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World Social Forum

Sorry this is the 1st blog, i snuck into the press office to do this for free. I want to report back about the 2 good events i have been to. Bhav and I finally managed to find a workshop in english and it was amazing.it was about gov´t toppling in equador. this was on weds. at the central university of venezuela. we went to the door to ask if there would be an english translation and one of the co-hosts for the workshop excitedly dragged us in. He made us make a circle with the chairs so that it was a much more relaxed atmosphere and had us all introduce ourselves, making funny jokes with everyone. The workshop focussed on the recent govt of 2005. A leftist ex-military, president was elected and within the 1st month of his term managed to change his politics towards the right, while still maintaining a seemingly left position. When the indigenous people of Equador began to realize that they were being oppressed by his new agenda they began to stir up. In order to keep them quiet this president Lucio, sorry didn catch the last name, took food out of a food fund for children and gave it to the indigenous people. A radio station exposed this and other various forms of his trickery and called for a rebellion. People gathered and organized, and marched on the palace to oust Lucio. He was helicoptered out to a plane. Thanks to cell phone technology and text messages people were able to stop him from getting on the plane. he was then taken to Brazil and Lula kept him safe. He would have been killed by the enraged people had he stayed. To date there has been no election but one has been scheduled for this year, at the moment the vice pres. is in power. This has happened every 2 years for a very long time in Equador and similar stories have been told of countries all across South America, Lula, right now in Brazil is up to the same trickery. Venezeula is the 1st country to have broken this pattern with Chavez. Though chavez still comes from a military background so who can be sure what he is up to? Gregori mentioned a manifesto that he and others have written, it is establishing the desire for a new form of govt as it has been proven that democracy does not work in South America. Chavez paid for free copies of this to be printed but unfortunately we were not able to find them.

Today we went to a talk about the struggles of women under patriarchal neo-liberalism. It was interesting. There was a woman from El Salvador speaking about women workers, and how they are oppressed and mistreated. Then a woman from the US who spoke about how the reaction or war oppresses women, and women fighting against US imperialism. The next woman was Cindy Sheehan, this was great that she spoke though she didnt have that much to say just emphasizing how war, especially the iraq was, is causing a great amount of suffering in women across the world not just the US and Iraq. Then a Palestinian woman spoke, she told us about being a refugee her whole life in lebanon, and how she has never been to Palestine. As well as the strong US involvement in the occupation of Palestine, as well as the how the occupation makes it difficult for women to have access to education. There is a big struggle for Palestinian women to keep their dignigty and identity. Next was a woman from Colombia, who spoke about women being battered by IMF policies and how war is especially destructive for women, giving the ex. of how the female body is a bounty for soldiers. Then an american from ANSWER as well as the Cuban 5 solidarity group. She was all over the place speaking of 13 yrs of sanctions on Iraq are responsible for the degradation of the country. She spoke about the poverty in the US and the racism that is hand in hand with Katrina relief. Then was a realllly strange documentary trying to tell the story of a cuban girl who is the daughter of one of the cuban 5 and who has only seen her father one time, as he has been in jail for 7 years in Miami, for being a spy. There was lots of strange links to John Lennon which was funny. After this her older sister spoke. She stressed how hard it has been for her family. Her sisters growing up without a father. And how even her mother has been arrested, She also talked a bit about how hard it is for Cubans to go back and forth to the US to see their families, sometimes unable to get visas for over a year.
O and the most exciting part was at the end. Obsession- a cuban Hip Hop duo performed a song about the Cuban struggle, with really funny translations through our headphones.
k bye!

posted by Freya Powell on Friday, January 27, 2006