Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). Mission: 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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Local faith community condemns immigration raids, urges local ICE Director to desist from use of inhumane and immoral tactics against immigrant community

( Español aquí )Just two days before Christmas, the Washington Post published a story detailing plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start 2016 with mass, nationally coordinated, immigration raids. Despite righteous and immediate outcry by the immigrant, legal, labor, and faith communities, on January 2nd various Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officed moved forward with these plans. Since then multiple raids across the country, including some in Illinois, have resulted in the detention of at least 121 immigrants. In Chicago, the faith community has not remained silent!

By way of response, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN) pushed a faith leader letter addressed to Chicago ICE Field Office Director Ricardo Wong. The letter, which garnered over a hundred signatures, was signed by faith leader from across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, as well as several heads of denomination. It stressed the role and responsibility which Director Wong and his offices have in providing protection, not persecution.Although at the national level President Obama and DHS can and must act to cease the immigration raids, locally Director Ricardo Wong has the power to ameliorate the fear which has overtaken immigrant communities under his jurisdiction.

“Peace Colombia”, Peace Accords & Bowling for Justice

Carlos Rosero and Javier Marrugo of the Afro-Colombian Peace Council speak in Chicago about the importance of inclusion of African descendants in peace talks and Peace Accord implementation.

( Versión en Español aquí ) Last week, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos met with President Obama to discuss a bilateral shift from 15 years of Plan Colombia to what the two heads of state are calling “ Peace Colombia .” For the past decade and a half, Plan Colombia channeled billions of U.S. dollars to shore up Colombia’s military and police resources, more deeply militarizing the Colombian state’s strategy to fight a nominal war on drugs which displaced violence to the countryside and disproportionately affected campesinos , Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.

Santos and Obama also discussed the grueling, decades long conflict in Colombia between the government, right-wing paramilitary groups, and leftist rebels which is likely to end in the coming months due to intense negotiations over the past several years through peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (also known as FARC) reached an agreement with the Colombian government on a peace accord that could end the longest running civil war in the hemisphere. The talks have included the topics of the political participation of the FARC, drug-trafficking, the fundamental issue of the distribution and ownership of land in Colombia, the rights of victims, and the conditions for insurgents to turn in their weapons.

Illinois SOAW Bowl for Justice / para Justicia!

(Español abajo)

Join Illinois SOA Watch Sunday, February 21st at 2PM for an afternoon to raise funds to sponsor someone to travel to Colombia for the Pilgrimage for Peace and Ecology through the jungle to the Cacarica River Basin. On the border of Colombia and Panama, the Cacarica River Basin is the site of numerous human rights violations and a binational Colombian-Panamanian Military Base that is supported by the United States. Illinois SOA Watch is helping to raise funds in support of this delegation’s investigation of the ongoing militarization schemes during the ‘new’ era of “Peace Colombia.”

Click here for more information and to join a team and support this important investigation right from here in Chicago! (Feel free to indicate that you’d like to be on a CRLN team!)

$35-50 donation, $20 for students & limited income

Price includes shoes and lanes. Bring cash or checks (made out to 8th Day Center with "ILSOAW Bowling" in the memo) to the event. Food and drink available for purchase.

 

***We need a count so PLEASE RSVP to Mary Ellen Madden maryellen@8thdaycenter.org!!!

Guatemalan Ex-Military Leaders Arrested for Crimes Against Humanity

The recent arrests of 18 former Guatemalan military officers has set in motion the formal court proceedings of decades-long delay of justice involving countless human rights violations. The violations, during the country’s thirty-six year long civil war, took place between 1960 and 1996, officially “ending” with the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords. The corruption within the country’s infrastructure, however, is much more deeply rooted. So is the vast gulf between rich and poor, racism directed against the majority indigenous population, and the need for land reform, all issues that remain unresolved after the Peace Accords.

In a country of roughly 15 million, there are roughly 6,000 homicides within Guatemala each year, yet only 2% of those go to trial. Additionally, the success of organized crime in perpetuating this violence--during the civil war and in recent years--has been possible in part because of government and military involvement in it. For example, former president Otto Pérez Molina, formerly a general during the civil war, was arrested last year just hours after his resignation from the presidency for accusations of corruption and fraud.

Closing Guantanamo Bay: A Call For Executive Action

CHICAGO-- (Español abajo) Just twenty four hours before President Barack Obama was scheduled to take the stand to deliver his last ever State of the Union address, religious and nonreligious people alike gathered in cities across the nation (Chicago, Miami, DC, New York, and many more) to call for the final and immediate closure of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, a U.S. military prison located in Cuba containing people picked up in the early days of the “war on terror.” Many were captured in war-torn Iraq or Afghanistan, turned in by others after the U.S. offered cash rewards, raising major doubts about their actual participation as combatants. The detention center, now in its fourteenth year of business since the Bush Administration’s claim to end the “war on terror” in early 2002, still holds 93 prisoners, who have complained of being subjected to abuse and torture, which is against international law and always immoral.

