The Board of Directors of the Colombia Support Network (CSN) invites all CSN members and interested persons to our annual CSN National Meeting, which will take place at Edgewood College in Madison on Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th, 2015.
This meeting is our annual opportunity to discuss our chapter activities and sister community developments in the context of events in Colombia. We will also discuss the position of the United States government with respect to developments in Colombia.
We have invited Carmenza Tez, the extraordinary Kamentsa indigenous leader, to join us to discuss the struggle of the Kamentsa and Inga indigenous communities of the Sibundoy Valley in Putumayo Department to protect their lands and traditions from threats of multinational mining corporations and the highway being constructed by the Colombian government through a forest reserve where their sacred lands and burial places are located. We expect to have Buddy Bell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence tell us about his visit to the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado with Dr. Hakim, an Afghan physician who hopes to develop a peace community in his homeland modeled on the community in San Josecito which is the sister community to Dane County, Wisconsin. We also have invited David Newby, former President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and current President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Council who will bring us up to date on the effort to defeat the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. And we have invited Congressman Mark Pocan to discuss with us the work on a Congressional subcommittee of which he is a member which is reviewing the Labor Action Plan of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement as an example of how protections for workers are not being implemented in the international trade agreements to which the U.S. is a signatory. We will also consider the disastrous consequences of Colombia’s National Development Plan for environmental protection in Colombia, and hope Professor Al Gedicks will join us to discuss the threats to the environment and especially to indigenous communities presented by the Colombian government’s development model. We will also of course discuss the prospects for peace through the FARC-Colombian Government dialogue in Havana and how these talks may affect our sister communities. We expect to have additional invited guests at our Conference and will keep you posted as to additional attendees.
We have two excellent interns from the University of Wisconsin helping us in office administration and translations, as well as with several outreach activities, and we hope to sponsor another student’s plan to make a documentary film on the Carol Chomsky Forest project, which seeks to protect an environmentally sensitive area in Cauca Department and campesino farming and homes through a registered “campesino reserve zone”.
We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you experiences and viewpoints on CSN’s role and the projects we have been involved in during the past year. We hope to welcome you to Madison on June 5 and 6.