Cuba: New Year’s in Havana

Cuba2010025 Cuba2010027 cuba malecon

Cuba: New Year’s in Havana

December 27, 2014- January 4th, 2015

Deadline to apply Friday Nov 7, 2014

Community Engagement and Sustainable Development in Cuba For more information and an application please contact Tanya at tanya@wfpsw.org or Malia@altruvistas.com. Malia Phone: 415-735-5407 or Tanya 805-669-VIVA Greetings to you! We wanted to extend a special invitation to you to join us in Cuba to learn about the Cuban reality today while celebrating New Years with your social justice community. This special journey explores the the innovation Cuba has demonstrated in all fields of sustainable human and environmental development. Learn about the “fruits of the Revolution” as you visit social institutions like schools and hospitals. Engage with organic farmers, community organizers, architects, social workers, educators and more. Explore what the US embargo has meant to the Cuban people and what US/Cuban relations might look like in the future. Examine how Cuba organizes its social, political and economic system. Develop a deeper understanding of social and economic changes in Cuba today as you hear from the Cubans what there hopes and aspirations are for the future as you travel from Havana to outside provinces, and explore both urban and rural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And, yes, celebrate New Years in Havana from a rooftop with live salsa band! The delegation cost starts from $2475-2675 (for a group of 15-18 and 10-14) and includes Cuba Visa, Compulsory Cuban Health Insurance, Double Room Accommodations in 3 star hotels, Two Meals a day, Transport by AC motor coach, a Full Time Cuban guide and translator, Full Program, Entrance and Program Fees, Honoraria, Donations and a rooftop New Years Eve party with live salsa band!. The price does NOT include airfare, one meal a day, gratuities, travel insurance or personal expenses related to travel. Airfare from Miami to Havana roundtrip including the $65 Cuban visa is available for $550. Single rooms are available for an additional $350. Contact us for a tentative itinerary or for a list of FAQ’s. This is a legally licensed people to peole travel delegation to Cuba. This journey is powered by Altruvistas and organized by Obtenga World, a licensed Travel Service Provider. Witness for Peace Southwest is an advocacy organization that is actively working to end the US embargo and travel ban against Cuba. Anyone interested in learning about Cuba is welcome! Draft Itinerary: Dec 27 Arrival into Havana We will be staying at the Hotel Capri, it has a great location. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147271-d6353319-Reviews-NH_Capri_La_Habana-Havana_Cuba.html It just was renovated. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/havana-mob-hotel-capri-reopens-after-renovation Orientation meeting and welcome cocktail. Welcome dinner and Evening meeting at the home of the renown photographer, Robert Salas for a pictorial overview of the Cuban Revolution. Dec. 28th. AM Briefing and exchange with architect, Miguel Coyula. Here you will learn about the history, development and future trajectory of Cuba’s Capital, Havana. Am Guided walking tour of old Havana and many of its beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will journey through history and visit the four main colonial plazas and meet with Cubans from artists to entrepreneurs that inhabit these bustling streets. Lunch la imprenta Visit to community project benefiting from tourism like Convento de Belen (social, education and health care development project serving elders and children). Here we will learn about community development and meet with locals. City tour continues. PM Exchange with the Muraleando community at a special development arts project, and learn about how art and social enterprise have transformed a neighborhood. Eve -Free for cultural activities ( Casa de Musica in Miramar for salsa dancing). Dec. 29th. Am Meeting with the FMC the Federation of Cuban Women to learn about the advancements of gender equity in Cuba today. AM Travel to the community of Alamar-exchange with Miguel, the founder of a wonderful urban agriculture farm at Vivero and meet with other local farmers. Learn about urban agriculture, organics and modern food security issues and how local food production benefited the urban population. PM Visit to the Forteleza, Che’s command center and then the Museum of the Revolution. Dinner EVE Free for Cultural options ( Palacio de la Rumba traditional cuban music) Dec. 30th. AM Visit with FANJ-Fundacion de Antionio Nunez a wonderful NGO in Cuba dedicated to sustainable development and environmental protection. Here will will learn about sustainable community development in Cuba. Optional visit to learn about contemporary Cuban Artes at the Bellas Artes Musuem Lunch at the Casa de Amistad PM Briefing by ICAP, the Cuban Institute for the People for a discussion of current US/Cuban international relations. Discuss the impacts of the US embargo and travel restrictions on Cuban society and its national development. PM Enjoy a private rooftop concert as we enjoy a musical overview (Grupo MEZCLA reserved ) Dinner at a local paladar and Eve free for cultural activities Dec. 31st AM Literacy Museum and meeting with a representative from CENEXEX to discuss literacy advances, gender rights, LGBYT community rights, and the future of Civil Rights in the Cuban revolution. City Tour of Havana continues by bus to important sites like the Revolution Square, the University of Havana, and other sites. Free time in Old Havana or to rest for the evening. Eve NYRS Dinner and Celebration! Rooftop party with live salsa band and lots of Cuban friends! Jan. 1st AM check out of hotel to leave for the Zapata Peninsula a UNESCO bioreserve, located in Matanzas. Depart for Playa Girón. We will visit an environmental reserve, Bermejas Preserve, which took the brunt of Hurricane Michelle in November 2001. Local conservationists have been assisting the natural recovery process here under park supervision. PM We will check in to a local hotel on Playa Larga. We will receive a lecture outlining the history of the reserve and current projects and after they will have an opportunity to share in small group discussion with volunteers working on the reserve. Jan. 2nd Am Optional morning biodiversity hike for birdwatching. Perhaps you might see the smallest bird in the world, the bee humming bird. Exchange with local naturalists from CITMA. Am Visit to the Play Giron Bay of Pigs Museum and learn about this important historic event from the Cuban perspective. PM Visit to the Caleta Buena and enjoy the marine ecology. EVE Meeting with a local CDR-the Commites for the Defense of the Revolution Jan. 3rd. AM Visit to “Central Australia” and the Memorial Library “50th Anniversary of the Carbonera Dinner with Fidel”, in Batey Soplillar, with an exact replica of the huts where the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz, shared the dinner (on Christmas Evening ) December 24th Day 1959, with the Charcoal cookers area. AM Return to La Havana. Check back into the hotel. PM Meeting with a specialist on Climate Change in Cuba. Dialogue about sustainable trends, resource conservation and the impacts of climate changes in Cuba with The National Centre for Protected Areas and how this will impact Cuba’s economic future and coastal populations. Farewell Dinner at La Torre with invited speakers on Youth in Cuba. EVE Free for optional cultural activities . Jan. 4th AM Breakfast. Wrap up meeting For more information and an application please contact Tanya at tanya@wfpsw.org or Malia@altruvistas.com. Malia Phone: 415-735-5407 or Tanya 805-669-VIVA

