Clubs and activities fair disrupted by Party for Socialism and Liberation
Beneath scattered clouds and a radiant blue sky, HSU’s clubs and activities fair kicked off with students posing in yoga postures, walking along slacklines, juggling pins…and dropping an eight foot handmade banner protesting US involvement in Venezuela. The sun glared off yellow vested activists as they went around passing out fliers titled “Oppose the US-backed coup in Venezuela.”
“We’re here to disrupt this event and pass out information,” Nathaniel McGuigan, member of the party for socialism and liberation, said. “This is basically to tell people why to back Venezuela, to defend the Bolivarian revolution, the Venezuelan people, and president Maduro.”
It’s of no surprise that the American government has had its hands in Latin America for decades, trying to influence its agenda by any means. They did it before with Guatemalan president, Jacobo Arbenz, in 1954, as well as Chilean president, Salvador Allende, in 1973, not to mention Ronald Reagan and the Contras in Nicaragua.
Recently the democratically-elected government of Nicolas Maduro broke relations with the US government and ordered the removal of their embassy. The Trump administration is backing a member of the Popular Will party who gained no votes, Juan Guaido, and declaring him president even though Maduro was re-elected last year with 67 percent of the vote.
“Students should support the revolution and as working class people it’s our duty to stand up to other countries sovereignty,” McGuigan said. “We oppose countries in power that overthrow regimes that benefit their people.”
Standing next to McGuigan, yellow vest included, was Simone Rani McGowan, an environmental studies major and member of the Earth Guardians. McGowan said her club and the PSL team up quite often, usually raising awareness on tuition struggles and campus climate, but with heavier topics as well such as marching in solidarity with the Honduran caravan.
“This whole idea is to support community and to remind people of the compassion needed in these issues,” McGowan said. “Every day we have to reconnect with our humanity. It’s important to educate our youth in resistance.”
Chad Friefeld, member of Climate Change Club, agrees with McGowan and said that one of the main things for students to know is American history is full of examples of US corrupted involvement in latin america.
“We are trying to break through the western capital media which is not portraying the truth in Venezuela,” Friefeld said. “We want to talk to people about this coup and that the Trump administration and Venezuelan opposition is not democratic. We are standing in solidarity to help spread the word.”
Among the handful of yellow vests and crowd of students tabling was UPD officer Chance Carpenter. Carpenter was at the event talking with all the clubs and opening up for any questions or comments to be addressed. Because it was Wednesday, it was Carpenter’s shift but he said he was the face of UPD for the day and acting as the safety advocate. When asked about the PSL banner, Carpenter said it was above his pay raise for a comment but he does like free speech.
“I certainly do like people exercising their free speech,” Carpenter said. “I’ve had to actually protect people in the past on campus who had conflicting difference with other groups.”