2:00pm – 6:00pm, talleres y presentaciones
6:00pm – 8:00pm, cena y música
Sábdo 4 de noviembre 2017
La Casa Roja – 1251 S. St. Andrews Place – Los Angeles, CA 90019
Está listx para una revolución? Quiere aprender de otros movimientos a nivel local e internacional? Acción Permamente por la Paz estará organizando un día de actividades, talleres, intercambios y foros sobre las luchas populares por las Américas. Nuestros equipos internacionales, miebros de la mesa directiva y aliadxs presentarán sobre las luchas de los pueblos indígenas, afro-descendientes, mujeres, jovenes, trabajadorxs, campesinxs y otros movimientos en Cuba, Colombia, Haití, Honduras, México y Venezuela entre otros.
Analizaremos como nuestras comunidades en Los Ángeles y la región (California, Arizona y Nuevo México) están moblizandose en diferentes frentes desde la lucha para enfrentar el cambio climático, la lucha por los derechos migrantes, la violencia del estado y la brutalidad policiaca. Aprenderemos de las luchas a favor de las dietas saludables y decoloniales, recuperación de tierras y derechos humanos.
Todxs saldarán del evento con más información y más “herramientas” para construir un movimiento dinamico e inovador en contra de las violaciones de derechos humanos que estamos enfrentando en todas nuestras comunidades.
Donación sugerida para la conferencia: $10, para la cena: $10, para ambas actividades $15. Nadie será rechazadx por falta de fondos.
Habrá cuidado de ninxs por pedido. Evento bilingue.
Rifa, libros y artesanía a la venta!!!!
Para más información: firstname.lastname@example.org o email@example.com or call 805-669- VIVA (8482)
2:00pm – 6:00pm, Workshops
6:00pm – 8:00pm, Dinner and Music
Saturday November 4th, 2017
The Red House
1251 S. St. Andrews Place
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Ready for a revolution? Want to learn from other movements organizing locally and internationally? Join Witness for Peace Southwest for an afternoon of discussions, presentations and engaging workshops on grassroots organizing across the Americas. Our international teams, board members and allies will present on current issues facing Indigenous, African-Descendants, women, youth, workers, farmers and other communities in Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela and more.
We will also look at how our communities in Los Angeles and the greater region (California, Arizona and New Mexico) are organizing in the areas of climate change, immigration rights, against state sanctioned violence ad police brutality, and in favor of decolonial and healthy diets, farming and land rights among others. Everyone will leave with more information, more “tools” to build a dynamic and innovative movement against the onslaught of human rights violations being committed against our communities across borders.
Witness for Peace (WFP) is a politically independent, nationwide grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. Witness for Peace’s mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean. WFP was founded in 1983 as the US backed Contra War in Nicaragua was underway.
WFP organizes: international delegations to document human rights abuses ties to US government funding and US corporate practices; speaker’s tours across the country with grassroots voices from Latin America and the Caribbean; hosts local events and solidarity gatherings and, collaborates on congressional work to shape US policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Suggested donation $10 for conference, $10 Dinner or $15 for both. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Child care available upon request. Bilingual event.
Raffle, books and artesania for sale!
For more information and to rsvp email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 805-669- VIVA (8482)
On July 28, 2007, just three years into the 2004 coup and the 92-year anniversary of the first US occupation of Haiti of 1915-1934, a crowd of protestors and witnesses watched Lovinsky lead a demonstration in front of UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince. We listened to his speech, in which he made the connection between the current occupation and the first US occupation. Lovinsky invoked the Haitian revolutionaries, like Charlemagne Péralte, who fought to end the 1915 invasion, and he said that that legacy of revolutionary struggle lives on in the people today. He said the people would always fight to uproot neo-colonialism and exploitation—they would always fight for their freedom. Two weeks after this speech, Lovinsky was kidnapped.
Lovinsky dedicated his life to fighting against the restoration of the Haitian Army. Today and into the future, we honor his work with victims of the Haitian Military, police forces and of the United Nations troops, who have occupied Haiti since 2004. We must hold the UN occupying force accountable for the disappearance of Lovinsky under their watch and for all the crimes it has committed against the Haitian people.
