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Americas Social Forum 2008 

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Evo Morales was supposed to show up at the Forum today. He did not come. I'm losing track of how many meetings I've been to recently where he was supposed to show up but did not make it. I saw Evo speak in October 2002 at an anti-FTAA meeting in Quito and was really drawn to his discourse. I've been looking forward ever since to hearing him speak again, but he never shows up because of emergencies back at home.

So, instead, there was a message from Evo and a public event with a band on stage playing the Social Forum Hymn and a Kichwa woman attending to the Indigenous alter in front of the stage.

This morning I went back to the Iglu for more Indigenous meetings on plurinationalism and food sovereignty issues. In the afternoon, the rally and concert in solidarity with Bolivia and Cuba was supposed to start at 2pm. The sky was clear and the sun was hot out on the Plaza of the Martyrs. A little bit later, it started to rain again. We went instead to a Grassroots Global Justice panel on social movements in the United States.

In the evening we went to a film Voices from the Mountain about the Santa Anita coffee cooperative. After the event, I introduced myself to one of the farmers as from Madison, the home of Just Coffee that buys and roasts their coffee. He was so excited to meet someone from Madison, and raved about Matt & Mike and all the folks at Just Coffee. I told him I was sorry that I was on the only person from Madison at the Forum, but he said no--there is Beth, who is also from Madison. Nothing like being introduced to someone else from Madison by a coffee farmer in Guatemala.

By now it was late and we're in the middle of Guatemala City looking for dinner and I am way outside of my comfort zone. But we make it back to the hotel ok. I'm always torn--I should have come back to the hotel to get some work done, but I also don't want to miss anything. Norm volunteered me to do a report for Free Speech Radio News, but fortunately it is not due now until Sunday nite so I can go to sleep instead of staying up all nite working on it. The roosters woke me up early this morning (something like 5am), so I'm happy to go to sleep now since I'll probably be up early again in the morning.

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