ROCLA Spring-Summer 2021 Newsletter
In this Issue
ROCLA News & Updates
Wesley Costa de Moraes
ROCLA Welcomes a New Steering Committee Member
By Grania Marcus
ROCLA has named a new Steering Committee member, Wesley Costa de Moraes, a native of Brazil.
Since 2018, he has served as Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures and Literatures at SUNY Geneseo. In October 2020, Professor Costa de Moraes gave a presentation (on Zoom) to ROCLA members and guests on “Brazil, Bossa Nova, and Bolsonaro: Democracy or Delusion?” This lively program included discussions of many of the key issues that Costa de Moraes’s research has focused on —gender, race, and economic inequality across many Latin American countries and also within Latinx communities in the US.
He believes that students and citizens should be engaged in movements for social change concerning these issues. Professor Costa de Moraes’s expertise in Brazil and his interest in social issues fit perfectly with ROCLA’s longtime involvement in solidarity actions to support justice movements in Latin America, and end America’s violent interventions and anti-immigrant policies. We are thrilled to welcome Wesley and learn from his invaluable perspectives!
Resources in English on Latin America
Editor’s Note: For our readers who are interested in pursuing additional information and news about Latin America and the Caribbean, we have compiled a list of organizations and news sources that generally provide reliable information, which is not the case with many mainstream media reports. We welcome your comments and suggestions about these and others that we may have omitted. Please contact Grania Marcus, email@example.com with your comments. Thank you!
Latin American Solidarity Organizations/Newsletters
- Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ) – AfGJ focuses on projects in Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela and Nicaragua and news about those countries.
- Black Agenda Report (BAR) – Publishes occasional articles and especially podcasts about Cuba, Haiti, and other Latin American countries from a Black diaspora leftist perspective.
- IFCO/Pastors for Peace (Cuba) – Publishes “Cuba Buzz,” an online newsletter with articles and action opportunities regarding Cuba. Sign up for Cuba Buzz.
- Latin American Working Group (LAWG) – Articles and advocacy opportunities about Colombia, Mexico, Central America, migration and immigration issues. Sign up for regular news briefs about these topics.
- Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) – NISGUA works to build and strengthen ties between the people of the United States and Guatemala in the global struggle for justice, human dignity, and respect for the Earth.
- NICANet – The Network supports the efforts of the Sandinista Revolution to provide a better life for Nicaragua’s people. About Nicanet. It also publishes NicaNotes, a blog in English for Nicaragua activists and those interested in Nicaragua. Sign up for NicaNotes.
- Popular Resistance – Popular Resistance is a resource and information clearinghouse for international social, political, and environmental movements, among others, including in Latin America; the website publishes a free weekly newsletter, a daily digest and podcasts. Access news feed. Sign up here.
- Resumen Latinoamericano and the Third World – Publishes online news and analysis in English and Spanish coming primarily from Latin America, by writers, researchers, and activists living there. Sign up to view articles.
- Rights Action (Guatemala/El Salvador/Honduras) – Rights Action focuses its work mainly in the Northern Triangle countries and publishes a newsletter and email updates about land rights, indigenous peoples, and environmental struggles against the illegal mining activities of the US and Canada there. Subscribe here.
- Tortilla Con Sal (Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela) – A newsletter published in English and Spanish focusing mainly on Nicaragua, but with discussions on Cuba and Venezuela as well.
- Venezuela & ALBA News – Articles published on the AfGJ website about Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia from a Socialist perspective.
- Venezuela Analysis (Venezuela) – The only independent, grassroots English-language media outlet working on the ground in Venezuela; includes news and opinion articles, podcasts, video and multimedia.
News organizations with articles on Latin America from a Latin American perspective
- The Intercept – Specializes in in-depth investigative journalism that holds political and economic authorities accountable. Find articles about Latin America. Coverage of migration and immigration issues.
- TeleSur (English and Spanish) – Comprehensive coverage of Latin American and Caribbean news and opinion.
Progressive U.S. Publications that have limited coverage of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Migration/Immigration Issues
Renew Your ROCLA Membership
We hope that you will consider giving generously to ROCLA so we can ensure a future that allows us to inform and support the efforts of those in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Donate below or send your tax-deductible check made out to MJ/ROCLA to: Kathy Goforth, 45 Lynbrook Drive, Rochester, NY 14609.
become a ROCLA monthly sustainer
Becoming a ROCLA Monthly Sustainer provides reliable support for our monthly programs and events. As a Sustainer, your donation will renew and your credit or debit card will automatically be billed.
