Hugo Blanco speaking in Cardiff on 13th October


Wednesday 13 October at 7pm, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff.

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HUGO BLANCO is a historic leader of the Peruvian peasant movement who has been politically active since the 1950s. In the 1960s he played a central part in the peasant uprising in the southern highlands of Peru. He was captured, and sentenced to 25 years. He wrote the book “Land or Death: the peasant struggle in Peru” during this time, one of his many periods in prison.

In 1976 he was released and deported to Sweden. On returning to Peru in 1978, he was elected to parliament. He was a member of the Peruvian Senate until 1992, when he was forced to seek political asylum in Mexico following Alberto Fujimori’s “self coup”.

Hugo Blanco has been at the forefront of the struggle in the Peruvian Amazon, where the government has sold off the rain forests to the oil corporations and the indigenous people are resisting the devastation that brings. He is working around the newspaper “Lucha Indigena” (Indigenous Struggle). The indigenous organisation Aidesep has been in conflict with the neo-liberal Peruvian government for several years, fighting to prevent the Amazon rainforest from being sold to oil and gas corporations: In 2009 Peruvian military police massacred indigenous activist at Bagua.

The struggle in Latin America today is an international beacon of hope for us all. The people’s summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010 showed an alternative to the total failure of the world’s governments – especially those of the US and the European Union – to meet the challenge of climate change.

In a world where profit is the motor force rather than human need, it has been an inspiration that social movements in Latin America have won important victories.

Indigenous peoples have been key to the strength and success of those movements. Hugo argues that indigenous peoples across the planet are in the forefront of fighting climate change and conserving the global environment.

This is true of those struggling to preserve the lungs of the world in the Amazon, to defend the rainforests in Borneo or against the uranium mine in the Grand Canyon.

“Hugo Blanco is the head of one of the guerrilla movements in Peru. He struggled stubbornly but the repression was strong. I don’t know what his tactics of struggle were, but his fall does not signify the end of the movement. It is only a man that has fallen, but not the movement. One time, when we were preparing to make our landing from the Granma, and when there was great risk that all of us would be killed, Fidel said: ‘What is more important than all of us is the example we set.’ It’s the same thing, Hugo Blanco has set an example.” – Che Guevara


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