(From the director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, Sept. 5, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Guatemala is at risk of a coup, and it looks like once again with the support of the U.S. government.

The threat of an auto-coup has been in the air since President Jimmy Morales convoked a press conference on August 31 to announce he would not renew the mandate of the United Nations sponsored International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG).  He stood amidst dozens of fatigue clad military officers and CICIG’s offices were surrounded with military jeeps.


The next day U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “Our relationship with Guatemala is important. We greatly appreciate Guatemala’s efforts in counter-narcotics and security,” widely perceived as a show of support for Morales.


On September 3, the National Immigration Directorate announced that CICIG’s commissioner, Ivan Velasquez, would not be allowed to reenter Guatemala, in defiance of a May Constitutional Court ruling that the Migration Directorate could not bar Velasquez’s entry. On September 4, the Secretary General of the United Nations announced that the UN would continue to recognize Ivan Velasquez as the Commissioner of CICIG, conducting his functions from outside of Guatemala.  A few hours ago, a group of representatives in the Guatemalan Congress that have been promoting the creation of a new constitution released a communication asserting that the Constitutional Court has repeatedly exceeded its constitutional mandate.  As the Executive and the Judiciary defy the Constitutional Court, a technical coup or auto coup may be in progress.


The United States Department of State must clearly communicate that the US firmly stands with the Guatemalan Constitutional Court against any attempt to undermine its independence. The Constitutional Court may well be called on to decide the fate of CICIG and its commissioner Ivan Velasquez.  CICIG has been the most successful effort to end impunity and clean up the justice system in the region.


Please, call – (202) 224-3121- or write your Representative and Senators to ask that they demand that the State Department affirm its commitment to the rule of law in Guatemala, particularly to safeguarding the ongoing independence of the Constitutional Court.  You can also contact their district office to find out which staff people would follow issues in Guatemala and develop ongoing correspondence with them.


Evoking memories of military coups, Jimmy Morales announced he intends to end CICIG’s mandate
amidst dozens of fatigue clad military officers in what looked like the threat of an auto coup.


On August 10, CICIG and the Public Ministry presented an impeachment request against Jimmy Morales for not reporting over $1 million cash that was given to voting table monitors from Morales party on the day of the national election.  On August 23, the Guatemala Supreme Court found that the impeachment of Morales could proceed, and on August 28 the congressional commission overseeing the impeachment was formed by lottery.

The top concern now is securing the safety and ongoing independence of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court.   Many questions have been raised about the legality both of President Morales’ communication to the United Nations while he is under impeachment and of the bar on Ivan Velasquez’s entry to Guatemala.  Both of these questions will eventually be decided by the Constitutional Court.

There is currently tremendous pressure on the Constitutional Court. President Morales’ administration is essentially threatening an auto-coup, through images and military deployments.  This has been in the air since Friday when military surrounded not only the CICIG installations but also offices of leading human rights organizations, and President Morales gave his press conference amidst approximately 50 fatigue clad military officers, conjuring up memories of the press conferences in the 1970s and 1980s that announced new military juntas had grab control of government. It is a message received loud and clear even without stating anything directly.


On Monday the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled that the operations of the San Rafael gold mine will remain suspended until a consultation of the indigenous communities affected by the operation had been completed.  This was a highly charged decision that challenged the interests of the economically powerful sector aligned with President Morales.   In May the State Department urged the Constitutional Court to re-open of the San Rafael mine, prioritizing the economic interests of one US mining company over rule of law and the economic well-being of an entire region. That confrontation is still fresh in the public conscience in Guatemala.

The State Department must make it clear that the United States firmly stands with this Constitutional Court against any attempt to undermine its independence, particularly now as the Constitutional Court may well be called on to decide the fate of CICIG and its commissioner Ivan Velasquez.


Please, call – (202) 224-3121- or write your Representative and Senators to ask that they demand that the State Department affirm its commitment to the rule of law in Guatemala, particularly to safeguarding the ongoing independence of the Constitutional Court.  You can also contact their district office to find out which staff people would follow issues in Guatemala and develop ongoing correspondence with them.

You can also contact their district office to find out which staffpeople would follow issues in Guatemala to develop ongoing correspondence.

Many Thanks,

Annie Bird


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31st Annual Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon!

