Main CERLAC Events Page

Other Years' Events


Events from the 2005-2006 Academic Year


What's behind the Secret Negotiations of the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CA4FTA)? Speakers and Discussion June 22, 2006

An Evening of Testimonies, Poetry and Film (To draw attention to recent events in Atenco, Mexico) Speaker/Video/Poetry June 12, 2006

CERLAC Events in Honour of Liisa North at the 2006 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at York Panel Discussions June 1-3, 2006

The Venezuelan Labour Movement in the Epoch of Globalization Visiting Speaker May 25, 2006

From Civil War to Neoliberalism: El Salvador Since the Peace Accords Panel Discussion April 25, 2006

Chiapas Indigenous Women's Fair Trade Weaving Cooperative Visiting Speakers Mar 29, 2006

The Contra War as Another US-Indian War Visiting Speaker Mar 28, 2006

30th Anniversary of Argentine Coup d'Etat Series of Events Mar 24-Apr 1, 2006

Wetback Film Screening Mar 8, 2006

Political Violence and the Guatemalan CICIACS Brown Bag Seminar Mar 7, 2006

Undermining Democracy in Haiti Visiting Speaker Feb 27, 2006

A Look at Haiti Film Screening and Panel Discussion Feb 21, 2006

Uncomfortable: The Art of Christopher Cozier Film Screening Jan 30, 2006

Environmental Education through Community Arts Brown Bag Seminar Jan 24, 2006

With the Poor of the Earth Film screening Jan 19, 2006

Civil Disobedient Experiences in Indigenous Political Action Visiting speaker Dec 1, 2005

Contemporary Brazilian Perspectives Brown Bag Seminar Nov 29, 2005

The Evolution of Democracy? Brown Bag Seminar Nov 24, 2005

Report Back on 16th World Youth and Students Festival Brown Bag Seminar Nov 22, 2005

Fair Trade Fresh Fruits Tour Visiting speakers Nov 7, 2005

Human Rights and Impunity in Colombia Visiting speaker Nov 3, 2005

Unions, the State & the Bourgeoisie in Mexico Visiting speaker Oct 27, 2005

Sweet & Sour Sauce: Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture Jagan lecture Oct 22, 2005

Poor barrios in Sao Paulo: Networks of solidarity in a situation of social vulnerability Visiting speaker Oct 19, 2005

Culture & Politics in Uruguay - with Daniel Viglietti Visiting speaker/musician Oct 6, 2005

CERLAC Social Gathering Sep 27, 2005

Graduate Student Orientation Session Sep 27, 2005

Rebel Music Americas   Film screening and panel discussion Sep 23, 2005

Central American and Canadian Perspectives in Canada on CA4FTA Visiting speakers Sep 15, 2005



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CERLAC, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)’s Americas Policy Group, the Canada-El Salvador Action Network (CELSAN), KAIROS Canada, the Guatemala Community Network (GCN), Salvaide Toronto, the Salvadorian-Canadian Association (ASALCA) and the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE-U of T) present:


What's Behind the Secret Negotiation of the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CA4FTA)?

A Discussion with:

Raúl Moreno

Sinti Techan Citzens' Action Network, 

El Salvador



Suzanne Rumsey


Americas Policy Group, Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC)/

PWRDF, Anglican Church of Canada

 Thursday, June 22nd
OISE, Room 4-422
252 Bloor St. West


For the last 5 years, the government of Canada has been secretly negotiating a free trade agreement with four Central American countries modelled on the NAFTA and FTAA.  During that time, the Canadian government has refused to release the draft text of the agreement, now in the last stages of negotiation.  This agreement comes on the heels of the recently approved US-Central America Free Trade Agreement, which has been described as NAFTA on steroids.  Come find out more about this secret agreement and what you can do about it.


