Welcome to the homepage of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN).

Mission: The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)  builds partnerships among social movements and organized communities within and between the U.S. and Latin America. We work together through popular education, grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct action to dismantle U.S. militarism, neoliberal economic and immigration policy, and other forms of state and institutional violence.We are united by our liberating faiths and inspired by the power of people to organize and to find allies to work for sustainable economies, just relationships and human dignity.  

Misión en español: 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.

 
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CRLN gratefully acknowldges the support of the following Foundations: Crossroads Fund, Helen Brach Foundation, Landau Family Foundation, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. 

Fight for Justice for the Garcia Family, Demand an Investigation NOW!

[Español aqui ]

Earlier this year, Chicago Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents deported the Garcia family, an Illinois family of four, using extremely disturbing tactics.In the case of...

Read CEPR's Press Release: “Have US-Funded CARSI Programs Reduced Crime and Violence in Central America?”

CRLN has worked since its inception to defund U.S. military aid to Latin American countries because of its use to prop up dictators, to foment coups against democratically elected governments, and to suppress civilian groups working for social justice and human rights. After 2000, our concern included police aid, too, because of the militarization of civilian police forces that routinely engaged in systematic human rights abuses.

For this reason, CRLN is wary of the Alliance for Prosperity (AFP), a $750 million/year plan to address the structural issues in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that led to the mass migration of unaccompanied children to the U.S. Fully 46% of that funding will go to the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), created in 2010, which has militarized the fight against organized crime in that region and coincided with increased levels of violence. Even in fiscal year 2016, before the AFP has been implemented, $349 million dollars has been allocated for CARSI, up from $170 million in fiscal year 2015.

Now the Center for Economic and Policy Research has published a study that gives weight to CRLN’s concerns about funding for CARSI. You can read a press release, which includes a link to the full report, here.

Women in Resistance: GHRC’s Guatemala Delegation Report Back

Women in Resistance: GHRC’s Guatemala Delegation Report Back

Photo Credits: Trischa Goodnow

(Español aquí)

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission had its annual August delegation centered in the pivotal role of Guatemalan women in human rights defense. The delegation “Defensoras: Guatemalan Women Defending Land, Justice and Human Rights” took place in diverse locations in Guatemala from July 30 th to August 7 th , 2016. CRLN’s staff member, Marisa Leon Gomez, joined other women working and advocating for human rights in the United States and Latin America to learn and share with their Guatemalan counterparts. The delegation started in Guatemala City with visits to different organizations, then traveled to Nebaj, in the Quiche Department to meet with women from the Mayan Ixil community, returned to Guatemala City, and finished with a visit to the communities of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, who are in a peaceful resistance against a U.S. mining company. The first visit of the delegation was to the permanent exhibit, ¿Por qué estamos como estamos? (Why are we like we are?), for the delegates to gain background on the situation of racism, discrimination, inequality and violence currently afflicting Guatemalan society.

Press Conference to Demand Investigation for the Garcia Family

[Spanish here.]

WHAT: Press Conference to Demand Investigation for Garcia Family 

WHEN: Wednesday, August 31, 10:30 AM.

WHERE: 101 W. Congress 

Join Mounting Pressure to Cut Security Aid to Honduras

( Español aquí ) Photo credit: Erik McGregor / Via AP

Our organizing is working . Public pressure from all over the U.S. and internationally has led to massive coverage of the situation in Honduras, even in mainstream media, this year. That media had largely point to—and still often continues to focus on—gangs and drugs as sources for the widespread violence to which Hondurans have been subjected. Meanwhile at CRLN, we’ve been all too aware of the escalating state-sponsored attacks on human rights defenders since the 2009 coup, and working to hold U.S. decision makers accountable for funds and training provided to the Honduran police and military.

And then, in March of this year, world-renowned environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres was killed.

The shock and outrage at her assassination escalated the work of Honduran human rights defenders and sparked increased indignation and energy in the international community. Since March, solidarity organizers in the U.S., working with Berta’s daughters and leaders of COPINH (the organization Berta co-founded and led), have demonstrated publicly, hosted caravans, heckled public officials, moved Congress to act, published hard-hitting articles and letters, and so much more.

