Latin America

Resisting Violence, Building Peace: Join Us at Ecumenical Advocacy Days

You have always been ready to stand up for justice and peace in Latin America. You and all of our dedicated activists have shown us, Congress and the White House how a group of concerned individuals of diverse beliefs can make a difference.

Our work, however, is not done, as Latin America continues to be plagued by an epidemic of violence, with U.S. policies too often contributing to the problem, not the solution. From the tragic loss of life from the militarized approach of the failed war on drugs, to organized crime eroding institutions and the rule of law, violence continues to affect Latin Americans from many walks of life and their struggle for justice and human rights.

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Justice Prevails in Guatemala: Ríos Montt Found Guilty

Kelsey Alford-Jones is the Director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

“Justice is a right for victims and contributes to rule of law in our country. We believe that for a true peace to exist in Guatemala there must first be justice,” said Guatemalan Judge Yassmin Barrios.  She declared General Efraín Ríos Montt 
guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity on Friday May 10, a day that will be etched forever in Guatemala’s collective memory.

Ríos Montt was convicted of masterminding and overseeing the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the department of El Quiché, as well as the forced displacement of 29,000 people, and 1,485 acts of sexual violence and acts of torture during the early 1980s. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison and was ordered into police custody. His director of military intelligence, José Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, was absolved of both crimes...

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Latin America Says Goodbye to Leader Hugo Chávez

In light of the passing of Venezuela's President, Hugo Chávez, we think the following statements are well worth reading 

Representative Jose Serrano: '"His focus on the issues faced by the poor and disenfranchised in his country made him a truly revolutionary leader in the history of Latin America. He understood that after 400 years on the outside of the established power structure looking in, it was time that the poor had a chance at seeing their problems and issues addressed. His core belief was in the dignity and common humanity of all people in Venezuela and in the world."...

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Almost Home: A Brazilian American's Reflections on Faith, Culture and Immigration

With passions running high on immigration and pitched defenses mounting on both sides of the question, the actual stories of immigrants get lost in the broader debate or simply become a backdrop to fierce ideological battles and arguments. That’s why we thought that you might like to hear about a new book by H. B. Cavalcanti, Almost Home: A Brazilian American’s Reflections on Faith, Culture and Immigration.  It is a reflection on migration by someone who lived it for 30 years, first as an immigrant, now as a citizen. Here’s what the author has to say:

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Sin País Airing on PBS

As part of their Documentaries with a Point of View (POV) program, PBS will be broadcasting Sin País nationally on August 9, 2012.

Sin País (Without Country) attempts to get beyond the partisan politics and mainstream media’s ‘talking point’ approach to immigration issues by exploring one family’s complex and emotional journey involving deportation.

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Terror on the Patuca River, Honduras


On May 11 in rural Honduras, a late-night anti-narcotic mission involving American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and U.S.-owned equipment resulted in the death of four people—two of them pregnant women, a fourteen-year-old boy and a 21-year-old man.  One of the leading Honduran human rights organizations, COFADEH, released this detailed report, calling the event “unacceptable and reprehensible.”

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What Should Be on the Agenda at the Summit: Protect Human Rights Defenders

I can tell you what should be on the table for discussion at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia:  The safety of the region’s human rights defenders.

Alexander Quintero campaigned for justice for the victims of Colombia's 2001 Naya River massacre, committed by paramilitary forces.  “He brought us all together, indigenous, Afro-Colombian and mestizo communities,” said a colleague.  “It could have been any of us,” a sobbing defender said, as she told me about his May 2010 murder.

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