Back to Main CERLAC Events Page       Previous Events (2003-2004 and before)

2004 - 2005 Academic Year



CERLAC (York University) and the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT) present

The Chilean Justice System and the Legacy of Pinochet


Claudio González and Verónica Reyna
FASIC, Chilean Human Rights Organization

Claudio González (Executive Director) and Verónica Reyna (Coordinator of the Legal Department) of FASIC will speak about the advances and setbacks in the last three years for human rights and justice in Chile as well as the status of pending human rights cases.

FASIC (Fundación de Ayuda Social de las Iglesias Cristianas), founded in 1975, is one of the oldest Chilean human rights organizations.  FASIC handles the largest number of currently pending cases of human rights violations from the Pinochet era.

Monday, June 6
OISE, University of Toronto
252 Bloor St. West (Subway: St. George)
Room 2-211

All are welcome!

More information:, 416.736.5237

CERLAC is proud to announce the

CERLAC Film Series!

Tuesdays, 2:30-5:30 pm
240E York Lanes, CERLAC
Free Admission - all are welcome!

February 22 -- Our Lady of the Assassins  (Colombia/France, 2000)

March 1 --  Two Documentaries:
Profit and Nothing But, or, Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle (Haiti, 2001)
Life and Debt  (Jamaica/USA, 2001)

March 8  --  The Silence of Neto  (Guatemala, 1994)

March 15  --  Black God, White Devil  (Brazil, 1964)

March 22  --  The Harder They Come  (Jamaica, 1973)

March 29  --  Strawberry and Chocolate  (Cuba, 1994)

** To receive announcements about upcoming CERLAC films, please email **

March 1st films:

In recognition of the first anniversary of the US coup in Haiti, two documentary films on Haiti, the Caribbean, and global capitalism:

Profit and Nothing But, or, Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle
Raoul Peck - Haiti, 2001
52 min.
French with English Subtitles

Contrasts this heavily documented illumination of the capitalist system with the devastating reality in Haiti -- "a country that doesn't exist, where intellectual discussion has become a luxury."  Its GNP for the next thirty years is roughly equivalent to Bill Gates (current) fortune. The film's stark images of the lives of the damned on earth provide a striking backdrop for talk of 'triumphant capitalism.'  [from]


Life and Debt
Stephanie Black  / Tuff Gong Pictures - Jamaica / USA, 2001
Narration written by Jamaica Kincaid
86 min.
English language

Winner of 8 international film prizes, including the 2004 Paris Human Rights Film Festival Special Jury Prize

Set to a beguiling reggae beat, Life and Debt takes as its subject Jamaica's economic decline in the 20th century. The story has reverberations in the plight of other third-world nations blindsided by globalization, like Ghana and Haiti. After England granted Jamaica independence in 1962, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped in with a series of loans. These loans came with strings attached--the kind that would eventually plunge the country $7 billion into debt, stranded without the resources to dig themselves out. Although IMF officials get the chance to have their say, it's clear where filmmaker Stephanie Black's sympathies lie--with the country's underemployed farmers and sweatshop workers. Jamaica Kinkaid (A Small Place) penned the narration, while the soundtrack features some of the "imports" with which this island nation remains mostly closely associated: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Mutabaruka, who performs the title track.   [Kathleen C. Fennessy,]

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


CERLAC (York University), The Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT), and the Socialist project present

Neoliberalism and the Paradoxes of the Lula Government

Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho
SOAS, University of London (UK)

Dr. Alfredo Saad Filho is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy of Development in the Department of Development Studies, University of London, UK. He has degrees in Economics from the Universities of Brasilia (Brazil) and London (Ph.D.), and has taught and researched in universities in Brazil and Mozambique as well as the UK.

His research interests include the political economy of development, inflation and stabilisation, international trade, and the labour theory of value and its applications. His most recent books are The Value of Marx: Political Economy for Contemporary Capitalism, Routledge 2002, and Marx's Capital, Pluto 2003.

Tuesday , April 12, 7.30 pm
Room 2212
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
252 Bloor St. West, Toronto

All Welcome


CERLAC presents a brown bag seminar

How to present a conference paper

with Judy Hellman

Back by popular demand, Judy Hellman will animate a workshop for
graduate students on how to present a conference paper

Monday, April 4th
390 York Lanes

Light refreshments will be served - all are welcome!

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


CERLAC and the York Institute for Health Research present

Providing Health Services to the Poor: Misión Barrio Adentro

with visiting speaker
María Páez Victor, MA, Ph.D

Venezuelan success story on bringing health care to the marginalized
For decades the Venezuelan people suffered compounded neglect of their health needs, both in terms of medical care as well as in terms of the social and economic determinants of health. The democratic government of Hugo Chávez, recognizing the immediate health needs of the Venezuelan people, bypassed ineffective governmental ministries and, with the help of Cuba and the active participation of the very people who needed services, created one of the most spectacularly successful health care initiatives today. In this presentation we will examine the dynamics, achievements and challenges of this innovative health care delivery initiative.
Dr. María Páez Victor is a Venezuelan-born sociologist and consultant who teaches Sociology of Health and Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Thursday, March 31st
2:30 p.m.
390 York Lanes
More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), Socialist Project, the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE-UT), and the Centre for Social Justice present


Juana Berges, Assistant Researcher with the Department of Socioreligious Studies at the Centre for Psychological and Sociological Research (CIPS); specialist in the study of Protestantism in Cuba; member of the Board of Directors of the Christian Centre for Reflection and Dialogue.