PEACE IN COLOMBIA: Final Accords Include Ethnic Chapter

Español aquí Photo: Government and FARC negotiators finalize details of the Peace Accords where the Ethnic Chapter will be included

After four and a half years of preliminary and formal negotiations and 52 years of war, the Colombian state and FARC guerillas have concluded their peace negotiations and finalized the Peace Accords.

This moment is certainly historic and will mark the first experience of official peace ever experienced by many Colombians. And while we celebrate an end to the fighting between the Colombian state and FARC guerillas, we also know that the months and years to come will be deeply challenging as real peace is hopefully established for the many sides of Colombian society, not just these two sides of the armed conflict.

CRLN first heard about the finality of the Accords on Tuesday, August 23rd, when our partners at Black Communities’ Process (PCN, their acronym in Spanish) alerted us that the agreements would be signed without the inclusion of an ‘Ethnic Chapter’ . For years, African descendant and Indigenous communities have been fighting for a place at the negotiating tables and have organized themselves into an Ethnic Commission constituted by the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA), the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), and the High Government of Indigenous Authorities.

The Ethnic Commission is crucial to a successful and sustainable peace, because much of the peace process concerns rural land that is ancestral territory to the disproportionately African descendant and Indigenous survivors of displacement and violence.

Call & Tweet TODAY! Afro & Indigenous Peoples for Peace in Colombia!

Early this morning, CRLN got word that the Colombian Government and FARC guerillas are hoping to finalize the Peace Agreements today or tomorrow without considering the inclusion of an Ethnic Chapter. For years, organized African descendant and Indigenous communities have demanded a place at the negotiating table in Havana. Over the past five decades, violence has disproportionately affected African descendant and Indigenous peoples, especially women. Although some of the issues affecting Ethnic peoples--such as land distribution--have been discussed, their proposals have not been factored into the final Accords, thus marginalizing those who have the most at stake in what peace actually looks like.

CRLN, as part of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN), has been supporting the demands of Afro and Indigenous Colombians and continues to do so today by releasing the statement below to decision makers in the U.S. and Colombia. To support lasting peace in Colombia and the work of Afro & Indigenous communities, make a call and send a tweet TODAY !

Join us! Únase a nosotrxs! Encuentro at the Border: Oct 7-10

(Español abajo)

This October 7-10, join us in Nogales, Arizona for our first bi-national convergence at the U.S./Mexico border to demand a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy.

This year's vigil in Nogales is a response to the present-day call to solidarity.

The border mobilization in Nogales is one more way to fight for the closure of the School of the Americas, and to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. We cannot forget that many of our immigrant brothers and sisters are survivors of U.S.-sponsored atrocities in Latin America. In calling attention to the militarization of the border, we continue to demand an end to state-sponsored terrorism and violence against our communities on both sides of the border.

Take Action on Jose Juan's Third Month in Sanctuary

Today, Jose Juan, the father of 5 US citizen, completes his third month in Sanctuary at University Church in Chicago, a CRLN member congregation. Although he has called Illinois home for more than 17 years, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to separate him from his family and community because seven years ago Jose Juan made a mistake and drove after drinking. Although he has paid all his fine and fees and has shown deep remorse, ICE has refuse to exercise discretion to stop his deportation. Today, Jose Juan remains determined to fight to stay with his family. In his third month of Sanctuary, will you please show your support by signing his...

Make a Call! HR 5474 Calls for Suspension of Military/Police Aid to Honduras

( Español aquí ) Rep. Hank Johnson, joined by Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, and Luis Gutierrez, are co-sponsors of HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Bill , named after the assassinated Indigenous Honduran environmental activist. This is the first piece of legislation since the 2009 coup that would immediately suspend U.S. security aid to Honduras until the military and police perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice and until the Honduran state meets certain human rights standards.

The bill is now in the process of gathering co-sponsors and CRLN has notified Illinois Representatives. Now we need your help!

Click here to find your member of the House of Representatives, call their office in Washington DC, ask for the Foreign Policy staffer, & tell them or leave the following message:

I’m calling to ask that Rep. _________ co-sponsor H.R.5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act . My community does not want our tax dollars funding death squads in Honduras. Instead we want a full and independent investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres, prosecution of the intellectual and material authors of her murder, and the establishment of democratic systems of justice in Honduras in order to protect the rights of hundreds of political activists under attack all over the country.

The text of the "Dear Colleague" letter Rep. Johnson sent to his fellow legislators contains more details. It is printed in its entirety below.

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