ROCLA Winter 2022-2023 Newsletter

ROCLA News & Updates

White Dove with rainbow wings

Rocla's 50th Anniversary Rice & Beans Celebration!

Come and Celebrate!
June 23, 2023
5-8:30 PM
Roundhouse Lodge in Genesee Valley Park


  • 2023 International White Dove Award Winner DAN KOVALIK, internationally known author and human rights lawyer who will share his decades of work in opposition to US policy in Latin America
  • 2023 Local White Dove Award Winner Richard Rosen
  • Great music by the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drum Band and Alma de Mexico, a Mexican folkloric dance group
  • Delicious food!
  • Special advocacy actions to participate in
  • And much more!
  • Stay tuned for ticket and registration information and more details…

To volunteer to help decorate, set up or clean up, contact Kathy Goforth.

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Urgent Action

Take Cuba off the State Sponsors of Terrorism List!

Cuba is facing one of the worst economic crises in its history. The Cuban people are facing shortages of clean water, medicine, and medical equipment, and the price of food has skyrocketed.   At the same time, it is nearly impossible for U.S. humanitarian and faith organizations to provide humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. The main obstacle is the fact that Cuba is on the State Department’s “State Sponsors of Terrorism List.”   Because banks fear running afoul of U.S. anti-terrorism laws and regulations, it can take years for groups to get much-needed aid and finances into the country.

President Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015 as the initial step to opening up diplomatic relations. But in January of 2021, weeks before the Trump administration left office, Secretary Pompeo placed Cuba back on the list with devastating effects for the Cuban people. Private businesses and entrepreneurs who were thriving under the opening of restrictions were decimated.  Almost immediately, our partners faced shortages of critical items such as food, medicine, and other lifesaving essentials. For many Cubans, the situation has now become so unbearable they are selling all they own and risking their lives to migrate to the US. Almost 300,000 Cubans have migrated – our policy is one of the root causes of that migration.  

Cuba continues to make international commitments to combat terrorism, has ratified numerous international counterterrorism conventions, and has signed a bilateral agreement with the United States on counterterrorism. Cuba has worked with the U.S. on other efforts as well and provided access to Cuban air space so the US could deliver aid to the Haitian people. Cuba has been lauded by the Colombian government for its help with their peace negotiations. Cuba should not be on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.


In this section we publish personal narratives, opinions, or creative work of Latin Americans or from members of the Latinx diaspora. We prefer that these articles be from directly affected people working for justice in Latin America or Latinx people fighting for change in the US, such as for immigrant rights. However, articles from those working in solidarity with directly affected organizations and individuals in the US and Latin America will also be considered. Articles can be in English or Spanish. Contact our Newsletter Editor if you or someone you know would like to submit an article or other work.

Our Perspectives writer in this issue is Ruby Morris, a senior at SUNY Geneseo. She majors in Sociology and Sustainability Studies and serves as President of Geneseo Peace Action. Ruby traveled to Nicaragua in January 2023 with a women’s delegation and describes the impacts her trip has had on her life. (Ed.)

Ruby Morris, “Living Simply Does Not Mean Living with Less,” March 2023.

People often say that to gain the true experience and understanding of someone’s culture and lifestyle, you must see it with your own eyes. After my trip to Nicaragua in January of 2023, I can wholeheartedly attest to the truth in this statement.

Currently residing on a university campus in Geneseo, New York, I am constantly surrounded by the common themes of individualism and educational privilege. It seems the majority of students I am surrounded by are currently experiencing different cultures and perspectives for the first time by pursuing higher education. Leaving their homes, their comfort and their norms, students here have had to adapt to living in a communal environment where we all share at least one common goal: obtaining a degree.

I wish to be able to explain to all my fellow students on SUNY Geneseo’s campus the true meaning of a communal environment. If someone were to ask, I would say: take a trip to Nicaragua, you will find it there.

