Bristol Latin America Forum is an annual event held in Bristol on Latin American politics, society and culture. The Forum comprises of workshops, film, a panel discussion, dance, music, food and in 2008 for the first time closed with a World Cafe process.

It is organised by local grassroots Latin American solidarity groups, some of whom form part of larger national and international organisations and networks. It is not for profit, horizontally organised and we welcome your participation.

This blog began as a means of publicising and web-streaming the Forum in 2008 and is now a space for Bristol - Latin America related information all year round. See previous posts for details of last the 2008 Forum and video clips of the event. If you want to publicise an event please email the blog moderator.


Cinema Klandestino present a night of Bolivian film and info Sun 16th May at the Cube

Child Miners (2008)

Presidente Evo (2009)

This Sunday the 16th of may, cinema klandestino will be screening films from Bolivia at the Cube Cinema. We’ll be screening two documentary films by director Rodrigo Vazquez and he’ll be discussing them with everyone afterwards, either in person or by video link up.

doors open: 7pm

films start: 8pm

door charge: £2/1

Plus, we will be joined by two folk who have just returned from working with social movements out in Bolivia. They will be with us to share information, feedback on what they found out, give reports from on the ground, at meetings and marches with the social movements.

Before and after we will be playing audio of the Mayday 2010 scheenanigans in Bolivia, as well as interviews, music, short films and slideshows of images from their trip. They’ll be there two during the discussion to give updates on the situation in Bolivia and reflections on Rodrigo’s films, so hopefully everyone can stick about after the films!

Check out this blog before hand, it details much of their experiences out there:

The films:

Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2009 Montreal Human Rights Film Festival Child Miners (2008) is a documentary about the daily troubles of two child miners, Jorge and Alex, who make one dollar a day working in the crumbling Bolivian mine of Lllallagua.

Presidente Evo (2009) is co-narrated by the filmmaker and Evo Morales. It tells the story of how Bolivia’s first indigenous President managed to re-write the Constitution, re-distribute the land among poor peasants and nationalise the gas industry, as these events were actually unfolding.

directions to the cube:


Child Miners

For 100 years, the Llallagua mine has been used to extract tin. I filmed child miners Alex Choque and Jorge Mollinedo in December 2005, when Bolivia’s first indigenous President Evo Morales won the elections with the promise of transforming poor people’s lives. Evo promised to give miners a better life by re-nationalizing the industry. Jorge’s father has contracted silicosis, the “miners’ disease” and now is out of work, so Jorge had to increase his work load to keep bringing food to the house, thus increasing the chances of becoming ill like his father. Newly-arrived Cuban doctors sent by Evo’s government establish that Jorge has begun developing the “miner’s disease” and advised him to stop working immediately. But now more than ever, Jorge needs to keep working.

Evo Presidente

There are some rare moments in documentary filmmaking when we are privileged enough to be part of a historical moment. When a landslide election win gave coca-farmer Evo Morales the Presidency of Bolivia, I felt I was caught in one of those moments. This is a documentary that follows the first three years of government of indigenous Bolivian President Evo Morales in his bid to re-write his country’s Constitution to empower the poor.

Rodrigo Vazquez

In 2005 Rodrigo founded Bethnal Films in order to produce independent feature films and documentaries. He subsequently produced “La Apertura”, a short film that won the Audience Award in the Bilbao Film festival 2006 and was bought by Channel 4 UK, “Looking for the Revolution”, an observational feature-documentary about the on-going indigenous revolution in Bolivia, four series for “Witness-Al Jazeera” and “Al Jazeera People & Power”, “Inside Hamas”, nominated for the 2008 Rory Peck Award, “Child Miners”, winner of the Grand Prize at the 2009 Montreal Human Rights Film Festival, which was nominated for dozens of other awards, and set up internationa co-productions to make films such as “Angels of Rio” and “President Evo”. Rodrigo has just released two films: a short entitled “Interrogating a Torturer” and “This Land is Our Land” about the landless peasants’ movement in Paraguay. He is currently editing his first feature-length fiction film, “Lenin in Maracaibo”, where he blends documentary and fiction to tell the story of a young indigenous teacher living in a slum, and is working on his next feature-length documentary project, provisionally entitled “Borders”, to mark the 200th anniversary of Latin America’s independence.