For more information, please send an email to:




Justicia for Migrant Farm Workers, the Toronto-Atenco Solidarity Committee, the Centre for Research on Latin American and Caribbean Studies at York University (CERLAC), and the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT) present:  


An Evening of Testimonies, Poetry and Film  

as part of the International Day of Action in Art, Culture and Communication called by the "Other Campaign" for the Liberation of the Atenco Political Prisoners  


Erika Del Carmen Fuchs on


"Atenco: The Other Face of Mexico. Criminalization and Repression of the Struggle for Dignity, Land and An "Other" Mexico," 



Presenting her testimony, images and film of the attacks in Atenco,

and the 


R.H.Y.M.E. Poetry Collective  

Sharing their spoken word in solidarity with Atenco  

Monday, June 12th, 2006
Time: 6:30-9:30pm
Seminar Room 4-414
OISE UT, 252 Bloor Street West
(St. George Subway Station, Bedford Street exit)


Eirka Del Carmen Fuchs is a Participant in the Other Campaign in Mexico, as a Member of the Committee Truth, Justice and Freedom Jacobo and Gloria and Justicia for Migrant Workers (BC). A witness to the attacks on San Salvador Atenco, Erika will give her testimony and provide analysis of the current context of Mexico and the Other Campaign. 


Maka is an independent media journalist and activist from Mexico City.


Donations to the legal fund of Atenco political prisoners are appreciated. 

For more information contact:



The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), the Canadian Political Science Association and the Canadian Association for Studies in International Development present:

The Political Economy of Social (In)Justice in Latin America: Panels in Honour of Liisa North

In a series of panels colleagues and students of Professor Liisa North will celebrate her key contributions to Latin American studies and her long-lasting commitment to social change. The panels will focus on issues that have been of primary importance to Liisa's work, such as the roots of inequality, political and social exclusion, the role of Canada in the region, and the significance of struggles for social justice.

Thursday, June 1st to Saturday June 3rd, 2006

York University, 

As part of the 75th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

To view the complete program, click here.

For more information:, 416-736-5237



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

and the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT) present:


The Venezuelan Labour Movement in the Epoch of Globalization: 

The Transition to Bolivarianism

 (El movimiento sindical venezolano en la época de la mundialización: la transición del "punto fijismo" al "bolivarianismo")




Francisco Iturraspe

Central University of Venezuela


Thursday, May 25th, 2006 @ 7:00 pm


OISE at the University of Toronto


Room 2-211, 252 Bloor Street West


The collision-course between traditional organized labour and the state under Chavez's "bolivarianism" originated in the erosion of union democracy and autonomy under a "neocorporate" model of governance during the 1980s and 1990s.  Dr. Iturrapse will discuss the link between the neocorporate system and neoliberal economic reforms, and how this process gave rise to a loss of credibility and autonomy within the union movement.  He then will address institutional and constitutional changes under the Chavez government aimed at transforming the labour movement. The "bolivariam transition" poses challenging questions about the role of the state in the supervision of unions in particular and more generally, it's role in civil society.


Francisco Iturraspe  (Magister Scientiarun en Derecho del Trabajo, Doctor en Ciencias) is a professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and also represents Venezuelan labour unions. He has worked and taught at universities in Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, the United States, Mexico and Chile and has also conducted research in Canada. He is the author of over twenty books and is National Coordinator of the Venezuelan Labour Lawyers Association  (AVAL, Asociación Venezolana de Abogados Laboralistas) and founder and Press Secretary to the Latin-American Labour Lawyer Society (ALAL, Asociación Latinoamericana de Abogados Laboralistas).


For more information on this event: (416) 934-1284,




The Canada-El Salvador Action Network (CELSAN) and the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) at York University present


From Civil War to Neoliberalism:

El Salvador since the Peace Accords


A panel discussion with:
Dr. Lisa Kowalchuk
Assistant Professor, Sociology
University of Guelph
 CERLAC Fellow

Rusa Jeremic
Program Coordinator
Global Economic Justice
Kairos Canada
Alfredo Marroquin
Salvaide Toronto


After twelve years of civil war, the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords put an end to El Salvador's armed conflict.  Many people around the world had hoped that the negotiated settlement would go a long way to achieving greater social justice in El Salvador, and with this new peace, the world gradually stopped watching.  However, over the last 14 years strict adherence to neoliberal policies by successive right-wing governments in El Salvador have had disastrous effects for the majority of Salvadoreans.  Inequality has risen, the economy was dollarized, and 60% of Salvadoreans live on less than $2 per day.  Deteriorating conditions in the country increasingly drive Salvadoreans primarily to the United States, from where they send remittances that keep the economy afloat.  Even the Peace Accords themselves are under attack, leading many to suggest that a major crisis is brewing.


