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Enough is Enough — Stop all US and Canadian support for dictatorship in Honduras. Support the Honduran people in resistance. Call and/or email your Congress Representative, Senator or Parliamentarian today (May 31). Tell them you want them to take a position against the human rights violations in Hondurans and against US funding and support for Honduran security forces that are being used against the people. 

Click for Info on Senators  Click for House of Representatives

 

The Honduran people are in the streets by the thousands again facing US financed, armed and trained Honduran Police and Military. A two day national action and strike for May 30-31 was originally called as a  protest in defense of public education and public health in the face of new attacks on public services by the regime of Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH). Today’s protests covered the entire country and not only defended public services but once again called massively for the end of the illegitimate government of JOH — a government that has been imposed and sustained by US and Canadian support. There are marches, highway take-overs in the rural areas, occupations of public schools by parents and students, mobilizations of teacher and health care worker unions, campesinos, indigenous communities, taxi drivers and university students. The protests are becoming a non-violent uprising of the people against the dictatorship but are being met with violence, tear gas and live ammunition from the regime. One teacher was assassinated in his home the night before these national actions began, another teacher and a student were wounded today by police.

 

Since the most recent electoral crisis of November 2017 in which JOH was imposed on the people through fraud and violence, security forces have killed more than 20 people and many more, including at least 15 ? journalists have been assassinated by death squad style killings. Since the 2009 coup, also heavily backed by the US and Canada, hundreds of Hondurans have been killed by security forces and paramilitary type groups. Many hundreds more have been killed by narcotics cartel linked violence while the ruling party politicians, including JOH himself and his brother have been either charged or are under investigation for being part of the narcotics cartels. Link to article

 

Enough is Enough — Stop all US and Canadian support for dictatorship in Honduras. Support the Honduran people in resistance. Call your congress representative, Senator or Parliamentarian today (May 31). 

Click for Info on Senators  Click for House of Representatives

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Join Rev. Milton Mejía, President and General Secretary of the Latin America Counsel of Churches, and Rev. Atahualpa Hernández, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia, for lunch and dialogue about the current situation in Colombia. What can churches do to promote peace and reconciliation in Colombia?

Date: Monday June 3rd, 2019

Time: 12 Noon

Location: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago – 1100 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615.

Check at Main Desk for Room Number

RSVP to shunter-smith@crln.org

Co-sponsored by Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, McCormick Theological Seminary, and CRLN. 

 Rev. Atahualpa Hernández

 Rev. Milton Mejía

 

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The Illinois governor shall be faced with either signing or vetoing the bill to block the privatization of immigration centers across the state of Illinois. Read about it in a recent article published on May 18, 2019 by the Chicago Tribune:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-immigration-ice-private-detention-center-bill-illinois-20190517-story.html

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CRLN gathered on May 23, 2019 with advocates and faith communities in support of Pastor Betty Rendon and her husband, Carlos Hincapie outside of ICE’s Chicago office two weeks after Pastor Betty, Carlos, a relative, and their daughter, Paula Hincapie were swept up by ICE agents at gunpoint in their Chicago home. Requests for a stay of removal were made by the couple’s attorney, and public light dawned on the case of Paula’s denied protected status by ICE, as the intent was to arrest and deport her until public light was brought upon the case.

Paula is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and her 5 year old daughter, Layla, witnessed the traumatizing home raid. While Paula and Layla are reunited, Layla “cries for her grandparents, wondering when they are coming home,” said Paula. They remain in ICE detention at Pulaski County Jail in southern Illinois. Attorneys from the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) through the City of Chicago’s Legal Protection Fund represent the couple.

Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin, where Betty is a student pastor, has facilitated requesting the halt of their deportation to Colombia and release from detention through a petition which already has over 113,000 signatures, and over 65 organizations have submitted letters in support.

Points were made by Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, and Reverend Paul Erickson, Bishop of Greater Milwaukee Synod, ELCA. The militaristic style operations attacking Dreamers, a Pastor, and a family call upon people of all faiths to unite and protect people from the perpetual campaign of terror and family separation. The plans to arrest and detain families across major US cities are, as Erickson pointed out, a disappointment “that our government would choose to use their powers in a way that sows fear and tears families apart. We are calling on our leaders to adhere to a higher law, one that respects the right of individuals to flee from violence and honors the dignity of each person.”

