Mérida, February 14th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Sunday, National Youth Day, thousands of youth travelled from around Venezuela to La Victoria, Aragua state, for a giant civic-military march in commemoration of an 1814 battle during Venezuela’s war of independence.
President Hugo Chavez attended the parade, which included teachers and students from the higher education mission, Sucre, students from various types of universities, and members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) youth. The Correo del Orinoco estimated that 50,000 people were present, while other attendees estimated closer to 14,000.
Youth Day is celebrated every 12 February in commemoration of the Battle of La Victoria, in which, in order to defend the city of La Victoria, Republican fighter Jose Felix Ribas armed one thousand students. Despite being outnumbered, Ribas’ troops won the battle.
“We’re here today with all our heart and patriotic, revolutionary, and youthful fibre to celebrate the young, new, revolutionary, and socialist homeland,” Chavez said to the people gathered.
“There were so many young people at the civic-military parade,” media activist from Merida state, Carlos Camacho, told Venezuelanalysis.com.
“A lot of young people who are committed to this revolution… You can see that slowly the youth are realising that revolution is a path that the world must take… I was amazed at the numbers, and they came from all over the country… It was a party of the revolution … and it was clear the importance that the youth have for this revolution too,” Camacho added.
“There were a lot of people just from Merida, every municipality organised its own bus, or different organisations from each municipality organised one,” he said.
Heryck Rangel, spokesperson for the PSUV youth electoral committee, said, “There is a love for the homeland, a love that you see in the street, there are thousands of young people here today to remember the gesture of Simon Bolivar and to accompany President Hugo Chavez in this huge political project”.
“The youth have a duty to be the vanguard in this revolutionary process that Venezuela is living,” said Samuel Martinez, a 27 year old attending the march from Carabobo state.
The youth also handed over a thirty-page document with strategic proposals for the government’s National Plan 2013-2019.
“The youth have been excluded throughout history, in this political project we are coming up with proposals and debates in order to strengthen the youth,” Martinez said.
1,500 young people from 333 different municipalities were involved in compiling the document, meeting on weekends from December 2010 until last month.
There are also cultural activities in Aragua state from 31 January until the 29th of this month, and some bands and artistic collectives also participated in the civic-military parade and a concert afterwards.
Popular Venezuelan heavy metal singer Paul Gillman criticised the concert line-up for including musical groups such as Chino y Nacho, Los Cadillacs, Carmelos de Cianura, which he said used the “image of Pepsi Cola” and are reggaeton bands, “a music [genre] which treats women like sexual objects”.
Camacho criticised the concert, saying, “It didn’t have much to do with the rebellious spirit, it was free, but the songs didn’t have any political content, it didn’t teach us much.”
Andreina Tarazon, vice-minister for youth, defended the move via her Twitter account, saying “This revolution is for all Venezuelan youth, for all musical genres” and told the newspaper Ciudad CCS that “revolution is inclusion and participation.”