Obama’s Parallel Brutality: TPP, Immigration Raids and the #SOTU

By Celeste Larkin Ramovic, CRLN’s Public Policy Coordinator, Organizer Against the TPP, clarkin@crln.org

(Clic para español aquí)

Last month, two days before many celebrated Christmas, the Washington Post published an article leaking the Obama Administration’s plan to start 2016 with immigration raids targeting Central American families who had previously been ordered deported. With these raids as the backdrop to last night’s speech, Obama also plugged the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal during his State of the Union address, urging lawmakers to pass it through Congress before he leaves office. The cruelty of these parallel efforts by the same administration is not lost on us here at CRLN.

CRLN and many other organizations in the field of human rights have been working to place in the center of public awareness and discussion the realities of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are some of the millions of people displaced after the passage of disastrous ...

Report on Honduras’ Current Human Rights Issues, Corruption and Violence

2015 has been a year of discouraging occurrences for the small Central American country of Honduras. Among the many hardships for the country’s eight million people, are major human rights violations, corruption by the current government, impunity, large scale violence and a severe economic crisis. The president Juan Orlando Hernandez refuses to accept a United Nations Commission Against Impunity to be called CICIH, similar to the CICIG in Guatemala which catalyzed the resignation of former Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina. Honduras is affected by corruption within government, elite families and private businesses. A business magnate family in the country was accused of money laundering and drug trafficking by the United States government, resulting in the closing of well-known businesses that left 11,000 people unemployed. Additionally, former Honduran president Rafael Leonardo Callejas who had been accused, tried and pardoned in seven cases of corruption during his term in the early 1990s, and who aspires to a second term of presidency for 2018, has been accused of corruption within the international soccer league FIFA . Honduras and its people are constantly being exploited by its own government, elite families and transnational corporations, which in the vast majority of cases, are backed up by the United States and other countries in the Global North.

CRLN Response Statement to Sen. Mark Kirk's Call for Moratorium on Syrian Refugees

(Español abajo) Last week, led by Congressman Mark Kirk, seven Republican senators delivered a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding an immediate moratorium to the taking in of Syrian refugees. As an article by the Washington Post points out, the question of Syrian refugees has become a highly politicised issue for Sen. Mark Kirk who currently faces a tight contest for re-election.

As the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN), an interfaith network...

CRLN Immigration Riads Faith Leader Letter

**Copy of CRLN Faith Leader Letter to Director Ricard Wong Opposing ICE Immigration Raids. This letter, which demonstrates the faith community's unity against immigration raids, was delivered at a press conference outside the local Chicago ICE offices on Thursday, January 28th, 2016.

To: Ricardo Wong

Field Office Director

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Ricardo.a.wong@ ice.dhs.gov

Dear Director Ricardo Wong,

As you are aware, on December 23rd, the Washington Post published an article that exposed plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start 2016 with mass raids targeting Central American families who had...

MEDIA ADVISORY: Faith Leaders Condemn Immigration Raids, Ask for Relief instead

Media Contact:

Lissette Castillo,(312) 770-0350

lcastillo@crln.org

Local faith community condemns immigration raids, urges local ICE Director to desist from use of “inhumane” and “immoral” tactics against immigrant community

Will deliver an open letter to Director Ricardo Wong, containing over one hundred signatures from faith leaders of multiple faiths and denominations, stressing the role and responsibility of local office in providing “protection, not persecution.”

WHO: Local faith leaders, members of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) and its "Immigrant Welcoming Congregations," Red de Oracion, and other faith-based organizations

WHAT: Local faith community united in condemnation of immigration raids will deliver faith leader letter to Chicago ICE Field Director Ricardo Wong. The letter was signed by faith leaders across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, as well as several heads of denomination, who all call on Dr. Ricardo Wong to exercise his power of discretion to refrain from further implementation of immigration raids in areas falling under his jurisdiction. Faith leaders will also urge larger faith community to take steps to inform immigrants of their rights and to continue to organize against raids and indiscriminate detention and deportations.

WHEN: Thursday, January 28 at 10 AM, Chicago ICE Office (101 W. Congress)

WHY: Just two days before Christmas, the Washington Post published a story detailing plans by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start 2016 with mass, nationally coordinated, immigration raids. On January 2nd, local Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) began moving forward with these plans. Since then multiple raids across the country, including some in Illinois, have resulted in the detention of at least 121 immigrants.

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