Skip to comments.Activists rally against Bush, Iraq war at World Social Forum (Spew Level V Barf Alert!)
Posted on 01/24/2006 8:15:59 PM PST by NormsRevenge
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - To the beat of drums and trilling whistles, thousands of activists from around the world showed their opposition to globalization and the Iraq war at the opening Tuesday of the World Social Forum backed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The six-day conference got under way in Caracas amid a light drizzle as activists paraded along wide avenues chanting "Socialism, yes! Imperialism, no!" About 80,000 people signed up to attend the forum, including tens of thousands from outside Venezuela, organizers said.
Cindy Sheehan, an American peace activist whose son was killed in Iraq, addressed a sea of people from a stage set up alongside a Venezuelan military base, starting a chant of "No to the war!"
"We need to bring our troops home immediately," Sheehan told the crowd. "We need to hold someone responsible for all the death and destruction in the world. We need to see George Bush and the rest of them tried for crimes against humanity."
Sheehan, a 48-year-old from Berkeley, Calif., gained international attention when she set up a protest camp near U.S. President Bush's ranch in Texas last year.
Organizers emphasized the event was not intended as a rally for Chavez, though the event was backed by funding from his government.
A red government truck led the march, and activists stepped aboard to shout slogans, many praising Chavez and shouting "Long live the revolution!"
Daniel Poppe, a 27-year-old German activist, said he believes in Chavez but felt uncomfortable about the truck and the slogans. "I don't like nationalist propaganda," said Poppe, who wore a red Che Guevara T-shirt.
The marchers included several Palestinians who held an Iraqi flag, and others who stretched out the wings of a giant dove made from white sheets. Several marchers from Syria chanted "Down, down U.S.A.!"
Others held banners focused on women's rights, indigenous rights or the environment.
The World Social Forum was first held in Brazil in 2001 and coincides with the market-friendly World Economic Forum of political and business leaders, which begins Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland.
Those at the social forum, in contrast, traditionally criticize free trade and denounce the evils of capitalism.
Chavez, a fierce critic of the U.S., was expected to address activists on the sidelines, soaking up the spotlight as a leading radical voice of the Latin American left.
Canopies promoting Chavez's myriad social programs for the poor lined a major avenue in Caracas, while a dozen Venezuelan-made military jeeps were on display, along with a tractor made jointly by Iran and Venezuela.
Chavez has funneled million of dollars from booming oil profits into programs for the poor, making him an inspiration for like-minded activists from Canada to Chile.
"He's the one who has most influenced the alternative vision in Latin America," said Oliviero Orjuela, a 36-year-old Colombian activist. "Bush embodies the opposite vision - the commercial vision that sees the world as a business."
This year's social forum is being held in three countries, including a smaller gathering that ended Monday in Mali and another two months from now in Pakistan.
Some 2,000 events - including seminars, speeches and concerts - will be held across Caracas this week. Well-known speakers include the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, the Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel and former French first lady Danielle Mitterrand.
Venezuela deployed 3,500 soldiers and police across Caracas to help keep security.
Associated Press writers Natalie Obiko Pearson and Christopher Toothaker, in Caracas, contributed to this report.
U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan participates in a march at the start of the annual World Social Forum in Caracas January 24, 2006. Thousands marched in Caracas on Tuesday chanting against war and U.S. imperialism at the start of the annual World Social Forum where activists meet to campaign for causes from fair trade to indigenous rights. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan (R) participates in a march at the start of the annual World Social Forum in Caracas January 24, 2006. Thousands marched in Caracas on Tuesday chanting against war and U.S. imperialism at the start of the annual World Social Forum where activists meet to campaign for causes from fair trade to indigenous rights. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Can we revoke her CITIZENSHIP now!!! Please.
Good god, she looks more like a post-op transvestite every day.
The term "useful idiot" comes to mind every time I see her face.
Why is that?
I hear ya. pull their visas.
supposedly Harry Belafonte is headed there too,,
Let Harry sing to his pals at Gitmo.
I think that we should start spreading the word to every liberal in existance to start paying attention to what is happening in Venezuela, and to keep it in mind 30 years from now when aid groups are pleading for $$ because people are starving because of Chavez's economic policies.
Socialism kills. Cindy $hithead is sick.
Would someone please give Mrs. Sheehan some lithium or depakote. It's painful to watch her.
All the press about Jihad Cindy and I never knew she was from Berkeley.
That explains everything.
Actually I think she just moved there, officially. I think she originally hailed from Vacaville, California and her activist friends convinced her to light in Berkeley. I imagine Vacaville is probably relieved.
"The term 'useful idiot' comes to mind every time I see her face."
You're much too kind - she's quite useless now as far as propagandizing goes. Her handlers keep her far away from anyone but fellow-travellers now.
Ah! Good to know I'm not THAT far behind the times then!
No, but I wish we could.
You just know Moore will have a movie about Shi_han.
10,000 units of IV Potassium would be better.