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440830556180863/

FAQS: https://wfpsw.org/faqs-about-travel-to-cuba/

Venezuela: Witness Participatory Democracy in Action

filecdn

Venezuela: Witness Participatory Democracy in Action

November 9th to 17th, 2014

In the past 15 years, the people of Venezuela have participated in 19 free, fair, and democratic elections. After the untimely 2013 passing of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelans elected Nicolas Maduro to replace him and ratified the ruling socialist party in nationwide municipal elections. But Venezuela’s experiment with participatory democracy isn’t just about voting often. This year, with no election in sight, thousands upon thousands of organized communities decided it was time to form Communes, consolidating their grassroots Communal Councils into larger, more complex, democratic spaces. 795 Communes are now registered with the National Government, and the goal is to build 3,000 by 2019. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition openly rejects the growing “Communal State” and blames the Bolivarian Government for inflation, the scarcity of basic goods, and violence. Deadly protests earlier this year demonstrate that a better understanding of Venezuela’s social, economic, and political transformations is urgently needed.

CRBZ 023

This trip will familiarize participants with the ways and means of Venezuelan democracy, providing a unique opportunity to witness the coming together of popular public policies and grassroots organization. Delegates will learn about, and visit, a range of social programs known as the Misiones or Missions – the National Government’s way of implementing the universal right to food, housing, health, education, gainful employment, information, and leisure. Participants will also meet with members of the country’s opposition, including students and journalists, allowing for an integral understanding of Venezuela’s ongoing struggle to heal wounds of the past.

GC Seguimos en Resistencia

Cost: $1,150 which includes full program in Venezuela, airport pick up and drop off, in country transportation, bi-lingual trip leaders and interpretation, 2 meals a day, background reading materials, donations to Venezuelan organizations, and lodging. $150 deposit due by October 12th, 2014. Airfare to Caracas NOT INCLUDED.

 

Contact: Witness for Peace Southwest |  tanya@wfpsw.org |  805-669-VIVA | www.wfpsw.org |

Honduran congress members brutalized by military police, Social Movements march on the capital

honduras tear gas congress

 

Click Here to ask your Representative to support Human Rights in Honduras

 

Calls and emails needed to State Department and US Embassy in Honduras demanding the US denounce the brutal attacks that took place at the Honduran congress.

