“We Didn’t See A Single Homeless Person”: Chicago Teacher’s Union Members Fly To Venezuela In Show Of Support

Venezuela is a humanitarian and civil liberties disaster. The repressive regime of Nicolás Maduro has been condemned around the world for its campaign of killings, arrests, and torture with the help of hundreds of Cuban intelligence officers. The free press and any dissent has been brutally destroyed as the nation itself reduced to pre-industrial standards. Beyond Cuba, North Korea, and other authoritarian regimes, Venezuela has few friends . . . . except union teachers from Chicago. The delighted picture above shows the delegation of union teachers who flew to Venezuela in support of one of the most blood-soaked regimes in the world. The picture reportedly shows Richard Berg (Organizer), strike captains Sarah Chambers (Special Education Educator), Valeria Vargas (Math Educator) and Fabiana Casas (English Educator) on Twitter after crowdfunding their trip to Venezuela.

Other Chicago teachers and a great number of Venezuelans both inside and outside of the country have condemned the trip. Yet, the CTU members praised Maduro’s government while meeting with some of the officials who have stripped reporters, lawyers, journalists, and others of their basic human rights. It was a propaganda bonanza for the Maduro regime as the four heralded the progress and struggle of the government.

According to the the Chicago Tribune, the GoFundMe page featured a Chicago Teacher’s Union organizer, Richard Berg, with the title “Send CTU Strikers to Venezuela.” By the way, teachers are striking in Venezuela and have been arrested by the regime. Those teachers have stood up against repression and the denial of free speech and association. These Chicago Teacher’s Union members went to support the regime that is arresting and beating and torturing those teachers.

Notably, while saying that this was not a sponsored trip, CTU President Jesse Sharkey did not object to the crowdfunding effort based on being CTU members. Not only is Berg a CTU organizer but Sarah Chambers is reportedly on the CTU Executive Board. Chambers tied her trip directly to efforts by the local union.

The naiveté of the teachers was breathtaking and reminded many of the propaganda trips behind the Iron Curtain in the Cold War by American communists. Chambers wrote “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.” Really? As we have discussed, Maduro has destroyed one of the strongest economies in South America and United Nations officials are now warning of widespread famine and malnutrition but Chambers did not see a homeless person.

Notably, the CTU has passed a resolution opposing the possible invasion of Venezuela but has not passed a resolution condemning the arrest and torture of teachers and others by the Maduro regime. Of course, it can now receive the first-hand report of Chambers that she did not see a single homeless person on her trip.

68 thoughts on ““We Didn’t See A Single Homeless Person”: Chicago Teacher’s Union Members Fly To Venezuela In Show Of Support”

  1. I am a Chicago Teachers Union Member. Please know that the statements and recent activities of those in the delegation to Venezuela do not reflect the majority of educators in our union. Unfortunately, the heart and soul of our union has been misappropriated by a group of idealogues, while the majority of Rank and File members are busy being educators and working with students. These antics have been allowed and encouraged by leadership.To date, leadership has refused to give concerned members a straightforward clarification of the CTU’s position on such activity.

    1. Thank you for the statement. Those in your union who take exception to the statements and events regarding Venezuela could truly benefit from many of those like-minded to make a public statement to the local media with what you said in your comment here. Just a suggestion on my part.

      1. Thank you. We have reached out to MSM regardless of affiliation. It has been a real eyeopener for us. While the majotity of media revile the oppressive.and murderous Maduro regime, mostly independent and more conservative media have reported. Apparently, many in the media are afraid to criticize the Teachers Union. This is unfortunate since this is a human rights issue.

      2. I read 2 CTU female teachers and 1 Venezuelan Professor made it known that rank and file are opposed to the statements made by CTU leadership.

    2. “I am a Chicago Teachers Union Member. ”

      I seldom see public school teachers anywhere taking a stand against political correctness. Instead they are anonymous and won’t even assume a fictitious name to seperate their voices from others. Right anonymous without a name?

      1. You have no idea of the position we are putting ourselves in by speaking out. They know exactly who we are and we are paying an enormous price.

          1. This is the one complaining about “silly juvenile” comments, but enjoys writing them.

              1. You just keep on digging up previous comments and posting them again.
                That shows some real effort and originality on your part.

          2. Anonymous, at least the other anonymous is able to think for him/herself. That is way beyond what you are able to do and that demonstrates how worthless you really are. The only question about the other anonymous is whether or not he/she is capable of stating a position and maintaining it under one singular personality.

