Right now may not be the best time to be a Yankee in Venezuela.
When Maura DeLuca of Lawrenceville visited Venezuela last month as part of the Pathfinder Press delegation from the U.S., she says they weren't the most welcomed group. The Venezuelan volunteer tour guide was "disappointed" she was assigned to an American group, DeLuca says.
Perhaps the cause was a call by television evangelist Pat Robertson earlier this year for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom Robertson accused of using his country as "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." As one of the last nations in this hemisphere to openly embrace socialism while being America's fourth-largest oil supplier, Chavez has drawn the ire of many in the Bush administration.
The disappointment of DeLuca's Venezuelan escorts eased when they saw the kind of books Pathfinder was offering: The Communist Manifesto, Che Guevara Talks to Young People, and The Coming American Revolution.
DeLuca attended the 11th annual International Book Fair, held Nov. 11-20, as a member of the Pittsburgh Young Socialists organization, an auxiliary of the Socialist Workers Party, headquartered on Penn Avenue in East Liberty. She says Pathfinder sold almost 800 books at the fair, including 32 purchased by Venezuela's National Library and 162 by the government's book distributor.
They also sold 25 subscriptions to The Militant, the socialist organ newsweekly published by Pathfinder.
"I could see how religion is losing its grips" as the people read more, said DeLuca, noting the UNESCO-touted success of a recent literacy program imported from Cuba.