Latin America Week 2014

In memory of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

Pitalito Solidarity Campaign

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THURSDAY NIGHT TALKS

 

Thursday Night Talks are informal discussion forums providing a chance for adults to learn about and debate Latin America development issues. They are usually held on Thursday evenings, and take different formats, such as screenings, debates, workshops, etc.

TNT's are free of charge, but due to recent high attendance at TNT's, numbers will be limited for safety, late-comers may not be admitted.

2014

TNT - Indigenous Education in Chiapas, Mexico

When: Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 19:00 Where: LASC offices, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Since the Zapatista uprising of 1994, the indigenous communities of Chiapas have embarked on the path of constructing their autonomy. A cornerstone of this has been the development of their own unique education system. This talk is a firsthand account of some of the key faetures of this 'other education', its impact on communities, and its broader implications.

Donations for the reconstruction of the recently destroyed school in La Realidad welcome.

Latin America Solidarity Center Ireland - www.lasc.ie

 

2013

 

TNT - Conga, Perú: Megamining and resistance from the local community

When: Thursday, November 28, 2013 @ 6.30pm Where: LASC offices, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2 

 

A skype-conference with Irish activist living in Peru Lynda Sullivan. 

 

In the month of November Cajamarca marks two years of organised resistance against the Conga Mining Project. During this time thousands have regularly climbed to the altitude of over 4000 feet in the Peruvian Andes to protect the lagoons that give the people water and life. The two years of resistance have also seen the deaths of five protesters - including a 16 year old boy, the injury of hundreds, and the constant legal harassment of community leaders. We are now at a crucial stage and the resistance must remain strong, but it is threatened by misinformation, fear and political manipulation. The government says Conga must be realized at all costs; the people say the realization of it will cost them their lives.

 

 

TNT: Report on Sustainable Development Project in Guatemala

Where: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

When: Thursday 3rd December @ 6.30pm

 

On December 3rd Elaine Doyle will give a talk about her experience living and working in Guatemala this summer. Elaine was one of the awardees of the EIL Global Awareness Programme and she will present details of the sustainable development projects she worked on in Guatemala.


Guatemala is facing a lot of environmental issues and climate change is adding to their impact. Elaine worked with two projects to observe how people in Guatemala are working to develop more sustainably. One project based in the Guatemalan highlands is run by local members of the nearby village. The project is an ecological forest park used for recreation and education. For the 6 week placement Elaine and Nicola (the other awardee) in conjunction with staff in the park painted the children's playground and built a rainwater harvesting unit.



The second project based on the Pacific coast by the El Salvadorian border is run by a Guatemalan based UK charity. It is a sea turtle conservation and community development project. For one week Elaine and Nicola worked patrolling the beach for turtle eggs, taking note of the bird species in the mangroves and worked with the charities children's library. In both locations Elaine and Nicola visited the local schools to talk to the children and give them some information on Ireland, including Irish language,  music and hurling.


 
Elaine is the Ashoka Change Nation Change Executive for Transition Towns, on the committee of Engineers Without Borders Ireland responsible for overseas placements and is currently setting up a social enterprise called Boltz Sustainability dealing with environmental education. She is academically, professionally and personally passionate about sustainable development in Ireland and aboard and is looking forward to presenting information about her work over the summer.

 

 

TNT YASUNI ITT: The End of the Green Dream in Ecuador?
When: 21st November @ 6.30pm in LASC offices, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin2

 

When announced in 2007, the Yasuni ITT Initiative was hailed as a triumph for the environmental movement, provided newly elected President Rafael Correa with global attention and credibility, and was thought by some to represent the beginning of a new and alternative mode of global economics. The scheme appeared disarmingly simple: in return for donations of around half the value of the crude oil thought to be under the surface of this incredibly bio-diverse region, Ecuador would refrain from drilling, thereby protecting the park for all of humanity.

 

But after years of complex negotiations, internal squabbling, and broken promises - not to mention extremely low levels of donations - the hopes and dreams of many (along perhaps with Correa's left-wing credentials) lie in tatters. In August of this year Correa announced his intention to cancel the scheme and move to drill for oil in Yasuni - a proposal this month approved by the Ecuadorian Congress.



"The world has failed us," Correa has claimed; others, however, would lay the failure of the scheme at the president's door. What were the factors that contributed to its collapse, and are there any lessons to be learned for the future of "post-oil development" initiatives?

 

 

TNT: Irish Solidarity Brigades to Nicaragua, by Molly Duffy (ex-brigadista)

When: 6th November, @ 18:00

Where: LASC office: 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

 

In the 1980s, when the US-funded a counter-revolutionary war against the Sandinista government , solidarity came from many quarters in the form of diplomatic support, donations and international work brigades.  Between 1988 and 1993, 145 people from Ireland participated in a total of 10 solidarity delegations and work brigades. The 'brigadistas' engaged in several weeks' work in the countryside followed by a political programme of meetings and visits with different sectors of Nicaraguan society. 

 

The aim of the brigades was to help raise production, but more importantly, the Sandinistas and brigade organisers sought to enlist the brigadistas' support for the revolutionary government in its efforts to win the international media war. 

 

Irish brigadistas came from all walks of life, and raised £1,500.00 each to finance their trip.  Not since the International Brigades to Spain in the 1930's had so many Irish people undertaken such an arduous, expensive and sometimes dangerous trip to offer solidarity to people they didn't know.  What motivated them and what did they achieve?  Did the brigades contribute to the fact that "no Irish diplomat would feel free to take anything but a progressive line on Nicaragua" ? (Michael D. Higgins). How did the nature of the brigades change over the course of time? What is the place of these brigades in the history of international solidarity in Ireland? Did solidarity imply passive acquiescence with unpalatable practices? What links did brigade members make between solidarity with Nicaragua and solidarity at home? Did brigades bring more benefits to brigade members or to the cause?

 

 

TNT A Report from Colombia and Bolivia

Where: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

When: Thursday 24 January @ 6.30pm

 

Who: Thomas Mc Donagh worked as a volunteer with LASC partner, Colombian environmental NGO, ECOFONDO for most of 2011. He is currently based in Cochabamba, Bolivia where he works for research and advocacy NGO, the Democracy Center. After almost two years working in the region, he will share his experiences of the social movements in both countries, flag some current issues of importance for solidarity activists from Ireland, and provide a space for an informal Q and A session.

 

 

 

2012

 

 

Social Movements Matter? Indigenous Social Movements

in the Andes

Talk by Gemma McNulty

 

 

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
Date: Thursday 13th of September 2012
Time: 7pm

Gemma is currently undertaking her PhD at Dublin City University. Her research investigates the relationship between indigenous social movements and leftist parties in Latin America. In particular the research explores the ways in which social movements can help mobilise votes for political parties in general. Having returned from an eleven week field trip to Bolivia and Peru, the talk will focus on some of her findings. Reflecting on interviews conducted with indigenous social movement leaders, politicians and NGO workers, the talk will also explore indigenous social movement behaviour generally. For example, the differences amongst indigenous social movements, issues facing these movements and tactics undertaken by the movements. Primary video footage and some snippets from interviews will be used to provide an overview of movements and their behaviour. In particular, the case of Bolivia will be discussed and, specifically, how movements helped MAS get into power in 2005. The talk will also be an interesting opportunity to compare notes on movements from other countries, such as the home countries of those in attendance, and ask ourselves why movements mobilise in some countries and not in others. Comparing Bolivia or Peru to Ireland may be of particular interest.

 

 

Thursday Night Talk (TNT): On the current situation in Paraguay

 

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Date: Thursday 5th July 2012

Time: 6pm


Following the coup in Paraguay on 23 June in which Fernando Lugo was ousted and replaced by Federico Franco, LASC will hold a Thursday Night Talk (TNT) on 5th July. There will be a brief overview of the build-up to the coup and an update on the current situation in Paraguay, however, the main purpose of the TNT is to facilitate discussion on these issues.

Contributors will include Pablo Rojas Coppari (Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and originally from Paraguay) and Jose Antonio Gutierrez (Research Officer, LASC). It will be facilitated by Sean Edwards (LASC Committee Member).

 

ALL WELCOME

 

 

Rio +20 and The People's Summit

 

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
Date: Wednesday 20th June 2012
Time: 6.30pm

 

 

 

On Wednesday 20th June, to coincide with the day of Global Mobilization, Laura Carvalho, who is currently graduating from the MSc. in Environment and Development from Trinity College, will talk about the People's Summit and explain who these organizations are, what they want and will outline the solutions they offer for Social and Environmental Justice.

With the coming of the Rio+20 Conference, the world will turn its attention to what has been achieved in terms of sustainable development and plan what steps to take next. Running parallel to the conference, another conference will take place from the 15th to the 23rd June, the ‘Cupula dos Povos por Justica Social e Ambiental' (People's Summit for Social and Environmental Justice). The People's Summit radically questions the planned agenda for Rio +20 and its global institutions, claiming that they are unsatisfactory to deal with the environmental and social crisis of the planet and call for a re-articulation of social-environmental movements of the world. The People's Summit is organized by a committee compounded by over thirty organizations representing various segments of society and / or environmental causes.