Join us for a "re-introduction" to El Salvador through an overview and discussion of some of the most salient developments in the country since the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords.


Tuesday, April 25
7:00 PM
OISE at University of Toronto

252 Bloor Street West
Room 2-211

For more information: email, 416-690-2892.



The Colloquium for the Global South, The Centre for Feminist Research, and CERLAC present 


Chiapas Indigenous Women's Fair Trade Weaving Cooperatives


~the struggle for women's 

empowerment and Indigenous autonomy~


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 also been instrumental 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.  


Wednesday, March 29th

2:30- 4:30pm

305 York Lanes


Please join representatives from Jolom Mayaetik and K'inal Antzetik, sharing their struggle for dignity, autonomy, and survival.


Fair Trade textiles will be also available for purchase.


More info: 416.736.2100 ext. 88705,




CERLAC Presents:

The Contra War as another US-Indian War

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian and long time social justice activist. Her newly published book, Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, is the third book in a historical/literary memoir series that began with the publication of Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie (1997) followed by Outlaw Woman: Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975. Blood on the Border tells the story of the US sponsored war and its effects on the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua and the rest of the Americas. Prior to the memoir series, she published and edited numerous scholarly books and articles on Native issues and on the international indigenous movement.

Tuesday, March 28th,
4 - 6 pm
York Lanes, Rm 305
York University
For more information:, (416)736-2100 x88705



CERLAC and the Brown Bag Seminar Series Present:
Political Violence and the Guatemalan CICIACS

Simon Helweg-Larson


Political violence is on the rise in Guatemala, with over one hundred threats and attacks against human rights workers recorded during each of the last six years. Yet while the Guatemalan government has failed to reform the justice and security sectors to adequately address this situation, local human rights organizations initiated the creation of an international commission to investigate the attacks in 2004. In this seminar, Simon Helweg-Larsen will discuss the attempt to create the CICIACS commission, placing this process within the wider themes of peace accord non-implementation, post-war political violence, and Guatemalan power networks.

Simon Helweg-Larsen is a Master's candidate in Social and Political Thought. He recently conducted research in Guatemala on the CICIACS, interviewing members of human rights organizations and government agencies involved in the process.


Tuesday, March 7
3:00-5:00 pm
York Lanes 305

More information: 416.736.2100 ext. 88705,






CERLAC presents

Undermining Democracy
Canada, the Coup and the War on Haiti's Popular Movements

A Presentation by
Patrick Elie

Please join us for the Toronto stop of political rights activist and former member of Jean Bertrand Aristide's first government, Patrick Elie's cross-Canada speaking tour. 


Monday, February 27th
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Founders Sr. Common Room 
305 Founders College
York University

For more information on Patrick Elie, a political biography and a link to
an interview appear below. 


The tour, organized by local chapters of the Canada Haiti Action Committee, has a threefold purpose:


1. To give a voice to the Haitian people. Democracy and constitutional rule was overthrown in Haiti in February 2004 by an imperialist-backed coup. The elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forced into exile at that time. Thousands of his supporters have been killed, jailed, or forced into exile. Patrick Elie, a voice for the restoration of sovereignty and democracy, condemns the coup and illegal government that now rules Haiti.


2. The tour will give a voice to those demanding an end to the repression in Haiti carried out by the United Nations-sponsored occupation force and the foreign-trained and armed Haitian National Police. It will demand the release of all political prisoners held under the UN/Canada/U.S.-sponsored coup regime.


3. The tour will raise funds for several grassroots projects in Haiti recommended by Patrick. These are, (1) A popular university on the air, featuring lectures and debates that address burning social issues ignored by traditional politicians and the mainstream Haitian press, and (2) A national observatory of the Press. The Haitian press is a quasi-monopoly of the elite, their disinformation campaign against President Aristide and the popular movement has been the main weapon used to prepare the infamy of February 29, 2004.


Patrick Elie:

* Born January 1st 1950. Involved since 1967 in the fight against the Duvalier dictatorship. Graduated with a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Sherbooke, Quebec in 1972. Earned a PhD in organic chemistry
from McGill University in 1976. Professor of biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Haiti, 1980-1991.

