Plenary panel at LASC-NACLA Teach-In at Univ. of CA, Berkeley.
From left to right: Christy Thornton, NACLA; Maria Lya Ramos, NISGUA; Eric Holt-Giménez, Institute for Food & Development Policy; Kathy Hoyt, NicaNet; David Bacon, journalist; and Martin Sanchez of the Consulate of Venezuela.
Between February and May 2009, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) held a series of three teach-ins in Washington, DC, in Chicago, IL, and in the San Francisco Bay Area in CA. The title of the teach-ins was: “Not Just Change, But Justice” and each had a separate focus. The focus of the Washington, DC, teach-in was on U.S. militarization in Latin America, the second in Chicago was on issues of sovereignty and democracy manipulation and the third in California was on U.S. Trade Policy and its Impacts on Food, Land, and Immigration in the Americas.
The Latin America Solidarity Coalition Coordinating Committee has adopted the following talking points for use by local activists to educate their communities and influence opinion makers and elected officials. With a new administration installed in Washington, DC it is time for progressive activists to demand a new foreign policy toward Latin American and the Caribbean.
The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) is an association of national and local US-based grassroots Latin America and Caribbean solidarity groups, many of which have long histories of working with grassroots organizations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. LASC’s mission is to define common goals and shared strategies for these groups. LASC’s work circles around several hemisphere-wide issues as well as country-specific topics.
We operate and structure our work from a solidarity model: we operate on the principle of self-determination; it is not up to us to determine what our partners in the Global South should or should not do. Nor is it up to us to determine the strategies and methodologies they use. We determine our strategies based on the needs of our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean.
1. Close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation also known as the School of the Americas
2. Close the International Law Enforcement Academy in San Salvador
3. Stop funding Plan Colombia and cut off all military aid to that country
4. Stop funding the Merida Initiative and the militarization of the US/Mexico border
5. Close the National Endowment for Democracy and return USAID to its original foreign aid mission
6. Return President Aristide to Haiti, advocate freedom for all political prisoners and support the end of the UN occupation
7. End belligerence toward Venezuela and other Latin American countries whose citizens have elected left leaning governments over the past decade
8. End the embargo against Cuba and normalize relations with our island neighbor
9. Stop initiating “Free Trade” agreements that benefit only corporations while destroying local agriculture and forcing Latin Americans to leave their homeland to work in the US
10. Publicly state support for the legitimate elected government of Bolivia, condemn the separatist violence and take no actions to further inflame the crisis there
11. Extradite the terrorist Luis Posada Carrilles to Venezuela, as required by extradition treaty, to stand trial for the fatal bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people. Free the five Cuban anti-terrorist agents falsely convicted of espionage for infiltrating Cuban exile terrorist groups in Miami whose repeated attacks have killed over 3,000 Cubans and foreigners in Cuba.
The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) has issued a letter to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, expressing our disappointment about positions that he has taken on U.S.-Latin America relations.
The letter further requests a meeting with the Obama campaign to provide them with our ideas for a more positive U.S. policy toward our neighbors to the South. Our hope would be to
(1) help Senator Obama to keep his discussions as accurate as he would like, and
(2) help Senator Obama develop a moral and sustainable U.S. foreign policy in the region as soon as he becomes President.
We are encouraging local Latin America Solidarity groups to use the issues that are being raised in the letter in their local organizing work.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 27, 2007
Stop CAFTA Coalition: www.stopcafta.org
Contacts: Katherine Hoyt at 011 506 864-3449 in Costa Rica and Burke Stansbury in the US at email@example.com or 718 832-9399 to set up interviews in Costa Rica.
The Stop CAFTA Coalition announces the release of DR-CAFTA Year Two: Trends and Impacts, its second report on the effects of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) trade agreement on the majority of people in the region. Working with allies in Central America and the Dominican Republic, the report finds that “patterns of growing inequality and ongoing poverty within the signing countries have taken an upward tick, in spite of predictions to the contrary prior to the agreement’s passage.” The Coalition worked to prevent the passage of the agreement in the U.S. Congress, though ultimately CAFTA passed by 2 votes in the House of Representatives. Since implementation the Coalition has monitored the impact of DR-CAFTA in the countries in which it has been implemented. The Coalition will continue to monitor and report on the effects of the agreement. Continue Reading »