Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

News :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization : Miscellaneous

Venezuela Matters Expo Kicks Off in Chicago

venex [permalink] The Venezuela Matters Expo kicked off this morning in Chicago, giving Chicagoans an opportunity to explore a culture, history and political system whose precarious relationship with the US government has been vehemently criticized as of late by the Bush Administration as being a disruptive force in the Southern hemisphere.

But, this isn't a one-way affair -- Chicago has been making news in Venezuela lately, as well. Venezuelan White Sox manger Ozzie Guillen (who yesterday told Mayor Daley to "watch out," as he might be running for mayor) received a televised phone call from President Hugo Chavez last Sunday night, saying that the nation is "watching closely" and rooting for the Chicago team. "Now I want to win more than ever," said Ozzie, a self-proclaimed Chavez supporter.

But it is Venezuela's oil reserves that has put it on the US-media map. Two months ago, Chavez, while in New York, announced an "oil-for-the-poor" program, through which he plans to distribute cheap gas to low-income communities across the country, via Venezuelan CITGO stations. Chicago's Cabrini Green housing project was also selected as the pilot project for an equally ambitious plan to provide for the mass transportation of low-income African-Americans to Cuba for cataract surgery, compliments of the Venezuelan government. [Venezuela promises cheap oil to poor Chicagoans - Chicago Tribune]

All of this just weeks after Pat Robertson publicly called for the assassination of President Chavez on the "700 Club." Robertson, as well as others on the right, dislikes Chavez for his outspoken disdain for President Bush and his criticisms of US policy.

Events during the next two days will highlight Venezuela's model of participatory democracy, a "bottom-up" way of organizing the economy and politics. The model has served to redistribute the oil wealth in the country, while significantly increasing literacy, access to health and educational services and community participation. For these reasons, the 'Bolivarian Revolution' has instilled fear and loathing among neo-conservatives in this country, while instilling hope among poor people's movements around the world.

Danny Glover and Jesse Jackson, two popular supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution, will be participating in the Venezuela Matters Expo in Chicago, which will feature talks, panels and performances at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters, Loyola University and at the East River Arts Center in the Loop. Comment here.

Additional Information: DN!: Hugo Chavez: "If the Imperialist Government of the White House Dares to Invade Venezuela, the War of 100 Years Will be Unleashed in South America" | Participatory Democracy in Venezuela




Account Login

Media Centers


This site made manifest by dadaIMC software