Laura Carvalho is currently undertaking the MSc. in Environment and Development, TCD and has recently returned from a field trip in Rwanda, Africa. There she worked with a group conducting a small research project entitled 'Socio Economic conditions and Resource Accessibility' in the villages surrounding the National Volcanoes Park. Back in Dublin now, she is conducting interviews for her final research project entitled 'Autonomous Geographies in Dublin: Sustainability, Social Learning and Sustainable Lifestyles in Resistance Trajectories' under supervision of Anna Davies. She is from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For more information about cupula dos povos click here

    
TNT Colombia: Human Rights update from the field


  Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

  Date: Wednesday 16th May 2012 

  Time: 6.30pm

 

 

 

 

Peace Brigades International Irish volunteer Karen Jeffares will speak about the human rights situation and her ongoing work in Colombia. The talk will centre around the current political context, the situation for Colombian human rights defenders on the ground, and grassroots initiatives for peace and justice that are emerging.  The role of the international community and political lobbying will also be discussed. There will be space for a questions and answers session on the work of PBI and other organisations that provide physical and
political accompaniment to human rights defenders at risk in Colombia.

For further information please contact LASC 016760435.

 

 

TNT Second Anniversary of the assassinations of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola 


Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Date: Friday 27th of April 2012

Time: 6.30pm


Friday 27th of April 2012, will mark two years since the date of the armed ambush on the caravan carrying humanitarian aid to the men, women, and children of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca.

 

In the attack, Bety Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola were shot in the head and killed; Bety was a member of the "Working Together" Community Support Centre, CACTUS and Jyri belonged to the Finnish collective and also worked with the Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL) in Oaxaca.


 
This TNT will include updates about the situation in San Juan Copala.

 

Some videos in Spanish and other short videos in English, followed by a discussion.

 

For further information please contact LASC events@lasc.ie or 016760435.

 

Thursday 2nd February: Indigenous People and their Relationship with the Government

 

Venue: LASC Offices, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 6:00-7:00pm

 

We will have a conversation with Mayra Gómez, from Bolivia, on the question of the popular government in Bolivia and it's relationship with the indigenous and other social movements. This relationship has proved to be far more complex than usually assumed as proved by social unrest around some megaprojects recently. 

 

Mayra is from Bolivia and has worked around the world on peace and justice issues.  She is a board member of the International Peace Bureau and has been active in the adoption and promotion of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  She is currently Co-President of Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, Programme Director for Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, and Senior Programme Officer for Parlimentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.  She also served on the Global Council of Abolition 2000.

 

2011 



Thursday 20th October: Talk by returned activist Tania O'Sullivan. 



Latin America Solidarity Center Ireland - www.lasc.ie

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 6:30-8:00pm

2011 an election year for Guatemala; political and social actors are being targeted more frequently. In the midst of the increasing levels of violence, the land issue rages on. Human rights promoters with environmental concerns are positioned as a threat to economic growth and even to national security.


From outside the conflict looks incomprehensible; a convoluted storm of random attacks, a game of monopoly in the dark. While various organizations are working to illuminate the past, history unravels to reveal the players and their interests. I begin to understand where politicians find their support base and how they legitimize their leadership. I see their targets; land, economic power and, whether or not democratic, political justification. It becomes clear what tools are used to attain these goals. Hiding atrocities of the past is made easy by a broken down justice system, high levels of racism and low levels of education. Funding for political campaigns is made easy by alliances with land owners or large multinationals that are exploiting the natural resources in Guatemala.


The violence that continues to wreck the country is simultaneously a tool to gain control in black market economy and an excuse to blame opponents, the media is used to repeat the same lies over and over at high volume, frequency and size to reinvent the past, religion is used to place the responsibility with those entities of other realms. What is not easy for the players in the game for power is the shear numbers of people that have made themselves heard and are willing to take action to be heard again, the will to survive poverty and genocide, the demands for justice, transparency, autonomy, and for the realization of national and international laws defending the rights and territory of the indigenous population.

The candidates set for the bi-election are both ex-military men. The favorite; Otto Perez Molina has publicly challenged that genocide ever occurred in Guatemala. A troublesome thorn in his side is the evidence and the witness’. Many are willing to continue risking their lives in search of justice.

 

Wednesday 22nd June: The Argentinean Debt Experience and Ireland. 

 


Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 7:00pm

In December 2001, Argentina experienced an unprecedented economic crash, with a 75% devaluation of their currency. Enormous hardship ensued for their people and large scale populal mobilisation. The economic collapse included the largest sovereign default in the history of modern finance.


Since then the Argentine economy recovered by doing exactly the opposite to what they were told by the International Financial Institutions (with a 100% payoff to the IMF). Argentina’s experience is poignantly relevant to Ireland today, yet the Irish media continues to demonize the Argentina’s actions through misinformed reporting. Tony will discuss some of the historical context, the parallels and the differences between the Irish and the Argentine experience and will take a sneak peak into the future at Ireland's options and their possible consequences; adding a little hindsight. The presentation will be interactive incorporating video.



Tony Phillips is an Irish Researcher at the School of Economics of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), he is an activist on sovereign debt in Argentina and a technical advisor on specialist aspects to latin governments. He has followed the situation closely in Ireland and published a number of articles and letters to the editor, e.g.: http://www.projectallende.org/archives/2010_12.html#000163


(CANCELLED) Wednesday 25th of May: TNT con Juan Carlos Contreras "In defense of life and Mother earth". 

Juan Carlos

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 6:30pm

LASC is holding on Wednesday 25th May at 6.30 a TNT with the participation of Juan Carlos Contreras, Guatemalan Community Activist who works with the NGO  'La Ceiba' in Guatemala.


The talk will focus on the exploitation of natural resources in Guatemala, in particular mining, and its impact on the general population and the Mayan indigenous peoples.


The presentation will also illustrate the ongoing work of La Ceiba to promote food sovereignty and the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted on the exploitation of natural resources, as well as the Ceiba's campaigns against mining and the Free Trade Agreements.


Juan Carlos Contreras is from Guatemala and works with CEIBA, an organization that supports poor and marginalised communities in Guatemala on issues relating to food sovereignty, health, environment and women.


CEIBA has worked for eighteen years supporting communities in combating injustices and human rights violations, especially those caused by Multinational Corporations. CEIBA is part of the Mayan coordinator and convergence movement, the Network for the Defence of National Food Sovereignty and the Federation of friends of the earth International.


Wednesday 18th of May: Imperialism and its Effects

QueensIn light of the Queen's visit to Ireland (and the temorary closure of our street) we are holding an event on Wednesday 18th May. We will be discussin some of the many effects and consequences i Imperialism. This theme is highly relevant to both Latin America and Ireland so we would ask you to come along and share your thoughts and ideas on the subject. It is a bring your own drink party so we hope to enjoy a lively and participative evening. The event will be facilitated by Colette Spears, former LASC Coordinator. It will be a casual affair and we hope that everyone can contribute something.


We look forward to seeing you then.


For more information take a look at Facebook.


The street may be blocked off due to the Queen's visit so we will need everyone planning to attend to send us in your name and date of birth to give to the Gardai. We would appreciate it if you can send us this information before Friday 13th if possible.


Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 7.30pm


Wednesday 4th of May: First Anniversary of the Assassinations of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.

Venue:  LASC, 5, Merrion Row


Time: 7:00pm


27th of April 2011, marked one year since the date of the armed ambush on the caravan carrying humanitarian aid to the men, women, and children of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca. In the attack, Bety Cariño and Jyri Antero Jaakkola were shot in the head and killed; Bety was a member of the "Working Together" Community Support Centre, CACTUS and Jyri belonged to the Finnish collective and also worked with the Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL) in Oaxaca.


This TNT will include updates about the situation in San Juan Copala. Some videos ('Copala Libre' in Spanish), and other short videos in English, followed by a discussion.


Copala Libre (55min) describes the history of San Juan Copala's struggle from the time of Mexican independence until shortly after the second caravan talk about the current situation in San Juan Copala. It portrays the history of the resistance of the Triqui indigenous people in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico. The struggle for the preservation of their identity and a form of self-organization, which has led to the creation of the Municipality of San Juan de Copala. San Juan Copala was brutally attacked by the machinery of the Oaxacan state, which supports local power groups who, since November 2009, maintain a paramilitary siege on Copala.


For more info please contact LASC info@lasc.ie or call 016760435

 


Wednesday 23rd March: Ecuador - The Illegitimate Debt and the Oil.

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time: 7:30pm


Ecuador has been going through enormous political and social changes for the last decade, with powerful movements frequently taking to the streets and a charismatic president, Rafael Correa, pushing forward his “Citizens’ Revolution”. The relationship between these two actors has been at times one of cooperation, and at times, one of tension and conflict. Ecuador encapsulates the permanent contradiction between bottom up and top down initiative inherent to the Progressive Governments of Latin America’s Pink Tide.


