Delegations, Venezuela

Urgent: Food sovereignty delegation to Venezuela – witness effects of sanctions and responses on the ground (January 3-12, 2020)

What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself how Venezuelans are coping with US economic sanctions designed to cause a social implosion. Sensationalized reports of Venezuelans eating zoo animals and rotten garbage present a distorted picture of what is happening in Venezuela. The media also omits serious analysis of the role of the food distribution program known as CLAPs run through a government-community partnership reaching millions of Venezuelans. There is no doubt, however, as indicated in a recent report by CEPR, that the US-imposed sanctions are indeed causing collective hardship and even death.

Join us for a special delegation (January 3-12, 2020) dedicated to studying the actual conditions on the ground and the struggle for food security and food sovereignty in Venezuela, at a time when the Donald Trump’s administration has initiated a new series of sanctions against the food programs that Venezuelan state has created 

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York, invites historians, artists, videographers, writers, political analysts, health professionals, agricultural production experts and other activists to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming January 2020. Witness: communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food; participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization; community-run art, media, education, health and nutrition efforts; alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods; parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.

Come bear witness to the effects of the economic warfare and the sanctions against the Venezuelan people imposed by Donald Trump’s administration as well as the inspiring resistance to these, as Venezuelans push for food sovereignty in response to crisis. Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela – as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat – we are hope!”

Dates: January 3-12, 2020

Itinerary: Start and end in Caracas; visits to the states of Yaracuy, Miranda,  and Aragua.

For more information: email cbalbertolovera@gmail.com 

Why should we go to Venezuela?

“I have now gone twice to Venezuela on group trips  led by William Camacaro,    first in 2012 when Hugo Chavez was still alive, and from April 26th to May 5th this year. As a Venezuelan, William knows the lay of the land, where to go and is well known and  welcomed wherever he took us.

This last trip dispelled for me any of the widespread notions spread here 24/7 by the mainstream U.S. corporate media that Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution have lost popular support and that Venezuela is a country of conflict and chaos on the verge of a civil war. No doubt the blackouts, sanctions, and failed coups have taken their toll but they  have all failed in driving the population into blaming the Maduro government  for what is seen by most as the Trump- Bolton-Pompeo dirty work. The Venezuelan people are far from a demoralized population; rather they’ve been mobilized to resist !

Has Venezuela become a dictatorship ?  Not with the 2-3 major newspapers I bought every day that were anti-Maduro ( as were the anti-Chavez ones I bought on my 2012 trip),  nor with  rallies called by the U.S. backed coupsters  openly inciting violence and calling for the overthrow of the government .

We were there on April 30th, the day of the failed coup, and the next days’ Mayday rally which drew 400,000 people, compared to the opposition’s rally of  4,000. And we saw some of the reasons why the majority of the people reject the blatant U.S. attacks to overthrow the government: the 2.6 million new housing units built,  the food programs like CLAP which the U.S. is trying to destroy, health care, and other projects designed to serve the needs of the people.
Our trip also brought home how the U.S. sanctions are a form of terrorism  explicitly aimed at escalating the suffering of the Venezuelan people, 40,000 of which have died  in the last year due to the U.S. blockade on medical and other necessary life supporting supplies.
But don’t take my word for it–go to Venezuela, and see for yourself what’s going on on the ground, and judge for yourself. ”

Keith Brooks: long time anti-war and labor/community activist,  retired NYC high school teacher  

 

If you are able to travel to Venezuela, go. There is really no substitute for seeing Venezuela up close. I have been involved in solidarity efforts with Venezuela since the first years of the Bolivarian revolution led by Hugo Chavez. The attempts by the US to overthrow the pro-people elected government of Chavez and now Maduro requires us all to do whatever we can to defeat the imperialist Monroe Doctrine that underlies US policy today.

I travelled to Venezuela with a group from the US and Canada at the end of April. We were in Caracas when the US engineered coup attempt utterly failed. The contrast between what the international mainstream media was reporting – that a coup had taken place – and the facts as we saw them unfold was a contrast in black and white. It was so important that we were in Venezuela to issue a statement that denounced the Trump administration for conspiring to execute the plot. Our presence was felt throughout the country as news media carried our message that day.

The following day, May Day, when the opposition promised the “mother of all demonstrations” it was heartening to see the streets of Caracas filled with supporters of the Maduro government – some estimates were that 400,000 marched in what was a victory celebration over “yankee imperialism” – while the opposition had one of its lowest turnouts ever.

“Only the people of the US can stop this,” said Venezuelan philosopher and author Carlos Lazo to our group days before the April coup attempt. “It is so important that you come to Venezuela to see for yourselves. The people of the world are asking the people of the US to oppose the illegal sanctions and intervention by your government.”

I agree. To most effectively help to build a movement in the US against foreign intervention, you really should go to Venezuela.  See for yourself the accomplishments achieved so far, the resilience of the people, and the unlimited potential if allowed to breathe.

Pat Fry

NYC

July 1, 2019

I just returned from Venezuela (my first visit), last week of April, first week of May. It was obvious to all in our group the opposition had no support for any kind of mass action of any sort. We saw many major projects built since 1999 in support of the nation’s poor masses: 2.6 million housing units, health care centres, cable cars to serve the poor living on the hillsides, sewer, water and electricity piped into those same communities. We saw self government in action, meeting to solve community needs and problems. If you are not a millionaire in Venezuela you’d have to be out of your mind to support the opposition.

The main observation I took home from this tour was Venezuela has embarked on a revolutionary program very similar to that of Cuba’s.

