Wednesday, November 29, 2006

HOV media frenzy

Hey all!

This is Shane Jones from the US HOV delegation, I'm just making a brief report about today and yesterday’s events events using John's blog account. We had a rather hard time with the Internet connection here last night so much of this report is one day old.

First off let me say, this was my first day in Venezuela, we arrived late last night and drove through Caracas. Every block of the city is plastered with electoral (and extra-electoral) propaganda mostly for Chavez but there is also a lot for the opposition candidate Rosales, however the vast bulk of the "do it your self" (homemade signs, graffiti etc.) is for Chavez.

This morning the US and British HOV delegations met up and traveled to the independent media center COTRIAN, which was the only media outlet to show the world the events of the Caracaso in 1989, and produced the film "Keys to a Massacre: the Battle for LIaguno Bridge" a film that with empirical evidence exposes the murderous conspiracy of the April 4th 02 coup. we were introduced to Lilian Blaser, who has been active in independent media in Venezuela since the 1970's. Lilian explained that while she voted for Chavez in his first term she had some reservations about him since he came from a military background. However, after several years of keenly observing the Chavez government, she said she found no reason to believe that his government would curtail the rights of free speech and the media.

After the visit to the COTRAIN headquarters the HOV delegation had a planned tour of Radio Libre Negro Primero, a community radio station that reaches a third of Caracas ( Caracas). the station started four years ago after a change in the laws that restricted radio to the wealthy and kept it out of the hands of the community. Negro Primero is a non-government, non-commercial community funded and run station. As Carlos Lugo, the director, of the station explained to the delegation, Negro Primero is not just a radio station for the community, but it is actually the community which his reflected in the nature of the programing, for instance there is a children's program where it is not adults who make a regular show for children but the children them selves who run the program (and quite professionally as an in house documentary show, such is the power of a revolution to give voice to even the weakest and normally most powerless!)

Carlos and the rest of Negro Primero, who will be acting as corespondents during the presidential election which is rapidly approaching, warmly invited the HOV delegation to join with them and act as international corespondents for the Bolivarian election.
After a short break in the evening, we were off again. The HOV delegation had been asked to appear on VT, the state TV station, for an hour long interview!

Enroute to the VT station we ran into a group of reservists of mixed age, we greeted them with cheers of “viva las reservas!” Outside the Metro station were we spoke with them we explained to them what HOV is and one woman reservist said to us “that’s right! We (Venezuelans) have our right to national self determination!” the reservists were also very excited to hear that in the US there are regular people who are working to defend the revolutionary process in Venezuela.

As we made our to the VT station, there was a journalist from the daily paper Ulitmas Noticias who had found out about the delegation, he interviewed three delegates. The report should be in the Saturday edition of the paper in a special edition insert that goes in on that days run of the paper. This paper is the most widely read paper in Caracas.

In side the VT station we were promptly brought into a dressing room and explained the set up of the show. The program took place on a rather hip set, and was set up in a host guest format (with three simultaneous guests). The show ran for one full hour with only a small break in the middle. Afterwards everyone agreed the interview went very good, the crew of the station all took an interest as well and were given HOV pins.

After a busy but productive first day, we got some food at a sit down restaurant, after chatting with the waiter for a while he told us “I have three heroes: Jesus, Bolivar and Che” we asked what bout Chavez to which he replied “of course Chavez!”


we started our morning early with plans to visit Inveval, the nationalized valve manufacturing plant, however because of the hectic nature of the pre-election period here and also because the workers of Inveval are preparing for the pan-American conference on occupied factories, the workers were not able to have us at the plant today.

After a quick tour of Bolivar plaza, where many people who saw the delegation members on live TV ( the VT program) last night came up to express their support of our international delegation, we were invited by the UPV (Unidad Popular Venezolana). The UPV has been singled out by the US military since they defend the revolution not just in words but are prepared to defend it by arms as well. A spokes-person of the UPV said “we must be armed and ready to defend the gains made, because the right wing is armed and is ready to erase the gains made, and they have proven their willingness to attack as they have organized shook troops and killed many”. This statement underscores the danger the revolution still faces.

After a very warm and comradely meeting with the members of the UPV, we directly proceeded to the National Asemblea for more interviews and a historic tour. Several HOV members from various countries, the US, England, Sweden gave interviews, and plans were made for more interviews later in the week. The interviews aired on ANTV (Canal a la Asemblea)

From this TV appearance we then quickly made our way to CUTV, an alternative media and community center. Several of the delegates participated in a round-table type of show that lasted 45 minutes. The topics covered were: how to counter the corporate media’s misinformation, how we (as HOV members) build our international campaign, the importance of the elections on the 3rd, and the importance of the revolution in Venezuela in general, and the need to defend the revolution by deepening it.

On our way back from the interview, around 9 pm, we ran into a group of workers/organizers who a delegate recognized. We spoke about HOV to them, and they immediately recognized it and one gentleman of the group remarked “I have met Alan Woods before, he is a good Marxist thinker for us Workers to know, I hope he comes back here again.”

In two days, millions of Venezuelans have found out about the international campaign that works to defend and deepen their living revolutionary process, truly this has been a very productive trip (and just the beginning!)

However we can not emphasise the need for total solidarity on the 3rd and 4th since it has not been ruled out that the opposition could attack like they did in 2002. In the next few days we ask all those who read this to prepare emergency solidarity pickets and be ready to respond in the case of an attack.

in solidarity from Caracas
Shane Jones for the US HOV delegation

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