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September 2010 Newsletter: Mid-Atlantic Update

Honduras, Economics & Migration

This fall, as Witness for Peace Mid-Atlantic gets ready to host our annual speaker's tour in November (this year with Nectali Rodezno from the National Front of Lawyers Against the Coup in Honduras), we will be coming together to explore the links between the struggles here in the U.S. for immigrant rights and the fight against the unfair trade policies that push migration in the first place.

Becca Polk and Vrinda Manglik Create a Dialogue Poem

Becca Polk (SOA Watch) and Vrinda Manglik (February 2010 delegate to Oaxaca) create a dialogue poem.

The coup in Honduras in June 2009 has deep economic and corporate ties. Honduras is one of the key places where the labor of workers is exploited by multinational corporations, and the oligarchy which has controlled the state for generations has ensured an abysmally low minimum wage.

President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who was ousted in a military coup orchestrated by the School of the Americas (SOA)-trained General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, among several other SOA graduates, had lifted the minimum wage 60%. The strong, organized labor and social justice movements had pushed Zelaya to enact such reforms, and his willingness to listen to the Honduran people (rather than foreign investors) frightened the oligarchy -- and their backers in the United States -- so much that they perpetrated a coup.

This is just one piece of the landscape of one country that sends migrants north to the United States -- roughly one million according to the U.S. state department. This October, we will be holding film discussions and creating dialogue poems in universities, community groups and solidarity organizations all across the region. In the next few days we’ll have the organizers’ guide (including ideas for actions with your poems) and an instructional video up online, so keep your eyes out for that and let us know what you organize in your community!