With music, art and traditions, the Venezuelan embassy commemorated the Day of Indigenous Resistance and the Day of the Original Peoples on Thursday night.
Ambassador Álvaro Sánchez Cordero formally opened the exhibition, which includes paintings by featured artist Nerukhi Ato Osei, which will be on show with work by other artists until October 21.
Activists and representatives of the indigenous movements of TT attended the event, at the Venezuelan embassy on Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.
Cordero thanked the indigenous peoples for their particiation, while recalling it was exactly 20 years ago, in 2002, that the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez decreed the Day of Indigenous Resistance in his country on October 12.
He said the government of his country has been working in the last two decades to promote and accommodate indigenous peoples by creating the Institute of Indigenous Languages, the Guaicaipuro Mission, the Presidential Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, as well laws to promote the development of indigenous peoples and the protection of their rights.
Cordero sent condolences to the families of the victims of the landslide last weekend in the city of Las Tejerías, in central Venezuela, as a result of bad weather. Before the formal opening, shaman Raould Simon, from the Warao community of San Fernando, led a ceremony of exaltation to fire and a libation dedicated to the victims of the Las Tejerías tragedy.
Trinidadian indigenous leader Roger Belix, president of the organisation Partners for the Development of Original Peoples, said he was very saddened by the Las Tejerías tragedy, but at the same time he and his group are very optimistic.
“Venezuela will recover from this mishap, as it has done in the face of ruthless financial blockade and unilateral coercive measures,” Belix said.
Osei thanked the embassy and people of Venezuela for the opportunity to exhibit his work, which recreates natural landscapes of the Trinidadian environment and indigenous rituals.
“I am extremely pleased with this opportunity that the Venezuelan embassy offers me and for granting us an important space for the anti-colonial struggle that is sorely lacking in the current circumstances,” he said.
The event featured performances by TT musicians and singers Abbi Blackman, Rochelle “Luna” Antoine and saxophonist Pedro Lezama. They offered their solidarity with the indigenous peoples of the world, as well as the people of Las Tejerías.