Check out our TEN New Year’s resolutions and help us keep them!

Witness for Peace Southwest 2013 New Years Resolutions and Top Five Highlights of 2012.

2013 New Years Resolutions for Witness for Peace Southwest

1. Honduras: End US aided Human Rights Abuses and support the Honduran Resistance Movement.

2. Colombia: send human rights observers to peace communities in Uraba.

3. Migrants Rights: Send human rights workers to the California/Mexico/Border region and advocate for more humane immigration policies.

4. Cuba: Get Cuba off the list of Terrorist Nations, continue to work to end the travel ban and embargo and advocate for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.

5. Congress: Pressure members of the foreign operations sub-committees in Senate and House to stop funding failed drug wars in Latin America and funding foreign militaries that commit human rights abuses.

6. Youth organizing: Award scholarships to students who want to join our alternative spring break delegation to Colombia, offer youth internships and volunteer opportunities, take a delegation of youth to do humanitarian work on the border.

7. Bring a speaker from Cuba and Honduras to the U.S for events in your area.

8. Organize Webinars on Colombia and Immigration.

9. Organize a weekend retreat conference for our members with special speakers, trainings and workshops.

10. Organize regular chapter meetings in your area.

TOP FIVE Highlights from 2012

1. This year we’ve been actively working with the Honduras Solidarity Network, we helped get over 100 congresspersons and 7 Senators to speak out against human rights violations in Honduras.

2. Our pressure as part of a grassroots nationwide movement has resulted in over one million dollars of military aid cut to the Honduran military and police.

3. On May 1st we celebrated International Workers Day with our migrant brothers and sisters.

4. In October we hosted our Cuban partner Daisy Rojas on a live webinar“Building Bridges with 21st Century Cuba while she was on tour in the U.S.

5. This Fall we witnessed Honduran LBGQT activist Erick Vidal Martinezreceive an international Gay rights award and share his stories of the Honduran resistance with hundreds of Californian university students.

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Thank you! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Past Highlights and Pictures

Highlights and Accomplishments

Southwest Region Witness for Peace

Moving Congress: In theSouthwest region secured 6 of 87 congressional signers on a Dear Colleague letter condemning human rights abuses in Honduras. On the Colombia Free Trade Agreement 4 congresspersons were swayed to vote NO through Southwest region efforts in October. WFPSW rallies were held at 3 Southern California undecided congressional offices a day before the free trade votes. 2 of the 3 reps voted against the free trade agreements the next day. Through grassroots pressure, this December Rep. Berman CA-28, ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Relations committee sent a public letter to Secretary Clinton questioning US funding of state sponsored repression in Honduras. This next year we will be bird-dogging congress during election campaigns to make sure they address the failed Drug War, Honduras human rights violations, the Cuban Embargo and immigration reform. (pictured WFPSW members at Rep. Henry Waxman’s office)

Honduras– The Southwest Region joined protests at the Honduran Consulate in the spring when there was a brutal military/police crack down on teacher/students protests that lead to the death of elementary school teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez. In March the Southwest region hosted Gerardo Torres, leader of the Honduran Resistance Front, for several speaking events in Southern California. In September the Southwest region sent a nine-person delegation to Honduras that visited the campesino movements of the Aguan Valley, 4 political prisoners, served as international observers for the Sept 15 Resistance marches and met with the brand new US Ambassador to Honduras. The Southwest hosted Afro-Honduran Garifuna Doctor Luther Castillo for a workshop on Honduras at the School of the Americas vigil in Ft. Benning, Georgia. The Southwest continues to be an active member of the Honduras Solidarity Network. In 2012 we plan to send more protective accompaniment delegations to Honduras, push for more cuts in US funding and get a Dear Colleague letter circulating in the Senate.(pictured: delegate Sara Kohgadai with former Honduran President Mel Zelaya.)

Trade- Three free trade agreements came to a vote  for Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Southwest held face to face meetings with several congressional offices in the spring in which reps committed to vote against the FTAs. During the final votes many reps spoke out strongly against the FTAs on the floor of the Senate and House. In the end 80% of House Democrats voted against the Colombia FTA and most significantly against a specific ask by President Obama to pass the trade agreements. In 2012 election season we will be holding reps accountable for their votes on the FTAs and will push for more congressional co-sponsors for the Trade Act, a bill that will stop any new FTAs and renegotiate all current FTAs. (pictured: rally at Rep. Karen Bass’ office. She voted against all 3 FTAs)

Colombia- In the Spring the Southwest hosted events for the Days and Prayer and Action on Colombia, in July we sent an accompaniment delegation to the humanitarian peace communities of Uraba, Colombia and in the fall we lobbied against the Colombia FTA and hosted Jani Silva, campesina leader from Putumayo, Colombia on a speaking tour that reached over 1000 people. In 2012 we will send protective accompaniment delegations to Uraba, Colombia and continue to raise awareness in the US of the failed drug war model. (pictured Southwest delegates in Uraba, Colombia)

Migrant Rights- In January we hosted the first domestic delegation on immigration and migrant rights in Ventura County, California. We co-sponsored multiple migrant rights forums and participated in campaigns to stop ICE’s Secure Communities Program. In the summer the Southwest sent volunteers to deliver water and humanitarian aid at the Arizona/Mexico border with the human rights group No More Deaths. In 2012 we will return to volunteer on the border, flight for an end to ICE’s S-COMM program and participate in migrant rights forums and Know Your Rights Trainings. (pictured: volunteers with No More Deaths take a break in the Arizona/Mexico desert.)

Cuba– the Southwest has participated in the efforts to protect Cuban family travel. Hardline Cuban Americans in congress twice this year have tried to roll back travel for Cuban Americans to Bush era policy. In December the Southwest sent 28 delegates to Cuba ranging from ages 24-76 and representing 18 states. This coming year we will support the campaign to Free the Cuban Five, organize delegations to Cuba and lobby to end the travel ban and embargo on Cuba. (pictured: International Workers Day march in Havana, Cuba)

Delegations– The Southwest sponsored 4 delegations to Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and Ventura County, CA. A total of 55

delegates participated and the Southwest Region awarded $3,175 in delegation scholarship assistance. In 2012 we have delegations planned for Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and domestic California and Arizona delegations on migrant rights. We also will be facilitating more short term and long term volunteer accompaniment teams in Uraba, Colombia and the Aguan Valley of Honduras. (pictured: Southwest region’s first domestic delegation focused on farmworkers and migrant rights in California.)