Fred Fuentes

Two long-time ALP members, Luis Ernesto Almario and Rosendo Duran, announced their resignation from the ALP on February 17. Both will stand as Socialist Alliance (SA) candidates for the Legislative Council in the March NSW state elections. Almario and Duran are both political exiles from Colombia, forced to leave because of political persecution. Arriving in Australia in the mid-’80s, Almario joined his local branch of the ALP in Blacktown, and was later active in the ALP Parramatta branch.
Aboriginal leaders in Sydney and around Australia, together with the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) and other community organisations, have called for a memorial to be built in the Block in Redfern, for all Aboriginal people who have died in custody. To this end, a march will be held on February 14, seven years to the day that a young Aboriginal boy, TJ Hickey, was allegedly rammed by a police vehicle during a pursuit and killed.
Latin America Social Forum (Sydney) co-founder and respected Latin American community activist Victor-Hugo Munoz was awarded a Diploma of Honour on December 4 by the Guatemala Network for Peace and Development. The award acknowledged Munoz’s tireless, decades-long work in defence of human rights in Guatemala.
Media fanfare has subsided around the October rescue of 33 miners from the San Jose mine in Chile — an event watched by an estimated 1 billion people across the globe. But could this event at least help bring about change for miners’ rights and conditions? Unfortunately, if we look behind all the commotion and government rhetoric about making big changes for the lives of miners in Chile, the answer seems to be no. On November 7, two miners were killed in an accident in the Los Reyes mine near Copiapo, close to where the San Jose mine accident took place.
SYDNEY — After the successful Latin America Solidarity Conference it organised in October, the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) in Sydney has launched a new blog, latinamericasocialforum.blogspot.com. LASF is uploading videos of plenary talks from the conference and the 20 resolutions approved in the conference’s final session. These resolutions have been translated to Spanish and sent to contacts across Latin America, many of who have expressed their appreciation for the work of LASF.
The annual Latin America Solidarity Fiesta was a success, raising much needed money for social projects in Latin America and maintaining Green Left Weekly’s coverage on the progressive developments unfolding in the region. Organised by the Latin America Social Forum (Sydney), the October 31 fiesta was held at the Great Hall in the Addison Road Community Centre. Pocho Man, Danny Sanchez, DJ Av El Cubano and Jorge Martinez provided music on the night.
Colombian trade unionist, Parmenio Poveda Salazar, is touring Australia to denounce human rights violations in his country. His visit is being organised by Peace and Justice For Colombia (PJFC). Poveda is a representative of the Federation of United National Agricultural workers unions, FENSUAGRO, the largest peasant and farm workers’ union federation in Colombia.
In an attempt to divide staff, on September 13 management at Macquarie University (MQ) proposed to split the current Enterprise Agreement in two, and tried to ram through a second-rate agreement for general staff. If successful this would mean MQ general staff would have the worst conditions of any of the 26 agreements across Australian universities. This has angered the local National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch. The NTEU is campaigning to defeat the push by calling for a “No” vote in a ballot of general staff set to open on September 23.
Greens MLC John Kaye officially welcomed to Sydney the new Cuban consul Reinaldo Garcia as part of an event to mark 12 years since the arrest of the “Cuban Five”. The Cuban Five are anti-terrorist fighters who were arrested in the US for infiltrating and collecting information on Miami-based right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups. Despite disclosing information they had gathered to US authorities, it is they and not the terrorists that are facing jail terms, in some cases double life sentences.
Rather than giving us the government we deserve, the August 21 federal election delivered an outcome the two old parties deserved. Because both Labor and the Coalition focused on negative campaigning, sloganeering and scapegoating refugees and other minorities, a large number of voters decided to vote for alternatives with some vision. A hung parliament with the Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate was only a partial reflection of this growing disenchantment with the two-party system.
“Businesses like making profits”, said Labor leader Julia Gillard on ABC’s Q&A on August 9. She was explaining why Labor opposed the Coalition’s proposal to raise the company tax rate by 1.5%. “If they’ve got to pay more tax and that’s going to cut into their profits, then they’ll think of a way of adding a bit more profit. “What’s the best way of adding a bit more profit in? They put up prices. “It, you know, just stands to common sense reason, doesn’t it?” The Greens lead NSW senate candidate Lee Rhiannon agrees.
The University of New South Wales' management could face more student protests if it refuses to budge on key issues, the president of the Student Representative Council has told Green Left Weekly. Osman Faruqi told GLW that management’s decision to stand down about 80 staff had been the catalyst for the largest student demonstration in years at UNSW. The stand downs move came as the local National Tertiary Education Union branch imposed bans on the release of student results after management delayed bargaining over union demands for 16 months.