ILPS organizes chapter in the Dominican Republic; first chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean

By Organizing Committee for Latin America and the Carribean
Photos by MatangLawin

(Leer en Español)

On December 7, 2012, more than 60 delegates and participants representing various social organizations met in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic to establish the first chapter of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) in Latin America and the Caribbean. ILPS is an alliance with chapters in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America that works for solidarity among the peoples who fight for democracy, social justice and against capitalism and imperialism and its wars of aggression.

The Assembly received a warm opening greeting from ILPS President José María Sisón who was forced out of his native country the Philippines after being jailed and tortured as a political prisoner for his activism against imperialism and in defense of human rights. This occurred during the years of Martial Law in the Philippines. Sisón pointed out the importance of the creation of the first ILPS chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean and that this event will open the door for the growth of the ILPS en the rest of the hemisphere and for a greater solidarity with the struggles of the countries of the region. His recorded message was greeted with a standing ovation by all those present.

Representatives of the Dominican ILPS member organizations took turns expressing the reasons that motivate them to initiate this new project for the struggle against transnational corporations and the policies of global imperialist aggression. And the participants from Venezuela, Guatemala Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Philippines expressed the desire that the historic event may lead to a greater integration of the struggles in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Assembly received solidarity messages from chapters and organizations of the ILPS from all parts of the world – Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and Macau, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia Canada, USA, the ILPS peasants’ commission, Mexico, among others.

The delegates also elected Johnny De La Cruz, of the Dominican Republic’s Human Rights Commission, Coordinator of the Dominican chapter of the ILPS and also elected a Coordinating Committee.

The creation of the new ILPS chapter coincided with three important conferences which were held in Santo Domingo during the same week. On December 7, the Dominican Republic’s First International Conference on Mega-mining, Sovereignty and Development was held. It closed with a statement declaring the urgent need to implement a model of development which would preserve natural resources, would promote social integration and well-being, and would value the right of future generations to enjoy a clean and sustainable environment. The delegates condemned the policies of developmentalism and displacement against communities and peasants by imperialist transnational corporations that take over the   lands containing natural resources. In addition to the Dominican Republic, the conference included the participation of delegates from Haiti, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

On Sunday, December 9, the First Mauricio Baez National Workers Conference for Labor Freedom was held, also in Santo Domingo. His widow, 108 year-old Maria Onelia Mueses Blondet (Doña Mirita) and other relatives of the historic Dominican labor leader, who was assassinated in 1950 by the government of dictator Trujillo, participated for the first time since his death in an event honoring Mauricio Baez in which a floral offering was made. The organizers of the Congress made public a 15 point proclamation directed to the “working class of the Dominican Republic” which called on the working class to “break with the present passivity and indifference and to initiate a united struggle” in defense of the rights which the class which owns property has claimed for itself but which it “arbitrarily denies to workers, such as labor rights”.

Maria Teresa Cabrera, who is President of the Juan Pablo Duarte Teachers Union, a meber organization of the newly created Dominican ILPS chapter, closed the event with a call to begin a national mobilization of the entire working class which will lead to greater solidarity with all the labor struggles regardless of whether those affected by an injustice are union members. She blasted what she called yellow unionism for not fulfilling its obligation to defend the interests of the working class from the attacks by business owners. Cabrera’s words were received with a prolonged standing ovation by the more than 400 workers at the event.

A third event which coincided with the launching of the ILPS in the Dominican Republic was the XVI International Seminar and 1st Congress for Labor Freedom and Defense of Workers’ Rights, sponsored by the National Commission on Human Rights, also an ILPS member organization. It was held between the 6 and 10 of December in Santo Domingo, and included national and international delegates among the 200 participants. Delegates were invited from Haiti, Venezuela, Argentina, Philippines, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Guatemala and Brazil. In addition to expressing its solidarity with the launching of the ILPS in the Dominican Republic, this event also invited participants to take part in the First Mauricio Baez National Workers Conference for Labor Freedom of December 9, and was characterized by a militant tone, declaring the need to defend all human and labor rights.

