If We Were Venezuelan, on August 15th, 2004, We Would Vote for Hugo Chavez

World intellectuals, politicians and activists such as Eduardo Galeano, Dennis Brutus, Ken Livingstone, Naomi Klein, James Petras, John Pilger and others, signed a manifesto in support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

By If We Were Venezuelan collective
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We, the signers of this manifesto, wish to express our solidarity with the struggle that, alongside President Hugo Chavez, the majority of the Venezuelan people are waging in defense of their right to freely determine their future.

At the same time, we wish to denounce the disinformation campaign that is being orchestrated by the major media and that attempts to characterize as a tyrant, a President who has consistently respected the rule of law and the country’s Constitution.

In the democratic elections of December 1998, and all of the elections that have taken place since, Hugo Chavez won landslide victories.  In accordance with the promises made during his campaign, he is in the process of carrying out fundamental political, economic and social reforms in a country that, for decades, was subjected to the dictates of an oligarchic minority.  As a result of this program of reforms, he has been targeted by Venezuelan and international corporations and financial institutions, and the media organizations that defend their interests.

Hugo Chavez has become the defender of his country’s poor majority and has dedicated himself to promoting the principles of Venezuela’s new Constitution adopted by popular referendum in 1999, following a process of vast democratic participation.  This extraordinarily progressive Constitution contains a provision that allows for a referendum on the mandate of any elected official, half-way through his or her term in office.  As a result of this provision, on August 15th of this year, a popular referendum will determine whether Hugo Chavez will remain President of Venezuela until the end of his 5-year mandate.

This sort of constitutional mechanism is unique in Latin America and perhaps in the rest of the world as well. How many heads-of-state would have the courage to put their popularity to the test before finishing their term?  Hugo Chavez has demonstrated this courage and has thus given a democratic lesson to the sectors of the Venezuelan opposition that have, in the past, resorted to coup d’etats, economic sabotage, lies and managerial lockouts in an attempt to undermine the country’s constitutional order. They are now obliged to act within a legal framework that they had previously chosen to disregard.

We are certain that, on August 15th, the Venezuelan people will celebrate a new victory that will allow them to continue building a freer and fairer society; the country that Simon Bolivar dreamt of.

This is why we reaffirm that: IF WE WERE VENEZUELAN, ON AUGUST 15TH WE WOULD VOTE FOR HUGO CHAVEZ.  

1. Greg Albo (Canada): Professor
2. Rafael Alegria (Honduras): member of  Via Campesina
3. Aijaz Ahmad (India): Writer and Journalist
4. Tariq Ali (Pakistan-England): Writer
5. Perry Anderson (England): Historian
6. Alvin Anthony (South Africa): National Coordinator for Jubilee South Africa
7. Don Tomas Balduino (Brazil): Bishop
8. Pierre Baudet (Canada): Alternatives
9. Walden Bello (Phillipines): Economist; Recipient, 2003 Right Livelihood Prize
10. Tony Benn (England): Politician
11. Jean-Pierre Beauvais (France): Journalist
12. Fausto Bertinotti (Italy): Politician
13. Robin Blackburn (Great Britain): Sociologist
14. Victoria Brittain (England): Journalist
15. Leonardo Boff (Brazil): Theologist
16. Atlio Boron (Argentina): Sociologist
17. Father Roy Bourgeois (USA): Human Rights Activist
18. José Bové: member of Vía Campesina
19. Dennis Brutus (South Africa): Poet and Professor Emeritus
20. Chico Buarque (Brazil): Musician
21. Sally Burch (England): Journalist
22. Bernard Cassen: Founder of ATTAC
23. Luciana Castellina (Italy): Journalist
24. Manu Chao (Spain-France): Musician
25. Jean Pierre Chevenement (France): Ex-Minister; Mayor of Belfort.
26. Tony Clarke (Canada): Writer
27. Alexander Cockburn (Ireland-USA): Journalist
28. Hugo Cores (Uruguay): Politician
29. Frank Cottrell Boyce (England): Scriptwriter
30. Alex Cox (England): Filmmaker
31. Wilfred D´Costa (India) Social Activist
32. Paul Emile Dupret (Belgium): Advisor to European Parliament
33. Celso Furtado (Brazil): Economist
34. Carlos Gabetta (Argentina): Journalist
35. Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay): Writer
36. George Galloway (England): Politician; Member of British Parliament
37. Sam Gindin (Canada): Professor
38. Richard Gott (England): Historian
39. Buzz Hargrove (Canada): Labor Leader
40. Marta Harnecker (Chile): Writer
41. Eric Hobsbawm (England): Historian
42. Mike Hodges (England): Filmmaker
43. Fakir Hossain (Bangladesh): University Professor
44. Francois Houtart (Belgium): Centre Tricontinental
45. Naomi Klein (Canada): Journalist
46. Saul Landau (USA): Filmmaker
47. Michael Lebowitz (Canada): Economist and Professor Emeritus
48. Oswaldo Leon (Ecuador): Journalist
49. Ken Livingstone (England): Mayor of London
50. Ken Loach (England): Filmmaker
51. Maria Luisa Mendoza (Brazil): Journalist
52. Danielle Mitterrand (France): President of the Fundación France-Libertes
53. Fernando Morais (Brazil): Writer
54. Monower Mostaza (Bangladesh): University Professor
55. Demba Moussa Dembele (Senegal): Forum Alternative de l´Afrique
56. Sami Nair (France): Sociologist
57. Oscar Niemeyer (Brazil): Architect
58. Leo Panitch (Canada): Profesor of Political Science
59. Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina): Nobel Peace Prize winner
60. James Petras (USA): Sociologist
61. John Pilger (Australia): Journalist
62. Harold Pinter (England): Playwright
63. Ignacio Ramonet (France): Writer
64. Rica Cortes Rentzing (Germany): Activist
65. Peter Rosset (USA): University Professor
66. Carlos Ruiz (Chile): Sociologist and University Professor
67. Emir Sader (Brazil): Sociologist
68. Georges Sarre (France): Ex-Minister; Mayor of District 11 of Paris
69. Jeffrey St.Clair (USA): Journalist
70. Joao Pedro Stedile (Brazil): member of the Landless Peasants Movement
71. Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir (Bangladesh): University Professor
72. Owens Wiwa (Nigeria): Human and Environmental Rights Activist
73. Chico Whitaker (Brazil): Architect; Member of the International Commission of the World Social Forum
74. Dan Wool (USA): Musician
75. Rudy Wurlizer (USA): Writer
76. Jean Ziegler (Switzerland): Sociologist

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