Venezuela: defending the majority, not punishing the poorest

chavez supporters

National conference on how Venezuela is developing social inclusion and public services for all

"On Saturday, 100,000s are to march through central London for social justice and public services. Progressive governments in Latin America are showing what can be achieved when policies put people first. In Venezuela, the Hugo Chávez-led government is exposing the lie that there is no alternative. It has chosen to protect public services and social inclusion despite being hit hard by the global recession. The inspiring result of these policies can’t be overstated, extending health care and free education, with extreme poverty and malnutrition both halved. I am asking all of you who are Marching for An Alternative to consider joining us in London on April 16 to hear first-hand accounts of this inspiring social progress and what we can do to offer support to a government that is defending the majority and not punishing the poorest" - Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Venezuela

Saturday 16 April, 10.00–5.00pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square
London, WC1R 4RL

REGISTER TODAY! Online here or by post.
The cost is £9 (£5 concessions). Mark cheques ‘April Conference’ and make payable to ‘Venezuela Solidarity Campaign’, and send to:
VSC, PO Box 56210, London, N4 4XH.

With special guests:
Juana Garcia, Venezuelan Women’s Ministry and representative of INAMUJER (National Women’s Movement)
Jacobo Torres, Trade union leader, Bolivarian Workers’ Force
Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan Ambassador, former Minister of Higher Education in President Chávez’s government
Henry Suarez, Venezuelan historian, author of US Interventions in Latin America
Further Venezuelan speakers including student, El Sistema and government representatives

children Other participants in Q&As, seminars and workshops to include:
Lowkey, rapper, musician, poet, playwright & political activist
Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Venezuela
Seumas Milne, Guardian columnist
Richard Gott, Author, Hugo Chávez & the Bolivarian Revolution
Hugh O’Shaughnessy, writer and journalist
Rod Stoneman, Executive Producer, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary
Jody Macintyre, journalist and student activist
Jeni Vine, Filmmaker, Venezuela – Land of Many Missions and Bolivia: Defending Mother Earth
Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly Member
Pablo Navarrete, journalist & filmmaker, Inside the Revolution
Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor of Geography at Open University
Cat Goss, British exchange student at the Bolivarian University in Caracas
Gail Cartmail, TUC International Development Spokesperson
Jennie Bremner, Unite & observer to Venezuelan National Assembly elections
Michael Derham, Author, Politics in Venezuela – Explaining Hugo Chávez
Francisco Dominguez, Centre for Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
Barry Cannon, Author, Hugo Chávez & the Bolivarian Revolution: Populism & Democracy in a Globalised Age
Tony Burke (AGS), Erica Carotenuto & Tommy Murphy, Unite-GPM Sector, reporting on the 'Building Links & Solidarity' project
Diana Raby, Author, Democracy & Revolution
Enrico Tortolano, Tribune contributor and PCS researcher
Sara Motta, Co-Editor, Social Movements in the Global South – Dispossession, Development and Resistance
Lee Salter, Journalism Policy and Practice Research Group, UWE; author of research into the bias of BBC reporting on Venezuela
Linda Perks, Regional Secretary, UNISON Greater London Region
Ken Cole, writer, The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas: the last putting themselves first (forthcoming)
Mike Cole, Director of the Centre for Education for Social Justice, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln
Steve Hart, Regional Secretary, Unite the Union London & Eastern Region
Michael Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill, Filmmakers, Listen to Venezuela
Matthew Brown, Editor, Simon Bolivar: the Bolivarian Revolution, Director, Centre for the Study of Colonial and Postcolonial Societies, Bristol University
Maria Beatriz Souviron, Bolivian Ambassdor
Guisell Morales-Echaverry, Chargée d’Affaires, Nicaraguan Embassy

Topics to include:

woman learning to write • Building a national health service, not cuts and privatisation
• Venezuela shows that free education for all is possible
• Venezuela’s economy – protecting living standards during recession and future challenges
• Culture and change in Venezuela
• Social inclusion through music – the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra
• Women leading progressive change in Venezuela
• Latin America and the Caribbean: ALBA and the advance of the Left
• Telling the truth about Venezuela – Challenging media hostility
• Who is the Venezuelan Opposition?
• Venezuela, Latin America and the challenge of climate change
• Venezuela and the struggle for global justice
• The challenges ahead in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential Election
• Plus film showings and eyewitness accounts of Venezuela’s revolutionary social programmes

In Venezuela today, Hugo Chávez leads one of the most progressive governments in the world. It is showing the tremendous difference to lives that governments can make when they put people first. By doing this, Venezuela is also exposing the lie that there is no alternative. It has chosen to protect public services and social inclusion despite being hit hard by the global recession.

health serviceThe inspiring result of these policies can’t be overstated.

In just over a decade, free health care has been extended to 20 million people, saving tens of thousands of lives.

Infant mortality is down and life expectancy up. Government policies have seen extreme poverty and malnutrition both halved.

By creating free education for all, millions have learnt to read and write for the first time and record numbers of students are now attending university.

These progressive policies have been endorsed by the people in free and fair elections time and time again.

But they face huge opposition from a tiny but powerful minority, who ran the oil-rich country into the ground in the decades they held power, as well as their allies in Washington.

Come and hear in-depth and first-hand accounts of this inspiring social progress and what we can do to offer support.

This event is directly followed by a celebration of Venezuela with a Latin dinner and dessert, music, special guests and cocktails at Bolivar Hall, Grafton Way, London, W1T 5DL.

Conference attendees are entitled to buy a discounted ticket to this event – please add £15 to your payment. The cost is £20 if only attending the evening event and you can buy single and combined event tickets from the VSC website.

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