Category Archives: Local Events

Local Solidarity Events

October 24th: Karuara: People of the River

Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC),  Central American Support Committee (CASC), and First+Metropolitan United Church present:
Karuara: People of the River (Peru)

Tuesday October 24th at 7 pm-9 pm
First Metropolitan United Church: 932 Balmoral Rd (at Quadra) Room 200 upstairs

Karura book cover

Panelists:

Mari Luz Canaquiri, indigenous Kukama leader from Peru’s Amazon, and president of the Kukama Women’s Federation.
Miguel Araoz, a Peruvian artist and film maker from the Andes mountains.
Stephanie Boyd, Canadian film maker who resides in Peru. See her article in current issue of New Internationalist: https://newint.org/features/2017/09/01/private-police

Miguel and Stephanie are supporting Mari Luz and the women’s federation in their struggle to defend the Amazon’s rivers from big oil and other mega development projects.
The speakers will present a book of stories about the origins of the rivers and the “karuara” — river spirits who live underneath the waters and protect the indigenous peoples and their environment.

In solidarity with Indigenous communities around the world they believe that the water source sare sacred. Indigenous communities are guardians of their rivers, lakes and streams in the spirit of conservation and protection.

Like us on Facebook and find our event here:
https://www.facebook.com/MiningJusticeActionCommittee  https://www.facebook.com/vcasc/

Book Launch: The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America

Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC) & UVIC Social Justice Studies (SJS) and the Central America Support Committee (CASC) present the Victoria launch of this important new book:
The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America – by Todd Gordon and Jeffrey Webber.
Wednesday January 25th 7 pm—-9 pm.
University of Victoria: David Turpin Building, Room A-120
Author Jeffrey Webber will be the keynote speaker with a Q & A after his talk.

Books will be for sale at the event and we will provide a book signing opportunity.Canadian mining investment abroad

https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/blood-of-extraction

Noam Chomsky writes– “This careful and comprehensive analysis of Canada’s economic policies and political interference in Latin America demonstrates in brutal detail the predatory and destructive role of a secondary imperialist power operating within the overarching system of subordination of the Global South to the demands of northern wealth and power. It also reveals clearly the responsibility of citizens of Canada and other dominant societies to join in the resistance of the victims to the shameful and sordid practices exposed graphically here.”

Rooted in thousands of pages of Access to Information documents and dozens of interviews carried out throughout Latin America, Blood of Extraction examines the increasing presence of Canadian mining companies in Latin America and the environmental and human rights abuses that have occurred as a result. By following the money, Gordon and Webber illustrate the myriad ways Canadian-based multinational corporations, backed by the Canadian state, have developed extensive economic interests in Latin America over the last two decades at the expense of Latin American people and the environment.

Latin American communities affected by Canadian resource extraction are now organized into hundreds of opposition movements, from Mexico to Argentina, and the authors illustrate the strategies used by the Canadian state to silence this resistance and advance corporate interests.

Please join our event on Facebook.

Call for Action: “A Stake in the Peace”

After November, 2016, Café Simpatico’s excellent presentation on the Site-C dam with film speakers, CASC agreed to buy “a stake in the Peace” for $100.

This dam is not necessary; in fact it appears both unneeded for BC as well as socially and environmentally destructive. Its construction is an act of violence against the social and physical environment, economically devastating to BC taxpayers and violates Treaty 8 with First Nations of the Peace River area.

If we need more electricity, experts say that more power can be produced by adding turbines to existing dams as well as through renewable forms such as solar and wind power. Taxpayers would not have to pay more than $10 billion (and inevitable overruns) for the largest infrastructure project in BC history.

Building the dam will flood a unique and precious valley and create a reservoir more than 100 km long (the distance from Vancouver to Chilliwack) and would cover many farms and homes.

This land, if saved could, according to agriculturists, sustainably produce enough food for one million people. What is left of the Peace Valley would be lost if this dam is built; this is the last major fertile valley in the province. Already some farmers have received threatening letters of eviction and farmers and First Nations, united in their opposition to this dam, have been served SLAPP suits by BC Hydro.

Many more jobs could be created permanently in this region by developing farm land and creating sources of truly renewable energy, rather than the boom of short term construction work.

Please contact your local MLA to call for an end to this violent project; write to P.M. Trudeau and call for cancellation of federal government permits.

If you are interested in supporting this act of solidarity see: http://www.stakeinthepeace.com/

Yours for the CASC planning committee, Terry Wolfwood

 

Cafe Simpatico Highlights: October 2016

Thanks to Jane Brett for this review of October’s Cafe Simpatico with Dr Bill Carroll.

I am thrilled to be able to share some highlights from last night’s Cafe Simpatico organized by the amazing Central American Support Committee:

Diana Lindley’s Love-a-lution” song is up on the UN site.

