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Invitation to Join Working Group on Human Rights in Mexico

Dear CASC supporters,
After Cafe’s February presentation of Ayotzinapa, the film about Mexico’s 43 murdered students, & Tim’s excellent discussion of the issues raised, CASC has formed a new working group on Canada-Mexico that would focus on issues of NAFTA, human rights, Canadian mining presence in Mexico and the links between the 2 countries.
Tim has suggested that one action to work towards might be, “that the group could put together a letter/paper outlining the issues regarding NAFTA/human rights/mining in Mexico to present to parties and their candidates before the next federal election with the intent of organizing an all-candidates meeting. I believe that with the upcoming election, the timing is great to bring our concerns regarding the deplorable human rights conditions in Mexico and the Canadian connection with those conditions to the attention of political parties, their candidates and to the public.”
Other actions and research can be developed in the group. Several people have already agreed to join this working group. If you are interested please contact Tim: timb(at) He will coordinate the planning of the first meeting. From your CASC planning committee

Celebration of LIfe: Gudrun Doherty

Gudrun Doherty, long-time CASC supporter, died last week after suffering a missive stroke. She would have been 88 next month.

Gudrun came faithfully to CASC events, provided hospitality, billeting and amazing decades of support to the Central America Support Committee and we honoured her, Bill, Andree & Bev, in September.

Andree, John, and Gudrun
Andree, John, and Gudrun

There will be a celebration of the life of Gudrun on Saturday, November 29, at the Fernwood Community Association 1923 Fernwood Road.

Doors open at 1 pm, the program starts at 1:30 pm and it will be followed by refreshments and and time to socialize & look at photos and displays. Donations of finger food are welcome.

Memory, Truth, and Justice in Guatemala

Wendy Mendez spoke to Café Simpatico, the monthly event of Victoria Central America support Committee on March 28, 2014


Report by Theresa Wolfwood

Wendy Mendez was coming home from school in Guatemala City with her brother – looking forward to playing hide- and- seek with her friends, but there were no other children on the street, no people at all. They ran home and found their house full of soldiers and their mother being interrogated. Born in Guatemala in 1976, Wendy’s mother and father were suspect because they were active in the university community during the time of civil conflict and government brutality. She was nine years old when she saw her mother, Luz Haydee Men

dez, being taken away by the Guatemalan Military Intelligence on March 8, 1984. Luz has never been found. Wendy’s grandmother s

at outside every day, waiting in vain for her daughter to appear, thinking she might miss the house in a changed neighbourhood. She died a disappointed mother.

Wendy and her brother were also interrogated, but managed to escape, using those hide- and- seek places they knew so well. They were sheltered and cared for by neighbours and the soldiers could not find them. Her father stopped at a local shop to buy tortillas on his way home; the store-keepers stopped him from going home, they told him that his children needed him and dressed him as a

woman so he also could hide. Three years later, Wendy, her father and brother were in Vancouver as refugees. She grew up and went to school there.

Wendy founded the organization, HIJOS (sons and daughters of the disappeared) in 1999 with others who were children when their parents were disappeared or massacred and during the civil conflict. Many, like Wendy, returned to Guatemala, where a Peace Treaty was signed in 1996, to seek information about their parents and to reveal the identity of those who were responsible for these crimes against civilians. HIJOS also intended to educate the new generation in Guatemala about what happened during the years of repression. They choose June 30 as the day to commemorate the disappeared and the dead, the same day as Guatemala’s annual military parade. They started with 8 people with signs and photos standing in front of the military parade. Every year their numbers increased up to 1000 with more banners and a band playing funeral music. The military has now cancelled its parade and the day is now known, thanks to the efforts of HIJOS and others, as the “Day of Heroes and Martyrs.” Wendy’s presentation to Café Simpatico was inspiring and full of hope. She was able to smile and even joke about these events. She has lived through her story and turned her grief into action. She and her friends say they are not victims; they are survivors and are bold and clear about their activities.

She said that the possibilities of the Peace treaties were not realized; no government has respected the accords and the agenda of the right has always been to continue the repression through economic means, including CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

The torturers and murderers have enjoyed impunity until recently. The trial of Rios Montt, the President responsible for some of the worst massacres and repression, was the result of hard work by HIJOS and other human rights groups and a major victory for justice. He was found guilty of genocide, even though another court overturned the verdict, HIJOS was jubilant. There will be more trials and revelations as determined activists continue their work.

My blood chilled when Wendy told us that in the corridors of the courthouse, upper class supporters of the military said to HIJOS members “Our only regret is not getting rid of you snotty nosed children when we had a chance.”

The present right-wing President Molina, a military man who promised to be tough on crime, is doing his best to reverse the few advances made under President Colon in education and health. Molina has upped the military budget and under him, military bases have been reopened and new ones have been created. In communities fighting to save their natural resources from transnational mega-projects, such as mines and dams that threaten to destroy the land and displace thousands of indigenous people, citizens are constantly spied on and threatened. Wendy reminded us of the deaths of community activists in places where Canadian mining companies are active – and who opposed the environmental and social degradation caused by mining exploration and extraction.

HIJOS continues to call for an end to impunity for those who were responsible for death and disappearance. Members have been threatened, beaten, experienced attempted kidnapping and attacks in Guatemalan media.

Mendez has said that HIJOS believes that the best way to bring honour and glory to their mothers and fathers, to all the victims of genocide in Guatemala, is to continue the struggle for social justice and democracy.

Wendy and her son, Rueben, with CASC activists.

If you missed the Café presentation, you can listen to the podcast of her interview with Chris Cook on CFUV.

HIJOS members confront the Military parade





First Wednesday of the month , back of 1923 Fernwood Rd., upstairs – 7:30pm

The Victoria Central America Support Committee,[CASC], is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It is a non-profit international solidarity organization. Founded in 1980, CASC is one of the longest-established Latin America solidarity committees in Canada. CASC meets regularly on the FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH to plan educational activities and support local and international solidarity initiatives.

CASC organizes Café Simpatico, Victoria’s monthly activist coffeehouse, and engages in many solidarity and educational projects in Latin America and Canada.

Breaking the blockade in the Gaza Ghetto

Report from the Freedom Gaza Fleet by Kevin Neish [page 1]

Report and Analysis CANPAL NET by Mordecai Breimberg [page 2]

Return to Palestine by Theresa Wolfwood [page 3]



from     K Neish
date     Wed, May 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM
subject   Bye for now

Hello Friends,

My ship the Challenger II leaves tomorrow morning at 7am so…………this will be the last email until I get set up in Gaza.  We should arrive at the Gaza water border mid day Friday (10 hours earlier for you folks).
You can supposedly watch everything unfold in real time video at  I’m told the website has crashed due to heavy use.

At this late date I think it’s fairly safe to let you know I’ve been tasked with defending a crew of journalists on the top deck of our cruiser.  Since the Israeli military always trys to seize the media first to destroy evidence, my job is to non violently get in the way of the Israeli commandos in a narrow passageway for about 30 seconds so the journalists can up load their reports.  It should be interesting to say the least.  I guess all my young years spent playing rugby and football are going to come in handy, IE: being able take a hard hit and keep standing and not lose my temper, but this time there’s no referees.

I don’t think the Israeli’s are going to attack us as the bad press coming from this would be enormous, but everyone is ready for them.
Retired US Army Col. Ann Wright is on our ship, so I can’t imagine what the Israelis are going to do with her.  There are also retired US ambassadors and European government officials and various VIPs on all the boats.

Well as usual I need my beauty sleep so goodnight for now.  If the camera is on me I’ll try to wave.

If on earth there breathes a slave, are ye truly free and brave?