As we echo his voice against the violence of the police, occupation forces and the restoration of the Haitian military, let us also demand justice for Lovinsky https://www.facebook.com/HaitiActionCommittee/posts/10155591278684886
Lovinsky, and all of those who have fought, suffered, and died in the struggle—in Haiti and elsewhere—leave us a legacy. To honor that legacy, we too must struggle to build a new society in which humanity, justice, empathy, and love are the prevailing values. Little by little, we must have faith, like Lovinsky, that we will make progress. But we must help each other. We must follow the example of our Haitian brothers and sisters who say, “Nou pap obeyi!” We do not obey! We resist! We believe in the power of collective struggle. Little by little, together, we will make a difference.
Haiti Action Committee
@HaitiAction1 and on Facebook
The Witness for Peace delegation “Honduras: The Fight for Reparations” just returned from a nearly two week long Black and Brown exchange with Garifuna communities located along the North-east coast and organized by OFRANEH, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras. Throughout the delegation, the Garifuna spoke about their legal victories demanding the return of their ancestral lands from the Honduran state and transnational corporations as well as their communities’ struggles against the ongoing coup.
“The Garifuna are descendants of the African Diaspora as well as Indigenous peoples across the Caribbean and the continental Americas. They have historically fought to repair the colonial and imperial wrongs perpetrated against their nations for centuries. In Honduras, the Garifuna have won two unprecedented cases at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in defense of their ancestral rights to land, inherent rights to cultural preservation and their livelihood. These landmark cases have resulted in clear demands for the Honduran state to guarantee the return of all the Garinagu ancestral territories and financial restitution.” (WFP’s website)
Currently, the Garifuna people are under fierce attack from the government, narco-traffickers, and transnational corporations. Honduras is “Open for Business”, as a banner in English proclaims in the San Pedro Sula airport, and its politicians are taking the lead in new varieties of colonialism that intend to sell off resources, rivers and even cities to foreign bidders who would establish sovereignty with no fetters in those chunks of territory.
Garífuna and also Lenca people stand at the forefront of building justice from the ashes of the 2009 coup, that was backed by the U.S. government. The coup halted a vast people’s movement headed toward changes in their constitution that would allow genuine rule by and for the people. Due to a current wave of repression led by the state and other conservative forces, Honduras has statistics of murder among the general population, murders of journalists, murders of trans people, murders of organizers at some of the most alarming rates of any country in the world not officially at war.
Delegates came from Belize, Peru, Ecuador and represented different migrations and Diaspora including: El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Mali and Tanzania.
Keep posted for more information!
The Honduras Fight for Reparations Delegation
The following text was submitted by regional board member Rachel Bruhnke to the Los Angeles Times denouncing President Trump’s pick for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorusch on the weekend of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. The statement reads…
The irony of President Trump announcing, on the weekend of Ronald Reagan’s birthday, judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick for a Supreme Court Justice does not escape those of us in the Latin American Solidarity community in the United States. Ronald Reagan was wrong in the 1980’s to side with the power elites in Central America, against the will of the common people. Mr. Gorsuch was an unapologetic defender of Reagan, no matter the illegality of the case.
Mr. Gorsuch staunchly defended the Reagan administration during the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980’s, and dismissed as “a superficial issue” the illegality of Reagan’s covert operations to overthrow the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Indeed, his senior yearbook quote was from the infamous (in Latin America) Henry Kissinger: “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
As someone who has lived many years in Latin America, including as a Peace Corps volunteer, a university student and a sustainable development engineer, I know firsthand, as Mr. Gorsuch cannot, that he was wrong to oppose necessary changes to unjust political and economic systems in Latin America. The Reagan Wars in Central America began a generation of unnecessary tragedy in the region, and caused hundreds of thousands to flee…Where, ironically? To the U.S.!
