Thursday, October 24, 2013

Immigrants strap themselves to wheels of deportation buses

By Joe Bernick, People's World
October 14, 2013

TUCSON, Ariz. - Frustrated by lack of action on immigration reform in Congress, Tucson immigrant rights activists took matters into their own hands Oct. 11. A dozen protesters locked themselves to the wheels of two deportation buses full of detainees headed to Operation Streamline at a federal courthouse in downtown Tucson where six additional activists had chained themselves to the entrance to protest the proceeding they say is criminalizing immigrants and destroying core principles of the justice system.

By blocking a freeway exit with two vehicles the protesters slowed two Border Patrol prison buses to a stop as they came off the freeway. A dozen activists ran out and chained themselves to the front wheels of the buses full of detainees while supporters cautioned the drivers not to proceed. It took the police four hours to cut through the "dragon sleeve" cylinders and make arrests.[...]

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Return of the Nicaraguan Revolution

This was something that US commentators failed to understand about Nicaragua. There had been a real revolution. It wasn’t a seizure of power by a little band of Marxists; it was tens or hundreds of thousands of people like these women organizing themselves and their neighbors.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
October 22, 2013

Nicaragua’s 1979 revolution is back in the news, at least in New York City.

On September 23 The New York Times ran a front-page article on the decades-old Nicaragua solidarity activism of Bill de Blasio, now the frontrunner in New York’s November 5 mayoral election. Some two dozen other articles quickly appeared in the local and national press, most of them recycling old perspectives on the thousands of us who, like de Blasio, traveled to Nicaragua in the 1980s to demonstrate our opposition to the Reagan and Bush administrations’ efforts to overthrow that country’s government.[...]

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Migrant Deaths Heighten Calls for Action

By Frontera NorteSur
October 5, 2013

The deaths of at least 133 African migrants off the coast of Italy last week spurred some international leaders to call for changes in global migrant policies. The tragedy occurred after a ship carrying Eritrean, Ghanaian and Somali migrants caught fire, capsized and sank October 2 near the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

Possibly hundreds of passengers from the ill-fated ship are still unaccounted for in Mediterranean waters that have claimed the lives of migrants in previous maritime accidents.

Pope Francis condemned the calamity, calling the mass deaths a “shame” and linking it to an “inhuman” world economic crisis that is symptomatic of the “great lack of respect for man.” In calling for prayers for the victims, the pontiff urged united action to stave off similar tragedies. “Only a decisive collaboration of all can help to prevent them,” he said. [...]

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Undocumented and Unprotected

By Elvira Arellano, La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras
October 8, 2013

We have long said that the U.S. immigration law – and President Obama’s administration – are punishing the least culpable and the most vulnerable for a system of undocumented labor which the entire nation participated in and benefitted from. Millions of people did not just suddenly decide to pick up a few of their belongings and cross the desert in search of the American Dream. In fact the “American Nightmare” of NAFTA and other policies cost millions of people their jobs in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It was a forced migration. The border was left open and the word went out from employers to “bring your people here”. The government collected our taxes without blinking an eye. Banks lent us money – at high interest rates. It was a system of undocumented labor! We took care of their children. We cooked and served their food. Yet only the undocumented are targeted for penalties.

We did not create the system. We just tried to survive in it. [...]

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Sin papeles y sin protección

Por Elvira Arellano, La Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras
8 de octubre, 2013

Durante mucho tiempo hemos estado diciendo que las leyes migratorias de los Estados Unidos—y la política migratoria de la administración del presidente Obama—castigan a los que menos culpa tienen y quienes son los más vulnerables en un sistema de mano de obra indocumentada de la cual la nación entera sacó beneficios y en la cual la nación entera participó. No es cierto que, de repente, millones de personas decidieron hacer sus maletas con sus pocas pertenencias y luego cruzar el desierto en busca del sueño americano. De hecho la “pesadilla americana” del TLCAN y otras políticas estadounidenses les costaron sus puestos de trabajo a millones de personas en México, Centroamérica y la región caribeña. Fue una migración forzada. Se dejó abierta la frontera y los patrones norteamericanos hicieron correr la palabra “vengan acá con su gente”. El gobierno recolectó nuestros impuestos sin decir nada. Los bancos nos prestaron dinero con intereses elevados. ¡Todo esto ha sido un sistema de mano de obra indocumentada! Cuidamos a sus niños y preparamos sus comidas, pero solo los indocumentados son blanco de castigo.

Nosotros no inventamos este sistema. Lo único que hemos hecho es intentar sobrevivir dentro de él. [...]

