Cuba: Update from the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade

Friday, May 31st, 2024Paul Phillips Hall at Fernwood Community Association1923 Fernwood RoadDoors open at 7:00 PM: 7:30 PM presentation.

Join us for a slideshow and first hand report from a member of the 30th annual Ernesto Che Guevara Brigade to Cuba. Kay Gimbel will present his photos and talk about his recent experience as a Brigade member in Cuba. Several other Brigade members will also be in attendance and will join in the discussion during the Q&A.
Everyone is welcome! Refreshments including Fair Trade Nicaraguan coffee. 
Donations are gratefully received.
Sponsored by Central America Support Committee (CASC)

Mining in the Andes: An Indigenous Struggle

Friday, April 26 – doors 7 pm, 7:30 pm presentation

A talk by anthropologist and author Peter Gose

In the last 30 years, Indigenous anti-mining struggles in the Andes have been widespread and highly visible. Previously, however, mining was integrated into the Indigenous agrarian world and its ritual relations to the land. This talk sheds light on that radical reversal to better understand contemporary anti-extractivist struggles in Peru and Bolivia.

Everyone is welcome! Refreshments include Fair Trade Nicaraguan coffee. Donations gratefully accepted.

Paul Phillips Hall at Fernwood Community Association
1923 Fernwood Road

El Salvador: Update and Analysis

Friday, March 29 2024

Presentation by Francisco Canjura, a Salvadoran who was a 2014 election observer and has returned to El Salvador on several occasions.

Bring your comments and questions to this discussion about recent events in Central America’s smallest and most densely populated country. Also, we remember Archbishop Oscar Romero, now known as Saint Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in San Salvador, on March 24, 1980.

Doors open and music at 7 pm: presentation at 7:30 pm.

Everyone is welcome! Refreshments include fair trade Nicaraguan coffee. Donations are appreciated.

Paul Phillips Hall at Fernwood Community Association

1923 Fernwood Road

La Tumba Mambi – Rhythm of Freedom

February 23rd

Join us in February at Cafe Simpatico for a film screening of La Tumba Mambi. 

The docu-fiction La Tumba Mambi is the result of a long collaboration between University of Victoria anthropologist Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Cuban DJ Jigüe, and the members of the Tumba Francesa La Caridad de Oriente, a traditional cultural group located in Santiago de Cuba. Shot entirely in Eastern Cuba and edited in Havana over a period of more than 6 years, this short-length film of 27 minutes speaks to how friendship can make things happen in spite of daily life challenges.   

Filmmaker and professor,  Alexandrine Boudreault -Fournier will be present to discuss the film and answer questions.    


Everyone is welcome! Refreshments including Fair Trade Nicaraguan coffee.  Donations are welcome. 

Sponsored by Central America Support Committee (CASC)

Friday, February 23, 2024

Paul Phillips Hall at Fernwood Community Association 

1923 Fernwood Road 

Doors open at 7:00 PM: music at 7:30 PM; presentation at 8:00 PM.

Cafe Simpatio: Haiti Betrayed

Friday March 24th

Cafe Simpatico invites you to a documentary film viewing of Haiti Betrayed by Elaine Briere, internationally acclaimed photographer and filmmaker.

Q&A and discussion with filmmaker to follow.

Paul Phillips Hall, Fernwood Community Association 1923 Fernwood Road

Doors open 7pm

Event starts at 7:30pm

Presented by the Victoria Central America Support Committee

Refreshments and fair trade Nicaraguan coffee available.

All welcome – donations gratefully accepted

After Arrival: Victoria Premiere Oct 28

You are invited to Cafe Simpatico for the Victoria premiere of an exciting and thougthful new documentary film: After Arrival.

Launched as part of the World Refugee Day events in Canada, in 2021 this film showcases the incredible journey of three LGBTQIA+ refugee claimants who have become leaders in our community. It gives a glimlpse into the experience of Dennis Juarez, Kristi Pinderi (he/him), and Norma Lize.

These remarkable individuals all arrived in Canada as refugee claimants and they each made significant community impact through their leadership.

Thanks to the Coalition for Survivors of Torture for the film see: The film will be followed by a discussion adn Q&A session with local activists.

Friday October 28th
Doors: 7pm
Film: 7:30pm
Paul Phillips Hall, Fernwood Community Association, 1923 Fernwood Road.

Refreshments and Nicaraguan Organic Fair Trade coffee available.

All welcome. Admission by donation.

Come see old friends and familiar facts.

Presented by the Victoria Central America Support Committee (CASC)

If you live in Victoria or nearby Saanich, Oak Bay, or Esquimalt and need a ride to Cafe please call Robbie at 250-383-0674.

Cafe Simpatio April 29, 2022: Canadian Tourism in Cuba

You are invited to Cafe Simpatico – Live, in person and on location!