The immediate culture shock of entering a country where free education exists was an incredible feeling. I was able to look at the youth we passed on the streets or in shops and think of their parents, who will avoid the struggle of finding funds, and the youth themselves, will not have to take out thousands of dollars in loans to pay for higher education. Those living in Nicaragua can attend preschool to graduate school free of charge—something that seems like a faraway dream for those living in the United States.

It is a comforting feeling to be in a place with free education; there is the immediate feeling that the people and the youth specifically are cared for and their minds are appreciated. This feeling alone propelled my admiration of Nicaragua, however, when paired with free healthcare, it was put over the edge. Coming from a country where I have to worry about finding a specific dental office that will take my insurance, stressing over student loans, and feeling very isolated from others who exist in different socioeconomic statuses, Nicaragua brought me clarity and light to a stressful time in my life.

I am a senior, graduating in May with a degree in Sociology and Sustainability Studies. Fortunately for me, I was able to explore both of these subjects in depth during my time in Nicaragua.

The delegation titled Women in Nicaragua: Power and Protagonism, was a project created by AFGJ-Nicaragua Network and Casa Ben Linder. They gathered up about 25 individuals ranging from ages 8 to 80. I was able to hear stories from those residing in cities extending from Halifax to Berkeley to Washington DC. I got to hear of other university students’ experiences in other parts of the country, as well as the meaning of motherhood in an ever-changing world.

The local Nicaraguan women, however, were the stars of my trip. Hearing their stories, understanding the political, social, and emotional world they live in, and how they adapt to societal changes prompted by the dynamic world of Nicaragua was truly inspiring.

The idea of community came full circle when we were able to meet several union workers: the union of self-employed workers, the union for health care workers, the large portion of the workforce being represented by women entrepreneurs. It showed me the dedication and commitment of those who had reached economic stability then dedicated themselves to helping others do the same.

While traveling throughout Managua, Carazo, Matagalpa, and Esteli, I was able to explore themes of agroecology, gender equity, feminism and minimalism, which all taught me how to exist in harmony with the environment while creating empowered human relationships. Through these themes came characteristics of resilience, hope, community, and extensive planning to help those most in need.

Luckily for me, I was also able to continue my travels to El Sauce (special thanks to the Matlin family for providing me with this opportunity). My good friend Magda Lanuza showed me around Leon on our way, a beautiful colonial city with an immense amount of culture and history.

My trip to El Sauce was centered around the Casa Materna there, supported in part by the Matlin family. Four women—Inés, Martha, Irene, and Maria—work day and night at the Casa Materna to care for the pregnant women who stay there prior to their birth. For those who do not know, a Casa Materna is a maternal waithome for women living in rural areas in the late stages of their pregnancy. This allows them to be in close proximity to the local hospital in case a problem arises. Alongside this, the pregnant women get to be in good company and take their pregnancy seriously while being in a relaxed state of mind, not having to worry about managing a household or their life outside of the city.

I had the privilege and pleasure to speak with all four women who are employed by the Casa Materna; they dedicate a majority of their time to the care of the women who are in a state of need.

The communal aspect comes to the forefront of the conversation once again. There is a societal commitment from the city to make sure the women about to give birth have the safest and best opportunity to carry out a successful pregnancy. There is a large commitment from the local hospital to provide medical care to those in the Casa Materna. Local doctors visit the waithome to provide check ups and make sure all parties involved (the mother and the baby) are healthy. The mothers will, when ready, head to the hospital to give birth in a safe and controlled environment.

Rosa Amelia, the mayor of El Sauce, has also dedicated significant amounts of time to these future mothers and their babies. Her office was open to the public, surrounded by nature and smiling faces of children running around. All levels of the community were working together, in harmony, to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery for the women who are less privileged.

All in all, I have learned a lot that I hope to bring back to my campus community. The United States has a lot to learn from Nicaragua. With a population just under seven million, they continue to persevere under difficult circumstances, and with consistent smiles on their faces. I was beyond impressed by what it means to be a part of a community, to be cared for by those in power, and how living in harmony with the environment serves as a pathway to a sustainable future. My biggest takeaway from my experience was that living simply does not mean living with less.

