National Conference 2019 Program

Colombia Support Network National Conference, June 7-8, Madison, WI

Location: Edgewood College, Predolin Hall. Parking free if you register your vehicle at the front desk.

Friday, June 7

8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.            Breakfast in Regina Hall

Morning and Afternoon Programs at Predolin Hall

9:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m.             Welcome, Introductions, and Review of Program (Craig Wehrle, President of CSN; Hope Hague, Treasurer of CSN; and Jack Laun, Program Director).       

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a. m.       Violence against labor leaders in Colombia and the status of unions in Colombia, with an update on the Colmotores workers’ situation (Francisco Ramirez, Colombian labor union attorney; John Dugas, Kalamazoo College professor; David Newby, President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Council and President Emeritus of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO; and possible video presentation by Paige Shell–Spurling of the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee).   

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.          Coffee Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon.   The ongoing killings of social leaders in Colombia—To what can we attribute these killings and how can we best respond? (Professor John Dugas, Kalamazoo College; Francisco Ramirez).

12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch in Regina Hall

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Review of recent developments in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado. What should CSN do to support our sister community in Colombia? (Eunice Gibson, CSN Secretary; Conrad Weiffenbach, CSN Board member; Hope Hague; and David Kast, CSN Board member).

2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. The Peace Plan’s implementation; how the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has been set up and how it is functioning. Does it offer a reasonable hope for a lasting peace, with truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition being achieved? (Eunice Gibson, John Dugas, Francisco Ramirez).

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Coffee Break

3:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Writing for Peace: Working with Young People, Adults, and Educators in Caldas (Associate Professor Kate Vieira, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Mining plans and existing mines and their effects on water quality and availability: Comparative cases in Colombia and Wisconsin and what we can do together to protect water sources and water quality. (Professor Al Gedicks, emeritus professor of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Mary Sanderson, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF; and Sue Pastor, Edgewood College and Witness for Peace).

5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. Dinner at Regina Hall

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Program in De Ricci Hall:   Panel Discussion: The coca crop and endemic violence in Colombia: What is the solution to this continuing problem? Does the Duque Administration have a sensible policy? What should be the U.S. Government’s role here? (Francisco Ramirez, John Dugas, Jack Laun).

Second Topic: How should we respond to the case of ICE agents violently arresting Colombian Betty Rendon, a student pastor at Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin?

            Saturday, June 8   

            8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.            Breakfast at Regina Hall

            Morning and Afternoon Programs at Predolin Hall

9:00 a. m – 10:00 a.m.       Where does the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement stand? How may the Agreement affect workers’ interests, and how may it affect Colombia and its labor organizations? What can we do to protect labor rights? (David Newby, President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition and President Emeritus of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO; Ruth Conniff, Editor-at Large, The Progressive; Francisco Ramirez).

10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.        Is President Duque acting unwisely in supporting regime change in Venezuela, with Juan Guaido, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and himself appearing together in Bogota? (Jack Laun, Francisco Ramirez, David Kast)

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.     Left opposition candidate Gustavo Petro received 8 million votes in the 2018 Presidential elections, compared to Ivan Duque’s 10 million votes. What does this say about the political prospects for the left in Colombia’s political future? (Francisco Ramirez, David Kast, Al Gedicks, Jack Laun).

11:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.        Coffee Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon     Land ownership in Colombia: Colombian Government policies and models; plans for a nationwide land survey and registry; and Peace Agreement commitment to return their lands to displaced people: What shall we make of these proposals? How may this affect the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado? (Al Gedicks, Hope Hague, Conrad Weiffenbach).

12:00 Noon -1:00 p.m.  Lunch at Regina Hall

1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.  Inter-University cooperation on topics of importance; Colombia contacts and U.W. support (Alberto Vargas, invited; Kate Vieira; Jack Laun).

1:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.        Collaboration with other organizations and publications to promote knowledge of Colombia and develop common programs to enhance progress toward shared goals (Ruth Conniff, Sue Pastor; Mary Sanderson; Mary Kay Baum, former Dane County Board member, attorney and indigenous rights supporter; and Jack Laun).

3:15 p.m. -3:30 p.m.            Coffee Break

3;30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.          Discussion of plans for collaboration with CSN sister communities and setting of goals for CSN for the next year (Jack Laun, Craig Wehrle)

4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.          Business Meeting:

  1. Deciding on program initiatives for the coming year
  2. Review of financial records
  3. Election of Board Members for the coming year (under our By-Laws Board members meet after the Annual Meeting to choose officers for the coming year)

5:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.          Comments and suggestions by Conference participants

7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.             Cookout and discussion at CSN President Craig Wehrle’s home.           

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