Jorge Ramírez Calzadilla, Researcher, Head of the Department of Socioreligious Studies, CIPS; Assistant Professor of the University of Havana; Professor of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

Aurelio Alonso Tejada, Researcher with the Department of Socioreligious Studies, CIPS; member of the Editorial Board of the review Southern Alternatives (Alternatives Sud); coordinator of the CLACSO Working Group on Religion and Society; Assistant Professor of the University of Havana.

Thursday, March 31st
7:00 - 9:30 pm
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
7th floor South (Peace) Lounge
252 Bloor St. West, Toronto


CERLAC and Rights Action present

(Under)Mining Development in Honduras and Guatemala
Global Actors, Community-based Resistance

with visiting speaker

Sandra Cuffe

Sandra Cuffe is an activist working with Rights Action in Honduras, accompanying community-based organizations and working on a number of human rights and global justice issues.

She will be speaking about the current invasion of North American mining companies into Honduras and Guatemala, the legislation and framework facilitating this wave of activity, and the global actors (World
Bank, Canadian and US governments) involved.  A focus on the activities of Glamis Gold Ltd and community responses will underline these issues with concrete examples.

Monday, March 28
11:30am - 1:00pm
305 York Lanes
Background reading:
Report by Sandra Cuffe -
"A Backwards, Upside-Down Kind of Development: Global Actors, Mining and Community-based Resistance in Honduras and Guatemala," available at:  Included in the final section are a number of websites – company, industry, activist, etc – that are useful resources for information, research, business news, campaigns, urgent actions, etc.
More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC presents

social movements in Argentina
occupying factories, streets & plazas

~a brown bag seminar with~

Ruth Felder 
(Ph.D. candidate, Political Science)
Jenn Wilks
(4th year undergrad, International Development Studies)
Shana Yael Shubs
(MES Candidate, Environmental Studies)
Harry Smaller
(Professor, Education; CERLAC Fellow)

In the 1990s, Argentina followed all of the structural adjustment policies advocated by international financial institutions, making it a model of neoliberal reform.  But the economic and social repercussions of orthodox economic readjustment would soon become evident as skyrocketing debt, unemployment and poverty plunged the country into a financial and economic crisis that exploded in the popular uprising of December 2001.  Since then, Argentina has witnessed the growth of numerous social movements and forms of popular resistance as various sectors of the population occupy factories, streets and plazas to both demand and create social change. 

This presentation will explore a number of social movements in Argentina, including a discussion of the occupied factory movement and the recent threats faced by the Zanon workers as they struggle for legal recognition.

Wednesday, March 16
305 York Lanes
2:30 pm

all are welcome!!

***please support the Zanon workers***
sign the international petition

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


CERLAC presents a brown bag seminar

Strengthening Indigenous Women's Leadership:
The Kichwa experience of the Dolores Cacuango School


Dolores Figueroa Romero
Ph.D candidate, Sociology

Indigenous organizations in Ecuador have been engaged in a long struggle to contest the Central State on matters of recognition of cultural diversity and rejection of neo-liberal policies.

The Dolores Cacuango School of Women's Leadership, linked to ECUARUNARI (Confederation of Kichwa Peoples of Ecuador) aims to strengthen the leadership capacity of young indigenous women to win political spaces and improve their endeavours in local affairs.

In various ways, the Dolores Cacuango School of Women’s Leadership is a microcosm that reflects the multiple dimensions of gender inequality in the Andean indigenous world and the complexity of implementing policies and initiatives to build the pre-conditions for social change.

Monday, March 14
390 York Lanes
2:30 pm

---All are welcome!---

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


The Grassroots Anti-Imperialist Network, York University Black Student Association,
the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean and
the June 30th Organizing Committee present:

Unspinning the Coup in Haiti
Western hegemony extends its hand into the Caribbean

A panel discussion with:

Jean St. Vil, Ottawa based Haitian activist and radio host

Yasmine Shamsie, Political Science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University

Nikki Lee, York student and member of the York University Black Student Association

On February 29, 2004 the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a US, French and Canadian sponsored coup. The overthrow of the Aristide government signaled the abrupt end to an era of social and economic reform and dashed the hopes of Haiti's overwhelmingly poor majority who saw in Aristide the chance for some measure of social justice.

In light of Canada's commitment to the occupation and recolonization of Haiti, events like these, which seek to provide the public with an awareness and understanding of the actions taken in their name, provide a valuable opportunity to unravel the lies of power, and to aid those on the front lines in the struggle for democracy, justice, equality and independence.

Some of the themes that will be touched upon throughout the discussion include:

Haiti's legacy of resistance to Western imperialism; US hegemony in the Caribbean; the role of the Western media; the relationship between Aristide and the Haitian people; the actions of Paul Martin and the growing trend of Canadian intervention.

Saturday, March 12
305 York Lanes
5:30 pm

More information:, (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


UCGS and CERLAC present

Security and Militarism in the Americas

Elena Cirkovic (Ph.D candidate, Political Science),
Simon Helweg-Larsen (MA candidate, Social and Political Thought), and
Justin Podur (journalist, ZNET)

Chair and organizer: Shana Shubs (CERLAC)

While Latin America has emerged from the military dictatorships and armed conflicts of past decades, the military remains a powerful institution in many Latin American societies. A failure to bring those responsible for crimes against humanity to justice has only strengthened the impunity with which militarized groups operate. Today’s discourses of ‘security’ and the ‘war on terror’ are called upon to further U.S. interests in the region and, increasingly, to legitimize the militarization of social unrest and popular dissent. Taking us to Venezuela, Guatemala and Peru, this panel will explore the current social, political and economic contexts of militarism and consider the consequences for local populations as well as the implications for the region as a whole.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
2:30 - 4:30 pm
Room 305, York Lanes
York University, Toronto

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


Support the longest running Anishinabe social justice campaign in modern history

Grassy Narrows 
Speaking Tour
Members of the longest running Anishnabe social justice campaign in modern history have planned a tour of southern Ontario to encourage our communities to be part of ending cultural genocide and systemic racism.

