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2003-01-27

From Porto Allegre to Davos to New York: We Hear From Activists at the World Social Forum, World Economic Forum and at Anti-War Protests Outside the United Nations

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Yesterday Brazil Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lashed out at Venezuelan opposition leaders, predicting they would fail in their bid to oust him from power.

Chavez said, "Our struggle against the terrorists and fascists has further strengthened the will of the Venezuelan people. It is one thing to try to get rid of me, and another thing to succeed. I have the popularity to remain in power."

Chavez’s comments came at the third annual World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Brazil where up to 100,000 activists and academics from around the world are meeting in Brazil this week.

During Thursday’s opening march for the forum, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people demonstrated in Porto Alegre.

The World Social Forum is being held as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum the annual gathering of the world’s biggest capitalists and heads of state, taking place simultaneously at the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos.

One of the few individuals who attended both forums was Brazilian’s new president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He addressed the World social forum last Friday among criticisms that his attendance at the World Economic Forum this week would be like as one said "going to a banquet with people responsible for the misery in the world."

Three years ago, Lula had called the WEF the "grand strategic event for neoliberalism". Over the weekend in Davos he called for rich countries to join his fight to eliminate hunger affecting up to 44 million of Brazil’s 175 million citizens.

Meanwhile in New York, hundreds of anti-war protests gathered outside the United Nations to protest war.

Guests:

  • America Bera-Savala, organizer with ATTAC in Sweden. She is in Brazil at the World Social Forum.
  • Serena Tinari, Indymedia journalist in Davos.
  • Miles Solay, organizer with Not in Our Name.

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