Victoria Brittain ...
Latin America 2012 Conference
Over 400 delegates attended a packed Conway Hall for the eighth annual Latin America Conference.
Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary designate, welcomed delegates from Latin America to cold austerity Britain. She praised the huge social and economic advances made across the continent and the “spectacular re-election of Hugo Chavez”. She spoke of her pride speaking at the Vigil for the Miami Five outside the US embassy with Che’s daughter Aleida, and noted that Cuba still defies US might and economic power to put its people first.
Journalist Victoria Brittain spoke about Cuba’s role 40 years ago at the heart of African liberation and drew lessons for Latin America now. Describing the hope encapsulated on Cuba’s Island of Youth, meeting African children who had arrived skinny and traumatised but who grew to be confident and positive, she praised Cuba’s enormous support for African liberation, especially the MPLA in Angola. Reflecting on the strategies employed by the US to topple progressive post-colonial regimes - assassinations, funding ‘oppositions’, smear media stories, economic attacks and corrupting elites - she saw hope today for Latin America in the fact that the ruthless undercurrent of the cold war is no longer prevalent and the internet makes us more aware of what is happening globally.
Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, praised Cuba and all the countries defending their sovereignty and independence in a world dominated by capital. The Bolivarian alternative demonstrates “a world can be built based on need and not greed” he said to cheers from delegates.
Steve Ludlam, Sheffield University, asserted that this is not a change in the system but a change in political culture that is defined by high levels of participation.
Guardian writer Seumas Milne highlighted the democratic nature developments across Latin America. Openings in media, advances for indigenous populations, economic integration and independent foreign policies are all signs of a 21st century socialism in the making.
Jeremy Corbyn MP rounded off a great day by calling on George Osborne to learn lessons from Ecuador, Jeremy Hunt to visit Cuba’s health service and for the government to take advice from Bolivia on climate change and Venezuela on elections.]
Race & Class
In 2009, the Editorial Working Committee of Race & Class, published on behalf of the UK based Institute of Race Relations, included John Berger, Lee Bridges, Victoria Brittain, Jan Carew, Jeremy Corbyn, Basil Davidson, Avery Gordon, Barbara Harlow, Saul Landau, Neil Lazarus, Manning Marable, Nancy Murray, Colin Prescod, Barbara Ransby, Cedric Robinson, Bill Rolston and Chris Searle.
- Race & Class, Vol 51 2009