* Helped save Jean-Bertrand Aristide's life on September 11, 1988. Was the informal head of  Jean-Bertrand Aristide's security detail during the 1990 electoral campaign.

* National Coordinator of the fight against drug trafficking in Haiti, 1991-1994.

* Secretary of State for National Defense, 1994-1995. Instrumental in creating the National Police and dismantling the Haitian Army.

* President of Foundation Eko Vwa Jan Dominique, an organization which aims to pursue the work of the late journalist Jean Léopold Dominique, assassinated on April 3, 2000. Founding member of S.O.S. (Sant Obsèvasyon Sitwayen) a citizen watchdog group, created after February 29, 2004 coup and whose motto is; "Politics is too important to be abandoned to the politicians."

An interview with Patrick by Justin Podur, Anthony Fenton, and Andréa Schmidt

For more information visit: /
or contact:, 416.736.2100 ext. 88705 /


CERLAC, the Grassroots Anti-Imperialist Network and the Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC) are pleased to present:

In recognition of the second anniversary of the overthrow of Haitian democracy

A Look at HAITI

A discussion and film screening two years after the coup

Please join us for an introductory event in anticipation of both the second anniversary of the February 29, 2004 overthrow of Haiti's elected government and a special February 27th event that will feature Patrick Elie, a political rights activist and former Minister of Jean Bertrand Aristide's first government.


Speakers to include:

Nadine Pequeneza: Independent documentary film maker and journalist

Zac Smith: York student and organizer with the Toronto Haiti Action Committee

Dan Freeman-Maloy: York student and organizer with the Toronto Haiti Action Committee


The event will include a brief overview of the current situation in Haiti, a discussion of the efforts of activists involved in the Haiti solidarity movement, as well as a screening of Pequeneza's film "Aristide's Haiti".

Tuesday, February 21st
2:30 - 4:30pm
305 York Lanes
York University


For more information visit: /
or contact:, 416.736.2100 ext. 88705 /





The Department of Visual Arts, Department of Film, and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) present:

Christopher Cozier: Artist's Talk

With screening of 
Uncomfortable: The Art of Christopher Cozier
(excerpt) by Richard Fung (2006)


Monday, January 30
Brian Craig Cinema, 211 Founders College
York University
Trinidadian artist Christopher Cozier works in various media, including drawing, constructions, video, live performance, and appropriated objects (breeze bricks, flags, rulers, sandwiches), to critique discourses of nation, culture, colonial identity, and the local. His work has been exhibited at the Havana Bienale, the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, TENT in Rotterdam, CCA7 in Port of Spain, the Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC, The Nikolaj in Copenhagen and A Space in Toronto. He is on the editorial collective of Small Axe, A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, and is an editorial adviser to BOMB Magazine (Americas issues).


For more on Christopher Cozier's work, click here.


Also, Uncomfortable will receive its world premiere on January 25, 7:30pm, Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave (at St. George), with Christopher and Richard in attendance. Free.

More information: 416.736.2100 ext. 88705,






The Kuna Children's Art Project in Kuna Yala, Panama






The Kuna Children's Art Project is an outstanding example of how collaborative creative arts processes can realise the ambitions of environmental education.  Situated in Kuna Yala, an indigenous region of Panama, children from five different communities used various artistic mediums in order to better understand Kuna culture and local ecology. Led by local facilitators, the project involved hundreds of children over a five-year period, 1994-99. Such themes as cultural identity, place-based education, and environmental action were engaged through drawing, theatre, puppetry, mural-making, and music.

Laura Reinsborough is a Masters candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Through the York International Internship Program, she was fortunate enough to spend four months working on the Kuna Children's Art Project through CEASPA, a partner in the VIVA! Project, during the summer of 2005.



Jan. 24, 2006

12:30-2:30 pm

305 York Lanes




CERLAC presents

With the Poor of the Earth
Con los pueblos de la tierra

"With the Poor of the Earth" ("Con los Pueblos de la Tierra") is an excellent documentary that gives the essential background into what is popularly known as the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela. 


Produced by noted Chilean journalist Marta Harnecker, this documentary relates the inspiring and fascinating history of Hugo Chávez's struggle to create a new Venezuela free of poverty, illiteracy and misery and the involvement of the Venezuelan people in their own liberation. The film is approximately 60 minutes long and will be followed by a short discussion.


