[News] Venezuela: 'Imperialism will be defeated!'

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 26 13:40:54 EDT 2005

Green Left Weekly - Aug 24, 2005

VENEZUELA: `Imperialism will be defeated!'

by Stuart Munckton, Caracas

The system of imperialism was put in the dock during the 16th World
Festival of Youth and Students in Caracas. The festival hosted an
Anti-Imperialist Tribunal on August 13 and 14 to hear testimonies from
representatives of peoples around the world on the havoc wreaked by
the imperialist system, and especially by US imperialism.

The hearing was presided over by Venezuelan Vice-President Jose
Vincent Rangel and featured a jury made up of lawyers, economists and
intellectuals from Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam, Britain, Syria, Zimbabwe,
North Korea, Mexico and Spain. The chief prosecutor was Eva Golinger,
a high-profile attorney and author of The Chavez Code, which documents
how the US government has intervened illegally in Venezuela to attempt
to bring down the left-wing government of Hugo Chavez.

There was no defence for imperialism present, despite Rangel
explaining that the tribunal was open to anyone who wished to speak
before it to offer a defence, including the US ambassador to
Venezuela, William Browning. Rangel explained that although
imperialism had "defence attorneys" throughout the world, none had the
courage to appear.

More than 10,000 young delegates to the festival, from 144 countries,
heard often moving testimonies from dozens of witnesses about the
crimes of imperialism, including torture, murder, denial of national
independence, genocide, suppression of freedom of speech, economic
sabotage, the overthrow of popular governments and brutal military

On the first day, witnesses testified from countries including
Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, Korea, Greece and Cyprus. A
documentary detailing the overthrow of the Aristide government and the
imperialist occupation of Haiti was shown. Especially moving was the
testimony from Fernando Suarez del Solar, the father of a young
unemployed Hispanic man from the US who was killed in Iraq. He
provided accounts of how the US military trawled the ghettoes to find
desperate poor youths to be their cannon fodder in Iraq.

The second day focused on the crimes of imperialism against Cuba and
Venezuela, and culminated in special testimony presented by Chavez.
Repeatedly interrupted by applause, revolutionary chants and standing
ovations, a series of representatives of the Cuban people gave
profoundly emotional testimonies, providing detailed evidence of the
ongoing campaign of sabotage and terror waged against them by the US
government since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

The tribunal heard first from Percy Albarado, a Guatemalan who spent
22 years working for Cuba's security service, infiltrating the
right-wing CIA-backed Cuban-American terrorist organisations that
operate out of Miami. Albarado detailed his experiences in being
trained as a terrorist, and outlined the direct involvement of the US
government. He demanded the terrorists who murder civilians and are
protected by the US be brought to justice, that the US leaders who
"hypocritically talk of a war on terror while spreading it around the
world" likewise pay for their crimes.

In response to a question from a juror, Albarado explained that he
believed that the terrorist methods used against Cuba were certain to
be employed against Venezuela, given the repeated failure of the US to
overthrow Chavez's revolutionary government. He explained that there
already existed an alliance between Cuban terrorist groups in Miami
and the right-wing Venezuelan opposition.

The tribunal also heard moving testimony from a daughter and a mother
of two of the five Cubans imprisoned in the US for their
anti-terrorist activity, as well as from the son of one of the victims
of the bombing of a 1976 civilian Cuban flight by a Cuban CIA
operative that killed all its passengers.

A sight-impaired Cuban university student provided evidence of the
impact of the over-four-decade-long US economic blockade of Cuba,
explaining how the blockade had denied the blind in Cuba tools such as
braille and walking canes. She explained that when as a child her eye
sight deteriorated, the blockade denied her medicines, causing her to
lose even more of her sight. She explained, "Imperialism took away my
sight, but I still see the colours of hope". She said that following
the example of Che Guevara, "I swear that I will struggle against
imperialism until victory!"

Also appearing before the tribunal was the president of Cuba's
National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, who explained that US aggression
against Cuba dated back to the beginning of the 19th century when US
leaders aimed to annex Cuba as a colony.

Testimony was also heard from two Venezuelans about events surrounding
the US-backed military coup that overthrew the Chavez government on
April 11, 2002, before a popular uprising restored the government two
days later. Both witnesses were shot in the lead-up to the coup. They
provided evidence that, contrary to claims from the opposition who
carried out the coup that the shootings were ordered by Chavez, they
were in fact carried out by members of the metropolitan police under
opposition control.

The second witness, a housewife who still has a bullet lodged in her
cheek, explained how, still bleeding from her face wound, she took to
the streets on April 11 to fight for Chavez's restoration and didn't
return home until victorious. Both insisted that, in the face of a
similar threat to the revolution, they would be on the frontlines

Chavez's testimony

The highlight of the tribunal was without any doubt the "special
testimony" of Chavez himself. The stadium was packed to capacity as
excitement at the prospect of hearing from a great modern
revolutionary hero grew.

The singing and chanting grew louder and more forceful by the minute.
A singer performing revolutionary songs brought the crowd to its feet
and the continuous applause, flag and banner waving and chanting grew
and grew.

Just when it appeared the revolutionary fervour had reached an
insurmountable pinnacle, Chavez finally appeared. Such was the
overflow of enthusiasm that it took nearly half an hour before Chavez
could start his speech. Whenever it seemed as though the chanting was
dying down from one section of the crowd, it would start up with
double the enthusiasm from another.

