CLAC Hosts Colombian Organizer, John Henry
by Ed Kinane

As the PNL goes to press, the Caribbean Latin America Coalition is hosting campesino and indigenous community organizer John Henry Gonzalez Duque from Cajibío, Colombia.

On October 11 he attended the Syracuse Common Council as it officially recognized CLAC's efforts establishing a sister community with Cajibío, a rural town in the southeastern department of Cauca.

John Henry spoke at Cornell and SUNY Cortland. In Syracuse he spoke at SU, the Westcott Community Center, North Syracuse High School, and with the CYO and St. Lucy's youth group.

John Henry also visited SPC, the Co-op Credit Union, the Real Food Co-op, the wind farm in Fenner, the land trust in Truxton, and the Syracuse Cultural Workers. The striking cover art of the Cultural Workers' 2006 Calendar features John Henry and his partner Mary Len. It depicts them guiding thousands of campesinos and indigenous people blocking the Pan-American highway for 26 days, an actual event that happened in Cauca in 1999.

John Henry's visit here has been part of an exchange. Several Central New Yorkers have visited Cajibío; more of us will return there in January.

Cajibío isn't our only sister community. Since 1993 we have partnered with La Estancia, a rural mountain community in El Salvador. As she does each February, CLAC secretary Shirley Novak (446-6099), will be leading a CNY group to La Estancia.

Our two sister communities (and our other local Latin America solidarity groups) transact business at CLAC meetings. These are held the second Sunday of every month from 4 pm to 7 pm at Brady Faith Center, 404 South Avenue. The meeting is also a potluck; please join us on November 13 and bring a dish to share.

Another CLAC group is the CNY SOA Abolitionists. As we've been doing for a decade, each year we head down to Ft. Benning, Georgia the weekend before Thanksgiving. There we take part in SOA Watch's massive nonviolent demonstration against the US Army's terrorist training school - long known as the School of the Americas. To learn more or to arrange for speakers, call Mike Pasquale, 446-2720.

- Ed Kinane, who has been a CLACster and Abolitionist since the get-go.