The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America and our Chicago partners made a visit to Senator Durbin’s office on Monday, May 18th in celebration of the international Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. This year’s theme was “Tomorrow’s Peace Starts Today”. We delivered a “SHALOM” banner, courtesy of the 8th Day Center for Justice, and we discussed calls for the U.S. government to shift billions in military aid to help implement the Peace Process in Colombia.

We discussed the root causes of the conflict and asked that Senator Durbin, with his position on the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate’s powerful Appropriations Committee, use his power to move U.S. aid away from military funding and towards support for civic efforts like the Labor Action plan and land restitution work. We delivered articles about problems of inclusion in the peace process; the historic and fundamental conflicts over land and problems of paramilitaries; and models of countries where militarization does not dominate social policies. 

We’ll continue to push Senator Durbin’s office to change the nature of U.S. support for a militarized Colombia within a process for peace. Here from Chicago, we’ll keep working to make sure that tomorrow’s peace starts today! ‪#‎DOPA2015

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La Red de Líderes Religiosos en Chicago para América Latina y nuestrxs compañerxs visitamos la oficina del Senador Durbin este lunes pasado, 18 de mayo para celebrar los Días de Oración y Acción por la Paz en Colombia. El tema de la celebración internacional este año fue “La Paz de Mañana Empieza Hoy”. Llevamos un cartel de “SHALOM”, hecho por nuestxs amigxs en el Centro de Justicia 8º Día, y exigimos al  gobierno Estadounidense que cambie su apoyo militar para empezar la implementación de Proceso de Paz en Colombia.

Discutimos los orígenes del conflicto y pedimos al Senador Durbin, con su posición en el Subcomité de Defensa en el poderoso Comité de apropiaciones del Senado, use su poder para cambiar el  apoyo militar de EEUU a Colombia a un tipo de apoyo que hace posible esfuerzos cívicos como el Plan de Acción Laboral y la restitución de las tierras a comunidades desplazadas. Llevamos con nosotrxs artículos sobre los problemas de inclusión en el proceso de paz; los conflictos históricos y fundamentales sobre la tierra y problemas de paramilitares; y modelos de países donde la militarización no domina política social.

Seguimos exigiendo que la oficina del Senador Durbin trabaje para cambiar el apoyo militar a Colombia dentro de un Proceso de Paz.  Desde Chicago, seguimos trabajando para asegurar que ¡la paz de mañana empieza hoy! #DOPA2015

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By Janis Rosheuvel from the United Methodist Women and CRLN leaders Pastor Lilian Amaya and Lissette Castillo, published on CommonDreams:


The crisis of incarceration this nation now faces demands people of faith act with swift and fierce moral authority to transform, not just reform, an irreparably broken system. It demands that all of us—clergy, seminarians, teachers, and people in pews, mosques and temples— provoke a revolution of values that strikes at the heart of mass incarceration. Without exception, we believers are required to realize a just world. This is our call, and we are falling short when it comes to how we treat those in jails, prisons and detention centers.

Thanks to powerful community organizing and mobilization many more people are cognizant of why mass incarceration must end.  Many of us already know the numbers: 2.3 million human beings locked down, as many as 9 million under some form of correctional control, including parole, probation or awaiting their day in court and almost 500,000 people passing through civil immigration detention annually. Growing numbers of us—particularly if we are poor, female, Black, Brown, immigrant, and or have mental health conditions—are facing incarceration or have loved ones who are. We know that the U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation on earth, approximately 700 persons per every 100,000. And we know that the racially biased “War on Drugs” has in the past 40 years incarcerated hundreds of millions of people for largely nonviolent drug offenses, tearing families asunder in the process.

Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Chicago-based Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and a leading voice in the faith community calling for an end to mass incarceration, says that we are in effect “a nation in chains.” If Dr. Carruthers is right, and she is, people of faith are being called to reject the dangerous mythologizes about why so many mainly poor Black and Brown people are incarcerated in the first place. Despite public perceptions, poor people of color are not more likely to use or sell drugs than their white counterparts. So what explains the disproportionate ways we are locked up?

