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Salvadoran Labor Leader to Speak about Fighting "Free Trade"

Ricardo Monge, a Salvadoran labor leader and long time movement leader in the fight to resist the corporate globalization agenda, will visit Portland this weekend. On Sunday he will speak at 5 pm at 3536 SE 25th in Portland, specifically addressing issues of Fast Track, free trade, and privatization. His talk will be followed by a peņa, dinner, and dancing, and it will be a fundraiser for continuing his work to build national and international solidarity.
Sunday, April 21, Ricardo Monge, Salvadoran labor leader, will visit Portland to speak about how unions, women, campesinos, youth, and other community groups are coming together to resist privatization and the corporate "free trade" agenda in El Salvador and internationally. The talk will be at 5 pm at 3536 SE 25th, SEIU Local 49 union hall, at 5:00 pm, to be followed at 6:00 by a Latin American dinner, dancing, and Peņa Cultural.

Ricardo Monge will speak about building international resistance to the proposed "free trade" Fast Track legislation and CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement) as well as privatization, both in El Salvador and here in Portland. He will address the harsh attacks that labor and unions are facing in El Salvador as part of the government's plan to pave the way for "free trade." He will also speak to the widespread resistance by the Salvadoran social movement, united with the FMLN (the opposition party), to these policies through protest, takeovers, and lawsuits. He hopes to build cross-border solidarity as a strategy for strengthening the global movement against corporate-controlled globalization.

Ricardo Monge is the president of the Salvadoran hospital workers union, STISSS, one of the most militant unions in El Salvador and the largest member of the FESTRASPES public sector union federation. Two years ago, the STISSS union, united with the SIMETRISSS doctors' union, launched a 4 month national strike that successfully halted the privatization of the Salvadoran public healthcare system, which would have left the majority of Salvadorans without any access to basic healthcare. Today, the Salvadoran government is trying to privatize, once again, with massive firings and union busting, and STISSS has gone on the counter-offensive in opposition. With the support of patients, STISSS members have taken over hospitals while the public maintains watch outside in solidarity as a way to protect the occupants from riot police. This is one example of the growing movement to defend the right to organize and the public's right to affordable basic services.

Following the presentation there will be a dinner and peņa, with music performed by local musicians, and dancing. As well as an educational event and celebration of resistance, the event is a fundraiser for further organizing in El Salvador. The requested donation is $15-25 for dinner and the program, $5-15 for only the program. Be there with your dancing shoes on as we gather as a community of activists, artists, and community members celebrating local and international solidarity!

phone: phone: 503-236-7916
address: address: 616 E. Burnside, Portland, OR 97214