San Juan Cultural Festival

June 16, 2014June 26, 2014
Something remarkable is happening in Venezuela. The lives of millions of Venezuelans are improving as historic wrongs are being righted. The world's fifth-largest oil producer, Venezuela has long been a country of contrasts: despite its great wealth, 80% of Venezuelans live in poverty. Now, for the first time, millions of Venezuelans have access to education, job training, housing, land, clean water, health care, and something maybe even more precious: dignity.

Community-based preventative health care missions are making health care a tangible human right, causing infant mortality to plummet. Educational missions are putting millions more children into thousands of new schools, while high school and college scholarship programs keep kids reaching for new horizons. At the same time, Venezuelan elders are imbuing their citizenship with new meaning as more than one million of them learn to read and write for the first time in the literacy campaign. Women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Venezuelans are gaining power and rights, while a high-profile land reform campaign is sweeping the nation, giving poor farmers access to land and opportunities. However, despite their overwhelming contribution to the everyday life and culture of Venezuela, coastal Afro-Venezuelan communities continue to face racial and economic divisions that prevail from the days of colonization.

Racism against Afro-Venezuelans continues to perpetuate historically rooted class divisions and contributes to a lack of political participation in decisions that mostly affect them. Despite a legacy of hundreds of years, Afro-Venezuelans are conquering new political spaces in government institutions while communities organize themselves from the bottom up to make sure guarantees are met. How are Afro-Venezuelan communities creating their own movement within the revolutionary process in Venezuela, and how is Afro-Venezuelan culture empowering communities to fight against racism?

Travel to Venezuela with Global Exchange during the lively San Juan Festival -- three days that celebrate San Juan, the patron saint of the descendants of freed slaves, and a time the African heritage of all Venezuelans is celebrated. Let music bring you closer to understanding the culture--dance with Afro-Venezuelan musicians during the festival and learn about a project that combines hip-hop with social justice. Expose yourself to the realities of Afro-Venezuelan communities on a delegation to Venezuela that is a blend of culture and politics, introducing you to a side of Venezuela rarely heard about in the United States.

Please email Corina if you would like to recieve a sample itinerary for this delegation.

Program Highlights may include: 
  • Meet with members of the Afro-Venezuelan Network to speak about the history of slavery, racism, and economic inequality in Venezuela, and learn about the movement to combat racism in the country
  • Dance with Afro-Venezuelan musicians during the 3-day San Juan Festival to celebrate African heritage in the coastal area of Barlovento/Curiepe
  • Visit government-sponsored health, education, and literacy programs aimed towards eradicating poverty in coastal communities
  • Learn how Venezuelan hip-hop groups are intersecting with social justice to create new voices of youth leadership in barrios in Caracas and elsewhere
  • Compare conventional cacao plantations with organic agricultural cooperatives that are creating endogenous ("from within and below") development in Afro-Venezuelan communities
  • Talk with government representatives about the economic, social, and political integration of Venezuela, the rest of Latin America, and countries of the African continent

Price Includes: 
  • Cost assumes double-room accommodation, but if we are unable to pair delegates accordingly, we will assign single-occupancy accommodation at an additional $300
  • Two meals per day'
  • Transportation to and from all programmed activities
  • Language translation
  • A qualified trip leader

How to Register: 

To register, please send in your application form and a deposit of $400. Payments by Mastercard, Visa and Discover are welcome. Deposits are non-refundable unless the trip is canceled by Global Exchange as explained below.

Please note: We must meet a minimum number of trip participants on every trip, so please register early!

To ensure that all participants can plan accordingly, the minimum number of participants must be reached within 30 days before departure, or the trip will be canceled. If the trip cancels registered participants can choose to receive a full refund or transfer to a future group. Once a trip is confirmed (reaches the minimum # of participants) registrations may be accepted up to 30 days before the departure date.

This trip will be as diverse as possible in terms of race, age and life experiences. In some cases, a limited number of partial scholarships are available for low-income applicants.

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