Action Alerts

Secretary Kerry: Don't Make Justice Jump through Hoops!

You might get the impression from reading the news that everything is much better in Colombia. But what we hear from the ground is that human rights defenders, land rights leaders, union activists, dopa_white_house_rally_2010Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities all remain in danger. And justice is still in peril. 

So as Secretary Kerry makes his first trip to Colombia as head of the State Department this Sunday, let’s give him a piece of our minds and make sure peace, human rights and justice are brought to the forefront of his agenda.

Click here to ask Secretary Kerry to support peace and reinforce human rights in his visit to Colombia!

With his more inclusive discourse, his focus on the Victims’ Law, and actively pursuing peace negotiations, it’s easy to see why the U.S. government would be so easily carried away by the real positives of Juan Manuel Santos’ presidency. There is real hope for change with the government and guerrillas seated at peace talks in Havana, and our government should actively support these peace talks. 

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What Cuban-American Lawmakers Don't Understand About Cuba

75_support_travelFirst off, thanks to all of you who contacted your members of Congress and the White House in defense of people-to-people travel to Cuba. Despite all of our hard efforts, on July 17th, 2013 the House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Services bill that included language proposed by Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25) that would negatively impact two key points in President Obama’s plan to promote engagement and people-to-people contact with the Cuban people.

As Cuban Americans for Engagement (CAFE) explained in their press release, “Section 124 would effectively dismantle the "people-to-people" licensing program, allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba for educational purposes, by defunding the program. These licenses have allowed U.S. citizens to legally visit Cuba and experience the island first-hand, ending their reliance on the skewed portrayals of Cuban reality by either the U.S. government or the corporate-controlled media.” 

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Join the National Day of Action Against Border Militarization

No question, it is overkill.  The “border surge” included in immigration legislation passed by the Senate would create one of the most militarized border zones in the world.  Defense contractors may be pleasedWe_are_the_border_graphic_for_alert with this lucrative boondoggle, but communities from San Diego to Brownsville are raising the alarm that piling more fencing, drones, surveillance equipment, and Border Patrol agents would jeopardize the rights and quality of life for millions in the border region.  This Wednesday, July 17th, LAWG joins with the Border Network for Human Rights and partners in sending a unified message to Congress to halt the militarization of the border.

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Defend Travel Today: Don't Let Beyonce and Jay-Z's Trip to Cuba Be the Last!

jay_z_beyonce_cubaThe House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Governmental passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Services bill this past Wednesday. This bill often contains Cuba policy language, so it is one that we monitor quite closely.  Again, some members of the subcommittee have decided to use this bill to attempt to change current foreign policy towards Cuba. How? The legislation aims to eliminate educational exchanges that are not “for-credit” or pursuant of a degree.  This basically means the elimination of people-to-people travel, recently made famous by Beyonce and Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba last April.

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Tell the House It's Their Turn on Immigration Reform

Late last month, the Senate voted 68-32 to pass immigration reform legislation which would provide a crucially important path to citizenship for millions, but paired it with an extreme measure to militarize theborder_for_alert border, including hundreds of miles of border fencing and a doubling of Border Patrol agents,  that will exact a huge toll on border communities and the budget.  Now, the bill moves into the House of Representatives where Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has already said the Senate bill is dead on arrival. Instead, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has stated that he prefers an incremental approach to changing immigration laws which has resulted in the introduction of several smaller bills currently totaling five.

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Thank You for Calling for Peace in Colombia!

Peace in Colombia seems finally reachable—not there yet, but on the horizon—and so all your efforts to support peace and human rights are more important than ever.   You made a heroic effort in the last few months so that, for once, a clarion call for peace is coming from the United States.

This alert is not to tell you to do more (though we will soon), nor to ask for funds. Instead, it is to say: You are making a difference. Thank you for all that you have done to support peace and human rights in Colombia!

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Cuban-American Call to Action: Take Cuba off Terrorist List

Cuban_American_On June 12, sixty Cuban Americans delivered a letter to Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama denouncing the views of three Cuban-American members of Congress who encouraged Secretary Kerry, in a letter dated April 29th, to keep Cuba on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The dissenting Cuban Americans maintain that the members of Congress wanting to continue punishing Cuba for something it is not, do not represent the majority view of Cuban Americans.

LAWGEF assisted in delivering the letter, and we have received requests from many Cuban Americans who did not have the opportunity to sign the original letter of protest, asking to add their name to the letter. We have now opened the letter to the public for additional signatures.

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