Sample script: “Madam, Are you aware that just recently Honduran military police broke down doors at the Honduran National Congress and subjected elected congress persons to violence, beatings, and teargas forcibily ejecting these elected officials from their congressional posts? Has Secretary Kerry or US Ambassador Kubiske condemend this violent use of force against elected officials of the Honduran congress?”

 

CONTACT:

Call State Department- Honduras Desk: 

Kelsi Cambronne 202-647-3505

Emails to State Department and US Embassy: 

Kelsi Cambronne, Honduras Desk Officer- CambronneKL@state.gov

Amanda Johnson Miller, US Embassy Human Rights Attache- Johnson-MillerA@state.gov

 

Honduran LIBRE congress members brutalized and teargassed by military police inside congressional building.

diputadas Honduras-military police

Video here of military police repressing congresspersons inside and outside congressional building.

Video of two women LIBRE congesspersons overrun and trampled by military police.

 

“The Order From the National Congress Was to Repress All Action by the Opposition.”  

Marvin Palacios, May 13, 2014.  Defensores en Linea (COFADEH)

The President of the National Congress, Maurico Oliva, gave the order to brutally repress the opposition party Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE)  and the activists and leaders that were demonstrating peacefully below the National Congress.

The order of the day was repression and violence, said the congressmembers from LIBRE.  The violent actions led by agents of the State left several congressmembers hospitalized and dozens of demonstrators with serious blows/injuries, produced by the brutality with which riot troops and military police acted.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon a strong contingent of military police, police from the Special Operations Command (COBRA), and military troops entered into the hall of sessions of the National Congress, occupied strategic positions inside the big hall, surrounded the congressmembers of LIBRE and began to use batons, tear gas bombs, and shields to assault, push and mistreat and beat the representatives of the people.

There was no consideration for anyone, including congressmembers such as Claudia Garmendia, congressmember from the department of El Paraíso, who suffered the charge of the military soldiers, in which she was surrounded on the floor, and rescued by one of her congressmember companions.

Ex-President Zelaya, upon being expelled with shoves and blows from the second level of the National Congress, where he presides over the bench of the 36 congressmembers of LIBRE, said `those who are governing Honduras are beasts.’

Later he added sadly that `it’s only taken 100 days for president Juan Orlando Hernández to show us his fangs; he will not be releected to govern because the Honduran people reject his dictatorship.’

In the streets of the historic center you could breath smoke and pepper gas in industrial quantities, and while people covered their mouths with scarves, others were persecuted and beaten by those in uniform.

The central park was once again the scene of battle between demonstrators and police, but in disproportionate conditions.  Many of the protesters were persecuted and beaten by those in uniform.

Congressmember Claudia Garmendia was hospitalized because of the blows and gases she received inside the hall of sessions of the National Congress; also the congressmembers Elvia Argentina Erazo (Copán) and Audelia Rodríguez (Atlántida).

Congressmembers Hari Dixon, Rafael Alegría, and Wilfredo Paz were beaten.  The Red Cross transfered several disheartened and injured people to the Hospital Escuela.

Several days ago LIBRE called for a peaceful demonstration underneath the National Congress [Transl:  the building is sort of on big stilts, with an open area on the first floor; the actual congress is on the second floor], demanding that, because LIBRE is the second political force in the country, with 36 congressmembers, it be represented in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.  The demand was met by a response from the President of Congress Mauricio Oliva that LIBRE had to obtain 86 congressmembers in order to be included. And the other response from Oliva was made this afternoon, in ordering a brutal repression against the opposition politicians, activists, and leaders of LIBRE.

The situation is worrisome to human rights bodies, considering tomorrow environmentalists will arrive at the National congress tomorrow to demand an end to concessions for extraction of the country’s mineral resources.

The Honduras Solidarity Network has set up an emergency fund for Hondurans who need emergency medical help, relocation for security reasons and for the families and victims of human rights abuses and assassinations. Please support the Honduras Emergency Fund if you are able.

Honduran Social Movements en route to march on the Capital

caminata en camino honduras 2014 caminata honduras 2014

Campesinos, Indigenous peoples and members of the social movements launch a “caminata” march across the country with demands for “Dignity and Sovereignty”

 

Funds still needed for food, housing, transport and medical support for the dozens of organizations participating in the “caminata”. Donate here to the caminata. 

 

National Mobilization of the Territories 

May 14 and 15 join the grand national mobilization of the Territories “For Dignity and Sovereignty” 

We are mobilizing to demand the immediate liberty of our political prisoner compañero, José Isabel Morales, “Chabelo”, whose complete right to prove his innocence has been violated, unjustly condemned to 17.5 years in prison, because of the power of political interests, in complete violation of his rights as a citizen and of the Constitution of the Republic. 

