Avi Chomsky, professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem (Mass.) State College, will talk about The New England-Colombia Connection: The People Behind the Coalat 7 p.m. Monday, February 13 at Plymouth State University. Chomsky’s address is presented under the auspices of the Saul O Sidore Lecture Series. This year’s lecture theme is “Making Global Connections.”
Two of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines, located in Colombia and owned by multinational corporations, export to eastern U.S. and Canadian power plants. In Massachusetts, the Salem Harbor and Brayton Point plants shifted from domestic to Colombian coal in the 1980s and 90s. While Colombian coal is cheap, and high quality, it has hidden costs: murdered union leaders, displaced Afro-Colombian villages, and massacres of indigenous people. Grassroots organizing has linked coal producers and the consumers to demand corporate accountability.
Aviva Chomsky’s current research project on Linked Labor Histories: New England and Colombia in the Twentieth Century looks at globalization as a long-term process with labor history at its center. She has been active in Central America, Cuba, and Colombia solidarity work for more than 20 years.
Her books include West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870-1940 (LSU Press, 1996), Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean (co-edited with Aldo Lauria-Santiago, Duke, 1998), The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (co-edited with Pamela Smorkaloff and Barry Carr, Duke, 2004); and a translation, The Profits of Extermination: How U.S. Corporate Power is Destroying Colombia (translation of Francisco Ramirez Cuellar, La gran minería en Colombia: las ganancias del exterminio, Common Courage, 2005).
The Saul O Sidore Lecture Series was established at Plymouth State in 1979 to bring a variety of speakers to the University each year to address the critical political, social and cultural issues and events of our time. Series information can be found online at www.plymouth.edu/sidore.
For information call Dr. Patrick May, social science department, (603) 535-2501.