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Anti-Militarism: News & Updates

News Article

On behalf of IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) members, we wrote six letters this month to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries.  We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, (3) bring human rights criminals to justice.

Volunteers with the Rapid Response Network (RRN)—together with IRTF staff—write letters in response to six urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn , or ask us to mail you hard copies.

News Article

In this monthly newsletter, we highlight the work of Ohio Immigrant Alliance in advocating for the asylum rights of Black Mauritanians.

Black, African and Caribbean migrants seeking safety in the United States have been treated unfairly for decades. They are subject to deportation proceedings at a higher rate than other migrants. They are denied asylum at higher rates. They have higher rates of detention and solitary confinement. All of this is rooted in institutionalized racism.

The racist treatment of Black migrants is very much reflected in Ohio’s sole immigration court (Cleveland) where deportation proceedings against Mauritanians are disproportionately represented. While Cleveland is just one of 69 immigration courts, 18% of all deportation proceedings filed against Mauritanians have been filed in Cleveland this fiscal year (11,623 nationally; 2,146 Ohio).

In the Take Action section, you can learn more about Ohio Immigrant Alliance’s efforts to get DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) to designate TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for Mauritanians. If granted TPS, they would not be placed into deportation proceedings.

Read this monthly newsletter in its entirety at https://www.irtfcleveland.org/blog.

News Article

Liberation Theology: History and Praxis

On July 18, IRTF in coalition with the Autonomous University of Political Education held a discussion on the history and praxis of Liberation Theology. Through collective knowledge and wisdom sharing we gained insight into the role that theology has played in revolutionary struggles, from the forests of Central America to the olive groves of Palestine.

 After a presentation on context with key takeaways and common vocabulary, organizers from different anti-imperialist faith communities shared from their own lived experiences. Our friend Allie told us about anti-zionist activism with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Chance from the Palestinian Youth Movement explained the relations between Islam, Christianity and the Palestinian Liberation struggle. He spoke on the importance of love, peace and solidarity, which makes up the core of Islam and cooperation with Christian and Jewish movements. To also get a deeper understanding of Liberation Theology from the Christian context, former IRTF coordinator Tony Vento talked about the decades he has been part of the fight for freedom, peace and equality within the Latin American solidarity movement. Our co-director Chrissy moderated the panel, and gave insight into their relationship with their Colombian culture and the role faith plays in their work. 

If you are interested in our discussion you can watch the recording, at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/179_Uae3f3k-qqZYfWEZuIxhE0Q-aBfnf or listen to the audio version. 

We deeply enjoyed this get together, the exchange of ideas, and discussion between speakers and guests alike. We want to thank all our supporters and volunteers who made this possible and the friends and other guests who took part. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this event, we plan to host another session in September. Stay tuned for more information. 

 

News Article

Nicaragua's struggle for sovereigty and self determination has been a thorn in the side of many political figures in the United States for decades. After the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution overthrew the 43 year long dynasty dictatorship of the Somoza family in 1979 and took power, the United States began its opposition campaign by arming the Contra militia and establishing a total embargo against the country, which was only lifted after the Sandinista government was voted out in an election heavily influenced by the United States in 1990.

After the Nicaraguan people elected Daniel Ortega, a member of the Sandinista FSLN party in 2006, the United States stepped up its sanctions again. Most recently the United States has established a ban on the importation of Nicaraguan gold and sugar, two of the country's most important export products.

Now in 2023 Republican and Democrat senators alike are starting a new attempt to double down on these sanctions, trying to restrict loans for economic development from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) which funds roads, water and energy projects, as well as housing in the country.  The legislation proposed by the leadership of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Sen.Tim Kaine, Sen. Marco Rubio) would also ban the sale of coffee, beef and a number of fair trade products produced by small indigenous collectives. If imposed, these sanctions would infringe upon the property rights of U.S. citizens and residents investing in Nicaragua by mandating no new investment or even home improvement. Furthermore, the US mandates a search for human rights violations or some other way to suspend Nicaragua from DR-CAFTA, a trade agreement that has benefited both the United States and Nicaragua. If this legislation goes through, the ban of loans by the CABEI would take away one of the last sources of loans; the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have already stopped most loans as part of active sanctions. 

Although there is legitimate critique of Daniel Ortega's government, which has come from Sandinistas and NGO's alike, it is undeniable that the FSLN government has made astounding progress in areas like education, social security, housing, and infrastructure. If the United States imposes further sanctions, it would be a severe blow to the Nicaraguan budget and its ability to keep social programs in place.  

We share the Alliance for Global Justice's call to stop the senators' plans to impose new sanctions and call for an end to the violent sanctions already harming Nicaragua's civilian population.   If you want to help to stop further sanctions, you can  Click here to send messages to your senators!        

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