 Supporting community health, education,

 & organizing projects in 

Latin America and Chicago

Sunday, September 30, 2018

  1:00pm – 5:00pm 


Sponsors:                          Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN), Chicago- Cinquera Sister Cities, Chicago-Guatemala Partnership, Concern America,             La Voz de los de Abajo, and the Autonomous Tenants Union


Schedule and Route

1:00 Gather and Ride!          Meet at the registration table at Lincoln Park Grove 13 (west side of Lake Shore Drive on the grassy area next to the Barry Ave. underpass to the                      Lakefront Bike Path) or at the Dog Water Station (55th Street and Bike Path).

Choose the 12- or 24-mile loop and ride along the beautiful Chicago Lakefront Bikepath.


3:30 Fiesta & Program!        Relax, enjoy food and conversation at the main site (Grove 13) and stay for a short program.


Riders Receive:                  Refreshments on the ride, food at the post-pedal fiesta, and a free T-shirt!


Registration Fees:             Please register online at this site and indicate the t-shirt size you’d like: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/2018-pedal-for-peace-bike-a-thon

$10 student/low income; $15 after September 9, 2018

$20 adult; $25 after September 9, 2018

Children 12 and under free

There is an option on the website to mail a check to CRLN, and you can select your t-shirt size.


Bring with you:  bike, helmet, cell phone, collected pledges


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


If you cannot ride, please send an email by September 9, 2018, to shunter-smith@crln.org with your name, email address, and phone number if you can support Pedal for Peace in any of the following ways:

  • prepare a dish of food to share at the fiesta
  • request a food donation from a restaurant for the fiesta
  • ask for a contribution to support the event from a business in your community
  • make a contribution to support another biker or to support the event in general


Pledge Form


  1. Tell your friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers that you are riding in a bike-a-thon to raise money for health, education, and community organizing projects.  Ask them to sign up below and pledge an amount for the miles you plan to ride.  Course distances are 12 or 24 miles.
  2. Ask your pledgers to make their checks payable to CRLN.  All proceeds will be divided among the beneficiary groups in support of the projects. You may also go to https://crln.org, click on the Events tab on the top, “2018 Pedal for Peace Bike-a-thon under “Events” on the right hand side of the webpage for a complete description of the groups and projects funded.
  3. Collect the donations before September 30, and turn them in at the registration table on the day of the event.


Sponsor’s Name                    Address                                  City , State, Zip                       Total Pledged









































Send any pledges collected after the event to:  CRLN, 4750 N. Sheridan Road, Suite 429, Chicago, IL 60640 by October 9. 

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(Photo credit// credito de la foto:



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CRLN continues to fight for




practices of sanctuary at all levels, from our congregations and neighborhoods to schools and city government. Taking the lead from BYP100 and Mijente nationally, we are working with other Black, Latinx, and im/migrant community organizations in Chicago to

expand sanctuary


Together, we call for real sanctuary that provides protections for ALL communities directly impacted by attacks under the current administration.

While Chicago is publicly a “sanctuary city,” we believe that the current Welcoming Cities Ordinance does not go far enough to provide sanctuary for all residents.

Chicago has a history of over-policing, racial profiling, and criminalization, which has led to Chicago residents being put in deportation proceedings and in the prison system, even when the police do not directly cooperate with ICE.

As Janae E. Bonsu, National Public Policy Chair for the Black Youth Project stated at last month’s press conference to #ExpanSanctuary:

“Sanctuary – as the city of Chicago had defined it – doesn’t go far enough. Until the mayor and city council shows a real commitment to ending the criminalization of Black and Latinx people in policy and practice, sanctuary will remain an empty word to our people.”

Instead, we imagine a city where communities of color and undocumented communities do not face violence from either the police or immigration agents.

We imagine a city that directly challenges the larger systems of criminalization, mass incarceration, deportations and detention.

Join us in calling for the city of Chicago to strengthen the ‘Welcoming Cities Ordinance’ AND to vote in favor of the ‘

Recommendations to Fraternal Order of Police Contract Resolution


To learn more about this campaign, to get involved, or to reach out to your alderperson in support of these policies, please contact the CRLN Immigration Organizer at



Alerta de políticas publics: #ExpandSanctuary en la ciudad de Chicago

CRLN continúa luchando por prácticas significativas de santuario en todos los niveles, desde nuestras congregaciones y vecindarios hasta las escuelas y el gobierno de la ciudad. Tomando la iniciativa de BYP100 y Mijente a nivel nacional, estamos trabajando con otras organizaciones comunitarias, AfroAmericanas y negras, Latinx, y migrantes en Chicago para expandir el concepto de santuario.

