Afro-Youth, Afro-Venezuelanness and Afro-Autonomy

Jesus Chucho Garcia, Venezuelan author, commentator, professor, co-founder of the AfroVenezuelan Network and former Ambassador to Angola, frequently contributes to Aporrea and other publications. As May, the month of Afrovenezuelaness, closes, these excerpts from Garcia’s recent commentaries provide perspective on the political direction of the Afrovenezuelan movement for May and beyond.

The national and international media war, that is part of the process to destablilize the country, is promoting a sector of youth from the autonomous and private universities as leaders. As they have tirelessly repeated, their objective is the “departure of the legitimate president of the Venezuelan people, Nicolas Maduro.” Many of these youth are the legal face of the “ghetto guarimbas”. They are the mask covering of imperial politics. But there are other youth, millions of young people who historically have participated in the different stages of the process of national liberation who today, sadly lay in a forgotten grave.

Thousands of them fell in confrontations with the Spanish colonial army in the struggle against slavery, in the different battles in the independence war, against the dictatorships since General Vicente Gómez and Marcos Pérez Jiménez, those who fell at the terrorist hands of representative democracy, bombed by napalm and riddled with bullets in the mountains of El Bachiller of Barlovento, in the Sierra of Falcón and the barrios of Caracas. May is the month of Afrovenezolandad (Afrovenezuelanness). And the 10th of this month was decreed the day of Afrovenezolanidad, on the initiative of professor Fulvia and Juan Ramon Lugo, visionaries from Falcon. The state of Falcon is where enslaved Afrofalconese youth rose up in rebellion with Jose Leonardo Chirino, May 10, 1795 against the colonial system to demand their liberty.

In 2005, the National Assembly unanimously approved May 10 as the Day of Afrovenezuelanness. And now its extension for a month as a national (political) space has been gained by the Network of Afrovenezuelan Organizations (affiliated with the Social Movement of Afrodescendants). During this month, public events in all of Venezuelan society memorialize the moral, political, spiritual and cultural contributions that Africans and their descendants have bequeathed to us. Today, Afrodescendant youth must continue to make contributions to contemporary struggles for the social transformation of the Americas and Caribbean.

This spilled blood, the groaning from the torture chambers, have not been able to silence the calls by this sector of youth who continue clamoring for inclusion and equal participation in the decision making process for social transformation that is shaping the Plan for the Nation.

For Peace and Social Inclusion

Between May 16th and 18th, the organization Afrovenezuelan Revolutionary Youth (JRAV), affiliated with the Social Movement of Afrodescendants, convened a Congress for Peace and Revolutionary Democracy. It was sponsored by The Ministries of Youth and Culture, by the Bolivarian Naitonal University and the Mayor’s Office of the Municipality of Andres Bello in San Jose de Barlovento….The main themes of the Congress include Afrovenezuelan youth identity, the participation of Afrovenezuelan youth in the Bolivarian process, economic sustainability for the Afroyouth sector, vulnerability and exclusion of Afroyouth, political participation of Afroyouth in in the electoral political process in Venezuela, and the Bolivarian educational system and inclusion of Afroyouth. The central objective of the Congress is to develop an agenda for Afrodescendant youth in coordination with the Plan of the Nation, and in this way strengthen the national Afroyouth network of the Social Movement of Afrodescendants and move from participatory democracy to revolutionary democracy.

For Autonomy for the Afrodescendant Social Movement

The saying goes, “Everything within the Bolivarian Process,” nothing outside the process. But we must distinguish the different types of participation in the Process and definitely insist on the autonomy of social organizations in order to criticize and propose corrections to the deformation of the Process. Some leaders of the governing party, and inexperienced or rotten bureaucrats, assume top-down and authoritarian postures. In these times, defense of the Bolivarian Process has recently cost so many victims (50), dead at the hand of the national and international conspirators, as well as the internal sabotage of the Process.

The Social Movement of Afrodescendants publically points out during the Month of Afrovenezuelanness, the urgent tasks of initiating a second phase of reteaching the government its “abc’s”.  We take a stand against demagogic attempts at manipulation of our sociopolitical agenda… The Social Movement of Afrovenezuelans demands a Roundtable Dialog with the Venezuelan government in various settings to deepen the struggle against racism, eradicate asymmetry in regional development in Afrodescendant communities, and to energize political participation to defend the Bolivarian agenda in the street and to avoid the loss of 15 years of struggle and hope for the Venezuelan people.


Translated by Arlene Eisen and edited for



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