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World Social Forum

i have snuck into the press office again so here is a quick personal take of caracas.

so far i have only made funny mistakes in spanish such as asking where the drunk is when wanting a liquor store and almost telling a man at a cafe that i loved him when i really wanted to say i want.

there is lots of political graffiti- beautiful murals. all over the city which is really exciting and stencils of indigenous folks. the murals tell the revolutionary history of venezuela. and there are always portraits of Simon Bolivar.

the food here is terrible (at least for a vegan). we have been surviving on lo mein , con vegatables, and arroz y platanos y yuca. and pizza and macaroni napole. and thats it. O and chick peas in a can. the black beans have meat in them and EVERYTHING comes with queso.
But i have laerned how to say what i want to eat. and the people here are very nice. we also are eating cachappas which is a corn pancake. and arrepas which are made from corn meal

the actual wsf is kind of hard for me as I dont speak spanish or portugeuse. most of the workshops are in spanish. so there are very few in english and they are hard to find. it is also extremely disorganized, when they say a workshop is in one sala at one time they ones we seem to want to go to have been moved or the delegates have not showed up. we have made good connections though. We met activists from NY who do Cuban solidarity work especially for the Cuban 5. When hearing that Bhav and I went to Bard the guy got really excited and said, that we should stay in touch and he would send speakers to Bard. so that is a plus. I doubt many people know about the Cuban 5.

we have met some anarchists on the street and talked with them about how they feel about chavez. there is a big divide yet we have still to meet the anarchists who are anti-chavez. most of them believe that he is at least a step in the right direction. i still would love to meet some people who are in opposition and learn about their beliefs. Chavez has a military background, every other president in south american history with a military background ended up more right than left, as far as i know, so it will be interesting to see where chavez takes this country.

we are at a new youth camp. one that is in the down town of the city. so it is very convenient. although the sleeping conditions are in a way a lot worse. there was a dance party (i think on the street) until about 7am this morning. which is crazy. and people here dont seem to sleep. the spanish people in the tents behind us were still drinking aguardiente at 7.

everyone is very friendly. bhav and i walked around last night, aguardiente in hand to go and here music. we ended up being stopped to talk to people, share drinks, stories. and learn what venezuelans think of the govt here, as well as abortion and homophobia. we never made it to the music.

today we are going to a workshop put on by michael alpert about the psychological affects of capitalism and how to counter the negative in a post-capitalist society. He is the guy who runs Zmag and Parecon.

its about 80 degrees here with the sun out, although it is raining a lot. we moved camps to escape the mud but it seems that now we are just going to be swimming in deep puddles. everything in the tent and all are clothes are either wet or damp. but i guess that is camping for you.

everyone here is so friendly, i said that to a venezuelan i met last night who doesnt live in the city. His name is Luis. He was very suprised that people were so nice to us. He also said that he didnt feel safe in the city at all. and that i should be very careful. I have been careful, not really going places alone but i still have not felt scared really. we have met a lot of folks from caracas. alot from quebec. one from chile. brazil. some from australia, and england.its hard to tell if people are nice and chatty because we are in the same space, working for similar goals, or because they are actually that genuinely nice.

anwyay. i shall go. I am not really looking forward to returning to Bard. I heard that it is cold and snowy. My body immediately adapted to the tropical weather and am even wearing jeans and a hoodie here when it drops into the 70s.

bye for now.

posted by Freya Powell on Saturday, January 28, 2006