Since starting a campaign against clear cut logging in their territory companies have had to go to great lengths to steal wood. This tour will be an opportunity to network with other activists and raise the pressure on these companies to respect Grassy Narrows' right to self determination.

March 1st, 2005
Osgoode Hall, rm 204
York University
Co-sponsored by:
Grassroots Anti-Imperialist Network (GRAIN)
Osgoode Law Activists Assoication (OLAA)
Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC)
And more to come...
The tour will be visiting several first nations communities and will also stop in Toronto, London, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Windsor, Peterborough, Belleville, Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal. At each stop on the tour organizers are being asked to hold solidarity protests to support their campaign.

At the end of the tour activists from across the region will be bused to Montreal for a mass protest at the Montreal headquarters of corporate criminal
Abitibi Consolidated (the main logging company in question).

For more information contact


CERLAC presents

two brown bag presentations on

The Discourse of Human Rights
& the Case of Indigenous Peoples of Peru

Indigenous Peoples and human rights discourse in International Law

Elena Cirkovic
PhD Candidate, Political Science

The most pressing issue for indigenous peoples at the end of the UN International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004), has been the adoption of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Decade ended with the failure of efforts to see the Draft Declaration adopted by the Human Rights Commission, questioning whether any gains have been made in pursuit of Indigenous self-determination at an international forum.  With the emergence of the human rights discourse in the post 1945 environment, the United Nations have become yet another combat zone between indigenous peoples and successive invading waves of European forms of life and thought. 

This investigation observes to what extent the institutionalized human rights discourse serves as an emancipatory tool for indigenous peoples worldwide, or if it delegetimizes other forms of alternative indigenous discourses and worldviews. The open question is whether the colonial borders of international law are in fact being weakened; whether the human rights discourse is capable of shifting those borders and accommodating other speeches; for in its original mandate, human rights discourse belongs to the very Leviathan indigenous peoples are trying to oppose.

A comparative analysis of the UN and OAS failures to positively affect thehuman rights situation in Peru

Gerardo Munarriz Ulloa
PhD Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School

This study discusses the effectiveness of the supervisory mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) human rights systems in dealing with Peru’s widespread and systemic violations of human rights that took place during the 1980s and 1990s.  Despite the abundant evidence implicating Peruvian State agents in patterned violations, the international community failed to respond to the gravity of the situation.  Particularly, the UN human rights treaty-based system and the Inter-American human rights system failed to monitor effectively the implementation and compliance by the Peruvian government of its international and regional human rights obligations. 

Two main factors contributed to the failure of the international community to respond to the human rights tragedy in Peru: first, the socio-economic status and ethnic identity of the majority of the victims, who were mainly poor and powerless Andean Quechua-speaking indigenous people, considered as second or third-class citizens within Peruvian society; and second, the image (veneer) of a Peruvian democracy engaged in a struggle against “terrorism”, which to an important extent, shielded itself in a cloak of “democratic” legitimacy.

Monday, February 21, 2005
390 York Lanes
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

All are welcome!

Background reading:

By Alfred Taiaiake, Director of Aboriginal Governance Program at UVIC:
"From Sovereignty to Freedom: Toward an Indigenous Political Discourse"

By Martti Koskenniemi, International Law Professor, Helsinki University:
"Hierarchy in International Law: A Sketch"
in European Journal of International Law 1997, 566-571, available at 

On Peru:
Conferencia Permanente de los Pueblos Indígenas del Perú (in Spanish)

Cayara Case
Complaint by the IACHR against Peru 1993 

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


The Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT), the Socialist Project and the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC) present

The Mexican Left and the Crisis
Views From Chiapas and Mexico City

Alejandro Alvarez Bejar
Leandro Vergara-Camus and Paula Hevia Pacheco

Alejandro Alvarez is a political activist and Economics Professor at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico). He is the author of many articles on the Mexican and global economies, Mexican politics and unions and NAFTA. He is the author of La crisis global del capitalismo and is completing a book on Mexico en la jaula de hierro del neoliberalismo: economia mundial, bloques regionales y resistencia social (Mexico in the Iron Cage of Neoliberalism: World Economy, Regional Blocs, and Social Resistance). He is presently conducting a major research project on Plan Puebla Panama. He has been on the editorial board and a regular contributor to Punto Critico and Corre la Voz.

Leandro Vergara-Camus and Paula Hevia Pacheco are both in the process of completing dissertations in Political Science at York University on Chiapas.  Leandro is doing a comparison of the Zapatistas and the MST of Brazil and Paula is studying women in Chiapas. Both have recently done extensive fieldwork in Chiapas.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005, 7:30 PM
OISE/UT, Room 2214 (2nd floor)
252 Bloor St. West, Subway St. George

More information: Transformative Learning Centre, OISE/UT


CERLAC and LACS present

The Left 
in Power
Photo: Página/12
Social Policy Initiatives 
Against Social Exclusion in Uruguay

with visiting speaker
Diana Marcos Pose

Uruguayans recently elected a new left-leaning government for the first time in the country’s history. The left’s landslide victory in the national elections gives it a clear mandate to carry out a program of progressive social and economic change after decades of market-friendly government policies. The first initiative of the new government will be to implement a National Emergency Plan to address the unprecedented levels of social exclusion in the country.

Diana Marcos will talk about the significance of the left’s electoral victory in Uruguay, outline the main objectives of the National Emergency Plan, and discuss other social policy initiatives of the new government.

