Last year, Guatemala experienced a constitutional crisis when former President Jimmy Morales ignored orders from the highest court in the land, ended the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (who had accused him of corruption), and surrounded their offices with tanks to force commissioners to leave the country. Now a constitutional crisis has erupted in El Salvador. Here’s what happened.


President Nayib Bukele called for an extraordinary session of the Legislative Assembly on Sunday, February 9, at 3:00 p.m. in order to get approval for a $109 million international loan he wanted for modernizing military and police forces. He insinuated on social media to his followers that if deputies did not show up, they would be violating constitutional order and that the people had the right of insurrection in this case, although the Legislative Assembly is an independent branch of government that is authorized to make decisions about its own affairs. Not wanting to be dictated to, deputies scheduled a regular session for Monday, February 10, to take up the matter.


The president then called for his supporters to gather at the Legislative Assembly and deployed military and police forces throughout the city. A small number of deputies showed up for the extraordinary session, and then the President brought armed soldiers into the legislative chamber to surround the room, railing against the deputies who had not shown up and against all of them for not yet passing his request to approve the loan. Finally, he prayed silently, left the chamber, and spoke to his followers outside that God had told him to be patient. In a real violation of Constitutional order, he commanded the deputies to pass his request within the week, or he would call out his supporters again, with the implied threat that they would remove the deputies from offfice by force.


The militarization of El Salvador’s political spaces had been, until now, a thing of the past, since before Peace Accords were signed in 1992 ending the civil war. Now, political leaders on the left and the right are concerned that President Bukele is about to perform a self-coup, using the armed forces and his supporters to take control of the Legislature. CRLN urges its members to read the joint statement, sent to us by U.S .- El Salvador Sister Cities, signed by some of El Salvador’s social movements and to learn more from the articles below. Then, please take action, following the Action Alert from our friends at CISPES (copied below the articles).



Joint statement by groups in Salvadoran popular movements:



Article in “El Salvador Perspectives”:



Press release by U.S. Solidarity groups:



  1. Use this link to send an email to your Representative in Congress, asking them to speak out against Bukele’s power grab in El Salvador.
  2. Call your Representative and/or Senator and ask them to speak out. Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to their office. Ask to speak with the person in charge of foreign affairs.Sample script: My name is ______ and I am a resident of _________. I am calling because I am extremely concerned about threats to democracy in El Salvador. Have you been following the crisis there over the weekend? The president commanded the legislature to hold an extraordinary session in order to approve a loan he wanted for security funding, which he does not have the authority to do, in this case, and threatened consequences if they didn’t show up. Then he deployed the Armed Forces to occupy the legislature in a clear violation of the Peace Accords. It is urgent that Members of Congress speak out against this rollback of democracy in El Salvador. Will you make a statement calling on the President Bukele to respect the autonomy of the elected legislature? Will you call on the U.S. Embassy to do the same?

[They will probably want more details. If so, ask for their email address and offer to connect them with Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director of CISPES, who is coordinating the national effort and can provide additional information: Please let Sharon Hunter-Smith in the CRLN office know if you reach your Illinois Representative. She will work with you to get Illinois Representatives to speak out and will stay in contact with Alexis.]]

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We had a very short timeframe–2 days–to get U.S. Representatives from Illinois to sign a letter asking the Department of Homeland Security to end the mis-named Migrant Protection Protocols, which forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexican border cities indefinitely until their court cases come up. Now the deadline to sign has been extended until tomorrow, February 7!

Thanks to your calls, 9 Representatives from Illinois have signed on so far: Rush, Kelly, Garcia, Quigley, Danny Davis, Krishnamoorthi, Schakowsky, Foster, and Bustos. Please call and thank them if they are your Representative. Rep. Schneider’s staffer has contacted CRLN to say that they will have an opportunity tonight to put the letter before him, and they expect he will sign. We will keep you posted on his action. If your Representatives are Lipinski, Casten, or Underwood, or any of the Republican Representatives, please call again and emphasize that it is horrific that our country is forcing people who fled danger once to wait in areas without sanitary facilities, access to food and water or proper shelter, and where they are subjected to violence, extortion and kidnapping by organized crime.

When CRLN made calls from our office, many Congressional staff people thanked us for flagging the letter in what was a very busy week full of other nationally televised events: the Iowa Caucuses, the State of the Union Address, and the final day of the Senate impeachment trial.

Now we need to make an effort to get these same Representatives and more to sign onto H.R. 2662, the Asylum Seeker Protection Act, which would defund this cruel “Remain in Mexico” policy. So far, only Garcia, Schakowsky and Schneider have signed. If you are represented by one of these 3, please call and thank them. If not, please call your member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2662.

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The so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) implemented by the Trump administration since January 29, 2019 have been in place for a year, and we have seen the disastrous results. We are alarmed that 60,000 people,having fled life-threatening situations in their home countries and having experienced trauma on their way north, have attempted to seek asylum in the U.S., only to be told that they must fend for themselves in Mexican border cities until their court case comes up, usually 6-8 months later. Organized crime, which has preyed upon migrants for years, poses a grave danger for these asylum seekers. In addition, they live in precarious conditions, with little access to food, water or shelter; no sanitation services; very few doctors available on site to provide medical care; and no access to U.S. lawyers who could represent them in their asylum cases.

A Congressional delegation went to the Texas-Mexican border to provide oversight of the MPP. Click here to read what they found.

We must act to end this inhumane and dangerous policy! Please call the U.S. House Switchboard at (202224-3121, ask to be connected to your Representative’s office (If you don’t know the name of your Representative, click here), and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2662, the Asylum Seeker Protection Act, which would defund the MPP. Leave your phone number or email address and ask the office to let you know whether the Representative has signed or not. Let them know you are tired of hearing politicians portray all migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers as murderous criminals, and that you see them as community members, neighbors and friends.

If you receive a response from your Representative’s office, please call the CRLN office (773-293-2964) or email to let us know. We will be following the progress of this House Resolution.

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Miriam M. Miranda Chamorro, born in the Garifuna community of Santa Fe in the department of Colón, is a Garifuna leader. She names herself as a defender of the human rights of the Garifuna community, of life, and of the cultural survival of her people. She is the current General Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) and has more than 36 years as a defender of the common goods and human rights of the Garifuna people.  She received the Carlos Escaleras Environmental Prize in 2016, considered the most important environmental prize in Honduras. In 2015, she received the Oscar Romero Human Rights Prize and the International Food Sovereignty Prize from the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in the United States. Her main struggles center around the defense of Garifuna territories, and she is persecuted and complained about because of her work defending the human and land rights of her people.

Among her primary contributions we can highlight the following:

  • At the head of OFRANEH, she has led the recovery of more than 1500 hectares of land in the regions of Vallecito, Colón, where the largest project in Central America of planting and processing coconuts was implemented. She has claimed this land as ancestral territory and has made use of international human rights laws to avoid eviction.
  • She has brought and won two legal cases against the State of Honduras before the Interamerican Court of Human Rights in relation to the territorial rights of the Garifuna community in Punta Piedra and Triunfo de la Cruz.
  • In 2015, after Canadian businessmen illegally constructed a megatourism business on Garifuna lands, she also successfully achieved taking the promoters of the project to court.
  • Miranda has worked to stop other projects harmful for local communities–industrial projects like hydroelectric dams, palm oil plantations, and the famous Special Development Zones called “Model Cities.”

She has been detained, criminalized, kidnapped, and jailed for her intersectional struggle against the system of neoliberal, colonial, and racist oppression.


Miriam M. Miranda Chamorro. Nació en la comunidad Garífuna de Santa Fe, en el departamento de Colón. Lideresa Garífuna. Se autodenomina como defensora de los derechos humanos del pueblo garífuna, de la vida y la sobrevivencia cultural de nuestros pueblos. Es la actual Coordinadora General de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH); tiene mas de 36 años como defensora de los bienes comunes y derechos humanos del pueblo Garífuna; Recibió el premio ambiental “Carlos Escaleras” en el 2016, considerado el premio ambiental mas importante de Honduras. En 2015, recibió el Premio a los Derechos Humanos Óscar Romero y el Premio Internacional a la Soberanía Alimentaria de la Alianza por la Soberanía Alimentaria de los Estados Unidos. sus principales luchas se centran en la defensa de los territorios garífunas, perseguida y querellada por su trabajo por la defensa de los derechos humanos y al derecho a la tierra de su gente.


Dentro de sus principales aportes podemos destacar: Al frente de la OFRANEH ha liderado la recuperación de mas de 1500 hectáreas de tierras en la región de Vallecito, Colon, en donde se implementa el proyecto de siembra y procesamiento de cocos mas grande de Centro América, ha reclamando esta tierra como territorio ancestral y haciendo uso de las leyes internacionales de derechos humanos para evitar el desalojo. También ha llevado y ganado dos casos legales al Estado de Honduras ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en relación a los derechos territoriales la comunidad garífuna de Punta Piedra y Triunfo de la Cruz.  En 2015, después de que los empresarios canadienses construyeran ilegalmente una empresa de mega turismo en tierras garífunas, también logró llevar a juicio con éxito a los promotores del proyecto. Miranda ha trabajado para detener otros proyectos perjudiciales para las comunidades locales, como los proyectos industriales hidroeléctricos, de aceite de palma y las famosas Zonas Especiales de Desarrollo, ‘ciudades modelos’. Ella ha sido detenida, criminalizada, secuestrada y encarcelada por su lucha interseccional en contra del sistema de opresión neoliberal, colonial y racista.



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Apoyo / Support ($5000+): Receive 8 tickets (one table), full page ad in program book, program listing, acknowledgement during the program, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist


Comunidad / Community ($2500+): Receive 8 tickets (one table), ½ page ad in program book, program

listing, acknowledgement during the program, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist.


Amistad / Friendship ($1000+):  Receive 4 tickets, ¼ page in program book, program listing, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist


Familiaridad / Familiarity ($500+): Receive 4 tickets, program listing, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist


Compañerismo / Fellowship (250+):  Receive 2 tickets, program listing, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist.


Construyendo la Paz / Peacemaking (150+): Receive 1 ticket, program listing, acknowledgement on web page and the opportunity to recognize an activist.

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The Alliance for Global Justice has prepared a sign-on letter in support of the hunger strike by Honduran political prisoners Edwin Espinal, Raul Alvarez, Rommel Herrera, and Gustavo Caceres. They are demanding an improvement in prison conditions for all prisoners, transfer from the maximum security prison in which they are currently unjustly detained before their trial, as well as the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez. They have been joined in their fast by a broad sector of the Honduras social movement.

Click on the following link to support their cause and learn more:

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CRLN, along with the Honduras Solidarity Network, is pushing initiates for the liberation of political prisoners Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez! The extents to which these two have been repressed are examples of the perpetual efforts by the US and other entities to undermine Honduras’ sovereignty.

Edwin is a close friend of Berta Cáceres, slain leader and the subject of the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.

  • Ask your representatives to speak out on the bill:

  • Follow the link for a timeline of the violations of Due Process on the Judicial Case Against Political Prisoners Edwin Espinal & Raul Alvarez:

  • Watch the brief video detailing events of Edwin Espinal’s case:

  • You will find alerts on the risk to the lives of Edwin and Raul by clicking Like and Follow on the Free Edwin Espinal Libertad Facebook page:


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Click the links to contact your representative and ask them to sign Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act:

The Solidarity Collective includes that the bill states:

“The Honduran police are widely established to be deeply corrupt and to commit human rights abuses, including torture, rape, illegal detention, and murder, with impunity” and that the military has committed violations of human rights. Therefore, the bill asks that the United States suspend all “…security assistance to Honduran military and police until such time as human rights violations by Honduran state security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Read about 10 Years Since the Coup in Honduras:

Follow what our friends at the Honduras Solidarity Network share on Facebook: @HondurasSolidarityNetwork and Twitter: @HondurasSol

You can find updates on Berta’s case at:

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On June 28th, 2019, 10 years will have passed since the 2009 coup. For 10 years, Hondurans have maintained a powerful resistance against neoliberalism, militarism and corruption, and continue to demand a real democracy, sovereignty and a “refounding” of the country. The resistance against the US and Canada-backed regime in Honduras continues to inspire others. Today, teachers and health care workers have ignited the latest upsurge as they refused to accept the @JuanOrlandoH regime’s dismantling of public education and health care. The struggle is far from over, stand up in solidarity with Hondurans!

Click on our Action Alerts page to find out how you can help by asking your reps to speak out on the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act

Be sure to follow our friends @HondurasSolidarityNetwork on Facebook and see their release on the topic at:

The following article offers context on the coup:

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The US Navy occupied half of the island of Vieques, a part of Puerto Rico, as a bombing site. Sixteen years later the effects of the chemicals on the land and on the people remain as the clean up had hoped to mean economic benefit, but the money spent on it so far has gone to US corporations in control of the process. The clean up is an example of locals being excluded from economic opportunities, and after hurricane Maria, there has been more gentrification from people leaving the island. The Navy defended open denotation as the safest process for site workers and claimed that there were no health risks to the public.

A Puerto Rican governor included the colonial conversation, how Puerto Rico lacks the oversight to discuss the issues on the island because of the restrictions on representation in the U.S. Congress. Watch this informative video posted by AJ+:

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