News about Latin America

In this section, ROCLA’s newsletter editor has chosen timely and important articles highlighting political, economic and justice stories about various Latin American countries. We select a wide range of current news for you to learn more about the important events in Latin America and the Caribbean, but we undoubtedly didn’t locate some too. We also welcome our readers’ suggestions for articles and research we may have missed. Please send your suggestions with links to the content if it is online, to

Your Title Goes Here

Brazil 🇧🇷

Gabriel Leão, Reflections on the Day a Mob Assaulted Brazil’s Democracy, CounterPunch, March 6, 2023.

Photograph Source: TV BrasilGov – CC BY 3.0

The images of the January 8 violent attacks against the governmental buildings in Brasília spread through international media and are still resounding today. Wearing the colors of the national flag and the beloved Brazilian football team, the mob of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, stormed and vandalized the Federal Supreme Court, the National Congress’s building and the Planalto Presidential Palace, institutions that compose the Three Powers Plaza. The aim was to reject the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The parallels to the storming of the U.S. Capitol two years ago are evident.

Continue to full article at CounterPunch 

Colombia 🇨🇴

Gulf Clan: Colombia Suspends Ceasefire with Drug Cartel, BBC, March 20, 2023.

President Gustavo Petro said there could be no negotiations while attacks continued

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has suspended a ceasefire with the country’s main drug trafficking cartel, the Gulf Clan.

He accused it of “sowing anxiety and terror” and ordered the security forces to reactivate their military operations against the criminal gang.

Continue to full article at the BBC 

‘Some Days We Don’t Eat’: Residents scrape by in Colombia’s Largest Shantytown, The Guardian, March 23, 2023.

A young girl in La Pista eats a meal provided by an NGO. Photograph: Anton Alexander Lopez/The Guardian

Under the blazing Colombian sun, Germán Balera pushes a small cart loaded with a few thermoses of coffee and packs of cigarettes across a derelict airport runway and into a labyrinth of ramshackle huts of corrugated zinc, plastic sheets and cardboard.

Continue to full article at the The Guardian 

Samantha Schmidt, Inside Colombia’s Most Powerful Drug Trafficking Group–Its Case for Peace, The Washington Post, April 3, 2023.

A unit of the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which uses the acronym AGC, moves through the forest in rural Antioquia.

The morning’s drills began on the fog-coated side of a mountain, with two dozen rifle-armed men at the ready. “Attention!” a voice shouted, and up went a green-and-white flag emblazoned with three letters — the same letters, spray-painted on buildings and street signs across northern Colombia, that tell everyone who is in charge: AGC.

Continue to full article at the The Washington Post 

Cuba 🇨🇺

Eve Ottenberg, A Socialist Survival Tactic: Cuba’s Worker Parliaments, CounterPunch, March 3, 2023.

Havana Cuba panorama

Photograph Source: Keith Ruffles – CC BY 3.0

Defending itself from the extremely hostile bully to the north is old hat and a constant activity for Cuba. This was especially so, after the collapse of the USSR and European socialism roughly 35 years ago nearly crushed Cuba, which immediately lost its chief trading partners, while the U.S. blockade strangled it. Forced to turn inward, Cuba strove to improve its productivity and workforce, without damaging the twin foundations of the revolution, education and health care. That it did so, that this small, besieged nation turned a dangerous even deadly situation around, happened thanks to the efforts of committed revolutionaries like Pedro Ross, who helped found the workers’ parliaments – specifically to save the revolution at this lethal juncture. It worked. Now Ross has written a book about it.

Continue to full article at CounterPunch 

Ecuador 🇪🇨

Ecuador’s Former Minister Flees for Caracas from Asylum in Argentina’s Embassy in Quito, Orinoco Tribune, March 16, 2023.

Former Ecuadorian Minister María de los Ángeles Duarte (left), ne

Former Ecuadorian minister María de los Ángeles Duarte fled Argentina’s embassy in Quito, where she had been staying since August 2020 under conditions of political asylum for humanitarian reasons, and traveled to Venezuela, according to multiple sources.

