The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela celebrated its 204th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence from Spain on Sunday, July 5, 2015. In Saint Lucia, the Venezuelan Embassy and the Government of Saint Lucia collaborated to commemorate the occasion with a wreath-laying ceremony at Place Bideau in Castries city centre on July 8.

The ceremony was attended by several dignitaries including the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Leiff Escalona, Deputy to the Governor General, Mr. McDonald Dixon, and Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony.

An untold number of Saint Lucians fought in the Venezuelan revolution. One such, Jean Baptiste Bideau, was an advisor to Venezuelan leader Simon Bolivar; both are memorialised at Place Bideau. Prime Minister Anthony spoke at length of the contribution made by Bideau to the revolution. But the Prime Minister also pointed out that more than 200 years after the landmark Venezuelan declaration, the hope of true independence in the region is as yet unfulfilled.

Said Dr. Anthony, “The struggle is not over when so many of our people still live in poverty – or just barely out of poverty, so much so that they could easily fall back in with any minor shock, be it natural or otherwise.

“The struggle is not over if we still face serious health crises among our populations and where people cannot afford or access life-saving healthcare.

“The struggle is not over if our children cannot receive an education which is just as good as anywhere else in the world.

“The struggle is not over if our countries are mired with debt; if our countries cannot feed their citizens.

“The struggle is not over if race and gender and class discrimination persist in our lands.

“The struggle is not over if our countries are treated as second-class states in global affairs.”

Eastern Caribbean States who are also members of ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas), also known as the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America. One of the organisation’s goals is the deepening of integration and cooperation between the Caribbean and Latin America.

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