Cubo Latin Film Festival! This weekend!

Cubo Latin Film Festival
Thursday 28th April - Sunday 2nd May

Welcome to the Cubo Film Festival - a mash up of cult and contemporary Latin American film. Throughout the bank holiday weekend we will be celebrating the richness and diversity of the Latin American culture through specially selected screenings features and shorts programs.

Thursday 29th
Opening Night 6-7pm - Drinks Reception

7pm - Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)
9.15pm – Madeinusa

Friday 30th
Mexican Retro Extravaganza 7pm - Late
7.30pm - Santo vs the She-Wolves

9.30pm - Santo in the Wax Musuem

11.30 - Midnight Movie: Alurcada

Saturday 1st
3pm - Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)
5pm - Encounters LatinAmerican Short Film Selection
7pm - Cinema Klandestino Night
8pm - Coca Cola Case

Sunday 2nd
6pm - 16 Memorias

7pm - Closing Event

8pm - The Wandering Shadows (La Sombra del Caminante)

see for full descriptions


Cinema Klandestino presents WHEN CLOUDS CLEAR at the CUBE Sun 7th March

On Sunday the 7th of March Cinema Klandestino returns to the Cube Cinema to present:
When Clouds Clear (Después de la Neblina) (2008) 77mins

Spanish with English Subtitles
Directed and Produced by Anne Slick and Danielle Bernstein (Clear Films)

Doors: 7pm
Film Starts: 8pm

Tax: £3/2

WHEN CLOUDS CLEAR is an award winning feature-length documentary that delves into one remote community’s radical resistance to a proposed copper mine that would level and destroy their way of life forever.

Set in the isolated cloud forests of the northern Ecuadorian Andes Mountains, the film is narrated by the founders and children of Junín who depict how the village’s daily life has been affected by copper that was discovered beneath their land. As two invading mining companies become increasingly brazen in their attempts to infiltrate and control the area, the community forms a united resistance in order to survive.

Some side with the wealth that the companies promise, causing irreparable divisions. They find themselves thrust into the dangerous battle against multinational invasion which brings corruption, splintered households, murder and arson as they fight tenaciously to protect their land and families.

The film will lead into a discussion about the consequences of state and multinational mining operations in Latin America.


directions to the cube:

Related Link:


Environmental Justice week 10-11 November 2009

see also

Tuesday 10th November - 8pm
Cinema Klandestino present Our Oil and Other Tales
Launch of Cine Rebelde mini-season
First night of Environmental Justice week

With introduction and discussion afterwards led by Mark Ellingsen (Bristol Solidarity with Venezuela) and Thomas Muhr (University of Bristol)

A two-month journey across Venezuela, from Lake Maracaibo to the Orinoco Delta. The people of the oil fields and the mining centres talk of their close encounter with these exploitations. For the first time, in the revolutionary Venezuela, a documentary delves deep in the problematic of oil and coal, from the angle of the life experience of communities, oil workers, indigenous people.

The film takes a look at world politics on oil and other extractive activities, jointly with the themes of sovereignty and self-determination of a people engaged in a real process of change.

Directed by: Elisabetta Andreoli, Gabriele Muzio, Sara Muzio y Max Pugh
Produced by: Gattacicova (Italy) and Yeast Films (UK)
From the film makers of “another way is possible in Venezuela”

83 minutes, Spanish with subtitles in English

For trailer click here

As usual, call the Klandestino hotline NOW on 07747 833376 and listen to the brief message for venue and directions.

Wednesday 11th November - 1.30-4.30pm
Environmental Justice seminar
Environmental Justice week Event 2

Exploring the concept of environmental justice as the human right to a healthy and safe environment, a fair share of natural resources and access to environmental information and participation in environmental decision-making. To reserve a place, email

University of Bristol, LT1, 3-5 Woodland Road, BS8 1TB (click for map).

Cristian Domínguez (National Secretary of Environment and Resources, CSUTCB (United Confederation of Bolivian Campesino Workers)) has been at the forefront of environmental justice campaigns in Bolivia, opposing water privatisation and working for the nationalisation of natural resources. The organisation he represents, the CSUTCB, is one of the main social movement organisations which brought president Evo Morales to power.

