The Guardian 17 August, 2005
Youth demand right to education and jobs
The need to guarantee education and jobs as fundamental to the future of the new generations is the topic of discussions at the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students in Caracas, Venezuela. Nazario Peña, mayor of Balasapuerto, in the Amazonian region of Peru, pointed to free education as one of the main issues of his country’s delegation to the gathering, which has brought together more than 15,000 delegates from more than 100 countries.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, Peña affirmed that limited access to education is one of the most serious consequences of poverty among the Amazonian peoples of Peru.
The young mayor noted that resources are needed to take forward production and health projects, and also to guarantee basic and higher education. Peña considers it essential to deal with the neglect of young people by seeking integration, with the goal of developing young people’s potential and abilities.
In this same context, Samuel Moncada, the Venezuelan Minister of Higher Education, explained that his country is studying the possibility of expanding its scholarship program to take in foreign students.
At a meeting with delegates from Canada, Spain, Colombia, Angola and Mexico, Moncada talked about drawing up agreements between Venezuela and other countries for student scholarships like those currently offered to Caribbean students.
He emphasised that these university scholarships are being discussed in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, given that it is believed that Venezuela is capable of developing those programs.
At the Plenary Hall of Central Park, discussions centred on the right to a job with dignity, with speakers from Venezuela, India, Greece and Cyprus, among others.
According to Pedro Euser, a Venezuelan trade union activist, poor countries must integrate as a way of boosting the struggles for workers’ rights.
Paradip Kumar, of India, stated that the capitalist system is responsible for the lack of job opportunities and the exploitation of the poor.
Pablo Calocinatos of Cyprus commented that young people are the main victims of capitalist labour exploitation, a point supported by most of the participants in the discussion.
Most there agreed that international unity is necessary to back the struggles of workers in different countries, because their problems are created by an international labour structure.