Continue to full article at Orinoco Tribune 

El Salvador 🇸🇻

Stephen Dudley, Is Nayib Bukele’s ‘Iron Fist’ in El Salvador Working? Insight Crime, February 9, 2023.

El Salvadorian soldier holding an assault rifle checks another man's bag on the ground

After the influential and well-sourced publication El Faro declared that El Salvador’s controversial President Nayib Bukele had “disarticulate(d)” the country’s gangs, is it time to revisit the question: Does mano dura work?

Continue to full article at Insight Crime 

El Salvador Moves 2,000 Alleged Gang Members to New ‘Mega Prison,’ AlJazeera, February 25, 2023.

Dozens of people are reported to have died in prison amid a state of exception that has suspended civil liberties [File: Salvador Melendez/AP Photo]

The Central American nation of El Salvador has transferred 2,000 people accused of gang membership to a recently opened “mega-prison”. The transfer comes after a wave of anti-gang operations in which police swept up more than 64,000 people and key civil liberties were suspended.

Continue to full article at AlJazeera 

Ellen Ioanes, El Salvador’s Massive New Prison and the Strongman behind it, Vox, March 5, 2023.

Suspected gang members arrive at the new prison in Tecoluca, El Salvador, on February 25, 2023. Press Secretary Of The Presidency Of El Salvador/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

El Salvador’s autocratic President Nayib Bukele brought the first 2,000 prisoners into the country’s new high-volume prison, built ostensibly to house members of gangs, including MS-13 and two factions of Barrio 18, that have terrorized the Central American nation. The prison, officially called the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism (CECOT), has reignited serious concerns about Bukele’s government, including possible human rights violations and subversion of democratic institutions.

Continue to full article at Vox 

Guatemala 🇬🇹

Jeff Abbott, The Other Americans: Migration Crackdowns are Targeting Migrant Shelters in Guatemala, The Progressive, February 24, 2023

Migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in Mexico City, 2018

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala are raising concerns about the implementation of reforms and regulations by the Guatemalan government that they say will put their networks of migrant shelters at risk of closure. The concerns stem from the implementation of requirements that are codified in the country’s new immigration law. 

Continue to full article at The Progressive 

Meet Thelma Cabrera, the Indigenous Leader barred from running in Guatemala’s Presidential Election, Democracy Now, March 2, 2023.

Thelma Cabrera

Guatemala’s presidential election this year is taking place against a backdrop of worsening repression against journalists, human rights activists and Indigenous environmental defenders. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld a decision by the country’s electoral tribunal to bar Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera from running. 

View video at Democracy Now

María Inés Taracena, Indigenous Leaders are being Forced into Exile, The Nation, March 23, 2023.

Supporters of Guatemalan candidate for the Movimiento para la Liberación de los Pueblos (Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples) party Thelma Cabrera take part in a campaign closing rally at Plaza de la Constitucion in Guatemala City on June 8, 2019, ahead of the upcoming general election next June 16. (Photo by Johan ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Living in exile has been heartbreaking for Lucía Ixchíu. She longs to be around her community in the western highlands of Totonicapán, Guatemala, immersing herself in the sacred communal forest she’d been taught to love, respect, and protect since she was a young child.

Continue to full article at The Nation 

Roman Gressier and Julie López, A Clear Path for Zury Ríos? El Faro, March 28, 3023.

Electoral authorities, toeing the line of far-right political operatives, have spuriously excluded two presidential duos and are aiming for a third, clearing the way for conservative Zury Rios.

Continue to full article at El Faro 

Haiti 🇭🇹

‘War Scene’: MSF temporarily shutters hospital in Haiti’s capital, AlJazeera, March 9, 2023.

Patients suffering cholera symptoms receive treatment at the clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 3, 2023 [File: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]

International medical charity Doctors Without Borders has temporarily closed its hospital in a violence-plagued area of the Haitian capital, saying it could no longer guarantee the safety of staff and patients amid clashes between armed groups.

