CRLN Member Ann Legg shares her report-back from her recent trip to El Salvador for the elections that took place on February 2nd. Since no one candidate won a plurality in the Presidential elections, there will be a run-off election happening on Sunday, March 9th. You can take part! Click here to find out more about the crucial run-off election observation mission happening in March. And read Ann's testimony and see pictures for background and inspiration:
"I was part of the Center of Interchange and Solidarity's 10th International Election Observation Mission in El Salvador on Sunday, February 2, 2014. There were 90 observers from 13 countries. We observed in 7 departments in 14 large, medium and small municipalities governed by different parties. We also observed in the voting center for Salvadorans Abroad.
On Friday December 13th, Immigration agents raided an apartment building in the north side of Chicago, knocked on all the doors looking for a suspect, and checked the immigration status those they found in their way. Anibal Eligio Fuentes-Aguilar, a worker and father from Guatemala, and building resident was placed in immigration detention that night.
After Anibal's family and community mobilized, he was released from detention two weeks later, given an ankle bracelet, placed under continuous monitoring. On Friday January 31st, his request for prosecutorial discretion was denied, and he was given until March 4th to leave the country. He is now asking the Washington D.C. offices to review the case, and re-consider stopping his deportation.
YOUR ORGANIZATION CAN ALSO WRITE A LETTER OF SUPPORT! PLEASE SEE BELOW TO DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE FORMAT, E-MAIL US YOUR LETTER TO MHERNANDEZ@CRLN.ORG
The Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition (CNSC), a coalition of congregations, religious and lay leaders in the Chicagoland area, acknowledges the release of the Republican Party's standards for immigration reform. CNSC is called to engage faith communities and leaders through education, advocacy, and action to work for immigrant justice.
We have been advocating for just and humane reform for many years and believe these principles fall short of what we need to fix our broken immigration system.
leadership wants border security and interior enforcement to come first.
However, we believe that the militarization of the border has not
successfully stopped the flow of migration. It has damaged the natural
environment, has driven migrants into remote desert regions and causes
thousands of deaths of men, women and children. Militarization has
resulted in excessive spending and has not met its intended goals.
Furthermore, this should not be a trigger to the legalization of immigrants,
many who have lived in the United States for years and contributed to society
in various ways. Instead, the root causes of immigration should be addressed
such as free trade agreements that have displaced the most vulnerable across
Saturday, February 1st: Labor and Faith Leaders, Environmental, Human Rights, and Immigration Activists, the Chicago community took to the streets to tell Rep. Mike Quigley not to Fast Track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a.k.a. NAFTA on steroids. Fast Track would keep the TPP in the dark, away from the public, the media and even our democratically elected members of Congress. Thus far, Rep. Mike Quigley has not committed to defending his constituents by saying no to Fast Track legislation.
Fast Track is not democracy. In case there's any confusion on the part of TPP negotiators or our pro-Fast Track members of Congress, such as Mike Quigley, about what democracy is, take a look at these photos from last Saturday's rally. THIS is what democracy looks like. (Click on the photos to enlarge them!)
And thanks to Ervin Lopez for a hefty portion of these photos!
Still considering joining CRLN this year for Ecumenical Advocacy Days from March 21st-24th? The 2014 EAD theme, "Resisting Violence, Building Peace" resonates with much of our work here at CRLN. The weekend is full of opportunities to learn more about issues of justice and resistance in Latin America and in the Immigration sphere here in the U.S. Some of the workshops offered include:
- Economic Violence in the Guise of a Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Community Safety, Racial Profiling and Immigrants' Rights
- U.S. Militarization of the Drug War in Mexico and Central America
- Perilous Journey: An Epidemic of Violence against Central American Migrants in Transit through Mexico
- Peace Walks and Peace Talks: Building Peace in Colombia from the Ground Up
Learn the issues and deliver your messages to our Reps on Capitol Hill! Click here to see the full list of 2014 workshops and see registration information here. And contact Celeste at email@example.com or 773-293-2964 for more information about getting financial support to make this trip happen. The Heidkamp scholarship application is due February 14th!
Join us for a fascinating weekend of education, networking and action!
Miguel Facussé is the wealthiest and most powerful man in Honduras and one of the faces behind the June 2009 military coup in Honduras. 2011 Wikileaks cables revealed that the US Embassy in Honduras has known since 2004 that Facussé is a drug trafficker. He employs a small army of private security guards to protect the interests of his Corporación Dinant, a palm oil and food company that is one source of his wealth. Located in the Lower Aguán Valley in Honduras, Dinant has been expanding its palm oil plantations since the 1990's, using tactics to acquire surrounding lands that have violated the human rights of local farmers, including kidnapping, assassination, and forced evictions.