Professor Malcolm Eames (Low Carbon Research Institute, Cardiff University) has participated in and led research and consultancy projects for a wide range of agencies including: DTI, DETR, UK Cabinet Office, Environment Agency, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the European Commission. In 2004 he produced a report on environmental inequalities in the UK which has underpinned the current UK Framework and Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Judy Ling Wong, CBE (Director, Black Environment Network, UK) has an international reputation as a pioneer in the field of black and minority ethnic participation in the built and natural environment. She works on urban design, identity, health, employment, and access to the countryside and urban green spaces. The groundbreaking methodology developed by BEN to engage urban-based ethnic minorities has been very influential in many areas of mainstream policy.

Wednesday 11th November - 6.30-9pm
What Does Climate Justice Look Like?
Copenhagen and The Energy Crisis: The Case Of BP In Colombia

Environmental Justice week Event 3
Guest speaker Isaac Marín from COSPACC, Colombia introduces and explores the situation on the ground in Casanare. The leader of this grass-roots organisation looks at the social and enviromental effects of BP in the region. Yasmine Brien (Rising Tide) re-contextualises climate change and global energy politics in terms of climate justice, including a look at so called “green” solutions such as biofuels.

Organised by Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Bristol Rising Tide and Espacio Bristol-Colombia. Chaired by Alice Cutler from popular education collective Trapese.

At the Old Council Chamber, Department of Law, University of Bristol, in
Wills Memorial Building, BS8 1RJ (click for map).

As world leaders and world activists prepare to descend on Copenhagen to take action on climate change, have we fully understood its structural causes? Colombian NGOs argue that the developed countries need to control their patterns of consumption, luxury and waste. Who is responsible for the global North's ecological debt to the global South?

Colombian social movements argue that multinational oil and mining corporations, especially BP and other British based companies, have destroyed their environment, their human rights and social fabric. This raises vital questions linking environmental justice with international solidarity. As Colombian communities struggle to defend their territories against multinational plunder, what can be done to build links with those affected by the seemingly unquenchable thirst for profit? How can corporations like BP be made accountable

Isaac Marín is a campesino leader from Eastern Colombia. His first organisational and political space was with the National Association of Peasant Farmers (ANUC), holding several positions at the regional level for a period of 12 years. He is a founder member of the group Corporación COSPACC, a civil organisation with national reach since its inception into social and political life 7 years ago. From this space, they contribute to the construction of different political and organizational processes with rural communities, neighbourhoods, student groups, womens associations, environmentalists, trade unions and organizations defending human rights.
Alongside these movements COS-PACC work to defend their territory and the enforcability of political, social, cultural and environmental rights of the communities and the Colombian people.

Yasmine Brien is actively involved in environmental and social justice campaigns with groups such as Bristol Rising Tide and Espacio Bristol-Colombia. She has recently returned from Colombia where she was accompanying social organisations and communities, and took part in a Friends of the Earth international delegation to verify the impacts of biofuel production.

While climate change has become a widely discussed issue, particularly in the lead up to December's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, climate justice is rarely at the centre of these discussions. As a result, countries such as Colombia remain on the frontline of the worlds energy crisis bearing the brunt of the worlds fossil fuel dependency and search for so called "green" solutions in the form of biofuels and reforestation programmes.

Alice Cutler is a member of Trapese, a Popular Education Collective which offers workshops and training aimed at inspiring and promoting action for changing our world. Trapese are involved in organising a programme of film and events, *START PRODUCING THE FUTURE- Experiments against Enclosure - Tools to reclaim the Commons, to accompany C-Words:

C Words is part of Arnolfini's 100 Days season, marking the countdown to the 15th UN Conference on Climate Change, Copenhagen, December 2009. For more information on all events in the C Words season, please visit the 100 days website, and

For info on this event contact: or
07838 504840


Cinema Klandestino presents "Bloody Bananas" at the Cube this Sunday 11th Oct

Cinema Klandestino brings you an eye-opening evening all about Britain's favourite fruit.
With two films (Bonita: Ugly Bananas & Pura Vida) and discussions with the director!

Sun 11th Oct at 7.30pm
Cube Cinema

The banana is Britain’s favourite fruit and millions of us will eat one today.

But its production is often steeped in brutality. The Latin American plantations where the fruit is grown are harsh environments, where workers’ well-being is sacrificed in favour of cheap farming methods.