The nomination of Mr. Gorsuch strengthens our understanding that President Trump is not interested in the law, nor equality. We can only hope that in this tumultuous process in America, those who are only now just “waking up”-on both sides of these issues-take the time to learn about what those of us have known for decades.
Welcome to the debate, America. Let the education begin.
Witness for Peace Southwest Regional Board Member
San Pedro, California
Más de 200 Zapatistas participaron en el Encuentro Internacional (Con)ciencias en San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas para interrogar y retar a la comunidad científica y también buscaron cómo infundir a sus tradiciones ancestrales con estrategias científicas para vencer los efectos negativos del cambio climático en sus comunidades y el mundo (Radio Zapatista).
DOMINGO 15 de enero de 2017
4:00 a 6:00pm, las puertas abren a las 3:30pm
La Casa Roja, 1251 S St. Andrews Place Los Ángeles, CA 90019
*Donación sugerida de $5 a 20, nadie será rechazadx por falta de fondos *
*Libros, artesanía & más a la venta* & *Refrigerio*
Bienvenidxs a nuestro primer evento de 2017 con charlas sobre los procesos revolucionarios en Cuba, Venezuela y Chiapas, México. Aracely Barboza Cabral es una mujer de color y queer de Los Ángeles del Este con raíces mexicanas y 14 años de experiencia de organización. El noviembre pasado, Aracely participó en una delegación de personas de color a Cuba con WFP. Aracely y otrxs delegadxs aprendieron sobre los logros de la isla y su movimiento en los contextos de justicia social, educación, salud y su transición del capitalismo a otra economía más justa basada en el pueblo. También, lxs delegadxs asistieron eventos con el pueblo cubano de luto después del fallecimiento físico del líder revolucionario Fidel Castro. Este evento celebra el espíritu revolucionario de Cuba.
Jeanette Charles, organizadora regional de WFP, volvió recientemente de Venezuela y Chiapas, México donde los movimientos están combatiendo al capitalismo e intervención estadounidense. El pueblo venezolano sigue definiendo la Revolución Bolivariana y Socialismo del Siglo XXI en sus propios términos a pesar de los ataques de la oposición derechista apoyada históricamente por los EEUU. Las comunas, cooperativas y colectivos trabajando a nombre de la soberanía alimentaria, iniciativas dirigidas por trabajadorxs y en pro de prácticas populares y no capitalistas siguen creciendo en todo el país.
El 1 de enero, 2017, el Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI) y el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) anunciaron su nueva campaña para crear un gobierno paralelo y lanzar una campaña presidencial independiente para el 2018 con una mujer indígena como su vocera. Estas noticias llegan 23 años después del levantamiento del EZLN y marca un capítulo nuevo en su proceso autónomo y en su construcción del poder popular. El EZLN organizó también un encuentro internacional, (Con)Ciencias lo cual retó directamente a científicxs a nivel global a buscar soluciones para resolver los efectos del cambio climático y cambiar la ciencia y tecnología actualmente sometida al sistema capitalista y militarizado.
Bilingual Event (English/Spanish)
SUNDAY January 15, 2017
4:00-6:00pm, doors open at 3:30pm
La Casa Roja, 1251 S St. Andrews Place Los Angeles, CA 90019
*Suggested donation of $5 -10, no one will be turned away for lack of funds*
*Books, Artisanal Goods & more for sale* & *Light refreshments will be provided*
Join Witness for Peace Southwest for our first 2017 event with a special night of report backs focusing on the revolutionary struggles in Cuba, Venezuela and Chiapas, Mexico.
Aracely Barboza Cabral is a queer woman of color from East LA with Mexican roots & 14 years of organizing experience. Last November, Aracely participated in a people of color delegation to Cuba with Witness for Peace. Aracely and other delegates learned firsthand about the island nation’s achievements in social justice, education, healthcare and the transition from capitalism to another, more just people based economy. Delegates also mourned alongside the Cuban people after physical loss of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. This event celebrates Cuba’s revolutionary spirit.
