27 septembre 2005
The Métis Chavez, President of Venezuela, meet with the Natives of United States.
Chavez speaks to a member of the Kariña people in Venezuela while indigenous activist and Venezuelan legislator Noehli Pocaterra (left) looks on.
Credit: ABN/Wendys Olivio
Seattle, September 20, 2005 .- While setting new global standards for the recognition of indigenous rights in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has made an offer to bring low-cost gasoline to the poor in the United States, including American Indian tribal communities.
Chavez has also offered free eye surgery for a certain number economically disadvantaged U.S. residents.
«There is an offer on the table for low-cost heating oil and gasoline for poor communities in the United States,» said Robert Free Galvan, who is contacting tribes in the United States with Venezuela's offer.
«Hopefully, Indian tribes and Native entities will take advantage of this opportunity to become stronger in the global community.»
Galvan's comments came after he attended the 16th World Festival of Students and Youth in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 7 - 15, which was attended by 40,000 people.
«I was amazed at 12-cent-a-gallon gas,» said Galvan, adding that he fell in love with the beauty of the green mountains and blue ocean waters in Venezuela.
Chavez has already sent hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil to the region hit by Hurricane Katrina.
Venezuela owns CITGO Petroleum Corp., which has eight refineries in the United States, and has set aside up to 10 percent of its refined oil products to be sold directly to organized poor communities, and institutions in the United States without intermediaries.
Galvan said Chavez and his revolution for indigenous rights gained the respect of indigenous people at the world gathering in Venezuela. During the opening procession of nations, Chavez gave a «thumbs up» to the banner displaying the words «Leonard Peltier.»
«Chavez acknowledged indigenous people by having them open and bless the gathering,» Galvin said.
The first speaker was a Native woman, one of three indigenous representatives in the Venezuela Assembly (or Congress), who gave testimony to advances for indigenous people.
«Chavez hugged all the indigenous leaders in front of the world and gave deeds of territory to the tribes,» Galvan said of the communal land titles given to six communities of the Karina, which is one of Venezuela's 28 indigenous peoples.
Chavez' Mission Guaicaipuro lists 15 more indigenous groups to receive their ancestral land before the end of 2006. Galvan pointed out that earlier Chavez called for a halt to the celebration of Columbus Day and replaced it with «Indigenous Resistance Day.»
The U.S. government, Galvan said, has reacted to Chavez' leadership and far-sweeping reforms for indigenous rights with racism.
«The United States government is very racist. Chavez is indigenous and part black, and is in control of one of the world's largest oil reserves,» Galvan said.
Galvan said he decided to attend the world gathering after hearing of the movement for "fair trade," as opposed to "free trade," which is igniting the indigenous rights movement in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, where the majority of the population is indigenous.
The economic alliance promotes fair trade as an alternative to the World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement or Central American Free Trade Agreement, he said.
«These trade agreements seem to favor the rich and powerful corporations. Chavez has spent billions of oil dollars on education, feeding and housing the people of his country in order to rebuild the situation in his government which was inherited from the previous government that had channeled much of the country's resources into a few hands,» Galvan said.
This news article published by Indian Country Today, and was slighlty updated by Venezuelanalysis.com to add Venezuela's recent offer of free eye surgery for U.S. poor.
Click on this link to read the French traduction of this article.