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Volume 7 (2009)

On April 30th, 2009, by Nadine Jubb, CERLAC Researcher, discussed the research project “Access to Justice for Women Survivors of Violence: A Comparative Study of Women’s Police Stations in Latin America", for which she is Regional Coordinator. Research for the project is being conducted in Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru; the project aims to generate proposals for the improvement of relevant public policy.

Volume 6 (2007)

On March 6, 2007, Fernando Rouaux discussed his research on the privatization of water in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In this Brown Bag Seminar sponsored by CERLAC and York International, Fernando discussed the effects of privatization on communities in Greater Buenos Aires within the broader context of neoliberal policies and environmental injustice in Argentina.

On Monday, October 22nd, 2007, Professor Gillian McGillivray from York University’s Glendon College History Department, and José Abreu, a visiting speaker from Cuba’s National Union of Writers and Artists, delivered a presentation that focused on the historical evolution of Cuba’s sugar industry and the various factors that have conditioned its continuous transformation. Report by Carlos Velásquez Carrillo.

On November 6, 2007, Carlos Velásquez Carrillo discussed his research on oligarchical consolidation in El Salvador in a CERLAC Brown Bag Seminar.

Volume 5 (2006)

On January 18, 2006, CERLAC, the University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS), the Institute for Research in Sustainability (IRIS), and Amnesty International Canada hosted a panel discussion aimed at fostering dialogue about the ethical issues raised by the ongoing involvement of Canadian mining enterprises in the Global South.  The panel brought together several perspectives and included Sarah Seck, a PhD candidate at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, Grahame Russell, of the NGO Rights Action, James Cooney, an executive with extraction company Placer Dome, and York Assistant Professor David Szablowski of York’s Law and Society Program. CERLAC Fellow Liisa North, Professor Emeritus of York’s Political Science Department, moderated the panel. Report by Sarah Blackie.

On February 22, 2006, Patrick Elie, Former Secretary of State for National Defence for the Haitian government and a founding member of S.O.S. (Sant Obsèvasyon Sitwayen- a citizens’ watchdog NGO), visited York University and spoke about the history of popular movements in Haiti and the degradation of democracy following the 2004 coup against Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.  Elie's talk, co-hosted by CERLAC and the Toronto Haiti Action Committee, was part of an awareness-raising speaking tour on the second anniversary of the coup that overthrew Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Report by Alex Goss.

On March 7, 2006, Simon Granovsky-Larsen spoke about his research on the Commission for the Investigation of Clandestine Groups and Illegal Armed Organizations (CICIACS) in Guatemala. Simon discussed efforts to create the CICIACS commission, placing this process within the wider themes of peace accord non-implementation and post-war political violence.

On October 19, 2006, CERLAC and KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives hosted speakers from the Movement of Victims of Human Rights Abuses in Colombia. Along with a youth spokesperson, Lilia Solano Ramirez, a human rights defender and founder of the movement, discussed the controversial paramilitary "demobilization" process in Colombia. The presenters described a highly questionable demobilization process that has placed the future of Colombia’s democracy in question. Report by Alison P. Bond.

On November 7, 2006, Cristina Rojas, a CERLAC Visiting Scholar from Carleton University’s School of International Affairs, spoke about contemporary Colombian citizenship.  Rojas discussed the current increase in authoritarianism, or social control, that includes the use of force which is becoming concentrated in the hands of private actors. She contrasted this trend with competing, progressive visions of citizenship in the country. Report by Cristina Rojas.

On November 14, 2006, CERLAC hosted a panel discussion featuring Dr. Richard Roman, CERLAC Associate Fellow and Sociology Professor Emeritus from the University of Toronto, Dr. Luisa Ortiz Perez of the NGO Nova in Mexico City, and Rogelio Cuevas Fuentes, a political refugee from Oaxaca.  The panel addressed the ongoing political crisis in Oaxaca, Mexico which began as a teachers' strike in June 2006 and evolved into a state-wide social movement, organized under the rubric of the Oaxacan People’s Popular Assembly (APPO). Report by Carla Agatiello.

Volume 4 (2005)

On February 8th, 2005, Pascuala Patishtan and Merit Ichin spoke about the work of the Indigenous women’s fair trade weaving cooperative Jolom Mayaetik and the non-governmental organization (NGO) K’inal Antzetik in their struggle for dignity, autonomy and survival in Chiapas, Mexico. The speakers were co-hosted by CERLAC, Women's Studies, the Business and Society Program, the Division of Social Science and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York. Report by Caitlyn Vernon.

