More than 500 attend Latin America 2008 conference

Campaign News | Thursday, 11 December 2008

by Stephen Hallmark for CSC

<img src="images/AmbassadorLAsmall.jpg" align="right" alt="" />MORE than 500 people packed the TUC’s headquarters to learn more about the radical social and political changes redefining Latin America.

<img src="images/gallowayLAsmall.jpg" align="right" alt="" />Speakers from across the continent, together with British MPs, accademics and trade unionists, participated in plenaries and seminars at the Latin America 2008 Conference to discuss developments. The annual event, held on Saturday, is now in its forth year, and has become a permanent fixture and its popularity continues to grow.

<img src="images/hallLAsmall.jpg" align="right" alt="" />The so called ‘Pink Tide’ of countries pushing forward progressive, redistributive and democratic processes challenged the neo-liberal consensus long before the recent global economic crisis. Cuba first threw down the gauntlet in 1959, and the election of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 1998 precipitated a resurgence of the left and a radical overhaul of Latin America’s political landscape.

<img src="images/kenLAsmall.jpg" align="right" alt="" />Rene Mujica Cantelar, Cuba’s Ambassador, said: “This conference clearly demonstrates that people in the UK are passionately interested in the developments taking place across Latin America and the Caribbean - although you wouldn’t believe that by reading the newspapers.

“I think the crisis affecting the world capitalist system - the model which promised us progress for everyone but which statistics show delivered inequality - provides us with a great opportunity to show that another world is possible.

“Crucially Cuba is no-longer isolated in Latin America, but on the contrary has been joined by a broad based movement throughout the whole region.”

<img src="images/SalimLAsmaill.jpg" align="right" alt="" />The speakers included Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada, Bolivian Ambassador María Beatríz Souviron, activists from Nicaragua, Bolivia, Paraguay and Mexico, MPs George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn and Adam Price, Caitríona Ruane MLA and French expert on Cuba-US relations and accademic Salim Lamrani.

<img src="images/stallLAsmall.jpg" align="right" alt="" />Latin America 2008 was organised by the Cuba Soldiarity Campaign, Venezuela Information Centre and SERTUC with support from OH Parsons Solicitors.

Further reports to follow here and in the next issue of CSC's quarterly magazine CubaSi.

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