SOLIDARITY RALLY: rally in support of Venezuela and Cuba!

SOLIDARITY RALLY
Come rally in support of Venezuela and Cuba!
Stand up against U.S.aggression and interference in Latin America!

* US hands off Venezuela!
* End the U.S. blockade of Cuba!
* Rudd: give massive aid to hurricane affected Cuba!

RALLY: Friday November 21, 4:30-6:00pm
Brisbane Square(George St end of Queen St Mall)

Organised by:
Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network

Supported by:
Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, Australian Solidarity with Latin America, FMLN Brisbane Committee, Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (Inc), Resistance, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Socialist Alliance, Venezuela Cuba Solidarity Club (Griffith Uni)

For further information contact:
Phone: 3391 1903 or 3831 2644, 0438 162 597. Email: brisbane@venezuelasolidarity.org
http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org
US HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!
On September 17, former Venezuelan vice-president Jose Vicente reported to Venezuela’s National Assembly that the US government was at the centre of a foiled coup plot planned for October 15 to violently overthrow the elected government of President Hugo Chavez. The coup would have come just weeks before state elections on November 23.

US aggression has escalated against Venezuela ever since the Chavez government moved to take control of the country’s oil industry in 2001 and use its revenues to fund programs to meet the needs of Venezuela’s poor majority, rather than enriching the Venezuelan capitalist oligarchy and the US oil corporations. A US-backed military-business coup against Chavez in April 2002 failed when a worker-soldier revolution defeated it in less than 48 hours. Despite Chavez continuing to secure victories in national elections, such as winning the 2006 presidential election with over 62% of the vote, Washington has poured more resources into efforts to overthrow Chavez.

The US rightly fear that the millions of people rebelling against US corporate domination across Latin America may take the Venezuelan path of socialist revolution. During the US election campaign, Barack Obama declared Chavez a “threat” to US “national interests”. He also supported President George Bush’s July 1 reactivation of the Florida-based US Fourth Fleet, disbanded in 1950.

The US corporate media has attempted to discredit the Chavez government as a warmongering human-rights abuser with links to terrorism. This propaganda campaign presents the Venezuelan socialist revolution as a threat to the livelihoods of ordinary US and Venezuelan citizens, providing a cover for their real aim – reimposing US corporate domination of Venezuela and Latin America.

END THE US BLOCKADE OF CUBA!
Cuba has been devastated by two major hurricanes. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have wreaked havoc across the island nation, causing widespread flooding and extensive damage to agriculture, the electrical grid, hospitals, schools and other vital social and economic infrastructure. Some half a million homes were damaged with 65,000 beyond repair, leaving 200,000 people homeless and living in temporary accommodation. Without massive international aid Cuba will face food shortages during the next six months. The US government initially offered a pathetic US$100,000 in aid to Cuba, then offered $5 million. Cuba has rejected this offer, saying that the dignity of Cubans has no price and Cuba will not accept aid from a country that subjects it to a cruel economic blockade.

The US blockade, in force since 1962, prevents Cuba from buying most construction and other supplies directly from the US, forbids the island from purchasing any US goods on credit and seeks to discourage third countries from trading with Cuba. On September 18 Cuba’s foreign minister, Felipe Perez, stated that US trade sanctions are the biggest obstacle for Cuba’s recovery after hurricanes Gustav and Ike and that the recovery will be helped if sanctions are eased, even for just six months. “The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed during 50 years by the United States is the main obstacle to Cuba’s development,” Perez said.

The Cuban government estimates the two hurricanes caused around $5 billion in damages, yet the US blockade caused some $3.7 billion in economic damages to Cuba in 2007 alone and $224 billion over the past five decades. “The blockade is a flagrant, massive violation of the rights of the Cuban people,” said Perez. Now is the time to add to growing political pressure on the US government to end Washington’s cruel, illegal and immoral economic blockade. It’s time for the US to stop punishing the Cuban people for exercising their sovereign right to choose their own form of government and social system free from the dictates of Washington.

Rudd: massive aid to Cuba now!
Many countries have responded with urgent donations of financial or material aid to aid Cuba’s reconstruction. East Timor, one of the poorest countries in the world, has donated US$500,000. Australia, a resource-rich wealthy country with a massive budget surplus, should at least match East Timor’s aid to Cuba. On a per capita GDP basis this would be US$59 million, but Australia can and should contribute much more. Australia should make a substantial donation of material aid, such as a shipment of roofing iron to repair homes damaged by the hurricanes. Now is the time for public action to demand an end to the blockade and for the Australian government to contribute massive reconstruction aid without strings attached.

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