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. 

Days of Action in DC this April!

IMG_0872.JPG ( Español aquí ) This April, CRLN is excited to announce three different opportunities for our members to change U.S. foreign, trade and immigration policy. During this election year and with so many opportunities to push for change, we want to work with CRLN members more closely to build strategic opportunities for education and action on a whole host of issues affecting human rights throughout the hemisphere. Please contact us about any of the following opportunities to get engaged in the public policy struggles of 2016. We’re ready to work with you to make your participation as strategic as possible!

Faith Leaders Tell ICE: Stop Immoral Tactics & Stay Away from Sacred Spaces

CHICAGO - Following their condemnation of immigration raids earlier this year, religious leaders are indignant at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s latest display of misconduct and abuse of power. Faith leaders are outraged that ICE used a ploy to convince congregant , Reynold Garcia, then praying at the Christian Pentecostal Center in Schaumburg, Illinois, to leave church grounds so they could detain and deport him. Faith leaders claim that Garcia’s case shows the deception and disregard that are the pillars of current immigration enforcement tactics.

According to fellow members of the congregation, ICE impersonated a local police officer, claimed that Garcia’s cousin had been in a car accident and urged him to leave church property to discuss the matter. ICE then convinced Garcia to go with them in an unmarked car, on the pretense of helping his cousin, only to detain and deport him hours later. This tactic was preceded by an ICE raid on his home the day before, resulting in the arrest and detention of his wife and two children.

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 which partners with over 50 congregations, institutions, and faith communities across the state, we stand in stark opposition to all and any efforts which would circumvent or undermine the historical, internationally supported, right which refugees from any part of the world have to seek protection and safety within our borders. By politicizing this issue, using speculative and fear-mongering tactics, for the purposes of political gain Sen. Mark Kirk and his colleagues are toying with the well-being of Syrian refugees and families. This is absolutely unjustifiable.

Right now, refugee and immigrant communities across the United States are under heightened attack. Daily they are the victims of hateful and scapegoating rhetoric and are living in constant dread and terror of inhumane immigration raids and other harsh enforcement tactics. Amidst all this, we need our elected officials to demonstrate true leadership; they must adhere to our faith and moral values as a country which urge us to love the immigrant and the vulnerable.

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.

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