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Report-back from Venezuela and DC: Forum on Venezuelan Resistance to Coup and Resistance to Illegal Embassy Takeover

When: Sunday, May 19, 2019, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Friends Meeting House • 43 Center Street • rm. 202 • Northampton

A Western Massachusetts grassroots group will hold a forum featuring a US observer reporting back on conditions and events in Venezuela from experiences gained on a recent trip to that country. Lee Schlenker of Boston toured Caracas and Lara and Vargas state with the End US and Canada Sanctions Against Venezuela Campaign to evaluate US media claims of legitimacy and support for self-proclaimed President and US-backed coup-leader Juan Guaidó. He and fellow observers spoke widely with Venezuelans in the community and in the opposition about the effects of crippling US economic sanctions and expropriation of the proceeds of Venezuelan oil on day-to-day survival. He is “a dynamic, bilingual researcher, community organizer and international solidarity activist.” 


Schlenker will be joined by peace activists Priscilla Lynch, Ellen Graves and Garret Schenck each of whom participated over the last month at the invitation of the Government of Venezuela in protecting the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC. Due to military, economic and political threats to the elected Venezuelan government, the Ambassador and staff left the embassy, but activists from Code Pink and other anti-interventionist organizations were granted permission to stay on the premises to prevent its occupation by Guaidó-backers. Police and Secret Service agents have prevented the delivery of food to the “Embassy Protectors” and, recently, electricity and water were cut off. Several activists remain in the building at the time of this writing.


The forum is part of a series of public events held by the Western Mass Venezuela Solidarity Coalition (WMVSC) to provide a fact-based alternative to the Trump-created portrayal of Venezuela as a country dominated by a violent and unpopular socialist dictator, Nicolás Maduro, whose economic mismanagement has led to an economy in freefall, and whose ouster is desired by a majority in favor of the Right Wing Guaidó. Such an analysis was belied by the abysmal popular response to Guaidó’s April 30 attempted coup which was joined by only a handful of military officers and which succeeded commanding only a short strip of highway in Caracas before it dispersed.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is highly critical of media coverage of Venezuela. “A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position.” Media inaccuracies have included ignoring falling international oil prices and crushing international sanctions in causing Venezuela’s economic crisis; referring to the election of Maduro as “rigged” when international observers proclaimed it fair; and accepting Guaidó’s self-anointment as President despite his never having won or even faced national elections.


Free, open to the public and handicap accessible. Refreshments will be served.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Marty Nathan 413-531-9915 or Visit our website

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