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


OCAD & CRLN invite you to attend our annual vigil to honor those who have lost their lives to the deportation system. This year has been the deadliest yet, with 12 people dying under ICE custody across the country. Join us as we commemorate Day of the Dead with pan de muerto and coffee as we work to highlight the inhumane and accountable practices that characterize ICE/DHS.

This year we are demanding:

An investigation into the 22 deaths that have occurred in immigrant detention centers since Oct 1, 2015. We demand these investigations be made public by December 1, 2017.

On a local level, we are demanding the immediate release of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez who has wrongfully and violently detained on March of this year and who has dire medical needs that should allow for his release.

OCAD & CRLN les invita a asistir a una vigilia para honrar a quienes fallecieron bajo custodia de ICE este año. Este ha sido el año mas mortal en record, con 12 personas fallecidas dentro de los centros de detencion de inmigrante. Unase a nosotrxs para celebrar el dia de muertos con pan de muerto y cafe y al mismo tiempo para trabajar y traer atención a las practicas inhumanas que caracterizan a ICE/DHS.

Este año estamos exigiendo:

La investigacion de las 22 muertes que han ocurrido en centros de detencion de inmigrantes desde Oct 1, 2015. Exigimos que estas los hallazgos se hagan publicos a mas tardar el 1ro de diciembre, 2017.

Desde el ambito local, exigimos que se libere inmediatamente a Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez quien fue injusta y violentamente detenido en marzo de este año y quien requiere cuidado medico especializado.

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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:

“Based on the analysis of [this partial] evidence collected, GAIPE has documented criminal conduct and irregularities in the investigation, and has identified the possible intellectual authors of the murder.” [The Honduran government has repeatedly claimed that it has been pursuing the investigation diligently and that those arrested for the crime were not acting on higher orders, that there were no other intellectual authors of the crime.]

“This report demonstrates that shareholders, executives, managers, and employees of DESA; private security companies working for DESA; and public officials and State security agencies implemented different strategies to violate the right to prior, free and informed consultations of the Lenca indigenous people. The strategy was to control, neutralize and eliminate any opposition [to the dam].” They did this through “smear campaigns, infiltrations, surveillance, threats, contract killing, sabotage of COPINH’s communication equipment; cooptation of justice officials and security forces, and strengthening of parallel structures to State security forces.”

GAIPE found “willful negligence” on the part of the international financial institutions, who funded the  project and “had prior knowledge of the strategies undertaken by DESA,” to protect the human rights of the affected communities.

“GAIPE established,


with evidence that has been in the possession of the Public Prosecutor’s Office since May 2, 2016


[emphasis CRLN’s], that the planning, execution and cover-up of Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores’ murder started in November 2015. That period coincides with the mobilization of indigenous communities and COPINH in opposition to the Agua Zarca Project.” [The early possession of this evidence establishes the government’s role in the cover up of the murder.] “The failure to provide access to this information has also promoted impunity for criminal attacks against members of COPINH and Lenca communities that oppose the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project.”



CRLN would like to publicly thank Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for issuing statements after the release of the report to publicize its findings:


Rep. Schakowsky’s statement:

“Berta Caceres was murdered in cold blood almost two years ago, and justice has yet to be served.”

“The report released this week gives us clear and unequivocal evidence of how carefully orchestrated the assassination plot was and how rampant the impunity has been. It is unacceptable that, despite the mounting international and domestic pressure, the Honduran Public Ministry has dragged its feet and refused to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. Berta’s family has put themselves in great personal danger and spared no expense to ensure that this private investigation was completed. Now it is time for justice to be served. The Honduran government should know that the world is watching, and that their mishandling of this crucial trial will not go unnoticed. An ally of the United States like Honduras must commit to fostering an independent press, an impartial judicial system, and a robust and free civil society.”