We are mobilizing to demand the derogation of the Law of Agricultural Modernization and for the approval of the Decree of the Law for “Integral Agrarian Reform with Gender Equity for Food and Development Sovereignty”

We are mobilizing to demand the derogation of the mining law and the exit of the Hydroelectric and Mining Projects from the Territories

We are mobilizing to demand the derogation of the Law that puts into effect the Special Development and Employment Zones (ZEDE) or what is called Charter Cities, and we demand the resolution of the suit challenging its constitutionality in the Supreme Court of Justice by representatives of organizations from the Social and popular movement. 

We are mobilizing to demand the investigation of the femicides at the national level by the State and the punishment of those who, protected by the impunity that prevails in the Justice system, continue to commit barbaric acts. 

More than three months after the takeover of City Hall in San Francisco de Opalaca, COPINH demands that the State of Honduras respect the process of the Indigenous Lenca Government of San Francisco de Opalaca, respect the Indigenous and legitimate Mayorship, for its ancestral and historic authority, unrestricted respect for its self-determination, territories and natural goods. We demand the official removal of the Imposed Mayor.

The Mobilization will begin on Wednesday, May 14th in the morning, leaving from the community of Zambrano. 

Arrival in Tegucigalpa is planned for Thursday the 15th and we call for participation from the Popular Resistance; FNRP Collectives; Base Organizations of the Social and popular urban movement,  artists, writers, feminists, Youth, Leftist Political Organizations; LGBT Organizations and all the organizations that are in the struggle against the oppressor system and the continuation of the Coup d’E’tat of 2009, organizations in struggle against neoliberal policies, imperialism and the patriarchy. 

It is important to count on the solidarity of the citizenry in general, to bring water, basic grains (beans, rice, etc.) fuit, vegetables, mattresses, blankets and medicines for during the march and especially for the indefinite vigil that we will maintain beginning May 15 in the plaza below the National Congress. 

 

 “Listen People and Join in the Struggle!”

Liberty for Jose Isabel Morales Chabelo Now!

For an Integral Agraria Reform: Raise the Banners of Struggle!

Mining and Hydroelectric Projects: Out of Honduras!

Sovereignty YES! ZEDE or Charter Cities NO!

Justice! Justice! Justice!…Stop Stop the Femicides!

CONVOCAN:

Plataforma Regional Agraria del Aguan,  (MOCRA, MARCA, MUCA, MCA, Empresa Asociativa Rigores, Empresa Asociativa Vallecito, Empresa Asociativa Gregorio Chávez, Empresa Asociativa Salado Lis Lis. Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación, ERIC.  Asociación Intermunicipal y Vigencia Social de Honduras (AIDEVISH), Organizaciones de la Plataforma del Movimiento Social y Popular; Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo, CNTC, Región Norte, Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan COPA,  Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, COPINH, Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras, OFRANEH,  Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia, MADJ, Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos,  Instituto Ecuménico de Servicios a la Comunidad (INEHSCO) 

Red de Comercialización Comunitaria, Red COMAL.  

Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular, FNRP.  

Capítulo Honduras – Articulación de Movimientos Sociales hacía el ALBA, ALBAMOVIMIENTOS

Regional Agrarian Platform of the Aguan )MOCRA, MARCA, MUCA, MCA, EARigores, EA Vallecito, EAGregorio Chavez, EA Salado Lis Lis)

Team for Reflection, Investigation and Communication (ERIC)

Intermunicipal Association and Social Force of Honduras (AIDEVISH)

Organizations of the Platform for the Social and Popular Movement

National Center for Rural Workers (CNTC), Northern Region

Coordinator of Popular Organizations of the Aguan (COPA)

Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)

Fraternal BLack Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ)

National Network of Human Rights Defenders

Ecumenical Institute for Community Services (INEHSCO

Community Commercialization Network (Red COMAL)

National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP)

Honduran Chapter – Grouping of Social Movement to ALBA, ALBAMOVIMIENTOS

 

URGENT ACTION: Congress on Verge of Passing Sanctions on Venezuela!

2979_10151422864268645_1665835711_nURGENT ACTION: Congress on Verge of Passing Sanctions on Venezuela!

Click HERE to Oppose Sanctions on Venezuela.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bill for sanctions against Venezuela on Friday morning, May 9. Only Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Karen Bass (D-CA) spoke out against the bill. HR 4587 entitled the ‘‘Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act’, is sponsored by far-right Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The bill is expected to be voted on as soon as next week by the whole House in an expedited “suspension of rules” vote that would waive any debate.

