Venezuela Solidarity Event in Portland, OR (+video)

In case you weren’t able to catch WfPSW on tour in October, please catch this entire presentation captured on film from Portland, OR. Here, speakers Maria Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco and Paola Martucci Gomez speak to the current political, social and economic challenges facing the Bolivarian Revolution including a recent opposition led attempt to coup democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro!

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Videos, Pictures and Links to: WfP Southwest 2016 Speaker’s Tour w/ Venezuelan Organizers

In October, Witness for Peace Southwest toured with organizers Maria Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco and Paola Martucci Gomez of the Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe) from Venezuela. These two young queer women shed light on the current political, economic and social conditions facing Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. We toured five states across the West including: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. We stopped in eleven cities and towns and hosted events with dozens more organizations, autonomous spaces and universities. Check out some pictures from our speaker’s tour! You can also review here 20+ videos of greetings from across the Southwest with organizers and organizations we visited in addition to SW’s reflections during the tour. Shortly, we’ll be posting a list of resources, other materials and actions that you can take to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuelan and larger Latin American liberation movements. FMI: jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com

FALL SPEAKER’S TOUR PUBLIC EVENTS

Join Witness for Peace Southwest and Venezuelan organizer María Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco for a series of discussions about the current climate in Venezuela. We will be visiting a variety of spaces in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington states. Please see our listing below for confirmed public event dates. Please contact Regional Organizer Jeanette Charles if you are interested in attending and would like more information: jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805.669.VIVA

Sunday October 2, 2016

“Venezuela y la revolución bolivariana – una conversación con activistas venezolanas”, La Casa Roja, 1251 St. Andrews Place, Los Angeles, California 90019

12-2pm

Women, Gender & Sexuality in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution”, CIELO galleries/studios3201 Maple Ave, Los Angeles, California 90011

6pm – 830pm

 

Monday October 3, 2016

“People’s Power and Popular Movements in Venezuela”, Scripps College, 1030 N Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

9:35-10:50am @Scr Hum 105 & 2:45-5:30pm @ Scr Balch 218

 

Wednesday October 5, 2016

“Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Feminism in the Americas”, California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330

2-3:15pm @ Room JR 319

 

Thursday October 13, 2016

Indigenous Rights Center, ABQ, NM more details TBA

 

Tuesday October 18, 2016

“Venezuela: Queer Liberation and the Bolivarian Revolution”, The Eric Quezada Political Education Center, 518 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

7-9pm

 

Thursday October 20, 2016

Napa Valley, CA public event, more details TBA

 

Saturday October 22, 2016

“Una al margen: documentary about being trans in Venezuela” Comalito Collective, 302 Georgia Street, Vallejo, CA 94590

discussion at 6:30pm (documentary screenings throughout the day starting at 1pm)

 

Sunday and Monday October 23 & 24, 2016

Portland, OR & Seattle, WA Public Events, more details TBA

 

Tuesday October 25, 2016

“Building People’s Power in Venezuela: LGBTQ and Women’s Perspectives on the Bolivarian Process” California State University, Los Angeles 5151 State University Drive Los Angeles, CA 90032

3-:430 pm @ KH B 3008

 

Want to lead a WfPSW Delegation?

 

Do you want to lead a delegation with WfPSW? We are currently looking for delegation coordinators for some of our delegations next year and in 2017.

If you have experience with popular education pedagogy, solidarity with Latin America and organizing group travel please consider working with us!

Contact Jeanette Charles at jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or at 805-669-VIVA for more information.

WfPSW Announces 2016 Delegations

Consider joining Witness for Peace Southwest on one of our international and national delegations in 2016!

Delegation fees cover all set-up preparation, 2 meals per day, housing accommodations, interpreters, transportation within the country and a trained delegation coordinator. The feel also covers extensive reading and activist tools before and after the delegation. Limited space is available—Apply early!

For more information and an application please contact: Witness for Peace Southwest Regional Organizer Jeanette Charles at 805-669-VIVA or jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or Malia Everette at 415-735-5407 or malia@altruvistas.com. For additional information about scholarship opportunities and fundraising assistance contact Jeanette Charle or Tanya Hartley at southwestwfp@gmail.com.

WfPSW has experience organizing delegations to countries throughout the region including Honduras, Colombia and Mexico. If you would like to organize a delegation for your organization, school or community group through Witness for Peace Southwest, please contact Jeanette Charles, Tanya Hartley or Malia Everette (information provided above).

