CARACAS, Venezuela – As part of the internationalist spirit of the World Youth and Student Festival, where 17,000 youth from over 130 countries came together here to build relationships, share experiences, and fight for peace and solidarity, an international anti-imperialist tribunal was held Aug. 13-14.

The tribunal condemned imperialism and its militaristic adventures all over the world. Speaker after speaker described the methods by-which U.S. imperialism, in particular, has destroyed life and livelihood; they testified about the CIA, terrorists funded by Washington, torture, assassination, economic embargos, bombings and media propaganda designed to confuse and distract the people of the world. Speaker after speaker gave testimony, provided documentation, eyewitness account, and video as supporting evidence.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, said, imperialism has a “systematic, concerted plan to destroy the revolution in Cuba and Venezuela.” He added, “All of Latin America has to be ready. If imperialism attacks Venezuela the whole hemisphere has to rise up.”

Michael Cohen, a U.S. media critic, said, “the media is always used by imperialism” and “the war against Venezuela has already started.”

He described the “five golden rules of propaganda.” First, he said, “You have to conceal interests. Second, demonize the target. Third, hide history and geography. Fourth, monopolize information. And fifth, prevent debate.” Cohan added, that “media ownership, advertisers, broader links to the economy, and prevailing ideology” play a determining role in how information is gathered and disseminated.

The leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, President Hugo Chavez, also gave testimony. He said, “the tribunal is not partial; it is moved by the strength and love of the people.”

Chavez called the U.S. the “cruelest, most violent empire the world has ever known,” and added, “either we dismantle imperialism, or imperialism will do away with us.” He called president Bush “Mr. Danger” and said, “putting Mr. Danger on trial is equivalent to putting U.S. imperialism on trial.”

“Mr. Danger has condemned me to death,” Chavez said, adding that Bush wants Venezuela’s oil. Venezuela has 14,000 gas stations in the U.S. “We provide the U.S. with 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, but the U.S. market is not essential to us. If Venezuela stopped providing oil to the U.S. gas would go up to over $10 a gallon. Our oil is for Venezuela and will benefit the Venezuelan people.”

While Chavez focused much of his speech on the perils of imperialism, he also outlined many ambitious national and international objectives. He talked about the need to feed and house the Venezuelan people, internal infrastructure and development, building international solidarity with other counties by supplying oil at below market value and providing loans to other nations with low interest rates. Chavez also talked about establishing an anti-imperialist publishing house. And promised, “the Venezuelan government will finance the publishing of 20 million anti-imperialist books.”

He said, “The world has two choices, socialism or barbarism.” And added, “The cradle of our project is here in Venezuela. But we count on, rely on, the people of the U.S., of the world, in our project. The Festival is just a first step. The Festival must transcend, multiply itself, and renew its commitment to struggle. The people of the world conscious and united can topple the empires and save the world.”

Delegates erupted in applause as Chavez said, “our task, the task of the youth, is to save the world. It is up to you to bring the good news. Imperialism is not invincible. A new world is possible.”

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