Nevertheless, in 2008 the World Bank's private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) approved a $30 million loan to Dinant. The first $15 million portion was sent just months after the 2009 coup and two months after the World Bank had called for a moratorium on palm oil plantations in Indonesia because of problems related to those projects there.
Public Citizen has published a thorough review of the past 20 years of NAFTA with their new report, "NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health Laws." Click here to see the report.
And march with CRLN and the Illinois Fair Trade Coalition this Saturday to say '¡No más!' to this harmful legacy of free trade and neoliberalism! No to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a.k.a. NAFTA on Steroids! Contact your members of Congress to urge them to vote no on Fast Track legislation for the TPP!
Below are some of the reports' main findings, but click here to see the report in full. With mounting evidence around the false promises of free trade, the report goes more deeply into growing income inequality throughout the hemisphere and lawsuits filed by corporations against sovereign nations for "a loss of future profits" resulting from domestic public interest and environmental laws.
- The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on agriculture.
- Scores of NAFTA countries' environmental and health laws have been challenged in foreign tribunals through the controversial investor-state system. More than $360 million in compensation to investors has been extracted from NAFTA governments via "investor-state" tribunal challenges against toxics bans, land-use rules, water and forestry policies and more. More than $12.4 billion are currently pending in such claims.
Just as we were all winding down our work for the holidays in December, the Washington Post published an article on December 21, 2013 titled "Covert Action in Colombia: U.S. intelligence, GPS bomb kits help Latin American nation cripple rebel forces." Written by Dana Priest, the Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for Best Reporting in 2006 for her reports on secret prisons used by the CIA in the US "War on Terror," this article exposes the existence since 2003 of a multi-billion dollar secret budget that has funded assassinations of at least two dozen leaders of the rebel group FARC.
The targeted killings have been a joint effort of the CIA, NSA, DEA, the Joint Special Operations Command, and the Colombian military. Some of those assassinations have been carried out during the peace talks currently going on between the Colombian government and the FARC.
The CIA's activity in Colombia is similar to its assassination efforts against Al Qaeda leaders. While the CIA is supposed to confine itself to intelligence gathering and analysis unless there is a presidential finding that allows them to engage in further activity, presidential findings have justified killing people if they are leaders of terrorist groups or drug cartels. In the same way that legal definitions were invented to separate "enhanced interrogation techniques" from "torture," "extrajudicial targeted killings" apparently no longer means the same thing as "assassinations."
The article describes the immense resources being poured into the hemispheric ‘War on Drugs' and illustrates the murky tactics and violent outcomes of that war as demonstrated in the case of the still unsolved U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raid on May 11, 2012 in the Ahuas region Honduras that killed 4 Honduran Afro-Indigenous civilians.
Read the article and listen to the interview to learn more about this incident:
To date, no one has been held accountable in the killings. In June of 2013, CRLN, along with our Honduras Solidarity Network partners, worked to get Congressional signatures on the Hank Johnson Dear Colleague letter, which expressed concern over the murders on May 11th.
Word on Capitol Hill is that a Fast Track bill will come up for a vote any day now for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a.k.a. NAFTA on steroids. As the CRLN community knows, Fast Track (or Trade Promotion Authority) legislation is what allows free trade agreements (FTAs) to bypass the democratic process, allowing our Representatives only limited debate and zero amendments on the TPP, the newest, massive, corporate-authored FTA.
Many pro-Fast Track Reps say that Fast Track gives them a chance to demand that, for example, environmental or labor standards be met for the final text of the TPP (which is still being negotiated). Sounds great, but in reality, the Fast Track bill provides no mechanisms to enforce these standards. And as we've seen with NAFTA, CAFTA and other FTAs, corporations stand to benefit more than the environments or working people of the Americas.
This is a crucial moment and our Reps need to hear constituent voices, voices that could make all the difference in this fight for people power over corporate power. Call your members of Congress today!
- Dial up the Congressional switchboard (202-224-3121)
- Get connected to your Representative & two Senators and tell them: "Vote NO on Fast Track legislation. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated behind closed doors and it's time for transparency, openness and real democratic accountability for the TPP." If your members are already planning to vote no, thank them!
- Once you're done calling, click here to send them a message to follow up on your call.