 

MEXICO-U.S. BORDER March 19-26, 2016: Impacts of US War on Drugs on the Mexico/US Border

Learn more about the Impacts of the US War on Drugs in Southern California and along the Mexico-U.S. border. We will meet with organizations challenging the prison industrial complex, fighting against massive deportations and creating alternatives to free trade. Contact Jeanette Charles for more information regarding this delegation’s overall cost.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 is due by January 18, 2016

 

CUBA April 24- May 3,  2016: Celebrate May Day in Cuba:  Labor and Community Organizing from the Ground Up

Join the Cuban people on International Worker’s Day in Havana, Cuba! Join us for what promises to be a remarkable time to celebrate Cuba’s revolutionary spirit, past and present!

Cost: $2350 without international airfare and $2950 with airfare included from Miami.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $200 is due by February 28, 2016.

 

VENEZUELA  May 21-30, 2016: Afro-Venezuelan History and Culture    

May is Afro-Venezuelan history month and is full of events marking the significant political, cultural and social contributions of the African Diaspora and the specific struggles of Afro-descendants in Venezuela. Learn how Afro-Venezuelans have secured significant rights with the Bolivarian Revolution and continue to build an anti-racist Venezuelan society today.

Cost: $1950 excluding international airfare.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 is due by March 14, 2016.

 

VENEZUELA  July 21-31, 2016: The Bolivarian Revolution: From Simon to Hugo  

From Simon Bolivar to Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Revolution has evolved into building an inclusive society where all Venezuelans participate. Delegates will learn first-hand the ways and means of Venezuelan democracy, providing a unique opportunity to witness how public policies and grassroots organizing come together.

Cost: $1950 excluding international airfare.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 is due by May 16, 2016.
PUERTO RICO  Nov. 4-12, 2016:  Boricua: The Hidden Colony $1850 

Their status as a U.S. commonwealth leaves them without a vote and voice in their nation’s political future. Stand in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico as they continue their fight for their independence against US occupation and militarization.

Cost: $1850 excluding airfare.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 is due by August 15, 2016.

 

CUBA  Dec. 27, 2016-Jan 4, 2017: New Years in Havana:  Cuban Socialism and Cultural Resilience  

Learn about the Cuban people’s revolutionary history and cultural resilience while also celebrating the New Year! Expect to learn about the importance of arts and culture in Cuban society and its revolutionary development.

Cost: $2850 without international airfare and $3450 with airfare included from Miami.

Deadline: Application with a non-refundable deposit of $200 is due by  September 26, 2016.

WFPSW meets with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Ana Rivera, Tanya Cole (WFPSW Regional Director) and other WFPSW members had a meeting in Tucson with Representative Raul Grijalva’s office to ask him to send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding U.S neutrality in the Honduran elections. Rep. Grijalva responded to this ask with an excellent letter to Sec. Kerry co-signed by Representatives Mike Honda and Hank Johnson.

Click here to read the letter

Tanya Cole: Meet Your Regional Organizer – Tanya wants to hear from you!

Contact by email or by phone (805.421.9708) 

My name is Tanya Cole and I am thrilled and excited to be the Witness for Peace Southwest Regional Organizer. I have been a long time admirer of the aim and mission of Witness for Peace.

Much of the experience that has prepared me to work for Witness for Peace was acquired at Global Exchange in San Francisco. During my years at Global Exchange as the Latin America delegations coordinator, I organized over 30 delegations to nine different countries in Latin America.

I studied for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Latin American Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara where I first discovered political activism as a lifetime dedication and mission. I was raised in four states and over a dozen cities and I am a mix of my mother’s feisty Honduran heritage and my father’s sweet southern gentle charm. My main squeeze is my 11 year old boy who is a beautiful blue eyed surfer, sword collector and reader of big books. I also have two dogs and two cats. Sí es una locura. I also love to dance, learn new ways to non-violently wrestle people in jiu jitsu and whack tennis balls really hard. I am fortunate enough to have traveled to 12 countries where I have had amazing experiences. I have danced marimba with masked guerilla Zapatistas in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico; listened to Fidel Castro lecture on the global economy in Havana, Cuba; walked through the notorious favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; met survivors of torture and dictatorship in Buenos Aires, Argentina; witnessed thousands of Nicaraguans wait 10 hours in a line to vote; listened to the stories of maquila workers in Tijuana, Mexico; been humbled by Venezuelans who carry their constitution in their pockets; been “welcomed” by 30 armed gunmen during my first visit to Uruba, Colombia and marched with a million people through the streets of Los Angeles for immigrant rights.

I would love to hear from you! I’d be happy to tell you about our programs, how you can become involved and where your congressperson stands on key policy issues on Latin America we care about. I live in Ojai, CA but I am often traveling throughout our region (especially if I’m invited to your area!). You can reach me by phone or email me or catch up with me on our facebook page.