She was recently appointed General Director of a newly created Ministry of Social Development charged with overseeing the design and implementation of the Emergency Plan. Diana Marcos has a degree in Economics and Administration from the Universidad de la Republica (Uruguay) and has extensive experience working as public administration advisor. She has held several public administration posts, including Accountant General for Montevideo’s Municipal Legislature and Director of Planning and Budgeting Division of the Municipality of Montevideo.

Wednesday, February 9th
2:30 - 4:30 pm
Founders College Senior Common Room
305 Founders College
York University

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC, Women's Studies, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Business and Society and the Division of Social Science present

-an international development week event-

Chiapas Indigenous Women’s Fair Trade Weaving Cooperatives

~the struggle for women’s empowerment and Indigenous autonomy~

with Pascuala Patishtan and Merit Ichin

Indigenous women from Chiapas, Mexico educate and empower themselves through their participation in women’s cooperative Jolom Mayaetik and NGO K’inal Antzetik. Their work raises women’s political awareness, and creates alternatives to gender and economic subordination.

Women’s work in Fair Trade cooperatives has been instrumental also in maintaining the autonomy of Indigenous communities in Chiapas, providing an alternative source of income for communities whose livelihoods continue to be threatened by macro-economic development plans such as the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), trade agreements such as NAFTA, and persistent low-intensity warfare.

Please join Pascuala Patishtan and Merit Ichin from Jolom Mayaetik and K’inal Antzetik,
sharing their struggle for dignity, autonomy, and survival.
Discussion to follow.

Fair Trade textiles will be also available for purchase.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
Founders Sr. Common Room
305 Founders College
2:30pm to 4:30pm

K'inal Antzetik
Canadian Fair Trade Network

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


The Canadian Studies Program at University College, University of Toronto and 
The Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 
with the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York University 
and Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, York University 


NAFTA and the Future of North America:
Trilateral Perspectives on Governance, Economic Development, and Labour

with Leading Experts from Mexico, the United States, and Canada

Monday, February 7, 2005
9:30am to 4:00pm

Croft Chapter House
University College
15 King’s College Circle
University of Toronto

This program is free
All are welcome
Lunch will be available for a small charge (see program)

Please register to or 416-815-6272


9:30:  Coffee
9:45:  OPENING REMARKS, Paul Perron, Principal, University College

CHAIR: Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, Department of Political Science, York University

MEXICO: Alejandro Alvarez, Economics, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 
“Mexico–A Contradictory New Role in NAFTA– Exporter of Labour and Importer of Goods and Services”

CANADA: Stephen Clarkson, Professor of Political Economy, University of Toronto
“Canada and NAFTA in the Emerging Global Order”

UNITED STATES: Joseph A. McKinney, Professor of Economics and the Ben H. Williams Professor of International Economics, Baylor University
“NAFTA’s Effects on North American Economic Development: A U.S. Perspective”

DISCUSSANT: Mel Watkins, Economics and Canadian Studies, University of Toronto

12:00–1:30:  LUNCH
A catered lunch will be available in Room 240, University College for a cost of $10/person. Please indicate your intention to join us when you register.
CHAIR: Viviana Patroni, Director, CERLAC, York University

UNITED STATES: Kimberly Elliott, Institute for International Economics 
“Trade Agreements and Labor Standards: Mandatory versus Voluntary Approaches”

CANADA: Greg Albo, Political Science, York University (with Dan Crow)
“The North American Labour Movements at an Impasse”

MEXICO: Dick Roman, University College, Univ. of Toronto and CERLAC, York University (with Edur Velasco, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico)
“Solidarity or Competition: Mexican Workers, NAFTA and the North American Labour Movement”

DISCUSSANT: Ian MacDonald, Political Science, York University

Cheryl Hoffmann, Canada Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars




CERLAC presents

Why Indigenous-Based Parties?
New Party Formation and Electoral Success in Latin America

with CERLAC Research Associate

Roberta Rice
PhD Candidate, Dept. of Political Science, University of New Mexico, U.S.A.

Indigenous movements are assuming increasing political importance in Latin American democracies. They have organized nation-wide strikes, blocked unpopular economic reforms, toppled corrupt leaders, and in some instances formed their own political parties with an eye to obtaining national-level power. While a number of scholars have sought to explain the recent emergence of indigenous rights movements in Latin America, few have examined the efforts of indigenous movements in some nations to assert their voice more directly into formal democratic institutions by creating their own political parties. 

The central questions addressed by this study are, why are indigenous-based political parties forming in some Latin American countries and not in others? And second, what factors account for the varying degree of success of these newly emerged parties? 

Monday, January 24, 2005
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
305 York Lanes

All are welcome!

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


Current conflict in Colombia takes place in a context of neoliberal economic policies, increasing militarization, the encroachment of US interests, systematic violations of human rights and the persistent struggles of social movements, labour organizations and indigenous communities.

 This seminar series offers a space to learn more about these issues and struggles, to reflect  on and discuss their implications and to explore ways to bring about change.


Oct. 12:
Colombia's "Internal Enemies" and their Cry for Liberty
with Jasmin Hristov
MA Candidate Sociology, CERLAC Graduate Associate

Oct. 21:
Violence against Unions in Colombia & the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
with Ray Rogers
Director, Campaign against Killer Coke

Nov. 9:
America’s Other War: Terrorizing Colombia
with Doug Stokes
University of Wales, CERLAC Visiting Scholar


Rights Action and CERLAC present...




