Latin America Working Group www.lawg.org
From day one of the next presidency, we will work with committed advocates like you to tell the Obama Administration to:
• Close Guantanamo because if the United States is to stand for justice, we must lead by example.
• Support ending the travel ban for ALL Americans because sweeping away this relic of the Cold War past will set a positive tone and send a clear signal that a new day has dawned.
• Rethink U.S. aid to Latin America because we should be lending a helping hand to lift millions out of grinding poverty, not training and arming soldiers to be sent into the regions streets and fields.
• Stop endlessly bankrolling war in Colombia and pursues peace because the immense suffering of the civilian population demands a new approach.
• Reform our nation's immigration laws because we should be building bridges, not building more walls.
Nicaragua Network www.nicanet.org
2009 is the time to change US policies toward Nicaragua, Latin America, and the world. With your support, the Nicaragua Network will organize, organize, organize, to change US foreign policy.
We demand change that is based on respect for national sovereignty, respect for the right of people in Latin America - and the world - to democratically choose their own leaders without US interference. We demand that our government respect the economic, social, and cultural rights of all peoples. And we'll work hard to turn hope for change into the reality of change. One of Bush's last immoral acts was to suspend desperately needed Millennium Challenge Fund aid to Nicaragua at a time that poor country is reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis. We will work to insure that new President Barack Obama reinstates US aid to Nicaragua.
WITNESS FOR PEACE
Specifically, we urge you to:
* Transform our trade policy so that it prioritizes people and the environment over corporate profit. Renegotiate NAFTA and CAFTA and reject other trade agreements that follow the failed NAFTA-model, including the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement.
* Promote humane immigration reform that respects the human dignity of our immigrant neighbors and addresses the poverty and trade policies at the root of migration.
* Rethink the failed “war on drugs” in Colombia. Instead of spending billions in a failed “supply-side” strategy that funds human rights abuses, destroys the environment and fuels a decades-long armed conflict, end military aid and invest in real alternative development abroad and drug prevention and treatment at home.
* Close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, once and for all. This school, whose graduates continue to return to their countries to commit heinous human rights violations, has no place in 21st century relations with Latin America.
* End the travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba. After fifty years of this cruel and ineffective policy, it is time to positively engage with our island neighbor.
* Forge a new type of diplomacy in the region based on mutual respect. Instead of bullying our neighbors to follow our interests or ideology, engage in a true dialogue, respecting their sovereignty and listening to the needs of their people.
Stop CAFTA Coalition Releases Report on Three Years of Failed Trade Deal
Groups Who Opposed Central America Agreement Plan to Call for Suspension under Obama Administration
DECEMBER 4, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Katherine Hoyt, Nicaragua Network, (619) 423-2909
WASHINGTON, December 4. Members of the Stop CAFTA Coalition, along with allies in Central America and the Dominican Republic, have compiled a report that describes the trends and impacts of the first three years of the U.S.-Dominican Republic- Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). The report, titled "DR-CAFTA: Effects and Alternatives" is the third in a series of reports by the Stop CAFTA Coalition; the first was published in September 2006 and the second in September 2007. All three reports can be found at www.stopcafta.org .
"We believe that the results of CAFTA demonstrate the failure of 'free' trade and justify a definitive split with this model by the incoming Obama Administration," said Burke Stansbury of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), a member of the coalition. "Not only should the Democratic Congress reject pending agreements such as the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, but the party in power should take this opportunity to introduce a new trade policy based on human rights, and economic, social and environmental sustainability."
According to Elliott Jones at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, an editor of the report, "The articles included in the report show that the negative impacts of CAFTA in these countries are not simply 'growing pains,' or the inevitable transitional problems associated with altering a country's economic system; they are fundamental flaws in the economic theory that drives CAFTA and will likely not improve."
The agreement is still new in many of the signatory countries, but certain trends which have emerged throughout the monitoring process have either continued or been exacerbated. Patterns of growing inequality and ongoing poverty within the signatory countries have only become more extreme, contrary to the promises of supporters of the agreement. According to Katherine Hoyt of the Nicaragua Network, "unless there is a significant shift in the economic model, employment opportunities will continue to be scarce, agricultural prices will continue to fall, the poor will become poorer, and immigration will increase."
The report also illuminates other trade agreements, either proposed or already in effect that relate to Central America and provide possible alternatives to CAFTA's model. ALBA is a cooperative trade agreement that focuses on development and mutually beneficial policies, eschewing the false promises of neoliberalism. The Association Agreement with the European Union shows less promise, but allows for a semblance of cooperation among the Central American countries it affects, and includes clauses relating to cooperation and sustainability, which are missing entirely from CAFTA.
The report concludes with a "Pledge for Trade Justice" developed by the coalition which calls for, among other things: democratic participation and transparency during trade negotiations; provisions that work to protect the dignified lives of small farmers, indigenous communities, and women; strengthened core labor and environmental standards; provisions permitting debt cancellation; and a guarantee that public services like health care, education and potable water will remain public and accessible to poor communities.
