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July 22, 2007

Other Speakers During the First Session

After the first plenary speaker, individual women from Latin America spoke about their experiences. Below is a summary of their speeches.

Nelida Faldin, Bolivia
Indigenous woman from the Santa Cruz department. She explained that the women of her area create products to sell - weaving, clothes, etc. - but do not know how to get it to markets. They are not looking for handouts; they are looking to sell their products so that they have the money to send their children to school and get healthcare.

Carmen Chuve Casique, Bolivia
From the city of La Paz, representing the Women's Center. She came looking for unity: we cannot be divided; all Latin Americans have to unite. While there are differences between us, we cannot dwell on those.

Ailia Caravaca, Costa Rica
The people of Costa Rica are involved in their first major anti-imperialist uprising. They are coming together against the impending "free trade" agreement with the US. They took to the streets - people from all different walks of life - to protest the agreement. The president wen to parliament to ask for a referendum on the agreement, in response to the protests. So there is now a coalition - Women Against the Free Trade Agreement that is dedicated to this struggle. And the challenge for WILPF Costa Rica right now is to get people to come out and VOTE. This is one of the most transcendental struggles they have.

With the struggle has come an increased presence of the police. The leaders of the struggle feel more exposed and more oppressed. So, she would like us to be aware of their struggle because it is very likely that they will need international solidarity in the coming months.

Luz Baretto, Peru
I'm running out of break time, so here are my notes from her speech as it was translated into English:

The struggle of many Latin American countries is not about a lack of resources, it is about the proper distribution of resources.

For example, perhaps you know about our former president, Fujimori? He stole our money and left us a broken government and is now hiding in Chile. He also oversaw the mutilation of many women – many indigenous women were mutiliated and now cannot have children. You have no idea what that menas to an indigenous woman; it is like killing her alive.

Last week, our country was in an upheaval. Fortunately, we have created some dialogue to really think how this economic bonanza will really help people...

Osiris Zarahy Bojorque, El Salvador
El Salvador suffers from extreme violence, but not armed conflict. The problem in Central America is gangs; some children join at the age of nine. They force people to pay a "safety tax." This is a problem particularly in the poorest, least industrialized countries.

The police are also abusing their power. The government is about to sign a free trade agreement and the US dollar is the local currency. Their economy is based on remittances from family members in the United States; and these individuals are being discriminated against and thrown in jail because they are undocumented workers.

I'm publishing this during the coffee break because the internet access is poor in our plenary room. Now there is a discussion about what we just heard.

Posted by cj at July 22, 2007 8:18 AM


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