We will discuss two significant issues that shed light on this contradiction: the debt audit of the illegitimate debt carried by president Correa and the debate around the extractive oil projects in the Amazon basin.


We will also watch a short (12 mins.) documentary on the process of the debt audit -“Who owes who?”- which is quite relevant for Ireland’s current crisis.


Debate will be led by the inputs of Nessa Ní Chasaide (Debt and Development Coalition) and Nick Jones (Latin American Solidarity Centre).


17th February: "Nicaragua- Country Update".

Venue: Essex St.

Time: 7:30pm


Stephen Sefton who has worked for a number of years on a project in Esteli, Nicaragua, will give a country update.


Stephen worked for Comlaimh here and was a supporter of the Irish Nicaragua Support Group. He is also the editor of the blog www.tortillaconsal.com. As this is an update the main emphasis will be on Questions and Answers.


27th January: "Argentina's Response to the Debt Crisis and the IMF".

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre (Dublin)

Time: 7:30pm

Screening of "The Take" ("La Toma")

"In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - the take - has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head."


Followed by discussion: "lessons from Argentina's crisis for us in Ireland" Led by Jose Antonio Gutierrez, LASC


Top


2010

 

28th October: Screening of "Corazon del Tiempo".

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteer and Information Centre, 27-31 Upper O'Conell Street, Dublin 1

Corazon del Tiempo


28th of January:  Haiti Solidarity Committee Planning Meeting.

Venue: Seomra Spraoi

Time: 7:00pm

Dear friends, at this tragic moment in which at least 150,000 Haitian people have died in the recent earthquake, we would expect doctors and rescue brigades to have been sent urgently in order to help the victims. Instead, the US is taking advantage of the tragedy by sending a massive number of troops to occupy the country, while in the process boycotting the delivery of aid and occupying strategic ports and the national airport www.indymedia.com


The UN, which had 9,000 ocuppying troops in Haiti before the quake, is now sending more troops. As if Haiti was in the middle of a civil war! As a commentator said, seemingly Haitian people cannot be fed unless when looked down the barrel of a gun. Here in Ireland, Bill Timmins has been asking that the EU send troops as well. No one wants to be left out when it comes to the militarization of Haiti!


In the wider context, there is a US project to increase their military presence in all of Latin America and regain its power in the region. The UN and other powers in the region see Haiti in the same terms. They try to stabilise the country at gunpoint, rather than support the welfare and the democratic ownership of the country by its citizens. The only role they see for Haiti in the world is that of a sweatshop for transnational companies while its population is kept on line through sheer force.


Growing voices in Haiti have said "enough!" and we take their call as our own. Therefore, we are calling on everyone to join us in creating a Haiti solidarity committee in order to support the struggle of the Haitian people against the US-UN occupation of their country, against those who strangle it with the burden of the illegitimate debts and those who starve it through Neoliberal sponsored economics. We support the grassroots organisations in Haiti who want to rebuild a country with a future, a country owned by its people.

 

We invite you to take part on a planning meeting for this group in Seomra Spraoi (10 Belvidere Court, Dublin 1), Thursday 28th of January, at 19:00


2009


26th November: Latin American and Basque Conflicts: Historical Connections, Parallels and Differences.

Speaker: Diarmuid Breatnach, Coordinator of the Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2.

Time: 8:00 pm


Basques were prominent in the colonisation of Latin America, but when the great anti-colonial struggles for freedom from Spain swept the colonies, those of Basque descent were there supporting the liberation struggles too. Since then, numerous relations have existed between the two regions, and national liberation conflicts have raged in both, presenting remarkable parallels, but also important differences. This talk will take a historical comparative approach between the social and political situation in both regions.


29th October: Blue October -  Colombian Water Referendum.

 

By Stephen O'Dwyer (LASC Member)

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre, 27-31 Upper O'Conell Street, Dublin 1

Time: 7.00pm


The Colombian Water Referendum: Propositive Civil Society Responses to Neoliberal Policies


The Colombian Water Referendum flows from a confluence of civil society actors unified by their opposition to the present government's neoliberal water policies. This opposition is positively channeled through the mechanism of the popular referendum. Inspite of the difficulties and dangers associated with civil society mobilisation in the country, the Colombian water movement is working towards implementing its vision of how the country's water should be managed, rather than simply opposing government policy.


Steve O'Dwyer, a LASC member, recently returned from working on the Colombian water campaign will speak about the background of political inaction and human need which led to the birth of the Colombian water coalition, before going on to describe the movement's character, its campaign activities and the concrete projects in which it is engaged. The talk will close with a frank assessment of the difficulties currently faced by the movement. Within the above framework, the session will be made as participative and responsive as possible to the interests of the audience.


(CANCELLED) 22nd October: "Mining industry and Community Rights in Guatemala -  A Guatemalan Human Rights Activist Speaks".

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre, 27-31 Upper O'Conell Street, Dublin 1

Time: 7:00pm

Organised by LASC and Trocaire


Wednesday 4th March: 5 Years Under Military Occupation: What Has the Future in Store for Haiti?

Venue: Seomra Spraoi

Time: 7:00pm


  • On February 29th, 2008, US, French, Canadian and Chilean troops invade Haiti, kidnap and expel President Aristide to the Central African Republic and put an unpopular member of the opposition into government.
  • On July, the UN sent an armed contingent, the MINUSTAH, to take effective control of the country.
  • On February 2006 the current president Rene Preval was elected as the candidate of national sovereignty yet, the occupation has not been questioned in any sensitive form.
  • On April 2008 there was widespread rioting for the high cost of food that quickly turned into anti-occupation protests.
  • 5 years later, the country remains under UN military occupation while social conditions keep deteriorating.
  • 5 years later. Is there any sign of hope for Haiti or we would expect it to be forever more a UN protectorate?

 

26th February: Referendum in Venezuela.

A report by Robert Navan who was an observer at the Referendum and Sean Edwards who was doing the campaign.

Venue: Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square West Dublin

Time: 7:00 pm


Top



2008


4th December: Native Voices from the Brazilian Amazon.

Venue: The Teachers Club. 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1

Time: 7:00 pm

Indigenous activists representing The Conselho Indígena de Roraima (CIR), Confederação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB) and the Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro (FOIRN) will share their struggles over land conflicts and sustainable use of resources, and will give and overview of what's the life like in the Amazon.


This will be an opportunity to talk to Indigenous peoples first hand and to have an insight of the inhabitants of the 'Lungs of the World'.


Further information: info@lasc.ie 01 6760435

SEE the Photos of this Talk

LISTEN the podcast in Near FM

 

BLUE OCTOBER SERIES

30th October: Referendum in defence of water as a Human Right in Colombia.

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre, 27-31 Upper O'Conell Street, Dublin 1

Time: 7:00pm


Colombia is one of the most privileged countries in the world with one of the highest number of water sources. Despite this fact there's a lot of people without drinking water or who are paying high prices for the vital liquid. In most of the cases this is due to several kind of privatisation such as private companies in charge of the water service, concession for the exploitation of rivers and lakes, contamination, hydroelectric plants, bottled water among others.


More than two millions of Colombian citizens have signed a petition for a Referendum to modified the National Constitution and to include water as a Human Right. This initiative will be discussed on the Congress in the next months.


Valeria Llano Arias, will speak about this Referendum and the human right to water. She was the press officer for this initiative in Antioquia, Colombia. Actually she is part of the EVS Program between LASC and ECOFONDO in Colombia.

www.ecofondo.org


23th October: 'Water Rights and Presidential Power: Rafael Correa and Ecuador's New Constitution'

Venue: Teacher's Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1

Time: 7:00- 8:30pm


Chris O'Connell, committee member of LASC, has recently returned from Ecuador, where he was researching his thesis on Latin American politics and the regime of President Rafael Correa. On Thursday 23rd October he will speak about the historical roots of the emergence and triumph of Correa, his populist and socialist tendencies, and his relationship with social movements in Ecuador. The talk will also focus on the new constitution that was recently approved by referendum, and in particular its guarantee of water as a human right. The meeting will consider these events in the wider context of the “shift to the left” and attitudes to neo-liberal policies such as privatisation in Latin America.


16th October: 'Tackling the Global Debt Crisis from the South: Ecuador Fights Back'.

Time: 7pm - 8.30pm

Venue: Teacher's Club 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1

 

Nessa N’ Chasaide, co-ordinator of Debt and Development Coalition Ireland has just returned from a meeting of the global debt movement in Ecuador. On Thursday 16th October she will speak on the problem of unjust debts and irresponsible lending and how the Ecuador Government is the first government of the Global South to audit its debts in order to ascertain the legitimacy, or otherwise, of its debts. The meeting will discuss the current thinking within the global debt cancellation movement on the recent Ecuador action and the new, alternative financial institutions currently being proposed by some Latin American governments.

 

The event coincides with the Global Week of Action on Debt and is planned to take place before the Global Day of Action Against Poverty. For more information contact: Nessa / Eimear 01 6174835 or Pepe 01 6760435.