Continue to full article at AlJazeera 

Honduras 🇭🇳

Meghan Krausch, Honduran Activists are protesting “State of Emergency” that suspends civil rights, Truthout, March 15, 2023

Activists protest the state of exception with music and banners on January 14, 2023, in Parque Finlay, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Their banners read “the military police are femicidal and trans-hating” and “Violence is not battled by criminalizing poverty!”

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a group of activists has been gathering regularly on Saturday mornings to oppose one of President Xiomara Castro’s popular new policies: a state of emergency that partially suspends several fundamental constitutional rights. The measure, also known as a state of exception, is meant to be a key part of Castro’s “war on extortion,” a major and systemic problem in Honduras. Anti-militarist activists, however, say that there can be no path forward with more militarization and that the state of exception amounts to the criminalization of poverty.

Continue to full article at Truthout 

Mexico 🇲🇽

Stephanie Brewer, International Ruling Finds Mexico’s Legal Framework on Detention Violates Human Right, WOLA, February 23, 2023.

Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) notified the Mexican government of its judgment in the case of Tzompaxtle Tecpile et al. v. Mexico, in which it found Mexico responsible for subjecting three people—Jorge Marcial Tzompaxtle Tecpile, Gerardo Tzompaxtle Tecpile, and Gustavo Robles López—to forms of detention that intrinsically violate human rights. Among other reparations measures, the IACtHR ordered Mexico to reform its legal framework to eliminate and modify, respectively, two forms of detention: arraigo and pretrial detention.

Continue to full article at WOLA

Nicaragua 🇳🇮

Jill Clark-Gollub, Reconciliation does not mean forgetting in Nicaragua, Popular Resistance, March 3, 2023.

Opposition sniper firing from behind a roadblock in 2018. Photo by opposition activist Carl David Goette-Luciak.

Hybrid Warfare Tactics, Including Information Warfare And The Co-Opting Of Human Rights Groups, Make It Hard To Tell The Good Guys From The Bad In The US-Backed Coup Attempt In Nicaragua In 2018.

But it is important to note the telltale signs of class oppression and terrorist tactics to understand the truth about the 222 people recently released to the US who were convicted of treason in Nicaragua for savage acts of violence against their people. They had benefited from an amnesty in 2019, but violated its terms by participating in a new coup plot in 2020 and 2021. In releasing the 222 over to the US, the Nicaraguan authorities effectively pardoned them a second time in order to bring further reconciliation to society. But for the sake of historical memory and non-repetition, it is important to remember their crimes.

Continue to full article at Popular Resistance 

Becca Renk, Gracias a Dios: The People’s Church in Nicaragua, LA Progressive, March 4, 2023.

Mural of St. Paul Apostle

Nicaragua remains a profoundly spiritual country with thriving religious communities, but they are not the religious communities that the traditional church would like to see.

Continue to full article at LA Progressive 

John Perry, Nicaragua’s ‘Political Prisoners’ would be Criminals by US Standards, FAIR, March 2, 2023.

Pro-government march in Nicaragua

“Nicaragua Frees Hundreds of Political Prisoners to the United States,” the New York Times (2/9/23) reported. In an unexpected move on February 9, the Nicaraguan government deported to the United States 222 people who were in prison, and moved to strip them of their citizenship. The prisoners had been convicted of various crimes, including terrorism, conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected government, requesting the United States to intervene in Nicaragua, economic damage and threatening the country’s stability, most relating to the violent coup attempt in 2018 and its aftermath.

Continue to full article at FAIR 

Peru 🇵🇪

Peruvian Communities Resume Blockade of Crucial “Mining Corridor,” Reuters, March 4, 2023.

Members of indigenous communities camp on the property of Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mine, in Las Bambas, Peru April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Angela Ponce/File Photo

Andean communities in Peru will resume a blockade of a crucial highway used by major copper producers next week, two local leaders said on Saturday, following a truce that had allowed mining companies to restart production.

Continue to full article at Reuters 

Alexander Villegas, In Peru’s Andes, scars of protest deaths cut deep as families seek justice, Reuters, March 11, 2023.