Representative John Conyers (D-NY) is authoring a Dear Colleague letter this week that would support the Obama administration’s own opposition to sanctions on Venezuela in order to give the dialogue process a chance. Calling on more engagement with Venezuela rather than confrontational measures.

Help us in contacting your Reps to vote NO on HR4587 and for them to sign Rep. John Conyers’ Dear Colleague letter opposing any sanctions on Venezuela. The Vatican and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) are right now mediating talks between the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro and the democratic opposition. Sanctions at this time would undercut a peaceful solution to Venezuela’s problems and empower the violent opposition which is trying to achieve what they have been unable to achieve democratically in 16 elections since 1999.

This is an urgent situation. We cannot be complacent and assume that our Congressional allies will stop this ridiculous bill from becoming law. Please pass this alert on to your friends and neighbors and contact your Rep. yourself today telling them that you will be watching closely how they vote.

Click HERE to send a letter to your Rep.

Washington DC Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121

All you need to do is leave a message that you want the congressperson to vote No on HR4587 and you want them to support Rep. Conyers letter opposing any kind of sanctions on Venezuela.

If you would like a list of talking points on Venezuela click here.

To send a letter thanking Reps. Meeks and Bass for their vocal opposition to the Venezuela sanctions bill click HERE. Or Call Washington DC Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121

If you need any assistance or have questions contact tanya@wfpsw.org or call 805-669-8482.

Honduras: New Congressional Dear Colleague Letter open for signers. Ask your Rep to sign on!

 

Honduras Dear Colleague letter now with 67 signers! Has your Rep. Signed?

Rep. Shakowsky’s Dear Colleague letter on human rights in Honduras now has 67 signers. See the list below to see if your Rep. Has signed on yet. Click here to send a letter thanking your Rep for signing on. If you Rep has not signed click HERE to send a letter asking them to sign on by the letter;s deadline Wed May 21st.

Click HERE to Thank Your Rep or Ask your Rep to sign the Shakowsky Honduras Letter.

Schakowsky Honduras Letter Current Signers / May 12, 2014 – 9:00 am EST

1.         Schakowsky (IL)

2.         Johnson (GA )

3.         Farr (CA)

4.         Miller (CA)

5.         Grijalva (AZ)

6.         Kaptur (OH)

7.         McGovern (MA)

8.         Lee (CA)

9.         DeLauro (CT)

10.       Michaud (ME)

11.       Tierney (MA)

12.       Conyers (MI)

13.       DeFazio (OR)

14.       Takano (CA) *

15.       Capuano (MA)

16.       Keating (MA)

17.       Waters (CA)

18.       Welsh (VT)

19.       Moore (WI)

20.       Speier (CA)

21.       Pingree (ME)

22.       McDermott (WA)

23.       Bass (CA)

24.       Polis (CO)

25.       Cicilline (RI)

26.       Huffman (CA) *

27.       Nadler (NY)

28.       Van Hollen (MD)

29.       Slaughter  (NY)

30.       Brady (PA)

31.       McCollum (MN)

32.       Neal (MA)

33.       Honda (CA)

34.       Waxman (CA)

35.       Matusi (CA)

36.       Bera (CA) *

37.       McLeod (CA) *

38.       Pocan (WI) *

39.       Kind (WI)

40.       Ellison (MN)

41.       Tonko (NY)

42.       Lynch (MA)

43.       Hastings (WA)

44.       Castro (TX) *

45.       Blumenauer (OR)

46.       Langevin (RI)

47.       O’Rourke (TX) *

48.       Grayson (FL) *

49.       Cleaver (MO)

50.       Braley (IA)

51.       Jackson-Lee (TX)

52.       Garamendi (CA)

53.       Lewis (GA)

54.       Holt (NJ)

55.       Chu (CA)

56.       Kennedy (MA) *

57.       Brownley (CA) *

58.       Pascrell (NJ)

59.       Clark (MA) *

60.       Beatty (OH) *

61.       Swalwell (CA) *

62.       Gutierrez (IL)

63.       Enyart (IL) *

64.       Bonamici (OR)

65.       Shea-Porter (NH) *

66.       D. Davis (IL)

67.       Wasserman-Schultz

 

 

 

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED!
Contact the Foreign Policy Staffer in Washington DC Office of Your U.S. Rep in Congress!

We need your help! On Monday, April 28, 2014, Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) began circulating a sign-on “Dear Colleague” letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Farr and Hank Johnson (D-GA) have joined as initial co-signers. Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have also joined as initial co-signers.