Jeanette Charles, Witness for Peace Southwest regional organizer, recently returned from Venezuela and Chiapas, Mexico where movements are challenging capitalism and US intervention. Venezuelans continue to define Bolivarian Revolution and 21st Century Socialism on their own terms amidst historically US supported right wing opposition attacks. Communes, cooperatives and collectives based on food sovereignty, worker-led initiatives and focused on people rather than profit have taken shape across the country.
On January 1, 2017 the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) made an historic announcement to create a parallel government and launch an independent 2018 presidential campaign with an Indigenous woman as their representative. This news comes 23 years after the EZLN uprising as well as this new chapter in their autonomy and people’s power. The EZLN also organized an international gathering, (Con)ciencias (With the Sciences/Consciousness) which posed a direct challenge to scientists globally to find solutions the world needs to resolve climate change and militarized, capitalist science and technology.
Press Conference Calls for Justice in Future Relations with Cuba
Thursday, December 1 2016
Los Angeles/Harbor Area, (San Pedro) California
Thank you for coming this evening, on the occasion of the death of leader Fidel Castro, to discuss our future relations with the government and people of Cuba. My name is Rachel Bruhnke and I am on the Board of Directors of Witness for Peace Southwest.
Witness for Peace is a national organization begun over 35 years ago during the Reagan Wars against Central America. (It was begun in order) to defend the poor farmers of Central America who were struggling to create a just system in their countries and who, unfortunately, were bombarded by U.S. Military might and were unable to create the change in their system that they were trying to do.
So Witness for Peace (Southwest) has been in existence ever since and we invite you all to look at our website and join us in the struggle for what used to be seen as separate continents, but now with the immigration issue in the United States becoming so front and center I think it is very, very important that we make the point that in so many cases, and the American people need to understand this, it is U.S. wars abroad that create immigration into this country. People fleeing their countries’ economic and political violence in order to come here.
We are here to help the American people, the Cuban people, and the World. Fidel Castro died this week, and the press that was made in the United States is not the press that the rest of the world saw. So we are here, people of goodwill, of truth, of peace and of justice, to make our own press.
We believe that it is an historic opportunity that can produce true understanding in the population of the United States of the important role that peace with Cuba can play for ourselves, for the Cuban people, and as a model of peaceful and constructive dialogue so needed in the world today.
Some may call us Communists. So be it. If goodwill, and truth, and peace, and justice are labeled Communist, then it is not we, but the name-callers who have a lot of explaining to do.
The American people today are facing extreme hardships by not having affordable and adequate education and health care, secure neighborhoods and communities, affordable housing, lives not burdened with crushing debt, uplifting rather than debasing culture all around us, nor environmental protection. Nor do we have peaceful international relations with all nations, or constructive media coverage. Because of this, it is incumbent upon citizens of all levels, including in media, to participate and assist their government and their communities in solving these pressing problems.
All of the above-mentioned hardships, faced in one way or another by the over 300,000,000 in the United States, have been positively addressed by Cuba and its people for over 55 years. The American people need to be free to share in the open and constructive discussion of problem-solving with any and all people of the world. We should not be oppressed in our desperate need to meet our own human needs.
So we, local stakeholders in U.S. healthcare, education, trade and labor, environmental protection and community democracy are meeting here tonight to express our support for improved relations with Cuba, and to reject the uninformed reaction and bellicose threats of Donald Trump and his advisors.
We, on the steps of the San Pedro Courthouse, call for justice in our future relations with the government and people of Cuba…
I would like to introduce a few of our speakers today. The first one, his name is Caney Arnold, running (as a Green Party Candidate) for local office, and his main issue that he is going to speak to tonight is the problem of homelessness in the Harbor Area. Caney…
Thank you, Rachel. Thank you for inviting me here to speak for a few moments. As Rachel said, my name is Caney Arnold. I am a candidate for Los Angeles City Council here for District 15, which includes San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, the Gateway and Watts, and in all those areas, economic and social justice is a major issue.