When one section of the crowd, shaking the stadium, bounced up and
down shouting "If you don't jump you are a yankee!", Chavez obliged
and danced a jig in front of the podium. The stadium threatened to
collapse as tens of thousands of revolutionary youth jumped up and
down in the stands in unison. When a Mexican wave started, Chavez
obliged again, participating from the stage. Eventually, Chavez
spontaneously started singing Venezuela's national anthem, forcing the
crowd to stand and sing together. It proved an effective tactic and at
the end, Chavez asked "May I speak now?". The crowd responded, "Yes!"

In a profoundly revolutionary talk with a deep humanism and
determination that repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet, Chavez
spoke for over three hours without ever losing his audience. It was no
ordinary speech, but a dialogue. Chavez was inspired by the youthful
revolutionary energy of the crowd, which in turn raised the fervour of
the stadium to a previously unthinkable level.

"The world is in peril", Chavez insisted. The very survival of
humanity is at stake and "either we dismantle imperialism or
imperialism destroys the planet -- this is our dilemma". He reminded
the audience of the words of Karl Marx, repeated by Rosa Luxemburg:
either socialism or barbarism.

Chavez warned that Marx and Luxemburg were discussing the future, but
that today, humanity does not have decades, only years. Yet he
expressed a deep faith in the ability of humanity to win. He placed
special emphasis on the role of youth, driving home to the delegates
that the future of the world is in our hands.

Chavez quoted Che Guevara saying that the revolutionary is the highest
form of a human being, and as such, those present were the best of our
generation and we had the potential, if we struggled hard enough, to
save the planet.

Acknowledging the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, which he condemned as imperialism's greatest crime,
Chavez declared that here in Caracas at the festival "another atomic
bomb has gone off". He said: "You are the atomic bomb of life and we
are duty bound to spread this across all continents."

Chavez claimed the US empire is the "cruelest and most violent empire
in history" and paid tribute to the recent world tribunal against the
occupation of Iraq, an occupation "whose victims continue to grow". He
produced a copy of a book that he strongly recommended to the
audience: Hegemony or Survival, by "the great anti-imperialist" US
intellectual Noam Chomsky, whose book, Chavez said, demolishes the
arguments of imperialism and exposes its true face.

Chavez announced his government's plan to establish an
"anti-imperialist publishing house", with the collaboration of Cuba,
to publish "20 million" anti-imperialist books like the works of
Chomsky. The books would be distributed free of charge, he said.

Chavez referred to the dream of Venezuelan-born liberation leader
Simon Bolivar, who liberated six countries from Spanish rule. He
accused the US of a "200-year-long" campaign to "destroy Bolivar's

He asked the audience to imagine what Latin America would be like if
the US had not overthrown the Guatemalan government in the 1950s, or
invaded the Dominican Republic in the '60s, or overthrown Chile's
socialist government in the '70s, or invaded Grenada in the '80s.
Bringing the crowd to its feet with a roar, he declared that there was
one exception to this rule: nearly 50 years of revolutionary Cuba!

Chavez argued that Cuba was the greatest threat the US faced because
of the powerful example of its socialist system.

Declaring "we must win this battle", Chavez insisted the battle to
defeat imperialism was not against the US people, but with them.
Chavez announced that one of the Cuba-Venezuela missions being spread
to Latin America, Mission Miracles -- whereby those who are
sight-impaired are flown free of charge to Cuba to have cataracts
removed -- would be made available to US citizens.

`Who here is a socialist?'

Chavez left no doubt about what system he supported to replace
imperialism, coming out strongly for a socialist alternative. The
position of the crowd was not in any doubt either: when Chavez at one
point asked "Who here is a socialist?", 10,000 hands reached for the

Neither did Chavez shy away from controversy. To an audience with many
representatives of youth groups of communist parties that were aligned
to the former Soviet Union, Chavez didn't hesitate to quote the great
anti-Stalinist revolutionary Leon Trotsky, or repeat Che Guevara's
criticisms of the Soviet Union for abandoning the Third World. Both
comments received a noticeably mixed response.

Chavez imbued his speech with optimism, pointing to the growing
anti-imperialist revolt in Latin America and the advance of the
Venezuelan revolution. He declared that the US "will never be
victorious in Venezuela" and that it is "doomed to failure" because
the revolutionary consciousness of the people is too high. He pointed
out that peoples' resistance killed the US-backed Free Trade Area of
the Americas, and that the alternative promoted by Venezuela and Cuba,
the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, based on cooperation and
solidarity, continued to advance. "I want you to go back and bring the
good news: imperialism is not invincible!"

Chavez ended by ensuring everyone present knew that their duty was in
the struggle against imperialism. He insisted the festival could not
end here, but must find the ways and means of continuing all year
round. Chavez concluded his accusations against US imperialism with
the statement: "This savage form of imperialism will be defeated in
this, the 21st century!" The crowd exploded once more and Chavez was
mobbed as he attempted to leave the stage.

Following Chavez's speech, the jury retired to prepare its verdict. It
returned to announce imperialism had been found guilty of serious
crimes against humanity. The tribunal found imperialism "in all its
forms", but especially the hegemonic power of the US, as well as its
allies, transnational corporations and imperialist international
institutions, "guilty and condemns it for its crimes".

Although the tribunal carries no legal weight, it was announced that
its findings would be passed on to all relevant international bodies.
The tribunal also called for US President George Bush to be tried
immediately under international law for his role in imperialism's

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