Caracas, Venezuela, August 16, 2005 —A Venezuelan mock-trial found U.S. President Bush guilty of imperialism and crimes against humanity. Dozens of witnesses from around the world testified to the suffering U.S. foreign policy had caused in their home countries. The trial was held in connection with 16th World Youth Festival.
Venezuela’s Vice-President José Vicente Rangel presided over the proceedings and President Chavez held the last testimony to the auditorium, which was packed with over 10,000 youths from 144 countries.
In the course of his over three hour testimony, Chavez said that this anti-imperialist tribunal was not directed against the people of the United States, rather, “We count on the people of the United States to save the world.”
Rangel, reading the verdict, said, “We declare President George W. Bush in particular as guilty, of being directly responsible for the crimes.” Other crimes that imperialism was charged with included the overthrow and destabilization of democratic governments and economic sabotage. Rangel admitted that the sentence did not carry any legal weight, but argued that it does have moral weight. The sentence would be submitted to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Amnesty International, among others.
Chavez’s testimony was to a large extent a history lesson of 200 years of U.S. aggression against the peoples of Latin America. “The confrontation is clear,” said Chavez, “the Bolivarian Project on one side and that of Mister Danger [President Bush] on the other… That’s 200 years of confrontation. We are obligated to win this and we have to win.”
Upon discussing U.S. intervention in Venezuela, Chavez accused the Bush administration of having supported both the April 2002 coup and the oil industry shutdown of December 2002 to February 2003. The defeat of these events, said Chavez, proves that a coup is impossible in Venezuela. The U.S, would not find a Pinochet in Venezuela and its workers were capable of resisting the assault on the oil industry. The linkage of the two forces of Venezuelan military and Venezuelan people, “make it impossible to think of a coup in Venezuela,” said Chavez.
Chavez assured the international audience of young leftists that the “revolutionary conscience” of Venezuela’s military and of its people has been increasing steadily.