CoDev E-Bulletin September 2019

CoDev E-Bulletin September 2019 r1 ... Welcome to the latest edition of CoDev's Partners in Solidarity e-bulletin! Check out what's going on with us, our partners, our community and related news. Thank you for your support! s16

Greetings Friends and Supporters
The following is the first of three
CoDev activity update e-bulletins based On Steve Stewart's (CoDev ED) report at the Annual General Meeting held on September 11, 2019. Please read and send us any comments or questions you might have.

PART ONE It has been a busy year for CoDev and our partners. It is difficult to cover everything our partners in Latin America have accomplished in the past year, so I will focus primarily on the work CoDev did in Canada during the 2018/19 fiscal year. I encourage members to visit CoDev’s Facebook page, where we regularly post information about the work of our Latin American partners.

Increased Staffing
In the past fiscal year, as a result of the structural review carried out in the previous year, the CoDev board drew on the reserves we had accumulated to invest in bringing staffing levels up to what we enjoyed prior to losing Canadian International Development Agency funding in 2013. This has enabled us to increase the solidarity and development education activities CoDev engages in here in Canada. We have increased our stand-alone activities and presentations at organizations and universities, but most importantly, we are able to collaborate more actively with Canadian partners and community allies to create a synergy that has raised the profile of Latin American human rights and social justice issues in Canada.

New Program Assistant Alexandra Henao Castrillon

Bringing Latin America to Canada

In April, we collaborated with CUPE BC to bring Berenice Celeyta from our Colombian partner NOMADESC to BC. NOMADESC works with indigenous, Afro-Colombian, campesino and labour organizations on human rights in southwestern Colombia, where sadly, attacks and killings of social leaders and human rights defenders have ramped up since the government signed peace accords with the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces at the end of 2016.

Berenice Celeyta

CoDev collaborated with other local groups to bring important social activists from Guatemala. In May 2018, we organized two well-attended events regarding the struggle for human rights there. We worked with BC CASA to coordinate a presentation in Vancouver by Guatemalan congresswoman, feminist activist and performance artist Sandra Moran. Two weeks later we collaborated with H.I.J.O.S. (the children and relatives of the forcibly disappeared) and the Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre to premier the film “Sin Miedo” (Fearless) about the search for the disappeared in Guatemala. The film was followed by a discussion with the film’s protagonist and H.I.J.O.S. – Guatemala spokesperson Paolo Estrada.

Sandra Moran

NOMADESC works closely with the largely Afro-Colombian community in the pacific port of Buenaventura, where residents held a three week-long civic general strike in June, 2017 to demand an end to escalating violence, displacement and cuts to social services. At NOMADESC’s request, CoDev co-coordinated with CUPE, the PSAC and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers a cross-country tour of Buenaventura Strike Committee representatives. The strike committee reps visited Saskatchewan, BC, Ontario and Quebec, where they made public presentations and met with labour representatives, community activists and Colombians living in Canada. In Ottawa, we were able to arrange meetings between strike committee reps and Global Affairs Canada officials and MPs.

Buenaventura Strike

We took advantage of the strike committee’s visit to BC to include them as keynote speakers at CoDev’s International Solidarity Committees Conference last October. This conference, oriented towards solidarity activists who belong to our Canadian partners, is something that CoDev used to organize annually, but had been unable to do since 2013. It provides an opportunity to hear directly from Latin American activists, exchange skills and experiences, and discuss key issues related to international solidarity. We were pleased with both the turn out and the depth of participation at last year’s conference and look forward to seeing many of you at this year's conference, which will focus on forced migration and take place on Saturday, January 25.

IS Conference Attendees

Please watch your inbox for PART TWO of this Year In Review coming soon.

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