Guillermo Chen Morales is Director of the New Hope for Rio Negro Rabinal Scholarship Foundation in Guatemala, an organization that creates educational opportunities for descendants of victims and survivors of the Guatemalan massacres.  He is from Rabinal Baja Verapaz, Guatemala, a municipality that the UN Truth Commission stated lost approximately 20 per cent of their population to state and paramilitary violence during the early 80's. 

Two decades after the genocide, the people are still trying to rebuild.

Thursday, November 25, 2004
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Founders Sr. Common Room
305 Founders College, York University


Rio Negro was the home village of several prominent human rights activists, who currently reside in Pacux (a former 'model village' that was controlled by the military) on the outskirts of Rabinal. The village of Rio Negro now lies under the water - in the flood plain created by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank funded Chixoy hydro-electric dam.

Over several months in the early 80's, over four hundred community members of Rio Negro were killed to make room for this dam project. Survivors of this and other massacres were left in horrendous poverty and are still struggling twenty years later. 

Since the massacres, without government assistance and within a context of on-going death threats and structural barriers, a handful of Indigenous massacre survivors in Rabinal created the infrastructure needed to help impoverished and traumatized Indigenous communities rebuild after the genocide. This infrastructure includes: a community Museum that celebrates local Mayan artisanry within the context of genocide; a legal aid clinic that provides free legal services to local Indigenous people; and a widow's organization that plays a fundamental role in the organization of political activity on both a local and national level. 

Another piece of the infrastructure that is being created in Rabinal for dignity and justice is the Foundation New Hope - an organization that creates educational opportunities for descendants of victims and survivors of the Guatemalan massacres. The Foundation and its students are now protagonists in re-building their lives and communities.  Guillermo, a university educated Indigenous man from Rabinal, uses his education and experience to help the Indigenous people of Rabinal overcome some of the barriers that they were born into. A significant part of his work is public education and fund-raising. This tour has both of these goals in mind. 

This presentation is a fantastic opportunity to hear a very personable, committed, and articulate person talk about the state of his community and their struggle for dignity and justice. It is also an opportunity to assist an organization that is providing education to Indigenous youth who otherwise could never afford it.

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705

Terrorizing Colombia


Doug Stokes
University of Wales
(Department of International Politics)

DOUG STOKES is a CERLAC visiting scholar.

He will be presenting on his new book, America’s Other War: Terrorizing Colombia.

Tuesday, November 9th
2:30 pm
305 York Lanes

Tracing US foreign policy in Colombia from the pre-Cold War era to the present day, America’s Other War is a thorough exposé of US support for state violence in Colombia.

“America’s Other War paints a very disturbing picture.  Highlighting continuities in Washington’s strategy that go back to the Cold War and show up elsewhere in Latin America, Doug Stokes shows that there is depressingly little “new” about the growing US involvement in Colombia’s conflict.  With very thorough research and a highly readable narrative, America’s Other War goes beyond the liberal-conservative debate over Plan Colombia reminding us of the central role played by the often brutal pursuit of economic interests” 
– Adam Isacson, Center for International Policy, Washington.

For more information and to order the book, click here.

From “War on Drugs” to “War on Terrorism”, the pretexts may change…
but the underlying agenda continues to be the advancement of US interests in Colombia.

More information: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


Are you interested in Latin American and Caribbean studies?

Did you miss the first CERLAC graduate student orientation?

Are you interested in getting more actively involved with CERLAC?

Come join us for our 2nd

Graduate Student Orientation

Monday, November 8 @ 3:30 p.m.
240 York Lanes

All graduate students are welcome to attend!

We will be providing more information on our graduate diploma, essay prizes, brown bag seminars, the documentation centre, events, publications and funding opportunities. 

We also want to hear your views on how we can best support you and the events you would like to see!


More information:, (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705

CERLAC presents

The Reality of Violence & Discrimination against Indigenous Women in Guatemala
with visiting speakers

Dina Mazariegos and Victoria Cumes Jochola

This presentation will deal with the struggle to counter violence and discrimination against indigenous women in Guatemala.  The speakers will also discuss the impacts of the Peace Accords, globalization and neoliberalism on women.

Thursday, November 4th

The Gallery
320 Bethune College

It is a pleasure and an opportunity to be receiving these women here in Canada. They bring with them a unique perspective and experience in their struggle for recognition of human rights, women's rights and indigenous rights that is different from the prevailing point of view.

In a country with a population comparable to Ontario's, there were 431 reported cases of rape between Jan-June of 2003. During the first 8 months of 2004, 331 women were murdered, many of them tortured. The number of cases of violence against women and the apparently deliberate killings of women--termed femicidio or femicide--has increased drastically in recent times. In some rural areas the illiteracy rate reaches 90 percent. Indigenous women are the majority and face triple discrimination; for their poverty, for their race, and for their gender.  Yet they exemplify hope for positive change.

About the speakers:

Dina Mazariegos

  • Leader of the Movement of Guatemalan Women for more than 10 years
  • Social worker and popular educator
  • Cooperant with CUSO in Guatemala for 6 years
  • Member of Consultive Commission for Educational Reform
  • Lived in exile in Canada for 5 years
  • Represented Guatemala at various international events in South Africa, Sweden, United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica etc.
  • Coordinator of the Women's Collective Nuestra Voz.

  • Victoria Cumes Jochola

  • Community worker and popular educator
  • Diploma in Indigenous Rights
  • Kaqchikel linguistic coordinator for the department of Chimaltenango in the National Women's Forum
  • Participant in the Non-Violence Network
  • Workshop facilitor for Nuestra Voz in her native tongue Kaqchikel

  • Suggested links and reading:

    Mesoamerican Centre for Sustainable Human Rights Action (CEMAS) -

    The Granddaughters of Ixmucane: Guatemalan Women Speak as told to Emilie Smith-Ayala, Women's Press, Toronto, 1991.

