Dublin Hands Off Venezuela meeting – Biggest ever held at AT&GWU offices

Ricardo Galindez spoke at a meeting at the offices of the AT&GWU, the biggest meeting on Latin America ever hosted there, with 115 people attending.

The meeting of the Hands off Venezuela campaign held in the offices of the AT&GWU in Dublin was the biggest meeting on Latin America ever hosted there. These were the words of the brothers and sisters of LASC (Latin American Solidarity Centre). 115 people attended the meeting to hear Ricardo Galindez speak.

Richard Gott, former Latin American correspondent for The Guardian, was present at the meeting and explained the events that have unfolded since the very first electoral victory of Hugo Chavez. He pointed out that even then a strategy to oust him was being prepared. The British journalist said he had been to Venezuela and that he had witnessed the development of the social programmes known as “misiones”, and explained how beneficial they were for the ordinary working people.

Mick McCaughan, the author of The Battle for Venezuela, was also at the meeting. He briefly spoke about the position of the Venezuelan revolutionary process in the context of the general struggle taking place across the whole of Latin America, where important struggles and movements have been developing in countries like Bolivia, Peru and Argentina amongst others.

Ricardo Galindez explained just how important the revolution in Venezuela is. The ability of the Venezuelan masses to mobilise and organise themselves has been demonstrated through the formation of the Bolivarian Circles, UBEs (Electoral Battle Units), the social programmes, and the creation of new trade unions and the UNT itself. What this shows is that the revolutionary process is on the ascent.

Galindez stressed the need to develop solidarity with the revolution because international solidarity can be a powerful weapon in the struggle against US imperialism and the transnational corporations that are attempting to isolate the revolution.

He also explained that the leadership of Hugo Chavez has been evolving. Chavez began his presidency on the basis of democratic demands and by standing against “neo-liberal capitalism”, and has now moved to an anti-imperialist position. He recently pointed out that the root cause of the problems of the Venezuelan people was capitalism, and that the only solution to these problems was the establishment of a socialist society – a genuine socialist society.

An anti-globalisation activist also took the platform and gave a first hand report of her experiences at the World Social Forum where Chavez met with activists and trade unionists from all over the world.

The interest in what is happening in Venezuela was so big that even after the meeting was officially over the discussion continued. At the end of the meeting a number of those present came up to the speakers to carry on the debate. They asked further questions about the revolutionary process in Venezuela and wanted to know a lot more about what is really happening.

This short trip to Ireland showed that the Irish workers have a keen interest in what is happening in Venezuela. Links with important trade unions were forged and the ground has been laid for future solidarity activities in Ireland.

February 8, 2005

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