More than 600 People Celebrate Venezuela’s Independence in Washington, D.C.
The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the U.S. and the Venezuelan mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) yesterday celebrated the 199th anniversary of the signing of Venezuela’s Declaration of Independence.
More than 600 people, amongst them diplomats, journalists, academics, leaders of social movements, U.S. government officials, and Hollywood stars like Danny Glover attended the event. Jose Miguel Insulza, the Secretary-General of the OAS, also joined in the celebration of Venezuela’s independence.
“For us the celebration of our independence this year serves as a grand prelude to the event that will take place next year, when on July 5, 2011 the formal union of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean will be born,” said Bernardo Álvarez, ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S., in reference to the presidential summit that will take place in Caracas next year to formalize the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC.
Famed actor Danny Glover – star of “The Color Purple” and the “Lethal Weapon” series, as well as chairman of the board of the non-profit TransAfrica Forum – said, “To see what is happening in Latin America at this moment, the type of inspiration that is being developed is remarkable.” He added, “In a way what Simón Bolívar started 199 years ago is coming to some sort of fruition today.”
Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, similarly highlighted the importance of the celebration, calling it “the dawn of the fight for Venezuela’s second independence, a fight that is taking place at this very moment.”
This year’s celebration of Venezuela’s independence is particularly important, because it takes place during a year-long observance of the country bicentennial, which will be formally celebrated on July 5, 2011 and makes even more symbolic the creation of CELAC on that very date.
“This moment is now being manifested through a very important new concept of participatory democracy, not only in Venezuela, but also through the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean that will have implications for communities here in the U.S.,” said James Early, the Director for Latin America at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. “To celebrate Venezuela’s independence is to celebrate new possibilities beyond representative democracy,” added Early.
Officials from Venezuela’s embassy and mission to the OAS were present during the event, where they engaged with representatives from the various sectors of U.S. life and the diplomatic community that joined in the celebration.
The successful reception marked the end of the events to celebrate 199 years of Venezuela’s independence that had taken place in Washington, D.C. The celebration of the date started with the traditional wreath-laying at the statue of the Liberator Simón Bolívar in the nation’s capital on Monday, July 5.
Photos: Jeremy Bigwood, Néstor Sánchez Cordero
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / July 9, 2010