Since we’re here in San Pedro the one thing that I’d like to talk about is the issue of homelessness, as Rachel mentioned, a major economic and social justice issue that is not being adequately addressed by our City today. Most areas around the country have understood now that “Housing First” and affordable housing are the ways to solve the homelessness issue that Los Angeles seems to not to be able to come to grips with.
We see huge numbers of homeless here in San Pedro and throughout Los Angeles, and instead of using a more humane and empathetic approach, what we see is people being moved from encampment to encampment, pushed from one area to another, spending huge amounts of money that instead could easily be spent on housing, on drug addiction and on alcohol abuse addiction rehab, bringing people up, uplifting them, giving them job training, being able to then put them into affordable housing or even public housing. (It’s) a much simpler approach. More humane approach. More empathetic, and actually less expensive than the current approach. That’s one of my major platforms, and I just want to be able to say again, thank you Rachel for having me here to speak on this today.
Thank you. There are many things that the Cuban people may not have, or have to do, and one of them is to have to step over homeless people on a daily basis. There are no homeless people in Cuba. While there are over 200 million people who are homeless every day on Earth, not one of them is homeless in Cuba.
It’s very important to have affordable housing, and one of the first things they did back in 1959 was to lower rents in the cities and to also begin to secure housing for all of the people of Cuba. We would now like to call up Julia Scoville, who is a (95-year old!) retired nurse to speak on health care issues, here, and what she has seen in Cuba also.
I’m a retired registered nurse, and I had the opportunity to visit Cuba several times. I was very impressed with the health care. First of all, the World Health Organization has indicated that Cuba has a lower infancy death rate than the United States, which is something when you consider the scientific efforts that we have here.
The other factor that impressed me was their generosity in sending medical help wherever it is needed around the world, whether it is earthquakes, floods or whatever. They offered to send help to Louisiana during the floods several years ago, and they were rejected. They could have really helped because a number of people died after that.
The other thing that impressed me was that the medical staff lives right among the patients, among the people they serve. Usually, when we were travelling, if anyone in our group was ill, they would send a whole group of people, medical staff to take care, and in just a few minutes because they were right nearby…
The other thing, and I don’t know if many people know this, but they also help to train medical students from the United States, medical students who are refused entrance to (cannot afford) the U.S. medical schools. If they qualify, they get free medical education and can work wherever they’re needed.
The other factor about their health care is their generosity in sending medical people to different parts of the world. They were very active in many of the tragic situations that occurred. One of the things that they worked on was the (West Nile) mosquito Virus. They go right in and take care of it.
So I think we should be working together in cooperation because we each have something to learn.
(Cheers and clapping from crowd members…)
Yeah!…The United States Government, in all its cynicism toward Cuba, has often said that those international attempts to help around the world is just a form of “Cuban propaganda” to get people on their side, and in the beautiful Cuban way, their answer to that is, “Then the United States should do better propaganda than us. It would help more people.”…Now I’d like to introduce Dave Arian, who is President and Founder of the Harry Bridges Institute to speak on the history of labor relations between the United States and Cuba, and we are calling for a complete end to the U.S. Embargo against Cuba, and to open and fair trade between our nations.
Thank you, Rachel. You know, the Harry Bridges Institute was founded on the principles that Harry, who was the founder of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union stood for, and one of the main things he talked about was the support for international workers everywhere.
In 1948 there was a coalition between the ILWU, who had sugar workers and farm workers in Hawaii, along with the sugar workers in Cuba and a series of other countries. And that coalition was fighting for better wages and conditions for sugar workers worldwide. At that moment that regime that was in Cuba, assassinated the head of the sugar workers in 1948. The ILWU came to the defense of his wife and his kids and stood strongly with the workers in Cuba. The ILWU has had a close relationship with the Cuban workers from that day to this, and has always said that we need to open up trade, that we need to be supportive of worker to worker. We’ve been there a number of times, and let me give you just one, short story.