The United Nation’s World Refugee Day landing on June 20th has been called a national day of action by Voces de la Frontera, the Racine Interfaith Coalition and Lutheran religious leaders to again gather for a national vigil outside of ICE’s Chicago office. CRLN asks all of its members to join us on June 20th at 11AM in front of the Chicago ICE office at 101 W. Congress St.

 

See more of the event in our Gallery

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1989 Dec 01     El Salvador:  Bishop Medardo Gómez, Lutheran Church of El Salvador

                                                Also:  Senator Paul Simon

 

1990                No Luncheon in 1990

 

1991 Mar         Guatemala:  Bishop Rodolfo Quezada, President Guatemala Catholic Bishops Conference & Peace Negotiations Convener

 

1992 Feb 13     El Salvador:  Fr. Charles Beirne SJ, Central America University (UCA), San Salvador

                                               Also:  Senator Alan Dixon

Sep 24      Guatemala:  Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemalan Indigenous Leader & Author

 

1993 Feb 11     Nicaragua:  Rev. Gustavo Parjon, Baptist pastor & Director of CEPAD

Oct 29      Guatemala:  Fr. Ricardo Falla, SJ, Guatemalan priest, anthropologist, writer, and human rights advocate

 

1994 Oct 25     Guatemala:  Sr. Argentina Cuevas, VP, CONFREGUA Conf Men & Women Religious

 

1995 Oct 31     Guatemala/USA:  Jennifer Harbury, attorney & human rights advocate

 

1996 Oct 23     Cuba:  Rev. Raimundo Garcia, Presbyterian pastor from Cardenas, Cuba

 

1997 Mar 20    Nicaragua:  Fr. Xabier Gorostiaga SJ, President, Central America University, Managua

Oct 23      SOA:  Jack Nelson Pallmeyer, Professor & Author of “The School of Assassins”

 

1998 Nov 5      Chiapas:  Ricardo Carvahal, Director, SiPaz Mexico

 

1999 Oct 28     Colombia:  Agustín Jiménez, President, Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners

 

2000 Oct          Colombia:  Ricardo Esquivia, Vice President, Colombia Evangelical Council of Churches

 

2001 Oct 25     Vieques:  Rev. Wilfredo Estrada, Ecumenical Council Pro-Vieques, Church of God

 

2002 Oct 24     Cuba:  Rev. Raul Suárez, Ebenezer Baptist Church – Visa was Denied

 

2003                No Luncheon in 2003

 

2004 Apr 22     CAFTA:  Lori Wallach, Director, Global Trade Watch, Washington, DC

Oct 13     Colombia:  Hector Mondragon, Human Rights Leader, Colombia – Mennonite

 

2005 Oct 26     Colombia:  Zulia Mena, First Afro-Colombian Congresswoman elected in Colombia

 

2006 Nov         Guatemala:  Bishop Álvaro Ramazzini, Diocese of San Marcos & President of Guatemala Catholic Bishops Conference

 

2007 Nov 6:      Venezuela:  Sr. Jenny Russián, Vice president of the ecumenical FUNDLATIN & Lisa Sullivan, SOA Watch Latin America                                          Coordinator

 

2008 Nov 6:     Colombia:  Elizabeth García, Indigenous Woman & Attorney for Black Communities Process

 

2009 Oct 22:    Mexico:  Laura Carlsen, Director of the Americas Program of Center for International Policy

                                       Also:  General José Francisco Gallardo, former prisoner of conscience

 

2010 Nov 04    Honduras:  Fr. Ismael “Melo” Moreno, SJ, Director, Radio Progreso

                                           Also:  U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky

 

2011 Nov 03    Honduras:  Miriam Miranda, Director, Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

 

2012 Nov 14    El Salvador:  Br. Domingo Solis, Director, The Franciscan Office of Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation, Central America                                      Province

 