The letter states that “egregious violations of human rights continue” almost 5 years after the coup. It raises concerns about militarization of the police, and the failure to investigate or prosecute human rights abuses, including in the Aguan Valley. The letter also raises concerns about freedom of speech and associations, and questions whether the November 2013 election was not free and fair.

The letter asks State Department to:
Pay close attention to these issues and strictly evaluate U.S. support for Honduran security forces, in accordance with conditions placed on the aid in the 2014 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.
Fully enforce the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. assistance to any individual or unit that has committed gross human rights abuses and is not being brought to justice.

The deadline to sign on is May 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM eastern time.

We need your help in securing the signature of your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this letter. Only members of the House can sign the letter.

To sign on to the letter (or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the letter), your Rep’s staffer must contact Andrew Goczkowski Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov in Schakowsky’s office. (NOTE: please do not contact Schakowsky’s staff yourself, but ask the staffer to do so).

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give them the name of your Rep, then ask to be connected:
(If you do not know the name of your Rep, please go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter in your zip code at the upper right).

When you call, ask to speak with the aide who handles Foreign Policy. Use the script below in speaking with the aide. If the aide does not recall seeing the letter, ask for the aide’s email address so that you can forward a copy of the letter.

If the foreign policy aide is not is not available, ask to leave a message on his or her voice mail. Be sure to get the name foreign policy staffer so you can follow up.

Script: “My name is _____. I am a constituent from (town / city) in (your state). I am calling to ask Senator _____ to sign the Jan Schakowsky letter on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Has Representative­___ seen this letter? Can I count on him/her to sign on? Please call me this week at (_your phone number_) to let me know if you have seen the letter, and if Representative _____ will sign it.”

In your phone conversation, you might highlight why this letter is important to you, especially if you have travelled to Honduras or heard a Honduran speak in your community.

PROMPT FOLLOW-UP:

It’s useful to follow up with an email to the aide. You can ask whoever answers the phone what their email is and/or use this formula if you know how to spell their name correctly (the person who first answer the phone can spell it for you): Firstname.Lastname@mail.house.gov, e.g. Jane.Doe@mail.house.gov
In an email, you can just ask them to sign the letter, and then if you like send some information.

Here are two useful general articles, and the recent statement from Reps. McGovern, Schakowsky, and Farr.

1. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/honduras-the-thugocracy-ext-door-103883.html
2. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/04/crucible-courage
3. http://mcgovern.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/statement-by-reps-mcgovern-farr-and-schakowsky-on-the-murder-in-honduras

If you learn that your Congressmember has agreed to sign, please notify me, Gary Cozette at cozettelada@ameritech.net, so we can confirm the signature with Rep. Schakowsky. Please contact me if you want to know if your representative has signed on. I will circulate updated lists of signers whenever we receive them from Rep. Schakowsky’s office.

NOTE: Please DO NOT send the letter to the media in either the US or Honduras until the letter has secured all signers and is formally delivered to the State Department with all signers and a press release. Also once again, please do not contact Schakowsky’s staff yourself, but ask your rep’s staffer to do to become a signer.

Gary L. Cozette
Honduras Solidarity Network – Congressional Working Group
Cell: 773.350.3518

Date: 4/28/2014
Join Letter to the State Department Urging Action to Protect Human Rights in Honduras
Current Signers: George Miller, Sam Farr, Henry C “Hank” Johnson, Raul Grijalva

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in signing the attached letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging action on the ongoing human rights situation in Honduras.

While a new Administration has recently been sworn in, grave concerns remain over the human rights situation. Vulnerable groups continue to be targets of intimidation and violence, military forces continue to be utilized for policing, and human rights abusers continue to operate with impunity in the region. The 2013 elections in Honduras were preceded by the assassination of several opposition candidates, and questions remain about discrepancies in the vote.

We hope you will join us in writing to Secretary Kerry to ensure that the State Department continues to urge the Honduran government to protect fundamental human rights in the region, end the use of military forces for law enforcement, investigate and prosecute abuses, and restore the rule of law.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign onto the letter, please contact Andrew Goczkowski in Rep. Schakowsky’s office at 202-225-2111, or by emailing Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Sam Farr
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress

May XX, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write to express concern about the ongoing human rights situation in Honduras. As a new President and Congress have recently taken office, we ask the State Department to use its leverage to urge the Honduran government to protect the fundamental human rights of its citizens, end the use of military forces for law enforcement, investigate and prosecute abuses, and, more broadly, restore the rule of law.

