The first event was held at 8:00am on Friday 8 September. Despite how early the meeting was, almost 40 people attended the meeting. Luis Granados presented the event and gave a history of the Venezuela revolution. Julian Benson spoke on oil nationalization and the benefits of a planned economy. Phil Goebel spoke on workers’ control and how it can be an alternative to capitalism. The event was well received and many insightful questions were asked.

The second event was held at 6:00pm on the 8th and was co-hosted together with the Socialist Caucus. The event featured the Consulate of Venezuela and Cuba and featured a special guest (that even we were unaware of), a member of the national assembly of Venezuela! Unfortunately, there were many other events going on at the same time and the main convention ran on longer then scheduled so the turnout wasn’t as large as the event deserved. However the member of the national assembly showed a lot of interest in the Hands off Venezuela table.

Support for Venezuela is strong and growing in the NDP. Six different pro-Venezuela resolutions were submitted to the Convention and hundreds of delegates proudly wore “Hands Off Venezuela” stickers supplied by HOV activists. Unfortunately, none of the Venezuela resolutions made it to the floor of Convention due to the short amount of time being taken up with the debate over “Troops Out” of Afghanistan. The NDP has now adopted the position Chavez proposed back in 2001!

The HOV info table was very successful and even became an unofficial hang-out spot for the NDP youth. The New Democratic Youth of Canada passed a resolution in support of HOV and were so enthusiastic about the campaign that they even protested the fact that youth sponsored resolutions such as HOV did not reach the floor for debate. NDP Leader Jack Layton has also expressed interest in visiting Hugo Chavez. All in all, the weekend was very important for Hands off Venezuela and the international solidarity movement.

To get involved with the HOV campaign,  please contact canada{-@-}