To begin with, we are seeing the devastating results of the “tough on crime” rhetoric of the past four decades. Public policies like “stop-and-frisk,” “broken windows” promote over policing of minor offenses, which are the gateway to incarceration. Even as we write this piece, the nation is watching the unfolding of yet another case in which a young Black woman, Sandra Bland of Chicago, who ends up arrested, assaulted and dead in a jail cell after being stopped by a policeman in Texas for changing lanes without signaling while driving home from a job interview. “Zero tolerance” policing, the mass detention and deportation of millions of immigrants and a congressional bed quota mandate that requires immigrant detention centers to hold 34,000 people in the system each night, have all created a pipeline that forces targeted communities into a system not about rehabilitation, reconciliation and restitution, but about the social control of Black and Brown bodies. Indeed, the same companies that profit from the criminalization and mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, are reaping record profits at the expense of these chronically dehumanized and marginalized communities. In 2014 alone, these two corporations made nearly $470 million in revenue.

The historic and pervasive criminalization of communities of color in the United States is a key building block of the current system of mass incarceration.  As author and scholar Michelle Alexander deftly lays out in her seminal work The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, mass incarceration is largely about continuing to ensure the nation has a permanent, subservient and disenfranchised underclass whose very bodies and movement are caged and controlled. As Alexander has said, “Once you are labeled a felon you’re trapped for the rest of your life and subject to many of the old forms of discrimination in job applications, rental agreements, loan applications, school applications…Those labeled felons are even denied the right to vote.” And for immigrants, the reality of interacting with the criminal justice system often means entering a treacherous path toward, criminal incarceration, immigration detention, eventual deportation and a permanent bar to rejoining family in the United States.

Faith communities have been doing good work to resist mass incarceration: sponsoring conferences, reading, writing, visiting those in prison and more. Still more is required of us. We must LISTEN to those most impacted by the current crisis—people in jails, prisons, immigrant detention centers and their families. We must hear their stories without judgement or false moralizing. And we must listen to the solutions they have developed to resist and upend these oppressive systems. They must lead us. We must also continue to EDUCATE our communities and leaders about the current realities of the system. But it is not enough to raise consciousness we must also use our moral voice to regularly interrupt the ongoing harm that unjust socio-economic and political systems cause. And we must ACT/RESIST in ways that undermine business as usual. Street protests? Policy reform? Anti-racism workshops? Mobilizing alongside impacted communities? Transformation will not happen unless our actions engage these and many more forms of resistance. This is our call.

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For several months, activists, campesinos, students, and trade unionists—this time joined by middle-class and business people–have engaged in hunger strikes, marches with torches, protests in front of government buildings, and calls for the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. Everyone is fed up with official stealing from the public coffers. Hundreds of millions of dollars from the Social Security Institute have been stolen by officials in Honduras crippling the public health system. CICIG, the UN commission charged with uncovering the connections between organized crime and the government, has issued statements that it has hard evidence that the President and Vice President were at the head of a graft scheme that cheated the state out of tax revenue for social programs and funnelled bribes to multiple Guatemalan officials. Political parties have used pilfered public funds and donations from organized crime to fund the majority of their election campaigns.

While these same states also work to privatize social services, police with their militaries and militarize their police, and commit heinous human rights violations against their own people with impunity, the U.S. turns a blind eye to the devastating corruption and continues to send military and police aid to support those in the upper echelons of power in both countries. In addition, in response to the large numbers of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the US-Mexico border last year, the Obama Administration is requesting an additional $1 billion in aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador under the name “Alliance for Prosperity,” ostensibly to bring about improvements in security, governance, and the economies of these three nations.  However, giving vast sums of money to Honduras and Guatemala begs the question of where, exactly, this money would end up.

As regards El Salvador, evidence was recently marshaled in The Nation magazine that suggests the U.S. is supporting a soft coup in El Salvador to oust its democratically elected and left-leaning government. CRLN will be monitoring the situation with our partners in the region and in the U.S.

Here are some recent articles that provide further updates and background for the situations unfolding in these three countries.