According to Jennifer DeLury Ciplet of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), "The coalition will work with our partners in Central America to continue challenging privatization, mega-projects, and other devastating policies associated with CAFTA, with the hope of ultimately pushing the Obama Administration to suspend this failed agreement and bring about an alternative."
Rosa Anaya (daughter of slain Human Rights Leader)
Election of Barack Obama: A Time for Hope in El Salvador (?) & Around the World?
Rosa Anaya, El Salvador, email@example.com
I don't know if the timing is right to say the things I want to say, but then I guess I never say things at the "right time." I may be wrong but, amidst all of the joy around the world and the pride felt by citizens of the United States, I find that I still need to say this.
Barack Hussein Obama is going in my dictionary as a reference for the word HOPE - no doubt about it. In many ways he and his wife represent struggles in which blood has been shed for centuries and, despite the fact that time has passed, these wounds continue to bleed. And so I reflect ...
I share in the tears, smiles, hugs and the rest of excitement but ...
We must think about why the world is so happy about the results of the elections in the United States. Why is Africa dancing to the beat of ancient drums? Why does it feel like the Arab world has taken a deep breath after holding its breath to the point of passing out? Did you notice that Latin America's heart almost stop beating when it received this news of hope? Was it possible to hear Asia's screams of joy on this side of the world? Did you see Europe's face of amazement to see a "real" friend again?
I grew up as part of a generation of Salvadorans that lived through civil war and exile, a generation in which everyone knew about the U.S. government's involvement and its responsibility for the atrocities, massacres, torture, persecution and murder of my people - something that resulted from a cold war that was not even ours.
Yet for some reason, no one was willing to talk about it, as if there was a strange ghost that blocked people from reality.
I am part of a generation that learned to hate the U.S. for the monster that it was, a monster that would hunt you down for the way you thought, the way you chose to live your life, the revolution in your veins. This monster could smell an activist, it had a thirst for vengeance, it would drink "communist" blood and it had the ability of hijacking your entire life. (Ironically, I didn't even know what communism was.)
Growing up I used to ask "Why us?"- El Salvador is such a small country. In time I was able to understand that this same monster was sleeping under the beds of many children all around the world. It spit fire and death in the four corners of the earth, it bred corporations that would eat the world resources and it would s*** blood and hunger in the throats of the poor.
This same monster fed lies to the eyes and hearts of its own people in order to justify injustice and crimes. It placed a veil over people's eyes that transformed occupations, interventions, massacres, torture, robbery, and savagery into a strange and noble crusade for "democracy". We all felt the empire's hand choking our throats while everybody was busy denying that an empire existed at all.
Amidst all of this, I learned to separate a government from its citizens and indeed I was saved in many different ways by people from the United States. These people took me and my family into their homes and gave us so much love. Indeed some of them performed heroic acts in name of solidarity and justice. I learned that boundaries were created in our minds that made us look at each other as potential threats instead of as brothers and sisters.
I got a small letter from one of my family's dearest friends (one of my many "moms") - a woman we admire for her open heart and willingness to help others. She described the excitement of the elections results in her neighborhood. Among other things she wrote:
". the most beautiful part of all this is to know that THIS is what the people of the United States really want. They have told us for many years that we are scared assassins, a people who have hoarded everything, and they were able to convince many of this that this was true. Then Barack comes along and says, no, you are not that, and you will no longer be manipulated by fear, lies, and greed. The people have demonstrated that we are what he sees in us."
I must say those words pulled me back to my reality, get over the drunkenness of other people's joy, and make this reflection.
Where does the excitement in the world come from? Is it "just" over an election of a country that is not our own?
As a victim of the monster, I share with people of the United States the joy, but you must understand that our joy bursts forth out of a long history of fear, death, repression and oppression against humanity itself that was caused by your country.
We are happy to hope with you, to hope that we can start to make decisions in my country, that go in favor of our own country and our people, without any fear that this might be against the interest of the United States (or rather, the elite and powerful of the country whose only God is profit).
We don't get to vote in your elections, but we suffer the consequences of your decisions.
Barack Obama must recognize that he will be the president of the U.S. but, despite the great power that his country has, he will not be the president of the world nor its savior. This has been the vision of many past U.S. presidents (I won't even start on Bush's disgusting worldview).
Many people around the world hate the U.S. for what it represents in our countries and, believe me, the last thing that this country signifies in the minds of the oppressed is "democracy."
In fact, the image that often comes up is one of massacres, bombings, killings, genocide, "harsh interrogation methods" (which seems very much like torture to us), prison, environmental destruction, lies, and fear.
I guess what I want to say is that "Americans" need to remember that there are more than 35 sovereign countries in the Americas and almost 200 countries in the world and that our mother earth is capable of providing for everyone if only we are willing to share the wealth.
I want to share that there are more intelligent ways - better ways - to solve problems and prevent conflicts if we are able to create foreign policy based on respect for one another.
