Several Canadian groups are organizing an information picket this Friday outside the theatre where the local Amnesty International film festival is taking place.
The protest comes after last week's decision by the Canadian Pacific Region Chapter of Amnesty International to exclude the award-winning documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised from their Film Festival that is being held at the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, Canada, from November 6-9, 2003.
The documentary exposes the atrocious Human Rights violations committed during the April 2002 coup d'etat against President Hugo Chavez, and during the short dictatorship that followed.
The film was originally scheduled to be shown, but it was cancelled after right-wing Venezuelan opposition groups seeking to hide the atrocities committed by the short dictatorial government that overthrew Chavez, launched a campaign of emails and phone calls to pressure the Canadian Pacific Region Chapter of Amnesty International to not show the documentary.
According to Don Wright, the festival organizer, the screening of the documentary in Canada would further polarize the political situation in Venezuela, and potentially create more violence within the country. The Human Rights group claims that the documentary does not address Human Rights issues, but it is mostly of political nature. The film festival is also screening a film about the China-Tibet political conflict, which depicts the Human Rights violations carried out by the Chinese government against Tibetans.
Several organizations are inviting to join an information picket this Friday at 6:30p.m. at the Pacific Cinematheque, outside the premiere film at the festival. There will be distribution of statements in opposition to Amnesty's decision and also of information regarding upcoming showings of the film.
The Cinematheque is located at 1131 Howe St. between Helmken and Davie. People are also encouraged to help with leafleting throughout the film festival this weekend, and to continue to contact Amnesty International at [email protected] and [email protected] to voice their opinions on the cancellation of this award-winning documentary.
www.StopWar.ca, a broad-based anti-war coalition in Vancouver, has also passed a motion and sent a letter of protest regarding the decision to pull the film.
A number of different statements and letters have been written condemning Amnesty's decision to pull the documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised from their film festival this weekend.
An on-line petition in support of the documentary is located at www.petitiononline.com/vendoc/petition.html
Over 3200 people have signed the on-line petition in just two days.
Campaign in New York
Pro-Venezuelan government groups in New York are also organizing an informational picket of support at the Film Forum where the documentary is being shown until November 11. Starting today, the pro-chavez groups will face the Venezuelan opposition militants that are protesting outside the Film Forum seeking the cancellation of the screening. See www.filmforum.com/films/revolution.html for schedule, tickets and directions to the Film Forum.
One of the statements to be distributed at the picket follows:
Protest Amnesty International Canceling the Film Showing of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
The 8th Annual Amnesty International Film Festival has arbitrarily dropped a showing of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the internationally acclaimed Irish documentary about the attempted coup d'etat against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in April 2002.
The reasons presented by Mr. Don Wright and Amnesty International don't stand up. They say the film is politically one-sided. They even contest there was a coup in Venezuela in April 2002!
In fact this remarkable documentary, shown on CBC Newsworld, captures in precise detail the outrageous illegal actions of the coup organizers, and the self-sacrificing mass actions of the people and rank and file soldiers in restoring constitutional law and the lawfully elected president.
By not showing this film, is not Amnesty International de facto taking the side of those trying to hide the reality of April 2002? What would have happened had the coup succeeded, and the self-imposed dictator managed to consolidate power? Within hours he had liquidated the Constitution, the Supreme Court, the Congress as well as the elected-President. How could Amnesty International forget what tragedy befell the people of Chile on September 11, 1973 when their elected-President was violently overthrown by the military?
It is not acceptable for an organization priding itself as a defender of democratic and human rights to shut down a film exposing one of the most blatant violations of human and democratic rights in our hemisphere just over a year ago. This is especially so while such activity continues under our very noses at this time. Should we be blind to the empire building activities of George Bush and his anti-democratic regime in the United States? Shouldn't we assume if this regime decides to organize a coup in Venezuela, or invade another country, it will, despite all public opinion or rule of law, just proceed to do so?
The film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a compelling document reminding all of us how frail democratic rights and liberties are under the shadow of the U.S. empire and the various privileged oligarchies profiting from its rule. To eliminate this film from the Festival in response to pressures from those who oppose President Chavez shows how far Amnesty International has strayed in this case from its purported aim: defending democratic rights everywhere, for everyone!
Please write or phone Mr. Don Wright at 604-313-4069 or e-mail [email protected] and express your opposition to the cancellation of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Among the Human Rights violations shown in the documentary are:
- The extra judicial killing of tens of pro-government activists.
- The torture of pro-government supporters and government officials.
- The kidnapping and unlawful detention of President Chávez for a 48-hour period.
- The arbitrary arrest and persecution of pro-government supporters and officials.
- The violation of rights to political participation and self-determination by unjustly imposing an unelected de facto government on citizens.
- The violation of freedom of expression and public access to information by perpetuating a corporate media-led blackout on information favoring the dictatorial government.
Showing of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in Response to Amnesty's Cancellation:
6:30 P.M. Friday, November 28th
Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, Room 1900,
516 W. Hastings Street (at Richards)
For information about the documentary or to order a copy if it, visit www.chavezthefilm.com
VHeadline.com is reporting that in response to AI's cancellation of the showing of 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' alternative screening arrangements have been made for 6:30 p.m. Friday, November 28, at Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, Room 1900, 516 W. Hastings Street (at Richards)