Category Archives: Café Simpatico

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.
Demonstration in Chile

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

January 28, 2022 Café Simpatico on Zoom: Peru

The Victoria Central America Support Committee invites you to join the January Café Simpatico on ZOOM:

Jan 28, 2022 06:30 PM Pacific Time

Guest Presenter: Rosa María Leyzaquía Vargas of Peru

The promises and challenges presented by the election of a left-leaning rural school teacher to the presidency.

Rosa Maria is the National Secretary for Gender Equity for the Union of Education Workers of Peru (SUTEP), which represents teachers and other workers in Peru’s public education system.

She & SUTEP were active in the campaign last year to elect teacher Pedro Castillo as president of Peru.


SUTEP – Peru (Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras en la Educacion del Peru – Union of Peruvian Education Workers)

For more information see: Facebook: @Sutep.Peru

Licda. Rosa María Leyzaquía Vargas

Zoom Link to Café:

Meeting ID: 881 3939 6845

For information about CASC see:



Cafe Simpatico Dec 3: Yves Engler’s “Stand on Guard for Whom?”

If you missed Yves Engler in person on the island recently, here is your chance to hear and see him talk about his latest book,

Yves is one of Canada’s most knowledgeable progressive writers. He does amazing research and documents our political landscape clearly and honestly. He is the author of many earlier books, including “House of Mirrors” about Trudeau’s foreign policy.

Don’t miss this in-depth and scathing revelation about Canada’s military.

For more information see:
Join Yves other activists for his talk and discussion after.
Do share thus event notice with your networks.

Café Zoom Meeting
Friday, Dec 3, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time

Meeting ID: 816 7636 5962

Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee
For more information on Victoria’s dynamic solidarity organization see:

cafe simpatio sept 24 Holding Canadian Mining Companies Accountable for human rights violations

Friday, September 24, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking here 

Meeting ID: 870 7832 4527 Passcode: 50021

Matt Eisenbrandt is the Victoria-based Director of Transnational Investigations for CFM Lawyers, a class action law firm that has brought some of Canada’s most important lawsuits on behalf of victims against Canadian mining companies for alleged human rights abuses connected to their overseas operations.

Matt will talk about two of these cases:

CFM represented four Guatemalans who were shot by mine security personnel while protesting the presence of Tahoe Resources’ silver mine, now owned by Vancouver-based Pan American Silver.

CFM represented a group of Eritrean refugees who alleged they were forced labourers at the Bisha gold and copper mine in Eritrea, then owned by Nevsun Resources, also based in Vancouver.

Matt will discuss the process of putting these cases together, challenges in litigating them, and some lessons learned from the experiences.

Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee (CASC –
Co-sponsored by Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC –

CafÉ Simpatico on Zoom: HONDURAS and the Canada Commotion

April 30 at 7 pm PDT

This Café Simpatico presentation is now available on YouTube.

Our presenters have worked in human rights solidarity in Honduras and will discuss the context of Honduras as one of the most dangerous places in the world for rights defenders. Canada has many mining companies exploiting resources in Honduras.

Phil Little

Since 2013 he has traveled a number of times to Honduras to accompany his friend, Fr. Ismael (Melo) Moreno who has received numerous death threats because of his work as director of a Radio Station and a human rights center in Honduras

Dr. Janet Spring

She co-formed the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee to advocate for the release of her son-in-law and human rights defender, Edwin Espinal, arrested during the post electoral crisis in Honduras. She has travelled to Honduras to support political prisoners and advocate for their rights.

We look forward to their presentations, followed by Q&A which all are invited to participate in.