The carcinogenic pesticides used on the fruit are sprayed indiscriminately on the workers themselves, causing a horrendous catalogue of sickness and disease and wreaking untold harm on the environment. Should the workers unionise to press for better pay and conditions, their demands are frequently met with violence rather than negotiation.

Since 2000, Scottish artist & film-maker Jan Nimmo has been involved in documenting the lives of banana workers in Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador and has produced two harrowing documentaries, Bonita: Ugly Bananas & Pura Vida.

She will be present tonight to introduce her films and for a Q&A session afterwards.

Plus....banana bingo, banana beer, pedal-powered banana smoothies & homemade banana cake!

Doors: 7.30pm
£4/3 Bring da badge
4 Princess Row
Bristol, BS2 8NQ
0117 907 4190
Directions to the Cube:


Puerto Morazán short film

Here is a short film in two parts, about Bristol's twin town in Nicaragua. Check it HERE on the maker's site for an introduction.


19th June - Cuba and Young People - La Ruca

'Aspire' Cuba Project and Bristol Cuba Solidarity present a fundraising evening on Friday 19th June at La Ruca, 89 Gloucester Rd, Bristol BS7 8AS. A meal will be served at 7pm (cost £8), followed by an open debate at 8.30 on 'Cuba and Young People', with guest speaker Lenia Lopez from the Cuban International Friendship Institute, Havana. There will also be a rolling slideshow of a recent solidarity brigade. Aspire is a Bristol based youth project aiming to take a small group of young people from Easton/St Pauls for a life changing visit to Cuba - see Please reserve your place by emailing Yvonne at or calling Cecile on 07858284069.


4th Bristol Latin America Forum: 25th April 2009

Following the unquestioned success of the Bristol Latin American Forum in previous years we are pleased to announce that the 4th Bristol Latin American Forum 2009 will take place on Saturday 25th April, 10am – 5pm at the University of Bristol Faculty of Arts, 3-5 Woodland Road.

With keynote speakers, talks, workshops, and discussions on issues across Latin America, this event will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. Further details to follow in due course.

The Legendary Afterparty!

For this year's afterparty and fundraiser we are teaming up with London based collective Movimientos and featuring bands and djs from far and wide to to finish off the day.

WHEN? - Saturday 25th April, 2009, 9pm - 2am

WHERE? - Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6AW

COST: Advance purchase tickets will be available at the Latin America Forum for £5. Otherwise it will be £7 on the door.

MC Magico (Colombia), MC Floiran (Cuba) and DJ Snatch (Argentina) fuse live percussion with concious latin hip-hop drawing inspiration from old-skool salsa to Latin Jazz, Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton, Bashment to create a new Latin sound that will smash up the dancefloor.

Cumbia rhythms, soaring Afro-Colombian melodies, drums and dances. Koguiwa is a group of inspiring young musicians who bring a fresh twist to the rhythms, dances and melodies from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. With the sounds of Tambores, voices, flutes and guitars that have been passed down through the generations, in keeping with the roots of the music, a mixture of African, Indigenous Indian and European influences. Their vibrant on stage performance includes a special dances is guaranteed to get people dancing and singing along.

Compadres are a Bristol based 7 piece Latin-Funk band that bring together an eclectic mix of rhythms and styles through salsa, rumba, Brazilian beats, reggae, funk, jazz, flamenco and hip hop to created an explosive live experience. The artists come from Bristol, London, Spain, Uruguay, Colombia and have atravelled widely and played in diverse bands in of their own inimitable style.

Movimientos have revitalised the UK Latin scene, they host regular jam-packed nights at London’s Notting Hill Arts Club & The Salmon and Compass in London, have made their mark at several UK festivals and recently hosted a Manu Chao & Radio Bemba show for a secret benefit gig in Brixton that turned into one of the most talked about underground shows of 2008.

Movimientos DJs Cal Jader & Clem George represent with the sounds of the global Latin alternative. From folkloric to electronic they mix up Revolutionary Salsa, Clandestine Cumbia, Cuban Hip Hop, Dub-Reggae, Reggaeton & Merengue with Samba, Funk Carioca, Latin House, Spanish Mestizo flavours & Tropical Rave. This is Música Latina Clandestina!!!