After Fidel came in, he understood that in order to move the country forward he needed to educate the people, and he needed to be able to ensure that people had jobs, and ensure that they had housing. When you go outside, right outside of Havana, you’ll see a housing area that has high-rise housing, and there are seven of them, and one of them is dedicated to all of the individuals who work on the waterfront. In other words, you go to work on the waterfront, you’ve got medical care, you’ve got housing, you’ve got the basics that are taken care of in terms of what you need. And you see this. The next set of housing belongs to the steelworkers and so forth and so on.
But you know, there was an understanding from day one, the government had to play a role, not only in putting people to work, providing medical care, housing and education. It would be a great advancement in America if this country was committed to the same thing. But it’s not. (Applause) So I’d just like to say, I’d like to thank Rachel and I think the key question here is opening up trade with Cuba. I think, you know, it’s on the verge of doing that. It’s in the interest of the Cuban people. It’s in the interest of the American people and it’s in the interest of workers throughout the world. So again, thank you Rachel for pulling this thing together.
Thank you, Dave. One more note on trade that I would like everyone to maybe research for yourselves is the current trade paradigm we always here is “free trade, free trade”, and what we need to understand when we here free trade, it’s actually really about unregulated trade. And what we’ve been finding, and even the people of the United States of America, who have lost out because of these quote unquote free trade agreements, are coming to understand: that we need a different paradigm of trade.
Let me offer to you a paradigm that Cuba and Venezuela began almost 20 years ago. It’s called ALBA. It’s a Spanish acronym which basically means the “Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America”. So if you would look that up. It’s A-L-B-A, and it’s a beautiful paradigm that talks about “fair trade” between nations. That the purpose of trade between two countries should be to uplift, uplift both countries, especially if they are poor. So it’s not just how we trade, but it’s what we trade, and for what purpose.
They quantify-economically-cultural and sports trade and travel between people that has nothing to do with products. And if we can start “valuing” people sharing together in cultural events, and sporting, or international conferences or cooperation as Dave mentioned, then we start to truly “value” peaceful international relations in a quantifiable sense. So it’s very, very important that we also change our trade paradigm and Cuba is already beginning that throughout Latin America.
I would like to read a couple of quotes. Two people who could not be here, but about 15 years ago, we (Global Exchange/Eco Cuba Exchange) held another press conference in Washington D.C. It was specifically between United States and Cuba in the area of Sustainable Development and in Environment. Many of us had been going for many years to Cuba, working in areas of energy, and agriculture and water especially. And these people got up on the halls of Congress and were able to share their experience as American experts in these very important resource issues, and their experience, therefore, in Cuba.
And I have to tell you that after these three people got up and spoke on energy, on water issues and on agriculture, a young man came up to me at the end of the press conference, stunned, and he said, “I work in the international development community. Everyone in the international development community should have been here today to hear this.” And I said, “I know.”
The world needs to understand that there are other models of developing.
So I want to share from Laurie Stone. She is an engineer who works for Solar Energy International and has been many, many times to Cuba, working with renewable energies with those countries. She says:
“Cuba has a goal to produce 24% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.” Just 14 years from now. “And has already made incredible progress in energy efficiency. While the U.S. is in drastic need of an energy transition to efficiency and cleaner sources of electricity, it is imperative for these neighboring countries to work together to both advance towards a cleaner energy future.”
It’s very interesting to be in a country where oil is not for profit. It makes it a lot easier to transition away from it.
And while we’re here tonight, I would like to please “represent” also for Standing Rock and for the people right now who are suffering through a snow storm trying to protect all of our waters, and trying to shout out, loudly to this country, America, that we must transition away from fossil fuels and towards greater efficiency and greater renewable energies. (Applause) Their lives are on the line. We must begin to transition in our own lives.
And secondly, my dear friend and advisor when I was at Humboldt State University. His name is Bob Gearheart. He is a water engineer, and a biologist. He has been several times to Cuba and he’s also been around the world to many, many poor countries, working often with Peace Corps volunteers who invited him to their villages where they are living to work on water treatment systems. Biological, low impact, low cost in areas that have no money. And so he has seen around the world the way that water systems and wastewater treatment needs to happen in order to save lives.