On March 2, 2005, CERLAC and UCGS hosted a panel discussion on the social, political, and economic implications of militarism in Latin America. The panelists included Justin Podur, a journalist for Z-Net, Simon Helweg-Larsen, an MA candidate in Social and Political Thought, and Elena Cirkovic, a PhD candidate in Political Science.  The panel focused on Venezuela, Guatemala and Peru, and reflected on the multiple ways in which militarism in the region – still very much a concern today in many parts of Latin America – has been employed to further elite economic and political interests, with immense social costs. Report by Gabriela Agatiello.

Volume 3 (2004)

On October 4th, 2004, hosted by CERLAC and the Canadian Chiapanecas Justice for Women, Mexican doctor, journalist and social activist Dr. Margarita Aguilar Ruiz spoke about her novel “With Faith Eroded”, which charts the struggle for survival amidst the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Chiapas.  Report by Caitlyn Vernon. 

As part of the Canadian Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Week of Action, Campaign Director Ray Rogers spoke at York University on October 21st, 2004.  The Canadian speaking tour was organized and facilitated by Larry Wells of the Oakville and District Labour Council, in support of Coke workers in Colombia.  They have filed a lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company and Colombian bottlers, charging 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.” Report by Caitlyn Vernon.

On October 4th , 2004, CERLAC, the Division of Social Science, LACS, Founders College, IDS and UCGS at York University presented a talk by  Cristobal Kay from the Institute of Social Research in the Netherlands.   In his presentation, entitled "Latin American Development Theories and Neoliberalism,"  Kay critically analyzed the impact of neoliberalism on Latin American countries and discussed possible alternative theories and policies to address the pressing development needs of the region.  Report by Gabriela Agatiello.

On September 23rd , 2004, in a panel discussion sponsored by CERLAC, Sam Gindin (Political Science, York), Greg Albo (Political Science, York), María Paez Victor (Sociology, University of Toronto) and Nicolas Lopez (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science, York) reflected on the context and consequences of the recent referendum in Venezuela. Report by Shana Yael Shubs.

On November 2nd, 2004, visiting social activists Soledad Bordegaray, Graciela Monteagudo, Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein gave an insightful presentation of the Argentina Autonomista Project. Co-sponsored by CERLAC (York), the Transformative Learning Centre (OISE/UT), the LACS programme (York), Sociology (York), OPIRG (U of T), Politics (Ryerson), the Gindin Chair in Social Justice & Democracy (Ryerson) and the Centre for Social Justice, the presentations focused on a number of dynamic movements in Argentina and their ongoing resistance and struggles for autonomy. Report by Gabriela Agatiello.

On November 9th, 2004, CERLAC Visiting Fellow Dr. Doug Stokes gave a presentation at York University on his new book, America’s Other War: Terrorizing Colombia. AMERICA’S OTHER WAR demonstrates that in Colombia the US has long supported a pervasive campaign of state violence directed against both armed insurgents and a wide range of completely unarmed progressive social forces. While the pretext may change from one decade to the next, the basic policies remain the same: maintain the pro-US Colombian state, protect US economic interests and preserve strategic access to oil.

Volume 2 (2003)

The legitimate and democratic government of Venezuela has been under attack by a wealthy and violent opposition that tried to overthrow it first with a military coup and then with a two-month lockout. The opposition controlled the main media and used it to relentlessly distort events and to advocate violence. The Government of Canada should have upheld the democratic government and institutions of Venezuela, and should not have treated the crisis as if it were a matter of "negotiating" with two equal entities. Canada could have a very significant, and much needed, role in supporting the democratic institutions and processes in this Hemisphere. This statement represents a contribution to the debate on Canadian foreign policy in the CERLAC Event « Conflict in Colombia, Crisis in Venezuela » of February 6, 2003.

On October 30, 2002 in a panel discussion sponsored by CERLAC and Theatre at York, Dr. Judith Pilowski (Psychologist and member of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture), Dr. Pilar Riaño (CERLAC Post Doctoral Fellow), and Carlos Torres (Centre for Social Justice), addressed the provocative themes of Ariel Dorfman’s play “Death and the Maiden.” Report by Christina Polzot and Marshall Beck.

On January 23, 2003, Dennis Rodgers, a lecturer in development studies in the London School of Economics, visited CERLAC and presented on his ethnographic study of the pandilla, or youth gang, phenomenon in contemporary Managua. He traced the emergence and evolution of the phenomenon, focusing on the role of gangs as social institutions and their multifarious ramifications for the constitution of social order in a wider context of urban poverty and social breakdown such as characterizes contemporary urban Nicaragua.