Sen. Patrick Leahy:

“This damning report corroborates what many have suspected — that the investigation of Berta Caceres’ murder has been plagued by incompetence, attempts to stonewall and deflect blame to protect those who conceived of and paid for this plot, and a glaring lack of political will.  The Public Ministry needs to fully disclose, without further delay, all testimony and electronic and ballistics evidence to the Caceres family’s legal representatives and defendants’ lawyers, as required by law.  The Ministry also needs to ensure that every piece of evidence is properly safeguarded, and to follow the evidence wherever it leads to arrest those responsible.

“It is shameful that despite intense domestic and international pressure, this horrific case has languished, while those responsible have sought to derail it.  And there are hundreds of other Honduran social activists and journalists who have been similarly threatened and killed, whose cases have not even prompted investigations.

“Any hope that the Honduran Government may have of continued U.S. assistance under the Alliance for Prosperity Plan will hinge, in part, on the outcome of the Caceres case, acceptance of the legitimate role of civil society and the independent press, and top-to-bottom reform of the judicial system.”

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La 72 Home and Refuge for Migrant People announces a screening of Migrant

Crossing, a film that documents the lives of migrants who cross Mexico from Central

America and the work of La 72.

Ramón Marquez, executive director of La 72 and expert on migration issues in the

southern Mexico/Northern Triangle region, will present a Q&A session immediately

following the screening.

Located approximately 30km from the Guatemalan border in Tenosique, Tabasco and

next to the rail line migrants use to cross Mexico to the US, La 72 houses and serves

approximately 13,000 migrants and refugees from Central America every year.

Currently, more and more migrants are soliciting asylum in Mexico. La 72 serves a

significant number of LGBTQ persons and unaccompanied minors each year as well.

Tenosique is one of only three towns in Mexico with a permanent UNHCR presence,

and La 72 serves a strategic focal point for institutions such as Doctors Without Borders

and Asylum Access.


La 72 Website:




la72.org


Migrant Crossing Trailer:




Ticket Information:




https://www.tugg.com/events/migrant-crossing


Price

: $11


Date & Time:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:30pm–7:42pm


Location:

Regal Webster Place 11

1471 W. Webster Ave, Chicago, IL, United States, 60614

Film followed by Q&A session with Ramón Marquez, Director of La 72

8pm, Kibbitznest, 2212 N. Clybourn, Chicago

Suggested donation to La 72: $20

Event Date:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 –

18:30

to

19:45

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Join CRLN on the Latin America Track for workshops at Ecumenical Advocacy Days, to plan visits to Congressional offices and to lobby for U.S. support for migrants, refugees and displaced people. CRLN will also have “asks” on our longstanding campaign to end the embargo in Cuba, support a Peace Process in Colombia, and cut off military and police aid to Honduras.

Event Date:

Friday, April 20, 2018 – 16:00

to

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 – 17:00
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Claiming to be “in solidarity with the Cuban people”, President Trump announced policy changes in 2016 that harm the Cuban people as well as the people of the U.S.  The most serious damage has been caused by the Administration’s reduction of embassy staff in Havana.  This means that Cubans are expected to fly to Colombia to apply for a visa to travel to the United States.  Since Cubans already pay the embassy a fee representing several month’s income just to apply, adding the cost of a trip to Colombia makes getting a visa financially impossible for most Cubans.

We have to ask who these policy changes are for

?. Polling shows that 96% of Cubans living on the island support lifting the trade embargo and have said that more tourism would benefit the local economy.  Since polling has also shown that 63% of Cuban- Americans in Miami-Dade County oppose the continuation of the embargo and 73% of people in the U.S. favor ending the trade embargo.

CRLN has worked with faith communities in Cuba and the U.S. for more than twenty years to end harmful U.S. policies. In 2017, we will be advocating for an end to these policies, believing that the human rights of Cubans and the people of the U.S. would best be served by lifting all travel restrictions and finally ending the embargo.

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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.