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For over two years, the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) has been one of the organizations that coordinates a pastoral care program for unaccompanied children arriving at our borders in search of safety and refuge. Many of the children that we meet are undoubtedly among the most vulnerable children on the planet, escaping unimaginable violence and poverty. Just as we have committed to stand by them and to fight for the protection of their basic rights, today we express our full support and solidarity with the community leaders at Dyett who have been on hunger strike for more than two weeks now to save Dyett High School, Bronzeville’s last publicly-operated, open-enrollment, school from closing.

In Latin America, violence takes many shapes; sometimes violence manifests itself through violent crimes and actions that are carried out with near impunity, often by government officials themselves. Sometimes it can take on subtler forms: deprivation of economic opportunity, quality education, healthcare coverage, and of other factors which are so essential to the ability of individuals to lead dignified human lives. We interpret the closing of public schools, primarily in Black and Brown communities throughout Chicago, in the same way that we understand schemes of privatization and dispossession in Latin America: as an act of violence against communities of color.

As immigrants, the sons and daughters of immigrants, volunteers with the unaccompanied children, and people of faith committed to immigrant justice and justice in Latin America, we are humbled by the valiant actions of the Dyett 12 whose fast is reminiscent of the causes of justice described in the Bible.


“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

Isaiah 58:6

We applaud the Dyett 12 and stand by their decision to resist injustice, to take–as so many immigrants have been forced to do–their children’s future into their own hands, even if and when this means risking perilous journeys, enduring hunger, and risking one’s health. We are confident that they will prove victorious in their quest and also call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others to put into action the proposal for a Global Leadership and Green Technology High School that the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School helped develop, reminding the Mayor that “

if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

Isaiah 58:10

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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.

Now, Guatemala, desperate for social and political reform, has a new, democratically-elected President, former comedian and producer Jimmy Morales, a man who proudly boasted about his neophyte status with the campaign slogan, “Neither corrupt, nor a thief.”  However, all of President Morales’ backers are military men. Will the violence lessen under him?  He was elected, many think, on a “protest vote;” in other words, Guatemalans voted their distrust of the corruption of all political candidates who had any experience in what they see as a corrupt political system.

Morales has a full table in front of him with the trials coming up in his first year as president. One case, involving former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, has been delayed several times over allegations that


his physical and mental health are not well enough


for him to appear in court. Montt and former chief of military intelligence, Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, are now facing a retrial


charged with genocide and crimes against humanity


for their roles in relation to the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Ixiles between March 1982 and August 1983. In addition to Rios Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez, former Army Chief of Staff Benedicto Lucas Garcia, brother of former President Romeo Lucas Garcia,


faces charges


for crimes against humanity which took place during Romeo’s dictatorship between 1978 and 1982.  In addition to Perez Molina, Rodriguez Sanchez, Rios Montt and Lucas Garcia, a host of other military officers from the School of the Americas–a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, specializing in counter-insurgency and teaching torture techniques–


were arrested for acts of genocide


, also taking place over 25 years ago.

What is next for the Guatemalan people, who demonstrated in the streets for 5 months last year to force the resignation of Perez Molina and to call for a better system of government? President Morales faces pressure from his military constituents as well as backlash from the anti-corruption, anti-fraud voters who put him in office. The steps he will take in response to the coming trials are nebulous. While the public largely supports prosecuting these criminals to the full extent of the law, his friends in the military have expectations that they will be found innocent and go free, or at the very least, that their trials will be delayed until these octogenarians die. As Jo-Marie Burt, a political science professor at George Mason University and senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America,


explains


, “This series of arrests from last week, some of them go right to the heart of the political allies that he has. I think that it’s kind of a little earthquake within Jimmy Morales’ inner circle.”

The importance of these court cases may be felt most deeply by the relatives of those lost during the thirty six year long war. After such a long time, it would be a huge emotional relief for the families of the victims of  these military officers’ crimes  if these violators were brought to justice.  The government has repeatedly sought to deny that there was a genocide against the Mayan people.  A guilty verdict would make the historical record clear and unequivocal. As Anselmo Roldán of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation said on the Rios Montt verdict, “To deny the sentence is to deny the value of lives lost. Each of those who died needlessly has value. The sentence is a recognition of that which was taken from us all.”