2013 Nov 6      Mexico:  Javier Sicilia, Founder, Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity

                                       Also:  Walter Boyd, Executive Director, St. Leonard’s Ministries

 

2014 Nov 6      Honduras:  Karla Lara, Feminist, song-writer, performer, justice activist

 

2015 Nov 12    Guatemala:  Lorenzo Mateo Francisco, Q’anjob’al Coordinator, Snuq’ Jolom Konob

Community Radio Station and member of Prensa Comunitaria

 

2016 Nov 9      Chicago:  Reyna Wences and Berenice Alonzo, members, Organized Communities Against Deportations

 

2017 Oct 24     Colombia:  Carol Rojas, member, Feminist Antimilitarist Network

 

2018 Nov 1       Chicago: Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagan-Banks, A Just Harvest

“Sanctuary for All”

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2019: After almost 3 years in detention in Texas, Salvadoran asylum seeker Yesica Jovel is finally released from prison to join the rest of her family. CRLN and Immigrant Welcoming Congregation Lake Street Church held vigils, rallied in Federal Plaza and secured the support of members of Congress, circulated petitions, got news coverage, and found a pro bono lawyer. These combined efforts finally led to her release.

 

2018: In response to Honduran military violence used against participants in massive street protests following vote counting fraud in the November 2017 presidential election, CRLN sent 4 members on an Emergency Faith Delegation to Honduras to accompany those continuing the protests. While 30 people were killed in post-electoral violence, no one was harmed in protests accompanied by the delegation.

 

2017: At the 30th anniversary of CRLN’s annual event, Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon, bikers raised $21,564 for health, education and community organizing projects in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Chicago.

 

2016:  In response to the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that they would target undocumented Central American families, who had fled life-threatening violence in their home countries, with mass, nationally coordinated immigration home raids, CRLN sends a faith leader letter with 100 signatures to the Regional ICE Director condemning raids as an immoral and inhumane tactic. While they happened in other places, no large scale raids happen in Illinois.

 

 2015:  CRLN initiates the Cozette Human Rights Action Fund to honor founding director, Gary Cozette. The fund will support urgent or emergency requests, for which the operating budget does not provide.

 

2014: CRLN turns out 200 people in front of Rep. Quigley’s office to protest his support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, educates CRLN membership about the likely negative consequences of portions of the agreement, and engages in a successful campaign to keep it from coming to a vote.

 

2013:  CRLN coordinates with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala to find Chicago speaking engagements for Anselmo Roldán Aguilar of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation. He speaks about the historic genocide trial that brought former dictator Ríos Montt to trial for genocide.

 

2012: CRLN initiates the Heidkamp Travel Scholarship Fund to honor long-time Board member, Dick Heidkamp. The fund will provide partial scholarships for people to travel with CRLN on delegations.

 

2011: In response to the 2009 coup d’etat in Honduras, CRLN compiles a list of post-coup assassinations in order to publicize the gravity of the human rights abuses happening in that country and invites Miriam Miranda, Director of the Garifuna rights group OFRANEH, to speak at the Annual Luncheon. Attendees signed a petition to the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights calling for an end to state sponsored violence against campesino communities seeking land rights.

 

2010: CRLN’s Congregations in Solidarity with Latin America introduce a resolution at the national Presbyterian Church(USA)’s General Assembly seeking an end to U.S. military use of seven Colombian bases initiated in 2009. The resolution directed the Stated Clerk to petition the Obama Administration to instead support a negotiated peace in Colombia.

 

2009: CRLN gathers 34 people to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC. In 16 meetings with policymakers in the House, Senate and State Department, CRLN members called for immigration reform, ending the travel ban to Cuba, and the support of Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia. CRLN merges with long-time allies, Chicago Metropolitan Sanctuary Alliance, under the CRLN name and takes on CMSA’s immigrant justice work.

 

2008:  CRLN arranges for a 2-year sanctuary stay in the U.S. for Milton Mejia, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, his wife, and 2 sons. He had been receiving death threats for his human rights work. Gary Cozette receives Presbyterian Peacemaker award.

 

2007:  CRLN partnered with DePaul University’s Center for Latino Research to present a photo exhibit documenting the tragic effects of U.S. travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans.

