|Paul leading a delegation in Nicaragua|
The Skilled Trades Task Force was started as part of TecNica, but it continued to operate after the Sandinistas’ 1990 electoral defeat brought TecNica itself to an end, along with many other solidarity groups. Far from being discouraged, Paul expanded the project to include work with Cuban unionists and labor activists from other Latin American countries.
Paul was typically modest about his work. Generally he only talked about his role in providing material aid, such as the way he would drive tools and spare machine parts to Nicaragua in beat-up old VW bugs, which he donated along with the other equipment to Nicaraguan unions. When conversations got too ideological, he would shrug and say: “I don’t understand any of this crap; I’m from Brooklyn.” But he did understand, much better than most of us did at the time.
Now the idea of cross-border solidarity has won acceptance across a wide range of groups and people, from Occupy Wall Street activists to leaders of the AFL-CIO. But we must never forget that this acceptance is the result of the vision, dedication and hard work of Paul Baizerman and others like him.
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For two articles by Paul, go to: