Venezuelans Mobilise for Cuban 5, to Welcome President’s Return

Venezuelans mobilised yet again this
weekend, this time to welcome back President Chavez from his diplomatic tour,
and on Saturday, to demand the release of the five Cuban political prisoners in
the US.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida, September 13th, 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelans mobilised yet again this
weekend, this time to welcome back President Chavez from his diplomatic tour,
and on Saturday, to demand the release of the five Cuban political prisoners in
the US.  Venezuela also expressed
its condolences for the death of the Cuban revolutionary leader Juan Almeida.

President Hugo
Chavez returned to Venezuela on Friday after eleven days of an overseas tour to
strengthen political and economic links and agreements with countries in
Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Chavez said he
met with the leaders of each country as "equals," and said, "Now there aren't
subordinates and superiors" in Latin America's relationships with the rest of
the world.

Thousands of
Venezuelans from across the country mobilised in Caracas outside the
presidential palace Miraflores to welcome their president back, from lunch time
until late at night when Chavez addressed the crowd.

One woman in
the crowd told Venezuelan TV, "We've been waiting here for about an hour and a
half, waiting for our president, who we are proud of. Chavez means a lot to the
Venezuelan people... this tour has made us very proud, we haven't seen him rest
at all...Chavez is an example for us of perseverance, of a lot."

On Saturday
there were also mobilisations, marches, and cultural events around the country
in solidarity with, and to demand the release of the five Cubans who have been political
prisoners in the U.S for eleven years.

Maria Leon,
minister for women and gender equality, told the huge crowd in Caracas, "The
Latin American peoples have always been united in the fight for freedom,  therefore we are all here united in ... a
march, to say to the empire that [the Cuban five] are our sons and that we are
going to save them."

The Venezuelan
government also formally expressed its condolences to the Cuban government and
people for the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Juan Almeida who died on Friday.

The statement
said, "[Almeida] was a poem in and of himself, like those that he expressed in
his writings and songs, that today are lessons in humanity for us and a
re-affirmation that Love is the principal motor of our battle."

"To Fidel, to Raul, and to all the Cuban people, at
this time we reinforce our embrace of solidarity and we join in the mourning of
Comandante Juan Almeida's family and close friends. He will live forever in our
struggles and our victories," the statement concluded.