And when he was in Washington DC with us at that conference he said that “Cuba does it exactly right.” That in terms of their wastewater treatment, their top, top priority in terms of water-is Public Health, and that if we come from a perspective of Public Health, then we begin to make water decisions wisely. And this is what he has written for me to read:
“In the several trips to Cuba over the last decade I have had the opportunity to experience the strength and determination of Cubans’ human spirit to prevail and to sustain their culture and development in spite of serious injustices imposed upon them by the United States. There is now an opportunity to engage and innovate in a reciprocal manner for the betterment of all of us.”
…And I’m just going to say a few words before we hear from our final person….I grow food. I’m very much into sustainable agriculture and local agriculture. And Cuba is world-known for urban agriculture, organic agriculture and a transition away from what they used to have, which was more of a large farm, export model, like we have. Entire states in the United States are corn fields, and we have lost, especially since the 1980’s, tens of thousands of family farms.
The irony, and I just need to speak to the rural population of America, is that the irony is (sigh, pause) your great hero, Ronald Reagan, was greatly responsible for the loss of tens of thousands of family farms throughout the 1980’s, and that the transition to corporate agriculture during the 1980’s and since, has been an incredible loss to the American rural way of life, and we need to start recognizing that.
I’m going to bring up Carrie but I want to just say also is that if you know of the organization the World Wildlife Fund. They are the one with the cute panda logo. Ten years ago in 2006 they did a study. They were looking for the nations in the world that could be called sustainable or close to sustainable. And so what they did is they took the United Nations “Human Development Index” (HDI) that showed life expectancy, infant mortality, education rate and basically said, ‘Who in the world, what country in the world, their people are pretty well off in terms of human development, yet also perhaps have a low carbon footprint.’ And when they put those two sets of data together, only one country in the world scored positive, according to the World Wildlife Fund-not a Communist front-in both of those, and that country was Cuba. So they declared Cuba, by their records, to be the only sustainable country in the world at that time…and now Carrie, who works very, very hard to create citizen participation here in the Harbor Area, is going to speak of her experience.
Good evening. My name is Carrie Scoville and I, too, have been to Cuba, twice. Once in 1988 and again in 2007 and the difference was striking, because in 1988 Cuba was able to obtain oil from the Soviet Union. After 1992 they were no longer able to, and they had to go off oil, and they had to become sustainable, as Rachel mentioned. They went to organic farming because fertilizers, by and large, are made with oil, with chemicals derived from petroleum products. They went to organic farming. They brought, they had to bring trained people out of their (work) fields and back to the farms to conduct agriculture, to be able to feed the nation. They couldn’t import food, they had to sustain themselves.
And so I want to talk about that a little bit, because they had to go to fully rechargeable batteries, much sooner than we did. Solar power resources, much sooner than we did. They had to go through it all, much sooner than we did. And they made it, and they sustained themselves. In spite of the Embargo. The Embargo was very, very difficult in Cuba. They had a lot of hunger during that time, during the Embargo, but they overcame it, they grew their own food. Now they have organic food, organic markets. In every community there’s a farmers market along with recipes on how to cook this new organic food, which they didn’t eat before and didn’t know how to prepare. So there’s a mass education program on how to prepare this food, and why it’s good for you, and why it’s good for the country.
Also, I had the privilege of being able to go to other countries with Cubans, and see how they are beloved throughout the world. The world loves the Cubans, and that’s what we don’t realize here in the United States. Why do they love the Cubans? Because the Cubans don’t send drones. They send doctors. They send literacy brigades. They teach countries how to train their own people to teach people how to read, so people are literate. We could use that here! That’s all I want to say, and thank you.
World Peace in a nutshell!…And lastly before we end the press conference I want to draw attention to another of the signs we have here is calling for the U.S. Military to leave Guantanamo. Guantanamo is known as a U.S. Military base, a terrorist prison by the American people, but what it is, is a harbor. And it’s Cuba’s second largest harbor and most important harbor, and it was taken over by us Americans, with our tax dollars, over 100 years ago, and they want it back. They have wanted it back ever since. So not only have we defiled it with our military base and our torture prison, but it is their harbor. So we ask you, in the Harbor Area to consider how if our entire Los Angeles Harbor were to be taken over by a hostile power for over a century, how would we feel? So we must have solidarity between our harbor areas and between our countries.