One of the most important fraternal meetings in which the ILPS delegates participated was at the Embassy of Venezuela with the Ambassador and his staff. The delegates expressed their total solidarity with President Chávez and delivered a letter wishing him a quick recuperation of his health.

Finally, the international and the Dominican delegates to the newly created ILPS chapter in the Dominican Republic joined a peoples’ protest against corruption and impunity which was held on December 9, in Santo Domingo. Thousands participated in the spirited event and ILPS members exchanged ideas and impressions with many other workers, leaders and activists from other organizations at the rally. Some ILPS members shared the stage with student, labor leaders and community activists who waited for their turn at the speaker’s platform. The immense majority of those speaking were from the popular barrios and communities which have been the hardest hit by the neoliberal policies which the Fernandez and Medina governments have imposed on the Dominican people. The slogan most heard at the protest was, “We will not pay for the corrupt policies of the rich!”


{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix11.jpg|A shot from the “De Arriba Abajo” cultural spectacle|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix13.jpg|International delegates hold a Press Conference on Mega-mining, Sovereignty, and Development|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix14.jpg|Delegates and participants of the launching of the ILPS Dominican republic Chapter|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix15.jpg|Delegates and participants of the launching of the ILPS Dominican republic Chapter|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix15b.jpg|At left: Ramon Nolasco, President of Movimiento de Trabajadores Independiente (MTI), founding member of ILPS Dominican Republic|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix18.jpg|A leader from Juventud Caribe reads the solidarity message|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix21.jpg|Student leader Emelson Mendez from Frente Estudiantil Flavio Suero (FEFLAS) and other delegates from Movimiento de Trabajadores Independiente (MTI)|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix25.jpg|A surprise gift to the country coordinating committee of the ILPS Dominican Republic. From left: Alexis Adarfio (Venezuela), Nestor Villatoro (Guatemala), Julia (Filipinas), Heidi (Juventud Caribe, Republica Dominicana-RD), Emelson Mendez (FEFLAS, RD), Johnny De la Cruz (Comision Nacional de Derechos Humanos-RD), Daniel Vila (Puerto Rico)|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix26.jpg|Leaders from the founding organizations proudly display their ILPS – Dominican Republic Chapter flag, a surprise present from the ILPS Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix28.jpg|The ILPS Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean together with ILPS-DR Country Coordinating Committee|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix31.jpg|A number of delegates from the launching of the ILPS Dominican Republic gather for a group photo.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.mobpix18.jpg|Nestor Villatoro of ILPS addressing the crowd during the flower offering at the Mauricio Baez Monument, a Dominican leader of the workers who disappeared in 1950, during the Trujillo dictatorship. This rally commenced the First Mauricio Baez National Workers Congress for labor Freedom.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.congreso.pix3.jpg|More than 400 delegate workers atended the First Mauricio Baez National Workers Congress for labor Freedom.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.congreso.pix7.jpg|National delegates from all over the Dominican Republic attended the First Mauricio Baez National Workers Congress.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.congreso.pix9.jpg|The widow, of the late Mauricio Baez, 108 year-old Maria Onelia Mueses Blondet (Doña Mirita), other relatives of the Dominican labor leader, national leaders and international delegates gather for a photo. It was the first time the widow and her family ever participated in a public event, since the disappearance of Mauricio Baez in 1950.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.congreso.pix15.jpg|A contingent of the ILPS Dominican Republic joined the dominican people in the Mobilization Against Corruption and Impunity.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix1b.jpg|The ILPS Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean in a pre-launch consultation meeting, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix4.jpg|Cultural Spectacle of “De Arriba Abajo” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes outdoor performance stage.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix6.jpg|ILPS international delegates with the cast and writer/director Haffe Serulle of the cultural spectacle “De Arriba Abajo”.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix7.jpg|A shot from “De Arriba Abajo” cultural spectacle.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix9.jpg|A shot from “De Arriba Abajo” cultural spectacle.|{/besps_c}

{besps_c}0|DR.ilps2012.pix10a.jpg|A shot from “De Arriba Abajo” cultural spectacle.|{/besps_c}



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