Global Women's Strike's Call to Support the Venezuelan Revolution

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Dec 21 02:15:27 MST 2002


The Venezuelan revolution
by GLOBAL WOMEN'S STRIKE Fri, Dec 20 2002, 11:00pm
phone: 087 7838688 maggie_ronayne at hotmail.com

An appeal from women to women all over the world

"We women reject the organizers of hate and chaos. We women are on
the front line for our right to live in peace and to defend the
Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which gives us, for the first
time in history, the right to full legal equality, to social
security, to a pension for housewives. We are on the streets backing
our President and our Bolivarian Revolution. Long live the
Constitution! No to the fraudulent referendum! No to the pro-coup
fascist stoppage! Don't stop for the stoppage!"

The Venezuelan revolution -

An appeal from women to women all over the world

"We women reject the organizers of hate and chaos.

We women are on the front line for our right to live in peace and to
defend the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which gives us, for
the first time in history, the right to full legal equality, to
social security, to a pension for housewives. We are on the streets
backing our President and our Bolivarian Revolution.

Long live the Constitution! No to the fraudulent referendum! No to
the pro-coup fascist stoppage! Don't stop for the stoppage!"

In response to women in Venezuela, we urgently appeal to you to speak
out in defence of the revolution of which women are a leading part.
Since President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was elected by a landslide
in 1998 to carry out sweeping economic and social reforms to rid the
country of poverty and corruption, their revolution has been under
constant threat.

As you may know, in April 2002 the elite, acting with the US
government, imposed a military coup. Women from the poorest
neighbourhoods of Caracas were the first to descend from the hills,
risking their lives to demand the return of their elected president.
Filling the streets, the population, supported by the army
rank-and-file, reinstated their government. Women's courage and
initiative in defeating the coup is widely acknowledged in Venezuela,
and first of all by President Chavez.

We learnt this, and much else, when three of us from the Global
Women's Strike in Guyana, Peru and the US, attended the international
women's solidarity conference at the invitation of INAMUJER (the
Women's Institute) last July.

For four decades the ruling elite has been bleeding the country's
wealth, above all its oil revenue (Venezuela is the 5th largest
exporter mainly to the US), leaving 80% of the population -
overwhelmingly people of mixed African and Indigenous descent -
impoverished. The white elite is furious that from 1998 a man who is
the colour of their servants is in power representing those they have
defrauded. Despite retaining preferential treatment for its oil
imports, the US, which has had a hand in the corrupt handling of
Venezuelan oil revenue, also fears the policies of the Chavez
government: no privatisation, lower oil rates for Cuba, Guyana and
other small Caribbean countries, and bringing together Latin America
and the Caribbean for the benefit of all its peoples.

By 1999 the population created and passed with a 72% vote a
revolutionary new Constitution. Women, Indigenous communities who, as
in the rest of the Americas, have been under threat of genocide for
centuries, other women and men of colour, and other social groups who
suffer discrimination, won rights fought for over years:

* A just distribution of wealth.

* Full legal and pay equality between women and men in employment.

* The recognition of housework as an economic activity that creates
surplus value and produces social wealth and well-being.

* Social security and a pension for housewives.

* A minimum wage, an 8-hour day, no compulsory overtime and the right
to paid holidays. Women, the lowest paid everywhere, who do a double
day of unwaged caring work on top of low-waged work, would benefit
most.

* Protection from discrimination based on sex, race, politics, age,
religion and disability. Positive steps to favour those who may be
discriminated against, marginalized or vulnerable, and punishment of
those guilty of abuse or mistreatment.

* Recognition of Venezuelan sign language, and the use of subtitles
in TV programs.

* Recognition and protection of Indigenous communities, their social,
political and economic organizations, cultures, religious and health
practices, the collective ownership of ancestral land and knowledge.
Bilingual education in Indigenous areas. Women stress that it is
their work that has kept cultures and languages alive.

* Outlawing the patenting of genes, technologies and inventions
arising from ancestral knowledge or resources.

* No privatisation of water; food security through sustainable
agriculture; protection of the environment.

* No oil privatisation - the State will keep 100% of oil shares.

Always the poorest everywhere, women have the most to gain from all
these reforms. Despite the elite's power to frustrate change, there
have been remarkable achievements that we have not yet won in most
countries in spite of our own years of struggle.

* A strong commitment to tackling domestic violence and the machismo
of the justice system.

* A Women's Bank that puts money for income generation directly into
women's hands.

* Better child nutrition and greater school attendance through free
breakfast programs and a clampdown on schools illegally charging
fees. A dramatic drop in the infant mortality rate.

* The distribution of title deeds to land built on by squatters,
mostly woman-headed households in the shanty towns on the Caracas
hills.

* A law distributing unused state and private land to rural people.
Women, including Indigenous women, are often the main
agriculturalists.

