The Latin American Pre-World-Conference Conference September 19-21,1997

I got a lot of help with organizing the Latin American Pre-World-Conference Conference. My thanks to Joan O'Shanahan, Teresa Cunningham, Carolina Sanchez, and Alicia Ochoa for the huge part they played and the time they gave before and during the conference. Many others from Cuartel Quinto and Rosario gave time and service too. Thank you for everything. Thanks for the magnificent translating done by Pancho, Emiko, Laura, Schere, Alicia, Nelson, Hugo . . . .

We had a wide representation. People attended from Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. Social sectors included working class, very poor, owning class, and middle class. That gave the hundred-plus participants a rich experience of internationality and cultural and social difference, many for the first time.

In some ways the conference turned into a fundamentals class; some people came with no previous contact with RC. There was advanced teaching, too, especially in the early mornings. The International leaders who attended rose to the occasion, worked non-stop, and gave their all.

The atmosphere was terrific-lots of play, with cushion-throwing, singing, and dancing at intervals. Latin Americans like a lot of festivity. "Happy Birthday" was sung to Georgina in a variety of languages, including Guarani, the main indigenous Paraguayan language. Not everyone was happy with the long hours of work.

Respect was shown for the different cultures represented, and important work was done on imperialism and internalized oppression. Good contact was established among Latin American Co-Counselors, and I have no doubt that this will continue to grow. A big Mexican contingent attended and made a huge contribution to the leadership of the support groups (congratulations to you all). In the other countries, besides Mexico and Argentina, RC is only just beginning to be introduced.

The conference has given RC a high profile in Argentina. We are visible, and this is good. Some of our leaders met a week later with Joanne Bray and Ellie Hidalgo, whom I asked to stay on for a workshop in the north of Argentina. It was good to think together and encourage each other's leadership. Joanne and Ellie were a fantastic team. Ellie translated into Spanish for Joanne, who did a wonderful job of communicating RC to forty working-class lay community leaders.

Thanks to all who made this conference in Buenos Aires possible.

Ronnie Rafferty
Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)


Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07