LAWG would like to thank:
- Reps. James McGovern (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and George Miller (D-CA) for their unflinching support for human rights in Colombia.
- Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) for initiating a letter to Secretary of State Rice calling for a review of Cuba policy following Fidel Castro’s announcement that he would not run for reelection as president.
- Rep. Miller (D-CA) for his work on raising the issue of trade unionist killings and pressing the Colombian government to ensure these cases are properly investigated.
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for removing the Colombia Free Trade Agreement from fast track consideration, in a pioneering reminder that trade should not trump labor rights and human rights.
- Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her championship of assistance to reduce poverty and address humanitarian crises.
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) for their introduction of the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act of 2008, legislation that requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take steps to ensure adequate medical and mental health care for immigrant detainees. In May 2008, Rep. Lofgren was quoted in The New York Times, “This should not be part of the debate about illegal immigration…This is about whether the government is conducting itself according to the basic minimum standards of civilization.”
- Newly appointed Secretary of Labor and former representative from California, Hilda Solis, for her record of leadership in Congress to raise awareness and bring an end to brutal violence against women in Mexico and Guatemala. As former co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, her initiatives brought national and international attention to bear on the unresolved murders and disappearances of women and girls in Ciudad Juárez and City of Chihuahua, and pressured Mexican officials to work towards ending violence and impunity. We look forward to her work as Secretary of Labor.
- Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) for including provisions in the FY 2009 Financial Services bill that would liberalize travel to Cuba for Americans with family on the island. Rep. Serrano’s provisions strive to undo some of the harsh restrictions established by the Bush Administration in 2004 that placed family relations in the crosshairs of foreign policy. Rep. Serrano stated, “There is no reason to place harsh restrictions on those who simply wish to visit close family members.”
LAWG would also like to thank the following members for their perfect scores this year on the Latin America votes and letters we emphasized:
Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Stephen Cohen (D-TN), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Michael Michaud (D-ME), James Oberstar (D-MN), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Hilda Solis (D-CA), and Henry Waxman (D-CA).