Urgent Action: No More Sanctions!
Tell the House and Senate–DON’T PASS the RENACER ACT!
Most Senators and Congressional Representatives have bought the constant media lies about Nicaragua. We know US institutions like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have provided hundreds of millions of dollars just in the last five years for the Nicaraguan opposition, especially for their media. Much of this has been used to further opposition lies about Nicaragua to the US media and lawmakers. US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is now sponsoring a bill, the RENACER Act, that would apply more sanctions against Nicaragua on top of those in the 2018 Nica Act. The bill includes, among others, a provision that would make it even harder for Nicaragua to get development assistance, especially harmful to the population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate co-sponsors include Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Send your letter to your Senators and Representative NOW to tell them “No More Sanctions!” and share the truth about Nicaragua.
Support the New York for All Act!
For years ICE has tried to divide us, determined to cruelly target immigrants and separate families. ICE continues to pressure local law enforcement and local government agencies to search for, arrest, and deport people, and to separate families who are part of our New York. Because of ICE’s pressure on local law enforcement, many immigrant New Yorkers live with the fear that living daily life in the open and interacting with government agencies – whether in a routine police traffic stop, attending school, or visiting a public hospital for care – could lead to being torn away from family.
Passing the New York for All Act (S.03076/A.02328) will help immigrant New Yorkers lead freer lives and take care of family, preserve state and local resources for community safety, protect immigrant families and ensure that local resources cannot be diverted to carry out ICE’s cruelty. It does this by prohibiting state and local officers from enforcing federal immigration laws and sharing sensitive information with ICE.
We invite you, our readers and friends, to contribute articles, letters, editorials or commentary from a Latinx perspective that we will feature in this section. Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Latin America
WOLA, “Colombia Peace Update,” April 17, 2021.” Colombia Peace, April 17, 2021.
Decree, issued the day of high-level U.S. visit, signals imminent restart of aerial herbicide fumigation
On April 11 and 12 Colombia received its highest-level in-person visit to date from Biden administration officials. Special Assistant to the President and Senior National Security Council Western Hemisphere Director Juan González and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung were in Bogotá, where they met for two hours with President Iván Duque and other high government officials. It was the first stop on a South America trip that took González and Chung later to Argentina and Uruguay.
“‘The way they silence us is by killing us’: Armed conflict returns to Colombia’s port city of Buenaventura,” The World, April 12, 2021.
Leonard Rentiera, a pint-sized rapper and social activist, is often escorted by two bodyguards in a bulletproof car around his city.
The 29-year-old artist from Buenaventura, a port city on Colombia’s Pacific coast, has been under threat for years due to his outspokenness about the violence that engulfs his hometown.
William M. Leogrande, “Hunger as a Weapon: How Biden’s Inaction is Aggravating Cuba’s Food Crisis,” Common Dreams, May 27, 2021.
If President Biden wants to support human rights in Cuba and empower the Cuban people, he can start by alleviating the food crisis by ending Trump’s prohibition on remittances and restoring the right of U.S. residents to travel.
Manolo de los Santos and Vijay Prashad, “The United States tries to take advantage of the price Cubans are paying for the blockade and the pandemic,” MR Online, July 14, 2021.
Cuba, like every other country on the planet, is struggling with the impact of COVID-19. This small island of 11 million people has created five vaccine candidates and sent its medical workers through the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to heal people around the world. Meanwhile, the United States hardens a cruel and illegal blockade of the island, a medieval siege that has been in place for six decades.
Angel Guerra Cabrera, “Cuba: US Pushes for intervention,” Resumen, July 15, 2021.
On the day of the protests and acts of vandalism in Cuba President Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced the desire of the United States (US) government to provoke a massive social outburst on the island. “To which all that propaganda and all those ideological constructions contribute… to summon the so-called humanitarian interventions, which end up in military interventions… that crush the sovereignty of the peoples.” Díaz-Canel informed and analyzed before the people his talk with the nonconformists in San Antonio de los Baños. There are not many leaders who assume such a radically democratic behavior.
”This Weekend’s Technical Coup d’Etat in El Salvador,” El Faro English, May 2, 2021.
This Saturday, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele took another step — maybe a definitive one — to centralize power and consolidate a one-man/one-party regime as the new Legislative Assembly, controlled by Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party, defenestrated both legal procedure and parliamentary rule in removing and replacing the five magistrates from the Constitutional Court, along with the Attorney General.
Nina Lakkani, “Berta Cáceres assassination: ex-head of dam company found guilty, The Guardian, July 5, 2021.
A US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer who was the president of an internationally financed hydroelectric company has been found guilty over the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres.
Joseph Sorrentino, “Both Ancient and Modern Roots influence a Xochimilco Holy Cross Fiesta,” Mexico News Daily, April 21, 2021.
Shouts and laughter fill the air as a group of women struggle to haul a cross that weighs about 250 pounds up an incline leading to Xilotepec, a hill on the outskirts of San Gregorio Atlapulco.
That cross, and two others, are being returned to their place on the crest of the hill two days after they’d been taken down, repainted and decorated. Toting the crosses back up the hill is the culmination of Día de la Cruz (Day of the Cross), which is actually a three-day event that takes place May 1–3 in San Gregorio and in many Mexican pueblos every year.
Stephan Sefton, “Nicaragua and the Western human rights industry,” Tortilla Con Sal, March 31, 2021.
John Heartfield’s famous photomontage of a newspaper cabbagehead had the caption “Whoever Reads Bourgeois Newspapers Becomes Blind and Deaf!” The caption is even more true now as the 21st Century moves into its third decade.
Western reporting of all kinds is strained through the filters of corporate dominated intellectual managerial classes in every sphere: science, law, culture, medicine and finance, in foreign and domestic news media, in non governmental organizations and in multilateral international agencies. Directly or indirectly, every area of reporting has become increasingly shaped by corporate funding
José Carlos Llerena Robles, Vijay Prashad, “There’s a Dirty Tricks Campaign Underway in Peru to deny the Left’s Presidential Victory,” MR Online, July 9, 2021.
Half an hour’s taxi ride from the House of Pizarro, the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, is a high-security prison at the Callao naval base. The prison was built to hold leaders of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), particularly Abimael Guzmán. Not far from Guzmán’s cell is that of Vladimiro Montesinos, intelligence chief under former President Alberto Fujimori, who is also now imprisoned. Montesinos was sentenced to a 20-year prison term in 2006 for embezzlement, influence peddling, and abuse of power. Now, audio files from phone calls made by Montesinos from his prison indicate an attempt to influence the results of Peru’s presidential election after Pedro Castillo, the candidate of the left-wing Perú Libre party, won the election.
Andreína Chávez Alava, “Venezuelan Campesinos Mobilize to Defend Land Law, Demand Gov’t Answers,” Venezuela Analysis, July 8, 2021.
Over 200 Venezuelan campesinos and allied activists rallied in Caracas against threats to change the country’s historic Land Law and to demand justice in the countryside.
On Wednesday, 21 rural organizations, joined by a number of Caracas’ social movements, staged a protest in front of the National Assembly (AN) building, rejecting recent government overtures to Venezuela’s Cattle Ranchers Federation (FEDENAGA), a powerful landowner guild pushing for a reform of the 2001 law.
James Goodman,”Reclaiming the Border, Rethinking the Border, The Progressive Magazine, April 13, 2021.
When Juana Pedro recently answered the phone at her Cincinnati home, she heard the voices of her thirteen-year-old nephew, Baltazar, and eleven-year-old niece, Eulalia—Guatemalan children apprehended near El Paso, Texas, by Border Patrol agents.
“I asked them, ‘What about your mother?’ ” recalls Pedro. Eulalia’s answer—“I don’t know what happened to her”—was hardly comforting.
It would take more than a week before Pedro heard from his sister, Catarina, the children’s mother. She ended up back in Guatemala, the very country that she and her children had fled after being threatened by gang violence.
Zoe Carpenter, “Climate Change Will Force Us to Rethink Migration and Asylum,” The Nation, April 21, 2021.
More than 170,000 migrants were apprehended at the US-Mexico border in March, the highest number in a decade. Many of those are unaccompanied minors, and the Biden administration has scrambled to find accommodations for them, sending hundreds of kids to temporary shelters in convention centers and other ad hoc facilities. Conservative politicians and pundits have blamed Biden for “luring children to the border” by relaxing Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies, describing the situation as “Biden’s border crisis.”
Maria Sacchetti, “U.S. judge blocks new applicants to program that protects undocumented ‘dreamers’ who arrived as children,” The Washington Post, July 16, 2021.
A federal judge in Texas has largely halted an Obama administration initiative that grants work permits and reprieves from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — calling the program “unlawful” even as he allowed the more than 600,000 young people already in it to keep their protected status.
ROCLA MISSION STATEMEMT
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, Bob Kaiser
Newsletter Creator: Maryann Reissig; Editor: Grania Marcus