Also obvious to me Canada, and other members of the so-called Lima Group, do not want to see any country successfully using the national wealth to ensure all the population has a decent quality of life and equal opportunities for personal development.

Not very comforting knowing Canada is a part of this as we head into a federal election season where the 2, maybe, all 3 leading parties have the same foreign policy goals, regardless of the campaign rhetoric we are going to hear.

Dave Thomas, Chair CCFA Niagara

My last minute decision to visit Venezuela with the Bolivarian Circle of NY from April 26 to May 5, 2019 – to see for myself what is going on there – was one of the best decisions I have made. Not only did I find the humanity, ingenuity and solidarity of people everywhere we went to be inspirational; but it was incredibly moving to find that we were so warmly welcomed despite the US engineered coup attempt that took place on April 30  while we were there. There is no other way to really uncover the massive lies propagated by our media except by seeing it for yourself. And as so many Venezuelans requested, there is no better way to fight the US economic, military and media war machine than to come home and spread the truth.

Ann Fawcett Ambia, Esq.
Retired Public interest attorney and peace and social justice activist

Sanctions that cause hunger and kill:

 

New US Strategy: Collective Punishment, Starve Chavismo’s Social Base

 

US Economic War on Venezuela Targets CLAP Food Program Relied on by Millions

 

U.S. Prepares Sanctions to Block Food Program for Millions of Venezuelans

 

Study Linking US Sanctions to Venezuelan Deaths Buried by Reuters for Over a Month

 

US Hints at Sanctions Against Venezuela CLAP Food Programme as Maduro Incorporates Militia

 

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto /Bayer’s “RoundUp” Are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

 

Some important articles:

Defending Venezuela: Bolivarian Gains and Successes (Podcast – Interview – Fra Hughes)

Special Report: Hunger in Venezuela? A Look Beyond the Spin

Statement of International Solidarity with Venezuela’s Seed Law

Venezuela Passes Law Banning GMOs, by Popular Demand

Venezuela Takes Control of Its Border as Bogotá and Caracas Bring Their Cases to UNASUR

Venezuela Recognized by FAO for Halving Malnutrition

Revolution, Counter Revolution, and the Economic War in Venezuela: Part I

Revolution, Counter Revolution, and the Economic War in Venezuela: Part II

“THE COMMUNE OR NOTHING”: POPULAR POWER AND THE STATE IN VENEZUELA

VENEZUELA TO CONSIDER BAN ON TRANSGENIC SEED

VENEZUELA AND THE BATTLE AGAINST TRANSGENIC SEEDS

 

Check out these articles from past delegations:

 

Reflections on Venezuela: Food, Health, Democracy, and a Hope for a Better World

 

The Venezuelan Effort to Build a New Food and Agriculture System

 

What people are saying about our delegations:

Visiting Venezuela with the Bolivarian Circle of New York “Alberto Lovera” delegation was a great experience.  I was able to enter into dialog with the process underway at cooperatives and communal councils and see for myself the enthusiasm of the Chavista base for participatory democracy, food security and protecting the social gains of the revolution while moving forward.

Frederick B. Mills 

Professor of Philosophy

Bowie State University

The delegation gave me a fabulous window into one of the most exciting social experiments of our time, the Bolivarian revolution and the public policies committed to social Justice that it informs. It also wetted my appetite for more. I will soon be incorporating some of what I learned into my seminars, and I hope to be able to bring a contingent of students in the near future.

Claudia Chaufan

Associate Professor
 University of California San Francisco

“The Food Sovereignty delegation to Venezuela was interesting, informative and a lot of fun. We saw collective farms, factories, feeding centers and spent time with groups of people struggling for land reform and human dignity. We had lots of opportunities to see how people work together and how agriculture is changing in Venezuela. I loved the people we traveled with and created strong bonds with many of them. It’s the kind of trip that makes you want to return in a few years to see how much progress is being made. It further inspired me to work in the food democracy movement in the US and figure out ways to stay in solidarity with our Venezuelan sisters and brothers.”

Nancy Romer
General Coordinator
Brooklyn Food Coalition
http://www.BrooklynFoodCoalition.org

“Traveling with William and Christina gave me an insider perspective that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise. I highly recommend taking a trip on one of these delegations whether you are highly interested in food politics and socialism, or are new to the subject.”

Paula Crossfield
Founder and the Managing Editor of Civil Eats http://civileats.com/about/

“I traveled to both Venezuela and Bolivia with William Camacaro and Christina Schiavoni as the leaders of the trip. I can’t say enough about the quality of these trips and their leadership. I was astounded at the range of activities each trip provided: food centers for the elderly, African communities, women’s collectives, revolutionary centers, fishing industry in Venezuela, agricultural initiatives such as the production of quinoa in Bolivia, meetings with government officials, wonderful community cultural events (sometimes in our honor!), and more. Additionally, both William and Christina were very attentive to the people on the trips, addressed personal crises that arose, and helped in any way possible. There was never a sense that you were simply on your own in a foreign country, and had to fend for yourself. They were always available for questions, suggestions, and concrete help. IN SO DOING THE TRIP LEADERS CREATED A FAMILY-LIKE FEELING AMONG THE GROUP MEMBERS. I have been traveling on political/educational trips for decades, and can only say; the Bolivarian Circle’s trips are the bomb!”

Suzanne Ross, PhD, clinical psychologist and activist with the Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition, NYC

“The food sovereignty tours to Venezuela are an incredible eye opener. You can read about aspects of the country’s shift to a fairer food system but to see it first hand – and meet the people that are making the change happen – is totally inspiring.”

Simon Cunich
Australian Filmmaker
Creator of the documentary Growing Change http://www.simoncunich.com.au/

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