Category Archives: Past Events

Past Events 2004–2009

Report on the premiere of “STORIES FROM THE WALLED-OFF HOTEL” A play by Theresa Wolfwood

Cafe Simpatico hosted the premiere of this play at a reading on Feb. 22. 2019/ It was well received and was followed by an engaged discussion.  The audience was given these background notes to help understand the context of the play. We hope you will find them of interest before you view the video and after you will find the resources helpful for action.

Background notes:  Stories from the Walled-off Hotel                                     

The play is set in a hotel recently conceived by the British artist, Banksy in order to encourage tourism in Bethlehem. It is in a dangerous area of Bethlehem, close to the Israeli-constructed wall, near the gate and check point of entry to an Israeli military presence. It is near several refugee camps that have been there since 1948 as a result of the ‘Nakba’. Israeli soldiers often come through the gate and enter these camps, spraying tear gas and harassing and detaining residents.

All the characters portrayed in the play are fictitious. The events and background stories are based on reality; people were buried alive in Nablus; homes and whole villages are continually being bulldozed and destroyed; residents are driven out by force. More than 1.5 million trees have been destroyed by the Israeli occupiers; replanting olive trees and harvesting from orchards are dangerous activities; people including children are killed during these times; others are detained, jailed or injured.

People are killed by the Israeli military during peaceful demonstrations. Israel often takes the bodies of their victims if they can. Roads and checkpoints are closed at the whim of the occupier.

Yes, some Israelis call Palestinians ‘cockroaches’.

This play conveys the strong resistance that Palestinians integrate into their daily life, as they have for more than seventy years. Palestinians believe that living a full, normal and culturally rich life is an essential part of their resistance.

The One Democratic State movement is gaining support among Israelis and Palestinians. They call for a one secular, democratic state with an equal vote for all and with the right of return for the seven million Palestinians living in exile around the world. At this time almost two million Palestinians live as 2nd class citizens within Israel and more than 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements with special services and access within the West Bank of Palestine.

The pay is dedicated to all those thousands of Palestinians who have died in the struggle for freedom and independence of their country. The four people named are; Nizin Jamjoum, a fourteen year old girl, shot while standing on the balcony of her family home in Hebron; Ziad Abu Ain a[i][i]senior, minister in in the Palestine Authority government; Aisha al-Rawbi, a woman who was stoned to death by settlers while a passenger in a car driven by her husband; Hassan Iyad Shalaby, a teen-aged boy killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza.

The play presents Palestinians as human beings with personalities, stories, lives and loves. Palestinians are sumud, steadfast, in their struggle for their rights.

We can support them by telling our government to respect the right Palestinians and to stop profiting from the Israeli occupation/ war on Palestinians.  We can raise awareness among friends and take part in public events as well as respecting the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.

To view the video of the play see:

Resources for PALESTINE


Arab Group for the Protection of Nature

Palestine Farmers’ Union        

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Addameer   ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support & H.R. Association works for child prisoners. Also:

Press for Conversion: 2 special magazine issues:

The Promise -a 4 part compelling drama made by UK Channel 4 available on YouTube

Canadian BDS Coalition:

BDS Movement

BDS In Jordan    E magazine current issues in Palestine

BOYCOTT Hewlett-Packard electronics and Hyundai vehicles: both used by Israeli government to enforce occupation, detention, demolition. See:

Preserving culture: TIRAZ museum:  

Ways to support Palestine and its people:


The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine:

Pappe, Ilan. THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE. 2007. Oneworld, Oxford UK.

Popular Resistance in Palestine

Married to another man in-palestine-pluto-press-london-uk-isbn-978-0-7453-2065-6/

Canada and Israel: Building apartheid

The Battle for Justice in Palestine or-justice-in-palestine-2014-haymarket-book-chicago-usa-isbn-978-1-60846-324-4/

The Last Earth (and other books) by Ramzy Baroud. Pluto Books


Here We Shall Stay by Tawfiq Zayyad

It’s also Fine by Mourid Barghouti  from:  Midnight and other poems

Hearts:  by Theresa Wolfwood  from:  Love and Resistance.

News sources: 

The Prophetic Legacy of Oscar Romero

By Theresa Wolfwood

When Oscar Romero was chosen to be Archbishop of El Salvador at the time of a brutal military dictatorship, backed by the USA, in 1977; it was expected that this quiet scholarly man would not create any problems for the military and the oligarchy which the military supported.

After Romero took office his best friend was assassinated for speaking out for justice, Romero started to look carefully at what was happening in his country; he started to speak and act on behalf of the oppressed and particularly those who resisted the cruel dictators.

Before he was gunned down in a church while giving mass, Romero had received more than 400 death threats. That made him even stronger in his convictions and actions. He said:
I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the people of El Salvador.

Those were prophetic words. Now thirty-eight years after his death, he is still remembered and honoured in El Salvador and the world. He will soon become a saint of the Roman Catholic faith.

Recently the Victoria Central America Committee honoured Romero in an evening of words and music. The special guest speaker was Remi De Roo, the retired bishop of Victoria who knew Romero well. He recalled that the legacy of Romero to people of all faiths and beliefs was the call to resist injustice and to support the poor and oppressed.

The author of an important book about Romero was also present at the gathering: Matt Eisenbrandt,: Assassination of a Saint, University of California Press, 2017.

A video of this event may be viewed at:

Photos from CASC event at Café Simpatico, March 23, 2018

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:

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.



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:

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.



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.



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.



Past Café Simpaticos

THE LAST CAFE – of the 2007 season that is! Cafe Simpatico is closed until September after this last gala event.


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Oaxaca Activists in Victoria

Palestinian acivist speaking in Victora


Comandante William Izarra recent visit to Victoria

Eva Golinger in Victoria