Thursday, January 19th, 2006
2:30 - 4:30 pm
Founders Sr. Common Room
305 Founders College, York University


Sponsored by:
Centre for Research on Latin American and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York University -
Hands Off Venezuela -
"Louis Riel" Bolivarian Circle of Toronto
Fightback -

For more information, contact or, 416.736.5237

CERLAC presents

Civil Disobedient Experiences in Indigenous Political Action

The Mexican EZLN and the Colombian Wayuu


Luisa Ortiz Pérez, Research Fellow, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Luisa Ortiz Pérez has a doctorate in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the Government Department at the University of Essex in the UK. Before the ITAM appointment in her native Mexico, she was a Lecturer in Discourse Analysis and Gender Studies at the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. Luisa Ortiz’s published work concerns political discourses and identity formation among indigenous groups and movements such as the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) in Mexico and the Wayuu of the Colombian-Venezuelan border. Her work also explores ethnicity, race and gender in global contexts of conflict and economic emergencies.


Thursday, December 1
12:30 - 2:00pm
305 York Lanes


To download Luisa Ortiz's paper, "Civil Disobedient Experiences in Indigenous Political Action --
The Mexican EZLN and the Colombian Wayuu," click here.

More information:, 416.736.2100 x 88705



Contemporary Brazilian Perspectives



Fabiana Barbi: Challenges of Participatory Watershed Management in Brasil: the Cantareira Case
Fabiana Barbi is a Masters candidate in the Environmental Science Program at the University of Sao Paulo.  She is an exchange student in York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies and is involved in the Sister Watersheds Project.

Maria Costa: The Brazilian capital-labour relation system: some historical features and its recent precariousness.
Maria Costa has a PhD in Sociology and is a Professor and Researcher from the Center of Applied Social Sciences at the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil.

Thea Standerski: Participatory Design Process for an Urban Park
Thea Standerski is a Masters candidate in the Landscape Architecture Graduate Program at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University Sao Paulo.  She is an exchange student in York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Tuesday November 29th, 2005
2:30 - 4:30pm
305 York Lanes, York University


More information:, 416.736.2100 x 88705




The Evolution of Democracy?
The Case of the Dominican Republic in the Latin American context


John Carlaw
Summer 2005 York International Intern to the Dominican Republic,
MA candidate in Political Science


Based on his own research and insights gained from experience working as an intern with the Canadian Embassy and Office of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Dominican Republic, John will discuss and offer some evaluation of the status of democracy in the Dominican Republic with particular consideration of the role of the international community in promoting fairer elections and improved institutions amidst a problematic international and domestic politico-economic order. 


Please come out and contribute to a discussion of democracy in the Dominican Republic and of trends in the wider region.


Thursday, November 24th, 2005 
390 York Lanes


Further information and readings:

In Spanish:

- Dominican Governance NGO Participacion Ciudadana, particularly its political analysis and documents on the 2004 elections:

- Clave digital, a Dominican news and political analysis web-site; in particular see "Firmas Claves" columns by Rosario Espinal and other analysts:

- Publications of Rosario Espinal in Spanish - links to some of the documents on the page:

- See in particular: "El Proceso Democratico en Republica Dominicana: Avances, Retrocesos y Riesgos." R. Salazar Perez, E. A. Sandoval Ferero, y D. de la Rocha Alarazan (eds.), Democracias en Riesgo en America Latina. LibrosEnRed, Mexico, 2003.


In English:

- An evaluation of USAID civil society programs in the Dominican by a private firm.

- Publications of Rosario Espinal in English; see in particular: 
--"Observing Elections in the Dominican Republic." T. S. Montgomery (ed.), Peacemaking and Democratization in the Western Hemisphere. North-South Center Press, University of Miami, Miami, 2000.
--"Dominican Republic: The Long and Difficult Struggle for Democracy" (with J. Hartlyn). L. Diamond, J. Hartlyn, J. Linz, and S.M. Lipset (eds.), Democracy in Developing Countries: Latin America (2nd edition). Lynne Rienner, Boulder, 1999.


