Hands Off Venezuela
Hands Off Venezuela is a political lobby group based in the United Kingdom and with branches in many other countries. Launch statement of the Iranian Hand Off Venezuela Campaign, (link), HOV, URL accessed July 27, 2006 The campaign was established in December 2002, following the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002, with the aim of increasing public and political awareness in the UK and elsewhere of the Chavez government's social and political reforms and to counter what Hands Off Venezuela sees as a "US-funded propaganda campaign" in the west to paint Chavez as a dictator and a threat to democracy.The Independent labels Hugo Chavez a "dictator", (link), Letter to Editor, URL accessed July 27, 2006
The organization was founded by the International Marxist Tendency's Alan Woods, a Welsh Trotskyist and political writer, who wrote an appeal , calling for "defense of the revolutionary process in Venezuela" and to defend the Bolivarian Revolution, to oppose US intervention in Venezuela, and to ensure that information about what was happening in Venezuela would reach the international labour movement.
The organisation's most visible work has been in issuing press releases which counter unfavourable western media reports on the Chavez government, organising protests and participating in national anti-war demonstrations, and work in the British Trade Union Movement. The organisation also has a strong presence on UK university campi, where they hold regular lecture sessions on developments in Venezuela, organise visits by Venezuelan Trade Unionists, and screen documentaries.
Their most notable successes to date have included the visit by Hugo Chavez to Vienna, where he spoke at a Hands Off Venezuela rally attended by 5,000 youth , and the participation in the organisation of the visit by Hugo Chavez to London as a guest of Venezuela supporter Mayor Ken Livingstone (During this trip Chavez refused to meet UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he described as a "pawn of [US] imperialism" ), and also the resolutions of official support passed by the British Trades Union Congress in 2005 (Motion 79 ) and 2007 (Motion 76 ), the Scottish Trades Union Congress (Resolution 108) and an Early Day Motion (EDM 487) raised in the House of Commons by supporter John McDonnell, MP.
Other important supporters include Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the British National Union of Journalists and George Galloway and his RESPECT party .President Chavez has himself officially thanked the organisation for their work .
In 2006 HOV launched a 24 page glossy promotional magazine, also called "Hands Off Venezuela". It also put together an international delegation with members from around the world to observe the December 2006 Presidential Elections first hand.
2007 saw the campaign launch H.O.V FM, a monthly podcast available from the website www.handsoffvenezuela.org. The show features news, interviews, solidarity work, revolutionary music and features and is aimed at both activists and curios minds.
Hands Off Venezuela Official Hands Off Venezuela website.
Regional membership sites: (US), (Australia), (Canada), (Denmark), (Sweden),
Images of a London Protest - (flickr)
Articles on HOV: (PoliticalAffairs.Net)
"Hugo Chavez thanks Hands Off Venezuela", Press Release, 19 September 2005.
John McDonnell, MP (National Steering Committee of the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign), calls on Parliament to recognise the work of HOV. (EDM 487)
"Coup threat", The Guardian, Thursday May 27, 2004
"Chavez in London: Dont believe the hype", Vcrisis, 18.05.06
"Mayor of London Says Hands Off Venezuela", by Ken Livingstone, The Morning Star, Feb 20, 2006
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