Written by Luke Burrows (CRLN Intern)
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The grueling, decades long conflict in Colombia between the government, right-wing paramilitary groups, and leftist rebels may be coming to an end in the coming months. Over the last several years, 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 aging war. 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.

The FARC, just one of many rebel groups, has been in conflict with both government military forces as well as with paramilitary groups, such as the United Self-Defense Force of Colombia (called AUC, the umbrella name for a collection of paramilitary groups). The AUC, formed in 1997, has garnished a reputation for drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion in their many human rights violations. Although 30,000 members of AUC were supposedly demobilized by the government between 2003 and 2006, many AUC members formed successor paramilitary groups under different titles. Two of the groups most prevalent are the Aguilas Negras and the Rastrojos. Their power has largely stemmed from their misty relationships with Colombian military and political circles. While their paramilitary status is not so prevalent anymore, they still remain active in the drug-trafficking community. As


Thomas Shannon


, Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of State puts it, “I wouldn’t call them paramilitary groups. I would call them drug-trafficking organizations or weapons-trafficking organizations or criminal organizations.”

In addition to FARC and the AUC, groups involved include the National Liberation Army (ELN),


a marxist group spurred in 1965


by the ideologies of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. When peace talks between FARC and the government began in 2012,


the ELN showed interest in some forms of negotiations


, though they were swiftly turned down. Since the progression of the talks with FARC, however, President Juan Manual Santos has reached out, saying that the government is “ready to talk” with the ELN, and hopes to begin peace talks with them as soon as possible.

For the time being though, the peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government are going swimmingly. Many critics of both sides, however, are doubtful, even as the accord comes to some form of conclusion, as the three previous negotiations between FARC and the state have


resulted in failure.


“We’ve never been so close to an agreement before,” said Santos on Twitter. The agreement, formulated after three years of working with the government, the rebels, and some of their victims, creates a truth commission to clarify what happened in the war and promises to search for thousands of missing people, identify their remains and return them.

The agreement sets in place special courts that will try former combatants for their crimes. This includes FARC rebels

and

government soldiers, demonstrating both sides’ willingness to find peace.


The courts would reduce the sentencing of those who admit guilt and aide the peace-seeking process


, but will deny amnesty for anyone found guilty of crimes against humanity. It also attempts to ensure those hurt by the war will not be victimized again. Alan Jara, who was held hostage by FARC for over seven years was shocked, but delighted to see his former captors working peacefully with the state for once. “It is the people who haven’t suffered directly [that are] the ones who are least willing to accept a peace deal,” says Jara. “We who lived it are more accepting.” The victims, although cautiously open to the agreement, have long demanded truth and reparations, rightfully so, and it seems that they may get it


with the involvement of the United Nations Security Council, who was voluntarily brought in by the negotiating parties.


The


tripartite system


will have UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon make recommendations as to the operational details of the mission, which is hoped to reach a final agreement by March 23rd.

With UNSC involvement, FARC cooperation, and government compliance, it seems that the world’s longest-running war may be coming to an end. Until the issue of illegally armed groups is resolved, however, peace will not be possible within the local communities and the violence they face from these  groups. Also, as with many political issues that traverse a number of political, social, and economic demographics, it is critical to involve as many third-party actors not actively siding with either the government or the FARC in the implementation of the peace accords as possible: actors such as Colombian and international NGO’s, and the UN, and religious organizations. A more stabilized peace will not be possible in Colombia without a combined effort from those previously left out of the peace talks.

Written by Luke Burrows (CRLN Intern)
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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.

While the peace negotiations have been a crucial part of social movements’ strategy to mitigate the brutal violence (in fact, social movements, many of whom reject electoral politics, actually supported President Santos’ re-election with the goal that he would finalized the negotiations within his second term), Colombian organizers are not under the illusion that the accords nor the new “Peace Colombia” will bring fundamental peace to country, much less to the communities disproportionately affected by the violence (women,

campesinos

, African descendents and Indigenous peoples). We’ve heard over and over again that the peace accords will provide a pathway to peace, but that implementation, inclusion and accountability will be required if peace can ever become a fundamental reality.