York International Internship Program


More information:, 416.736.2100 x 88705




report back
on the 
16th world festival of youth & students 

in Caracas, Venezuela



Nicolás López
Corrie Sakaluk
Pablo Ivanco

and other members of the Toronto Delegation to the Festival

Tuesday, November 22
2:30 - 4:30pm
305 York Lanes

Please join us to learn about the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Caracas, Venezuela this past August.  Students and staff from York participated in this Festival along with 25,000 young people from 120 countries around the world.  The festival slogan this year was 
For Peace and Solidarity, We struggle against Imperialism and War!



Official website of the 16th World Youth and Students Festival
Hands Off Venezuela - articles

More information:, 416.736.2100 x 88705



Fair Trade
Fresh Fruits Tour

November 7th, 2005
12:30 - 2:30pm
Ross South 752
York University
Fair Trade certified fruits have become widely available and popular in many European countries and are slowly making their way onto the scene in North America.  Recognition of the poor working conditions of the fruit growing sector has sparked consumer interest in certified Fair Trade fruits.


The "Fair Trade Fresh Fruits Tour" organized by Transfair Canada is creating interest in, and building a market for, Fair Trade certified fruits in Canada through events featuring Fair Trade ambassadors Victor Zapata and Miguel Reyes.  Victor Zapata is a Fair Trade farmer from rural northern Peru and president of the Fair Trade cooperative “Asociacion de pequeños productores de mango y frutas tropicales Tongorrape".  Miguel Reyes has been a member of PRONATUR since 2004 is an exporter of the Fair Trade goods from the Tongorrape co-op.  The Tongorrape cooperative was founded in 1999 and now boasts 52 members. The conversion to organic production took place in 1999 and their Fair Trade certification was given in 2002. Tongorrape is one of the many small co-ops working within APROECO.  The Tongorrape co-op is transparent, democratic, efficient, and dedicated to achieving social, environmental, and economic sustainability for all of its members. With continued Fair Trade sales, they hope to develop rural electricity in northern Peru. 


Co-Sponsored by
Environmental Studies,
Business and Society,
Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean,
International Development Studies and
Latin American and Caribbean Studies


For information on Fair Trade @ York:


For further information, please contact: Darryl Reed, Associate Professor, Division of Social Science
(416)736-2100 x 77812 or



CERLAC presents

Human Rights and Impunity in



Reinaldo Villalba Vargas
of the Bogota-based “José Alvear Restrepo” Lawyers' Collective (CAJAR).

Colombia, in the words of Jan Egeland, U.N. Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, represents the “biggest humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere”.  The social and armed conflict has cost the lives of at least 70,000 people in that country since the 1980s, the vast majority of them civilians killed out of combat. The number of internally displaced persons has grown to an estimated 3 million in 2004 -- the third highest number in the world.


In the midst of a highly controversial “peace process” between the Government of Colombia and the paramilitaries, the human rights situation in Colombia remains critical. The process of “demobilization” of the paramilitaries has taken place without a comprehensive, legal framework that would determine the truth of abuses committed and the degree of official involvement in them; establish sentences commensurate with the gravity of the offences committed; provide reparations for the harm caused, and effectively dismantle the structures of paramilitarism in Colombia. Indeed, legislation introduced earlier this summer by the Uribe government to facilitate the “peace process” with the paramilitaries has been described by the New York Times as a “capitulation to a terrorist mafia” and, it is feared, will only entrench impunity and consolidate paramilitarism in the country


Mr. Reinaldo Villalba Vargas is one of the leading human rights lawyers in Colombia, and since 1992 has practiced with the highly respected "Jose Alvear Restrepo" Lawyers' Collective (CAJAR), a member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). 


Villalba directs the Criminal Law section at CAJAR, defending persecuted leaders and members of labour unions, student unions and non-violent resistance communities in Colombia.  He has also taken on such high-profile cases as the forced disappearances that occurred during the M-19 takeover of the Palace of Justice in 1985, the massacre of 20 indigenous people from the Nasa first nation in 1991, and the assassination of Vice-President Jorge Ortega Garcia of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) in 1998. 


Despite the high levels of impunity and the repressive political climate in his country, Villalba continues to work in favour of the rights and freedoms of human rights defenders.  However, due to the perilous nature of his work Villalba has also suffered numerous attacks against his person including death threats, being followed and pursued by armed individuals, and being declared both a military and paramilitary target.