11th September: Documentary - "Nuestra Documentary: "Nuestra America" by Kristina Honrad.

(Documentary presented by Victoria Díaz García.)

Venue: LASC Office, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

 

Time: 7:00pm

 

The Sandinista revolution shook the foundations of the US empire at a time when the Cold War was coming to an end and when its violence was reaching its climax in Central America. Nobody thought this revolution possible and yet it happened, mobilizing massive international solidarity and showing that another world could actually be possible.

 

However, 25 years later things have changed a lot: the US won the cold War, kept its hemispheric hegemony and imposed a Neoliberal regime over Nicaragua. Poverty and corruption never went away, and actually, the latter took a firm seat in the late Sandinista leadership. And in spite of it all, the Sandinista example led a way into deep political transformations in the region that will not be possible to appreciate in the short term.

 

Where is Nicaragua now? Was it worthwhile the enormous sacrifice if compared to the result? All this is to be debated after the screening of the documentary.


5th September: Talk with Hugh O'Shaughnessy

Venue: Family Resource Centre in Gort, Co Galway

Time: 7:30 pm

 

Hugh O'Shaughnessy spoke in the Family Resource Centre in Gort, Co Galway at 7.30 pm the 5th September. 15 people attended, some of whom had come from Galway. Hugh spoke for approximately half an hour and gave an optimistic view of events in South America and the way in which the region appeared to be developing, particularly stressing the economy and movements towards democracy and greater sovereignty for the countries of the region. A lively questions and answers session ensued, lasting for a further hour and a half and continuing over a glass of wine in the Gallery Cafe.

 

14th August. Colombia: Torn Between Peace and War. 

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre 27-31 Upper O'Connell Street. Dublin 1

Time: 7:00pm

Since Plan Colombia was implemented, under the iron fist of president Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian insurgency has experienced a massive military upsurge. Nowadays, the insurgent forces are under heavy pressure from 380,000 soldiers, 1,000,000 informers and U$ 5 billions. Many believe that an end to the conflict is at hand while others remain sceptical.


On the other hand, since the election on Uribe, significant changes have taken place in the institutions: while to some they are a natural aspect of a counter-insurgency strategy,to others, it represent an open attack on the 1991 Constitution and the intention to build an authoritarian state, with a facade only of democracy. The Colombian conflict, nonetheless, remains at the heart of political contradictions in the South American region, and its development has had deep impacts on neighbouring countries, particularly, on Venezuela, Ecuador and Perú.


We invite people to a Thursday Night Talk on the current Colombian situation with José Antonio Gutiérrez, who has been part of a human rights mission in Colombia.


31st July. Political Situation in Puerto Rico

Speaker: Astrid V. Pérez Piñán

Venue: Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre 27-31 Upper O'Connell St, Dublin 1

Time: 7:00pm

Thirty years after the massacre of two indpendentists students by police forces in the mountains of 'Cerro Maravilla' it is timely to revisit the not so well known political situation of Puerto Rico. Commonly refered to as a US territory or commonwealth this Caribbean Island presents very particular challenges of a modern colony. But why is Puerto Rico not independent yet? How come various referendums still result on keeping the status quo? Come and participate in an informal discussion led by Astrid V. Piñán, native from Puerto Rico.


28th February: Soya Plantations for Bio Fuels in Paraguay

Speaker: Fionuala Cregan.


Despite being one of the smallest countries in Latin America, Paraguay is now the world's fourth largest exporter of soya for the production of bio fuel. 64 per cent of cultivated land now consists of soy plantations. The Government plans to continue to increase this figure thus ensuring that Paraguay is rapidly transformed into a green desert controlled by seed companies such as Monsanto.


The impact of the monocultivation of soya has had a disastrous impact on the majority of the population of Paraguay, a significant proportion of whom live below the poverty line. As soya farmers move in, small farmers have been violently displaced from their land or forced to abandon it as the agrochemicals used to cultivate soya destroy their crops and have serious implications on their health. Those who have stayed on the land and resist, face repression and death threats. But where else can they go? What else can they do?


Fionuala Cregan has recently returned from Paraguay where she visited a number of rural communities suffering the impact of soya production. She will give an overview of this impact and also look at the efforts of communities to resist it. In view of current EU debates around bio fuel, this talk is timely and not to be missed!!


The main issues are:

  • environmental destruction (rate of deforestation in both countries is higher than the overall world rate, up to 80% deforestation in certain parts of Argentina in the past 5 years)
  • health risk to communities living nearby due to intense fertilisation - there have been 2 deaths of young children in Paraguay due to toxic poisioning.
  • food security - 5 million hectares of land in Paraguay now dedicated to soya production and government wants to increase this to 8, meaning not only that internal food production has dropped significantly but that campesinos are being pushed from their land and living in in shanty towns or on infertile land.



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2007


29th November: "Social Transformation Through Community Development. A Case Study from A La Ceiba" - A Neighbourhood in Havana City, Cuba


Speaker: José Israel Martínez Rodríguez - community worker form Cuba


Social transformation through community development has been a defining element of the Cuban model of sustainable local development. In the Cuban context, local development is understood as a participatory process whereby local governments, non-governmental actors and the community coordinate efforts to design strategies that can enhance the lives and livelihoods of communities. Strengthening the sense of ownership of projects is a significant aspect of this process of participatory development.


During the 1990s major transformations occurred in Cuba. New social actors emerged while some structures were revamped. As a result, a new sociopolitical figure emerged and which stemmed from the community itself: the Popular Councils. Popular Councils are rooted within and elected by communities and are key stakeholders in the design and development of projects. In addition to this, and in order to achieve more efficient and effective results, the Grupos Gestores (Management Teams) and the “Workshops for Neighbourhood Transformation” were created. These bodies are very small management structures and are formed by trained specialists whose responsibility is to ensure the overall coordination and management for the project cycle as well as involvement of all stakeholders; most importantly, they are responsible for ensuring dialogue between the community and the Councils in terms of development needs and proposals. The overall aim of this recent configuration is to make community members aware of the key role they play in the social transformations of their communities.


14th June: LASC as a part of  the International Water Struggle.

Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

Time:  6:30pm

FREE ADMISSION

A huge number of organizations, institutions and individuals are mobilized worldwide to promote the international & national recognition of water as human right and NOT as a commodity.


650 parliamentarians, mayors, local administrators, representatives of public-sector water companies, heads of civil service unions, and citizens committed to movements for the defence of water, came together from Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and Europe for an assembly which was held on the premises of the European Parliament from 18-20 March 2007.


The assembly came together to make specific, collective commitments intended to translate into concrete action the human right, shared by everyone on the planet,to waterÐincluding hygiene and sanitation servicesÐand to protect the planet's water resources from the attacks and devastation which they currently face: water is an inalienable part of humanity's common heritage and is an essential source of life for all living things.


Parallel to the World Water Assembly the Reclaiming Public Water Network organized on 17 March 2007 in Brussels a meeting to debate a concrete work plan to map the efforts around the world to improve and expand public service delivery.


Many networks and one common goal! How does LASC fit in the international water network frame? What can we do to protect the worldwater resources and to ensure that every man and women has access to sufficient,safe and affordable water and sanitation?


22nd February, 1st & 8th March: Resistance in Mexico Film Programme.

Organized by the Dublin Zapatista Group

Venue: LASC 5 Merrion Row Dublin 2 & Seomra Spraoi, 6 Lr Ormond Quay.

 

DUBZAG, the Dublin Zapatista Group presents an exciting film festival featuring four eye-opening and undeniably inspiring movies with a genuine revolutionary spirit: Granito de Arena/Breaking the siege (22nd Feb) The Take (1st March), and The 4th World War (8th March) all at 7.30 pm in the Latin America Solidarity Centre (LASC). These films will shown in the frame of LASC "Thursday Night Talks"


Granito de Arena and Breaking the Siege will also be shown at Seomra Spraoi on 21st Feb at 7.30 pm.


"Granito de Arena" by Jill Freidberg documents the efforts of over 100,000 teachers, parents, and students fighting to defend the country's public education system from the devastating impacts of economic globalization in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a compelling and unsettling story of resistance, repression, commitment, and solidarity.


"Atenco: Breaking the Siege" produced by Canal 6 de Julio and Promedios an Indymedia production.


May 3rd 2006: As Mexican Police violently attack the peoples of Texcoco & Atenco, Mexico City for selling flowers; the residents display their dignity, humanity and bravery in their steadfast resistance, which continues......


In "The Take", director Avi Lewis, one of Canada's most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - The Take - has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head.


"The Fourth World War" by Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohen was shot on the frontlines of struggles spanning five continents where the mainstream media cannot go. The Fourth World War is the untold human story of men and women who resist being annihilated in the current global conflict. This film captures the spirit of resistance: it is as beautiful and global as humanity itself. It includes struggles from Palestine, Iraq, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, New York and South Korea.

PHONE: 0872031764 for more details.


1st February: Interculturalism and  Healing in Bolivia.