Two pathways forward are crucial in this historic moment in Colombia:


First, regarding the implementation of the Peace Accords,

CRLN’s partner organizations in Colombia are pressing the international community to support their demands for (1) the inclusion of African descendant and Indigenous voices in the implementation process of the Peace Accords and (2) accompaniment for rebel groups like the FARC during their reentry into society so as not to reproduce the historic violence wielded against demobilized rebels as happened with the


Unión Patriotica in the 1980s and 1990s


when over 3,500 were assassinated. Stay tuned to CRLN’s website and facebook to stay up-to-date on our work to continue accompanying and supporting marginalized communities in Colombia during a transformational moment in their country’s history. And


sign the petition urging members of the peace negotiations to include Afro-descendant and Indigenous voices in the implementation period of the Peace Process


.


Second, regarding the new version of Plan Colombia now being called “Peace Colombia,”

it is crucial that the U.S. stop using its billions of dollars in aid to continue militarizing a country that is working to implement peace. CRLN partner organization the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), has provided


five sound recommendations


for shifting the policies of Plan Colombia away from militarization and towards the interests of those most directly affected by violence. Meanwhile, the national office of School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is planning an investigatory delegation to the Panamanian border of Colombia where the U.S. is supporting the construction of yet another military base in an isolated and predominantly Indigenous and Afro-Colombian territory. The Illinois chapter of SOA Watch is


hosting a bowl-a-thon


to help fundraise in support of this delegation’s investigation of the ongoing militarization schemes during the ‘new’ era of “Peace Colombia.”


Click here to join a team and support this international organizing right from here in Chicago!

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March 1, 2016


***Press Release***


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


Sanctuary Movement leaders denounce deceptive tactics targeting man on church grounds


Español aquí

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.

Speaking on behalf of the pastoral team at the Christian Pentecostal Center, the Rev. Gerson Moreno said, “We are appalled by ICE’s behavior. They lied and used deceiving tactics to convince our brother Reynold to leave the safety of our church. The removal of the Garcia family has caused great emotional distress in our congregation and many fear for their families and friends. We continue to support the Garcia family and we request their case be reopened and that they be allowed back into the country.”

Since 2011, ICE has utilized policy guidance regarding operations at sensitive locations, including churches. In January,

national faith-based organizations issued a letter

reaffirming the importance of

ICE’s sensitive location guidance

and demanding ICE stay away from sacred spaces.

Earlier this year, Chicagoans shut down traffic outside of the Chicago ICE office, the regional ICE office which supervises enforcement operations throughout Illinois and other nearby states. Protesters highlighted the Chicago ICE office’s

consistent pattern of abuse and human and civil rights violations

. Reynold’s case was one of several grievances raised against the Chicago ICE office and its Regional Director, Ricardo Wong.

The Rev. Julian DeShazier, a faith leader with the Chicago Religious Leadership Network and pastor of a Sanctuary-offering congregation in Chicago, responded to the developments in Schaumburg from his church just miles away saying, “We are in solidarity with the Christian Pentecostal Center. Places of worship, as well as immigrant homes and communities, are all sacred spaces that must be off limits for immigration enforcement. As a faith community we are seeking answers from Director Wong for the immoral enforcement tactics stemming from his office. ICE began the year raiding immigrant homes, and now it’s coming into congregations. We must organize to stop the raids and hold ICE accountable.”

Nationally, Sanctuary Movement pastors are also speaking out against tactics that violate the sensitive locations policy. The Rev. Alison Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church said, “It is not only unthinkable, but morally reprehensible that ICE would come after someone as they pray in their church. Our government has no right to impede on sacred spaces and the freedom to practice one’s religion. We echo demands that Reynold Garcia’s case be reopened and he be paroled in on humanitarian grounds.”

The Rev. Jim Rigby, whose congregation is offering Sanctuary to asylum seekers from Guatemala, Hilda Ramirez and her son, commented, “As congregations open their doors to the most vulnerable, we understand that all God’s children should be welcomed and given hospitality. We have a moral responsibility to do no less. We will continue to offer our halls to those who need them and will refuse to allow ICE to set even one foot on our grounds.”