Relatives mourn victims during a mass after the deadliest clashes in anti-government protests against Peru’s President Dina Boluarte, in Juliaca, Peru February 9, 2023. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Zarai Toledo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) who has studied social conflicts in Peru, says the current wave of protests is unlike any she’s seen since the country’s return to democracy, and the lack of perceived accountability is dangerous for democracy.

Continue to full article at Reuters 

W.T. Whitney, Indigenous Rebellion Continues as Post-Coup Peruvian Government Flounders, CounterPunch, March 10, 2023.

Photograph Source: Presidencia de la República del Perú – CC BY 3.0

Revived democratic struggle in Peru is well along into a second act. There was the parliamentary coup December 7 that removed democratically elected President Pedro Castillo and the “First Taking of Lima” in mid-January, embittered and excluded Peruvians occupied Lima and faced violent repression. Then on March 1 protests renewed as the indigenous inhabitants of Peru’s extreme southern regions prepared once more to demonstrate in Lima and would shortly be protesting in their own regions. The resistance’s make-up was fully on display.

Continue to full article at CounterPunch 

Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

Edward Hunt, Congress has opted for Colonialism over Democracy in Puerto Rico, CounterPunch, March 21, 2023.

Following months of progress on a landmark bill that would enable the people of Puerto Rico to vote on a post-territorial status for their nation, the newly seated Congress has dropped the issue. At a Senate committee hearing last month, U.S. senators paid little attention to repeated calls by Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi to move forward with the legislation and end Puerto Rico’s status as a territory of the United States.

Continue to full article at CounterPunch 

Venezuela 🇻🇪

Venezuela’s Peasant Movement Demands Justice for Assassination of Carlos Bolivar (+Los Tramojos), Orinoco Tribune, March 4, 2023.

The late Venezuelan peasant leader Carlos Bolívar, holding a machete under a banner identifying the peasant movement he led. Photo: Twitter/TatuyTV.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, Carlos Bolívar, a member of the Peasant Platform in Guárico state, was assassinated. Since 2018, he had been fighting to rescue Los Tramojos, a plot of land disputed with a landowner. The Platform for Peasant Struggle and the National Peasant Movement reported in a statement that Bolívar was assassinated while beginning his work in Puerto Carrizalero-Camaguán, Guárico. 

Continue to full article at Orinoco Tribune 

The Blockade against Venezuela: Measures and Consequences, Venezuelanalysis, March 2023.

Click to View Larger Image

A look at the crushing sanctions levied by the US and allies, as well as their consequences for the Venezuelan population. 

Continue to full article at Venezuelanalysis 

Revamping Asylum

The US asylum system is currently in the news, because the Biden administration, contrary to President Biden’s promises, is implementing increasingly stringent immigration and asylum policies in response to high numbers of migrants reaching the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security announced its plans in early  January to tighten control at the southern border and reduce asylum claims. These plans include reinstating the use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 (by court order), increased use of expedited removal, limiting migrants’ access to asylum, separating family members in order to apply for asylum, and introducing the CBPOne app to register for an appointment to file an asylum claim. As a result, thousands of migrants continue to wait for months in dangerous Mexican border cities, facing hunger, destitution and violence. Meanwhile, Mexico, at the behest of the US, is arresting, holding and deporting increasing numbers of migrants before they can make a claim. They face increased discrimination, resentment and violence from many Mexicans while waiting their turn to apply for asylum.We are therefore including several articles covering this crisis and its ongoing issues and tragedies.

Ted Hesson, U.S. Officials Prepping Legislation to Revamp Asylum System, Reuters, February 9, 2023.

Migrants, mostly Venezuelans, participate in a caravan, with the intention of turning in themselves to U.S. Border Patrol agents, on the banks of the Rio Bravo river in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is developing a sweeping bill that would revamp the country’s asylum system to speed up the resolution of claims in large-scale processing centers at the border with Mexico, two U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials told Reuters.

Continue to full article at Reuters 

Daina Beth Solomon and Ted Hesson, Struggling with U.S. Asylum App, Migrant Families Split at Border, Reuters, February 27, 2023.

