Traveling Rutgers University Students Share Their Views on Developments in Venezuela

We, a delegation of students from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, were in Caracas this Saturday at a peaceful demonstration.  Imagine a protest that was more of a celebration than an angry mob.  Imagine ordinary citizens without ulterior agendas or motives celebrating the right to self-determination in the face of economic imperialism.  But, we don’t have to imagine it because we were there and that’s what we saw on Saturday, June 2, 2007.

After meeting with the Venezuelan Minister of Agriculture and the president of the Agricultural Bank of Venezuela to learn about the progress of President’s Hugo Chavez’ sweeping economic reforms, we decided to participate in the pro-Chavez celebration to show solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their defense of Chavez’ decision to not renew RCTV‘s broadcasting license.  Traveling to Venezuela the day before, we were flooded with messages of fear of the allegedly unstable environment and distrust of the decision to cancel the station.  Yet, upon arrival we were warmly welcomed into a beautiful city and felt none of the animosity we were told to expect.

Many of you may have heard that RCTV was forcibly closed down by a military dictator.  However the station’s license expired and the government simply decided not to renew it.  Over the course of RCTV’s broadcast history, it has been used as a tool to incite violence, spread hatred, and promote disinformation.  This was not a violation of free press to silence the opposition; the public government simply reclaimed public airwaves.  This station had the strongest signal and the widest bandwidth reaching the most viewers in the country.  There are no other comparable channels in the country.

Participating in the march was an amazing experience for all of us.  We felt the enthusiasm and unity of the crowd.  The atmosphere was charged with endless positive energy.  People were dancing.  Music was playing.  There were even fireworks.  Everyone wanted to be there.

The State Department urged Americans to think twice before coming to Venezuela.  We urge the State Department to think twice about their position on Venezuelan affairs.

Jason Bellifemini

Zenon Tech-Czarny

Jason Yellen

Marina Yalon

Tejas Kadia

Kyler George

Brendan Kaplan

Joseph Smalley

Johann Rinkens

Alex Bannwart

David Brown

For more information, contact the student delegation in Venezuela at +58 412 721 6881 or +58 412 721 6885.

Agencia de Noticias Alternativas de ANMCLA/Ronald Marrero

Vídeos de la Marcha contra el Imperialismo y en Apoyo a la Decisión del Presidente Hugo Chávez de No Renovar la Concesión a RCTVas

Entrevista a Participante de la Marcha

Entrevista a Participante de Caricuao

Entrevistas a Estudiantes de Aragua

Baile y Alegría Popular en la Marcha

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