Cablegate: Venezuelan Youth Festival: It's No Woodstock

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

051823Z Aug 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Over 20,000 international delegates from more than
130 countries are expected to attend the 16th World Youth and
Students Festival in Caracas from August 7 to 15. Organized
by the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the theme is
"For Peace and Solidarity We Fight against Imperialism and
War." With robust GOV financial and logistical support and a
militant focus, the festival aims to spread Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian revolution around the
world. Events will include an anti-imperialist tribunal
judging "crimes of imperialism," and a demonstration to mark
the defeat of the recall referendum on August 15, 2004. Evo
Morales, El Salvador,s Farabundo Marti National Liberation
Front (FMLN) leader Schafik Handal, and Nicaragua,s
Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) leader Daniel
Ortega are slated to attend. End Summary.


2. (U) Over 20,000 international delegates representing
more than 130 countries are expected to attend the 16th World
Youth and Students Festival August 7 to 15, hosted in
Caracas. Organized by the World Federation of Democratic
Youth, an international youth NGO aligned with communist and
socialist parties, the theme for the 16th World Youth and
Students Festival is "For Peace and Solidarity We Fight
against Imperialism and War." The first festival was held in
Prague in 1947. Havana hosted in 1997. Owing to a free
concert to promote the festival at a military airfield in
Caracas, university opposition leaders believe Caracas will
have a large turnout--no better way to attract Venezuelan
youth than to throw a good party.

3. (U) Events will take place in Caracas and surrounding
states, including Miranda, Vargas, Aragua, Cojedes, Carabobo,
and Guarico. Delegates will visit indigenous groups and
Chavez's social Missions programs in various locations. The
festival will include debates on peace, war, and imperialism;
sovereignty and globalization. The festival will culminate
with a two-day anti-imperialist tribunal that will judge
"crimes of imperialism" such as the case of the so-called
Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. The festival was
planned to coincide with the anniversary of the recall
referendum on August 15, 2004. As a finale to the festival,
a national celebration is planned to mark the "triumph of the
people" over the referendum.


4. (U) GOV officials such as Minister of Interior and
Justice, Jesse Chacon, and Army General Raul Baduel sit on
the planning committee for the festival to organize housing,
transportation, and conference facilities to accommodate as
many as 20,000 delegates. The National Assembly approved
over $8 million to fund the festival. Venezuela will send a
delegation of over 2,500 youth representing all 23 Venezuelan
states and various sectors of the population, from athletes
and artists to musicians and missionaries. They intend to
send a 90-person indigenous delegation and 150 military

5. (U) The U.S. delegation is reportedly 900-strong.
Over half of the participants are expected to be from the
Latin America, including a Cuban delegation of 1,500.
Venezuelan Conviasa and Cubana Airlines discounted fares for
participants from Latin America and the Caribbean. A $200
participation fee for "Imperialist" countries; $150 for
Eastern Europe and the Middle East; and $100 for
"Semicolonial" countries covers housing, food and
transportation. In President Chavez,s television show, Alo
Presidente, Chavez referred to the 20,000 youth as an "army."
The campaign to organize volunteers, Battle for Victory, is
divided into two groups. One is divided into brigades and

sub-brigades, and the other is the Battalion of
Reinforcements in case volunteers "desert."


6. (U) The festival's anti-imperialist theme is overtly
anti-U.S and represents another example of Chavez's
mobilization of state resources to promote his ideological
agenda. Like many of Chavez's inflated expectations, the
festival is unlikely to attract the projected 20,000 youth.
With opposition youth excluded, the socialists will be
preaching to the choir during the ensuing one-sided debates.
With a majority of Latin American participants, Chavez is
using this as an opportunity to assert regional leadership.
The militant nature of the festival reflects the belligerent
rhetoric of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution as well as the
militarized nature of his government. Despite the concert,
this is not Woodstock.


© Scoop Media

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