A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic!
The world of politics is a constant reminder that not everyone draws the same conclusions.
So is — incidentally — green bean casserole.
That stuff is nasty.
Anyway, here’s another case in point:
Three Illinois educators and a union organizer recently crowdfunded a trip to that most desirable of vacation destinations, Venezuela.
In response to what they saw, the Chicago Teachers Union crew praised the beleaguered nation on social media.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune Monday, during their South American romp, they met government officials and teachers and visited a commune. They even got local media coverage.
Stuff they admired: the country’s literacy rates, those fabulous communes…and its socialist system.
Not everyone’s psyched about their portrayal.
From the Tribune:
[C]ritics say the group glossed over Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crises and were excessively complimentary of President Nicolás Maduro, whose administration has been accused in recent United Nations reports of “grave” human rights violations and violence against dissenters.
Count teacher and union member Karen Moody among the nay-sayers. Here’s what she had to offer:
“I am appalled a delegation representing themselves as CTU went to Venezuela, not to support striking teachers, not to object to human rights violations, but to go on what appears to be a state-chaperoned propaganda tour.”
However, union President Jesse Sharkey assured WTTW’s Chicago Tonight that the trip wasn’t sanctioned in any way:
“Members go all kinds of places in the summer. This was neither an official trip nor something that was funded by the union. This is a group of people who are members of the CTU who decided to go to Venezuela.”
That’s all well and good, but how does he explain the union’s Twitter account retweeting the group’s updates? One blog entry was titled “Introduction to CTU Delegation to Venezuela.”
— Sarah4Justice (@Sarah4Justice) July 9, 2019
Here’s a message passed along by the union’s page, courtesy of CTU traveler Sarah Chambers — who’s also a member of the board:
“While staying in #Venezuela, we didn’t see a single homeless person. USA is the richest country in the world; yet, there are homeless people everywhere. Over 17k CPS students are homeless… This is why @CTULocal1 is fighting for fair housing #CTUAgainstVezIntervention.”
While staying in #Venezuela, we didn’t see a single homeless person. USA is the richest country in the world; yet, there are homeless people everywhere. Over 17k CPS students are homeless & it’s . This is why @CTULocal1 is fighting for fair housing #CTUAgainstVezIntervention pic.twitter.com/YdBtMIYhQ2
— Sarah4Justice (@Sarah4Justice) July 15, 2019
How about a fight against children prostituting themselves, and straight men working as gay hookers? That’s also happened in Venezuela, thanks to the swell system — see here.
In response to an online critic, Sarah defended her favorable review of the big V by touting her analytical mind:
“Have you visited Venezuela & spoke to 100s there? As a teacher, I teach my students to be critical thinkers, to get primary sources, listen to ppl’s stories & do research before just believing any news. I suggest you do the same.”
One GoFundMe donor saluted the CTU strike at “imperialism”:
“Proud of the CTU for their brave and visionary anti-imperialist resolution and enactment of ‘teacher-to-teacher’ solidarity between Chicago and Venezuelan teachers!”
Speaking to Fight Back! News, Sarah also bragged on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for his stellar job:
“Through major economic hardships, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro never closed a single public school or a single health clinic. This stands in stark contrast to our experience in Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools and several mental health clinics in a single year.”
It’s radical alright.
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