By: María Torrellas and Gladys Quiroga / Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / October 9, 2016
The 31th National Women’s Meeting of Argentina offered hundreds of workshops for the 70,000 women who attended to debate and disseminate ideas, but one in particular became a scenario where the collective claims of women from Latin America and the Third World came together. As every year, under the heat of the spring sun and between flags of every color (red, purple, green) and nationalities, women attended an open radio show where a debate was held between representatives of all the countries in the continent and of several nations without state from around the world.
The open radio was coordinated by Claudia Korol and Liliana Daunes, from the Pañuelos en Rebeldía (Rebellious Handkerchiefs) organization, and many women, empowered with passion and militancy, took the microphone to speak their truths: painful anecdotes and victories in the struggle against patriarchy. Between testimonies, there was live music and poetry, another way of communicating solidarity between the peoples.
The opening ceremony was an homage to deceased feminist fighters whose legacy lives in our struggle: Berta Cáceres, Diana Sacayán and Lohana Berkins.
Speaker Dani Galindo, from Honduras, evoked the struggle for land and dignity that Berta Cáceres led, until she was murdered by the hired guns of transnational companies, protected by the dictatorial government of Juan Orlando Hernández. The names of other men and women of Berta’s organization, the COPINH, were recalled by members of the audience, and a chant erupted: “Alerta / Alerta / Por aquí camina Berta”. (Beware / Beware / Berta is still out there).
From Paraguay, a representative of the National Coordination of Female Rural Workers and Indigenous Women (CONAMURI) spoke about the hardships of the fight for land against big landowners and the government of Horacio Cartes. A representative of Venezuela spoke about the current resistance of the Bolivarian Revolution against a fascist opposition and an economic war that “gives us no break and makes us anxious everyday about how we’re going to provide our families with food”. Moved, she remembered Commander Hugo Chavez, a revolutionary and a feminist in a world where few dare to really incarnate those ideals.
The peaks of the act were the reading of the manifesto signed by all the organizations that had convened that internationalist demonstration and a prayer for free abortion, which was recited by hundreds of voices.
Then, the two comrades from Peru read a report on the feminist struggle, which included, on one hand, the denounce of a mass sterilization of women during Fujimori’s government —thousands of women recently marched for justice for this mass crime— and, on the other hand, the denounce against the current government of Pedro Pablo Kuzcinsky, who is trying to tear down a mausoleum where many of their comrades are buried —some of them, political prisoners that were executed in the 1986 massacre carried out in the prisons of Lurigancho, El Frontón and El Callao, while the criminal Alan García was president.
Chana, a representative from El Salvador, told that in her country, as in all of Central America, the struggle for the right to abortion is persecuted to the point tat “a gathering like this one would be impossible there, and feminists must operate almost in clandestinity”. She criticized a right-wing deputy from the ARENA party who is promoting a bill to punish women who have abortions with up to 50 years in jail. Currently, this is punished with 20 to 30 years in jail.
Two members of the Assembly of Mexican Women in Argentina literally said that “being a teenage woman in my country is risking death every time I walk down the street”, and harshly criticized Peña Nieto’s drug-dealing government. They described the role played by the Church and its inquisitorial, conservative ideology.
The Kurdish representative, Dilan Bozgan, spoke about the Revolution that her comrades are carrying out in Rojava, where after many years of struggle against the patriarchy, their rights are finally respected. She also vindicated the struggle of the Kurdish women and men who are under Turkish occupation.
The Basque representative was wearing a traditional beret with an embroidered slogan for the freedom of her country, a Kurdish handkerchief and a Palestine T-shirt. She pointed out that all three of these peoples are currently fighting for their liberation, and in these struggles women play a fundamental role. She also demanded amnesty for the 400 Basque men and women who are political prisoners of the Spanish and French governments.
There were also representatives from Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Colombia. The Colombian representative highlighted that peace can only be achieved through social justice, and warned that the right will do everything at their hands to hinder the process.