Speaker: Rachel Dempsey

 

During Latin America Week 2006, Tania Quiroz visited Ireland, representing the Coordinadora de Agua y Defensa de la Vida, a Bolivian social movement. At the Latin America Week conference in Dublin she met Donegal based herbalist and activist Judith Hoad. There and then, the two decided that Judith would visit Bolivia in November to share her knowledge of alternative medicine as part of a project tun by a woman's collective which Tania works with, which is trying to rehumanise birthing practices and revive native birthing traditions.

 

Rachel Dempsey travelled with Judith to interpret and also contibuted workshops on the healing powers of the voice to the communities there in Bolivia. This talk will be an account of the trip and a discussion about the tension between allopathic and alternative or traditional medicine in a country experiencing an indigenous revival but whose power holders and institutions are still very much dominated by a western world view.


11th January: Politics and Elections in Nicaragua.

Speakers: Molly O'Duffy and Harry Owens

 

Daniel Ortega's winning of the presidency of Nicaragua in November 2006 looks like a victory for the left, but is, in fact, a victory for realpolitik at its worst.

 

Ortega, up to now, through a pact with the corrupt right-wing former president and his party, has had control over many arms of government, particularly the electoral power and the judicial system. ÊHe has used them to manipulate justice and the electoral law in such a way that he was returned as president with only 38% of the votes of those who participated in the election.

 

In the 16 years since he lost the presidency he has destroyed democracy in the party, and used his extensive power within the state to make gains for himself and his elite coterie, while achieving nothing for the poor, in whose name he purports to seek power.

 

Reflections will also be made on the tacticts of the Right and of the U.S, on the role of the E.U. and the Nicaragua electorate.


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2006


19th October: Solidarity with Bolivia: Ending Impunity in Bolivia.

The Case Against Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada 

 

From the heart of South America, Bolivian farmers, workers, students, and everyday people are organizing to end a 500-year legacy of racism and exploitation. In October 2003, social movement protests against neo-colonial, free-market economic policies were met with violent military repression authorized by former President Gonzales Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) who fled Bolivia on a flight bound to the U.S. after sixty people were shot dead by the police.

 

A broad international movement is now demanding that Goni return to Bolivia to stand trial for the massacre. On October 17, the date that Goni fled Bolivia three years ago, is the International Day of Solidarity with Bolivia, a global day of education and action to support democracy and an end to impunity in Bolivia.

 

Aisling Walsh spent 9 months last year volunteering with the Human Rights Assembly of Cochabamba, Bolivia on the issue of Goni. She will give a presentation on the events of October 2003, including a short documentary and images, the case against Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and where it stands, how international solidarity can contribute to the fight for justice in Bolivia and Bolivian Solidarity in Ireland. Discussion after.


5th October: Displaced people of Colombia: “Surviving in the Middle of a War”.

Friar Omar Fernandez Obrigon is a member of an itinerant Franciscan community of men and women working with internally displaced people in Colombia. More than 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes by paramilitaries, the guerrillas, and the security forces since 1985. Tens of thousands of others have been killed, “disappeared”, tortured or kidnapped. Friar Omar Fernandez Obrigon has been involved with human rights issues for over 20 years and works closely with many NGO's, both inside and outside Colombia. He regularly participates in the Human Rights commission meeting in Geneva and is a member of an International Ecumenical commission to combat HIV/AIDS.


3rd October: Film-making with the Zapatistas: “From Chiapas to Mumbai”.

(with Ana Laura Hernández Martínez)

 

Ana Laura Hernández Martínez, Mexican video-maker and social activist, has lived and worked in Chiapas for the past 12 years. She was previously part of the San Cristobal based Women's Film-makers Collective, making grassroots documentaries with indigenous women, as well as instructing members of the indigenous communities in Video and Internet workshops as a tool of struggle for craftswomen cooperatives and independent women. She was a long-term coordinator for the Chiapas Media Project (now Promedios) and was a founding member of Centro de Medios Independientes (Indymedia) Chiapas. She was a media organizer in the successful mobilization against the WTO in Cancun, 2003. She was part of the Women's Video-letters Against the War project in Europe, 2002, and presented a screening of a documentary “Tierra de Mujeres” (Women's Land) at the World Social Forum in Mumbai India 2004. She is currently working as production assistant on "Corazon del Tiempo" (The Heart of Time) - the first major Mexican feature film to be made with the direct collaboration of the Zapatista communities.
In Dublin she will be presenting some short videos on the latest events in Mexico, from the women's struggle in Atenco to the current Zapatista campaign La Otra (the Other Campaign). Discussion afterwards.


31st August: Helping Communities become Self-sufficient, Sustainable & Democratic Entities: The Work of the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) in Nicaragua. 

Becca Mohally Renk, has been working in the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), the Nicaraguan project of the non-profit organization the Jubilee House Community (JHC). In Nicaragua since 1994, the CDCA seeks to respond to human needs created by poverty in a nation where 45% lives on less than $ 1 per day, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The CDCA is working to help communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities. Becca will be speaking about the CDCA's groundbreaking work in sustainable economic development (developing long-term jobs so families can feed their own children), sustainable agriculture (so that poor farmers don't lose their land), primary health care (in the face of privatization of health care), education (both technical training for Nicaraguans as well as the education of first world volunteers), and appropriate technology (seeking to care for the earth as natural resources are used, and introducing work techniques that are maintainable).

Highlights of the talk will include hearing how a rural coffee cooperative has been able to provide educational opportunities for children and adults in the community through marketing its organic, fair trade coffee, and how a group of women who were victims of Hurricane Mitch have been able to provide employment for 70 people through their worker-owned cooperative making organic and fair trade clothing for export.
For more information see: www.jhc-cdca.org


17th August: The Last Elections in Bolivia: A Divided Country.

Stefania Minervino participated as a Short Term Observer to the EU Electoral Mission to Bolivia in July. On July 2nd the Bolivians voted to elect the representatives for the Constituent Assembly which will discuss and re-draft the Bolivian Constitution. They also voted on a referendum on regional autonomies whose results have highlighted the political, economical and ethnic divisions of the country. Stefania will give an overview of the current political situation in Bolivia and about her experience as election observer. Stefania is an anthropologist and has worked between 1998 and 2000 as a Human Rights observer in Guatemala, on indigenous and gender issues.


3rd August: The Atenco Popular Front & The Police Repression which took place in June 2006

A discussion about Atenco situation will be held by the Dublin Zapatista Action Group and there will be a screening of a movie about this topic as well. The Mexican film is called “Rompiendo el cerco”, (“Breaking the silence”). This film analyzes what happened in San Salvador Atenco in the first days of May 2006. It also reveals the human rights violations of the population by the Mexican GovernmentÕs police. The documentary shows the way of working of local mass medias, which are responsible to frighten people and to not reveal what really happened in San Salvador Atenco, during a such critical situation as the change of the Mexican President in 2006.


27th July: Bolivia and the Water Privatisation Debate.

Muireann de Barra is a film-maker who is currently making a documentary on the water privatisation issue in Bolivia. She will talk about her experience in Bolivia making this film and about a recent debate on water privatisation in the developing world, organised in London by the World Development Movement which she attended. There will also be a screening of the 2006 film, ‘Bolivia is Not For Sale’.


15th June: Analysis of Mexican Situation. 

A gathering will be held this Thursday, 15th June, at the Spire on O'Connell St. to protest at the continuing detention of democracy activists from San Salvador Atenco, Mexico. This will be followed by a talk at LASC at 7.30 on the police occupation of Atenco and the "Other Campaign" in Mexico, given by an independent media worker based in Mexico.

A brief summary by Kino

Please, come with questions and ready to participate. 

The Other Campaign, what is it? Is there or can there be a relationship between the Other campaign and Ireland (remember those words from the early days - “Be a zapatista wherever you are”)?

 

What about solidarity - In the times of great need for presence of observers, a lot of people responded, ready to put their bodies between the communities and the army. There was also great interest in the communities, their ways, and the Zapatista movement, Indigenous culture, the military structure (in the insurgent army), also the women in the communities and Zapatista organisation, all of these things. Where are we now with that? Is is possible to have a solidarity movement? is “solidarity” even needed, or wanted?

 

It seems to me sometimes, from the outside, that everybody here is busy, with their lives, no time, too much stress, live is maybe too expensive, to fast to dedicate or to be able to commit or take on responsibility for a “campaign” or for a “solidarity group”. Are we worse off than them now? Most of the zapatista communities have food security, a lot now have clean water. They have the autonomous local government councils in place and working. The autonomous councils and working on projects to ensure the safety of their communities for future generations.

 

How are we doing here? Maybe it's time they return the favour for the peace observation work? Maybe they are giving us something back with the other campaign? They have stated that it's risking everything that has been gained.

 

My idea of the talk is to present the Sixth declaration for those who may not be familiar with it, maybe read a few selected parts, and discuss that.
Discuss adhering to the sixth.
How can the other campaign reach and be manifest in Ireland?

