Caracas report from wsfindia newsletter - EN

Caracas, Venezuela : enero 24-29, 2006

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Caracas report from wsfindia newsletter - EN

Postby johnstreet » Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:24 am

Caracas Foro Social Mundial ‘2006

Report of 28-29th January’2006

Being in Caracas for four days gave us a very clear idea of how the Latin Americans, Caribbean’s and South Americans are preparing to fight the offensive of US imperialism, the impact of the opposition of Bush was visible in every nook and the corner of the city. On the 28th the number of participants was lowered quite a bit, it seems many of them returned back. All these days we noticed that there was much participation from the youths, students, middle class, intellectuals, NGO’s, Institution, academics, the leadership of the Trade Union movements and the social movements. But the participation of the indigenous people, peasants and the workers were almost negligible. Given the fact that trade union movement and the peasant movements were quite strong in the Latin Americans countries even though they were not visible on the streets. In Venezuela there are news that the Chavez Govt. implemented the new land reforms laws very strongly in his country and that was the back bon
e of the Bolivarian revolution that has made the Chavez Govt. very strong and failed the US led coup. The Polycentric event like this need to concentrate on this point very strongly, in view of involving the grass root people may be some fundamental changes in the programme needs to brought in. Except the indigenous people from Ecuador there was no visible participation of the indigenous people in the programme. Though the presence of the indigenous people was in a different form, there were hundreds of stalls put by the gypsies ( one can name that way) selling different type of women jewellery made of forest products. However they were participating from outside and were not the part of the programme. Various shops were installed by the crafts folk coming from far away countries.

In the last two days, we again concentrated our self to the central area Parques Central where various activities were going on and best translation were available. The whole city was looking very colorful with hundreds of the shops on the streets. Apart from the jewellery stalls there were numerous shops that were selling various revolutionary items, like books, tea shirts, caps, posters, banners and leaf lets etc. In various tents movie shows were going on mostly in Spanish, the movies were from different countries of Latin America showing on various issues like poverty, agriculture, women, child welfare etc. We noticed that there were various films on the achievement of the Chavez govt. and films showing the referendum of the people that brought the Chavez govt. to power. Ever where it was Chavez on the streets. Selling outlets popularized two heroes in what ever they were selling, Che and Chavez. It was quite evident that Latin Americans and Carribean’s are evolving new
hero to fight back the offensive of the Neo Liberal forces in the new era of globalization. It is quite clear from this photograph. This picture is taken outside the Teresa hall where the plenary took place.

The Casa Cuba ( Cuba House)

Cubans had organized activities in a big place where number of activities were going on. There was conferences, photo galleries, book shops, museum etc. Very enlightening discussions were going on there but we could not enjoy more as most of it was going on in Spanish. In one of the sessions Soni and myself extended solidarity from India to their struggle against imperial forces. Soni read out the resolution of the Asia Pacific solidarity Conference held in Chennai just before we left for Caracas.

The Cuba-Venezuela relations were very strongly visible in the Foro, the picture above is one such solidarity painted on the tent house. The solidarity between Cuba and Venezuela is an inspiring example to all the Latin-Caribbean America. It is an example that charts the only realistic road forward to social progress, economic development and real independence ­the road of freedom from intensified imperialist exploitation through the direct mobilization of workers and peasants in their millions in a process of profound social transformation. Among the Hemispheric initiatives the Chavez government proposal include the integration of Latin-Caribbean state oil and energy enterprises for the benefit of the vast majority-workers, peasants and the increasingly impoverished middle classes and the creation of TeleSur , a Latin American Satellite TV net work to counter the monopoly of the pro-imperialist “ private” media chains and there servile big business clones in Latin America.
Some 20,000 Cuban doctors, nurses, teachers trainers are in Venezuela today, Cuban medical personnel are providing quality medical treatment and preventive education to millions of impoverished Venezuelan workers and peasants for the first time. Cuban educators are making a decisive internationalist contribution to the conquest of mass illiteracy. Venezuela is for the first time using the oil wealth of the country in the interests of the vast majority. Venezuela is providing revolutionary Cuba with crucial oil deliveries to counter Washington’s criminal and intensifying, economic war on the island.

Plenary on the WTO ­ Hongkong Ministerial

There was vibrant plenary on the Hongkong Ministerial in the evening of 28th Januaury. The hall of 10,000 was fully packed. The main deliberation was given by the senior leader from Hongkong ( was unable to note down the name). He reported extensively of what happened at the political level and the resistance outside the convention. He categorically emphasized on the role of political representative from Brasil and India. The negative role played by these countries made the other G ­ 110 group quite worried about the future talks. He reported how the civil society was involved in the derailment of the Hongkong discussions, he said that on the streets, though there was non-violent but important demonstration from people of Hongkong. There was militant demonstration by peasants, workers from all over the world and heroic struggle of Korean workers who came well prepared to derail the talks. He said that in HK there was deal making of the power centre, the groupism of the G-11
0 countries and modification of the power dynamics of the WTO. Though the deal was not in the interest of the Indian and Brasilian agriculture communities even though governments ratified the G-20 resolutions. The governments became new power brookers in the power structure of WTO that was earlier shared by US, EU, Canada and Japan, there was change in this power structure in HK, the new power center being US,EU, India and Brasil. Only countries shown their resistance were Venezuela and Cuba, He said at this juncture the US and EU needs to be isolated and for that the countries like Venezuela and Cuba need to put forward much strong opposition to the agricultural agreements before Geneva.