Dr. Bill Carroll’s short videos about a world in crisis and the political possibilities for a better future are up on his YouTube channel. We saw the following four which made for an excellent discussion afterwards:

Details of the
“Corporate Mapping Project”
which Bill is involved with are also available online.

MEXICO: HUMAN RIGHTS IN A NARCO STATE

MEXICO: HUMAN RIGHTS IN A NARCO STATE
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

1:00 pm wreath laying at the International Brigades Monument (Beleville & Menzies) to remember the 43 students and other victims of state and narco terror in Mexico

7:00 pm JAMES BAY NEW HORIZONS 234 Menzies St.

Film, panel presentation, questions/discussion regarding the decomposition of Mexican society, state sponsored human rights violations, the so-called War on Drugs and NAFTA’s role in the ongoing turmoil.

call 250-384-7843, or 778-676-1921

Sponsored by:

Mexican Working Group, the Victoria Central America Support Committee, and the Mining Justice Action Committee.

Report: The Art of Resistance

Cafe Simpatico January 30,  2015 featured the arts s of resistance. The evening began with Nedjo ^ his friends making music & encouraging everyone to sing along.Theresa Wolfwood  also read from her new poetry book, “Love and Resistance”, followed by book sales and author signing. The book is also for sale at Ivy’s bookshop in Victorian, Arbutus Arts on Hornby island.  and Volume One Bookstore in Duncan,
Guest musicians Sharon Hazelwood and Alan O’Deane were a perfect complement to the banners on display, made by Theresa.
Part of the evening can be seen on this video made by  Efran Quiroz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLg40Oktr9o

Report on Revolutionary Poster Exhibition

At the end of May ,CASC members John Hillian, Deirdre Kelly and Char Bell installed the Revolutionary Poster Exhibition at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre, and the Bruce Hutchinson Library. The display was formed from the personal collections of some CASC members, of posters that had been made to raise awareness of various campaigns throughout the years. (the oldest dated back to Nicaragua in 1980.)

Never before seen except in the context of our own events, this was the first time that such a show would be on display for the general public in Victoria. The hope was that it would also serve to let the wider public know about the history of CASC, and publicize our current campaigns.

The formal opening of the exhibition took place on Friday, May 28th at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. About 50 people attended, and were treated to some great authentic music from Latin America by local group Los del Sur. The group whose members are originally from Chile and Argentina, performed 2 sets, between which Deirdre Kelly, Juan Carlos Flores, and Peter Golden gave their spoken reflections on some of the subjects depicted in the posters. Deirdre talked specifically about Nicaragua, Carlos talked about Chile and El Salvador, and Peter talked about Human Rights, Guatemala, and Chiapas. John Hillian, who was the MC, acknowledged the support of the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria for allowing CASC to have our show in their space. He also made special recognition of long time CASC member Andree Scott, who was in attendance, and thanked her for her years of solidarity with the people of Central America.

The following Friday, Nedjo Rogers organized and hosted an evening of “Music and Solidarity”. The invited guests used the Café Gallery and Poster Exhibition as their back drop. The evening was spirited, and the voices of the singers resounded through the halls of the Art Centre.

The final event before the main display was taken down was a powerpoint slide presentation entitled “The Arts of Resistance” with CASC member Terry Wolfwood. Terry, also with the Barnard Boeker Foundation and Women in Black, shared many examples of Art that had been done by people in resistance in many places in the world. These ranged From mining protests in Southern Mexico, the struggles against military occupation in Palestine and the Western Sahara, to works promoting good treatment of the environment in Africa, and many more. Terry had documented and offered solidarity to all the people in the presentation, many of whom we in CASC had known about through campaigns that were the subject of Café Simpatico over the past several years. Terry also included in the slides many of her own works in resistance, brightly coloured banners sewn with slogans, some of the most striking examples in the whole talk.

We thank Terry, Nedjo, and all the other folks who helped make our Revolutionary Poster Exhibition a success.

Report on three recent meetings

 

 

CASC was fortunate to be able co-sponsor & to participate in presenting three excellent speakers on the important issue of the involvement of Canadian mining companies in Latin America.

VIDALINA MORALES on March 13, 2013

Vidalina Morales from LaMESAAlong with the Mining Justice Action Committee and many local & national sponsors we were privileged to meet & hear Vidalina Morales on her cross-Canada tour. A representative of MESA, the roundtable on mining in El Salvador, Vidalina is a member of the Association for Social Development in Santa Ana, a small community trying to practice self -sufficiency and sustainability. Unfortunately Santa Ana is located in the ‘gold belt’ an area of El Salvador with known gold deposits.