Almost five years after the 2009 coup ousting President Zelaya, egregious violations of human rights continue. The Associated Press has documented ongoing death-squad style killings by Honduran police. Independent media and human rights organizations continue to report that vulnerable groups, including members of the LGBT community and indigenous and campesino activists, are being targeted and killed. Basic labor rights are routinely violated and union leaders have received increased death threats in recent months.

Instead of implementing reforms to address those pervasive problems, the Honduran government adopted policies that threaten to make the human rights situation even worse. The former and current administrations have promoted the militarization of police forces and use their armed forces for domestic law enforcement. In August 2012, a new Military Police was created, with a projected size of at least 5,000. That force has committed human rights abuses while engaged in policing, such as the October 2013 raid on the home of opposition activist Edwin Espinal. Members of the armed forces are also implicated in the killing of Tomás Garcia in July 2013. Because of a continuing record of human rights abuses by the Honduran police and military, Members of Congress have repeatedly called for a cessation of U.S. aid to the country’s security forces.

Those and other human rights abuses have not been effectively investigated or prosecuted in recent years. According to the National Commissioner for Human Rights, during the last administration, dozens of lawyers and journalists were killed and 97 percent of cases regarding these suspected human rights abuses remain unpunished. The non-governmental group Rights Action cites allegations of almost 100 killings of lands rights activists in the area of Bajo Aguán. According to a Human Rights Watch study, there is “virtually complete impunity for crimes” believed to be associated with land conflicts in that region of the country.

We are also concerned about recent developments impeding Hondurans’ freedom of speech and association. In the first two months of 2014, the Honduran government published a new decree revoking the legal status of over ten thousand non-profit organizations, including a wide range of opposition groups. Those groups include women’s and environmental organizations, a prominent group that regularly reports on press freedom issues, and schools.

Finally, we are concerned about reports that last year’s election in Honduras was not free and fair. The human rights group COFADEH reports that at least 18 members of the leading opposition party LIBRE were assassinated in the lead-up to the election, with an additional six LIBRE-affiliated individuals and a well-known progressive journalist killed in the weeks after. Election observers documented widespread vote-buying activities, acts of intimidation, and cases of citizens’ names being eliminated from voting rolls. Challenges by opposition parties regarding discrepancies in the vote were not transparently addressed by the Supreme Electoral Council.

We ask that you pay close attention to those issues, strictly evaluating U.S. support and training for the Honduran police and military in accordance with human rights conditions placed in the 2014 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations law. We also ask that you fully enforce the Leahy Law, which prohibits assistance to individuals or units of any foreign military or police body that commit gross human rights abuses with impunity. The State Department, along with our embassy in Honduras, must take a consistent and public stance supporting those threatened with human rights abuses, and strongly encourage the investigation and prosecution of those perpetuating crimes, including state agents.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Webinar: Understanding Venezuela

Wednesday March 19th- 530pm PST/730pm CT/830pm EST

Click Here to Register for this Webinar

CHAVEZ-supporters-_2504378kVenezuela is at the forefront of revolutionary movements in the Americas. This webinar comes one year after the passing of revolutionary leader and former President Hugo Chávez. More than ever the Venezuelan people and countries across the Americas continue to support the Bolivarian and socialist project that he and the people championed. And more recently, this informative webinar comes as an act of resistance and solidarity following the right wing opposition´s violent attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro and garner international support for foreign, namely US, intervention. This webinar will be an on the ground live report by Caracas based Jeanette Charles, board member of Witness for Peace Southwest and newly appointed correspondent for Telesur-English. Information will be provided on how to join a WFPSW fact finding delegation to Venezuela in May and July of this year. Also we will discuss what we can do here at home in the U.S to stand in solidarity with the Bolivarian process and prevent US interference and US Media misrepresentation of the Venezuelan democratic process.

Presenter: Jeanette Charles is a grassroots educator, writer and youth organizer from Los Angeles, California. Member of the Chiapas Support Committee and board member for Witness for Peace Southwest. Jeanette has spent considerable time in and across the continental Americas with Afro and indigenous communities as well as popular media collectives. Jeanette is currently located in Caracas, Venezuela and recently became a correspondent for Telesur-English. Jeanette will lead the May WFPSW delegation to Venezuela.

Facilitator- Tanya Cole is Director of Witness for Peace Southwest based in the states of California, Arizona and New Mexico. WFPSW will be hosting 2 upcoming delegations to Venezuela in May and July.

May Delegation to Venezuela celebrating Afro-Venezuela History Month- May 17-26, 2014 ( $900)
July Delegation to Venezuela celebrating the birth of Simon Bolivar- July 19-27th, 2014 (price TBD)

Click Here to Register for this Webinar

For more information contact southwestwfp@gmail.com or call 805-669-VIVA.

Webinar-“Understanding Venezuela”

 Wed March 19, 2014 5:30pm PST/ 730pm CT/ 830pm EST

Call and Log in Details

Below are the conference details.

The conference has audio and visual options available.

1. For audio every participant must takes these steps:

From your phone call the conference call number: 1-646-307-1300 (East Coast)
You will be asked to enter an access code. Enter the code : 630087 followed by the # sign. You will now enter the conference. You will hear an announcement that the call is being recorded. (we hope to have a recording available for participants after the call)
All participants will be muted except for the organizers. To un-mute yourself in order to comment or ask a question press *6 on your phone.

2. Visual option available which includes a photos, visual reports and live chat room. (phone and internet required)

To access the visual conference guide click on the link below:

http://www.freeconference.com/DesktopConnect.aspx?E=c2280e302e6f8ab267bccdd48931704a&B=13979374&AC=1

You will enter a website where the organizers will be guiding you through photos and written reports while you listen on the phone conference audio line. You can ask questions via chat and use the “Raise Your Hand” feature to let organizers know you have a question or comment.

Afterwards we will have the materials and a recording of the call available for participants. The recommended registration fee is $10 but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Payment can be made online or by check here: https://wfpsw.org/donate-today/

A packet of materials with background articles on Venezuela is available. Thank you for joining us!

WFPSW meets with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Ana Rivera, Tanya Cole (WFPSW Regional Director) and other WFPSW members had a meeting in Tucson with Representative Raul Grijalva’s office to ask him to send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding U.S neutrality in the Honduran elections. Rep. Grijalva responded to this ask with an excellent letter to Sec. Kerry co-signed by Representatives Mike Honda and Hank Johnson.

Click here to read the letter

Honduras Speaking Tour with Ana Rivera: Sept. 14-Oct. 4, 2013

rtcyr1GQngreeH8MRa7BQ606aQ_mPxyQLT_SU_peTng

Calendar of events:

Ana Rivera still has some openings for speaking events on the following dates: Sept 17 Bay Area daytime, Sept 18-21st , Sept 23-27, Sept 30-Oct 3 (Southern California)

Sun Sept 8 9:00am: KPFA Interview with Ana Rivera and Dana Frank on the Sunday Show with host Philip Maldari KPFA 94.1 FM | Berkeley, California. Listen online: www.kpfa.org/archives

Sat Sept 14 6:30pm BBQ Welcome Party and Witness for Peace Southwest 30th anniversary celebration. El Sobrante, CA Bay Area  call 805-669-VIVA or RSVP for address.

Sun Sept 15th 5pm: Taskforce on the Americas Annual Dinner. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, 240 Channing Way, San Rafael, California. For information call 415/924-3227. $35 min donation. 

Mon Sept 16 evening: Potluck/Pizza fundraiser in Berkeley at Redwood Gardens: contact geodale1@earthlink.net.

Tuesday Sept 17 BALASC Event

Modern Times Bookstore at 2919 24th Street 7pm – 9 pm.  Doors open at 6:30 pm. 

Sun Sept 22 Tucson, Arizona:

    2pm Welcome BBQ and 30th Anniversary Celebration of Witness for Peace Southwest. rsvp at southwestwfp@gmail.com or 805-669-VIVA

    5pm Presentation at the Global Justice Center, 225 E 26th St., Tucson, AZ 85713

more info: Chuck Kaufman <chuck@afgj.org> or call 805-669-VIVA

Fri Sept 27th 730pm Santa Barbara, CA

location TBA. contact southwestwfp@gmail.com or call 805-669-VIVA

Sat Sept 28th Ojai, CA Retreat and Conference

“Linking Human Rights and Environmental Sustainability” 11am-5pm workshops on Colombia, Climate Change, Honduras and more with keynote speaker Ana Rivera-Honduras. Housing, camping and overnight stays available. Evening films and activities for over night guests. Carpools available from outside areas. contact southwestwfp@gmail.com or call 805-669-VIVA. more details soon at www.witnessforpeacesw.wordpress.com co-sponsored by Christian Peacemaker Teams

Sun Sept 29 Morning and lunch Pacific Unitarian Church 5621 Montemalaga Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90274 email: sojournerrb@yahoo.com or call 805-669-VIVA

Sun Sept 29 afternoon/evening Los Angeles Public event TBA