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Nearly 500 artists and intellectuals will meet at the World Encounter of Artists and Intellectuals for the Defense of Mankind, organized by the Ministry of Culture and the National Council of Culture (Conac), and to be inaugurated on December 1st at 7:00 PM.

Prior to this seven day event, there will be a presentation of “A cantata for Bolívar ‘Waving All the Flags’”, a musical work directed by Humberto Llamas, from Cuba, and with unedited texts by Benito Irady, a member of the Conac board of directors. This work, inspired in the thoughts of Simón Bolívar and José Martí will put 1100 people on stage, including students and professors of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, rappers, dancers, amateur actors, and senior citizens. This work is divided in twelve parts, in one of which 200 military will appear, carrying flags, torches and flowers instead of weapons. Many voices chanting together in a single clamor for peace.

Sesto informed that the attendance by the participants will be a success “58 artists will come from Kenya, Senegal, Malaysia, Pakistan, Cuba, Spain, Argentina, France, and the United States, among other countries. They have been invited by the national government, to participate in the discussions “For the Defense of Mankind”.

Among the international figures attending this event are : Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize; Alfonso Satre, Spanish playwright; Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan poet; Danny Glover, United States actor; Ignacio Ramonet, French journalist, director of the prestigious French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique; James Petras, important anti-globalization figure in the United States; Abel Prieto, Cuban Minister of Culture.

The event will continue on Tuesday, December 2nd with intense discussion and reflection sessions, organized in ten round tables; each one with a different issue to discuss: In defense of a planet for all, In defense of the integration of the peoples of the world. In defense of a solidary and liberating economy, In defense of sovereignty and international legality, In defense of unity within diversity and of culture for all, In defense of knowledge for all, In defense of popular participation, In defense of truth veracity and plurality of information, In defense of memory, In defense of peace.

On December 3rd , the work in the round tables will be interrupted in order to have contact with reality “to have first hand knowledge of the experiences in the social and economic areas, of the development of a popular economy, of the centers of endogenous development (development from within), of the Barrio Adentro popular medicare mission, of the social organizations, of the recuperation of land property through the urban land committees, of the governmental social missions, and of all the aspects that form part of a system that buttresses a very important and key part of this process of changes”, said Sesto.

On December 4th , the round tables will resume their deliberations, which will conclude at 1:00PM with a final report. In the afternoon there will be a workshop in the Ríos Reyna Hall of the Teresa Carreño Theater, with the presence of the President.

Activities on December 5th will begin with the opening of a General Assembly where the results of the discussions will be reported and submitted for approval. Finally, at 7:00PM, there will be a musical presentation for the closure of the event, with the participation of important Venezuelan and international figures like Pablo Milanés, Cecilia Todd, Isabel Parra, Lilia Vera, and Pacheco y su pueblo. The main part of the event will close with this presentation. On December 6th and 7th, the event will continue in a form of epilogue: “many of the guests will travel throughout the country to contact students, workers, and different associations, in different forums, meetings and discussions, where they will have an opportunity to present several of their works”

Parallel to these activities, the Cinemateca Nacional (National Film Library) will be presenting the “Film Cycle for the Defense of Mankind”, a cycle of 20 films and documentaries: La espalda del mundo, by Javier Corcuera (Perú); Iluminados por el fuego, by Tristán Bauer (Argentina); Tupac Amaru, by Federico García Hurtado (Perú); Amazonas, el negocio de este mundo, by Carlos Azpúrua (Venezuela); Roble de olor, by Rigoberto López (Cuba); Memorias del Saqueo, by Fernando Pino Solanas (Argentina); Golpes a mi puerta, by Alejandro Saderman (Venezuela); Los hijos del último jardín, by Jorge Sanjinés (Bolivia). Four of these documentaries were produced by Gerta Stecher, a German director, whose work deals mainly with the burdens of Latin American women: Ángel del desierto, Amistad negra, Cholitas de la paz, and Trabajar para jugar; another premiere will be De viaje con el Ché, (Travelling with the Ché) by the Italian producer Gianni Miná. Minister Sesto expressed that the reason for these discussion sessions for the defense of mankind is that “we live in a difficult world, science and technology have moved forward beyond limits that were unsuspected a few years ago. There has been much progress in medicine, genetics, food technology, and other areas; and nevertheless destitution and difficulties continue to increase throughout the world”.

He added that “there are powers whose only concern is to dominate the world by any means, including war. There is never a moment of peace. Wars break out everywhere, driven by powerful industries and financial empires that live out of warfare, out of the weaponry business, and that as Saramago recently said in our country, have placed themselves above political powers”.

“Saramago said that there are financial structures that control our governments and that are above them. But the peoples of the world are developing greater awareness of the idea that a better world is possible. They don’t settle for this world community that is so unjust, so unbalanced, and always at risk. They nurture the conscience of our intellectuals and artists. That is why, in representation of the peoples of the world, and of themselves; they are meeting in Caracas to hold these discussions and to make this appeal to the world, and remind that same world, that it is at risk, and that it is necessary to lead it out of this dangerous trend that it is following” Sesto asserted.

Finally, he noted that the figures from the cultural world “have accepted the invitation to come in the context of this bolivarian process as a gesture of their support of it. In some way, they feel especial sympathy for these paths that the peoples throughout the world start to follow, towards peace and towards the creation of more fair, dignified, balanced, and less exclusionist societies”.