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Tijuana conference builds unity in the Americas

Published Dec 12, 2011 9:11 PM

Anti-imperialist solidarity at Tijuana conference.

The eighth U.S./Cuba/Mexico/Latin America Labor Conference concluded Dec. 4 in Tijuana, Mexico. This meeting, and the three days of classes that preceded it, amplified an Encuentro Sindical Nuestra América initiative to unify the union and working-class social movements throughout the Americas. ESNA coordinators Juan Castillo from Uruguay, João Batista from Brazil, Oliverio Reyes from Mexico and Raymundo Navarro from Cuba guided the discussion throughout the week in Tijuana.

The conference coincided with the founding of a new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) taking place in Caracas, Venezuela. Although CELAC excludes the imperialist U.S. and Canadian governments, ESNA welcomes workers and union representatives from both countries. ESNA’s fourth meeting was held in Managua, Nicaragua, in August; Mexico City is the venue for the fifth meeting planned for late May.

Mexican Electrical Workers International Secretary Humberto Montes de Oca and Sergio Tolano, president of the Cananea, Mexico, miners union, participated. International Longshore and Warehouse Union member Clarence Thomas addressed the positive interaction of the Occupy Wall Street movement with port workers. World Federation of Trade Unions-Americas representative, Gilda Chacón, outlined the organization’s history, revitalization and relation to today’s struggles. Cristina Vasquez, Western representative of Workers United, and Alicia Jrapko, U.S. coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, urged a greater union voice to free the Cuban Five, who have been unjustly held in U.S. prisons for more than 13 years. The final panel debated views of the migrant/immigrant struggle.

The U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, Unión del Barrio and the International Action Center organized the classes and conference. View partial videos at http://tinyurl.com/d2xzwey. There will be fuller reports in upcoming issues of Workers World.