Venezuela: More than 800 people attend meetings of Alan Woods in Barinas

Delayed by Chavez's earlier invitation, Alan Woods visited the State of Barinas on Friday, where he spoke at several meetings with more than 800 people attending, among them the local leadership of the PSUV and many rank and file activists. In all the meetings there was huge interest in the ideas of revolutionary Marxism.

On July 4 comrade Alan Woods travelled to Barinas to take part in several events organised by the PSUV candidate for state governor, Professor Adan Chavez. Barinas is the state where the President of the Republic was born and it is one of the most beautiful in the country. Cattle-rearing is spread across the vast plains of this part of the country, which is criss-crossed by dozens of rivers that give life to the fields and render them plush with vegetation. This state, besides agriculture and livestock, is rich in oil, producing nearly 200,000 barrels daily.

Meeting in the gubernatorial meeting hall of Barinas

The current governor of the state is the father of Comandante Chavez, Hugo de los Reyes Chavez. Hugo de los Reyes was born on January 6, feast of the Epiphany. For the November 23 mayoral and gubernatorial elections in Barinas, Adan Chavez, brother of the President, will be leading the lists of the PSUV.

Alan was received at the airport by the Member of the National Assembly for Barinas, Geovanni Peña. Peña, who is vice-president of the Commission of Controllership of the National Assembly, had organised Alan's tour in Barinas. The day's agenda was going to be quite tight as the day before Alan had had to suspend his trip to Barinas after he had accepted the invitation of President of the Republic to attend another meeting.

Adán Chávez and Alan Woods
Adán Chávez and Alan Woods at the meeting in Barinas

The first place Alan went to was the governor's office in Barinas. There Adan Chavez together with 250 leaders and spokespersons of the PSUV were waiting for him with great enthusiasm. There were many people standing waiting to hear Alan. The meeting was introduced by comrade Ysmelda Montilla, member of the local Barinas state PSUV leadership. Ysmelda highlighted the importance of this kind of event in the political education of party cadres and the need for such events. Geovanni Peña emphasized the importance of the event in his speech. And among other things he made a criticism of the Socialist International and its recent regrettable action when it invited the coup-plotter Manuel Rosales to one of its gatherings. Adan Chavez made a brief intervention stressing his friendship with Alan and presenting him as someone who "has visited Venezuela many times and has analyzed the revolution from a Marxist point of view."

Later, before an audience that listened attentively, Alan delivered a vibrant speech that aroused enthusiasm. He started with a question: "Are we Bolivarians?", which receievd a resounding "YES!". "When Bolivar began his struggle with how many people did he start?"  he asked an audience that did not know the answer. Then to the surprise of all those present, Alan said, "I don't know how many they were either, but what I do know is that they weren't many." This response provoked laughter from the audience. "If Heinz Dieterich had been with Simón Bolívar he would have said ‘We cannot'... If they had listened to the Dieterichs of that epoch, and there were enough of them, today you would still be under the yoke of Spanish rule." This provoked a round of applause from the audience.

Hugo de los Reyes Chávez
Adán Chávez, Hugo de los Reyes Chávez and Alan Woods

"For me there is no contradiction between being Bolivarian and taking up the ideas of Marxism. There is a campaign saying that Marxism is dead. Hence the idea that they want to get into your head is that there is no alternative to capitalism. As president Chavez explained, capitalism is exploitation." Alan continued criticising the ideas of the reformists, of those like Dieterich, who pose the concept that "private property cannot be touched." Then he asked, "Can we make socialism without touching the power of the oligarchy?" "NO!" shouted back the audience. He went on to say, "Capitalism has failed miserably. 1200 million people live on $1 a day; 8 million people die of hunger." In the face of capitalism Alan said, "I believe in socialism and I believe in the people." This brought forth a new ovation from the audience. Alan rounded off his speech shouting out the slogan "Homeland, Socialism or Death!! Long live the revolution!" Immediately afterwards, Alan was grabbed by several local and national media such as VTV and Radio Nacional de Venezuela.

A few metres from the gubernatorial meeting hall is situated the office of the governor, the father of President Chavez. Alan, along with Adan Chavez and Geovanni Peña, spent several minutes chatting with the president's father who also introduced him to the comrades who work with the governor.

Meeting in Socopo

After lunching with the Barinas comrades Alan went to Socopo, a village an hour and a half from Barinas by car. Socopo is a village which hosts mainly Colombian immigrants, as the border with the neighboring country is just three hours away. There the mayor of Socopo, Salvador Guerrero, was waiting, together with 500 people, for Alan to speak. Here we have to highlight the huge interest in the meeting, for at the same time a meeting of the opposition candidate was taking place, where only 12 people turned up. It is also worth mentioning that for reasons beyond the power of the organizers, i.e. the Barinas PSUV, the audience had had to wait for three hours before Alan was able to arrive. But this did not prevent most of the public from staying until Alan turned up. Alan then addressed the public for an hour, going through the same basic points that he had raised in other meetings.

After the Socopo meeting, Professor Adan Chavez organized a dinner/meeting with the Barinas PSUV leadership at the local headquarters of INCE, where some 30 members of the regional committee turned up. It is worth mentioning the fact that members of the leadership of PSUV had previously been spokespersons of the party and had then been elected from among the ranks of the PSUV. A Venezuelan folk music band with harps, maracas and four-stringed Venezuelan guitars, brightened up the evening. During the evening, members of the PSUV asked Alan several questions, which he then answered. The comrades of the PSUV expressed concern about bureaucratism and how to combat it, as well as doubts about the validity of dialectical materialism. Around 10.30pm the dinner ended, with all those taking part expressing satisfaction and stating how enormously productive Alan Woods' visit to Barinas state had been. As comrade Ysmelda Montilla pointed out, the visit of Alan Woods had undoubtedly been a great stimulus that has served to strengthen morale and also to politically strengthen the cadres and the rank and file activists of the PSUV.

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