Saturday, May 02, 2015

May Day 2015—an annual event in Wichita

International solidarity with other countries was the theme of this year's May Day celebration. Progressive people in Wichita celebrated, May 1st, at the Peace and Social Justice Center, Friday evening.
"One thing Americans can do is to reach out to other countries in International solidarity," Said Janice Bradley, one of the speakers at Friday's event.
She spoke about her trip to Cuba while Bill Anderson spoke about his trip to Honduras and Guatemala.
Bradley pointed out that May Day is celebrated almost everywhere in the world except in the US and the irony is that it started here in this country in 1886.
Anderson said he went to Honduras as a part of a Witness for Peace trip. They want Americans to see how US policies affect people in these countries," he said. "Honduras is a mess."
He said the country has the usual problems with poverty, neo liberalist policies that have messed up almost all the countries in Latin America, there is corruption, and a heavy militarization of the country.
In 2009 there was a coup d'état and the elected president Manuel Zelaya was forced to leave. The coup was condemned by The United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the European Union.
"The US liked it," Anderson said.
He added that they had a sham election after that and the US supported it.
He said that 80 percent of the people in that country live in poverty. He said that 80 percent is also the number on how many women get rapped when they try to leave for the US. He said many use birth control when they leave because they know there is a good chance they will be raped.
Another issued he brought up was land seizures. He said that the people there defend the land because it is their lively hood.
"They don't work in Factories," Anderson said.
Land seizures include people who want lumber, mining and those who want to build dams. Anders told us about some people who blockaded a road to keep out land owners who wanted to build a big hydro-electric dam. 
Anderson also talked about the URNG (The Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity / Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, or URNG-MAIZ) and a former guerrilla he knew of who was in that political party. The group used to be a guerrilla organization, but now they have signed an agreement with the government and they act as a political party.
"I support that party when I can," he added. He was wearing a shirt that had their logo on it.
Bradley spoke about her trip to Cuba.
"Cuba leads the world in health care," she told the crowd.
She explained that the small country had few resources after the revolution so they focused on health care.
"They came out with a campaign for education," she said.
She was wearing a Pastors for Peace shirt with Cuba on the back.
"I still don't wear it everywhere because it has Cuba on the back of it and some people still give you a hard time for Cuba," she added.
She admitted that the government there had a lot of problems and that not all their policies were up to date and working.
"The things they have for the tourists are better than what the common people get," she said. "But they do need the (tourist's) money."
Another policy she talked about were some restaurants that the government allowed local people to set up.
"They allow better facilities for those who get money from relatives in Miami," she said. "But they (government) are aware of these bad policies and are trying to do things about them."
She said they are also trying to fix all their policies on LGBT (gay rights). It has been known for a long time that the Fidel Castro Regime has treated gay people harshly.
"They are trying to fix that," Bradley said.
She also talked about the literacy campaign that government started after the revolution. She also said the government spends a lot of money to promote art.
"It was everywhere," she said.
That included both visual arts and music.
The crowd for this event was enthusiastic. They also had a pot luck dinner that went well. For Wichita Kansas, this was May Day 2015.

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