Update of

Jorge Martin's tour of Italy continues to be a success. Also photos of the meeting in Milan are available (May 3, 2004).
See also in Spanish: Actualización de la gira "Manos fuera de Venezuela" en Italia
And in Italian: Aggiornamenti sulla Campagna Giú le mani dal Venezuela in Italia

The "Hands off Venezuela" Italy campaign, after a very good start in Milan, on Friday, April 30, went to Pavia. There we had a meeting with 20 people organised by the Marxist magazine FalceMartello.

Jorge Martin speaks in Milan, April 29, 2004

The following day the tour moved on to Trieste, where we participated in the May Day Festival of the Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) in Opicina, in the Slovenian part of Italy, a region with a strong Communist and partisan tradition. The meeting had been organised by the PRC Provincial Federation, and had as a guest speaker Marco Consolo, from the International Department of the party. More than 50 people participated in the debate and some 100 euros were collected, to which we have to add a 100 euro donation on the part of the PRC to cover all transport costs. We must thank the PRC Provincial Federation for their marvellous internationalist hospitality.

On May 2 there was a meeting in nearby Udine, also organised by the PRC and with the support of the Communist Youth, and the students' Committee in Defence of State Education (CSP). Despite the meeting being on a Sunday evening, 35 trade union and youth activists gathered to hear Jorge Martin and Marco Consolo. Three Venezuelan opposition supporters were also present and spoke from the floor. Their main arguments were that "the people were not ready for land reform since they are ignorant" and the well known opposition argument that it was acceptable for the opposition to organise a coup since Chavez had organised one first! One of them was a Venezuelan-Italian businessman, so he could hardly have supported the revolution. The meeting took place in the CGIL union Labour Chamber, so Jorge Martin also explained in detail how the mafia leaders of the CTV (the old Trade Union Confederation) who had supported the April 2002 coup had never been elected. He described how the 2001 trade union elections had been riddled with irregularities (large amount of ballot boxes went "missing" or were lost in "accidental" fires) and how the old CTV bureaucracy had announced the results before the end of the counting of the ballots. The National Electoral Commission has never certified these results. The collection here raised 80 euros, plus a donation of 100 euros from the Communist Youth.

Meeting in the Milan CGIL headquarters, April 29, 2004

On Monday, May 3, there was a students' assembly at the Liceo Classico Stellini (High School) organised by the CSP activists there. More than 150 students attended the meeting with interest for more than three hours. Some students stressed how little information there was about the situation in Venezuela on the part of the Italian mass media. There was also a lot of interest in the experience of workers' control of the oil company during the struggle against the sabotage of the industry. Jorge Martin explained how the PDVSA workers' have reached the conclusion that only democratic workers' control can prevent saboteurs from coming back into the company and a new bureaucracy from developing.

The provisional balance of the first four days of the campaign is very favourable, having raised 1150 euros and with a total attendance of nearly 500 people at the meetings in 4 cities.

May 3, 2004

See the report of the meeting in Spanish and Italian