World Festival of Youth and Students challenges U.S. imperialism
Published Aug 18, 2005 9:45 PM
Fry is a national
leader of the youth group FIST—Fight Imperialism, Stand
The 16th World Festival of Youth and Students, held
this year in Caracas, Venezuela, officially ends tomorrow —Aug.
15—after a week of demonstrations, seminars and various festivities. The
conference was hugely successful, drawing more than 15,000 participants from
over 40 different countries.
The largest delegations, apart from the huge
group of Venezuelans, were the Colombians and Brazilians. Their delegations
combined accounted for more than 5,000 of the Festival’s participants.
Countries such as Angola, Syria, Palestine, Vietnam and the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) also sent significant
Throughout the week, delegations from all over the world
expressed their solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela.
The thousands of Venezuelan delegates and volunteers who were responsible
for the tremendous success of the Festival offered countless insights into the
developing society in Venezuela.
International delegates toured
neighborhoods here in Caracas and went on trips to the various provinces. During
these tours, local Venezuelan citizens explained some of the many new social
programs that have been instituted during the revolution.
and showed some of the progress that has been made in their own communities in
matters such as education and literacy, medical care and housing.
Festival also gave participants the opportunity to meet and learn from
delegations from other countries.
One of the most significant of these meetings took place between
the large Cuban delegation—which included more than 1,500 people—and
the U.S. delegation.
The meeting took place Aug. 12, only a few days
after both delegations received news that the Cuban Five imprisoned in the U.S.
will receive a new trial outside of Miami. [See related article, page
The meeting was an opportunity for both delegations to exchange
information about the Five and to explore what could be done to build more
solidarity and ultimately free these Cuban heroes.
The esteemed panel at
the meeting included Aleida Guevara—eldest daughter of revolutionary
leader Che Guevara. Two of the Cuban Five’s children took part in the
panel—Tony Guerrero, eldest son of Antonio Guerrero; and Irma
González, the elder daughter of René González.
two U.S. panelists were Bonnie Massey, a leader of the Venceremos Brigade, and
FIST leader LeiLani Dowell, who also works with the National Committee to Free
All of the panelists stressed the importance of escalating the
struggle to free the Five at this critical time.
The final major political
event of the Festival is the two-day-long anti-imperialist tribunal Aug. 13-14.
There, representatives from countries that have been victims of U.S. imperialism
are presenting testimony and evidence of the crimes committed against their
people by the U.S. government.
Representatives from Colombia, Haiti,
Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, Palestine and many other countries are speaking about the
atrocities that have been perpetrated and continue to be carried out by the
Pentagon and the CIA.
Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of the first GI
killed in Iraq, testified about how the U.S.-imperialist-led war in Iraq has
affected his family.
LeiLani Dowell was invited to speak as the
representative of youth in the U.S. She testified on Aug. 13 on the effect of
imperialism on youth in the U.S., particularly on youth of color.
presented evidence on the racist and anti-poor tactics of military recruiters
and on how youth in the U.S. are made to bear the brunt of the U.S.
government’s illegal wars.
When Dowell said that youth in the U.S.
look to Cuba and Venezuela as positive examples and that we need to build
revolution in the United States, she received thunderous applause.
highlight of the tribunal was the testimony of Venezuelan President Hugo
Chávez at its closing on Aug. 14. He presented evidence of the role of
the U.S. government in trying to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.
Chávez explained how the CIA had orchestrated the April 2002 coup
against him and that the U.S. government was responsible for threats to his
But he affirmed that there was no way for the U.S. to stop the
Bolivarian Revolution from moving forward.
FIST sent a sizable delegation
to the Festival. Look for more detailed reports from FIST members on the various
significant activities during the Festival in upcoming editions of Workers World
and visit www.workers.org.
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