Thursday, July 2, 2009

Greetings folks!

Just to let you know that we've completed our first two "barridos" in New York City with the ACIN's documentary on the 2008 Indigenous Minga, "A Country of People's Without Owners," - one at NYU on Monday night, and last night in Jackson Heights, Queens, in the intimate La Terraza 7 Train Café. These presentations of the film are designed as consciousness-raising events in the community, to draw interested people's attention to an extraordinary process of collective action and resistance.

In the spirit of the "barridos," or community sweeps, that the Communication Team of ACIN constantly do, we're trying to do the same in as many locations as possible in the New York metropolitan area. At NYU, close to 100 people packed the Labowitz auditorium to watch the film, and discuss the impact of the minga, not only on Colombia, but here in the U.S. The fact that President Obama met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that day, inspired the crowd to action, and raised considerable amounts of concern.

Then last night, we had a similar event in the small yet exciting Terraza Cafe in the heart of the Colombian community in Queens. The place was packed, and the people were clearly moved by the film itself, as well as the commentary by Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Lakota), and Jesus Avirama (Kokonuco; see photo, left).

People have come out, and seem to be committed to doing more to make visible the position of the minga here up north! I wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated, and for all your wonderful expressions of solidarity!

Next stop, Woodstock, where we'll be showing the film on Tuesday night in another community "barrido/fundraiser." Then in August and September, we are planning more screenings in New Jersey, Brooklyn, and Long Island, as well as some screenings with local trade unions in NYC! For those events, we're hoping we can bring up some of the people of ACIN's communication team to join us...this of course depends on the resources we can muster.

If you are interested in holding a community screening and fundraiser, or have ideas of how we can expand the reach of the barridos, please send me an email at These events are serving two functions: one, to publicize the work of the minga, and two, to help raise some resources for the ACIN's Communication team. We don't have any false illusions that we're going to raise tons of funds, but considering how much incredible media and communication work my friends in the Tejido de Comunicación of ACIN are able to do with practically nothing, a little bit of financial support goes a very long way.

Oh, I almost forgot, check out the latest issue of NACLA's Report on the Americas, which focuses entirely on the paramilitary corruption in Colombia. The July-August 2009 issue also includes an article I wrote about the violence directed at indigenous communities in Cauca. Also, to get a real sense of the levels of violence being directed at the people in Cauca by right wing terror, check out ACIN's website, and read this important missive about the rise of the "Aguilas Negras," in the department, and the reign of terror they are waging. These are issues that most likely did not get raised in Monday's meeting between Obama and Uribe, but they must be on the agenda as they move forward and continue discussing ways to "strengthen their bilateral agenda." Human rights and social justice must not take a back seat to trade and military aid.

For now, I leave you with some pics from last night's event at La Terraza 7 Train Cafe, which includes Tiokasin and Chucho!



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