Juntxs, pedimos practicas de santuario reales que proporcionen protecciones para TODAS las comunidades directamente afectadas por los ataques de la actual administración. Mientras que Chicago es públicamente una “ciudad santuario”, creemos que la actual ‘Welcoming Cities Ordinance’ (Ordenanza de Ciudades de Acogida) no va lo suficientemente lejos como para proporcionar un santuario para todos los residentes. Chicago tiene un historial de policiamiento excesivo, discriminación racial y criminalización, lo que ha llevado a los residentes de Chicago a ser sometidxs a procedimientos de deportación y al sistema penitenciario, incluso cuando la policía no coopera directamente con ICE.

Como dijo Janae E. Bonsu, Presidenta Nacional de Políticas Públicas para BYP100 en la conferencia de prensa del mes pasado para #ExpandSanctuary:

“Santuario – como la ciudad de Chicago lo ha definido – no va lo suficientemente lejos. Hasta que el alcalde y el ayuntamiento demuestren un compromiso real para poner fin a la criminalización de la gente negra y latina en la política y la práctica, el santuario seguirá siendo una palabra vacía para nuestra gente.”

En cambio, imaginamos una ciudad donde las comunidades de color y las comunidades indocumentadas no se enfrentan a la violencia ni de la policía ni de los agentes de inmigración. Imaginamos una ciudad que desafía directamente a los sistemas más amplios de criminalización, encarcelamiento masivo, deportaciones y detención. Únase a nosotros llamando a la ciudad de Chicago para fortalecer la ‘Welcoming Cities Ordinance’ Y votar en favor de las Recomendaciones a la Resolución de Contratos de la Orden Fraternal de Policía (‘

Recommendations to Fraternal Order of Police Contract Resolution


Para obtener más información sobre esta campaña, para involucrarse o para comunicarse con su consejo local en apoyo de estas políticas, comuníquese con la organizadora de inmigración de CRLN en



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Ocho miembros del personal, junta de directores y miembrxs de CRLN viajaron a Washington, D.C. del 21 al 24 de abril para la conferencia anual de

Ecunemical Advocacy Days

y días de lobby para participar en la sección de América Latina: Claudia Lucero, Sharon Hunter-Smith, Linda Eastwood, Ann Legg, Dawn Condill , Frank Schneider, Ed Osowski y Lora Burge. El tema para el  2017, “Confrontando el Caos, Forjando la Comunidad: Desafiando el Racismo, el Materialismo y el Militarismo”, encaja bien con la declaración de la misión de CRLN, actualizada en 2016:

La Red de Líderes Religiosos de Chicago para Latinoamérica (CRLN) construye alianzas entre movimientos sociales y comunidades organizadas en EE.UU. y entre los pueblos de las Américas. Trabajamos juntos por medio de la educación popular, la organización de base comunitaria, la promoción de políticas públicas, y la demostración no violenta pero energética para desmilitarizar nuestras sociedades, crear alternativas a la economía neoliberal y desmantelar la política de inmigración de EE.UU, y otras formas de violencia institucional y de Estado. Estamos unidxs por nuestras fes liberadoras e inspiradxs por el poder de la gente para organizar y encontrar aliadxs para trabajar por economías sostenibles, relaciones justas y la dignidad humana.

Los talleres nos informaron sobre los desafíos para lograr una paz real y duradera en Colombia después de la aprobación de los Acuerdos de Paz con el mayor grupo guerrillero, la FARC; Nos informaron sobre las causas fundamentales y las necesidades de protección de los migrantes y los solicitantes de asilo que llegan a los Estados Unidos desde América Central; Y sobre el estado de las relaciones actuales entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba. La directora del CRLN, Claudia Lucero, y Mary Campbell, miembro de CRLN, de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana en América (ELCA), conformaron 2/3 del panel en el taller centroamericano de migración.

Resaltando el mensaje de un solo orador, el colombiano

Luis Gerardo Acero Barrios

es víctima del conflicto colombiano. Nació en las montañas en 1950, debido al temor al conflicto por parte de sus padres, ya que no estaban alineados ni con grupos paramilitares de derecha ni con bandas criminales de izquierdas. Durante su vida, repetidamente ha tenido que esconderse de uno u otro de estos grupos ilegalmente armados y ha sido desplazado varias veces de su tierra. Él nos dice lo que piensa que debe suceder para que el Proceso de Paz tenga éxito:

  1. Los Estados Unidos apoyaron las negociaciones del gobierno colombiano con la FARC. También es necesario apoyar el proceso paralelo de paz con el ELN, el segundo grupo guerrillero más grande de Colombia.
  2. Apoyo internacional para la aplicación de los Acuerdos de Paz.
  3. El gobierno colombiano necesita desmantelar a los grupos paramilitares. A medida que miembros de la FARC se alejaban del territorio que controlaban, los grupos paramilitares se instalaron e impusieron sus propias reglas. Ellos han matado a 51 líderes de movimiento social hasta ahora este año.
  4. Purificación de las instituciones gubernamentales de la corrupción y la influencia paramilitar.
  5. Presencia de sistemas gubernamentales de salud, educación y aplicación de la ley en las zonas rurales. Todos estos servicios en su mayoría existen en las ciudades y no en el campo.

Hasta que el gobierno establezca presencia en las zonas rurales, las comunidades colombianas se han unido con organizaciones sociales para resistir el desplazamiento de los paramilitares y tratar de crear la paz con justicia social. Cuando son atacados, la denuncia internacional de la violencia paramilitar y los llamados al gobierno colombiano para desmantelar grupos armados ilegales son muy útiles.

La delegación de CRLN también participó en una Vigilia de Oración en el Pentágono; Escuchó a  oradores sobre los principios del proceso de resolución del presupuesto, la seguridad alimentaria mundial, la superación de la inversión de los Estados Unidos en la cultura blanca y el impacto mundial del militarismo estadounidense; La delegación participó igualmente en los servicios de culto animados con poderosa predicación.

En D.C. , visitamos 9 oficinas del Congreso para reunirnos con el personal de la Política Exterior (7  de la Cámara de Representantes y 2 oficinas del Senado) y dejamos carpetas con artículos de fondo y cartas que describen algunas de las peticiones legislativas de CRLN para esta sesión del Congreso:

1) Legislación que suspenda la ayuda militar y policial a Honduras (HR1299); 2) Proporcionar fondos en el proceso de Asignaciones de Ayuda Extranjera para implementar los Acuerdos de Paz de Colombia, e impulsar al gobierno colombiano a desmantelar a los paramilitares; 3) Promover legislación para poner fin al bloqueo y restricciones de viajes a Cuba. También dejamos carpetas con estas solicitudes en otras 5 oficinas que no pudieron reunirse con nosotrxs.

¡Una semana después de nuestro regreso a Chicago, 2 representantes más de Illinois firmaron la legislación HR1299! Estamos manteniéndonos en contacto con las otras oficinas y nos pondremos en contacto con usted si usted vive en uno de esos distritos con maneras de apoyar este esfuerzo.

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CRLN is a proud supporter of the IL TRUST Act and the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois!



recently passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 31 to 21. The TRUST Act will help keep federal immigration enforcement separate from local law enforcement, will enact safe zones in communities, will help immigrant crime victims seek legal assistance, and prevent Illinois from participating in any sort of discriminatory registry.

➢ Bar law enforcement agencies in Illinois from complying with any ICE detainers or warrants that are not supported by a court-issued warrant

➢ Limit arrests based solely on immigration-related information included in federal databases

➢ Bar 287(g) agreements to deputize local police to execute immigration enforcement and limit other cooperation and information sharing with immigration enforcement (without a courtissued criminal warrant) ➢ Bar the use of private prisons to house immigration detainees

➢ Forbid use of immigration-related threats or verbal abuse by law enforcement agents

➢ Set deadlines and standards for law enforcement agencies to respond to requests for certifications needed to process U visa applications

➢ Establish an Illinois TRUST Act Compliance Board to train law enforcement agencies regarding this law and identify and research further issues regarding the impact of detainers

➢ Provide a private right of action for anyone to sue any agency that violates this Act

➢ Amend the Illinois Criminal Procedure Code to clarify provisions that probation officers and judges have used to ask about immigration status

➢ Allow certain individuals (including immigrants) to reopen prior criminal cases based on inadequate counsel or successful completion of probation. For immigrants, this provision could help them avoid deportation.


1. Make a call to your Representative and ask them to support the TRUST Act when it comes up for a vote!

How to contact your Representative:

1.       Go to


2.       Enter your address and click “Find Address”

3.       Click “Confirm Address”

4.       Find “Representative District__”

5.       Call their Office(s)

6.       Please email me to let us know that you called or left a message.

2. Join us and other ICIRR members as we travel to Springfield to advocate for the TRUST Act. The Illinois TRUST Act needs to pass out of the house by May 31st. We need your support! E-mail


if you’re willing to go to Springfield on May 30th!

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