Biographies

Patrick Kane, War on Want I previously worked in Colombia for 3 years for Nomadesc, a human rights NGO which works to empower rural communities to defend their human rights, and to raise awareness about human rights abuses, as well as highlighting the structural causes of human rights abuses and the Colombian social and armed conflict. During my time there I also worked on solidarity projects with various local trade unions in my role as liaison officer for Northern TUC. My role at War on Want is Senior Programmes Officer- leading on our Resources and Conflict programme.

Emily Morris – Institute of the Americas, University College London

Emily Morris is an economist, specialising in Latin America and the Caribbean. She worked for 13 years for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Latin America team, and is now a Fellow at the newly-established Institute for the Study of the Americas, at University College London, where she lectures on Latin American Economic Development and Cuban post-1990 adjustment, and undertakes research on Cuban macroeconomic, energy and transport policies.

Alex Tilley, Bolivia Information Forum

Alex began his involvement with Latin America working in Peru, first for Amnesty International and then with a housing rights campaign working in the Lima shanty towns. He helped set up the Bolivia Information Forum in 2007 and has run the organisation since then, disseminating regular news updates and bulletins analysing developments in the country, as well as organising visits to the UK from social movement leaders and prominent politicians from the MAS government, and supporting trade union and parliamentary delegations to Bolivia. He has a Masters degree in Humanitarian and Development Practice from Oxford Brookes University.

Mark Burton, Manchester Cuba Solidarity

Mark was secretary of Manchester CSC group for 10 years. He has been fascinated by the Cuban revolution since reading C Wright Mills’s ‘Listen Yankee’ as a teenager in the 1960s.   In addition to working on solidarity with Cuba as part of the CSC he has developed professional links with Cuban psychologists.  Mark has also developed links with colleagues working with community and liberatory frameworks across Latin America and recently spent 2 months on a teaching and study tour there.  Mark is an ecological activist in Manchester, working as part of a small collective called Steady State Manchester.  Among the ideas they exploring are the Andean alternative conceptions of well-being, or ‘buen vivir/vivir bien’.  He is also a visiting professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dominic Mcann

My involvement in Honduras has been through 3 solidarity visits. My first visit to Honduras was in 2004 after a longer spell (a couple of months) in Nicaragua. The most recent was in 2010 when I was part of a small group who visited COPINH and OFRANEH; both organisations being involved in the struggle for indigenous rights and resistance to the coup. I also participated in an Environmental Study tour of Honduras in 2007 when we visited the Movimiento Ambientalista de Olancho.

Dina Meza

Dina is an experienced Honduran journalist and also done work for the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH)

Berenice Celeita

Berenice Celeita is the Director of Asociacion Nomadesc, a human rights NGO based in southwest Colombia. Her work, and that of Asociacion Nomadesc, centres around front line human rights defence, reacting quickly to human rights violations or potential violations, and raising the alarm. Berenice and Nomadesc work to support rural communities, particularly indigenous, campesino and Afro-Colombian communities, which find themselves at high risk, and to provide empowering human rights education for vulnerable sectors through human rights workshops in the Southwest region of Colombia.

Berenice and Nomadesc also undertake investigations into the structural causes of the Colombian conflict. This work has revealed the role and the responsibility of multinational companies in the Colombian armed and social conflict. At national level, Berenice has been a key figure in the Social and Communitarian Minga, a broad-based process aimed at securing popular unity in order to force structural change in Colombia.

Colin Burgon

Colin Burgon worked as a History teacher in a deprived secondary school in the Seacroft area of East Leeds, where he was an active member of the NUT union. After, he worked as a local government policy and research officer. He was also a research officer with the GMB Union. Colin is an honourary member of the National Union of Mineworkers and was made so after his support for the 1984-85 miners’ strike. Prior to being an MP, Burgon worked with Elmet miners and their families both during and after the strike.[2]

Colin was selected as Labour candidate for Elmet and first contested the seat in 1987. In 1997, he contested Elmet for the third time and won with an 8,779 majority. He was elected to sit on the Northern Ireland Select Committee in 2000, and the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2005.

Colin has a strong interest in socialism in South America, particularly in Venezuela. In May 2007, he wrote in The Guardian in support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his government’s controversial refusal to renew the broadcasting license of a television station that had been openly supportive of the coup against Chávez’s elected government. Colin is the current Chairman of Labour Friends of Venezuela. He is on the left of the Labour Party and has vociferously criticised what he calls the “neo-liberal” policies of the party leadership.

Colin stood down from Parliament in 2010.

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