Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).  The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) stands in solidarity with those oppressed by poverty, violence and exclusion in this hemisphere working together for the respect of human dignity and empowerment of all peoples.  An interfaith network of individuals and communities, CRLN equips and mobilizes religious leaders, communities and individuals to advance peace, justice and human rights in our hemisphere.

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Tell World Bank Tribunal, "Side with the People of El Salvador"!

Many of you attended the 2012 CRLN Annual Luncheon at which Brother Domingo Solis shared with us the devastating effects of metallic mining on the water supply of El Salvador. Those of you who were there will remember how little potable water exists in El Salvador and how mining activities were threatening to pollute much of the remaining sources of clean water. He also made us aware of mining companies which were suing El Salvador under the investor-state dispute section of the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

One of those lawsuits, brought by OceanaGold seeking $300 millionis from the government of El Salvador for denying them a mining permit on the basis of inadequate environmental protection plans, is now being heard in the World Bank's International Court for State-Investor Disputes (ICSID). Change.org has a petition to the World Bank Tribunal, initiated by a member of the communitywhere the mine would like to locate, asking them to support the health and well-being of the people of El Salvador by ruling against OceanaGold. Please click here to sign the petition:

CRLN Prepares for Meeting with Mayor Emanuel on Police Abuse

English below --> click on title to read full article

El 24 de marzo, el 35 aniversario del asesinato del arzobispo Romero, nos unimos con Community Renewal Society, ONE Northside y el Jane Addams Senior Caucus para una acción "Die-In" en el Ayuntamiento. Tito Moreno, Martinelli Quintanilla, Mario Venegas, y la Reverenda Marilyn Pagan Banks hablaban en nombre de CRLN. Después de una hora de la presión y tres arrestos, representantes del alcalde se comprometieron arreglar una reunión con Rahm Emanuel, el 4 de abril.

Nos hemos comprometido a luchar por los...

Four Honduran students found dead after leaving demonstrations

For the last 12 days, high school students have taken to the streets to protest a decision by the Minister of Education to lengthen regular hours of the school day to 7 p.m. Students say that the later hour would mean traveling home from school after dark. This would put their safety at risk, because of the violence and lack of public security on Honduran streets at night.

In a macabre confirmation of student fears, four male high school students were found dead Tuesday night after attending the demonstration. Wednesday morning, the body of a 13 year old girl, who had denounced to a TV interviewer President Juan Orlando Hernández’ inaction in the face of student protests, was found dead; she never made it home after her comments.

University students joined in the demonstrations in support of the high school students. They also were protesting new requirements that those wanting to be teachers would now be required to enroll in expensive secondary schools or travel to the university in Tegucigalpa, putting a teaching career out of the reach of the majority of Hondurans.

Caravana 43 en Chicago / Caravana 43 in Chicago

Caravana 43 en Chicago / Caravana 43 in Chicago Friday, April 3rd - Monday, April 6th ¡Ojo! 4 de lxs padres de lxs 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa van a estar en Chicago el fin de semana 3-6 de abril. Abajo y adjunto en el volante hay una lista de todos los eventos públicos para este fin de semana. ¡Espero verles en los eventos! Y si Ud. está interesadx en ser voluntarix para uno de los eventos, póngase en contacto con Celeste Larkin en clarkin@crln.org . ¡Ojo! 4 parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa will be in Chicago for the weekend of April 3rd-6th. Below is a list of all the public events with the parents during their time in Chicago. We hope to see you there and if you're interested in volunteering at one or more of these events, contact Celeste Larkin at clarkin@crln.org .

2015 Coming Out of the Shadows; "Faltan 7 Millones y Falto Yo."

Last Saturday, Federal Plaza was site to the 6 th Annual Coming Out of the Shadows event. While many Chicagoans were busy celebrating St. Patty’s Day, CRLN staff and members chose instead to be in the presence of members of the undocumented community who had made the decision to publicly share their stories of struggle.

At this year’s Coming Out of the Shadows we were able to hear from local undocumented members of the community who shed light on the fac that in Cook County alone, 52% of the undocumented immigrant population will remain excluded from any form of relief. WIth an injunction temporarirly halting DACA& DAPA and deportations remaining unabated, they remiinded us of the urge to remain vigilant, united, and continuously prepared to act.