 

I imagine there will be questions about Atenco, and that can be discussed, but I don't want to dwell on it. If may be the most dramatic and outrageous event of recent months, but it's pretty simple what happened there. It's don't believe that discussing it is worth too much of limited time. I have a 40 minute video, and I am waiting on subtitles to be sent, hopefully today. Bring a blank DVD to take away a copy.

 

In the spirit of the “other”, I'd prefer to spend more time listening than talking, and I hope everyone else will too.


1st June: Looking for Answers to the Housing Drama in West Buenos Aires.

 

Speakers: Perla Fernandez y Sandra Ferreyra from Madre Tierrra, a civil society group from Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Madre Tierra's work focuses on access to urban land and housing for those living in poverty in Buenos Aires. The issues the organisation concentrates onÊare: land regularization, improvement and building of housing; infrastructures and services to the communities; etc. They do this through strenghtening and developing the capacity of the community; advocacy work; etc.


18th May: Sipakapa Is Not For Sale - An Analysis of Mining Exploitation in Guatemala

Speaker: Miren Maialen

 

Miren-Maialen has been in Guatemala since last January and has been a contributor to the Guatemalan “Entremundos” volunteer initiative writing and volunteering in fair trade projects.

 

She is presenting the film “Sipakapa is not for sale” telling the incredible story of the resistance of the indigenous people of Sipakapa in the department of San Marcos affected by the Canadian mine.

 

Since her arrival in Guatemala, she has been in constant contact with the “Social Pastoral” of the Dioceses of San Marcos in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, which have been defending the rights of the indigenous people.


This documentary analyses the debate on mining exploitation in Guatemala and demonstrates the dignity of the Sipakapan People as they fight to defend their autonomy in the face of encroaching neo-liberal “development” megaprojects.

 

This 55 minute documentary (with English sub-titles) is about the struggle of the Sipakapense-Mayan people, in San Marcos, Guatemala, in defense of autonomy, locally controlled development and environmental well-being, against the harms and violations associated with the open-pit gold mining operation of the Glamis Gold mining company.

 

In 2005, Montana Exploradora, subsidiary of the Canadian/US transnational company Glamis Gold, received 45 million US dollars in financing from the World Bank to exploit an open-pit gold mine in Guatemala. There was never any consultation with the local Mayan Sipakapense and Mam communities about the ‘concessioning’ of their lands and territories to a global mining company that, furthermore, is using the most harmful method of gold mining Ð open pit, cyanide leaching processes.

 

In accordance with ILO Convention 169, the Constitution of Guatemala and the Municipal Code, a Community Consultation was held in Sipakapa on 18 June 2005, to establish whether the population would accept or reject mining exploitation in its municipality. The result was a resounding NO to mining.

 

“Sipakapa is Not for Sale” contrasts the daily life and struggle of the Maya Sipakapan people with the arguments of representatives of the mining company that operates in their territory. It analyses the debate on mining exploitation and demonstrates the dignity of the Sipakapan People as they fight to defend their autonomy in the face of encroaching neo-liberal “development” megaprojects.


30th March: Promoting Civil Society Participation on Environmental Issues.

Speaker: Patricio Cranshaw 

 

Patricio Cranshaw is an architect and planner who has worked with the Nicaraguan resistance and government for over 25 years. Trained as an architect in Madrid and Florence, he soon returned home to throw himself into the job of attacking rural poverty under the National Plan of the Sandinista government in the early 1980s. During the height of the Contra war against Nicaragua he represented his government at the London Embassy, and was later stationed at the Nicaraguan embassy in Washington. He was later Western European Co coordinator for the Nicaragua Must Survive Campaign. After a period with Save the Children, he is now the Progressio national co ordinator for Nicaragua.

 

Patricio Cranshaw will talk about Civil Society Rights and Participation, with an emphasis on environmental issues. Some points to approach would be:

a. Environment as a Developmental Issue in Nicaragua: Why it is important?

b. How PROGRESSIO approch it?

c. Promoting organisation, what does it mean?

d. Creating tools to empower people: Communication and learning tools

e. The potentiality of networking and advocacy work?

f. The difficulties


9th February: Peace Brigades International and Human Rights in Guatemala.

Speaker: Fionuala Cregan

 

She has been working for the past year in Guatemala with Peace Brigades International (PBI) and so will talk a little bit about the work she has been doing, and the human rights situation there. She will also show a film about human rights and PBI Guatemala called "The Search for Dignity".

 

Peace Brigades International is an international NGO working for peace and human rights. It has been offering protection to human rights defenders through its international presence in regions of conflict since 1982. PBI helps to make space for locals to stand up up for their rights by sending a team of international volunteers to accompany people who are threatened by politically motivated violence because of their human rights activities.

 

PBI began to work in Guatemala at the height of its civil war in 1983 and closed its project in 1999 shortly after the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords, believing that the space for peace and democracy was in place. However, only one year later it began to receive urgent requests from local human rights defenders to re-open the project due to a worsening in the human rights situation. The project re-opened in March 2003.

 

The situation for human rights defenders in Guatemala is one of the most dangerous in the world. They are subjected to threats, physical attacks, defamation, raids of their offices and in some cases even to murder.

 

The film "The Search for Dignity" explores the human rights situation in Guatemala through following the work of the PBI team, interviewing local human rights defenders who discuss their work and their struggle, in the face of repression and violence, to bring about a more dignified life for the majority of Guatemalans.


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2005


1st December: Visit to Colombia.

Speaker: Dara Binéid

Talk will be about the Colombia Solidarity Group's delegation visit to Colombia last June/July at the invitation of Sinaltrainal, the food and beverage trade union in Colombia who have borne the brunt of the anti-worker policies of multinationals such as Coca Cola. Outside of Bogotá they visited Berancabermeja, a major oil port, Bucaramanga and the Department of Arauca as guests of Women's groups, social groups and other trade unions where we heard first hand accounts of the effects of the extreme right-wing policies of the Colombian Government.


17th November: Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Peru and Ecuador.

Speakers are: Inés Rivasplata Leader of Irrigators Commission,CEDEPAS,PERU
and Manuel Espinosa Director CEPCU ECUADOR

 

CEDEPAS and CEPCU have worked together with two other organisations in Peru; and Ecuador in a joint project designed to strengthen these organisations by sharing experiences. A series of workshops, and visits took place during the 3 year duration of the project from April 2003 March 2005.

 

In the final meeting the participants concluded that the project improved their capacity to protect the environment and manage their natural resources sustainably; at the same time influencing local government policies on sustainable development.

 

 3rd November: Haiti's Solidarity Movement in Canada.

Speaker: Andrea Schmidt

Time: 7:00pm

 

A talk about Haiti and about the solidarity movement in Canada by a Canadian visitor, Andrea Schmidt. Andrea comes from Montreal and has reported from Iraq and Haiti. She has been actively involved in solidarity with both countries and with support for immigrants. Some of her reports from Haiti are online at www.nologo.org

 

27th October: Venezuela Report.

Speaker: Sean Edwards

 

Sean Edwards, a member of the committee of Lasc will report on his visit to Venezuela in April, with a particular emphasis on developments in education. Eoin OBroin will report on the World Festival of Youth and Students, which he attended in Caracas in August.


22th September: Talk on Alternative Secondary School in Belize.

Speaker: Dermot Deering

Venue: LASC Office

Time: 8:00pm

 

Irish Secondary teacher, Dermot Deering, recently returned from Belize volunteering at a Secondary School in Belize will host a presentation on Tumul k'in Centre of learning, Belize.

 

The talk will focus on the alternative nature of the education offered to the Maya communities of southern Belize.

 

Tumul kin or New Dawn, is so far the first Education Centre to put indigenous culture and values at the core of the learning experience for Maya post-primary students. The talk will include a 20 minute DVD on the school's work.


8th September: Osvaldo Vasquez.

LASC invite you on Thursday 9th september: Osvaldo Vasquez born in Santiago, Chile, in 1949. Arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1975. Working with CIIR since 1986, at present Regional Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Studied: Agriculture and Rural Development in Chile, Rural Sociology in Peru and graduated from University College of North Wales. MA in Rural Studies in Sussex University. Worked in the Agrarian Reform process in Chile in 1973 with the National Institute of Agricultural Development,Assistant lecturer on the Sociology of Rural Development Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile and in the UK for VSO as training officer for volunteers.

 

Areas to be covered in the talk with LASC in Dublin. Main factors affecting the development process in Latin America and their impact on the environment,the economy and poverty, Structural Adjustment and the Globalization process, Free Trade Agreements and its impact on the poor Crisis of the political system Corruption, lack of transparency, participation and accountability, Alternatives for participatory development.

 

The role of international solidarity. Depending on the time left, he will show a 20 minutes DVD about the work of an environmental regional project supported by CIIR in Central America.


10th March: Video - The Hidden Story: Confronting Colombia's Dirty War.

 

The Hidden Story exposes the interests behind the dirty war in Colombia. It analyses the roots of the conflict, the role of the US-sponsored Plan Colombia and the so called "war on drugs" as well as the connection with international economic interests.