In Solidarity, your CASC planning committee

Join Zoom Meeting April 30 at 7 pm PDT

Meeting ID: 926 3986 3101

El Salvador: 2021 Elections Results

A Panel Conversation

Friday, March 26, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 996 5961 5244

2021 El Salvador election photo of person casting ballot.

On February 28, 2021, Salvadorans changed the political landscape of the country by electing new Legislative Assembly Members and Municipal Mayors. Join us for a summary of the election results and
a panel conversation with:

Francisco Canjura.
Francisco has a degree in Journalism and worked at the Castlegar News (2008 to 2009). Francisco volunteered with the NDP in the 2013 provincial elections in Jessica Van der Veen’s MLA campaign for the Oak Bay/Gordon Head riding. He was part of a delegation of international election observers in the 2014 El Salvador Presidential elections, and volunteered with the FMLN for the 2021 Legislative and Municipal elections.

Jorge Cuéllar.
Jorge is an interdisciplinary scholar of politics, culture, and daily life in modern Central America. Cuéllar’s research and teaching focus on Central American Studies, Cultural Studies, and Social Theory.
He is Mellon Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee.

CafÉ Simpatico Feb 26 Mexico Transformation – a Progress Report

Presented by Victoria Central America Support Committee
Friday, Feb 26, 2021 at 07:00 PM Pacific Time
With Laura Carlsen, Director, the Americas Program

Celebrating 40 years as an independent think tank and networking hub, the Americas Program is a leading source of analysis and information for activists, academics and citizens concerned about US foreign policy in Latin America, human rights and movements for social justice within the hemisphere. Laura Carlsen has lived and worked in Mexico for twenty years. She will speak about human rights, migration and grass roots activism in Mexico in a context of Mexican politics and society. In her position as director, she will discuss how The Americas Program works to promote grassroots democracy and policies that emphasize human rights, mutual respect in international relations, gender equality and demilitarization

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 925 0130 6963

Cafe Simpatico Jan 29: Chilean Constitution Update

Friday, January 29th at 7:30pm
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 973 6846 2608

Chileans are currently preparing  to elect a Constitutional Convention of 155 members, expected to be a mixed of independents and political party representatives, that will write a new constitution from a blank page. The Constitutional Convention will have gender parity and reserved seats for representatives elected by indigenous nations.

The current constitution, imposed in 1980 during the military dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet, and fostered during the last 30 years of civilian governance, embedded a model of protected democracy coupled with a raw neoliberal economic model. This has produced one of the most unequal societies in the world, while wiping out 150 years of the Chilean social movement's achievements.

This presentation is about how Chileans have arrived at this extraordinary institutional moment in their history, paradoxically rooted in a deep mistrust of traditional political parties and public institutions, and what the majority of Chileans are hoping for in their new constitution.


Lorena Jara Díaz

Lorena is a Chilean-Canadian who arrived in British Columbia in the late 1970s. She became an organizer with the Canadian-Chilean solidarity movement for the defense of human rights in Chile, and later did the same for the El Salvador solidarity movement. In the early 1980s she joined the America Latina al Dia (ALAD) Collective which produced ALAD, the ongoing radio program at Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO. She was an ALAD Collective's member for 13 years, working as a host and producer. She has contributed with public affairs articles about Latin America to Kinesis, Aquelarre, The Republic of East Vancouver, Contratpunto (online), among other alternative media. Lorena was involved in cooperative housing as the leading organizer, from initiation to finalization, of a project located in Vancouver's west side. She was a board member of Headlines Theatre and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Lorena was the Spanish-English transcriber, translator, and subtitles writer for Nettie Wilde's A Place Called Chiapas and for Mark Akbar's and Jennifer Abbott's The
Corporation. While attending Simon Fraser University, Lorena became a co-chair of her undergraduate and graduate programs' student associations. She was a recipient of the SFU Open Scholarship and  of the Roger W. Welch Award for services to the SFU community. She has a double major in Communication and Latin American Studies.


Because of sound problems, here are the links to the videos included during the presentation:

Video at the beginning: song El baile de los que sobran, Los Prisioneros (Chile Manifestaciones):

Video ending the presentation: La Primavera de Chile [song: El pueblo unido, Quilapayún- with subtitles]