In a strong show of support for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Houston activists gathered at the Venezuelan consulate on Feb. 28 for a “Day of Solidarity with the Venezuelan Government.”
The gathering was opened with remarks by Ernesto Leon, an activist from Caracas who lives in Houston, and Workers World Party activist Gloria Rubac. Both welcomed everyone and explained why the gathering was called.
Leon explained that Maduro’s government has been under attack by right-wing forces causing disruption and terror in the cities and towns in Venezuela. “Now, since the right wing could not win through the democratic electoral process, they have resorted to destabilizing the government. Maduro and his party have won 18 of the last 19 elections that have been held. His party was founded by former president Hugo Chávez, who died just one year ago.”
“We know,” said Rubac, “that what has happened in Venezuela since socialist Hugo Chávez was first elected in 1999 have been changes that all peoples of the world would like to see — more housing at affordable prices, education for all, health care in peoples’ neighborhoods and a country that used the riches of their natural resources for the benefit of the people.”
Calixto Ortega, of the Consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Houston, gave an update on what is taking place in his country. He said that the government and the people who support it have vowed to defend their gains at all costs. Also representing the Consulate were vice consuls Mercedes Pacheco Rivas and Vanessa Morales Rodríguez.
Jesus Medel, a lecturer at Houston Community College’s Center for Mexican American Studies, presented a statement about the importance of solidarity in the progressive Houston community.
Many spoke out during an open mic session. Long-time Latina activist Erica Sezenov told about her recent visit on a tour to Venezuela and the progressive changes that were being made. Dr. Grisel Cano, born in Venezuela, has taught at Houston Community College for 25 years. She said she “supports our president, Nicolás Maduro.”
Also speaking were Alvaro Rodriguez, of the Communist Party USA; Chicano/indigenous activist Conrado Acevedo; Don Cook, of Harris County Green Party; Joanne Gavin, of Workers World Party; and Dave Atwood, of Houston Peace and Justice Center.
Leon ended the meeting by announcing plans for a demonstration at the U.S. Federal Building in the near future.