The 15th annual Adelante! Latin America Conference will take place on Saturday 23 November 2019 in a new venue, Friends House, opposite Euston Station in London. More than 50 speakers from across the globe will address around 30 seminars and plenaries, discussing the current political and social realities in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the threat many face from reactionary forces both internally and from the United States government under Donald Trump. The Latin America Conference provides a great opportunity to meet with campaigners and country experts and enjoy films, stalls, and debate.
This year’s conference comes at a critical time with the world witnessing an ecological disaster with the Amazon on fire presided over by the far right Bolsonaro government and sees many progressive movements and governments under threat. Right-wing forces unleashed by Donald Trump’s administration are pursuing an increasingly aggressive set of policies across the hemisphere.
The United States has recently announced the most severe economic sanctions against Cuba since the illegal US blockade was first introduced in 1962, fully implementing Title III of the legislation that underpins the blockade designed to strangle the Cuban economy and starve its people. John Bolton, US National Security Adviser and “chief warmonger” has severely curtailed family visits by Cuban-Americans and slashed the amount of money they can send home to Cuba. He has also cut back on all non-family travel to Cuba by US citizens.
The Trump administration is on an all out offensive against countries not aligned to the US with increasingly dangerous threats of intervention, refusing to rule out military options and crushing sanctions. Bolton has branded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny”, The US recently announced further sanctions against Venezuela tantamount to a full blockade. The previous sanctions have, according to one report, resulted in the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans from 2017-18. The latest measure is designed to punish the whole of the Venezuelan people affecting Venezuela’s capacity to import foodstuffs and medicines.
The US government does not share in the celebrations of social progress, instead cheerleading the far-right president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, as he attacks trade unionists, women, indigenous people, the LGBT community and the Amazon. Former president Lula was prevented from running against him and remains in prison on trumped-up charges.
The hugely unpopular Honduran government has US backing in the face of massive popular demonstrations by those opposed to its brutal policies. Despite widespread use of violence by the police and army, there has been little media coverage and no international outcry. Contrast this to Venezuela, where the US is at the forefront of an increasingly discredited attempt at regime change, pressuring the UK and other European countries to recognise Juan Guaido as the new president, even though he has little support and is virtually unknown within the country. The British government’s role so far has been one of complete complicity with Trump; the Bank of England this year seized Venezuelan gold and the government provides surveillance equipment to the brutal Honduran regime.
In every country of the region the Trump administration is trying to reassert its hegemony. Backed by the home grown right and hard right Latin American elites, many operating out of their Florida power base, once again the US government constitutes the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region.
In defiance of these attacks, Cuba is celebrating 60 years of its Revolution, and progressive forces across the continent are organised. They are defending the gains made over recent years, and fighting back against privatisation, destabilisation and the drive to steal their natural resources to bolster US multinationals in their pursuit of profit. Trump is also ratcheting up new hostilities against the Evo Morales’ government in Bolivia, which has prioritised public services, nationalisation of its own natural resources and recently celebrated its 194th year of independence as the fastest economic growth in the region. There is a meaningful resistance back by progressives across the region.
The Latin America Conference 2019 will explore these themes and more to ensure that solidarity activists, trade unionists, parliamentarians and academics have the understanding and arguments to strengthen our solidarity with progressive governments and movements in Latin America.
The Adelante! Conference is the biggest and best event on Latin America in Europe. It is a crucial weapon in our defence of Cuba and progressive politics in the region.
Register for tickets here: http://bit.ly/LA19ticket