Vidalina spoke about the efforts of Pacific Rim, a Vancouver based company to try to develop a mine in San Isidro. A group of CASC members visited there in 2012, taking solidarity and financial support to MUFRAS-32, the local group opposing the mine, and met with activists who had been beaten and threatened for trying to create more sustainable development. We remembered the three activists who were murdered in the community. At that time Pacific Rim had launched a suit against the government of El Salvador for $80 million for deemed loss of profit due to the moratorium on mining that the President declared in 2009; the company has upped its demands to $315 million in its lawsuit in El Salvador. The government has had to pay $5.5 million in legal expenses so far – money desperately needed for development and social programmes.

Vidalina told us that El Salvador is small densely populated country where most of its fresh water is already polluted. Mining creates high levels of contamination; RioTitiguapa, inSan Isidro, is one of only 3% of clean rivers in El Salvador. It is vital for domestic and agricultural use in the region. As Vidalina said, “You can live without gold, but you can’t live without a glass of water every day.”

She also said while they face “water stress in our country,” mining companies admit that in 1 day it will use 30 years of a family’s water use.

MESA is also concerned about the downstream effects of  trans-boundary mining. Vidalina named Cerro Blanco, in Guatemala; this mine is only 18km over the border. This is an area where Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have been recognized by UNESCO for biodiversity.

Finally Vidalina told us that MESA has proposed a new mining law which they presented to the government in 2006. The proposed law would prohibit metal mining in the country. So far there is only the president’s verbal commitment; but Vidalina said that as they area country governed by law, they want it signed into law.

 

SHARLENE PATTERSON on March 29, 3013

Sharlene Patterson

Sharlene PattersonCafé Simpatico hosted a full house to hear Sharlene speak about her participation in February I with trade unionists and community activists on a delegation to Mexico to see the impact of Canadian mining companies in Mexico. Sharlene is a Victoria library worker, active in CUPE and a mining justice activist.  She went to Oaxaca to meet with community workers in San Jose del Progreso, about 30 km from the city of Oaxaca. Fortuna Silver Mines, a Vancouver-based company has operated a mine there since 2011.

Sharlene showed slides of the local community, we saw the widow of Bernardo Mendez, murdered in January, 2012. She said, “I hope you can get the mining company out of here.”  One of the people Sharlene also met was Rosalind Sanchez who walks with difficulty since she was injured in March, 2012, when her cousin Bernardo was murdered. The local priest who called for public participation was threatened, beaten, arrested and moved away by the church.

Sharlene told us how the mine which has employed local workers since it opened has divided the community. Some appreciate the work & income. Others are concerned that there was and is no public consultation with citizens about the concerns expressed including, noise, toxic dust, dry wells, damage to land fertility, contamination of ground and surface water and death of livestock. Sharlene spoke movingly of the lives of the people, particularly those who are brave enough to question and oppose the mine. Her photographs showed the materially poor living conditions of people in an Jose del Progreso, but many are determined to continue their struggle for human rights and environmental security. Fortuna declined to meet with the delegation. The Canada Pension Plan invests out mandatory contributions in Fortuna.

The delegation did meet with PRDESC (Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) who work to support the rights of Mexican, including mine workers.

 

ALEJANDRA ANCHEITA, April 19, 2013

Alejanddra AnchietaSpeaking on the topic of “The Accountability Gap: Canadian Mining in Mexico” Alejandra Ancheita, the executive director of the Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), based in Mexico City explained how yet another Canadian mining company behaves in Mexico.  Her group has been involved in investigating and revealing human and labour rights abuses at mines sites of Canadian mining companies, most recently, Toronto-based Excellon Resources mine, Platosa in Durango, Mexico. The Canada Pension Plan has invested $5 million of our money in this company.

When Excellon came to Ejido La Sierrita in 2004 it made certain promises to the community leaders they met with. People in the community thought the mine would provide jobs for some and a better life for all in this poor farming community. The company fired and abused workers who tried to form an independent union. Land use was not respected and rents for leased
lands were not paid, a promised water treatment plant was not built, scholarships and training commitments were not fulfilled.

After efforts to get Excellon to honour its agreement failed, local citizens constructed a camp at the mine gate, but on property belonging to local people. In October, 2012, the company forcibly entered the camp and bulldozed and set fire to it.

With the support of ProDESC, the Ejido filed a lawsuit in the Agrarian Tribunal in Gomez Palacio against Excellon to get their lands back.

Alejandra was able to announce at our meeting that La Sierrita has won its case! Excellon was ordered on April 18 to return lands to the community; there will be another hearing on May 9. 2013.  Funds returned to the community will be used for local economic projects, Alejandra said, including commercial farming and selective logging for furniture making – providing jobs for workers who were fired for their union activity by Excellon.

ProDESC will continue to support the united workers and citizens of La Sierrita while it seeks to remedy the human rights violations of Excellon against the community.

 

CONCLUSION

These were all successful awareness-raising events, with excellent presentations, good information and action suggestions. None of these events would be possible without dedicated local activists who organized the events, prepared and distributed publicity, provided refreshments and those who performed music and theatre for us all to enjoy.