Café Simpatico Nov 30: The Zapatista Movement in Chiapas

The Zapatista Movement in Chiapas
“¡Zapata vive, la lucha sigue!”
(Zapata lives, the struggle continues!)

In 1994, the day the NAFTA agreement became operational, threatening the survival of Mexican campesinos, the Zapatista National Liberation Army staged a 12-day-long uprising. Mexican society shook to its core.

After 24 years of resistance, the Zapatistas remain well organized and continue to protect their Indigenous culture, their right to land and their autonomy.

Music by: Héctor Vázquez, classical musician from Mexico and PhD candidate at UVic.

Café Simpatico
1923 Fernwood Road
November 30
Doors open at 7:00 pm
Music at 7:30 pm
Presentation at 8:00 pm

Admission by donation
Refreshments served
Nicaraguan Fair Trade Organic Coffee for sale

Sponsored by: Victoria Central America Support Committee

Cafe Simpatico: Oct. 26

Real life super heroes and the quest for mining justice in Canada and Guatemala

Cafe Simpatico Oct 26 PosterActivist and MJAC member Kay Gimbel will talk about his trip with Rights Action in June. This was Kay’s second trip to Guatemala and he will discuss the ongoing social justice issues introduced by Canadian mining activities.

Presented by the Mining Justice Action Committee and the Central America Support Committee.

1923 Fernwood Road

Doors at 7pm
Music at 7:30 pm
Presentation at 8pm

Cafe Simpatico: Sept 28

Sirocco: Winds of Resistance

The BC premier of a wonderful Canadian film about western Sahara with the story of two women and their grandmothers, refugees from Africa’s only colony. The film also explains Canada’s role in the colonization of Western Sahara.

Poster: Sirocco Film

1923 Fernwood Road
September 28
Doors: 7pm
Music: 7:30pm
Film: 8pm

Peter Golden and CASC (Victoria Central America Support Committee)|

Peter Golden, founding member of CASC, human rights and solidarity activist, refugee lawyer, friend of many, died July 31. He had lived with cancer and true to his spirit he carried on until almost to the end, engaged and involved in life.

Peter was a constant presence and strength in CASC for more than 30 years. He went on human rights delegations to Central America, met with endangered activists there; helped lawyers and others threatened with death and disappearance. He will particularly be remembered for his hard work for Coca-Cola workers and union organizers in Guatemala. Only recently was CASC with Peter’s support able to help the creation and installation of sculptures of nine assassinated Coca-Cola activists in a prominent place in Guatemala City.
CASC activists will remember Peter’s wealth of knowledge, his compassion for the oppressed, his reasoned discussion of contentious issues, his positive contributions to organizing our Cafe Simpatico gatherings and his humour and warmth.

We remember with fond laughter his incredible ability to fund-raise at Café- going through a performance with his wallet, $20 bills and the collection basket on his head. People always responded and gave generously to his appeal.

Peter attended our last Café Simpatico on June 27, frail, but in good spirits. We treasure this last photo taken with some CASC activists and our Guatemalan guest speakers.

We give our heartfelt sympathy to his life partner, Charlotte Bell, his daughters, brother and the rest of his family. They were with him until his last breath.

His steadfast commitment to social justice will continue to inspire us.

We will miss you Peter.

Peter Golden ! Presente!

TW on behalf of CASC planning committee

Photo at Café Simpatico, June 27, 2018: Peter standing tall 2nd from left in back row. We are wearing photos of murdered and disappeared people in Guatemala.

Café Simpatico June 27

Doors open at 7 pm
We welcome back Nedjo Rogers as our musician for this evening at 7:30 pm
1923 Fernwood Road
Presentation at 8 pm:

SIN MIEDO (Fearless)
A documentary film by Claudio Zulian

About Guatemala’s military diaries and popular resistance with the filmmaker on tour in Canada
Made in 2017: 75 minutes long. Spanish & English sub-titles. Discussion to follow.

Refreshments: Admission by donation
The Victoria Central America Support Committee &

Cafe Simpatico: Honduras Today

April 27, 2018
1923 Fernwood Road
7:00pm Doors
7:30pm Music by Peach Guevara
8:00pm Speakers


Kay Gimbel, CASC and MJAC activist who wen to Honduras on a Rights Action delegation and presented his findings at Cafe Simpatico in 2017.

Bill Feyrer, lives in Victoria and he will have just returned from one of many trips to Honduras where he works with market women and micro-economies.

Phil Little: Nanaimo activist who since 2013 has been traveling to Honduras to accompany Fr. Melo, director of a radio station and a human rights centre.

Refreshments: Fair Trade organic coffee
Admission by donation, all welcome.

Presented  by the  Victoria Central America Support Committee and the Mining Justice Action Committee.

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

Cafe Simpatico March 23, 2018

The Prophetic Legacy of Oscar Romero
With special guest speaker
Remi de Roo
Retired bishop of Victoria

Music: Alvaro Moreno and Enrique Rivas
Oscar Romero smiling

Copies of “The Death of a Saint” written by last year’s speaker, Matt Eisenbrandt, will be available.

Book cover: Assasination of a Saint

Doors: 7pm
Music: 7:30pm
Presentation 8pm

Refreshments: Fair Trade coffee

Admission by donation

Presented by the Victoria Central America Support Committee


Cafe Simpatico January 26: Postponed until February

The Victoria Central America Support Committee has decided to postpone our January 26 Cafe Simpatico.

On January 26 and 27, 2018, Victoria will be hosting the Site C Summit ( We encourage everyone to register to attend this important event. Solidarity is both local and global!

Please join us at the February Cafe:
Cafe Simpatico – February 23

The Persistent Struggle for Justice in Guatemala Today — A situational analysis of the social and legal actions to bring down impunity.

Presentation by Wendy Mendez, human rights activist, petitioner in the Military Diary case, co-founder of HIJOS Guatemala (sons and daughters of the disappeared), and popular educator.

1923 Fernwood Road
Doors open at 7 pm/ music at 7:30 pm/ presentation at 8 pm.
Fair trade coffee for sale, refreshments, admission by donations.

Cafe Simpatico: Digging Spanish Earth

New documentary film screening and discussion by filmmaker Tom Shandel
Friday, November 24
1923 Fernwood Road
Doors open at 7 pm  Music 7:30 pm, Presentation at 8 pm 
“In 1937, Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens, together with Ernest Hemingway, traveled to Spain to make a film supporting the democratic Republican Government against the nationalist/fascist revolt led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the events which would open the way to the Second World War.  The Ivens film, titled El Tierra Español, is considered a cinematic masterpiece, the first consciously propaganda documentary, attempting to get America to give food and munitions to the beleaguered partisans fighting for their democratic survival.Digging the Spanish Earth explores the original masterpiece and the consequences still evident in Spain today. 


Presented by the Victoria Central America Support Committee (CASC)
Refreshments served-Fair Trade organic coffee for sale-admission by donation