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Past Speaking tours in the Southwest

Free Trade: Expert from Colombia Comes to Speak on Controversial Trade Deal

Complete tour schedule here

To read an interview with Freddy click here

Bay Area Oct 26-28, 2008

Southern California Oct 29-Nov 4 , 2008

Freddy Caicedo, an accomplished human rights expert from Colombia, will touring California from October 26-November 5th about the controversial US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  Having worked at great personal risk to boost awareness of the trade agreement in Colombia's war zones, Caicedo now aims to offer the California communities a rare insider's perspective on the hotly-contested agreement.  

The Wall Street Journal has named trade as "the campaign fault line" of the upcoming elections .  Polls have shown that a majority of Americans now oppose free trade agreements modeled after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Caicedo hopes to use the current focus on trade to highlight the potential ramifications of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, a NAFTA-style deal currently under consideration in US Congress.  "It's not an agreement, but an imposition," argues Caicedo, "an economic strategy that would enrich the elite but ruin rural communities and small business owners while trampling the rights of workers."  

Caicedo brings years of experience as a human rights investigator, educator, and organizer in Valle de Cauca, Colombia.  He has exposed the extermination of Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups through the Association for Investigation and Social Action (NOMADESC), and has documented crimes against humanity with Colombia's "Never Again" project.  Caicedo also runs the Tiberio Mafla Memory Gallery, a community center that houses the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) and commemorates the victims of Colombia's civil war.  During his speaking tour, Caicedo will further rely on his degree in Economics, his experience as a human rights educator in public schools, and his training as an organizer with Christian base communities.  

The fate of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the focus of Caicedo's talk, remains unknown.  In April, President Bush introduced the legislation to Congress.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi soon thereafter removed a deadline for a vote, delaying a decision indefinitely.  Many representatives, Democrats especially, have opposed the agreement on the grounds that Colombia has not done enough to curb targeted assassinations of labor unionists, which remain higher than in any other nation .  Supporters of the trade deal argue that US businesses will benefit from increased exports to the South American nation.  Caicedo, who works alongside Colombian unionists facing death threats, plans to address both arguments during his talk.  

Witness for Peace, the organization hosting Caicedo's tour, is a politically independent grassroots organization based in the US, with international offices in Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua.  WFP's mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing US policies and corporate practices which contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean.  A WFP Colombia staffer will be accompanying Caicedo on his tour, providing complete Spanish to English translation at each event.  

For more information, or to set up an interview or host an event with Freddy Caicedo, contact Tanya Cole at 805-421-9708 or  

Freddy will also be accompanied by our Colombia Team member Lina Saunders who will be providing translation and background information about Witness for Peace work in Colombia.

Lina Saunders joined Witness for Peace in early 2007 to help build a US grassroots movement to change US policy in Latin America. She joined WfP's Andean Region as the Venezuela point person, while also working and living in neighboring Colombia.  She joined WfP from Wisconsin, where she spent two years community organizing as part of a campaign for a Fair Wisconsin, against an anti-gay amendment. Her prior experiences include student organizing to promote greenhouse gas reductions on campus, in solidarity with Latin American and poor peoples movements, and union-organizing with immigrant workers. She got the Latin America 'bug' after living in Argentina in 2002/3, where she looked at piquetero organizing and the structures of worker-organization in the taken factories that took root following the Dec 2001 crisis.

We are accepting requests from organizations, schools, churches, and communities who are interested in hosting an event for Freddy during his California tour Oct 26-Nov 5.

Hosting a speaker is a great way to educate and activate students and community members in your area.  If you would like to host Freddy, please contact us as soon as possible with your interest.

For each speaking event, we ask event organizers to:

* Provide venue arrangements (time, location, and equipment for the event).

* Provide hospitality for our speaker, including food, lodging if an overnight stay is necessary (home stay is often okay) and transportation to and from the airport or other events.

* Publicize events within your community and to the local media. (Witness for Peace Southwest can provide assistance in this effort.)

* Provide honorarium and travel expenses for Freddy. We understand that some groups can provide more support than others.  As we do not want cost to be a deciding factor in bringing such an important event to your community, we will work with you on ideas and alternative resources.

Tour schedule:

Sunday Oct 26th Berkeley, CA 6:30-8:30 pm
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
1606 Bonita Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709-2022 connie barbour room
free, music, food, discussion. 805-421-9708,

Monday Oct 27 San Francisco, CA
12-1 pm City College of San Francisco

Monday Oct 27 San Francisco, CA
3:30-4:30 pm Hastings Law School

Monday Oct 27 San Francisco, CA 6:30-8:30 pm
Meridian Gallery
535 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
free, music, food, discussion.

Tues Oct 28 San Mateo, CA
Visit with Congresswoman Jackie Speier district office
constituents of this district who would like to attend please contact:

Tues Oct 28 Santa Cruz, CA
times and places TBA
contact: 805-421-9708,

Wednesday Oct 29 Claremont, CA
4:15-5:30- Scripps College
contact: 805-421-9708,

Wednesday Oct 29 Los Angeles, CA
6:30-8:30 pm
Southern California Library
6120 S. Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90044
free, music, food, discussion.

Thursday Oct 30 Los Angeles, CA

Visit to Congressman Waxman's office

4:30 pm- Cal State Los Angeles
contact: 805-421-9708,

Saturday November 1
  1:00 p.m.
  Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church
  1259 Victoria St.
  Costa Mesa, CA 92627-3933
 contact: 805-421-9708,

Tuesday Nov 4- 11 am Visit to Congressman Becerra's office

Becerra constituents interested in attending contact 805-421-9708 or