On occasion of Chávez’s 65th birthday, VA columnist Jessica Dos Santos looks back on his achievements and stresses the need to defend his legacy.
President Hugo Chávez was born on July 28, 1954. However, as Gabriel García Márquez would say, “human beings are not born for good the day their mothers give birth to them, rather life forces them to be reborn time and again.”
Thus, Chávez was reborn, by natural birth or emergency C-section, every time the times and the national context demanded he reinvent himself.
That is how we got to know Chávez the politician, the philosopher, the historian, the economist, the soldier, the religious man, and you can go on counting. But, in each of these lives, culture was ever present.
The first time he spoke about “culture” was during his electoral campaign in June 1998: “Children, when they get to school, they need to receive a dignifying message that will raise their spirits and not repress them. We should prepare them with freedom, with dignity, through culture and education. Our education, our culture, is one of the areas that needs emergency action. We need to put a stop to children on the streets. We can’t have kids on the streets, kids need to be in school, fly kites, play football, and be happy.”
And that’s what I was: a 9 year-old carajita listening to him in the old living room TV set. But outside my building, in a busy neighborhood of Caracas, tons of kids slept in the streets. It was hard to believe this man would one day achieve what he promised. But he did.
Within the first months of his term, the government was able to remove kids from the streets. Not by disappearing them in the kind of “social prophylaxis” employed in the past, nor putting them in child exploitation networks, but through a profoundly integral social care.
Later, another milestone was hit. The average number of new people learning how to read and write jumped from 5 to 137 thousand a year. And finally, seven or eight years later, Unesco declared Venezuela a “territory free from illiteracy” after certifying the literacy of 1.7 million people…. https://bit.ly/32QdJit
Photo: WI BOPM, Spring 2019
SUPPORT OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO BOYCOTT
An Action of Immediate Witness at the UUA 2019 General Assembly sponsored by
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
This Action of Immediate Witness calls on Unitarian Universalists and UU organizations to support our constitutionally protected right to boycott.
The movement for Palestinian human rights has grown stronger in recent years with student groups, faith groups, unions and academic associations all coming out in support of Palestinian rights and in many cases calling for boycotts and divestment from corporations complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights.
This growth in support for Palestinian rights has led to a backlash from all those who are threatened by criticism of Israel. The backlash has taken many forms including a major effort to damage the movement for Palestinian rights with legislation aimed at intimidating or even criminalizing participation in boycotts directed at changing Israeli behavior Divestment is a kind of boycott and much of the legislation refers to divestment as well as to boycotts.
Since 2014 over 100 measures targeting the use of boycotts in support of Palestinian rights have been introduced at local, state and federal levels. Twenty-seven different states have adopted such laws. Several such bills have also achieved wide support in the US Congress, although no bill has as yet passed both houses to become law. Some of the more extreme federal legislation that has been proposed calls for prison sentences of twenty years and fines of one million dollars.
This massive effort to pass anti-boycott legislation is both surprising and disturbing given that the US Supreme Court determined in 1982 that boycotts are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment (NAACP vs the State of Mississippi), and given that such laws have recently been declared unconstitutional by Federal courts in Kansas, Arizona and Texas. The ACLU takes no position on Palestinian rights but has vigorously opposed all of the anti-boycott legislation
The initiators of this anti-boycott legislation are not really concerned about constitutionality. They know that cases on appeal may take years to reach the Supreme Court and in the meantime their legislation will serve to frighten off those wishing to support Palestinian human rights with the time-honored, non-violent and constitutional means of boycotts.
But we must recognize, along with the ACLU, that all of us are threatened by this attack on our fundamental rights. Today it is supporters of Palestinians who are threatened, tomorrow it may be supporters of farm workers, Black Americans, indigenous people, immigrants, LGTBQIA people or prisoners. Broad opposition to these anti-boycott laws should be based on their unconstitutional, anti-democratic character and separate from one’s views concerning how to support Palestinians.
This Action of Immediate Witness calls on Unitarian Universalist and UU organizations to oppose these anti-boycott laws by reaching out to their representatives at state and federal levels. We also ask UUs to sign UUJME’s petition calling on Congress to oppose this legislation or collect signatures via a paper version and mail them to the indicated address.
This Friday, [July 26, 2019] in the framework of the XXV Sao Paolo Forum, members of the National Directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) celebrated the 66th anniversary of the July Rebellion “Assault on the Moncada Barracks”.
