Wednesday, 12 May 2010

RATB reports: PSUV speaks in Liverpool and Manchester

On 24 April, Venezuelan comrade Rafael Ramos spoke in Liverpool to an audience of 40 people and the next day in Manchester to 50 people, about the revolutionary process in Venezuela. Rafael is an art student at UNEARTE (The Experimental University for the Arts) in Caracas, and a member of JPSUV (the youth wing of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela).

Comrade Rafael gave a historical background to President Chavez’ first electoral victory in 1998, covering the corrupt Punto Fijo electoral pact through which ruling class parties controlled the electoral process, and the embrace of neo-liberalism which led to the Caracazo uprising in 1989 when thousands died as they fought back against terrible impoverishment and hunger. He spoke of the achievements of the revolution: the impact of the new constitution which had started to empower the working class and poor, the astonishing fall in poverty as a result of the Revolution’s social programme, and the formation of the PSUV to act as a vehicle for further revolutionary advance. He also described in detail some of the social and health programmes that were in operation so that the audience could understand how the Revolution was actually working on the ground.

In response to questions, Rafael said the Revolution would survive whatever happened to Chavez, because the people were now awake and could not possibly go back to sleep. He identified US imperialism as the key force behind attempts to destabilise the country and destroy the Bolivarian revolution. He also condemned the surrender of sovereignty of Colombia to the US with its agreement to accept the establishment of seven new military bases, but made clear that they saw the Colombian people as 'our brothers'. There were lively discussions at both meetings; in response to one question he dismissed Venezuelan left-wing critics of Chavez, as 'opportunists'.

On behalf of Rock around the Blockade, Sam Rae explained the vital influence of Cuban socialism within the Bolivarian revolution and described the role that ALBA was playing. More specifically he spoke of Cuba’s current role in Haiti and its proposal to build a completely new health system there with the support of ALBA countries and Brazil. He then explained the importance of breaking media silence about Cuba’s achievements by contrasting the minimal coverage of Cuba’s proposal with the extensive publicity on the death of hunger-striker and common criminal Zapato Tamayo.

The meetings were supported by the Honduras Solidarity Campaign, Respect, Justice for Colombia and the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG); there were also members of the Socialist Labour Party present. Everyone accepted it had been a privilege to listen to a representative of the Venezuelan people speak about the Revolution and provide a meeting of real political substance during the farce of the British general election.