Migrants, mostly from Venezuela seeking asylum in the U.S., use their phones to access the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) CBP ONE application to request an appointment at a land port of entry to the U.S., in a shelter near the border between Mexico and the United States, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico February 24, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Dozens of migrant families are splitting up at Mexico’s northern border as they struggle to secure U.S. asylum appointments on a government app beset by high demand and persistent glitches, migrants and advocates say.

Continue to full article at Reuters 

Dara Lind, How to Seek Asylum (Under Biden’s Proposed Transit Ban) in 12 Not-at-all-Easy Steps, Immigration Impact, March 2, 2023.

Migrant stands at the border with large green sign that reads no entry

The Biden administration recently announced a proposed regulation that would all but eliminate access to asylum for the overwhelming number of asylum seekers who come to the United States via the southwest border. But the regulation doesn’t put it that way.

Continue to full article at Immigration Impact 

Eileen Sullivan and Steve Fisher, At the End of a Hard Journey, Migrants Face Another: Navigating Bureaucracy, The New York Times, March 10, 2023.

Customs and Border Protection agents on the bridge between Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and El Paso last month. The agents reviewed a list of names of people who had requested appointments to seek asylum using the C.B.P. One app. Credit…Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

The Biden administration’s new rules have brought down a record number of border crossings, but critics say they expose the pitfalls of policies intended to manage an immediate problem.

Continue to full article at The New York Times 

Hundreds of Migrants Break Through Lines to Demand Asylum in the US, MarketWatch, March 13, 2023.

Officials stopped hundreds of migrants gathered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, from entering the U.S. on Sunday after people demanding asylum tried to force their way in. Some said the government app to secure appointments is causing delays. Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Continue to full article at MarketWatch 

At least 40 Dead in Mexico Migrant Centre Fire as Rights Groups Blame Overcrowding, The Guardian, March 29, 2023.

Rights groups have blamed poor conditions and overcrowding for a fire that killed at least 40 migrants from Central and South America at a migrant detention centre in Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican city on the US border

Continue to full article at The Guardian 

Migrant deaths at Mexican Detention Centre Investigated as Suspected Homicide, The Guardian, March 30, 2023.

Migrants hold the fence bars of the immigration detention centre where 39 died during a fire. The deaths are being investigated as suspected homicides. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

The deaths of at least 39 migrants in a fire at a Mexican detention centre are being investigated as suspected homicides, a prosecutor has said, accusing those in charge of doing nothing to evacuate the victims.

Authorities faced mounting scrutiny of their handling of the disaster after video surveillance footage appeared to show guards leaving as flames engulfed a cell with migrants locked inside.

Continue to full article at The Guardian 

Immigration / Migration Issues

Philip Bump, Hundreds of Immigrant Families split apart under Trump remain separated, The Washington Post, February 13, 2023.

Noyemi, a Honduran migrant who was separated from her 3-year-old son in 2018 under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, speaks with her son in a nightly video call. (Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post)

Over three months in 2018, more than 2,600 children were separated from their parents after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. These separations were a function of an explicit Trump administration policy, aimed at curtailing migration to the United States by punishing those who came. If coming to the United States meant potentially being separated from your child, the idea went, perhaps fewer people would come.

Continue to full article at The Washington Post 

Sandra Sanchez, Rio Bravo Residents Vow to Fight State’s Forever Border Wall in South Texas, Border Report, February 21, 2023.

Amanda Aguero is the mayor of Rio Bravo, Texas, a tiny town of 4,700 that overlooks Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

Rio Bravo Mayor Amanda Aguero has lived her entire 40 years in this tiny town of 4,700 outside of Laredo on the South Texas border overlooking Mexico.

Her kids play in the park by the Rio Grande and many families fish and enjoy holidays on the river.

Continue to full article at Border Report 

Ryan Devereaux, Texas GOP Wants Citizens to Stop Migrants. Critics Say it’s a “Vigilante Death Squads Policy,” The Intercept, March 24, 2023.