In this sense, the PSUV member, Julio Chávez exalted the role of the Cuban Revolution for the promotion and consolidation of Bolivarian and libertarian thinking in Latin America and the world.
“The Cuban revolution became a luminous beacon for all humanity, for all the peoples of Latin America and the world that today wage a tenacious struggle against the hegemonic, imperialist stance of the United States of America,” said Julio Chavez.
Similarly, Julio Chavez said that although the July Rebellion was considered a military failure, it served as the beginning of a struggle that helped the Cuban people achieve their freedom and stability in the country.
“From the revolutionary forces they recognize and thank Cuba’s contributions, supporting the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution, to social justice, to the need for these territories to be declared of peace,” said the member of the red awning.
For his part, the member of the National Bureau of the Union of Young Communists of Cuba, Rosa Montero recalled that despite the latent threats of the United States Government to overcome revolutionary thinking, Cuban youth will continue to fight for their ideals driven by Comandante Fidel Castro.
“They intend to suffocate us economically, intensify their campaign of contempt against the Cuban Revolution. All this reaffirms the challenges of Cuban youth. We will continue working, defending the revolution, ”said Rosa Montero.
On July 26, 1953, more than a hundred young people, led by the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, staged a military action against the dictator Fulgencio Batista (1952-1959). Although the event concluded with the defeat of the rebels, this event was an impulse of the revolutionary struggle that triumphed five and a half years later.
Translated by JRE/EF
August 5 in La Crosse.
We need YOU there to be a voice for the schools local kids deserve.
Register today: https://summersummit2019.eventbrite.com/
The Democratic Party presidential candidates will be coming to Detroit for a debate where many issues facing poor and working people cannot be addressed in a meaningful way while the many U.S. wars abroad and at home go unchallenged.
On July 31, we will be joining Cosecha Detroit at a different location. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2282855458473035/
There will be a rally on July 30, organized by a broad coalition (https://www.facebook.com/events/459306721523008/), followed by a march to the Fox Theater. Join our contingent where we will demand:
STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!
HANDS OFF VENEZUELA, IRAN, N.KOREA, SYRIA!
U.S. OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
MIGRANT RIGHTS NOW!
NO TO I.C.E. CONCENTRATION CAMPS!
END MASS INCARCERATION!
HONOR NATIVE AMERICAN TREATIES!
SYSTEM CHANGE NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!
FUND HUMAN NEEDS NOT WAR!
WATER, HOUSING, GOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS and a CLEAN ENVIRONMENT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!
Sunday, 28 July
Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave
Janna Jihad Tamimi, 13 year-old Palestinian activist, one of the youngest accredited journalists in the world, and Ambassador of South African children’s rights organization (Shamsaan – meaning “2 Suns”) will speak in Dearborn during her month-long tour of the United States this month.
The event is presented by NGP, with partners:
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit
Meta Peace Team
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)- حركة الشباب الفلسطيني
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Michigan Coalition for Human Rights
Janna hails from the village of Nabi Saleh, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which from 2009-2016 conducted weekly protests against Israel’s occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land and resources. Janna is the cousin of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, who was famously imprisoned after confronting an Israeli soldier. Janna will be on tour for the very first time in the USA.
Last summer Janna undertook a successful speaking tour to South Africa, where, among other things, she participated in Nelson Mandela’s centenary birthday freedom walk. In addition to her stop in Michigan, Janna is scheduled to speak on Capitol Hill and dialogue with noted personalities such as Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman during events sponsored by Amnesty International, the IMEU, and others. But, primarily, Janna hopes to engage with broad sections of the American public, and especially with activists fighting for justice in their own communities, and with youth.
As a Palestinian child living through the brutal injustices of military occupation that impacts all aspects of her life on a daily basis, Janna began recording, reporting on and sharing her lived reality, from the age of 7, shortly after two of her relatives were killed by Israeli forces. Janna now enjoys a global following, serves as ambassador of the South African Palestinian children’s initiative, Shamsaan and has been awarded internationally for her media role. In a political climate where adults are inert with despair, Janna continues her passionate fight for the freedom of her people, stands up for human rights and speaks out against the various mechanisms used by Israel to violate the rights of Palestinians, particularly, children.
The event will include a director’s cut screening of the documentary film Radiance of Resistance featuring the Tamimi family followed by a discussion with Janna.
This event is FREE and open to the public.