Edinburgh, 24 May. Following the hugely successful visit to London by
Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, where he addressed audiences of hundreds,
the Hands Off Venezuela campaign is to be launched with a press conference
at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, 31st May at 12.30am at Room MG02.
The meeting will be addressed by Jose Antonio Hernandez, a Venezuelan
activist member of Revolutionary Socialist Youth and representative of the
FRETECO (front of occupied factories). He is a member of Hands Off Venezuela
in Venezuela. He has also been on a speaking tour in Austria and Germany in
recent weeks. A number of MSPs will be in attendance.
This is a broad-based campaign that has drawn support from Tony Benn, Jeremy
Corbyn MP and John McDonnell MP (Chair), who are part of the Steering
Committee. The HOV campaign is supported and sponsored by the trade unions
AMICUS, RMT, FBU, CWU, NUJ, BECTU, NATFHE amongst others, and political
organisations like RESPECT and the Scottish Socialist Party are also
affiliated. The TUC conference passed a motion supporting the social and
political advances made by Chavez's government and Chavez himself thanked
Hands Off Venezuela for the work that it has done. Influential journalist
John Pilger has written condemning the attacks on the Chavez government and
defended the progress made so far.
The HOV campaign seeks to generate awareness of Venezuela in Scotland and in
the labour and trade union movement and the need for Scottish politicians to
support the democratically elected government in its struggle to liberate
the exploited and oppressed. The movement is being attacked from all sides,
not only by the giant oil companies and the Bush administration and the CIA,
but also from sections of big business in Spain. The Venezuelan people have
struggled against all attacks on their democratic rights. A new trade union,
the UNT, has been formed and is the authentic voice of the Bolivarian
workers movement. Many lies and distortions have been published by those who
hold democracy in contempt and the Venezuelan people are delighted to have
the support and solidarity of the organised labour movement in Britain.
Over 100 MPs signed an early Day Motion in the Commons "Congratulating the
progress made by the democratically elected government of Venezuela and its
expansion of provisions in education, healthcare, housing, land, food and
micro-credit facilities for those previously marginalised and excluded…"
It calls for the UK government to "support Hugo Chavez in the face of
unconstitutional and illegal threats from external and internal
Recently the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) passed a resolution,
inspired by a Hands Off Venezuela sympathiser, stating its "concerns for the
lack of media coverage of events in Venezuela, and urges the General Council
to establish relations with the National Union of Workers (UNT)" whose
members are active in the FRETECO.
The public meetings will be in Glasgow on Tuesday 30th May at 7pm at
Woodside Halls, Glenfarg St , Room 2. Nearest metro St. George's Cross and
Thursday 1st June at 7pm CWU Club,15 Brunswick Street (Off Leith Walk).