CAJAR, together with the Latin American Institute for Alternative Legal Studies (ILSA) and three other Colombian organizations, is part of the “Colombian Observatory on the Administration of Justice”, a coalition focusing on issues related to independence of the judiciary and impunity in Colombia. The work of the coalition is supported by York University through the CIDA-funded Tier 1 project “Latin American Human Rights Education and Research Network” (RedLEIDH).


Thursday, November 3
2:30 – 4:30 pm
305 York Lanes

More information:, 416.736.2100 x 88705


CERLAC, CRWS and the Labour Studies Programme present

Unions, the State and the Bourgeoisie
Recycling Mexico's System of Labour Control

with visiting speaker

Edur Velasco Arregui
Mexico's main unions continue to be partners with the state and the bourgeoisie in disciplining the working class, both at the work place and politically. Rather than being destroyed by the rise of neoliberalism and the demise of the one-party regime within which they were integrated, they have found a new-old niche as agents of labor control. This talk examines the role of  these unions, both the old corporatist and the new dissident "neo-corporatist,"  in containing popular resistance. As well, the limitations of the democratic, reformist unions will be discussed.


Dr. Edur Velasco Arregui is a Professor of Economics at UAM (Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico City)  and the author of many articles on the Mexican economy, unions, the working class, and NAFTA. He has been a long time activist in the Mexican union movement and was Secretary-General of SITUAM (a union of both academic and non-academic employees of UAM) from 1994-1998 as well as a founder of the CIPM (Coordinadora Inter-sindical Primero de Mayo).


Thursday, October 27
2:30 - 4:30pm
305 York Lanes




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


The Jagan Lecture Series 2005 presents

A Caribbean Dialogue with

Carolyn Cooper
Professor of Literary & Cultural Studies, 
Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies and Coordinator of International Reggae Studies, 
University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture

Saturday, October 22, 2005
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Vari Hall Lecture Room A
York University, Keele Campus, Toronto

The saucy sexual discourse of Jamaican dancehall DJs is an essential element of their total performance repertoire. Like their calypsonian counterparts, dancehall DJs deploy pungent metaphors to elaborate the recurring identification of sex and food in Caribbean popular culture. Lady Saw and Shabba Ranks are exemplary exponents of this genre whose salacious lyrics are routinely dissed by their detractors as evidence of their creators’ moral degeneracy.


Conversely, Dr. Cooper argues that the oral/sexual politics of these brazen artists confirms the longevity of an African-derived cosmology in which the sacred and the profane, the body and the spirit are equally valorised.


Carolyn Cooper is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus where she teaches Caribbean, African and African-American Literature.  She is also the Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, and Co-ordinator of the University’s International Reggae Studies Centre, an academic project she initiated. 


Professor Cooper is the author of two books on Jamaican popular culture.  The first, Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the ‘Vulgar’ Body of Jamaican Popular Culture, was published in the UK1993 and remains in print, having become somewhat of an academic bestseller.   Her second book, Sound Clash:  Jamaican Dancehall Culture at Large, was published in New York in September last year and promises to be as influential as her first. 


Professor Cooper is an outspoken public intellectual who firmly believes that the knowledge produced in universities must be communicated to the wider society in a language that everybody can understand. 


This is the Sixth Annual Jagan Lecture, commemorating the life and vision
of the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, Caribbean thinker, politician, and political visionary.


The event is co-organized by CERLAC, LACS, York International, and the Jagan Lectures Planning Committee. More information: , 416-736-5237.



CERLAC presents


Poor barrios in São Paulo:
networks of solidarity in a situation of social vulnerability


Lúcio Kowarick
~ one of Brazil's leading experts on migration and urban growth ~

Professor Lúcio Kowarick is a professor of Sociology at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP).

He will be speaking about:

* metropolitan expansion and housing alternatives for the poor
* community networks and the struggle for better urban living conditions


Wednesday, October 19
12:30 - 2:30pm
280 York Lanes


More information:, 416.736.2100 ext. 88705



The Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Programme (LACS)

a meeting with legendary singer

Daniel Viglietti
Daniel Viglietti will perform a few of his classic songs as well as his more recent compositions. Drawing from his recent personal experience, Viglietti will also talk about the cultural movement in Uruguay since the election of the centre-left coalition government in November 2004. 

