International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Regional Report - Latin America
from IVU News Oct 2000

by Marly Winckler
IVU Regional Secretary for Latin America

On May 30, after the untimely death of Luis Escala, I took over the role of Regional Secretary of IVU for Latin America. Since then very little could he done but we are already 'walking'.

The first thing we needed to do was to assess the overall health of the region, and to create mechanisms of communication between the various entities, organizations and people committed to vegetarianism. Today, vegetarianism in this region of the world is very much isolated and aside from IVU, does not receive the support of any international or regional organization. As far as I understand there is no strong vegetarian society in any Latin American country.

With the aim of establishing a link between leaders of vegetarianism in this region I have created an online discussion group called ivu-latina. The group is not open to the public, but is just for those committed to vegetarianism and who are willing to do something to expand it in the countries that compound Latin America.

Another area that I am working in is the formation of an up-to-date directory of organizations, people, NGOs, companies, etc., In short, all groups that in one form or another support vegetarianism in Latin America. This project will be on-going.

The situation of vegetarianism as an organized movement in this region is very precarious and it is at that point I think that we should centralize our effort. i.e. in the organization of vegetarianism. The good news is that in many countries there is a nucleus of people interested in the creation of a vegetarian soc iety. So what we have to do is to support these groups in the best way we can. In Argentina, we formed the Unión Vegetariana Argentina - UVA, with the aim of uniting vegetarian people and organi:zations. In Columbia. the Sociedad Vegetariana Colombiania is currently discussing bylaws. In Cuba. there is also a group trying to orrganize itself, despite many obstacles, with a very brave spirit. In Mexico, a group of people is already meeting and they have created a Director Council of the Asociation Mexicana de Vegetarianos. In Panama, the Centro Naturista Mi Salud is doing a. good job in spreading a healthy way of living that includes vegetarianism. In the Dominican Republic, our representatives have been spreading vegetarianism for more than 15 years and soon plan to open a vegetarian retreat.

At more or less a year ago, I've created a discussion list aimed to Latin-American public: ivu-latina (formerly veg-latina)where the main idiom is Spanish. Today the list has more than 70 members of various countries.

In Brazil, vegetarianism is developing little by little. We have an organization (TAPs, in São Paulo) which has vegetarianism as one of its aims, that owns the best library specialized in vegetarian and anti-vivisection books in Latin America (or maybe in the world since it has books in many languages!). We also have a discussion list, veg-brasil - with around 200 members, encompassing nearly all the states of the federation, and some other countries, with an intense exchange of messages. On one occasion there was more than a thousand messages in a month. The list is aimed at Brazilian people and the idiom spoken is Portuguese. We also have a vegetarian site at Internet, Sitto Vegetariano ( ) Presently we are working on developing it so that it can have a Latin-American covering.

There is a lot to do and the challenge is a big one. So, as I said before, all the support to accomplish this hard task is very welcome.

Marly Winckler
Regional Secretary of IVU for Latin America
Cx. Postal 08646
703 12-970 Brasilia DF Brazil -