    I, Rigoberta Menchu by Rigoberta Menchu, Verso Press, London and New York, 1984.

    Stolen Continents by Ronald Wright, Penguin Books Canada, Toronto, 1992.

    Time Amongst the Maya by Ronald Wright, Penguin Books Canada, 1989.

    More information:, (416) 736-2100 ext. 88705


    CERLAC (York U.), LACS (York U.),  the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT), the Centre for Social Justice, Founders College (York U.), OPIRG (U of T), the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice & Democracy (Ryerson U.), Politics (Ryerson U.) and Sociology (York U.) present

    The case of the 'movimiento autonomista'  in ARGENTINA

    **Note the change in time and location for this event**

    As Argentina tumbles further into uncharted financial crisis an inspiring popular rebellion has been spreading across the country. An ongoing direct democracy movement has developed that has become a living laboratory of struggle -- a space where the politics of the future are being re-invented. 

    Join us for an evening of art, film and discussion - featuring:

    a presentation by 
    the Argentina Autonomista Project

     Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein with an introduction and a clip from their new documentary The Take)

    Graciela Monteagudo (Argentine human rights activist and community artist) with interactive "cantastorias" on the history of Argentina

    Soledad Bordegaray (MTD La Matanza) and Claudia Acuña (Human Rights organizer, journalist and co-founder of La Vaca) with a presentation on autonomous struggles in Argentina.


    Tuesday,  November 2 
    8:00pm – 10:00pm
    OISE, University of Toronto
    252 Bloor St. West 
    (subway: St. George)
    OISE Auditorium
    **Note the change in time and location**
    we encourage you to register in advance at

    all are welcome!!  attendance is free!!

    December 1, 2004
    Dear Friends,

    We’re writing to ask your help in defending an inspiring and courageous workers’ struggle in Argentina.

    The Zanon ceramic tile factory, a democratic, worker-run factory in Patagonia, is facing a serious threat of eviction, and the workers have asked us to gather international support for their struggle.

    To sign the petition, please click here:

    And for more information, read on...

    For those of you who have seen our documentary, The Take, the Zanon factory, and Argentina’s wider movement of worker-run companies will be very familiar.

    For those of you who haven’t, this new movement of some 15,000 workers in almost 200 democratic workplaces is building hope and a concrete economic alternative in the rubble of Argentina’s disastrous experiment with orthodox neoliberalism in the 1990s.

    Recovered companies are run by assembly: one worker, one vote. In most of them, workers have decided that everyone should receive the same salary. They are proving the viability of an economy run on an entirely different value system, and they are growing.

    In the past year, Zanon has increased its workforce from 300 to 450: a 50% increase. What multinational corporation or national government could boast of such a dramatic rise in decent-paying employment in the middle of an economic crisis?

    And Zanon has cultivated a deep and mutual relationship with the surrounding community. For 20 years, the poor neighbourhood of Nueva España, across the highway from the factory, has been asking the provincial government for a health clinic. Zanon workers took a vote earlier this year, and in 3 months built and opened a brand new community health facility.

    But now the provincial government is threatening to send in the Gendarmeria to remove Zanon’s precious machines. This is an illegal order, since this force is Federal, intended to police Argentina’s borders. On a second front, the Federal judge presiding over the bankruptcy of the former owner is refusing to recognize the Zanon workers’ co-operative (called FaSinPat – short for ‘Fabricas Sin Patrones’, Factories Without Bosses.)

    The former owner received millions in public subsidies, and still amassed a huge debt and bankruptcy: he has since been removed from his own board of directors for “accounting irregularities”. The workers’ co-operative, on the other hand, is a major success: it is now producing 380,000 square meters of ceramic tiles a month – a level of production higher than when the former owner closed the factory - and the workers do it without the huge public subsidies (300,000 pesos per month) that he used to receive.

    The Zanon workers have told us that a massive international petition in support of their struggle could make a key difference with the various levels of courts and governments.

    Zanon’s highly successful combination of direct action and direct democracy is a precious example of that other world that is possible, that is growing before our very eyes.

    We urge you to sign the petition

    and do everything you can to encourage others to do the same.

    Thank you for your time and support,

    Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein

    Argentina Autonomista Project -

    Organizations collaborating with the Argentina Autonomista Project:

  • MTD Solano (Unemployed Worker Movement) -
  • La Vaca, a group of independent journalists in Buenos Aires, Argentina -
  • School Of the America's Watch:
  • Cooperativa La Assamblearia, a Solidarity Economy Network:
  • Enough is Enough! Spreading Zapatista Strategies of Organizing to North America:
  • Worcester (Mass) Global Action Network (WoGAN):
  • The People United:
  • Green Valley Media, Documenting the Culture of Human Rights:

  • Articles:

  • An article by Graciela about the October 2003 Autonomista Tour and Autonomous Social Movements Caravan, recently published by Carta de una activista global: Caravana autonomista
  • Graciela Monteagudo's May, 2003 article from ZNet: The Argentine Autonomist Movement And The Elections
  • Article on November Autonomous Social Movements Caravan / Argentina Autonomista Tour by Joseph Huff-Hannon:
  • An article on Washington DC indymedia about the October 2003 Autonomista Tour and Autonomous Social Movements Caravan
  • Interview with member of the Unemployed Workers Movement of Solano, Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina by Dina Khorasanee.
  • An article from the Flat Hat, William and Mary's student newspaper, about the October 2003 Autonomista Tour and Autonomous Social Movements Caravan: Speakers promote autonomy
  • Enron's plundering of Argentina
  • Hear a BBC interview with Neka (MTD Solano, Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Graciela, conducted while on tour in the United Kingdom:
  • Another interesting review of the event in Leeds, UK: Piquetera Puppet Show Rolls into Leeds
  • An article about the AAP from indymedia UK: Argentina Autonomist Project - Interview with Graciela Monteagudo
  • An article from James Maddison University's newspaper: Puppets portray political conditions for Argentinians
  • An article about the Mapuches indigenous group in Southern Argentina: Mapuche Lands in Patagonia Taken Over by Benetton Wool Farms

