The 2016 Latin America Conference came at a crucial period as the region confronted coups, neoliberal resurgences, pivotal peace agreements and destabilization attempts.
Over 500 people and 70 speakers attended, with topics including:
- Still the US’ backyard? Latin America after the US Presidential election
- Cuba: building a better world under the eye of the empire
- After Chavez – The Empire Strikes Back in Venezuela
- Emergency in Brazil & Argentina – repression & resistance to neo-liberalism
- Europe’s crisis, Latin America and global alternatives to Neo-liberalism
- A Zone of Peace – US bases out of Latin America!
- What next for Mexico after 4 years under the new ‘PRI’ and President elect Trump
- Nicaragua: a story of hope and inspiration and surviving against the odds and renewed US intervention
- High stakes for Ecuador’s Citizen’s Revolution ahead of 2017 elections
- Latin America, Free Trade Agreements & Corporate Greed
- Bolivia – political and international developments
- Making Black Lives Matter – Black Liberation in the Americas & the Caribbean
- Paraguay : Repression & Resistance – developments since the US – backed coup
- Confronting Climate Change – what now for the Paris Agreement?
The event was given added poignancy by the news that Fidel Castro, the central figure in resisting attempts by the US and elites to control Latin America had died that morning. The conference opened with a moving tribute to his legacy by Bernard Regan, and a minute’s silence from the conference floor.
The first session was a round-table featuring perspectives on Latin America after the US Elections. Contributors included journalist Victoria Brittain, Canadian academic Keith Bolender, Nicaragua’s ambassador to London Guisell Morales Echaverry and Argentinian trade unionist Gabriel Rodriguez
Morning workshops include sessions on Cuba-US relations, opposing destabilization in Venezuela, Latin American Unity through ALBA , The situation in Mexico, and the story of hope in Nicaragua.
The second set of morning workshops featured topics such as: Human rights in Guatemala and Honduras, Lessons of Nicaragua and Chile, Ecuador’s Citizen’s Revolution, opposing US bases in Latin America, Cuban advances in Health & Education and advances in Bolivia
The first Plenary session: Latin America –showing another world is possible featured
– H.E. Roberto Calzadilla, Bolivian Ambassador to Britain
– Christine Blower, former NUT Gen Sec
– Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London
– H.E. Rocio Maneiro, Venezuelan Ambassador
Afternoon workshops included: No to the coup in Brazil, Remembering Hugo Chavez, Paraguay: Repression & Resistance, Opposing the US Blockade of Cuba under a Trump Presidency and confronting climate change
The final plenary session – No to US Intervention, No to Right Wing Destabilization features George Galloway, Christine Blower, Paul Oquist (Nicaraguan Minister for National Policy) and from Labour MP Chris Williamson, plus a video link from Jesus Santrich, a leading negotiator in the Colombian peace deal
And so ended Latin America 16, an inspiring and informative set of sessions with individuals and organisations resolving to honour the legacy of those who have fought for social justice in Latin America by strengthening our solidarity and working together to spread the word as widely as possible.