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“For Peace and Solidarity We Fight against Imperialism and War” is the theme of the 16th Worldwide Festival of Youth and Students to be held in Caracas, Venezuela from August 7 to 15.

David Velásquez from Venezuela and Miguel Madeira from Portugal, both of the Worldwide Federation of Democratic Youth, explained this morning at a press conference that the Festival will gather 15,000 delegates from over one hundred countries to debate four issues.

The first debate will focus on peace, war and imperialism. Education, science and technology, and the media will be the topic of the second. The third debate will examine employment, the global economy and development, while the fourth debate will discuss democracy, sovereignty and independence. In addition to conferences, workshops, debates, and a friendship fair, a much-anticipated two-day anti-imperialist tribunal will judge the crimes of imperialism, for example, the case of Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

Explaining how this festival will not be just another festival, David Velásquez said that in the discussion of diverse, complicated global problems, “we want the world youth to have an important role in standing against exploitation, a wide social and economic gap, the imperialist forces, and the invasions of the US and their allies.

The idea is obviously not to just do a festival but rather to come up with ideas and look for ways to coordinate and achieve them internationally with the end goal of constructing a new society. The Festival is different because it is not just a moment where the youth meets but also the 15,000 youth will strengthen the ties between different youth organizations and between the hundreds of thousands back in their own countries.” The Worldwide Federation of Democratic Youth is an umbrella organization grouping 160 democratic, progressive, youth organizations.

Dating back to 1947, when the first festival was held in Prague, the Federation opened a space for youth to discuss the problems of the youth and of the world and to let their voices, ideas and solutions be heard through political and cultural events. Since then the organization has expanded and has become known for its strong stance against the Vietnam War, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, as well as apartheid and racism. The Federation, organized by youth for the youth, continues its stand against colonialism, fascism, imperialism, and the fundamentalist religious right, in its fight for peace, solidarity, and the well-being of the people of the world.

Over 1,000 youth from over 100 countries met in three preparatory meetings in Vietnam, Portugal, and finally in Brazil in 2004, where they elected Venezuela as the host country for the 2005 Festival.

The Venezuelan delegation will be composed over 2,500 youth representing all twenty-three Venezuelan states as well as twenty-two sectors of the population, including artists, athletes, cooperatives, the missions, the army, and musicians. It is now in the final stage of selecting both its delegations and its volunteers, including a special ninety-person Indigenous delegation.

On the 30th of July a debate will be held during which the Venezuelan delegations will decide their positions for each of the four debates as well as the form in which it will present uniquely Venezuelan topics such as the Bolivarian Revolution, the Socialism of the 21st century, and participatory democracy.