March 7, 2023
Liz Oliva Fernández
Producer and Journalist, Belly of the Beast
Documentary Filmmaker and Co-founder of the Feminist Spider Network of Collectives in Venezuela
Diana Sierra Becerra
– Moderator –
Popular Educator and Historian, UMass Amherst
This panel of Latin American feminists explored the relationship between patriarchy and U.S. imperialism, specifically the fatal impacts of U.S. sanctions against the Cuban and Venezuelan people. U.S. sanctions against Cuba have been in place since 1962, while as of 2019, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have killed over 40,000 people. The consequences of these policies for women and Black people were emphasized. Panelists explored how revolutionary feminists are building small- and large-scale economic alternatives, from workers’ councils to communes. With Liz Oliva Fernández (producer and journalist, Belly of the Beast, Cuba) and Alejandra Laprea (documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the Feminist Spider Network of Collectives, Venezuela), moderated by Diana Sierra Becerra (popular educator and historian, UMass Amherst).
Liz Oliva Fernández is a 27-year-old award-winning Cuban journalist and producer with Belly of the Beast. She has won a Gracie Award and was co-winner of a One World Media Award for her work presenting the documentary series The War on Cuba. Apart from her journalism and filmmaking, Fernández is a dedicated anti-racist and feminist activist.
Alejandra Laprea is a member of Las Yerbateras Collective, Feminist Spider Network of Collectives, and World’s Women March. She leads a community garden called the Conuco Argelia Laya, in addition to actions and reflections on feminist economy as a strategy and alternative to the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial systems. She also works to visiblize women’s artistic creations, and denounces the cultural reproduction of patriarchy, promoting activities such as Las Teje Conversas, Gran Putada (erotic and feminist poetry), and the María Lionza Feminist Film Festival. Laprea received her academic training as a social communicator at the Andrés Bello Catholic University and in the arts at the Central University of Venezuela. She works professionally as a documentary filmmaker. Her works are a reflection of the country’s historical and political reality, and her public positions on these matters. Her documentaries include El alma de mis muñecas (The soul of my dolls), Cuando la Brújula marcó el sur (When the compass marked the south), a collaboration with the director Laura Vásquez, Proyecto Independencia (Independence Project) and Chávez infinito (Infinite Chávez).
Diana Sierra Becerra (moderator) is a popular educator and historian. She specializes in the history of women and gender in Latin America, focusing on social movements and revolutions. Her book manuscript, tentatively titled, Insurgent Butterflies, tells the stories of peasant and working-class women in El Salvador who fought for a world without capitalists, imperialists, and patriarchs. As a public scholar, she has collaborated with museums, art galleries, and labor organizations. Recently, she worked on the project, “We Make History,” which produced a digital timeline, films, and curriculum on the history of domestic worker organizing. It won the 2022 Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History. Watch her animation about a guerrilla radio that took down a war criminal.
This Resource Document contains links to further readings, organizations, media and related upcoming events mentioned during the panel.
The Feinberg Series
The 2022-2023 Feinberg Series is exploring histories of U.S. imperialism and anti-imperialist resistance. It is presented by the UMass Amherst Department of History in collaboration with the Ellsberg Initiative for Peace and Democracy and in partnership with more than two dozen co-sponsors. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass Amherst history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates.