At a time when most independent media is focusing on the diverse scandals, crises and disasters in the United States, Toward Freedom remains one of the best progressive sources on international news and analysis. To keep going, we need your support. We have set an ambitious fundraising goal of $5,000 this spring. Here is an update on what we have been up to in the past year, and where we're headed.
Talking with people in the streets here in Venezuela makes me realize that the best way to get news is talking with people, face to face. It’s better than any newspaper or analytical essay. This way you can see expressions, hand gestures, clothes – people are living forms of media, transferring information and ideas better than any website ever could.
Today we met a couple of Argentines who had been traveling across the continent since October 2005. They went by boat from Asuncion, Paraguay up to Bolivia and Brazil, traveling mainly through jungle areas; they made conscious decisions to travel off the beaten path. This has taken them through almost every country in South America. From Venezuela, they’re heading to Suriname.
Right outside of the subway stop in the barrio (neighborhood) called El 23 de Enero, the hillside is covered with brick houses built on land which was initially private property "taken" by the people that now live on it. With the new government, a lot of the "squatters" have been given titles to their land and houses so that now they are the owners and can sell the space, build onto it, or rent it out. Neighborhoods like this cling to the hillsides around the city, in a vast waterfall of tin roofs, orange bricks and cement. Steep alleyways and stairs weave through these areas. Jutting out of the barrios are gigantic rectangular apartment buildings from the 1960s that have laundry hanging out the window and waving in the wind. Hugo Chavez and the new Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela receives most of its support and participants from areas like this.
The World Social Forum is taking place this year in
Toward Freedom has organized a workshop at the forum on the hopes and challenges of independent media. Participants in the panel will be Eva Golinger (Venezuelan journalist, author of "The Chavez Code"), Ben Dupuy (Co-Director, Haiti Progres newspaper), Teresa Valdez, (Cuban journalist), Scott Harris (radio producer, Between the Lines, Toward Freedom Board Member) Ben Dangl (journalist, editor, TowardFreedom.com, UpsideDownWorld.org). April Howard, a Spanish teacher and writer, will work as the translator for the panel. Other people have been invited to the panel as well, we’ll let you know who they when they confirm their participation. Stay tuned for more details about when and where this panel will take places. We hope to see you there. (Email Ben(at)towardfreedom.com for more details). Here’s a description of the event: