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Anti-Militarism: News & Updates
November 7, 2021
On Sunday, November 7, 2021, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF) will hold a special online gathering to mark the 41st anniversary of the ultimate sacrifice made by two Cleveland women in El Salvador (Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel of Cleveland), along with Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke. The four women paid with their lives for their decision to stay in solidarity with poor, marginalized victims of the US-sponsored armed violence, which eventually claimed the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans and the led to the mass exodus of 1 million refugees. IRTF was founded by people of faith and conscience to honor their powerful witness and carry forward their legacy of solidarity. Please join our guest speakers from Honduras as we celebrate IRTF’s four decades of solidarity with the people of Central America and Colombia: promoting peace, justice, human rights, and systemic transformation through nonviolence.
Migrant Justice: Green card installation represents hundreds of thousands of TPS families in need of permanent relief
October 14, 2021
The 400 placards installed in front of the U.S. Capitol read in part “United States of America Permanent Resident,” symbolized 400,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and families who need permanent relief. Among the speakers was Sitar Llama, who said he was representing nearly 15,000 Nepali TPS holders “whose lives are on the line.” “I was not able to see my kids grow up. My wife and I have lived apart for 20 years,” he said in a press release received by Daily Kos. “I work very hard 11-hour shifts, but I cannot get a promotion without a green card. The White House and Congress make our lives hard by not giving us citizenship.” Immigrants and advocates with the Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) collaborative effort stressed that a united Democratic front does have the power to bring permanent relief not just to Llama and other TPS holders but to millions of immigrants.
October 13, 2021
Excerpt: This is a time when the State is very clear that it is going to do everything possible to deprive the Garífuna community of its territory to hand it over to investors. That is why we reaffirm that there is a genocidal plan against the Garífuna people. And that is why we are making a call to see what is happening in Honduras. People have left the country en masse and continue to leave. The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, says “don't come.” However, the United States continues to support corrupt governments like this one, governments that violate human rights. We all have the right to migrate, but we also have the right to stay in the country and live well. Because this is a country where we could live in well-being, only that it is captured by a mafia that does not let us live.
October 12, 2021
We wrote to officials in Honduras to denounce the assassination of Óscar Javier Pérez, former member of a campesino organization in the Aguán Valley of northern Honduras. In October 2016, Óscar Javier Pérez was an eyewitness to the assassinations of José Ángel Flores, president of MUCA (Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán Valley) and Silmer Dionisio George, also a leader of MUCA (cf our letter October 25, 2016). On September 20, 2020, one of the murderers of José Ángel Flores and Silmer Dionisio George was captured. On October 10, 2021, Óscar Javier Pérez was riddled with bullets at his home in the community of Quebradas de la Arena, Tocoa, Colón Department. A motivation for the killing of Óscar Javier Pérez could be to silence him from giving testimony at an upcoming court trial. For the past decade, campesino rights organizations in the Aguán Valley have denounced the assassinations of their leaders and members. They point to the presence of armed paramilitary groups created to sow terror in the area. These groups are protected by the police and the army who are aware of their existence and allow them to operate unrestricted.
October 11, 2021
The Forever Foundation led an "Inverse Caravan" to ratify the willingness of its participants to stay in this Central American nation. It moved from the country's western border to downtown San Salvador. The Inverse Caravan organizers highlighted that migration flows would decrease if there were greater educational opportunities for young people. More specifically, they asked the Bukele administration, corporations, and social organizations to work together to increase the levels of employment and education in El Salvador. "If we want young people to stay in the country, then let's join forces to support development projects and making young people become replicators of their experience in their communities," the Forever Foundation Chairman Alejandro Gutman said.
October 11, 2021
In summer 2021, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris came to Central America and told would-be migrants: “Do not come.” More recently, photos of U.S. Border Patrol agents whipping Haitian refugees in the Texas desert brutally drove that message home. This anti-migrant message is dehumanizing and wrong. But the truth is, many of us would love nothing more than to stay in our homes. It’s Washington that’s making it difficult. The Garifuna are being forcibly displaced from our beautiful traditional lands along the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Our livelihoods are threatened by the expansion of the global tourist industry, African palm plantations, so-called “Special Economic Development and Employment Zones” (also called Model Cities), and drug cartels that run cocaine through our territories, destined for U.S. markets.
October 5, 2021
The National Assembly voted (63 out of 84) to approve reforms to the Judicial Careers Law to forcibly retire judicial employees who are older than 60 years of age or who have more than 30 years of service. This decision is also having negative repercussions on cases of major national and international interest like the case of the El Mozote Massacre, whose judge is among those unconstitutionally ousted by changes to the law. In response to the decision by the legislative body, the Judge of San Francisco Gotera, Jorge Guzmán, has announced his resignation as the judge overseeing the case of the El Mozote Massacre, indicating that he will not return to office unless the reforms to the Judicial Careers Law are repealed. The Association in Defense of Human Rights of El Mozote also lamented the recent reforms given that Judge Guzmán “is the only person who has accumulated enough evidence to move forward the case of the El Mozote Massacre."
October 3, 2021
The United States seeks to push an Anti-Corruption Task Force in Central America, without Central American support, indicates Eric Olson, director of Policies and Strategic Initiatives of the Seattle International Foundation, quoted by El Periódico de Guatemala. This was echoed by National Security Officer for the Western Hemisphere, Juan González, and the special envoy for the Northern Triangle, Ricardo Zúñiga. The officials spoke of working in the region with actors from civil society, private companies and key representatives, to combat corruption as a central part of what Washington wants to do to move towards a Central America that protects human dignity in each country. The US proposes to investigate cases against politicians, officials and members of organized crime who have collaborated or committed crimes in the United States. The news article also quotes the Guatemalan ambassador in Washington, DC, Alfonso Quiñónez, and indicates that he is aware of this situation.
RRN Case Update
September 30, 2021
SEP 2021: RRN letters summaries
SEP 11 2021. COLOMBIA. assassinated: student leader Esteban Mosquera . SEP 12 2021. HONDURAS. forced eviction: campesino families in Guaimaca . SEP 23 2021. HONDURAS. intimidation and assault: Donny Reyes, defender of LGBT rights. SEP 24 2021. GUATEMALA. assassinated: campesino and land rights leader Ramón López Jiménez. SEP 25 2021. COLOMBIA. death threats: journalist José Alberto Tejada. SEP 26 2021. HONDURAS. threatened: journalists Deyni Menjivay and Héctor Madrid
September 30, 2021
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued broad new directives to immigration officers Thursday saying that the fact that someone is an undocumented immigrant “should not alone be the basis” of a decision to detain and deport them from the United States.The Biden administration will continue to prioritize the arrest and deportation of immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety and those who recently crossed a border illegally into the United States, Mayorkas said in an interview. Mayorkas said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers should not attempt to arrest and deport farmworkers, the elderly and others who were vulnerable to deportation under the Trump administration, which allowed agents to arrest anyone in the United States illegally. He also said agents should avoid detaining immigrants who land on their radar because they spoke out against “unscrupulous” landlords or employers, or at public demonstrations. The new rules take effect Nov. 29.