Saturday, December 2, 2006

Day 4 of delegation (heading out of Caracas to workers struggle)

Sorry for this post being so delayed but we don’t seem to have a spare second at the moment!

The fourth day of the delegation and we are feeling really positive about all the progress the delegation has made with many national television interviews and many contacts made with community groups and alternative media. The rumor over Chavez’s interest in meeting us is still running but I think how will have to ask nicely as we will too busy to meet him on our packed schedule!

After a bus trip fill of panoramic views through the lush green hillsides and roaming mountains and then industrialized plains in which we saw some brand new blocks of newly built homes that are a product of Mission Habitat, we reached the occupied De Sanitarios Maracay ceramics factory where they produce toilets and sinks. The boss of the factory had threatened to close it a couple of times earlier this month so the 800 workers took over the running of the factory. After a really warm welcome from the workers including coffee we were given a tour of the factories facilities. We saw how the raw materials were processed, how the paste produced is treated and tested for the perfect consistency, how the toilets and sinks were designed and moulded, how they were fired in the massive oven and finally how they were coloured and finished for distribution. The massive problem for the workers is that they have only 40% capacity as they are running out of raw materials as they have to rely on supplies from outside Venezuela and that is extremely hard to gain those supplies because of the owners’ actions .They also suffer from health and safety procedural problems such as working in really poisonous conditions without adequate protection with silicon producing cancers in workers after long exposure to the substance. Also the owner only left them with one water distributor and one cup when he left. These problems stem from the owners greed in driving for profit and not wanting to invest in national materials and invest enough money into providing good health safety mechanisms and standards for the workers.

After the tour the workers very kindly gave up part of their lunch rations to our delegation in which we enjoyed sat in a big canteen with revolutionary chavista songs blasting from a hi-fi! Then we were invited to a workers assembly where John and Shane from the American part of our delegation told the workers how inspiring their struggle was and that workers around the world were in support of their fight for workers control and for the continued fight against the bosses. Espe from the British delegation told the workers about our campaign and how we trying to spread the word of the Bolivarian revolution across the world countering the corporate media lies, she also told the workers that if we get the chance to meet the President we will tell him of their struggle and how he should help them nationalise the factory. There was loud applause and big cheers from all the workers as they appreciated our sentiments and also told us about the need for help in nationalizing the factory so as to stop the capacity shortages and to provide the workers with renewed confidence to take the fight forward with the financial help of the government.

After the inspiration of the trip we were in readiness for the Venezuelan HOV public meeting in Edificio San Martin. The meeting was packed with over 40 people also thanks to getting it advertised on national radio earlier in the day. The meeting had many speakers from Venezuelan students and workers, Luis Primo of the UNT, Venezuelan British and American HOV members and members of the Revolutionary Marxist Current. The many threads of argument and comment included that imperialism wasn’t going to accept the revolution in Venezuela so there must be organized plan and actions to defend it not just for the elections but for deepening the revolution after the elections. Also that the communities, unions and workers were ready to defend their revolution in their factories and workplaces on election Day and in the future too. Further that the sabotage by the far right and the capitalists needed to be strongly countered and that the many positive and socialist aspects of Chavez’s government of Venezuela at the moment are defended.

To do all this many speakers talked about joining HOV in Venezuela. It was also said the message from British and American and other international workers, trade unionists and students was of full support for the revolutionary process and that the branches of HOV in those countries will be doing their best to protect the revolution. Finally there was the comment that this is not just a campaign to protect Venezuela but to protect the whole of the South American and North American people from imperialism.

Some of the delegation were interviewed by Vive TV at the meeting too with them getting to say to who they were, where they were from and why they supported the revolution. All in all a really productive, enlightening and really inspiring day in the midst of the revolution.

Adios amigos

Rob (for the HOV british delegation – using Espe´s log in)

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