Saturday, January 28, 2006

A New World is Possible

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez released another bombshell Friday night. He declared war on “the imperialisms of the world,” in the name of the people of Latin America, Africa and Asia. A “new offensive” he called it. “This century we will bury the North American empire, you can be sure of that,” he proclaimed.

He called George Bush “Mr. Danger” and the leader of a “perverse empire.” And he promised to work with Evo Morales in Bolivia to supply petroleum and exchange products, and to help educate Bolivian youth.

Addressing the World Social Forum in Caracas, Chavez called on the spirits of Bolivar and Miranda, Pancho Villa, Sandino, and Farabundo Marti, as well as drawing a full minute of “vivas” for recently-dead Salvadoran leftist Shafik Chandal, and urged the WSF to develop an action plan.

(from Inter Press Service/Terraviva reports)

You haven't heard much about it from the mainstream US media, but the World Social Forum has been going on most of this week in Caracas, and its face is the face of the future. As loud and colorful as the Southern hemisphere, the WSF is raising the issues that the rest of the world is concerned about, though most of us here in the US go blithely about our business, and our entertainment, as if these problems didn't exist.

Activists at the World Social Forum called for decisive actions against poverty, an immediate end to the war in Iraq and a radical shift away from free trade,” CNN online reported on Wednesday. The report said the WSF held panels on imperialism and 21st Century socialism, and participants spoke of the lack of justice in the world, and raised issues like world hunger, the Iraq war, and US military presence around the world.

Among the 60,000 participants is Cindy Sheehan, who pointed out that what the US administration calls a war on terror is really a “war of terrorism against the world.” WSF is making the connection that, were the forces available, this war would be waged against Venezuela and surely will be in some form waged against Bolivia as Evo raises a challenge to "zero coca."

Other issues raised include corporate policies, pollution, racism and women's rights. Mexican activist Hector de la Cueva called for the world to put human rights above profits. Set in President Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, the Forum is highlighting the Southern Hemisphere's leadership in dealing with these world problems.

Zach Hurwitz of US-based Global Exchange, who sent a delegation to the Forum, said the event is generating a new optimism about the possibility of change in the US, and pointed to the example of Venezuela, which has recently upstaged Bush by donating fuel oil to poor US communities and homeless shelters. In the IPS report, Hurwitz says, "More and more people are catching on to the idea that the Bush administration is radically aggressive based on self-interest, while Venezuela is looking out for the welfare of people around the world."

Truthout has been reporting live from Caracas, as well as running Inter-Press Service reports and reports from Cindy Sheehan.

It's events like this that show where the world is heading. The neo-cons and the evangelicals may wear their blinders and sashay around the world killing people in the name of Jesus and corporate profits, but in the long run, the people of the world will assert themselves and their right to a decent life. Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are harbingers of the new world that WSF declares is possible.

We Norte Americanos need to wake up and smell the coffee!

Other reports: Common Dreams
older analysis - WW4 against neo-liberalism interview

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