, spoke at the event’s opening. The thousands of people there, he said, from all over the world, were there in solidarity not only with the valiant Venezuelan people, but also with President Chávez.
“It is an honor,” he said, “to begin this meeting of meeting of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, which, in my opinion, is also an encounter with Venezuelan democracy. Appropriately, then, it is also a meeting in solidarity with a president who was democratically elected and who governs democratically.”
Ramonet spoke about the massacre of Iraq by the United States and other powerful nations, and warned that the same thing could occur in other countries around the world as an “ideological and political war.” He identified a new “military democracy” as the armed wing of globalization. The only response to this, said Ramonet, is a global mobilization against the force of power.
This gathering will see solidarity-building activities, a refreshing of the collective memory, a series of panels and conferences, symbolic actions, presentations on the experience of popular organizing, as well as artistic and cultural events. Together with Ramonet, world personalities such as US antiglobalization analyst James Petras, Bolivian coca-farmers’ leader Evo Morales, Argentinean leader Hebe Bonafini (veteran of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo group), Mexican economist Ana Esther Ceceña, Francois Houtart of Belgium, María Valencia of Colombia, Jaime Amorím of Brazil, José Cademátori of Chile, and many, many more have begun to arrive.
Hundreds of journalists are also meeting in Caracas. These journalists come not from the commercial media, but represent an alternative, popular, community-based and authentic communication. They are getting together to bring the truth about this event to the world, and to form a common front against the corporate press. Although at this time the Venezuelan masses face a difficult economic and social situation – the result of the work lockout and boycott by the Venezuelan corporations this winter – they take great pleasure in their liberty, solidarity, respect and friendship. More than ever, they believe in the construction of a new society.
Alex Contreras, graduate and now professor of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism from Cochabamba, Bolivia, reports from Caracas this week with Narco News Andean Bureau chief Luis Gómez and other members of our news team on the first anniversary of the defeat of last April’s coup d’etat. See our Spanish language front page for more reports from this historic celebration.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism