Chicago Teachers Union group under fire for crowdfunding trip to socialist Venezuela

A group of members from the Chicago Teachers Union has come under fire for crowdfunding a summer trip to Venezuela where they praised the socialist country and its leadership while denouncing socioeconomic conditions in The Windy City, according to a report.

The travelers, consisting of three charter school teachers and a union organizer, used proceeds from a GoFundMe page titled “Send CTU Strikers to Venezuela” for their July trip to the South American country where they met with educators, government officials and activists, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The group made clear in a blog post that the trip was not financed by the union.

Even so, the trip infuriated some union members who felt the group turned a blind eye the country’s humanitarian crisis.

“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,” CTU teacher Karen Moody told the paper.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey last week on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” said, “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.”

Despite the separation, the Chicago Tribune noted that the union’s official Twitter account retweeted several posts from the group during the trip.

One of those posts was from teacher Sarah Chambers, a member of the CTU executive board on the trip, who 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.”

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