Scripps College will be inviting two Venezuelan officials next week to to speak on a three-day speaker series praising “grassroots initiatives” of the country’s totalitarian government. The officials, Venezuelan Consul-Generals Antonio Cordero and Jesús Chucho García, will be speaking to students on “African solidarities,” “coups and imperial wars,” and the country’s vision for “a new society rooted in political participation, communal economies and democracy.”
Last semester, Scripps College also funded and invited Venezuelan officials, including Cordero, to whitewash the country’s human rights abuses, drawing criticism from students and even United States Senator Marco Rubio.
Crazy but true, a $69k a year college funds lecture series touting “success” of #Venezuela @NicolasMaduro regime 1/2 https://t.co/jePdhetjXV — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 25, 2017
Wonder if part of lecture series is about how to destroy economy,imprison opponents,or allow drug lords like @dcabellor to control govt 2/2 — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 25, 2017
While last semester’s series included Cordero—who is also the director of several “People’s Power enterprises”—as the sole official representative of Venezuela’s government, Scripps will also be inviting his colleague García for this semester’s series. The two representatives of the Venezuelan government will be the only speakers in this series.
According the an email sent to all Scripps students—which notes that “everyone is welcome to these events”—the panels will take place from April 9-11. The email lists Scripps College, its Latin American & Caribbean Studies department, and the Latin American Studies Draper Fund as sponsors, and is also hosted by Scripps College Professor Cindy Forster.
The first event, “Venezuela’s Challenge: Against War and a Unipolar War,” will discuss “resisting rightwing [sic] paramilitary attacks (that are on the rise across the hemisphere).” The description adds that the event is “for all who are interested in economics that serve people not profits.” Venezuela is still facing mass food shortages as a result of its government’s economic illiteracy. People in Venezuela have lost an average of 20 pounds from recent food shortages.
The second talk, presented both Cordero and García, will address “African solidarities” and Venezuela’s “different way of doing democracy.” Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro has imprisoned hundreds of political prisoners on false charges in the past year.
García—who once served as the chief of Venezuela’s diplomatic mission in Angola, Zambia, Mali, and Burkina Faso—will be the sole presenter in the final panel, “Maroon Legacies and Afro-Venezuelan Organizing in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution,” which will focus on “Venezuela’s Black working-class struggles” and “the long histories of self-liberated Africans in this hemisphere.”
The event description states that “despite the increase in economic sanctions from powers such as the United States, Canada and the European Union, the Bolivarian Revolution [Venezuela’s revolutionary government] has built 2 million homes across the country for working class families in the last five years.” Maduro’s government has been forcing owners of multiple real estate properties to sell their units at set prices or have their property taken by the government as part of its housing solution.
The event description does not mention whether the two Venezuelan officials will discuss their country’s rampant corruption problem, the government’s dire financial situation, the rapid devaluation of Venezuela’s currency to the extent that the government cannot afford to pay for money printing services, the country’s inability to pay its creditors including China and Russia, or grave economic depression among its citizens. There is also no mention of the government’s participation in extrajudicial killings and tortures during the crackdown on the 2017 protests against the government for its failure to provide economic relief.
At the time of publication, media representatives from Scripps College have not responded to the Independent’s inquiries about the event series.
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