Caracas, June 03, 2021 (OrinocoTribune.com)—In the latest episode of Chavista Chronicles from Caracas we had the pleasure of interviewing Suzanne Ross. Ross has been active in the international solidarity movement since the US war in Vietnam, and has visited Venezuela four times in the past ten years to support the Bolivarian Republic’s struggle for self determination faced with US intervention and aggression.
Ross began supporting the cause of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he was on death row and scheduled for execution in 1995. She has played a key role in building the impressive Free Mumia movement which continues to grow and to confront the state. In addition to supporting Mumia, she supports political prisoners in the struggle against incarceration and police repression, and challenges the white supremacist legacy so deeply rooted in the history of US slavery.
She was coordinator of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition in New York City for more than ten years, working closely with the founding organization of the movement, the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
We asked Suzanne Ross four questions and at the end she posed two questions that we value, because they allowed us to review the Venezuelan response to COVID-19, and the current status of the Chavistas’ communal democracy.
Our questions were:
1- What is the current status of Mumia’s case and his current health condition?
2- Tells us about MOVE: what is it? What are the recent trends and developments around it?
3- Please give us your impression on the status of the systemic racism that prevails in the US. Is there any hope?
4- What are the chances for a change in Mumia’s incarceration?
During her answers she insisted that besides Mumia’s high spirit and resolve to stay alive, his life is at high risk and international solidarity is needed to push towards his release. Ross highlighted his commitment to MOVE in Philadelphia and making clear that he was put in jail because of his connection with MOVE.
Ross went on to describe the atrocities of the racist Philadelphia police against MOVE, including the bombing of its home in 1985 and the incarceration and persecution of its members. Ross also spoke about a recent scandal involving the use of human remains of the children killed in the MOVE bombing without the knowledge of family or relatives.
When we asked about her hope for the US ridding itself of systemic racism, she was hopeful and recognized that, although racist behavior continues, the George Floyd uprising produced a change in the state of mind of many US citizens in terms of racism.
At the end of the interview Suzanne posed the following questions:
1- How is Venezuela responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
2- What is the status of the Chavista democracy, meaning the communal organization, communal councils, communes and so on?
We let Suzanne know about the respect we have for the responsible approach that Maduro’s administration has shown regarding the pandemic, permitting Venezuela to have one of the best results in the world in terms of death rate and recovery rate, despite being surrounded by the COVID-19 catastrophes in Colombia and Brazil, where the pandemic is still very much active.
In terms of the Chavista democracy we let her know that, while US sanctions and the economic crisis have affected all levels of life in Venezuela, including the communal power, we may not be at the right moment but we are in the right path. Against all odds, Venezuela is currently discussing the Communal City and the Communal Parliament Laws. We also reflected on the commitment of the Chavismo leadership to preserving communal forms of democracy, an example of which was the recent visit of Diosdado Cabello to El Maizal, one of the most respected communes that operates in Lara state.
Featured image: Poster for the Interview with Suzanne Ross. Photo courtesy of Orinoco Tribune.
(Special for Orinoco Tribune) by Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza