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EDITORIAL

Welcome President Chávez

We warmly welcome you, President Hugo Chávez Frías, to New York--a city of immigrants and other working people who have more in common with the Venezuelan people than with the imperialist government in the White House and Congress.

We have been following the progress of the Bolivarian Revolution since you were first elected in 1998. Your victory brought hope to Latin America and the world. The people who will be welcoming you to this country will be thinking of all the accomplishments of that revolution.

Since 1999, 20,000 new homes have been built and another 10,000 rebuilt by military programs. Three million people have been able to have clean water for the first time.

Two-and-a-half million acres of productive land have been distributed, along with credits, technical support and equipment, and 30,000 land titles given to people without property in the urban areas. More funds for education meant 1 million more children joining the education system, with the hiring of additional teachers. The Bolivarian school model was established in 3,000 schools, bringing two meals a day, art, sports and recreation programs to children.

One million people joined literacy programs. New Bolivarian public universities are opening, offering tens of thousands of scholarships to the underprivileged.

Hundreds of thousands of people in poor neighborhoods where no medical facilities had ever existed before are being treated by volunteer Cuban doctors through the Barrio Adentro Program that provides one doctor per 200 families. Infant mortality and malnutrition have dropped significantly.

There has been significant improvement in the environment and the protection of community fishers. A new program exists to provide food free of cost for the poor over the next several months. This program will render emergency assistance to homeless children and adults as well as seniors and pregnant women.

All these steps forward have been accomplished while the revolution was defending itself against imperialist assault. Three times U.S. imperialism and the Venezuelan oligarchy tried to remove you from office.

First the April 2002 coup attempt that failed as millions of Venezuelans intervened. Then the bosses' lockout and oil sabotage during the winter of 2002-2003. And lastly, the referendum this summer, when your landslide triumph was your third election success in the last six years.

We not only followed those events, but as revolutionaries we went out into the streets throughout the country together with Venezuelans and others to protest against U.S. intervention.

And we pledge our continued anti-imperialist support and defense of the Venezuelan Bolivarian struggle.

Reprinted from the Sept. 23, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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