        1. We all should put ourselves on the line. This is an issue that might cause slight discomfort but is not something that will destroy the teachers that say what most teachers in the country probably believe. Too many teachers have kept silent over a lot of nasty things over the years. Our children are suffering because of it.

          I would take you more seriously if you had the courage to attatch one fictitious name to your personality on this blog and keep it. That doesn’t show courage but at least it demonstrates the ability to take a position and live with it. If you can’t even do that it demonstrates exactly what teachers are missing. Responsibility for their statements and actions.

  2. Great article. But you missed SC stating maternal health has improved in Venezuela. She obviously did not do her homework because Maternal mortality rate is an astounding 60%.

    1. Yes, indeed and Doctors Without Borders is very concerned about the critcal heath issues facing
      Venezuela. The foolish and reckless reporting by these individuals demonstrates that they obviously do not understand “first do no harm”.

  3. Whereas fools such as these have charge of our children for several hrs a day I suggest surveillance ala Brennan & friends.

  4. I wrote the wrong figure. The average Venezuelan had lost around 20 pounds by 2017.

    “Since then Venezuela’s crisis has deepened, the number of women working at the brothel has doubled, and their ages have dropped. “I was the youngest when I started. Now there are girls who are 12 or 13. Almost all of us are there because of the crisis, because of hunger.”

    She earns 400,000 bolivares a month, around four times the minimum wage, but at a time of hyperinflation that is now worth about $30, barely enough to feed herself, her mother and a new baby brother. She has signed up to evening classes that run before her nightly shift, and hopes to one day escape from a job where “everything is ugly”.”

    Nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans have lost weight over the past year, and the average loss was a huge 9kg, or nearly a stone and a half, according to a survey by the country’s top universities. For many that is simply because food is too expensive. Nine out of 10 homes can’t cover the cost of what they should eat.

    And 10 million people skip at least one meal a day, often to help feed their children.


  5. Basically, this group, who teaches children, are ignorant of Socialism in general, and Maduro’s murderous regime in particular. They did not research how the average person in Venezuela has lost 40 pounds, or what that means to the children of that country. All the promises sounded good on paper, so they got the community to donate money to provide propaganda for the person responsible for starving millions of people.


    We need political activism out of our schools and university staff. Keep politics private, on their own time, and do not bring the school’s name into it, or bring politics into the classroom.

    Otherwise, you get college graduates similarly ignorant about Socialism and Venezuela.

    1. may I suggest that “:research” is indifferent to their circus. this article by the good professor is a good commentary on the education of teachers and may explain life in chi town.

    1. Really? Your book will explain why 4 million Venezuelans fled their country and those who have stayed are experiencing starvation, torture, and murder for protesting.

  6. CTU really = Communist Teachers Union? They probably don’t know of all the violence that goes on in Chicago, or just choose to ignore it. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it’s filled with Unicorns and Utopia.

  7. JT, you really need to read outside of the MSM. Maduro is the elected president of Venezuela in an election which was certified as fair by international observers. Actually he is recognized as the rightful president by the vast majority of nations in the world. If you want to call his government a regime then you would need to call every government a “regime”, including our own.

    The US has been successful in several coup attempts on this nation and has Ellitott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame in progress of leading another. You can believe me when I tell you that the MSM is pumping you full of propaganda. Right now, many nations condemn the US for its sanctions and a blockaid of food and medicine against VN. These things violate international law and are considered a form of collective punishment.

    I have no idea why these teachers are so stupid as to believe their are no homeless or hungry people in VN. That’s ridiculous. That would be like me saying there are no homeless or hungry people in the US. Seeing as the US has dozens of black sites where this govt. engages in torture, has asked the UK and Ecuador to torture Assange, a journalist, on our behalf and is presently torturing Chelsea Manning, our govt. has no business criticizing another nation for engaging in the same behavior we do. This govt is so evil that it really is being a hypocrite to complain about Saudi Arabia, (not that the govt. does that to their BFF, MBS).

    However, I support you as an individual, in your criticism of torture any time, anywhere. Other than that, I really wish that you would go to Max Blumenthal’s twitter feed and get much better informed than you currently are about VN. I know that sounds really snotty, and I’m sorry about that, but you are not informed. Please be open to learning about what is actually happening in VN. Obviously, these teachers are idiots but there is so much you simply do not know.. As a really smart person, I think you might like to know something outside of the propaganda the MSM is feeding you.

