This spring, the Chicago Teachers Union Executive Board and House of Delegates each unanimously passed a resolution condemning Donald Trump and U.S. intervention in Venezuela.  Resources that never seemed to find their way to our classrooms are being used to intervene in the democratic processes of other countries instead.  

This blog represents the members delegation of the Chicago Teacher’s Union that are currently in Venezuela to learn from educators and activists on the ground. We are three rank and file charter school teachersand one CTU organizer. We organized this delegation ourselves and fundraised for the trip independent of the CTU. While CTU did pass a resolution in support of Venezuela, they did not plan this delegation or give any type of financial support.

The rest of this week, we will be reporting on what we learn and see while we are here. We are being aided by Dozthor Zurlent (former CPS Substitute and Educator).  

We especially want to thank Financial Secretary, Maria Moreno, and former Recording Secretary, Michael Brunson, for drafting and bringing the resolution to the executive board. You can read and download a copy of the resolution at the link below:


Pictured above (left to right) delegation members: Richard Berg (Organizer), strike captains Sarah Chambers (Special Education Educator), Valeria Vargas (Math Educator) and Fabiana Casas (English Educator).

Fresh from the picket lines at sister schools Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy (IJLA) and Instituto Health Science Career Academy (IHSCA), we witnessed a lack of money going into our classrooms while piles of money were going to disrupt progressive governments around the world, including Venezuela. Many in our community have been inspired by the Bolivarian revolution occurring in Venezuela, which resulted in us wanting to learn more. We are excited to learn from this opportunity and anxious to share this information with you.

Already on our first evening here, we’ve been having beautiful discussions with Dozthor Zurlent, an educator who works for the Venezuelan Ministry of Education. He was also a part of the revolutionary wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.  We also had dinner with Professor Miguel Ángel Nuñez, who spoke significantly about Simón Rodríguez – Simón Bolívar’s teacher and Venezuelan philosopher (his name while in exile was Samuel Robinson).  

Tomorrow we are meeting with the Minister of Education and with those working on Mission Robinson, which eradicated illiteracy in Venezuela (UNESCO declared this in 2005).

In a reflection of the first day here, CTU Area Vice President Sarah Chambers states:

“I’ve already learned so much just within a couple of hours of being in the country. I’m excited to learn more tomorrow about the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and how it has improved the lives of the Venezuelan people.”

SARAH CHAMBERS, CTU AREA VICE PRESIDENT

In response to our work here, Dozthor Zurlent emphasizes the importance of showing solidarity and unity with teachers in the United States.

“Solidarity is at the core of every important action that people carry on for each other.”

DOZTHOR ZURLENT, EDUCATOR FOR THE VENEZUELAN MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Special thanks to Sean Orr for making this all possible. We wouldn’t be here without you.


Did you know?

Did you know thousands of private and public companies have been taken over by rank and file workers in Venezuela? Companies like GoodYear and Kelloggs locked their gates to stop production and sabotage the economy in an effort to make people’s lives harder. However, the result of this attempt was the exact opposite of the companies expectations – workers returned the next day with bolt cutters and reopened the locked gates to run the companies themselves.

A lot of this was due to the new law passed in 2018 by the Constituent National Assembly (ANC) and the Constitution Law of Productive Worker Councils. This gave workers the support of the state to form worker councils (CTPs) to take over and change production to meet the people’s needs rather than the profit motive. To be very clear – this was already happening in many Venezuelan factories. The difference is that there is now a law that provides the state’s official support.