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Film and Lecture at La Biblioteca

Even the Rain

By Cliff DuRand

In 1999, the World Bank and the IMF required Bolivia to privatize all public utilities in line with their neo-liberal agenda. The compliant government of Bolivia then sold the water system of Cochabamba to a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation. Bechtel proceeded to raise the water rates by as much as 200 to 300 percent —far beyond what the poor Bolivians could pay. The company even forbade people to collect rainwater, claiming ownership of all water. “Even the rain!” protested the people as riots rocked the city.

Film: Center for Global Justice presents Even the Rain. Tue, Mar 20, 3pm. Teatro Santa Ana, La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A. Donations 60 pesos

The documentary film Even the Rain depicts these dramatic events as backdrop for a fictional film that is being shot in Cochabamba. The film is to be about Christopher Columbus’s conquest and suppression of indigenous resistance. But the film soon takes on a parallelism with the real events unfolding as the people occupy public spaces in protest and are violently attacked by the government. The message is clear: the conquest continues. To today’s audiences there is also a parallel to the occupy movement in the U.S. and the violent suppression by local authorities.

Although Even the Rain does not carry its story forward, the Cochabamba water war opened the way to the collapse of the Bolivian government and the eventual election of Evo Morales as that country’s first indigenous president. Bolivia, along with much of Latin America, continues to resist the neo-liberalism the U.S. seeks to impose. Michael Moore has called Even the Rain “a brilliant movie. At a time when the poor of the world seem to be rising up, I found myself deeply moved and completely enthralled by this film. I encourage everyone in search of a great movie to go see Even the Rain.” The Center for Global Justice is proud to bring this 2010 film that is as relevant today as it was years ago and, indeed, as in 1492.

Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice and Peace for Communities in El Salvador

By Sher Davidson

EcoViva is a California-based organization that partners with community-led initiatives in Central America to empower people for sustainable living. Sher Davidson, an annual visitor to San Miguel, has been a committed volunteer with the organization for the past 14 years, fundraising and organizing delegations to El Salvador where EcoViva assists a network of over 100 rural communities. As an artist, she has also worked with developing a youth art project, which has helped keep young people out of gangs.

Lecture: Center for Global Justice presents Environmental Sustainability, Social Justice and Peace for Communities in El Salvador by Sher Davidson. Wed, Mar 21, 11am. Sala Quetzal, La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A. 60 pesos

Founded in 1996, after the civil war, by a former priest and friend of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the slain martyr of the Salvadoran people, the organization was formerly known as the Foundation for Self Sufficiency in Central America when its first initiatives were peace-building and reconstruction after 12 years of a brutal civil war. Now, with major environmental issues at the forefront, it offers financial and technical support to the locally led movement for community development and environmental sustainability in the area surrounding the Lempa River Basin and Bay of Jiquilisco Biosphere Reserve. This region contains Central America’s largest remaining mangrove forest and coastal estuary, essential to the health of the local fisheries, for the protection of four endangered turtle species and as a buffer for the coastline against almost yearly devastation from hurricanes. Sher will describe this work in a talk sponsored by the Center for Global Justice. Topics will include community organizing, community-led conservation, youth empowerment through art and environmental projects, building safe drinking water systems, composting toilets, wood-saving stoves, and building a local Green Economy through organic farming. Sher looks forward to sharing her inspiring stories of how it is possible to make a difference in our neighboring countries.

Along with her husband Gary, Sher serves on the organization’s Advisory Board. Her talk will include videos from their work in El Salvador. They look forward to a Q & A session at the end of their presentation when she will also explain how interested people can go on an Empowerment Tour sponsored by EcoViva.

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