Monday, December 17News For London

Hundreds gathered in London to express solidarity to Latin America

How is inequality, political instability and the confrontation with the United States affecting Latin America? Students, intellectuals and unionists debated about this in a conference held in Central London

Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s stand on the Conference’ venue

 500 people attended to the annual conference “Latin America Adelante” held this year in the Congress House, Central London this Saturday to debate about the challenges South America is facing. 

 Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaigns organised the 14th edition of this Conference, sponsored by several trade unions. Intellectuals, students, and unionist engaged in the event that focused on listening to activists and politicians from Latin-America about the political confrontation happening in countries like Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba.

 “We held this event because of the interest in Latin America that there is here, and because some of these countries are an inspiration to many people, like Cuba”, said Bernard Regan, Secretary of the Cuban Solidarity Campaign.

 The Cuban MP Mariela Castro came from the Caribbean island to talk about the changes in the Cuban constitution, which is under a reform. Castro, daughter of former Cuban president Raul Castro, is the head of the National Centre for Sexual Education, institution leading the inclusion of same sex marriage in the  draft charter that will be voted in referendum next year.  

Guillaume Long, former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Relations during Rafael Correa’s administration (left wing), mentioned the threats to democracy executed by the extreme right forces. Mr. Long, one of the keynote speakers, explained how the ‘lawfare’ (use of judicial accusations) is being used in some left wing leaders in order to ban them from politics. 

 “They [right wing politicians and media] try to portray the left wing governments of the first decade of the century, or as it is called in English, pink tide, as a failure, but a hundred million people were lifted out of poverty in Latin America during this period”, said the politician and academic.

Labour MPs gave their support to the left wing forces in Latin America. Karen Lee and Dan Carden attended to the event. Mr. Carden said that “Donald Trump has no right to promote regime change in Bolivia, Cuba or anywhere. This comment I’ve made before will be controversial- but it’s international law”.

The organisers designed the Conference’ program taking into account the developing events in Latin America, such as the migrant caravan trying to cross the US south border, and the triumph of the extreme right in Brazil. Meanwhile, G-20 leaders were arriving to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist leader, was given his inauguration speech as the new president of Mexico.

Martina Rodríguez, an Argentinian student living in London, said that she was there to talk about her country, but not only that. “There is an increasing fascism, misogyny and racism. We must try to link all of our struggles, and come with any kind of solution, or ideas or connexions among solidarity campaigns. There is a long tradition on events like this, but we need a new movement”.

Silvana Rollersen, a secondary school student from West Sussex, came to the event because she is expanding her global awareness, and she does not trust media because “media has distorted the realities of these countries”. 

Cuba Solidarity Campaign, and its associated Venezuela and Nicaragua organisations host this event every year and bring people from those countries to give a different perspective from that provided by the mainstream media in the UK.