Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).

Mission: The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)  builds partnerships among social movements and organized communities within and between the U.S. and Latin America. We work together through popular education, grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct action to dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence.We are united by our liberating faiths and inspired by the power of people to organize and to find allies to work for sustainable economies, just relationships and human dignity.  

Misión en español: La Red de Líderes Religiosos de Chicago para Latinoamérica (CRLN) construye alianzas entre movimientos sociales y comunidades organizadas en EE.UU. y entre los pueblos de las Américas. Trabajamos juntos por medio de la educación popular, la organización de base comunitaria, la promoción de políticas públicas, y la demostración no violenta pero energética para desmilitarizar nuestras sociedades, crear alternativas a la economía neoliberal y desmantelar la política de inmigración de EE.UU, y otras formas de violencia institucional y de Estado. Estamos unidxs por nuestras fes liberadoras e inspiradxs por el poder de la gente para organizar y encontrar aliadxs para trabajar por economías sostenibles, relaciones justas y la dignidad humana.

 
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CRLN gratefully acknowldges the support of the following Foundations: Crossroads Fund, Helen Brach Foundation, Landau Family Foundation, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. 

National Police in Honduras Strike, Refuse to Repress People Further

(Call on your Senators and Representative to call for a recount of contested votes--see end of this article for contact information)

Tens of thousands of Hondurans have been in the streets protesting what they see as a stolen election since the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that the vote totals show current President Juan Orlando Hernandez winning by a little over 1%. There are grounds for their suspicions:

  • The Economist, before the election, published an article, “Is Honduras Ruling Party Planning to Rig an Election? , saying that they had a recording of a training session for National Party members who would be manning voting tables at polling places on election day that included 5 methods for rigging votes in favor of the National Party presidential candidate, sitting President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
  • The TSE initially stalled the announcement of voting results an unprecedented 10 hours after the polls had closed, then over the next week experienced what they described as "computer crashes" 3 times, after which the tendency of the votes (the percentage going to each candidate) shifted dramatically in favor of President Hernandez. Before the "crashes"--which caused delays of 5 or more hours--the tendency was a 5% lead for opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla. A TSE member in the first announcement stated that the vote tendency toward Nasralla's lead was "irreversible," and that a win for Hernandez would be statistically virtually impossible. Here is a good summary article: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/04/apparent-election-theft-in-honduras/

The military, military police, special forces, and national police all have had a heavily armed presence in the streets to shut down the protests and were using live ammunition as well as rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons against the crowds as of last week. 8 people have died, many more have serious injuries, and over 500 have been arrested.

Then, in an astonishing event last night, some of the Cobra special forces, later joined by the National Police, announced they were going on strike until the political crisis was resolved. Sovereignty is lodged in the Honduran people, according to the Constitution, and the police stated they were no longer willing to follow orders that expected them to confront and repress the people's rights (presumably to free speech and assembly). They stressed that what they were doing was not to be considered political, nor a labor complaint, but that they felt they were being asked to do things that violated basic rights. Unfortunately, the military and military police are still in the streets with their U.S.-provided weapons and "counter-insurgency" training.

Take Action! Challenge U.S. to Call for a Transparent Vote Count in Honduran Election!

An anti-democratic drama is being played out in Honduras, as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) just announced late afternoon yesterday a victory in the polls for President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will now be allowed to serve an un-Constitutional second term. He has already concentrated power in his own hands such that he controls Congress, the Supreme Court, and has closed media outlets critical of his administration.

Click here to sign onto an action alert from Witness for Peace calling for the U.S. to suspend security aid until the TSE agrees to an open and transparent count of the votes and an impartial investigation of allegations of fraud.

The behavior of the TSE has been highly irregular since election day last Sunday. The members of the TSE waited almost 10 hours to make any announcements about the vote count after the polls closed, then making public at 1:40am that with more than half the votes counted, opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was leading by 5%. At that point, TSE judge Marco Ramiro Lobo pronounced that statistically, the vote count in favor of Nasralla had an "irreversible tendency." In the 2013 elections, with this proportion of the votes counted, the TSE declared Juan Orlando Hernandez the victor, but this time, the TSE went silent for a day and a half while tensions and suspicions mounted in the public that the members were scheming about how to increase the vote totals for Hernandez. An observation mission from the European Union issued a statement critical of this behavior and urging the TSE to keep frequent, open and transparent communications with the public. They also criticized the lack of press time and space given to opposition candidates before the election and the vastly greater amounts of money spent and press time given to Hernandez. In the 2013 elections, it came out later that his party, the National Party, had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the country's health system to fund Hernandez' campaign and buy votes.

Call Your Alderperson to Vote No on Cop Academy!

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Expert Legal Panel Confirm's Caceres' Family Suspicions

Since the murder of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres on March 2, 2016, presumably to stop her activities to organize resistance against the building of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam on a river sacred to the Lenca people, her family has called repeatedly for an independent international investigation. The Honduran government could not be trusted to carry one out, first accused COPINH members and others close to Berta, has refused to share information about the investigation with the family, and has stalled the progress of the case at every turn. The family believes that high level Honduran government officials, in collusion with the dam company (DESA), are complicit in Berta's assassination.

Therefore, In November of 2016, the International Advisory Group of Experts (GAIPE) was created to carry out this investigation on behalf of the family. They made their report public on Wednesday, November 1.

Even though the Honduran government refused to release all the evidence, they did, when ordered by a court to do so, hand over some of it. GAIPE's conclusions based on even this smaller proportion of the evidence confirm the Caceres family's suspicions. Excerpts from the report:

Vigilia de Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead Vigil

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Make a call to #defundhate!

NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY!

Constructing Peace in Colombia: A Feminist Vision

Join us for the 2017 Luncheon to learn about the intersectional organizing work of the Feminist Antimilitarist Network in Colombia from Carol Rojas . The Colombia Peace Accords, while a step toward peace, face many challenges. There is an urgent need to rebuild the community and collective ties broken by war. Seeking to build historical memory is also a necessary step in constructing a political project to make the transition as a country to a plural, broad, and diverse democracy, where women can be political protagonists and not victims. To construct peace in Colombia in this difficult time, the Network uses popular education to promote demilitarization and the eradication of systems of oppression based on sex, class, and race.

Click here for a brief autobiography of Carol Rojas .

Gaspar Sanchez to Speak at Citlalin!

La Voz de Los de Abajo, Witness for Peace, and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America invite you to hear from Gaspar Sanchez, the sexual diversity coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), as he presents "Uniting to Resist Attacks on our Land and Identities: Building on the Queer Indigneous Framework in the Americas."

COPINH was co-founded and led by beloved Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who was assassinated in March 2016. Gaspar will speak about how the struggle for LGBTQ awareness and rights among Indigenous communities plays a vital role in both land defense and in the dismantling of patriarchal and militaristic structures.

Place: Citlalin Art Gallery Theater, 2005 S. Blue Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60608

Date and Time: Friday, October 27, 7:00 pm

Alex Escobar visits Chicago!

CRLN Endorses #NoCopAcademy!

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