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Africans around the world meet in Venezuela

CARACAS—From June 19 through the 22, 2011, a contingent of organizers from the North American and South American Regions of the African Socialist International (ASI) attended the “4th International Meeting of Afro-Descendents and Revolutionary Transformations in Latin America and the Caribbean” held at the historic Hotel ALBA in Caracas, Venezuela.

The Venezuela government itself organized the conference, and revolutionaries, students, intellectuals and workers from various parts of the world, including Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and North America, attended.

International delegates also attended the meeting, which included former Colombian senator, Piedad Cordoba; former resident of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings; Mali’s former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Aminata Traore and South Africa’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Bheki Gila.

The U.S. delegation was made up of James Early, the Smithsonian Institution’s Director of Cultural Heritage Policy of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; Samuel E. Lathem, President of the Delaware State AFL-CIO; Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of the U.S. Human Rights Network; Joia Nuri, Chief of Staff for TransAfrica Forum; August Nimtz, representative of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party; Chokwe Lumumba, New Afrikan People’s Organization and Howard University students, among others.

The expressed purpose of the conference was to unite “afro-descendents” from the African Diaspora, particularly in Latin America, in discussion around issues that are significant to African people.

Such stated issues included “racism and discrimination,” “food sovereignty,”“Haitian People's Sovereignty” and the role of African youth in the movement.

There were several proposals that came out of the conference, such as the need to make racism a crime against humanity and humanitarian aid to Haiti.  

Another proposal was for ALBA to create a fund to fight poverty in afro-descendant communities in Latin America.

The conference ended with an outline of the "Declaration of Caracas," a document outlining the projects to be developed by the countries represented by participants.

This document will be presented at the founding summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC), a new regional organization that will be created in Caracas on July 5.

In addition to participating in various workshops and lectures, the ASI also attended the conference to express our unity and support for Commandante Hugo Chavez and his efforts to lead Venezuela in the nationalization of its resources and the resistance to U.S. imperialism’s attempts to control those resources.

At the same time, we aimed to deepen the discussion around the crisis of imperialism in the midst of which the Venezuelan conference was occurring.

It was a commonly held opinion of those who attended the conference that Africans of the world are struggling against racism as opposed to colonialism and neocolonialism.

Racism, through the eyes of the ASI, is simply the ideological underpinning of capitalism and imperialism, a social and economic system maintained through political and military power in the hands of our oppressors.

It is not the ideas of racism that keep us separated from our land and resources.

It is imperialism and colonialism which do these things.

As a part of its attack on Africa, imperialism has also imposed artificial borders on our land and artificial identities on our brains.

The aim of the ASI is to build a movement that has the ability to fight for African liberation from as many places as we are able to build organization.

So while we fight police occupation in North Philly we do so as a strategic component of the worldwide African revolution.

While we fight for land reform in Venezuela. we do so as a strategic component of the worldwide African revolution. And so on.

This way, the imperialists are forced not only to fight Venezuelans but also forced to fight Africans who are a part of a worldwide revolutionary nation.

This means that as U.S. imperialism attempts to attack our brothers and sisters in Venezuela, they must first deal with the African Revolution in cities like New York, Paris and Nigeria.

The ASI’s participation in the historic conference in Caracas provided the opportunity for Africans from throughout the world to come together for revolutionary strategizing.

The future looks bright for the international African Revolution!

LONG LIVE THE VENEZUELAN REVOLUTION!

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