International & Antiwar News

RICHMOND FORUM HITS NATO, U.S. ROLE IN VENEZUELA & UKRAINE, DOMESTIC ISSUES

Originally published in the Summer 2019 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 59, printed August 23. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Summer 2019 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

A thoroughly multiracial and multigenerational crowd turned out Feb. 23 for a Defenders forum covering a wide range of issues, all tied together by the understanding that what the U.S. government does in other countries directly and indirectly affects us here at home. 

The forum, held at the First Unitarian Church of Richmond, was called to publicize the national march that was to take place March 30 in Washington, D.C., to protest the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. 

But with the developing crisis in Venezuela, the agenda was expanded to include an examination of how the U.S. government, with bipartisan support, has been plotting the overthrow of the Venezuelan government in order to seize control of that country’s vast oil reserves. The forum was considered part of an international day of protest against U.S. intervention in Venezuela. 

In addition, Feb. 22 marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-backed right-wing coup in Ukraine, which ushered in a reign of fascist terror against ethnic Russians and other minorities. The Defenders coordinate the Odessa Solidarity Campaign, which co-sponsored an international day of protest on May 2, the fifth anniversary of the massacre of scores of progressives in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. (See the story on the May 2 massacre in Odessa here.)

In addition to these international issues, the forum also heard from Abbie Arevalo-Herrera, a young mother of two who fled her native Honduras to escape a life-threatening domestic situation. (See the story on Arevalo-Herrera here.) 

Also, Queen Zakia Shabazz, national director of United Parents Against Lead, gave a report on a community struggle in nearby Hopewell that is demanding justice in the case of Angel Decarlo, a young African-American woman who was fatally shot under suspicious circumstances by a Hopewell police officer.

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