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Tijuana conference

Uniting workers' struggles worldwide

Published Dec 6, 2007 9:13 PM

In Tijuana, Mexico, on Dec. 7, 8 and 9, an historic conference will discuss pressing issues faced by the U.S. working class in relation to the emerging Latin American cooperative alternative to imperialism—ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). The Cuba/Venezuela/North America Labor Conference - IV will address topics ranging from international relations to immigration, from building solidarity across borders and nationalities to ending war and war threats.

A special session on Friday evening with honored guests Irma Sehwerert, mother of Cuban Five hero René González, and Silvia Lozano, Cuban National Assembly member, will call for freeing the Cuban Five from U.S. prisons and screen the new film, “The Trial,” narrated by Danny Glover.

Also new at this fourth conference is the participation of union leaders from Bolivia and Nicaragua joining Venezuelan and Cuban union leaders, representing workers from all four countries which have joined in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). ALBA is the alternative to the imperialist proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas that is attempting to extend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina and Chile.

Malik Rahim, organizer of the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans, brings to the Tijuana Conference the front line struggle against racism and criminal neglect for the rights of Katrina/Rita hurricane survivors. Camilo Romero, Coca-Cola boycott representative, will show U.S. corporate collusion with Colombian paramilitaries to murder trade unionists in that country.

The Sunday panel will feature major currents in the immigrant workers struggle including Elvira Arellano, currently on a hunger strike in Mexico after being deported from the U.S., and Emma Lozano from La Familia Latina Unida, Teresa Gutierrez from the May 1 Immigrant Rights Coalition, a representative from the March 25 Coalition, Juan Jose Gutierrez of Latino Movement USA, José Jacques Medina, member of the Mexican Congress and others.

The conference is supported by the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange; Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME); World Organization for the Right of the People to Healthcare, SEIU 1199 NY; National Network on Cuba (NNOC); Venezuela Solidarity Network (VSN); International Action Center (IAC); Cuba Solidarity New York (CSNY); Southwest Workers Union, San Antonio, Texas; C.O.M.P.A., Converjencia de los Movimientos de los Pueblos de Las Americas; Peace and Freedom Party; Movimiento Latino USA; Cuba-U.S. Sustainability Project; Coalición 25 de Marzo; International Committee for the Cuban Five; and other organizations and individuals.

Tijuana, Mexico, the conference site, just minutes from San Diego, Calif., was chosen to break through the international isolation being imposed on U.S. residents by their government in Washington. Cuban union representatives and leaders are not granted entry visas by the U.S. government. If workers from the U.S. travel to Cuba exercising their constitutional right to associate with Cuban workers, letters from the U.S. Treasury Dept. threaten hefty fines. The U.S. government even reaches outside its national borders to impose trade restrictions on subsidiaries of U.S. corporations in other countries. On Feb. 5, 2006, a Sheraton Hotel in Mexico City refused to rent hotel rooms to Cuban representatives participating in trade negotiations.

Solidarity messages and donations are welcome from organizations and individuals who cannot personally attend the Cuba/Venezuela/North America Labor Conference. Make donations payable to Labor Exchange, P.O.B. 39188, Redford, MI 48239. Email solidarity messages to [email protected] or [email protected] Conference details are available on the Web at laborexchange.blogspot.com.