Starting mid-day Tuesday, the TSE made regular announcements about new vote totals coming in from the countryside which were overwhelmingly in favor of Hernandez. Videos of National Party members stamping ballots for Hernandez, allegations of vote buying by the National Party, and photos of police and military intimidation in various parts of the country were flying around on social media. Then late Wednesday afternoon, the TSE pronounced Hernandez the winner by 22,000 votes. Nasralla has refused to accept the results, saying that the election was stolen. The U.S. has said that it will work with whoever wins, but calls to the Embassy by CRLN questioning the integrity of the electoral process before theTSE declared a victor were answered firmly that the Embassy considered the elections free and fair and that we should just wait for the results.

Nasralla’s party (a coalition party of Libre and PINU, the Alliance Against the Dictatorship) wisely has kept copies of the vote tallies at each precinct. Given the strange behavior of the TSE and the amount of social unrest, an independent and transparent vote recount is in order.

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.

To read more about the Honduran election, see links below. For statements from Honduran civil society organizations, see attached documents.

NYT:

“Political Unrest Grips Honduras After Disputed Election.”

Honduras Culture and Politics blog:

“What May Be Coming in the Honduran Elections”

(posted Monday giving reasons for why the vote count was highly unlikely to change in favor of Hernandez)

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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.

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.

This action of the police must be supported by

renewed calls for a political solution to this crisis, namely a recount of the contested vote tallies with the presence of all political parties and ideally supervised by an independent, international body such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

While many international organizations have called for such a recount, the U.S. Embassy has not. Further, with ironic timing, the State Department has just certified that Honduras is making improvements in cleaning up corruption and in meeting human rights standards, so that military aid and Alliance for Prosperity funds (much of it designed for security forces to prevent people from migrating to the U.S.) will not be held up.

Please call Senator Durbin’s office (202-224-2152) and Senator Duckworth’s office (202-224-2854) and the office of your Representative (ask to be connected to their office after calling the Captiol Switchboard at 202-2243121) with the following message:


I am concerned that the U.S. says it promotes democracy when, in fact, it is aiding a foreign government that is in the process of conducting election fraud. Right now in Honduras, 9 days after the Honduran people voted in a national election, tens of thousands are in the streets protesting that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), appointed by current President Juan Orlando Hernandez, has engaged in fraud in order to give Hernandez more votes.


The protesters have been violently repressed by the military and police, who have killed 8 people and injured many, yet the protests continue. People are saying that this feels like a second coup.


The Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union have both called for recounts of the contested votes to resolve the crisis, and last night, the National Police went on strike and also called for a resolution of the crisis. Only the U.S. Embassy continues to support the TSE. I am calling on (Senator Durbin or Senator Duckworth or Rep. ____) to make a public statement challenging the State Deparment and Embassy’s position and calling for a vote recount. It should compares the polling place tallies held by representatives of the various political parties with those recorded by the TSE. All political parties should be present and ideally the recount should be supervised by an independent, international body such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The U.S. should not recognize a new President in Honduras before such a recount, or a new election, takes place.

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Join us for two important rallies in Chicago!



Join this Youth-Led Rally & March for a #CleanDreamAct!

Tuesday, December 19th

:

Join CRLN & other ICIRR members for a rally and march to urge Senators Duckworth and Durbin and other members of the Illinois Delegation to stand strong and get a clean DREAM Act passed out of Congress before Dec 22

nd

! Please let us know if you can make it and feel free to spread the word:

Take action to pass a clean #DreamActNow!



From our friends at OCAD: Support Wilmer & demand his release!


Wilmer has been in ICE detention for nine months.

Despite new evidence that he was falsely placed in CPD’s gang database, ICE refuses to release him.


Join us for a rally on 12/20 at 11AM

, 101 W. Congress Parkway, to demand his release.

See you there!

In the meantime, you can make a call with this script.

Dial 312-347-2400 (Press * when your call goes through):

“I’m calling to urge Director Ricardo Wong to release Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez (A#098 500 300). Mr. Catalan-Ramirez has been detained for 9 months without proper medical care. His health is decline and as a result he has experienced multiple seizures while in detention. I’m urging Director Wong to release Mr. Catalan-Ramirez before Christmas and allow him to receive proper medical care and be reunited with his family for the holidays.”



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