 

2006:  CRLN and the Chicago Presbytery inaugurate a Covenant Partnership to create 10 Presbyterian “Congregations in Solidarity with Latin America” with a delegation of 11 Presbyterians to Colombia for the 150th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in Colombia.

 

2005: The World Council of Churches (WCC) gives CRLN its “Blessed are the Peacemakers Award” for “inspiring, courageous and faithful efforts to build a just and peaceful world” as part of the WCC 2001-2010 Decade to Overcome Violence.  CRLN was nominated for this award by Rev. David Anderson, Executive Director of the Illinois Conference of Churches.

 

2004:  After educating CRLN constituents and members of U.S. Congress about the adverse impact of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) on labor rights, the environment, & family farmers, CRLN secures two, face-to-face meetings with undecided U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel seeking his commitment to oppose CAFTA and support a Fair Trade Benchmarks Bill.

 

2003:  As a result of several visits by key Afro-Colombian leaders to Chicago organized by CRLN, 8 African-American leaders from Chicago join the historic 25-member Witness for Peace July delegation to Afro-Colombian communities under siege in Colombia.

 

2002:  CRLN organizes a 40-member delegation from Illinois for the National Colombia Mobilization in Washington DC that fans out to meet with key policy staffers of all 20 U.S. Representatives and both Senators from Illinois to urge an end to U.S. military aid and poisonous chemical fumigation in Colombia.

 

2001:  After a powerful 7.6RS earthquake in El Salvador displaces 20% of the population, CRLN raised over $21,000 in emergency and reconstruction aid, channeled to 4 highly-effective grassroots organizations working on the ground.

 

2000:  Illinois Conference of Churches (ICC) director, Rev. David Anderson, and four ICC board members are among the 16-member delegation to Cuba organized by CRLN with ICC to examine the impact of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and then report back to U.S. policymakers.

 

1999:  Nine Democrats and six Republicans from Illinois vote with a first-ever House majority to defund the U.S. Army School of the Americas after years of calls, letters, and visits by CRLN members to their U.S. Representatives.

 

1998:  The Presbytery of Chicago of the Presbyterian Church/USA establishes an official partnership with the Presbytery of Havana as a result of a 20-person delegation visit to Cuba organized jointly by CRLN and the Presbytery of Chicago.

 

1997:  U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois introduces first-ever Senate legislation to close the U.S. Army’s notorious School of the Americas after talking with 11 denominational leaders in a meeting organized by CRLN.

 

1996:  CRLN organizes over 200 signers to place a full-page ad in the Christian Science Monitor calling for declassification of all U.S. documents on human rights abuses in Guatemala since 1954, including the torture of Ursuline Sister Dianna Ortiz, three months after a 12-member CRLN delegation met in Washington with President Clinton’s Intelligence Oversight Board investigating CIA misdeeds in Guatemala.

 

1995:  A CRLN luncheon head table letter to GAP regarding sweatshop abuses in El Salvador resulted in a Chicago meeting between 11 CRLN leaders and high level GAP executives, who two days later went on to sign an accord accepting independent monitoring in El Salvador.

 

1994:  CRLN organizes 35 accredited election observers, one of which is now the foreign policy aide to a member of Congress from Illinois, to join in the 500-member U.S. Citizen Election Observer Mission for comprehensive elections in El Salvador mandated by the UN mediated peace accords.

 

1993:  After meeting with CRLN luncheon speaker Nicaraguan Baptist pastor Gustavo Parajón, the Chicago Tribune published an editorial calling for the release of $50 million of withheld development aid to Nicaragua; the editorial was then circulated to all members of Congress by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

 

1992:  After listening to CRLN luncheon speaker Rev. Charles Bierne, a Jesuit priest who had replaced Rev. Ignacio Martín Baró, one of the six Jesuit priests slain in El Salvador, U.S. Senator Alan Dixon of Illinois commits for the first time to oppose all further military aid to El Salvador.

 

1991:  Through CRLN organizing efforts, CRLN luncheon speaker Bishop Rodolfo Quezada, Guatemala’s early peace mediator, meets with Cardinal Bernardin resulting in the first U.S. Catholic Bishops delegation to Guatemala in support of the peace process.