Please consider the words we have spoken here tonight, and again, we are asking for “Justice in our future relations with Cuba.” Thank you very much.
Thursday, December 1, 2016 San Pedro Courthouse
Please find a message from one of Witness for Peace Southwest’s Regional Board members on the physical passing of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and how we in the United States can continue his legacy for justice and humanity. *
“But the ideas of Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if you work hard and with dignity, you can produce the material and cultural goods human beings need.” Fidel Castro, Presente
This is an enormous day, an inevitable day, a sad day, and yet, like Fidel himself embodied….It is also a very powerful day.
When 9/11 happened, and the [US] American people were bewildered, lied to and bamboozled into being clueless to world events. I said, at the time, that when Fidel Castro died, it would be the same. An event of the same enormity has occurred, and sadly, the ignorance and lies in our “media” only distort. They will not clarify nor truly teach.
The whole world’s people will know what just happened. Except the [US] American people.
Fidel Castro, the man, is no longer living. But, he has now with his parting, spread inevitably and profoundly even more deeply into the hearts-and most importantly for communists-into the ACTIONS of millions upon millions of people, in [the] America[s] and all over the World.
Derided as “bleeding hearts” during Ronald Reagan’s wars against poor farmers in Central America, we will humbly, yet proudly answer, Yes. That is called human, to care for, and to bleed for others. Humus. Earth. Connected, without apology or equivocation.
Che’s words of revolution, of humanity ring clear to me now: “Y seremos millones”…and we will be millions…That we are, today. No lies, no mendacity, no fascist, cruel bullsh**t will be allowed in our spaces. We will stand up to it all. We will study war no more. Ever.
We do not argue with the arguers. We do not appease the fascists, anywhere, in any heart or in any action. We will name you. We will out you. We will resist you. And we will build and show Another Way. Because we have seen it.
And we will all win because:
People, in the end, can’t drink fracked water.
People, in the end, can’t survive the endless murder of each other.
People, in the end, can’t eat radioactive food.
People, in the end, can’t thrive on hate.
People, in the end, have to answer to their children.
People, in the end, will choose survival over lies.
Life, you will see, will [defeat] Trump Capitalism. Amen.
And of course, too, people in the end cannot do what Nature does: Sustain us all on this gorgeous Planet, in this gorgeous space called Life.
Nature Bats Last.
Fidel knew that. In his last, lovely years his focus was on Planet Earth, and on what we as people need to do to survive on [the earth]. He focused on three main themes, as I saw it: Nuclear war, climate change, and…growing food. In fact, in several of his last meetings with world leaders, sustainable (ie, life-sustaining) agriculture was his main concern and topic of conversation. Imagine that. What a terrorist.
Fascism is derived from the Italian word meaning division. There is no division on Earth, only Unity. That was Fidel’s magic, to see that unity and to fight for it until his last, lovely god-given breath. Yes, god, little g…a “g” that belongs to all of us, that excludes no one.
Fidel, history has absolved you. You left a country that is a beacon of resistance and hope and humanity that, despite the Empire’s blockade, too many of us have seen with our own eyes…and the cat, as they say, is out of the bag…
We have been teaching, and we will continue to teach, to “red” and “blue” alike. And, we are unstoppable.
In my master’s thesis on Cuba’s Energy Transition, I quote philosopher Emmanuel Kant: The Actual Proves the Possible. Cuba’s example has proven to us:
Another World is Possible.
So I do not lose heart. I am sad today, of course. But emboldened and very, very grateful for my understanding, my knowledge and my ability to serve.
Never Fear, Fidel Was Here
Founder, CUSSP Cuba-US Sustainability Project
Witness for Peace Southwest Regional Board Member
*All images can be found on On Cuba’s facebook page.