After the video there will be time for discussion and questions.


24th February: Chilean New Song Movement - A Discussion.

Anna Dempsey, currently researching the Chilean New Song Movement, will host an informal talk on this as part of her thesis research on the subject. There will be a basic introduction to the movement,we will also listen to some of the movement's most famous songs, followed by an open discussion.

 

Nueva Cancion started as a re-emergence of Chilean Folk music and as protest against the oppressive right-wing government. The movement had huge popularity and success across Latin America until it was banned following the military coup in 1973 and subsequent dictatorship of Chile for many years after. The story of the song movement is incredible and more importantly it actually happened... musicians like Victor Jara (the Chilean equivalent of Bob Dylan) were killed because of their music which called for equality, democracy and basic human rights.

 

All Welcome, regardless of knowledge on subject.


20th January: Raw-Farming Documentary on Brazilian Womens Organic Farming Movement.

(Video showing and presentation/discussion)

 

This documentary film, made by May Waddington, shows the extraordinary work of the 'nut breakers' in the Brazil Amazon. Women from indigenous communities, derive a simple livelihood from collecting and processing babassu nuts, supporting 400,000 households in the region. They call themselves the quebradeiras de coco or 'nut breakers'. Until about twenty years ago, vast sections of forests were burned and cleared for cattle grazing by landowners. The local people were forced, often violently, from the land that had given them access to areas where the babassu palms grew. As fertile land was lost to logging, many families lost their farms and men struggled to find work. The collection and processing of babassu nuts by women in the communities became their main source of income. Undeterred by the threats and violence, the babassu nut breakers formed an association of rural working women, known as AMTR, and successfully lobbied local and federal officials to stop the clearing of the palm forests. The association protects their right to gather, harvest and sell the nuts. With the help of a local cooperative called COPALJ, they are now legally entitled go wherever they like and collect babassu fruit. Babassu is the main cash crop in the region, providing most of the family income. More information click here

 

The lively, musically rich film is 30 minutes long, and has English subtitles. The viewing will be followed by a presentation/discussion led by activist Miren-Maialen Samper, who has lived in Brazil.


13th January: Will EU Aid Create More Poverty in Latin America?

The EU is twisting its aid to developing countries. In exchange for Europe's aid package, affected countries will have to open their markets to full Free Trade Areas with the EU - equivalent to the FTAA of the Americas. Called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) these are currently being negotiated with most regions of the developing world. EPAs involve opening up of markets to a far greater extent than required by the WTO. Comhlamhs Conall O Caoimhs will explain how EPAs will impact on Latin America and talk about Comhlamhs campaign to stop EPAs in their current form. (To find out more about the campaign, go to Comhlamh)

 

The EPAs will affect the ACPs (or African, Caribbean and Pacific counties), which include Haiti, Dominican Republic, Belize and many Caribbean islands.


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2004


16th December: The Kallari Association - Creating Economic Alternatives to Rainforest Destruction in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

www.kallari.com

Kallari has proven to be a sustainable and consistent means for the Kichwa people to fulfill basic needs for their families without cutting down their rainforests or selling their lands to farming, mining, or oil interests. The cooperative has also inspired Kichwa youth to learn and practice traditional harvesting, weaving and carving techniques, and has grown from less 50 families to over 600.


2nd December: Thursday Night Film - Tambogrande.

Short documentary (in Spanish) and discussion on Tambogrande, a community's positive response and successful defense of its land rights and environment.

 

Tambogrande in northern Peru famous for its lemons and fruits in general, became the scene of a massive community response against a gold mining project led by Manhattan Ltd. of Canada. The community united from the beginning to any form of mining in the fertile San Lorenzo valley. This valley's clean water supply and natural forests are the key element in sustaining a vibrant agricultural society. The common experience of mining for rural communities throughout Latin America has been one of polluted water, sick animals and health of the children undermined. Knowing this the campesinos took the only strategy available to protect their livelihoods and the health of their families when the Ministry of Energy and Mining announced the granting of a concession to a Canadian Multi-National to mine on their lands. In so doing they have set a positive and optimistic model for others to follow.


11th November: A New Film on Venezuela "Venezuela Bolivariano".

Followed by discussion


28th October: To the Heart of the Amazon - Journey of a Lifetime with Valerie Meikle.

Valerie is an English woman, now based in Ennis, who lived for many years amongst indigenous communities in the tropical rainforests of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. She has recently published a fascinating book To the Heart of the Amazon: Journey of a Lifetime about her 1,500 km journey in a dugout canoe from the Colombian Amazon to the Amazon river at Santo Antonio Do Ica in Brazil in 1993. Her book touches on issues such as destruction of the Amazon rainforest and cultures, patenting of healing plants, indigenous healing systems and is an extraordinary account of an often challenging and deeply rewarding trip.

 

Valerie will give an illustrated talk, which will include readings from her book, time for questions and book signings.


23rd September: The Health, Social and Environmental Consequences of Gold Mining on the Community of Cajamarca in Northern Peru.

The talk will focus on the health/social and environmental consequences of gold mining on the community of Cajamarca in Norhtern Peru. Yanacocha in Cajamarca is the largest gold mine in Latin America and the second largest in the world and in 2002 produced 2.29 million ounces of gold.

 

However the technologies and methods used such as the lixivation(washing) with cyanide of whole hillsides brings into stark releif the contrast in health and environmental standards between the 1st and 3rd worlds. The health and environmental standards as applied by Newmont Corporation threatens to leave a human catastrophe in its wake in Cajamarca and surrounding region.

 

It is exactly a year since Lasc and Trocaire jointly hosted a special screening of the award winning documentary CHOROPAMPA THE PRICE OF GOLD (Yanacocha mine) and now perhaps is the time for some action to be taken on this issue.

 

Chronicle of the events by Indymedia Peru

www.nodirtygold.org
www.grufides.org

www.ecovida.org


29th JULY: Brazil Sugar Trade.

 

James Thorlby works for the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) in the North-East of Brazil. He's on a tour of Europe to lobby MEP's on the sugar trade; specifically, on the CPT's contention that Brazil's sugar's cheapness is based on slave labour; that increasing imports of Brazilian sugar into the EU will benefit only the "sugar barons" and reinforce slavery in Brazil; and that Brazil's massive "latifundia" style sugar farms destroy the environment and undermine local food security.

 

The CPT is an agency of the Bishop's Conference in Brazil. The Brazilian government recently awarded it the Human Rights Award 2003 in the Eradication of Slave Labour category for its work to combat slave labour throughout the country.


15th JULY: President Hugo Chavez - Judgement Day.

(A discussion about the Venezuelan political process and the upcoming recall)

 

Speaker: Mick McCaughan - freelance Latin American correspondent.

 

Mick, who has spent the past five years observing the Venezuelan political process, recently published a book entitled 'The Battle for Venezuela.'

 

On April 12th 2002 the world awoke to the news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had been removed from office and had been replaced by a new interim government. What had in fact taken place was the first Latin American coup of the 21st century, and the world's first media coup. (www.chavezthefilm.com) Since, other attempts have been made to oust Chavez.

Mick McCaughan will talk about the forthcoming recall referendum.


24th JUNE: Survival Strategies in the Barrios of Buenos Aires - Fighting Neo-liberalisation at the Local Level.

Speaker: Father José Resich, Catholic priest from the San Pablo parish of Merlo in Buenos Aires

 

Father José is visiting Britain and Ireland and will be talking about his work in Merlo, one of the largest barrios of Buenos Aires where he runs a soup kitchen which feeds 600 people a day. A qualified doctor of medicine he is also a director of the local municipal hospital. Ordinary people in Argentina are the most affected by the country's worst-ever economic crisis. In the face of this, the people of Merlo, through solidarity, creativity and sheer determination are demonstrating that new organisational strategies are possible for the poor to survive in the globalised neo-liberal economy. Father Jose represents the, too often forgotten, essence of Christianity of being on the side of the poor in deeds and not just words. He carries on the work of his friends Fathers Mugica and Angelelli killed during the military dictatorship.

 

Jose Resich works in the parish of San Pablo, Ferrari neighbourhood in Merlo (west Buenos Aires a traditional working class barrio facing, at present, major economic and social difficulties). The parish is the focal point for the community and father Jose, who is a doctor of medicine and director of the local hospital, (his wages are paid by the hospital and he is not paid by the Church) an articulate practitioner of the principles of theology of liberation ie a grass roots activist, provides the energy and motivation. The day to day running of the parish is a collective affair as you'll see from the website. They feed 600 people (entire families) on a daily basis, run a cultural centre (sponsored by Italians) and grow their own organic food (for own consumption and sale) on a piece of land given to them by the municipality. They have a furniture (a big hit are the armchairs in the colours of the most famous football teams), dressmaking and free tool-hire workshops.

 

The San Pablo Parish website is: www.papotam.com/sanpablo/


8th April: Discussion on the Coup D'état in Haiti.

