Sister County Strategy Building Discussion for Dane County, Wisconsin and Andres Eloy Blanco, Venezuela

Please join us!

Sister County Strategy Building Discussion for
Dane County, Wisconsin and Andres Eloy Blanco, Venezuela
Tuesday, March 25th 7:00pm
122 State St. Room 401

We seek ideas and suggestions that will ensure this sister-county proposal is adopted by our county supervisors. We invite those of you who can share your experiences with sister-city resolutions and those who wish to participate in building this important connection between our community and the people of Andres Eloy Blanco.

You will find below the press release circulated last month, describing the nature of the Venezuelan region and the benefits this relationship may bring. If you have questions or concerns, PLEASE CONTACT (re: the meeting) Charity Schmidt, Community Action on Latin America at Ph. (608) 334-6370 email: cschmidt2@wisc.edu or (re: the resolution) Ashok Kumar, Dane County Supervisor, District 5 Ph. (608) 843-0615 email: arkumarzona@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there,

The Dane-Andres Eloy Blanco Sister-County Action Coalition (DASAC)

Dane County Board looks to accept invitation to establish ties with Venezuela
County leaders and community activists to introduce resolution at Thursday's Dane County Board meeting to accept an invitation from the Venezuelan ambassador to create sister relationship with Andres Eloy Blanco, Venezuela

Contact:
Ashok Kumar, Dane County Supervisor, District 5
Ph. (608) 843-0615 email: arkumarzona@gmail.com

Omar Sierra, Venezuelan Consulate – Chicago
Ph. (312) 236-3011 email: omarsierra.ven@gmail.com

Juscha Robinson, Fellow, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Ph. (608) 239-4269 email: juscha.robinson@gmail.com

Charity Schmidt, Board Member, Community Action on Latin America
Ph. (608) 334-6370 email: cschmidt2@wisc.edu

Madison –Dane County Supervisors Ashok Kumar, Barbara Vedder, and Al Matano will introduce a resolution at Thursday's Dane County Board of Supervisors meeting to create an official sister relationship with the municipality of Andres Eloy Blanco, Venezuela. The resolution is a response to an invitation from Venezuela's ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez. Earlier this year, Alvarez met Supervisors in an effort to establish a sister relationship between Dane County and a municipality in Venezuela.

"Supervisors were humbled by the ambassador's invitation and I believe this relationship will provide an institutional framework for social, cultural, and financial ties between the people of Andres Eloy Blanco and those of Dane County," stated Kumar, the resolution's lead sponsor; "In addition to the educational component of this relationship, there are also social benefits. Working class communities in cities and counties across the United States have greatly benefited from sister relationships with Venezuela."

County Supervisors, community organizers, and officials in Andres Eloy Blanco worked together to formulate the resolution and relationship. Matt Earley, co-owner of Madison-based cooperative Just Coffee, who recently returned from visiting Sanare, the capital of Andres Eloy Blanco, said; "The people of Sanare and of Dane County share the same sense of progressive politics, environmental stewardship, and grassroots democratic participation in government. In Venezuela the municipality of Sanare is often called the birthplace of the nation's cooperative movement. Like Dane County, Andres Eloy Blanco is looked to as a leader in cooperative activities."

Anne Reynolds, Assistant Director at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, who has also been working to create the relationship stated, "Dane County is home to a diverse and successful group of cooperatives. A sister - county relationship with Andres Elroy Blanco would help build connections between the cooperatives in both communities, and support opportunities for education and research."

Currently, the City of Milwaukee is looking to create a relationship with Corora, Venezuela. The government of Venezuela has stated their interest in offering discounted heating oil and free eye surgery to Milwaukee's low-income residents. Over the last few years, the Venezuelan government has provided millions of gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to hundreds of thousands of low-income households in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Philadelphia, New York City's Harlem and Bronx neighborhoods, and Indian reservations across the country.

Other cities around the world have created relationships with Venezuelan cities. These relationships have opened new avenues for trade between cities and counties, whether they exchange ideas and culture or goods and services. For example, London recently signed an agreement with Venezuela in which Venezuela will provide 20% reduced fuel costs to city buses to directly subsidize the fares of 250,000 low-income bus riders. In exchange, Venezuela will benefit through the provision of London's technical knowledge in its infrastructure, urban planning, and tourism.

Sanare is an urban area surrounded by small rural towns located in the Midwest of Venezuela. The main engine of the municipality's economy is agriculture and coffee production. According to Mayor Alfredo Orozco, during many decades this area has been the epicenter of many struggles for social justice and is also considered to be the birthplace of the Venezuelan peasant cooperative movement, as well as home of poets, musicians and revolutionary leaders. All these characteristics make Andres Eloy Blanco a place with a unique social and progressive environment, as well as a place whose inhabitants have great adherence to participatory democracy and to community life. "After receiving the visit of several Wisconsin residents in our state, and after the participation at our International Coffee Fair of Madison's Just Coffee Cooperative, with which we established a relationship, we feel very excited about the prospect of establishing a Sister County relationship with Dane County," said the Mayor.