Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network
Chavez is welcome here!
Greg Barns invited to meet Venezuelan Charge D'Affairs
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has been invited to visit Australia this year by the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network. The organization has been circulating a petition to gather names in support of the visit, which was attacked by Greg Barns in Monday’s edition of the Mercury as ‘pompous’ and ‘nauseating’.
To read the Hobart Mercury Article
AVSN member Melanie Barnes has just returned from a trip to Venezuela. “Does Barns think that the introduction of free health care, free education, and justice for indigenous rights is nauseating?'', she asked. “While I was there for Chavez's election victory, I saw clear evidence of the immense steps Venezuela has taken to reduce poverty, and towards improving the lives of the majority of Venezuelans.”
Barnes also attacked Barn's allegation of human rights abuses in Venezuela. “The majority of political murders occurring in Venezuela – including the assassination of leading government officials, and union, peasant and student leaders – have been commited AGAINST Chavez's supporters.”
Greg Barns spoke at an anti-war rally in Hobart when Lebanon was invaded last year. “Is he aware that Chavez was one of the most vocal critics of this war, and the only international leader to withdraw his country’s diplomat from Israel in protest?” asked Meerding. “Barnes compares Chavez to Bush and Howard, but a more inaccurate likeness could not be made. On one hand Chavez regularly speaks out against war and imperialism, on the other Bush has waged war on Iraq and Afghanistan.”
George Bush has accepted an invitation by the Australian government to visit Australia later this year as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation. Meerding continues, “We extended this invitation to Chavez, because the example in Venezuela is one of hope for the world, in contrast to Bush’s support of wars of destruction.”
The Venezuelan Charge d’affairs to Australia, Nelson Davila, will be visiting Hobart on 5-6 March. He will speak at a public meeting about the alternative to neo-liberalism that is advancing in Venezuela and the need for solidarity with that country. Perhaps Greg Barns, in the spirit of the genuine liberal ideal of balance, would be happy to come along.
For comment please contact
Melanie Barnes on 0423 978 518
Duncan Meerding on 0419 40 68 75