CISPES Chapter Update: New York City
By David Castillo
New York CISPES has been busy, going full force insolidarity with the people of El Salvador! We began the summer with the CISPES National Day of Actionagainst Mining and Free Trade in El Salvador, organizing a lively demonstrationat the Canadian Consulate in mid-town Manhattan. The likeness of CEO ThomasShrake from Pacific Rim - the Canadian mining company looking to extract goldfrom Cabañas, El Salvador using tons of cyanide - handed out “tainted mineralwater” to passersby.
Anothermajor highlight of our summer activities was our annual Spanish for ActivistsCamp, organized in collaboration with the Committee on US-Latin AmericanRelations (CUSLAR) in Ithaca, NY. Over 50 attendees learned about theextraction of natural resources in the Marcellus shale in upstate New York, andparticipated in other engaging workshops, including solidarity with Haiti andfarmworker issues. Spanish for Activists Camp also marked the first opportunityfor delegates who participated in the CISPES Radical Roots Delegation - whichbrought Salvadorans raised in the US to El Salvador last June - to give aformal report on their trip. Delegates spoke at a panel discussion withactivists from the Dominican Republic to discuss the Dominican Republic-CentralAmerica-US Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The panel focused on the similareffects the agreement is having in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, withrelation to the influx of foreign mining companies in both countries.
Aspart of the Radical Roots Delegation report backs, the congregation of the SanRomero de las Americas Church in Washington Heights, New York City hosted usfor a presentation on this formulative experience. We were able to close thesummer by participating in this year’s Rally for Unity and Solidarity with theMuslim people, which was held on September 11th outside City Hall.
Filledwith new energy after the August CISPES National Summer Camp for Activists inVirginia, our committee welcomes fall in NYC, and we’re excited to host anofficial Radical Roots report back for NY’s delegates at our office in theBrecht Forum in November. We’re also proud to be supporting School of theAmericas Watch and David Rovics’ concert on October 15th, which benefits theannual trip to protest the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia inNovember. Finally, we look forward to celebrating the end of the year with NewYork CISPES' 30th Anniversary Party! We’re hoping to have a great gathering ofold and new Cispistas to celebrate and reflect on all the solidarity work thisgreat organization has accomplished over the past 30 years!