* Subsidies of $1000-$2000 to small farmers - a lot for people
earning $15 a month.

Women's determination to resist provocation and to protect "el
proceso" - the peaceful and democratic process to which many middle
class people are also committed - has been hidden by the
corporate-owned media. National and international audiences are
bombarded with lies promoting the coup leaders and glorifying or
hiding their ongoing violence.

This has so incensed women that they have declared a "permanent
mobilization". Every day thousands surround the main TV channels to
demand an end to media lies about them. They are also infuriated that
the leadership of the CTV, the corrupt trade union federation
involved in the coup, has been given a platform to claim that workers
are backing the employers' efforts to destabilize the economy. These
lies are given credibility by the financial and other support for CTV
from the US union federation AFL-CIO (without union members'
knowledge), and by the silence of the UN's International Labour
Office.

Most recently, a "general strike" that has been in fact a corporate
lockout, has tried to stop oil exports, to give the US an excuse to
intervene and restore the rich and racist elite to power. The
situation is heightening now because basic changes, such as land
reform and regaining control over the national oil industry in order
to tackle poverty, are to be implemented in January 2003.

The impact of the popular mobilization in support of the elected
government, and fears that the US will attack not only Venezuela and
Iraq but any country it wishes, spurred the Organization of American
States to support the Chavez government against calls for early
elections. Apparently, this is the first time the OAS has stood
against a major US policy, which shows we can win.

We urge women, women's organizations and all who support women's
rights and anti-racism to endorse the following, and to send protest
emails and faxes to the State Department, the AFL-CIO, the ILO and
major media outlets. Please also send your letters to Venezuela's
Women's Institute, President Hugo Chavez and the Global Women's
Strike (numbers on page below).

Issued by the Global Women's Strike

*The Global Women's Strike takes action in over 60 countries every
March 8 since the year 2000. We demand that the world "invest in
caring not killing." We sent a women's truth-finding mission to
Venezuela in July 2002. Findings can be found on our website:
http://womenstrike8m.server101.com

To the US State Department, the AFL-CIO, the ILO and major media outlets

Women in Venezuela, overwhelmingly women of colour, who have suffered
discrimination and poverty, were central to reversing the April 11
military coup against elected President Hugo Chavez Frias. They have
called a "permanent mobilization" to defend their "peaceful and
democratic revolution" and their elected government. The coup,
supported by the US, the only country to recognize its installed
dictatorship, tried to return power to the rich and racist elite, its
corrupt running of the oil industry, the corporate media and the
corrupt leadership of the CTV trade union that acts for the employers
and the US against the workers.

We the undersigned, responding to the appeal of grassroots women in
Venezuela, condemn any attempt to threaten and undermine what women
and therefore every community have won through their revolution and
its anti-sexist anti-racist pro-worker Constitution.

We condemn US intervention - subtle, covert or overt - aimed at
overthrowing the government of President Chavez that was elected to
carry out economic and social reforms to rid the country of poverty
and corruption.

We demand that:

* The Bush administration stop its attempts to bring down the elected
government of Venezuela, financing and sheltering those trying to
destabilize the economy.

* The AFL-CIO stop hosting, funding and defending the pro-coup trade
union federation CTV.

* The ILO end its silence on the corruption of the CTV.

* The media stop spreading lies and panic in order to create an
excuse for US intervention.

Name _________________________________________________

Organization _________________________________________

Email ________________________________________________

Phone/Fax ____________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________

Return to: Global Women's Strike philly at crossroadswomen.net and
womenstrike8m at server101.com. Or fax to 001-215-848-1130. For more
info: 001-215-848-1120; +44 20 7482 2496


Send protest emails and/or faxes to US Government: J. Curtis Struble,
Acting Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of Western Hemisphere
Affairs Tel 202-647-5780; Fax 202 -647-0791

Brian Naranjo, Venezuela Desk Officer, US Dept of State Tel (202)
647-4216 or (202) 647-3338;

AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney, Tel 202-637-5231; Fax 202-508-6946
email: feedback at aflcio.org; Barbara Shailor, Director, Int'l Affairs
Dept, Tel 202-637-5050

ILO Regional Office for the Americas email: lima at ilo.org Fax +51.1.442.25.31

ILO Geneva email: ilo at ilo.org, Fax +41 22 798 8685

Send copies of your protest letters to: The Honorable Hugo Chavez,
President, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
<http://www.venezuela.gov.ve/ns/index.htm>; email
venezuela at venezuela.gov.ve; Fax: +58-212-806 3145;

Maria Leon, INAMUJER (Venezuelan Women's Institute)
conamu at reacciun.ve; Global Women's Strike philly at crossroadswomen.net
or womenstrike8m at server101.com

related link: womenstrike8m.server101.com

<http://indymedia.ie/cgi-bin/newswire.cgi?id=22333&start=0>
--
Yoshie

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