LAWG Spring Update

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Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte

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LAWG in the Press

Los Angeles Times: Half a century of conflict in Colombia comes to a close as FARC rebels disarm
Miami Herald: Central America’s business leaders pledge to do more but humanitarians worry about impact

The Guardian: Central America braces for return of US military-led foreign policy

The Nation:
Trump Threatens to Rescind Obama’s Cuba Engagement—and Activists Fight Back

Los Angeles Times:
Colombian President Santos, at White House, seeks aid renewal

Mother Jones:
200 Refugees Are Crossing Mexico to Escape Violence—and to Confront Trump

A lot happened this spring. Our feisty LAWG team—together withpassionate and dedicated supporters like YOU—worked hard to denounce this administration’s continued support for militarized border security and immigration enforcement, push back against Trump’s Cuba policy rollback, keep our government engaged with the peace process in Colombia, and monitor the human rights situation in Mexico.

Central America: Yes, it is a Refugee Crisis

» Together, we told our government to stand up for protection and human rights for immigrants and refugees from Central America, not more harmful deportations, military-led security, or large-scale investment that does not help communities in the region.

Read LAWG’s Lisa Haugaard’s Huffington Post article, “Trump’s Budget: A Blow To Our Communities And To Our Latin American Neighbors,” here.

LAWG’s Daniella Burgi-Palomino (right) at the shadow briefing.

Concerned about the narrow security and business focus of the Trump Administration’s Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, LAWG organized a letter with over 100 civil society organizations from the United States and the region. It expressed concerns regarding the conference and urged Secretary Tillerson to ensure that human rights do not take a backseat.

Read the letter in English here and in Spanish here.

In light of civil society’s noticeable absence from the conference, LAWG also helped organize a shadow briefing with partners the day before the conference so that their voices could be heard.

See the video recording of the civil society briefing here.

» With your help, we pushed back against harmful legislation that aimed to further endanger and shun immigrant and refugee communities under the guise of U.S. security. Unfortunately, these heinous bills passed in the House, so now we’re focusing on defeating them in the Senate. Stay tuned for more ways you can take action to support immigrants and refugees, and push back on funding for the border wall and deportations!

» Lastly, in honor of World Refugee Day 2017, we hand-delivered our petition—which many of you signed and help share—to Congress, urging members to protect children and families seeking asylum at our borders.

Andrea, Emma, and LAWG interns Ellie and Caroline delivering our petition to Congress leaders.

Cuba: He Rolls Back, We Resist

» Together, we rallied against the administration’s U.S.-Cuba policy rollback. And while Trump’s June announcement that he was turning back Obama’s “completely one-sided deal” with Cuba was discouraging, we’re still working hard to get Congress to end the embargo and travel ban once and for all!

Read our short overview of Trump’s Cuba policy changes here and our latest blog post here.

Colombia: Keeping Peace on Track

» To make sure that the United States doesn’t abandon its support of the peace accords, we’ve been educating our government officials both in Congress and the State Department about the current human rights landscape in Colombia.

Read our latest update on the situation here.

» Together with the Colombia Human Rights Committee, we brought human and land rights defender Don Gerardo Acero on a speaking tour, where he discussed how the war affected campesino communities and why the peace accords are a step in the right direction.

See the video recording of Don Gerardo’s presentation at the 2017 Ecumenical Advocacy Days here.

Don Gerardo Acero (center in green) with LAWG staff and others at the 2017 Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

And thanks to your determination, together we’ve urged our government to support sustainable and just peace in Colombia. We even created a useful infographic on the benefits of investing in peace in Colombia.

Download our latest infographic here.

Mexico: Speaking Truth to Power

» We’ve been concentrating our efforts on educating our government about the worsening situation of human rights violations and impunity in Mexico—including threats to human rights defenders and journalists, the Mexican government’s attempts to increase the military’s role in security operations, and the lack of progress on the Ayotzinapa case.

Read our human rights update from May here, and see our latest blog on the Ayotzinapa case here.

There’s still plenty more to do, and we hope we can continue counting on your support along the way!

P.S. We want to know what YOU are passionate about. Fill out this quick survey and let us know how we can better help you take action for just policies towards Latin America!