The conference was addressed by many eminent people, Suichan from Korea was the coordinator of the Koreans struggle in HK reported how the Koreans fought the battle on the streets.

Meeting of the Communist Parties

A meeting of the Latin America and European Parties were held in which Soni was invited by the Greek delegation. We do not have the full report of what happened there as most of it was in Spanish. The Greek delegate Nicholas who was in regular touch with us said there was a review of the WSF process and how the communist parties across the world can align together. Nicholas was of the view that the WSF process is getting more and more event oriented that consumes lot of time. Also he emphasized that the role of political party is still not very clear. He only invited us for a very important session on the Peace and Militarization to speak on the Indian experience and extend world solidarity.

The Closing Ceremony

The Closing ceremony was organized in the Stadium Poleadro de Caracas that was some 20km from Caracas. It was declared before that Hugo Chavez was going to address the closing ceremony but the programme was dropped. The presence on the closing ceremony was even less than the opening ceremony. Approximately around 15,000 people were present for the closing. The programme was scheduled to start at 4.00PM but it was started at 7PM.

On the whole the closing was not so impressive and after a point it became quite boring. According to Soni the mobilization was quite less as compare to the Youth festival in the same stadium last year in August. There was lot of mobilization of the local people in and around the city, which was missing this time. There was very less mobilization from the communities. Most of the people had left also. The only programme that was appreciated by us was the speech of the only woman delegate from Iraq Yenar, who narrated the tales of suffering of the Iraqi people especially the Iraqi women. She said that in the name of weapons of mass destruction US controlled all our political, economic and social systems, and established a regime with the fundamentalist destroying all democratic institutions. She said that Iraqi women were quite liberal and enjoyed lot of freedom during the Saddam regime but after the invasion of US, the women have been pushed inside the homes, they are not al
lowed to move freely, all their jobs taken away and were forced to wear the clothes covering whole of the body by the Mullahs. She appealed to the world to fight against this terrorism of US and fight for democracy and human rights in the world. We gave CD of Mumbai wsf to her.
The programme concluded by a one hour long programme of balle performed by the artists of Venezuela. We felt it was a very high profile programme and it failed to live up with the spirit of WSF. We have attended almost all the social forums where we have felt that the closing ceremonies become quite monotonous. During the day time we came across a Peru folk singers performing in the street that caught attention of all the people and we stood there listening to their breath taking music for two hours. We feel that such performers do not find place in the main programme such as opening and closing ceremonies. In the WSF’s we also need to develop the alternate cultural performances that belong to the people instead of commercialized performances. Below are the photographs of Peru folk artists, the photos of closing ceremonies got some how destroyed.

The WSF Office

We received a great help from the WSF office especially from Ana Robertson and Alexandra. They organized everything for us. Ana fixed for us the solidarity accommodation that turned out to be the most passionate experience of our stay in Venezuela. Other than that they were very conscious that we do not face any problems and kept us regularly updated about every event. They provided us the facility of using the Internet and phones. This facility only made us to write so regularly and send our reports so fast, if this help was not there it was difficult for us to send reports of WSF to our India office. They also gave lot of material regarding the Porto Allegre WSF, we could get some but one big box we could not lift as during the last day there was so much of commotion regarding going to Airport, we could not reach to the office. We were also provided with the Tshirts and bags.
On the last day we organized a very small get together in our host’s house, where Ana and Alexandra were the special invitees along with some of Cuban doctors, the women from the colony of LaVega Venezuela to treat them with Indian Biryani. The get together had an international solidarity of Indians, Cubans, Venezuelans and Brasilians. The sharing in this together was memorable and all of us enjoyed a lot, all the women also learned how to tie a saree.

Our host Gregoria Bernel

We have to say lot of things about her, but I am planning to write a full profile of hers regarding her political activity. She extended extraordinary help to us while our stay at her house. She was just not only the host but a full fledged political activist, she was a very good organizer and negotiator. She use to be with us for whole of the day and attended all the conferences with utmost attentivity. Not only that she involved the other women from the colony who became very good friends of ours. She was very happy to organize the get together in her house, she invited her friends from the colony, all her children were there. Being a woman without any job she did not allow to buy anything for the get together, it was all her arrangement.

Our host Gregoria attending conference with her friend Iris

A very important fact we want to mention here is that she asked us not to pay more dollars for our stay in her house. Fisrt she expressed in Spanish that we could not follow, but later on she told to Ana to convey to us that she does not need any more dollors from us, she said now we were her guests. The gesture of love shown by her was a very precious feeling for us and we were benefited a lot in our experience in Venezuela while our stay with her.
We decided to return the money back to the WSF India office and express our gesture of love to the Venezuelan people and honor Gregoria for the hospitality that she has rendered to us.

Our host Gregoria Bernel

Note : I have still to write more but these are the first hand reports, kindly pardon my language and unedited version of the report. I am planning to properly write 3-4 articles on the wsf polycentric event 2006, that I shall send immediately as soon as they are ready.

Report compiled by Roma and Soni

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