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Increasingly, Canadian workers are learning about the importance of the Venezuelan Revolution. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), which represents over 700,000 workers, unanimously passed a resolution in support of Venezuela at its November 21st – 25th convention. This success is the culmination of several months of organizing activity by Hands Off Venezuela activists in Canada and is an important step forward for the Venezuela solidarity movement.

Resolution #54.
Submitted by the Hamilton and District Labour Council.

Solidarity with Venezuela

WHEREAS, a particularly important struggle is taking place today in Venezuela, a struggle that could help to tip the balance of forces in Latin America and eventually the world against neo-liberal globalization;

WHEREAS, President Chavez has won no less than nine electoral battles in six years, and the people of Venezuela have come out en masse numerous times to defend their president and their Bolivarian revolution;

WHEREAS, the "Hands off Venezuela" campaign was launched to defend the gains of the Bolivarian revolution and to oppose threatened US intervention in Venezuela, and to ensure that truthful information about events in Venezuela would reach the trade union movement outside;

WHEREAS, the campaign has been picked up by trade Unions around the world;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Ontario Federation of Labour officially endorse and support the "Hands off Venezuela" campaign.

David Rennie, of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Hamilton local 548, spoke in favour of the resolution,

“Brothers and Sisters I urge you to support this resolution, to support the "Hands off Venezuela" campaign.

“The Hands off Venezuela campaign is a growing international solidarity movement supported by a growing list of labour and progressive organizations around the world, for example, the British trade union central-the equivalent to our own CLC. In Canada it is endorsed by the Alberta Federation of labour and several labour councils across the country such as Edmonton, Waterloo, Oakville, Hamilton and others.

“The working people of Venezuela have repeatedly resisted and defeated attempts by the rich and powerful to overthrow the democratic government led by president Hugo Chavez, which has embarked on a process of social change that has delivered many important benefits to the population.

“The HOV campaign in Canada demands an end to all economic, political, and military intervention by the United States and it's allies against the people and government of Venezuela. It opposes any U.S. and allied foreign intervention which undermines Venezuela's sovereignty - consider that we could be next if our oil and extensive resources, including fresh water, become coveted by the empire of greed.

“HOV seeks to facilitate increased solidarity, improve bilateral relations, and positively recognize the efforts of the Venezuelan people in their quest for self-determination. Hands off Venezuela supports the efforts of the government by Hugo Chavez to expand democracy and public services, to improve access to health care, education and land for poor farmers, and to raise employment, living standards, and income levels for the majority of Venezuelans. This is an example that Canada and other countries can and should learn from - and likely a prime reason why Venezuela is in the cross hairs of the empire.

“Fundamentally, the victory of democratic struggles of workers anywhere aids the democratic struggles everywhere of working people against the dictates of neo-liberal globalization and trans-national capital. Also, a shift in the balance of forces anywhere in favour of labour in relation to capital - helps to empower labour in relation to capital everywhere - even in a little way.

“HOV is willing to work with all who have the same aims and objectives. That's why I am asking delegates to support the Hands Off Venezuela campaign by supporting the resolution and officially endorsing the campaign.”

The resolution passed without opposition – due in part to the week-long promotional activities of activists from HOV and the Toronto Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel who distributed over 1000 leaflets. In the spirit of international solidarity, Haiti Action Network (www.canadahaitiaction.ca) shared a table with HOV. They were promoting their new book by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton, “Canada in Haiti,” which details the complicity of Canadian Imperialism in that country. Hands Off Venezuela is a broad-based campaign that is happy to work together with any International solidarity group. Many of the delegates commented that this “International Solidarity” table was the most informative of the convention and expressed a desire to get active or have Hands Off Venezuela present to their unions. Those wishing to organize a presentation or documentary showing on Venezuela for their union, labour council, or student union should email ontario[@]handsoffvenezuela.org.

December, 2005

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