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal (lots of links from there)

    1. Maduro is the elected president of Venezuela in an election which was certified as fair by international observers.

      By very stupid international observers. And his organization lost badly in the most recent competitive elections to the legislature, ergo that legislature was forcibly dispersed.

      I have no clue how you live with yourself.

    2. Jill:

      Definition of “regime”:

      Learn to pronounce
      a government, especially an authoritarian one.
      synonyms: government, authorities, system of government, rule, reign, dominion, sovereignty, jurisdiction, authority, control, command, administration, establishment, direction, management, leadership
      “the military regime controls very carefully what is written”
      a system or planned way of doing things, especially one imposed from above.
      “detention centers with a very tough physical regime”
      synonyms: system, arrangement, scheme, code; More

    3. Have you spoken to anyone outside the home re your thoughts on Maduro/Venezuela? You know, verbally, eye to eye?

  8. The delighted picture above shows the delegation of union teachers who flew to Venezuela in support of one of the most blood-soaked regimes in the world.

    Please provide evidence that Venezuela is of one of the most blood soaked regimes in the world.

    Which most blood soaked regime is waging war thousands of miles from home in at least seven acknowledged theaters of operations spanning five continents?

    Unfortunately for Venezuelan’s Earth’s geography has deposited within their nation the world’s largest known proven oil reserves that the western hemisphere’s most blood soaked regime (ie US) covets and seeks to control.

    The current state of socio-economic affairs in Venezuela reads like a page straight out of author John Perkins best selling title – Confessions of an Economic Hit Man


    1. Ad hominem alert.
      You are shallow enough to say the U.S. “is waging war thousands of miles from home in at least seven acknowledged theaters of operations spanning five continents”.
      Do you know the back story to any one of them that didn’t come from a novel?
      Rave on.

  9. All of America’s lazy, greedy, striking thug teachers unions must be decertified. The corruption of elected local school boards and communist teachers unions must be annihilated through impeachment and decertification. One of the largest investor groups in the world is CALPERS which conducts violent illegal strikes confiscate tax dollars from abused taxpayers with the complicity of corrupt elected officials. The top line of the the communist public workers union’s agenda is the acquisition of power; the bottom line is the confiscation of taxpayer dollars – necessary quality work and educated children are secondary, even tertiary issues – American teachers are embarrassed by global student success rates.

    Teachers strike for money then public workers are awarded “comparable pay.” In a free America under American free enterprise, workers are paid only the amount of money necessary to attract a workforce or market prices for labor. The breakdown occurs when teachers “strike” and break the law and contractual agreements by being Absent Without Leave from work; a removable. offense. Teachers aren’t paid for product success, teachers are paid for committing a crime. Understanding that teachers do no actual physical labor, function on the day shift in clean, comfortable, climate controlled conditions, a “job action” or “strike” is inconceivable and ridiculous. Who says crime does not pay?

    Teachers unions must be de-certified and AWOL teachers must be fired with extreme prejudice. Replacement workers must be hired at market rates – not at criminal striker rates. Local elections must be limited to taxpayers – workers and welfare recipients who receive checks from the government should not be allowed to vote to award themselves raises and to vote to corrupt local elections. Corrupt elected officials who overpay public workers must be impeached and convicted for abuse of power, gross and corrupt misuse of taxpayer dollars. There is no need for taxpayers to fund Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes in the teachers parking lots. Teachers should pursue great wealth in the free markets of the private sector. Teaching and much public work must be automated and digitized. Curricula must be constrained to imperative subject matter while eliminating the extraneous and superfluous. Grade inflation must be criminalized.

    Overpaid prima donna public workers must be brought back under the control of labor market parameters. Public employment is simply a communistic wealth redistribution program. Every public worker opening has 5,000 applicants in lines stretching for miles. Teachers with easy, repetitious jobs and little product success, firemen who extinguish 5 actual fires per year, policemen in the doughnut shop who foil one bank robbery per career must be returned to labor market reality.

    Perhaps most egregious is the use or misuse of “the children” by teachers who rehearse them in Protest 101 class, provide signs and time off so that the teacher’s pets might rally and protest in front of local television cameras to demonstrate their love for teachers and to tell district residents how the poor downtrodden teachers need and deserve yet another huge pay raise. Students don’t pay teachers, taxpayers do. Ridiculous!

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