Caracas, Venezuela, September 12, 2006- Hundreds marched in Caracas yesterday in commemoration of 9-11 and against “imperialistic terrorism”. The event drew attention not only to the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, but also to the 33rd anniversary of the coup d’etat in Chile against President Salvador Allende, which paved the road for the 17-year Pinochet dictatorship. They also called for peace in the Middle East.
The march, filled with Palestinian flags, middle-eastern music and calls for peace, wound west from Plaza Venezuela to Puente Llaguno, where a rally was held into the late afternoon near the scene of the 2002 massacre which kicked off the short lived coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The day was organized by the Itinerant Forum of Popular Participation which is composed of various media and culture organizations such as National Venezuelan Radio, The Venezuelan government’s Misión Cultura (Culture Mission), The National Association of Free and Alternative Community Media (ANMCLA) Lebanon, the community media site, Aporrea, and other “movements and collectives in solidarity with the Arab people.”
According to Hindu Andery, general coordinator of the Forum, the Caracas march was part of a world mobilization “against the North American Empire and against the genocide of the Arab peoples.” Andery further accused the United States of “knocking down the twin towers in order to have a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.” A hypothesis that is accepted by many outside the United States.
Andery announced that the Forum is petitioning the United Nations for ”a child’s right to speak”, so that the world’s boys and girls can protest against the violations of their rights, “especially with the genocide that has been committed in Palestine, the invasion of Lebanon, and with the occupation of Iraq.”
Andery further declared that in Palestine alone there are 700,000 children in danger of not going to school. As a result they are participating in the launch of a worldwide campaign to send packages of school supplies to a million Palestininian and Lebanese children. Andery stated that they had delivered a letter to Miraflores (the Venezuelan Presidential Palace) regarding the campaign, and he said hoped it would arrive in the hands of President Chavez.
“We want our public institutions and all of the citizens to unite in this campaign so that we can get the humanitarian aid to the people that need it,” she said.
Antonio Seghavi, of Lebanese decent, marched yesterday and is a member of the Solidarity With All of the Arab Peoples Movement. What has just been occurring in Lebanon “can’t ever happen again,” he said.
“Lebanon doesn’t deserve this, the Middle East doesn’t deserve this,” said Seghavi.
Venezuela’s President Chavez has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. Hundreds of Venezuelan-Lebanese refugees were evacuated from the Middle Eastern country in July and flown to Venezuela.
Paulina Ortencia Reyes Salinas is originally from Chile and is currently traveling in Venezuela. She attended the march with a small contingent of fellow Chileans and said that this day’s events mean many things for her, which are both a mix of hope and pain.
“First, it is a march for peace; Second, September 11th in my country, to remember all my people and all of the dictatorship that we lived through, all of those who are still struggling, all of the tortured that are alive and have not received any indemnization from the government, all of the dead… and [third] to see that here in Venezuela we are in a march and in Venezuela there is a revolutionary process, that gives me hope.”
Andery declared that they would stay in the streets until the aggressions and hostilities cease against their people and they “can consolidate a better world.”