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The "Implacable" War Against Migrants

Review of The Immigrant War, Vittorio Longhi, Policy Press, 2013

By David Bacon, Truthout
September 30, 2013

The immigration debate in the United States almost always treats the migration of people into this country as something unique. It is not. The World Bank estimates the total number of people worldwide living outside the countries where they were born at 213,316,418 in 2010. A decade earlier, it was 178,050,184, and a decade before that, 155,209,721

The number of people who have become cross-border migrants has increased by about 58 million people in 20 years. To be sure, the United States has become home to a large number - 42,813,281 in 2010, up from 23,251,026 two decades earlier. This increase coincided, by no accident, with the period in which the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, and neoliberal economic reforms were implemented in countries that have been the sources of migration to the United States.

Nevertheless, looking at the ways migration has affected other countries, and especially at the experiences of migrants themselves, it is clear that US exceptionalism - the idea that this country is somehow unique and different from the rest of the world - has no basis in fact.[...]

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dominicans Protest Move to Revoke Haitians of Citizenship

By Zaira Cortes, El Diario La Prensa
October 2, 2013

Translated by Emily Leavitt, Voices of NY

Community leaders in Washington Heights condemned a decision by the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court, which would strip citizenship from thousands of children of Haitian immigrants born in the Dominican Republic.

Organizations in northern Manhattan said the ruling, which cannot be appealed, violates the most basic human rights. They described it as xenophobic and “civil genocide.” [...]

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Let’s be Honest: CHIP Political Commentary

By Gabriel Camacho, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) blog
September 25, 2013

Clarity and directness is the best way to communicate, so let’s give it a try.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is dead. Many leftwing immigrant activists and analysts have been putting this view out for a while, but for political, ideological, and racists reasons these perspectives have been ignored in the mainstream immigrant advocacy movement.

This conclusion is justified when we take an overview of possible legislative scenarios. Each scenario has its proponents and detractors, but what is important for our work is their likelihood to materialize. [...]

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Digital Release of Made in L.A.!

By Made in L.A.
September 24, 2013

This week, Made in L.A. makes its Digital Premiere in celebration of Latino/a Heritage Month! YOU CAN WATCH IT NOW ON: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Xbox, and Vimeo On Demand. And it will soon be available on Google/YouTube, Sony Playstation, SundanceNow, and Vudu. The Vimeo launch is especially exciting because it makes the film available worldwide and includes a Q&A with the filmmakers and Lupe, one of the protagonists, as a special feature!

We are excited that the digital release will bring Made in L.A. to new and diverse audiences and that it will greatly increase access to the film. We truly hope that it will touch their hearts and foster greater understanding of the struggles that immigrant workers face in this country.

Made in L.A. is making its digital premiere through the Sundance Institute's #Artist Services program, which provides Institute-supported artists with opportunities for self-distribution, marketing and financing solutions for their work.

Made in L.A. is an Emmy award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verite style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.

"A rousing true story of solidarity, perseverance and triumph"

"An excellent documentary...about basic human dignity"

"A valuable and moving film -and entertaining as well- ... precious...a document of an experience."

"A moving documentary...the power of activism becomes clearer"

"Sí, Se puede"

"Heartrending and inspiring"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WNU Supplement: Nicaragua Solidarity Back in the News

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Special Supplement, September 30, 2013

1. NYC Mayoral Frontrunner Was Nicaragua Activist: NY Times
2. The Right Reacts: Anti-Semitism and the “Marxist Playbook”
3. “Purely and Nobly American”: Times Writers
4. Solidarity Activists Deconstruct the Media Coverage
5. Who Were the Real Anti-Semites?

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. NYC Mayoral Frontrunner Was Nicaragua Activist: NY Times
On Sept. 23 the New York Times ran a 2,000-word front-page article by reporter Javier Hernandez about New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s work in solidarity with Nicaragua during the late 1980s and early 1990s. De Blasio, the Democratic candidate and the current frontrunner in the Nov. 5 election, has spoken a number of times about his activist past, but the Times article was the first lengthy treatment of the subject. It highlighted his work with Quest for Peace--a program of the Quixote Center, a faith-based Maryland social justice organization--and with the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York (NSN). The NSN was formed in 1985 as a coalition of local Nicaragua solidarity groups and sister city projects; its only activity now is the sponsorship of the Weekly News Update on the Americas.

Although the facts in the article were generally accurate, the tone revived the dismissive attitude toward solidarity activism that was common in US mainstream media during the 1980s, when the US government was sponsoring a war of attrition in which rightwing fighters known as “contras” tried to wear down support for Nicaragua’s ruling party, the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). Hernandez described the young de Blasio as “scruffy,” characterized the Quixote Center by its offices “filled with homegrown squash and peace posters,” and referred to the NSN as “a ragtag team of peace activists, Democrats, Marxists and anarchists.” [...]

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