Category Archives: Café Simpatico

Cafe Simpatico Jan 29: chilean Constitution Update

Friday, January 29th at 7:30pm
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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.

Cafe Simpatico: jan 15 2021

Guatemala:  Human Rights Update with Carmen Miranda Barrios and Wendy Mendez 

Join us for this exciting event!

Wendy Mendez is a human rights defender, founder of the grassroots organization HIJOS Guatemala (sons and daughters of the disappeared), and petitioner before the Inter American Human RIghts Courts in the Military Diary Case.

Carmen Miranda-Barrios is from San Marcos, Guatemala.  Came to Canada in the early 90s and landed in Halifax, N. S. Made her way from east to west with the goal of finding other Guatemalan exiles who were living in Vancouver and joined the Women group "Nuestra Voz" and worked with Canadian and Guatemalan women to raise funds to send to women grassroots groups back home. She  is also a member of the BC CASA volunteer group that promotes and sells Café Justicia to support the Campesino Community of the Highlands  (CCDA) struggle for their right to land, health and the common good. Through the years, Carmen manage to go back to school and finished her doctoral degree at the University
of British Columbia with a speciality in Diaspora, Media and Exile. She has taught Spanish language courses at UBC, Douglas College and currently teaches a course on Global Indigenous Perspectives in Langara College. Carmen is also part of the bilingual radio show and alternative media collective that
produces   America Latina al Dia, on 100.5 fm every Saturday on Vancouver Cooperative Radio.

Join us for this event at:

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Meeting ID: 972 8179 7888
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Guatemala:  Human Rights Update with Carmen Miranda Barrios and Wendy Mendez 

Cafe Simpatico:  January 15:  7:30 pm
Guatemala: Human Rights Update with Carmen Miranda Barrios and Wendy Mendez

Cafe Simpatico on zoom Dec 11

Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic we have been unable to have Café Simpatico live at the Fernwood Community Association as we have for more than 30 years.  Following October’s successful ZOOM presentation of Kay Gimbel speaking about Nicaragua, we are pleased to present:

YVES ENGLER  speaking from Montreal on ZOOM on:

Canada’s role in Latin America with special emphasis on Venezuela and Bolivia.

Yves Engler is Canada’s best political analyst and writer. His work is well-researched, insightful and vital to an understanding of Canada’s political policies and our place in the global power struggles.  It is essential reading for all solidarity and social justice activists.

Author of 10 books, Yves has written among others:

-Canada In Africa — 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation

-The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy

-Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid

-A Propaganda System — How Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation

 House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy which is latest book.

Engler has spoken at public meetings and book launches many times in Victoria.  Unfortunately he was unable to come to Victoria and BC this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic to launch House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy.

(Please order it from your local book seller)

We are pleased to have the opportunity to present Engler on ZOOM to discuss:

 Canada’s role in Latin America with special emphasis on Venezuela and Bolivia.

Please join Yves with us:    Friday: December 11:  at 7 pm PST

 Link to Zoom Meeting:

Sponsored by the Victoria Central America Support Committee and the Mining Justice Action Committee

REPORT of Café Simpatico, February 2020: ARPILLERAS and CHILEAN RESISTANCE

Café Simpatico presented an exhibition of Arpilleras, textiles that tell the story of life in Chile from the time of the Pinochet dictatorship to the present time of social uprising and the demand for a new constitution and enshrined human rights. Much of the current activism has been suppressed by the government in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report tells the story of the development and role of the art of arpilleras and the continuing resistance in Chile to inequality and injustice. To see the Café Simpatico exhibition of the arpilleras, links to videos and discussion of current dissent as well as poetry and music, please click on:

Virtual Cafe Simpatico: Sept 25

Sandino Vive! Delegation, Sept 25, 2020
Presented By: Kay Gimbel
Cooperatives, campesinos and the coup. In search of the truth about a much-maligned people.      
This Zoom presentation will start at 7:30 PM PDT

To Participate send e-mail to:

Co-sponsored by:
Central America Support Committee
Mining Justice Action Committee

Cafe Simpatico: march 27

Nicaragua Sandino Vive: Delegation

by Kay Gimbel

Cooperatives, campesinos and the coup. In search of the truth about a much-maligned people.

1923 Fernwood Road
Doors 7pm
Live Music 7:30pm
Presentation 8pm

All welcome
Admission by donation
Refreshments: Fair Trade Organic Coffee

cafe simpatico feb. 28

ARPILLERAS: Textiles of Resistance from Chile

Exhibition of arpilleras and arpillera-inspired textiles of resistance; film, slides, discussion of art of resistance and current developments in Chile.

If you have arpilleras you are willing to lend for this event please contact Terry at 250 595-7519  Gracias!

Doors open at 7 pm
7:30 pm:  Music with Nedjo Rogers including songs of Victor Jarre
8 pm Presentation
Refreshments with  great cookies by Susan
Fair trade Nicaraguan coffee

All welcome – by donation    

CafÉ Simpatico Jan 31


an illustrated presentation by Álvaro Moreno

Learn how small organic producers are securing self-sustainability and food security for their region. Alvaro will also discuss the impact of the peace accords in community development in Colombia. “El Porvenir” is a Spanish term that has no translation into English. It basically means “The way forward” or “A vision for the future”.

In May 2019, Álvaro completed a one-year placement in Colombia with Cuso International. He worked as an Organizational Development Advisor for Fruandes, a small, fair trade, organic enterprise exporting dried fruit to the US, Canada, and Europe. Álvaro also helped Fruandes develop a strategic plan, and assisted a small cooperative of organic farmers start an inspiring agro-eco-tourism plan to promote self-sustainability and food security.

Doors open 7 pm
Live music 7:30 pm  
Presentation  8 pm

1923 Fernwood Road
All welcome – donations appreciated
Fair trade organic coffee

Café Simpatico Friday Nov. 29

Taking a Stand

Filmmaker Pamela Vivian presents film and discussion about the story of the BC volunteers of the legendary International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.

1923 Fernwood Road Victoria BC
Doors open at 7 pm
Music with Wayward Sirens 7:30 pm
Presentation 8 pm

Presented by the Victoria Central America Support Committee
All welcome
Admission by donation
Refreshments and Fair Trade Organic Coffee

Cafe simpatico Oct. 25: Adventures in activism

Local internationalist and long time CASC member Kevin Neish will
give an illustrated talk and lead a discussion about his 30 years of work as a human rights defender in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Palestine, theUnist’ot’en Camp and four Freedom Flotillas to Gaza. In particular he will talk about the use and abuse of “white/class privilege” in solidarity work.

Music by Grupo Raices

The roots of Latin American music with musical director, composer and guitarist Diego Barrientos; Alberto Callo on percussion and vocals; and Chrissie Forster on vocals, flute and guitar.

7pm – doors open
7:30pm – music
8pm – presentation

1625 Fernwood Road
Fernwood Community Association

Admission by donation
Refreshments and fair trade organic coffee