Professor Eduardo Canel (Division of Social Science, Latin American & Caribbean Studies) will talk briefly about the current situation in Uruguay and the fundraising campaign organized by members of the Uruguayan community in Toronto to fight poverty in Uruguay.


Thursday, October 6, 2005
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Accolade West, Room 004
York University



One of the most prominent Latin American socially conscious singers, poets, and composers, Daniel Viglietti became famous in the late 1960s with his song “A Desalambrar” (Tear Down the Fences) – a song that became a symbol throughout the region for social forces struggling for land reform. He has since been considered one of the top exponents of Latin America’s socially committed music.

Viglietti was imprisoned in 1972 by a repressive national government and released thanks to an international campaign supported by prominent individuals such as Miguel Angel Asturias, François Miterrand y Jean Paul Sartre. He was exiled in France for eleven years during the period of the military regime that ruled Uruguay between 1973-1984. 

Viglietti has given numerous concerts throughout Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa and Australia and won international recognition for his music. He has also given recitals with well known Latin American writers like Eduardo Galeano, Mario Benedetti y Juan Gelman. 



Endorsed by: The University Consortium on the Global South, the International Development Studies Program, Political Science, Division of Social Science, Founders College, the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), OPIRG York and the IDS Student Association

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


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

September 27, 2005
3:00 - 4:00 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, September 27
 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
 240 York Lanes, York University


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




CERLAC, the Department of Film, the Graduate Program in Film & Video and OPIRG present


Friday, September 23
1:30 - 4:30pm
Nat Taylor Cinema
N102 Ross Building




Filmed in four countries of Latin America over a two-year period, Rebel Music Americas takes us into the "other" Americas, into the social and political movements rocking the region, with four groups of passionate musicians. Theirs is the music of the America of the South - popular, dynamic, rebellious and more often than not "anti-American". These musicians take centre stage in the feature-length documentary directed by Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy.


As we follow Anibal and Charly, members of the group Santa Revuelta, we discover Argentina in the depths of economic crisis, and the unemployed workers - los piqueteros - blocking access to a refinery in Buenos Aires.


Then Lila Downs, who was born to an American father and a Native Mexican (Mixteca) mother, lends her amazing voice to stories of the border, between North and South, between hope and despair.


We hear the rhythms and voices of Afro-Colombian musicians, from the CAVIDA collective in the Choco region, who sing of the military operations that drove them off their land. 


In a whirlwind of sound and colour, Chico César gives a benefit concert near Sao Paulo for the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) in a continent where land is under the control of oligarchies and peasants struggle to survive.


These groups take us, in their music and through their lives, inside the major people's movements and the political and social events shaping the Americas of today.


Followed by a panel discussion with Directors Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy and Argentine musicians Aníbal and Charly from Santa Revuelta.


Aníbal and Charly from the group Santa Revuelta (Buenos Aires, Argentina) are not only excellent musicians and composers, they are also close to the grass-roots struggles of the piqueteros. Several of their songs (Yo soy piquetero, La muerte de Aníbal Verón) have become anthems of the piquetero movement. Aníbal Kohan, an economist by training, is present at most piquetero events, either as a musician or a sound-man, bringing the sound system and amplifiers for the demonstrators. He published a book in 2003 entitled A Las Calles that traces the social and political history of the piquetero movement. 


More information:, 416.736.2100 ext.88705,



CERLAC presents

Central American and Canadian Perspectives
Please join us to hear a group of organizations speak about their views and concerns with respect to the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated by the governments of Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 

Including representatives of:

The Council of Canadians
The Guatemala Community Network
FMLN in Toronto

Thursday, September 15
1:00pm - 2:30pm
280 York Lanes
York University

All are welcome!

Background reading:
Statement on the Proposed Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CCIC)
Secret Deal Breaks Trail for FTAA?
Psst. Heard about the secret free trade deal?
Letter to Minister James Peterson Regarding the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement
Letter to Minister Pierre Petigrew Regarding the Canada-Central America Free Trade Agreement

More information: 416.736.2100 ext.88705,



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