This is an exciting time to be working for political change in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. With the courage and partnership of our partners in the region we are seeing a real change finally taking place. Victory is on the horizon. Onward with the righteous struggle for peace and economic justice!

Past Highlights and Pictures

Highlights and Accomplishments

Southwest Region Witness for Peace

Moving Congress: In theSouthwest region secured 6 of 87 congressional signers on a Dear Colleague letter condemning human rights abuses in Honduras. On the Colombia Free Trade Agreement 4 congresspersons were swayed to vote NO through Southwest region efforts in October. WFPSW rallies were held at 3 Southern California undecided congressional offices a day before the free trade votes. 2 of the 3 reps voted against the free trade agreements the next day. Through grassroots pressure, this December Rep. Berman CA-28, ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Relations committee sent a public letter to Secretary Clinton questioning US funding of state sponsored repression in Honduras. This next year we will be bird-dogging congress during election campaigns to make sure they address the failed Drug War, Honduras human rights violations, the Cuban Embargo and immigration reform. (pictured WFPSW members at Rep. Henry Waxman’s office)

Honduras– The Southwest Region joined protests at the Honduran Consulate in the spring when there was a brutal military/police crack down on teacher/students protests that lead to the death of elementary school teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez. In March the Southwest region hosted Gerardo Torres, leader of the Honduran Resistance Front, for several speaking events in Southern California. In September the Southwest region sent a nine-person delegation to Honduras that visited the campesino movements of the Aguan Valley, 4 political prisoners, served as international observers for the Sept 15 Resistance marches and met with the brand new US Ambassador to Honduras. The Southwest hosted Afro-Honduran Garifuna Doctor Luther Castillo for a workshop on Honduras at the School of the Americas vigil in Ft. Benning, Georgia. The Southwest continues to be an active member of the Honduras Solidarity Network. In 2012 we plan to send more protective accompaniment delegations to Honduras, push for more cuts in US funding and get a Dear Colleague letter circulating in the Senate.(pictured: delegate Sara Kohgadai with former Honduran President Mel Zelaya.)

Trade- Three free trade agreements came to a vote  for Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Southwest held face to face meetings with several congressional offices in the spring in which reps committed to vote against the FTAs. During the final votes many reps spoke out strongly against the FTAs on the floor of the Senate and House. In the end 80% of House Democrats voted against the Colombia FTA and most significantly against a specific ask by President Obama to pass the trade agreements. In 2012 election season we will be holding reps accountable for their votes on the FTAs and will push for more congressional co-sponsors for the Trade Act, a bill that will stop any new FTAs and renegotiate all current FTAs. (pictured: rally at Rep. Karen Bass’ office. She voted against all 3 FTAs)

Colombia- In the Spring the Southwest hosted events for the Days and Prayer and Action on Colombia, in July we sent an accompaniment delegation to the humanitarian peace communities of Uraba, Colombia and in the fall we lobbied against the Colombia FTA and hosted Jani Silva, campesina leader from Putumayo, Colombia on a speaking tour that reached over 1000 people. In 2012 we will send protective accompaniment delegations to Uraba, Colombia and continue to raise awareness in the US of the failed drug war model. (pictured Southwest delegates in Uraba, Colombia)

Migrant Rights- In January we hosted the first domestic delegation on immigration and migrant rights in Ventura County, California. We co-sponsored multiple migrant rights forums and participated in campaigns to stop ICE’s Secure Communities Program. In the summer the Southwest sent volunteers to deliver water and humanitarian aid at the Arizona/Mexico border with the human rights group No More Deaths. In 2012 we will return to volunteer on the border, flight for an end to ICE’s S-COMM program and participate in migrant rights forums and Know Your Rights Trainings. (pictured: volunteers with No More Deaths take a break in the Arizona/Mexico desert.)

Cuba– the Southwest has participated in the efforts to protect Cuban family travel. Hardline Cuban Americans in congress twice this year have tried to roll back travel for Cuban Americans to Bush era policy. In December the Southwest sent 28 delegates to Cuba ranging from ages 24-76 and representing 18 states. This coming year we will support the campaign to Free the Cuban Five, organize delegations to Cuba and lobby to end the travel ban and embargo on Cuba. (pictured: International Workers Day march in Havana, Cuba)

Delegations– The Southwest sponsored 4 delegations to Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and Ventura County, CA. A total of 55

delegates participated and the Southwest Region awarded $3,175 in delegation scholarship assistance. In 2012 we have delegations planned for Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and domestic California and Arizona delegations on migrant rights. We also will be facilitating more short term and long term volunteer accompaniment teams in Uraba, Colombia and the Aguan Valley of Honduras. (pictured: Southwest region’s first domestic delegation focused on farmworkers and migrant rights in California.)