Texas National Guard soldiers vehicles are seen as migrants continue to wait at the U.S.-Mexico border on January 8, 2023 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

DADE PHELAN, the Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, sounded mostly triumphant delivering speech at a right-wing think tank in Austin earlier this month. “Eleven-hundred people come here every single day,” the fourth-generation real estate developer told a friendly audience at the Texas Public Policy Foundation as he laid out his party’s objectives in the final weeks of the state’s legislative session.

Continue to full article at The Intercept 

Immigrant Lives

These articles cover immigrant families with young children who do dangerous work to help their families, or that live in difficult and unsuitable circumstances because of their families’ immigration status. In future issues, we will cover important work immigrants are doing to create better lives for themselves and their children, including union organizing, lobbying to pass workplace safety laws, and forming food cooperatives.

Hannah Dreier, Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the U.S., The New York Times, February 25, 2023.

Photograph by Kirsten Luce

Hannah Dreier traveled to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Virginia for this story and spoke to more than 100 migrant child workers in 20 states.

Continue to full article at The New York Times 

Melissa Sanchez and Maryam Jameel, Death on a Dairy Farm, ProPublica, February 27, 2023.

When an 8-year-old Nicaraguan boy was run over on a Wisconsin dairy farm, authorities blamed his father and closed the case. Meanwhile, the community of immigrant workers knows a completely different story.

Continue to full article at ProPublica 

Maria Sacchetti and Lauren Kaori Gurley, A Cleaning Company Illegally Employed a 13-year-old. The Family is Paying the Price, The Washington Post, March 3, 2023.

A swing set at Mormon Island State Recreation Area at Grand Island, Neb., on Feb. 25. The fallout from the Packers Sanitation Services case in Grand Island illustrates the painful complexity of enforcing U.S. child labor laws. (Madeline Cass)

At 13, she was too young to be cleaning a meatpacking plant in the heart of Nebraska cattle country, working the graveyard shift amid the brisket saws and the bone cutters. The cleaning company broke the law when it hired her and more than two dozen other teenagers in this gritty industrial town, federal officials said.

Continue to full article at The Washington Post 

Environment / Climate

Argentina’s ‘White Gold’: Will its Lithium Boom End Badly? AlJazeera, March 16, 2023.

How a battle over mineral resources in Argentina could determine the fight against global warming.
Argentina is home to huge reserves of lithium, a light metal used in electric batteries that is likely to be vital for reducing our reliance on planet-warming fossil fuels.

But those reserves lie beneath the vast Andean salt plains – a unique ecosystem stretching between Argentina, Bolivia and Chile that Indigenous communities are desperate to protect from a mining boom.

Continue to full article at AlJazeera

Sergio Queiroz, Brazilian Researchers Find “Terrifying” Plastic Rocks on Remote Island, Reuters, March 15, 2023

“Plastic rocks” found on Trindade Island in the state of Espirito Santo is seen at the laboratory of the Federal University of Parana, in Curitiba, state of Parana, Brazil March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Rodolfo Buhrer

The geology of Brazil’s volcanic Trindade Island has fascinated scientists for years, but the discovery of rocks made from plastic debris in this remote turtle refuge is sparking alarm.

Continue to full article at Reuters


Founded in 1973, the Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA) seeks to build bridges between the Rochester, New York community and the people of Latin America. Through its speakers, films, newsletters, and urgent actions, ROCLA educates residents about the culture, economics and politics of the countries of Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and the ways U.S. policies impact the lives of their people. ROCLA also supports directly affected groups and solidarity organizations that are fighting for justice and human rights in the global south and the United States. ROCLA encourages its members and the Rochester community to advocate for U.S. policies that support human rights and reverse the often-oppressive history of U.S. involvement in Latin America. ROCLA stands with Latin American diaspora communities and ally organizations in the United States in advocating for farmworker rights, a fair and humane immigration system, and racial justice.

Steering Committee: Marilyn Anderson, Kathy Goforth, Grania Marcus, Arnie Matlin, Richard Rosen, Vic Vinkey, Tom Ward, Wesley Costa de Moraes. Emeritus: Gail Mott

Website: Maryann Reissig; Editor: Grania Marcus