Hands of Venezuela (HOV) Toronto’s Alex Grant delivered a successful address at a Latin American solidarity evening in Hamilton, Ontario on July 8. Organized by the McMaster University Socialist Movement, “The Struggle for Sovereignty in Latin America,” featured speakers on Guatemala, Columbia, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela.
The goal of the evening was to increase awareness of the political situation in these Latin American countries and outline what Canadians can do to show their support. The meeting was held at the local 1005 Steelworkers hall in Hamilton. Hamilton is known informally as “Steeltown,” due to its status as home to some of the largest steel refineries in North America. The steelworkers are currently embroiled in a struggle to protect their pensions.
Lisa Valenti of Pastors for Peace gave a moving address about her group’s efforts to provide goods from throughout North America to Cuba. She encouraged the 60 people assembled to show their support at a border crossing at the Peace Bridge in Niagara Falls on August 1. “You can join a caravan at any point. We’re very flexible,” Valenti said, when asked how to join their movement.
Sheny Rodriquez and Andy Altilia spoke about efforts to increase equality for women in Guatemala. “The statistics are that 1 woman dies every day.” Programs geared to increase awareness in Guatemalan woman are currently running in the Latin American country.
Larry Wells, a spokesperson from the Oakville Labour Council, spoke about the “Killer Coke Campaign,” in Columbia. More trade unionists are killed in Columbia than in any other country and Coca Cola is one of the leading offenders. Jamila Ghaddar spoke on behalf of the McMaster University Socialist Movement and presented a short address on the Canadian and American backed coup in Haiti as well as including some historical information.
HOV’s Alex Grant presented a short history of the events in Venezuela and emphasized the importance of supporting the revolution. The current movement in Latin America provides a unique and powerful opportunity to provide support and solidarity while the revolution is going forward rather than after a defeat, as was the case in Chile and Nicaragua.
There was an opportunity to ask questions afterwards. When the panel was asked what prevented people from becoming more active, Grant answered that “fear, was the reason for paralysis in most countries. “Nothing is more successful than success and that is why Venezuela is so dangerous to the Imperialists. It’s a positive example,” he said.
After the event, people had the opportunity to meet and discuss. There was a good deal of interest in the HOV information table, with a number of people signing up to show their interest and support. The information provided on Venezuela garnered more than $100 in sales. There are currently plans in place to hold a showing of “Venezuela Bolivariana” at McMaster University in the new academic year. The DVD was one of the top sellers at the event. There was also talk of presenting HOV at a Steelworkers union meeting in the near future.
The evening, which included buffet and information tables, capped off with music and live Latin dancing.