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Australians return from the Venezuelan revolution

A dozen Australians have just returned home from Venezuela, where they witnessed a revolution that is shaking politics and society across Latin America, and the world.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade, which included teachers, blue-collar workers, community media journalists and scientists from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, was the eighth group of Australians to visit Venezuela to see for themselves why the Venezuelan government has become a focus of concern for US President George Bush and his allies in world politics.

“The US administration seems unwilling accept the democratically elected leadership of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez or the Venezuelan people’s decision to develop their ‘Socialism of the 21st Century’”, Brisbane doctor and a brigade leader Coral Wynter said. “Yet the policies of the Bolivarian revolution are creating such hope around the world, including among poor populations in our region.”

The Australian brigade met with teachers and students at traditional and revolutionary universities, trade union leaders and workers in collectivised factories, Indigenous communities, women’s organisations and members of the Latin American Parliament and Venezuela’s Indigenous Parliament. They also visited housing developments and media outlets, and joined the May 1st May Day march of more than 500,000 people.

“The Bolivarian revolution is delivering free education, universally accessible health care and economic independence for Venezuela’s population on a scale that most people in ‘advanced’ countries like Australia would envy”, Wynter said. “The gradual development of participatory democracy through the `communal councils’ and `social missions’ in Venezuela is ensuring that the country’s oil wealth is used to benefit the entire population, not just private shareholders, like happens in Australia and other western countries. Venezuela shows the remarkable development that is possible under a very different system of government from ours.”

The Australian brigadistas are part of a growing tide of people from all over the globe who are visiting Venezuela to learn first-hand about this new revolution that is inspiring massive anti-imperialist and social justice movements across Latin America, and challenging the neo-liberal and military agendas of the United States and its capitalist allies.

For photos from the brigade and more information, visit http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org

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