 

1990:  Chicago Lutheran Bishop Sherman Hicks leads CRLN’s first delegation to Washington DC with 26 clergy and lay leaders seeking an end to U.S. military aid for El Salvador and a negotiated peace to the war.

 

1989:  Only days after the murder of six Jesuit priests by the military in El Salvador, CRLN holds its first luncheon with Salvadoran Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez, U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, and 300 religious leaders calling for an end to U.S. military aid to El Salvador and a negotiated peace to the war.

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30 people gathered on the evening of May 16 to hear from Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb about their participation in the March 2019 People of Faith Root Causes Pilgrimage to Honduras sponsored by SHARE-El Salvador, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Sisters of Mercy. This interfaith group of 72 people formed a “reverse caravan,” on a mission to find out why so many Hondurans are leaving their country behind and journeying en masse to settle in other countries.

Rabbi Gottlieb emphasized the U.S. role in creating the root conditions causing people to migrate. She pointed to more than a century of U.S. corporate economic exploitation of the country. U.S. companies have bought up Honduran agricultural land and used Hondurans as cheap labor to plant and harvest crops for export. While once bananas were the primary commodity, today it is palm oil, grown on plantations which destroy the biodiversity of the land.

Today, both Honduran large landowners and transnational corporations are stealing land and water from indigenous people in order to expand large agricultural enterprises and to build mines and hydroelectric dams. Their actions are enforced by Honduran military and police forces, who use violence against people protesting the theft of their land and water. These are further causes of migration, as people who have been targeted by such violence or who have lost land or access to water sometimes leave if they no longer feel safe or no longer can support themselves.

Rabbi Gottlieb picked up a tear gas canister made in Pennsylvania, which was lying on the ground at the Lenca indigenous communities she visited. She scooped up some water in a bottle from the river sacred to the Lenca people, a river threatened by plans to build a dam, which the people had been protesting. Later, in front of Heidi Fulton, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Rabbi Gottlieb performed a cleansing ceremony in which she poured the water over the tear gas canister and demanded that the U.S. stop sending such weapons to Honduras to terrorize people.

Rabbi Rosen pointed to the U.S.-supported 2009 coup in Honduras, which supplanted a democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya, as a root cause of mass migration. Zelaya had supported progressive social reforms, but the coup consolidated the power of the right-wing National Party, whose candidates have “won” every Presidential election since, although each time amid allegations of fraud. The OAS, during the last election in 2017, declared that there were so many irregularities in the vote counting process that no one could be sure who won the election.

Under the National Party, protest has been criminalized by laws with overly expansive definitions of “terrorism,” free speech has been threatened through selectively enforced defamation laws, social goods like education and health services have been privatized, land reform measures have been reversed, and social security and pension funds have been looted. These political realities are another root cause of migration, because many people no longer feel that they can change the conditions that oppress them through peaceful means without getting injured or killed by the government.

Nevertheless, both rabbis emphasized that many people continue to stay in Honduras and non-violently resist the current Honduran administration. Members of social movements in Honduras actively resist oppressive government policies and demand that the illegal administration of President Juan Orlando Hernandez step down, despite his ongoing attempts to silence their voices through ordering security forces to attack their demonstrations with tear gas and live bullets.

For reports from this delegation, see https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/delegation-examines-firsthand-the-root-causes-of-migration-in-honduras and https://www.paxchristi.net/news/honduras-pax-christi-co-president-marie-dennis-returns-root-causes-delegation-honduras/7250

For photos from the delegation, see https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS842US843&q=2019+SHARE+delegation+to+Honduras&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjh_f700K3iAhUPiqwKHeRJC1gQsAR6BAgJEAE&biw=1680&bih=858

Three groups within the national Honduras Solidarity Network—Alliance for Global Justice, La Voz de los de Abajo, and Code Pink– also sponsored an emergency delegation to Honduras March 25 – April 2. Their complete report can be found at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1alBO_-Z6sIrbUUuT89FX3K5CMKVMLvL1.

 

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