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We Won! Twice in One Day!

 Donate Today to the Southwest Region

Dear compañeros, 

Last Thursday we called on you for two urgent actions on Honduras and Cuba. On the Cuba front, Cuban-American hardliners in congress tried to pass a bill to limit family travel to Cuba. The cruelty and unbending Cold War idealogy of the Cuban American hardline never ceases to shock us. Your calls to President Obama did the trick. The President used all his influence to get the language cut from the bill, and in the end Cuba Family Travel was saved, thanks to all of you.

 On the same day, last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was going to consider renewing the almost $200 million in Millennium Challenge Funds for Honduras. In the last 2 weeks there have been two high profile political assassinations in Honduras adding to the over 200 political assassinations since the 2009 coup. Due to the blatant human rights crisis in Honduras and your calls and pressure on Secretary Clinton it was very apparent Honduras would be rejected the Millennium Challenge Funding. In anticipation of the imminent rejection, Honduras withdrew its request for the MCC funds.

We won this time. Our victories are very few when we are up against such powerful forces that put war, profits and tyranny over people’s needs. Let us pause and celebrate our victories and affirm within our selves that no matter what prevailing forces exist, to us we will keep hoping, keep dreaming and keep fighting for a more just world. (and sometimes we win!)

So lets breathe deep, make a toast and put the proverbial (non-violent) boxing gloves back on in 2012. If the hardliners in congress get their way there will be a roll back on the already very limited travel we have with Cuba, repression and impunity will continue in Honduran and the new Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement will be pushed forward. The 21 Free Trade Pacts they already have is not enough for them. They will not stop until the whole world is a free trade zone for their profit playground. Enough is enough and the Occupy movements of the US prove that we have been pushed to our breaking point. Those of you who met our Colombian speaker, Jani Silva, heard her speak of a “solidarity economy.” Many students asked her what that was. She said “a solidarity economy is where everyone takes care of each other.”

 Witness for Peace Southwest continues to keep fighting this fight. This year alone we have shown how hard work and determination has moved congress and we do this from the love and compassion we will always have for our brothers and sisters in Latin America.

We continue this fight on a skeleton budget. We will work even harder next year and we need you with us.

We don’t ask often, but we really need your financial support to continue this work.

Please donate today so that we can continue sending you congressional action alerts and urgent actions when human rights defenders come under threat in Latin America. These alerts can save lives. We also continue to build and educate a US grassroots movement through our delegations and speaking tours.

You can make an online donation here or by calling in your credit card number to 805-421-9708. You can also mail a donation to:

Witness for Peace Southwest 
10432 Amigo Avenue
Northridge, CA 91320

 Un gran abrazo solidario ( a big solidarious hug),

Tanya Cole

Regional Organizer- Witness for Peace Southwest

P.S. See our list of 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Calendar here. (a few of this years highlights are pictured below) Click HERE to watch video clips of this year's Southwest speakers: Jani Silva of Colombia, Gerardo Torres and Dr. Luther Castillo of Honduras and Francisco Romero and Tanya Cole of the Southwest Region.  

Moving Congress: Witness for Peace Southwest and partners pictured below with Congressman Henry Waxman. During this meeting Rep. Waxman signed a Dear Colleague letter condemning human rights abuses in Honduras and he vowed to oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Delegations: In 2011 the Southwest sponsored 4 delegations to Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and Ventura County, CA. A total of 55 delegates participated and the Southwest Region awarded $3,175 in delegation scholarship assistance. Picture below is the July delegation to  the Afro Colombian communities of  Uraba, Colombia.

Honduras: Pictured below is Southwest delegate Sara Kohgadai with former Honduran President Mel Zelaya. In March the Southwest region hosted Gerardo Torres, leader of the Honduran Resistance Front, for several speaking events in Southern California. In September the Southwest region sent a nine-person delegation to Honduras that visited the campesino movements of the Aguan Valley, 4 political prisoners, served as international observers for the Sept 15 Resistance marches and met with the brand new US Ambassador to Honduras. The Southwest hosted Afro-Honduran Garifuna Doctor Luther Castillo for a workshop on Honduras at the School of the Americas vigil in Ft. Benning, Georgia. The Southwest continues to be an active member of the Honduras Solidarity Network.