The Coalition to Welcome President Hugo Chavez
We, the undersigned, condemn the US actions that prevented Venezuelan President Chavez from coming to the US to speak at the United Nations
While heads of states and the people of the world have been able to hear President Bush address at the United Nations, they will not hear from the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. His trip has been cancelled due to ‘security concerns’. Not only is the US not offering protection, but has organized violence against him and the Venezuelan people. It is totally unacceptable that a head of state would have to risk his life to meet with other heads of state at the UN in New York.
Background: Venezuela is the world’s 5th largest oil supplier, yet 80% of its population lives in poverty. President Chavez was elected in a landslide in 1998, initiating a "peaceful and democratic process" aimed at making fundamental change, such as using the country’s oil revenue to end poverty & corruption, and tackling racism, sexism, & other forms of discrimination. In April 2002 the US backed a coup which kidnapped Pres. Chavez and overthrew the new democratically constructed constitution. But within three days, millions of people from the poorest areas took to the streets and, with the help of loyal soldiers, won both back. The wealthy white racist coup leaders now reside in Florida, Colombia, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.
Days before President Chavez was forced to cancel his trip to New York, the US government sent a message when it refused to sign a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli threats to remove Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat by deportation or assassination: it wants us to accept its right to remove any head of state, democratically-elected or not, whom it does not want. The US administration together with the President of Colombia have decided to give amnesty to paramilitary death squad leaders, as a condition for receiving aid. Venezuelan airspace has been violated by 15 Black Hawk helicopters flying over the border from Colombia in a clear act of aggression.
These events, along with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, another large oil-producing nation, and the violent overthrow of Chilean President Allende (that commemorated its 30th anniversary on Sept 11), are ever-present specters. Now Venezuelan intelligence reports that the CIA was plotting to bring down Pres Chavez’s airplane. No one who knows the CIA’s history will reject that possibility.
President Chavez represents the growing global movement for economic and social justice, against US domination and for self-determination - beginning in Latin America. The people in the United States have been deprived of truth and of information about the new Venezuelan process, by a corporate media which has vilified and censored Pres. Chavez, and the movement he spearheads. Pres. Chavez has said he most regrets not being able to give a televised speech at Riverside Church where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., a year to the day before he was assassinated, declared "[the Vietnam] war is the enemy of the poor."
We call on governments at the UN, Congress and people in the US in whose name these policies are carried out, to join us in:
- Protesting US interference in the ability of a government to represent itself in the UN, and this attack on free speech;
- Condemning the US refusal to protect President Chavez on its soil and, worse, its use of assassinations, deportations, illegal arrest, torture, overt and covert invasions and other methods to dispose of democratically-elected and social change leaders it doesn’t want us to have;
- Demanding that the Bush administration stop its complicity with Venezuela's discredited and corrupt elite, financing & sheltering their attempts to destabilize the economy, provoking violence and chaos, and imposing a dictatorship that would enable them again to steal, impoverish and exploit the Venezuelan people, on behalf of US multinationals and themselves.
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Return to Coalition to Welcome Chavez (a coalition of 15 Latino, Black, women’s and community organizations). 212-924-8585. Chavezinnewyorkyahoo.com
The Coalition to Welcome President Hugo Chavez.
Global Women's Strike/Philadelphia: 215-848-1120. P.O. Box 11795 Philadelphia PA 19101