On January 14, 2003, CERLAC hosted a panel discussion exploring issues surrounding the taking of office, following his victory in Brazil's most recent presi-dential election, by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) of the Workers’ Party of Bra-zil (PT). Lula assumed office just two weeks before this event, on January 1, 2003. Of central concern to the discussion were the prospects for change under this new government in Brazil, a country characterized by striking socio-economic inequality, in light of the challenges and constraints confronting the new administration.

This article provides an overview of the issues covered in a March 6, 2003, event of the same title, co-sponsored by CERLAC and the Halifax Initiative, featuring Peter Hartmann of CODEFF- Aysén in Pata-gonia, Chile, who is also the Coordinator of the Citizens' Committee for the Defense of the Aysen Life Reserve and spokesperson for the Aysen Life Reserve Alliance. The Aysén region of Chile is thought to be one of the three least contaminated areas on the planet. Residents of the re-gion have declared Aysén a "Life Re-serve". Yet Noranda has proposed an aluminum smelter in the region that would produce more than 1.5 million tonnes of solid and gaseous waste per year.

On Thursday, February 6th, 2003, a panel of four speakers expressed contrasting views on the current situation in Colombia and Venezuela, with a focus on Canadian foreign policy toward each. Two rep-resentatives of the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Jeanette Sautner and Michael Harvey, outlined Canadian foreign policy towards Venezuela and Colombia, respec-tively. Maria Paez Victor and Bill Fair-bairn, informed civil society actors, of-fered a critical perspective on government perceptions and policies vis-à-vis these troubled neighbouring states.

On February 11, 2003, CERLAC hosted an event with Katheryn Palmateer and Carlos Torres who discussed their impressions of the World Social Forum. In the two pieces in this Bulletin the speakers summarize some of their observations.

On February 25, 2003, Marta Harnecker gave a presentation with the title of this bulletin. The event was co-sponsored by CERLAC and the Departments of Political Science and History at York. The text of this Bulletin is a transcription, edited for brevity, of that presentation, in which Marta discusses her work documenting the experiences of actors on the Left struggling for change in Latin America, with particular focus on the current context (Chávez, Gutierrez, and Lula).

El 19 de marzo, 2003, Horizons of Friendship y CERLAC invitaron a María Elena Méndez a York University para presentar su trabajo sobre el tema del género, la ciudadanía, y el desarrollo en Honduras. Esta publicación relata la presentación de Maria Elena y está dividido en dos secciones principales. La primera parte se trata del género y la partici-pación ciudadana. La segunda parte analiza el entorno económico y la biodiversidad de Honduras.

“Crisis in Colombia: Making Connections and Making a Difference” was a one-day conference held at McMaster University, Hamilton on June 21, 2003, featuring presentations, four simultaneous workshop sessions, a panel discussion, a poetry reading, and opportunities for social activism.

On September 17, 2003, Amanda Procter visited York University to report on the work of Casa Canadiense.

Volume 1 (2002)

In an October 10, 2002, visit to York, Alfredo Ché - the Mayan-Q’eqchi’ leader of CNOC (the National Coordinating body of Guatemalan Campesino Organizations) - spoke of the efforts of indigenous peasants in rural Guatemala to overcome historic and continuing discrimination and injustice. He gave special attention to the latest institutional threat to their well-being: Plan Puebla Panama. Report by Christina Polzot.

On October 17, York hosted a high-ranking Minister of the Cuban government and one of the leading figures of the Cuban revolutionary struggle of the 1950’s - a man recently denied a visa to the US because considered a “terrorist” by the Bush administration. Enrique Oltuski, speaking the day before his 72nd birthday, came to plug his newly published book: “Vida Clandestina: My Life in the Cuban Revolution.” Report by Alison Beatch and Marshall Beck.

On September 30, 2002, Viviana Díaz - a prominent, long-time Chilean political activist - presented a chilling account of injustice, impunity, and government failure in the case of the countless people who were tortured and disappeared under the Pinochet dictatorship. Report by Christina Polzot and Marshall Beck.

Leocadio Juracan and Julian Marcelo, delegates of Guatemala’s Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) and members of the El Paraiso Cooperative, spoke at York on October 22, 2002, on the crippling impact on many Guatemlans of the ongoing crisis in international coffee markets. The crisis was put into the longer-term context of traditionally expliotative labour relations in coffee production in Guatemala, and the efforts of peasants and workers to build more socially and environmentally sustainable alternatives.Report by Aileen Cowan.