Latin America Conference 2021

Campaign News | Monday, 6 December 2021

Latin America Conference 2021

Around 400 activists attended this year’s crucial Latin America Conference at Friends House in London on Saturday after unfortunately having to postpone the event in 2020 due to the on-going pandemic. The conference came at a crucial time for the region with progressive electoral victories in Nicaragua, Venezuela and most recently in Honduras.

As well as attending a range of seminars throughout the day, delegates were also able to browse solidarity stalls from various solidarity campaigns, book stalls and film screenings.

There were over 60 speakers contributing across 21 different seminars providing delegates with exciting insights into the region with expert analysis.

Opening Plenary:

Adrian Weir, from Unite the Union, opened the conference by welcoming recent progressive election victories

‘Socialists, trade unionists and progressives around the world have been inspired by left election victories across the continent again in recent years - the so called 'pink tide' is back, and with a vengeance.’

He introduced former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, Ambassador Rocio Maniero, and Kate Hudson from CND. Spanish MP and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain, Enrique Santiago joined the plenary via video message.

“The region has changed, firstly with the arrival of AMLO in Mexico, the construction of progressive governments in Argentina, and Venezuela and Cuba emerging from brutal aggression by the United States”.

General Secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union (BAFWU), Sarah Woolley was joined by TUC’s Mariela Kohon, Simon Dubbins, Unite, and Guisell Morales-Echaverry, Nicaraguan Ambassador for the second plenary titled, “Latin American Workers Fighting Back!”

Delegates were also treated to video messages from across Latin America from Manuel Díaz Tapia, Vice President of CUT Chile, Rosana Fernandez, Anti-Racism Committee, CUT Brazil and Julia Cabarcas, President of the Colombian Women’s Association.

To watch their video messages click here.

Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, General Secretary of the CTC reaffirmed Cuba’s fraternal solidarirty with all those in attendance at the conference. He added, “Latin American unity amid diversity, solidarity with countries that today fight battles and whose unions defend the rights of their workers.”

Watch Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento message here.

Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union, Steve Turner chaired the closing rally and was joined by Cuban Ambassador to the UK, Barbara Montalvo, TUC General Council International spokesperson Kevin Courtney, Young Labour Chair Jess Barnard, General Secretary of Liberation, Roger McKenzie and Jeremy Corbyn.

Barbara Montalvo thanked delegates, union activists and the Cuba Solidarity campaign for the wonderful solidarity shown to Cuba and the huge support given through the Covid 19 pandemic.

Young Labour Chair and trade unionist Jess Barnard started her speech by saying that “Cuba’s internationalism is an inspiration to us all, and just as Cuba makes a difference, we need to make a difference by standing with Cuba against the illegal US blockade.” She continued by saying that “Young Labour will continue to answer calls for international solidarity.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP sent his message by video as he was at an event in Mexico,

“Bolivia’s social change following the defeat of the US and UK backed coup last year is quite honestly an inspiration to us all, and that it is possible to put people and the planet before private profit.”

He concluded by saying, “The left in Latin America is making a difference. Let’s make a difference ourselves by supporting all the solidarity organisations present here today.”

You can watch Jeremy Corbyn’s message in full here.

National Education Union joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney called the Blockade of Cuba
‘the most terrible abuse of human rights going on right now’ he demanded that ‘the US Blockade must be ended’.

A full report of Latin America Conference 2021 will be included in the next edition of Cuba Si magazine.

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