  • News on Argentina:

  • Zmag's section on Argentina: Argentina Watch:
  • Peoples' Global Action section on Argentina (English): Struggles in Argentina:
  • People's Global Action Home Page (multi-lingual):
  • Indymedia Argentina / Argentina Centro De Medios Independientes:
  • Workers Without Bosses: Lots of articles on Brukman Factory and other occupied factories: Workers Without Bosses is a global network of people organizing assistance for Argentina's occupied factories.


    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705



    CERLAC, The Faculties of Environmental Studies and Fine Arts, and the Aboriginal Education Council present


    Community-Based Mural Production
    in Mexico


    Checo Valdez
    Visual artist from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico City

    Checo, research collaborator in the VIVA! Project, will speak about his work with Zapatista communities in producing murals on community history.

    Deborah Barndt, Associate Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies, will host.

    Thursday, October 28, 2004
    5:00- 7:00 pm
    Health Nursing and Environmental Studies Building Room 140
    This event will also launch the use of new simultaneous translation equipment at York, supported by the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation to promote bilingual and multilingual research and education.

    reception following seminar - free admission

    This is the second event in the 2004-05 FES Seminar Series "Art/Nature/Culture/Communities."

    For more information: Dianne Zecchino,, 416-736-5285

    CERLAC presents

    The Politics of Recognition in BRAZIL
    The PT and their new social policy?

    with visiting speaker

    Paulo Krischke

    Please join us for this exciting seminar with renowned Brazilian scholar, Paulo Krischke.  Krischke was a co-founder of two important pre-cursors to CERLAC: the Brazilian Studies Group and the Latin American Research Unit.  He has written extensively on culture and politics in Brazil and is currently a Professor in the Centre of Philosophy and Human Sciences at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, in Florianópolis, Brazil.

    All are welcome!

    Monday, October 25, 2004
    390 York Lanes

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    CERLAC and CRWS present

    Violence against Unions in Colombia
    & the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke

    "It's about confronting power with power"

    with visiting speaker

    Director, Campaign to Stop Killer Coke

    Thursday, Oct. 21, 2:30 pm
    Founders Senior Common Room
    305 Founders College, York University
    **Please note the change in location to 305 Founders College.

    In 2001, a lawsuit was filed against Coca-Cola by the International Labor Rights Fund ( and the United Steelworkers of America on behalf of SINALTRAINAL (the Colombian union representing Coke workers), several of its members and the estate of Isidro Gil, one of its murdered officers. The lawsuit charges that Coca-Cola’s bottlers in Colombia “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders.”

    It was later decided that a highly visible public campaign would be needed to supplement the legal strategy. That is where Corporate Campaign, Inc. (CCI) came in and launched the worldwide Campaign to Stop Killer Coke ( After conducting months of research, CCI ( came up with a strategic plan: to undermine Coca-Cola’s image, to cut off their markets and to pressure the company’s top policymakers, institutional investors and creditors. This strategy seeks to divide the power brokers against each other. As Rogers says, “It’s about confronting power with power. We must raise the stakes high enough so that Coke and its financial allies realize that it’s going to cost them a lot more than they have to gain if they don’t clean up their act in Colombia.”

    "If we lose the fight against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our jobs and then our lives."
    — SINALTRAINAL Vice President Juan Carlos Galvis
    Please see here for background reading and links. 

    You can download a flyer with information about how to stop Killer Coke by pressuring the Royal Bank of Canada.  Complete the letter on the back and send it the Royal Bank!

    To receive electronic newsletters about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, send a request to with a request to join.


    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    CERLAC presents

    In search of a model that places human life before capital…

    a brown bag seminar with

    Jasmin Hristov
    MA Candidate, Sociology, CERLAC Graduate Associate

    State-sanctioned violence, repression, and increased militarization have facilitated the process of neoliberal restructuring in Colombia. The detrimental impacts of neoliberal policies are clearly evident in the deterioration of the already precarious existence of millions, widening inequalities, assault on labour rights, destruction of sustainable livelihoods, increase in the number of landless rural residents, and decline in social development. The indignation of those impoverished by the current economic system has found expression in diverse popular struggles exhibiting an unprecedented organizational capacity. Meanwhile, the “War against the Internal Enemy” has served as the ideological mechanism that legitimates the state’s non-democratic, repressive, and in some cases terror-based practices that dehumanize, silence, frighten, and confuse those who ask questions.
    Jasmin has recently returned from a trip to Bogota, Cali, and a number of places in the Department of Cauca. During this seminar she will report back on her meetings with representatives from the indigenous movement of Cauca, Leftist politicians and intellectuals, unionists, the Presidential Council for Human Rights, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Colombian Armed Forces, and the US embassy, covering a wide variety of topics and perspectives related to the current conflict in Colombia.
    Background reading:

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004
    3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    305 York Lanes

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    CERLAC presents

    HIV/AIDS, Women and Violence in Chiapas

    with visiting speaker
    Dr. Margarita Aguilar Ruiz
    Monday, October 4, 1:00 pm
    305 York Lanes

    Dr. Margarita Aguilar Ruiz is the author of “With Faith Eroded.” She is accompanied by her translator, Susan Angelakis from Chiapas.  Margarita will discuss her HIV/AIDS education work with women in Chiapas.  She is a medical doctor, social activist, journalist, and author.

