Dec. 3-5 Tijuana Conference: Uniting working class in the Americas
Nov 10, 2010
From Dec. 3 to 5 in Tijuana, Mexico — just minutes from the San Diego,
Calif., airport — a cross-section of workers from Latin America who are
confronting the global crisis will meet with U.S. workers grappling with
devastating challenges. Building on six previous conferences, the
meeting’s aim is to grow the unity of the working class in the Americas
and increase its influence — from the tip of Chile to Alaska — by
sharing problems but also examining strategies to fight and win.
Of special interest will be a representative from Ecuador, where a
U.S.-backed coup was defeated Sept. 30. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the
United Farm Workers in the U.S., will appear by video.
Special guest Aili Labañino will represent the families of the Cuban
Five — men unjustly jailed for more than 12 years in the U.S. — at
the conference opening on the evening of Dec. 3. She is the eldest daughter of
Ramón Labañino, currently in the Jessup, Ga., federal prison.
Throughout the conference, the first public showing of cartoons drawn by
another of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernández, will be displayed.
Hernández is imprisoned in Victorville, Calif. His double-life plus 15
years sentence is still under appeal.
The U.S. government blockade of Cuba has prevented Cuban union leaders from
coming to the U.S. So the Dec. 3-5 weekend is a rare opportunity to discuss the
changing world situation with these workers, who have won universal free health
care, universal free education and social security for the working class, even
under the most difficult conditions of a colonial past, almost half a century
of an imperialist blockade with overt and covert aggression, and now a global
economic crisis caused by capitalist overproduction.
The Venezuelan delegation from the Workers’ Socialist Center (CST) is
bringing Oliver Stone’s new film “South of the Border” for
viewing and discussion after the Dec. 4 dinner.
The agenda will include looking at problems and steps forward, and will also
focus on the current situation in Mexico. Representatives of the Mexican
Electrical Workers (SME) and Mexicana airline workers who were thrown out of
their jobs will discuss their organizing. Miners and maquiladora workers are
Migration and immigration, compelled by imperialist “free trade”
agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, their effects and
responses to them, including May Day 2011, will round out the conference on
Already autoworkers, steelworkers, health care workers, teachers, trades
people and low-wage workers are registering to come from the U.S. To increase
time for discussion, simultaneous translation is being organized.
The conference is not underwritten by any large labor organizations or
foundations. It depends on attendee registrations and individual donations to
cover the considerable costs.
Confirmed participants include Ermela García Santiago, National
Secretariat, Cuban Workers Federation (CTC); Magaly Batista Enríquez,
International Relations, CTC; Silvia García Tabío, Cuban National
Assembly of Peoples’ Power; Gilda Chacón Bravo, Americas’
office, WFTU/FSM; Jacobo Torres de León, Venezuelan Socialist Force of
Bolivarian Workers, CST; a representative of Venezuela’s UNETE; Fredy
José Franco, Nicaraguan Federation of Teachers of Higher Education;
José Humberto Montes de Oca Luna, SME; Oliverio Esquivel Reyes, WFTU/FSM
Mexican Coordinator; Professor Jorge Cazares Torres, Mexican National Union of
Educators, Sec. VIII; a representative from the Mexico Miners’ Union;
João Batista Lemos, Brazil Workers’ Center; Adolfo Cardona,
Colombia’s SINALTRAINAL union, USW organizer; Edgar Luis Sarango Correa,
Vice-President, Ecuadoran Workers’ Center; and speakers from the U.S.
Invited but not yet confirmed are representatives from Haiti and Puerto
To register or donate, go to laborexchange.blogspot.com. To make a special
inclusive-rate hotel registration, call the Hotel Palacio Azteca toll-free from
the U.S. at 1-888-901-3720 and ask for “Cuba Labor Conference.”
Hotel includes breakfasts and Saturday dinner. Registration is $80 U.S.,
including dinner on Friday.