Venezuela suspicious of U.S. intentions

CRLN is increasingly concerned about the one-sided U.S. media coverage of the social protests and government response to them in Venezuela for the past year. The U.S. mainstream media has portrayed the protesters as human rights victims and the government of Nicolas Maduro as repressive human rights violators. However, the media has not explored evidence for the Maduro administration’s claim that it was the victim of an attempted coup , funded and encouraged by the U.S., instead, endlessly ridiculing that claim. Ridicule does not equal evidence.

Now that the Obama administration has called Venezuela a “national security threat” and has slapped sanctions on Venezuela, even as it has recognized the failure of sanctions to produce change in Cuba and has called for the lifting of sanctions against that nation, it is past time to consider the evidence that the U.S. indeed supports a coup in Honduras. Click here to read an informative article written by the staff of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs including a brief history of recent coups in the hemisphere and background of Venezuela's suspicions of U.S. intentions.

Take Action Against State Budget Cuts for the Most Vulnerable

On February 18, 2015, Governor Rauner presented his FY 2016 budget proposal to the Illinois General Assembly. He announced devastating cuts to programs serving the most vulnerable: the Immigrant Services Line Item, Department of Children and Family Services, substance abuse services, community mental health, hospitals serving Medicaid populations, homeless youth services, and child care services.

We cannot balance our budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. Not only is it morally wrong, it is shortsighted. Cuts to needed services often lead to more costly outcomes such as increased emergency room visits, crime rates, and mental illness.

Please make a call to Gov. Rauner at 217-782-0244 (Springfield) and 312-814-2121 (Chicago) to take action to protect immigrant services. Ask a friend to call too! Sample Script:

“My name is ______. I am a member/work/volunteer with the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, and believe that immigrant services are an essential investment. I urge Gov. Rauner to maintain funding for the Immigrant Integration Service Line Item and other crucial services for the poor. Caring for the most vulnerable is the right thing to do, and it pays off over the long term through more stable communities."

CRLN Members Monitor 2015 Elections in El Salvador

CRLN members Frank Schneider and Ann Legg, along with CRLN members Margo Worfolk's and Joe Houston's neighbors Jay Mitchell and Julie Federico, participated as International Election Observers in the 11 th International Election Observation Mission of the Center for Interchange and Solidarity (CIS) in El Salvador in different voting centers in municipalities throughout the country on Election Day, Sunday March 1, 2015. This election was to select Deputies for the Legislative Assembly, Representatives for the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) and Mayors and members of the Municipal Councils.

We congratulate the Salvadoran people for their overwhelming participation and their commitment to strengthening the democratic process in El Salvador. We congratulate the TSE (Supreme Electoral Tribunal) for having successfully assumed many challenges and responsibilities in such a short period of time after their installation and with little time to implement the recent electoral reforms. We congratulate the JRVs (what we call Election Judges) for carrying out such a heavy but important workload. Many worked for 24 hours or more without sleep. Their commitment and dedication facilitated the process and contributed to its transparency, something so fundamental in a democratic process.

New legislation introduced to ease restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba

The introduction of new legislation to ease U.S. restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba is one of the many positive developments since the December 17, 2014 announcement of policy changes by both countries. Companion bills in the House (HR 664) and Senate (S 299) will finally end the travel ban. This legislation is important because the recently enacted changes in the travel regulations have been made by executive order and are subject to change with a new president. The Senate bill (S 491) will remove some of the many restrictions that make up the trade embargo, a U.S. policy that continues to cause suffering in Cuba.

On Spiritual Strength and Immigrant Justice: Such a Time as This La Fortaleza Espiritual y Justicia para el Inmigrante: Una Ocasión Como Esta

Christians have entered the sacred season of Lent, a time to remember our humility before God. Soon Jewish communities will be celebrating Purim, the remembrance of Queen Esther, who chose the path of solidarity and saved her people from annihilation at the hands of those who saw them as outsiders. Baha’is are preparing to enter the Nineteen Day Fast, a time of special devotion and spiritual renewal.

Let us drink deeply at the wells offered to us by our spiritual traditions. We will need them for the long journey ahead. Last week Judge Andrew Hanen ordered a temporary injunction against Obama’s Executive Action, which offers protection from deportation to certain undocumented parents and youth. His ruling is unlikely to stand, but it may take a while to resolve.


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