Part of CoDev’s mandate and partnership model is making links between Canadians and Latin Americans for mutual learning and solidarity. One of the best ways to deepen this understanding is taking Canadians to Latin America to visit the partners they support and learn first hand about their issues.
These trips have taken many forms: Canadian union leaders travel to lend their political support to a Latin American partner; members of CoDev’s Canadian Partner unions make an educational visit to partners’ workplaces; Canadians exchange information and participate in workshops on common issues.
Canadian participants inevitably return home with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by their Latin American partners, a greater appreciation of their depth of knowledge and a strengthened commitment to engaging in solidarity here at home.
CoDev also organizes delegations for Latin American partners to speak to partners and supporters here in Canada. Hearing stories from many incredible, committed and brave activists serves to connect Canadians with people in Latin America working towards solutions to the global issues we all face.
“I was privileged to hear Julia Enriquez – then Women’s Secretary, SUTEP, now Vice Deacon of the Peruvian Teachers’ College – speak to the BCTF AGM last week. I’ve never seen a better reception from an AGM to an international speaker in all the years I’ve been attending. Julia is a dynamite speaker and explained in a clear and passionate way the struggles of SUTEP and their implications for teachers and workers everywhere. Although the situation in Peru is of course much worse for teachers than here in BC, many of the measures of the Garcia government there parallel what has been done to teachers by the Liberal government here in B.C., and I felt real empathy from the assembled delegates for the situation those teachers face. It was the clearest expression I’ve seen in our union of the reality of international neo-liberalism spreading its reactionary measures across the world. Julia received three standing ovations from the teachers and her words silenced the delegates, who so often chatter when listening to presentations. I was immensely proud of her and SUTEP, of the Federation and the assembled delegates, and of CoDev for our role in helping to make this happen.” ~ 2008, Bob Rosen, Former CoDev Board Member
We will be adding ongoing updates and reports from delegations to our blog so be sure to check it out!
Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua, 2019
As the Coordinator of the IDEA Network, Executive Director Steve Stewart organized preparations for IDEA’s international seminar on standardized evaluation. The seminar took place in Quito, Ecuador May 10-12. Forty-five teacher and student leaders and researchers from 10 American countries gathered to examine the role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in promoting international standardized testing, its impact on public education systems in the hemisphere, and resistance and alternatives promoted by educators, researcher and parent organizations. From this event a hemispheric research network on standardized testing was established.
CoDev’s ED also co-coordinated the publishing of a special issue of IDEA’s magazine Intercambio for the seminar. This issue (Intercambio #14) includes articles on standardized evaluation and alternatives in various countries of the Americas, as well as at the International level.
CoDev’s Education Program Director Wendy Santizo also joined the Quito seminar to provide simultaneous interpretation and meet with CoDev education partners at the event.
Program Directors Filiberto Celada and Wendy Santizo organized a Canadian partners’ delegation to Nicaragua and Honduras for May 14-23. We were pleased to have participants from CUPE BC, the BCGEU, HSA and FPSE join the delegation. Wendy travelled directly from Quito to Managua to lead the group in meetings with our partner MEC, human rights groups and families of political prisoners and the Canadian embassy. The delegation then traveled to San Pedro Sula where they met with CoDev partners CODEMUH and COPEMH, the healthcare workers’ union SITRAMEDHYS and the Garifuna rights organization OFRANEH, which works with communities displaced by Canadian development projects on the Atlantic coast. The delegation also joined CODEMUH in leafleting outside the Delta Apparel maquila, where a number of workers suffering repetitive strain injuries have been fired.
Honduras and Nicaragua, 2014
In 2014 Executive Director Barbara Wood led a delegation to Nicaragua and Honduras to meet with MEC and CODEMUH, two women’s organizations that work with maquila or sweatshop workers. Representatives from CUPE and BCGEU joined Barbara on the trip, including Andrea Duncan. We asked Andrea to share her impressions of the experience with us, and you can read her full interview on our blog page.
Young Workers’ Delegation, 2011
In November/December 2011, CoDev staff members Sarena Talbot and Carol Wood, led our first young workers’ delegation to Honduras and El Salvador. This was an important opportunity for young workers in Canada to hear from counterparts in Latin America. Check out some great blog posts to hear about some of their experiences!
Colombia Delegation, 2008
In July 2008, CoDev Executive Director, Barbara Wood, accompanied four top Canadian public sector union leaders to Colombia for one week. What they saw and heard inspired them to prepare this report, Forever Solidarity – A Public Sector Trade Union Report on Colombia (PDF), so that they could share their observations with others in hopes of spreading more understanding of the perils facing the working people of that South American nation.