Thirty delegates and visitors from the national conference of the
Communication Workers Union attended the very first Hands Off
Venezuela fringe meeting, held on Monday lunchtime in windswept
Bournemouth. The day before, the 250,000-strong union, which organises
both postal and telecommunications workers, had unanimously agreed to
support the Venezuelan Revolution and also affiliate nationally to HOV.
The fringe meeting itself was officially sponsored by the union, which
also met the costs of refreshments, as was the room hire, covered by a
generous donation from London branch 7.
Rob Sewell, who chaired
the meeting, gave a welcome to all present and thanked the conference
delegates for voting to affliliate the union to HOV. Espe Espigares,
from the HOV national steering committee, started things off referring
to the tremendous impact of President Chavez's visit to London last
week. She went on to summarise some of the attacks which had been
launched against the Bolivarian Revolution and how they differed from
the reality of the situation. Indeed, she added, it would take two
hours, at least, to list all the advances in social care, education,
health, etc. which had been carried out over the last few years –
including the abolition of illiteracy – in Venezuela. The next speaker
was Tony Kearns, senior assistant general secretary of the CWU, who
came along to stress the union's international solidarity with the
struggle of the Venezuelan masses and the CWU's support for Chavez
against the attacks from Bush and co. The final speaker was Jane Loftus
from the CWU National Executive, who had been one of the union's two
delegates to the WSF rally in Venezuela last January. She was able to
provide first hand experience of what it was like to see the revolution
unfolding before her very eyes. She said she was able to see clearly
what advances had been made but also warned of the dangers from the
forces of reaction and the need to mobilise support and solidarity.
Although the meeting was a very short one, organised in between two
sessions of conference, the mood was very good and a number of CWU
activists expressed interest in getting speakers from HOV to address
their local branches. Nealy £100 worth of DVDs, magazines and t-shirts
were also sold.
The following is the full text of the resolution passed by CWU Conference:
Conference congratulates and supports the colossal advances being made
by the Venezuelan Revolution under President Hugo Chavez in carrying
out policies, which benefit working people, the poor and the landless.
Conference views with alarm the bellicose threats from the USA
Administration and the negative statements from Tony Blair, Which only
serve to isolate the Venezuelan Government. Conference therefore
opposes all outside interference in the affairs of Venezuela and calls
on the Labour Governement to build fraternal ties with Venezuela.
Conference in particular congratulates the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign
in its excellent work to popularise and build support for the
Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution and calls upon the Union to affiliate
to the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign and help promote its work.