 

After the USA backed coup in Haiti last February, many people have become aware of that country in the Caribbean. However, the history of suffering of the Haitian people go back a long time. Next Thursday's discussion will try to explore the links between what has happened in Haiti and the wider power struggle in the region.


26th February: Popular Movements in Ecuador.

Speaker: A member of GALA

Popular movements in Ecuador are under threat as they stage protests against the government.

Leonidas Iza, the president of CONAIE (The Confederation of Idigenous People of Ecuador) and some members of his family have suffered an assassination attempt.
A member of GALA (Galway Action for Latin America) will share her experience of working with indigenous groups in Ecuador as well as exploring the political situation.


5th February: Democratic Security Policies' of President Uribe and their Impact upon Human Rights and Vulnerable Communities.

Speaker: Jorge Rojas, director of CODHES (Human Rights and Displacement Consultancy), a leading human rights NGO in Colombia.

 

Mr Rojas is travelling around Europe representing the Alianza, a broad coalition of civil society organisations working on human rights and development issues in Colombia. He will speak about how strategies are being used by all sides in the conflict which effectively draw civilians directly into it, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people every year. There will be the opportunity for questions and discussion afterwards.

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2003


16th October: Documentary about Mining in Peru and Talk on its Health and Environmental Consequences.

Speaker: Peruvian filmaker Ernesto Cabellos and Stephanie Boyd, Canadian.

Title: "Choropampa The Price of Gold - Peru"

 

The documentary is about Trocaire's partners in Peru and it highlights the struggle of peasant communities to seek justice and their rights following a devastating mercury spill by one of the world's richest gold -mining corporations ( Newmont). It focuses on a devastating mercury spill by the world's richest gold mining corporation, which transforms a quiet peasant village in Peru's Andean mountains into a hotbed of civil resistance. A courageous young mayor emerges to lead his people on a quest for health care and justice. But powerful interests conspire to thwart the villagers at every turn in this 2-year epic chronicle of the real price of gold.

THANKS TO TROCAIRE FOR THEIR SUPPORT WITH THIS TALK.


9th October: "Derecho a Vivir en Paz" - New Documentary about Victor Jara and the 1973 Coup in Chile.

Facilitator: Enrique Diaz from Chile. Enrique had to leave Chile in 1973 as a result of the coup and has been living in Ireland since.

 

Screening and talk on occassion of the 30th anniversary (last Sept 11) of the coup that brought Pinochet to power. Documentary by the Victor Jara Foundation in Chile. Spanish no subtitles. Q&A in English.


2nd October: "My Experience of Latin America".

Speaker: Brendan Forde, a Franciscan priest who has worked in different Latin American countries for the last 30 years. At the moment he lives in Colombia, where he accompanies communities who are under threat from the violence of war.


25th September: Cuban Songs and Talk - "Working as a Radio Journalist in Havana.".

Speaker: Bernie Dwyer, an Irish woman living in Havana, will talk about her work as a Radio Havana Cuba journalist.

Cuban songwriter: Roberto, who will play the guitar and sing his compositions.


26th June: Community Activism in Argentina.

Speakers: Graciela Monteagudo, community artist and human rights activist. Neka Jara, Anibal Veron co-ordination of unemployed workers Piqueteros movement.

Over the last 2 years an incredible wave of social protest and action has engulfed Argentina. In the midst of the well-publicised economic collapse there have been massive street protests, numerous co- ordinated road blockades, over 200 factories under workers control, more than three hundred coordinated microenterprise cooperatives organized by unemployed women and men, countless neighborhood associations formed, and many other autonomous popular initiatives. Neka and Graciela are bringing a message of hope out of the economic catastrophe in Argentina. Graciela has toured the two Americas with a unique puppet show portraying how workers have gone from regular jobs to picking up cardboard from the streets of Buenos Aires every night to sell it for a few pence. The show - which has had great success - tells of the local social movements that have grown to create a near insurrection. Neka belongs to the unemployed workers of the Anibal Veron Co- ordination, part of the Piqueteros movement - their name coming from their tactic of picketing or blockading roads and motorways. She is coming to share her experience of the vast movement of occupations and grass-roots organising and resistance that has swept Argentina.


12th June: Venezuela - A Year After the Coup.

Speaker: Sean Edwards, LASC committee member who has just returned from Venezuela, will give a report about the current situation there.


8th MAY: Trade Justice Campaign.

Speaker: Conall O'Caoimh of Comhlamh.

Part of the follow-up to Latin America Week, which focussed on the globalisation of trade. The workshop is of particular interest to people who wish to take part in the Dail Lobby for Trade Justice which takes place on May 14th. For more information visit www.tradejusticeireland.org


1st May: Fyffes and the Rights of Banana Workers in Belize.

Speakers: Oisin Coughlan and Morina O'Neill, who spent two years working in Belize on the issue of community and labour organisation with banana workers.

 

The format will consist of a workshop on the international banana trade, followed by a forum on potential actions from Ireland on the issue of Banana workers' rights in Belize. Fyffes, the Ireland-based multinational banana company, is the sole buyer of all Belize's bananas. The Annual General Meeting of the shareholders of Fyffes takes place on May 30 in Dublin and may provide an opportunity for action to promote banana workers' rights.


24th April: International Solidarity with Cuba.

Speaker: Luis Marron, courtesy of the Cuba Support Group.

Luis Marron is head of the Irish and British desk at the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP) in Havana. ICAP is the organisation in Cuba which maintains contact with solidarity organisations throughout the world and co-ordinates the International Work Brigades to Cuba. Luis has visited Ireland on many occasions - the last time in the company of Dr Aleida Guevara this time last year. He is a very capable commentator on all aspects of life in Cuba with a particular emphasis on the benefits and achievements of international solidarity.


13th February: Eyewitness to a Coup.

Speaker: Barry Cannon.

Barry Cannon's talk will centre on the events of April 2002 in Caracas Venezuela, when President Hugo Chavez's government was briefly toppled by opposition sectors. He will give an eyewitness account of the events themselves, examine the validity of the polarized versions of opposition and government on the coup, and look at opposition proposals for Venezuela in the case of the fall of the Chavez government.


6th February: Cooperation in Guatemala.

Speaker: Mark Kenny.

Mark has just returned from the Quiche region of Guatemala where he worked with a local community group in setting up a school for indigenous children, a community co-operative and a football league.


23rd January: Mapuche Nation!

Speaker: Enrique Ruiz.

Chilean journalist and activist Enrique Ruiz will give an update on the situation in the indigenous Mapuche Communities in Southern Chile, which are currently suffering a wave of violent repression by the Chilean state and the private security firms employed by the lumber corporations.


16th January: Diez de Abril - An Eyewitness Account from Latin America.

Speaker: Maria Kenneally.

Maria has recently returned from Protective Accompaniment in the Zapatista community Diez de Abril in Mexico.


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 2002


12th December: Venezuela Update.

Speaker: Donnacha O'Brien.

Donnacha, a filmaker and a member of Attac, gave us an eyewitness account of the April coup in Venezuela during a TNT back in September. Now Venezuela is on the edge of chaos as a general business-led strike paralizes oil production. According to Alfredo Keller, the political analyst, a single badly aimed shot is all that is needed to start a civil war. This Thursday Donnacha will give us an update, following last weekend's violence which left three people dead.


14th November: Corporate Globalization in Central America.

As part of a fraternal visit from the Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, ORIN LANGELLE, who is touring Wales in connection with their Land rights and Wrongs campaign speaks in LASC. He works for ASEJ and ACERCA, justice and environmental organisations in the USA and specializes in anti-corporate globalization analysis and Central American politics.


3rd October: Two Community Artists from El Salvador.

Gilberto Arriaza and Mercy Cornejo will talk about their work with "maras" (urban street gangs), marginalised youth and women's groups and show slides.


26th September: The School of the Americas

Speaker: Ciaron O'Reilly

Australian activist jailed in the USA for nonviolent antiwar protest. The video "S.O.A.: Guns and Greed" will be shown.

NB. This TNT will include planning session for upcoming protest this November.


19th September: The True Causesaof Conflict in Colombia.

Speaker: "Jaime", Colombian political exile in the UK.


12th September: April 2002 Coup in Venezuela  - An Eyewitness Account.

Speaker: Donncha O'Brian, film maker and member of ATTAC Ireland. Original video footage will be shown.


5th September: Land and Power - A Global Issue. Land Tax - A solution to the Housing Crisis?

Speaker: Joe Glynn, from Friends of the Earth Ireland.

Land is power: it is the source of all wealth. And it is essential for human life, it provides our most basic needs: food, water, shelter and security. But this source of power and wealth is very unfairly and unevenly distributed. Here in Ireland, we have a severe housing crisis, which has only worsened with the 'Celtic Tiger'. In Latin America, 94% of the land is owned by 7% of the population, and over 60% live in absolute poverty. Joe Glynn will talk about the idea of a Land Tax, and why he believes it would be a fairer form of taxation than the one we currently have.



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