Latin America Important to Canadians

Report on three meetings in Toronto This Weekend

Three meetings in Toronto over the past week have shown increased interest and concern in developments in Latin America.

1. On September 26, the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASN) held a five-hour teach-in on “Lessons From Honduras,” attended by about 60 solidarity activists. The first session was a report from three participants in the LASN reporting trip, just returned from Honduras, and a presentation of the video they compiled during their visit.

The video included footage of a leadership meeting of the Honduras National Resistance Front.In the second session, Maria Paez Victor, Jorge Sorger, and Nchamah Miller discussed Venezuela and Colombia, and the broader issues of 21st century socialism raised by the Venezuelan and ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) experiences.

The final session featured stinging critiques of Canadian and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, presented by Todd Gordon and Paul Kellogg.

Although the sessions were extended, the spirit and attendance built toward the end, reflecting the gains of Latin American solidarity here in recent months.

That evening, the Salvador Allende Arts Festival celebrated the closing of its two weeks of exciting programming.

2. On September 29, Hands Off Venezuela/Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel presented “Freteco,” a new film on the Venezuelan revolution. It was a successful student-oriented event with an attendance of about 20.

3. On September 30, panellists from Honduras, Bolivia, Barbados, Guyana, and Canada discussed “ALBA: Dawn of Solidarity in Latin America” before a standing-room-only audience of almost 90. Presentations by two Honduran resistance activists placed defense of Honduras against the recent military coup at the centre of discussion. Panellists stressed that the attack on Honduran democracy – tacitly supported by the Canadian government – is a threat to the ALBA alliance and to all Latin American and Caribbean countries.Alissa Trotz spoke on ALBA’s three members of the English-speaking island nations of the Caribbean, and moderator Melanie Newton discussed the experience of Haiti – substantially aided by ALBA members, but oppressed and exploited by Canada. Their comments showed the importance of linking solidarity with the Caribbean and with Latin America, a basic principle of the ALBA alliance. The audience was graced with the presence of the Cuban General Counsul, Jorge Soberon, and Venezuelan General Counsul, MIrna Quero de Pena.

To view the video of this meeting

This meeting was organized by the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition and co-sponsored by Latin American Solidarity Network, Centre for Social Justice, HOV-Circulo Louis Riel, and the Toronto Haiti Action Committee.

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