October 12th: In Venezuela they call it 'Day of indigenous resistance'


On October 12, 513 years ago, Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America. According to the official story, he spread the benefits of civilisation across the continent; in reality, his arrival heralded a new age of terror and genocide which took the lives of over 100 million native Americans.

All this has been erased from popular consciousness, but in Venezuela the schools are now finally teaching the truth about this mass-murderer. President Chávez has described Columbus as being 'worse than Hitler' and renamed October 12th as 'Day of Indigenous Resistance'.

Last year in Caracas a statue of Columbus was toppled after a 'popular trial' and actions against the 'conquistadors of today' also took place in London and Bogota. This year we shall be outside the Colombian embassy from 4pm to 6pm in solidarity with workers in Colombia who are on general strike. The poor majority in that country want a president like Chávez, while the rich in neighbouring Venezuela would rather a right-wing fascist like Uribe.

After the demo, from 7pm, the National Union of Journalists (Central London branch) is holding a 'Venezuela night' social event at the NUJ headquarters to which all supporters and friends of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign are invited. Richard Gott, long-time leading journalistic authority on Latin America, will be signing copies of his new book on Chávez, with Venezuelan food and music later on.

This is an opportunity to hear first-hand about the extraordinary transformation taking place with the poor majority finally getting a share of Venezuela's vast oil wealth, which is now being spent on new schools, hospitals and houses. Learn how the US government has tried and failed to overthrow Chávez on at least three separate occasions and is still plotting against this democratically-elected and popular leader of the 'Bolivarian' mass-movement. Get involved to defend Venezuela's peaceful and democratic revolution and help bring it here to the UK!

7pm til late, Wednesday 12th October at the NUJ headquarters, 308 Gray's Inn Rd WC1, nearest tube King's Cross. That same day, in Colombia, there will be a general strike in protest against the terrorising of trade unionists, and solidarity protests are taking place around the world. Hands off Venezuela will be joining the Colombia Solidarity Campaign and Justice for Colombia to protest outside the Colombian embassy, 3 Hans Crescent SW1 (behind Harrods), nearest tube Knightsbridge from 4pm to 6pm.

Speakers include: Tony Benn, Soraya Gutierrez (President, Colombian Human Rights Lawyers' Collective) and Andy Higginbottom (Secretary, Colombia Solidarity Campaign). More information can be found on our Latest Events page.