Friday April 29

Doors open at 7 pm. Live music with “Dancing on a Pony Keg.”

Presentation at 8 pm:

Canadian Tourism in Cuba with Robbie Clarke, local community and international solidarity activist.

Refreshments and Fair-Trade Organic coffee available. Admission by donation.

Paul Phillips Hall, Fernwood Community Association, 1923 Fernwood Road

The Victoria Central America Support Committed acknowledges that this event will be held on the unceded territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.


Café Simpatico March 25,2022

Café Simpatico March 25,2022

Café Simpatico on Zoom: NEW DIRECTIONS for CHILE

Time: Mar 25, 2022 07:00 PM PDT

Recording available:

Presenter: Francis Valveerde

Francis Valveerde

Francis lived in exile in Canada from the Pinochet regime with her family and returned to Chile in 1980 to attend university. She worked with the Human Rights commission. Four decades later she continues to work for Human Rights in Chile. She focussed on the rights of children through many organizations including the UN, in education at the grassroots level, part of the team writing the reports to the Human Rights UN Committee, working with the people whose human rights were violated (tortured, families of the disappeared), and young people in the poblaciónes.

She has been president of ACCION, the Chilean Association of NGOs; member of the board of the National network of children and youth NGO and a member of the Participation National Council, created by President Bachelet, that for a year worked on changes in laws on civil society participation. Since 2012. she has been one of the Block for Children spokespersons, a national network of approximately 100 children’s organizations and institutions. She continues to dedicate her passion for rights action at the grassroots level. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion and a Q&A.

Arpillera of women dancing
with photos of their missing loved
ones during Pinochet regime.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 846 8385 2972

Cafe Simpatico on Zoom: Honduras Today

Feb. 25 at 7pm PST

Presenters: James Phillips, Ph.D. and William Feyrer

Phillips is a cultural anthropologist at Southern Oregon University. His book Honduras in Dangerous Times: Resistance and Resilience was published in 2015.

Feyrer, of Victoria, is speaking in hims many hears of involvement with Honduran market women and their families.

Join Zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 863 5882 7550

Engler, Yves. WE STAND ON GUARD FOR WHOM? A People’s History of the Canadian Military.

Black Rose Books, 2021 Montreal QC
ISBN 978-1-55164-755-5

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

“Is Canada a force for good in the world?”

In Stand on Guard for Whom? — A People’s History of the Canadian Military, Engler answers his own question in this revealing history of why we have a military and who it serves. Not surprisingly, as thousands of Canadian men and women die, not to defend Canada but to serve the needs of imperialism. First, we served the British empire with our training of only white males. Engler states that until a few decades ago the Air Force and the Navy only accepted white males. The right of women to be in the military is also recent and as we are learning, women are frequently abused and treated with contempt in a male hierarchy.

Engler explains our inflated military budget – along with many other military expenditures hidden in other departments. This now serves the interests of the United States of America imperialism; as we have seen in Afghanistan.

Canada has a dark history in the development of chemical and biological weapons; this reviewer remembers many actions around the research station at Suffield, Alberta. Canada continues to be one of the top three uranium producers and exporters in the world, starting with our providing the uranium for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This book is one of Engler’s longest ad most detailed works; it should be in every library and read by all Canadians. It seriously challenges our prevailing myths about good Canada “defending democracy”.
Even if it tried as Engler shows a racist, sexist hierarchy – a killing machine – is incapable of such a task.

It is shocking to learn that DND (Department of National Defense) owns more land and assets than any other government department. Engler writes that, DBD has “approximately 125,000 active soldiers, reservists and DND employees spread across 20,000 square kilometres of land. DND has the country’s largest PR machine and intelligence-gathering capacities. “

This book is a wide-ranging critique of the colonial and racist institution we support with our taxes, yet we can house and care decently for our own citizens.

At a book launch he started that the inherent sexism in the “toxic male” world of the military with its racist and colonial roots which we can still see in action from Oka to Israel.

Engler documents that the military produces more than 50% of the federal government’s carbon emissions, yet military environmental damage is exempt from all climate change negotiations and commitments.

There is much more to learn from this easy to read, carefully documented book. You can also get a sense of this work by viewing Engler’s book launch where he discusses some highlights of this important work, and what is most importantly, an urgent call for action. See:

And finally, Engler leads us to question the role of a military institution in a so-called democracy. His evidence is damming. Throughout writing this review I hear Buffy St. Marie singing ‘The Universal Soldier” and her conclusion, “This is not the way to put an end to war.”

As Engler says, “One part of making the world a better place is to seek out non-military means to solve international and national problems. To do so we need to dismantle the military-industrial complex”.
A formidable task, but if we want to save and better humanity, we had better get at it.

CASC was pleased to present Yves Engler on Café Simpatico ZOOM in December.