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Click here to demand justice for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!

From Karen Spring, Honduras Solidarity Network Coordinator (see more statements and news stories below):

“March 3, 2016

This evening at approximately midnight, the General Coordinator of COPINH,

Berta Caceres

was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. At least two individuals broke down the door of the house where Berta was staying for the evening in the Residencial La Líbano, shot and killed her. COPINH is urgently responding to this tragic situation.

Berta Caceres is one of the leading Indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of Indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources. In 2015, Berta won the Goldman Prize for her outstanding activism and leadership. Her death will have a profound impact on the many Lenca communities that she worked with, COPINH, the Honduran social movement, and all that knew her.

Berta Caceres and COPINH have been accompanying various land struggles throughout western Honduras. In the last few weeks, violence and repression towards Berta, COPINH, and the communities they support, had escalated. In Rio Blanco on February 20th, Berta, COPINH, and the community of Rio Blanco faced threats and repression as they carried out a peaceful action to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. As a result of COPINH’s work supporting the Rio Blanco struggle, Berta had received countless threats against her life and was granted precautionary measures by the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights. On February 25th, another Lenca community supported by COPINH in Guise, Intibuca was violently evicted and destroyed.”

CRLN, the Honduras Solidarity Network, and our partners in Honduras are all urgently demanding a thorough and immediate investigation of the circumstances surrounding Berta’s death.



Click here to demand justice for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!



News and statements about Berta’s Assassination:

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Haz click aquí para exigir justicia para el asesinato de Berta Cáceres!

Escrito por Karen Spring, Coordinadora de la Red de Solidaridad con Honduras (Vea abajo para más historias, reflecciones, y artículos sobre la vida y asesinato de Berta):

“3 de marzo, 2016

 

Esta noche del 2 de marzo, aproximadamente a las 11:45 pm, la coordinadora general de COPINH,

Berta Caceres

, fue asesinada en su pueblo natal de la Esperanza, Intibucá. Al menos dos individuos rompieron la puerta de la casa donde Berta se hospedaba en el Residencial La Líbano, le dispararon y la mataron. COPINH está respondiendo de forma urgente a esta situación trágica.

 

Berta Caceras es una de las principales líderes indígenas de Honduras. Paso su vida luchando por la defensa de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, particularmente de su territorio y recursos naturales. En el 2015, Berta ganó el premio Goldman por su lucha y liderazgo incansable como defensora. Su muerte tendrá un impacto profundo en las comunidades Lencas con las que trabajaba, en COPINH, en el movimiento social de Honduras, y en todos quienes la conocieron.

 

Berta Caceres y COPINH han estado acompañando diversas luchas por el territorio en el occidente de Honduras. En estas últimas semanas, la violencia y represión en contra de Berta, el COPINH y las comunidades que apoyan, había escalado. El 20 de febrero en Rio Blanco, Berta, COPINH y la comunidad de Rio Blanco se enfrentaron a amenazas y represión mientras llevaban acabo una actividad pacífica para proteger el Rio Gualcarque de la construcción de una presa hydroeléctrica por parte de la empresa hondureña DESA con financiamiento internacional. Como resultado de el trabajo de COPIHN en apoyo de la lucha de Rio Blanco, Berta recibió múltiples amenazas contra su vida y fue otorgada medidas cautelares de parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. El 25 de febrero, otra comunidad Lenca apoyada por COPINH en Guise Intibuca fue desalojada violentamente y destruida.”

 

CRLN, la Red de Solidaridad con Honduras, y todxs nuestrxs compañerxs en Honduras estamos exigiendo urgentemente una investigación exhaustiva e inmediata de los hechos ocurridos.



Haz click aquí para exigir justicia para el asesinato de Berta Cáceres!



Otras historias y declaraciones acerca la vida y asasinato de Berta Cáceres:


Declaración (en facebook) de La Voz de Los de Abajo


Historia en Democracy Now!


Artículo en La Prensa del punto de vista de la madre de Berta

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