    “With Faith Eroded”,written as a novella for educational purposes, charts the struggle for survival amid the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Highlands of Chiapas.   The book has recently been translated into English by Susan Angelakis and published through CCJW by The Other Eye Press in Toronto. It will be available for sale in both Spanish and English.

    Speaking tour organized by Canadian Chiapanecas Justice for Women
    Canadian Chiapanecas Justice for Women (CCJW) is a network of individuals and member organizations in Canada and Chiapas.  It is a North/South working group committed to building links among women's anti-violence, education, health, human rights and indigenous organizations in the PPP region and in Canada in order to learn from each other and to support each other’s work.

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    CERLAC, the Division of Social Science, LACS, Founders College, IDS and UCGS present

    Latin American Development Theories and Neoliberalism

    with visiting speaker

    Cristobal Kay
    Institute for Social Research, Netherlands

    Monday, October 4th, 3 - 5 pm
    Founders College Senior Common Room
    305 Founders College, York University

    More information, contact: Kimberley White, Assistant Professor, Division of Social Science
    (416) 736-2100 x 20546 or


    An invitation to all graduate students at York
    interested in research on Latin American and the Caribbean

    The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC)
    invites you to

    An Orientation Session for Graduate Students

    October 5, 2004
    2:30 - 3:30 pm
    CERLAC (240 York Lanes)

    We encourage all students interested in CERLAC to join us for this informal gathering.  A general introduction to our activities, resources and major programs (including especially the Graduate Diploma Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies) will be presented.  Emphasis will be given to opportunities for graduate student involvement at CERLAC, and questions and suggestions will be very welcome.

    This event will be followed directly by a CERLAC social gathering, which represents an opportunity to meet with other members of the CERLAC community - as well as to eat, drink and be merry!

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    CERLAC invites all to attend a

    CERLAC Social Gathering

    Please join us at our annual welcome event to start off the school year
     and meet with new and old friends and colleagues.  All are welcome!
     Food, drink, and good company are guaranteed.

     Tuesday, October 5
     3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
     240 York Lanes, York University

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705

    The Colloquium on the Global South presents

    two seminars with
    Pat Mooney
    (ETC Group, formerly RAFI)

    Wednesday, September 29, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM:
    Breaking Waves: How to control technological tsunamis in an era of globalization 1400 to 2100

    Wednesday, September 29, 2:30-4:30 PM:
    Biodiversity, Biotech and the Marginalized

    Room 305, York Lanes
    York University, Toronto

    The 10:30-12:30 seminar will be oriented to a 'science and society' crowd and the 2:30-4:30 seminar to a 'global south' crowd. Both seminars will draw on Pat Mooney’s path breaking book The "ETC" Century: Erosion, Technological Transformation, and Corporate Concentration in the 21st Century (ETC Group, 2001) and the work that has followed.

    Pat Roy Mooney is the Executive Director of ETC Group. For more than thirty years, Pat Mooney has worked with civil society organisations (CSOs) on international trade and development issues related to agriculture and biodiversity. For further information, check the UCGS website.

    CERLAC presents

    Venezuela Chooses its Future
    A panel discussion on the context and consequences of the recent referendum in Venezuela

    “We are an overflown river” says the banner at a Pro-Chavez rally
    outside the Presidencial Palace in Caracas.
    Credit: Jonah Gindin -
    "This democratic triumph gives Chávez immense moral credibility as a leader of the popular alternative to the neo-liberal free-market model, and strengthens the initiative of a form of Latin American integration that differs from the model pushed by Washington"
    - Heinz Dieterich
    On August 15, Venezuelans voted in the first referendum of its kind in the hemisphere. The majority (59.25%) voted  to retain Hugo Chávez as their president, effectively endorsing his Bolivarian Revolution, and once again thwarting opposition plans to oust him from office.  The challenge now is to deepen the revolution in a society with high levels of economic inequality, sharp polarizations, and hostile media coverage of Chávez and his policies.
    Please join us for an informed discussion of these and related issues.
    All are welcome!

            About the panelists:
    Greg Albo teaches political economy at York University, focusing on Canada and the political economy of hte Americas.  He writes for, and edits, numerous intellectual journals.  He was recently in Venezuela as an official International Observer for the Presidential Referendum.

    Sam Gindin is the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University and former Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers.  He was in Venezuela as an official international Observer for the recent Presidential Referendum.

    Nicolas Lopez is a political science student at York with a particular interest in Latin American social and political movements.  As a member of the Latin american Bolivarian Circle in Toronto, he visited Venezuela in August 2004 and witnessed the historic Presidential Referendum.

    Maria Paez Victoris a sociologist and policy analyst.  She is a consultant and teaches at the University of Toronto.  During the Presidential Referendum in Venezuela, she was in charge of the Toronto voting station.  She is a member of the Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle of Toronto.

    Thursday, September 23, 2004
    2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
    Founders Senior Common Room
    305 Founders College, York University

    Guidelines to Regulate the Procedures of Referenda Recalling the Mandates of Elected Officials
    See the South America and Referendum in Venezuela sections in the following LACYORK archives:
    LACYORK News 08/05/04
    LACYORK News and Maps 08/12/04
    LACYORK Announcements & Venezuela News 08/17/04
    LACYORK News 08/19/04
    LACYORK News and Announcements 08/26/04

    More information:, 416-736-2100 ext. 88705