This may sound like a utopia, but I suppose that utopia is a great friend of HOPE and I think we all agree that in this moment in history this word seems to be a bit closer than ever before. We just need to stay close together and work side by side; if we don't, this word may slip out of our hands.
Barack is nothing without all of you supporting him and reminding him that he represents the people and not those who have, for years, been hijacking democracy ... among many other things.
Latin America Sends Obama Congratulations-and a Piece of its Mind
Center for International Policy, Americas Policy Program
By Laura Carlsen
Pundits have said that the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States will not change the nation's world image overnight. But in Latin America, it already has.
Congratulations have poured in from Western Hemisphere leaders, press, and citizens. Most celebrate how the United States "has broken racial barriers" by electing the first African-American president. In countries struggling with issues of diversity and discrimination, this is major news-and news they didn't expect to come out of the inertial U.S. political system. Afro-American populations in Brazil and elsewhere greeted the occasion with added enthusiasm.
But fascination with the 2008 U.S. elections in Latin Americans goes beyond race. After watching from afar as Americans elected George W. Bush amid accusations of fraud that were buried by the courts, and then did it again in 2004, any suggestion that the U.S. electoral system could generate change in that country would ordinarily be met with skepticism. For many, the election of Barack Obama showed a capacity for changing course and a level of citizen participation not thought possible.
Latin Americans really despise George W. Bush. There, Bush popularity hit some of its lowest marks in the world. Obama has a tremendous leg-up in Latin America simply for not being George Bush-or of his ilk. Most believe that the president-elect will at least to some degree turn away from the radical foreign policy of unilateralism and U.S. hegemony in the region.
While Bush policy did not include military interventions, it did consist of relentless bullying to force nations to accept Washington economic models, as codified in Free Trade Agreements, and Bush foreign policy, as expressed in the counterterrorism paradigm and the invasion of Iraq. When nations like Bolivia or Ecuador refused to toe the line, the Bush administration applied measures designed to economically and diplomatically isolate those nations, divide the continent, and promote domestic opposition. The inflexibility and unwillingness to enter into real dialogue deepened resentments, even among allies. Congratulations-With Conditions
An improved U.S. global image is not the same as on-the-ground policies and actions. Although statements from the region welcome change and the new profile in the White House, Latin American leaders still aren't running to the mountaintop to proclaim the dawn of a new era in U.S. relations. The response can be characterized more as hope seen through the ever-leery eye the continent keeps on its northern neighbor. The U.S. government has a long way to go to undo the damage done to its relations and its reputation through decades of both Republican and Democratic presidencies.
Latin American leaders placed conditions and qualifications on their congratulations. Lula in Brazil and Evo Morales in Bolivia called for an end to the "unjustifiable" embargo against Cuba. Morales added a demand for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. Mexico's Felipe Calderon sent a brief congratulatory note, calling for strengthening bilateral relations and emphasizing the role of Mexican-Americans in the elections and the U.S. economy. This was his way of insisting on action toward legalizing the status of Mexican immigrants and creating legal frameworks for future immigration flows.
Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner called Obama's election "a great moment on the journey against discrimination and for equality of opportunities" and urged the new president to commit to multilateralism in confronting the financial crisis: "... those who faced the challenge of the world war understood the importance of multilateralism, and we should also ... deepen the needed and urgent changes so multilateralism can respond to the complexities of our realities."
Hugo Chavez stated his hope "to build a constructive bilateral agenda" with the new President Obama, while getting his last digs in at Bush. The U.S.-Venezuela relationship embodies the major challenges facing regional foreign policy, and has been particularly fractious. The two nations are critical to each other's economies as trade partners, and Venezuela oil imports play a key role in U.S. energy security. Yet relations between Hugo Chavez and Bush deteriorated to the point of breaking off diplomatic (but not economic) relations last September. Chavez has spearheaded a move to regional integration sans Uncle Sam that the Bush administration considers a threat to its interests, and espouses "socialism of the XXI century."
Obama has offered to sit down and talk with Chavez and Chavez says he's ready to reciprocate the offer, "and work together against the evils of the world, hunger, AIDS, poverty, malnutrition." He hailed Obama's promise to "close the torture center at Guantanamo, withdraw troops from Iraq, and converse with the presidents who have been pointed to as the evil axis" (a tongue-in-cheek allusion to himself and other world leaders so designated by President Bush).
Rafael Correa offered declarations regarding his moderate expectations for new relations with the U.S. government. "I think that the foreign policy (of the United States) will be more reasonable, more human, less imperialist; I believe that there will be more attention to Latin America, but I don't believe there will be radical changes," he said on a television interview.
Even Pres. Alvaro Uribe of Colombia tagged petitions on his congratulations note. And Uribe is painfully aware that he's in no position to ask for favors. Uribe openly supported John McCain for the presidency, hosted his visit to South America, and bitterly criticized the Democratic candidate for his refusal to support the Free Trade Agreement now stalled in Congress over Colombia's dismal human rights record.
In spite of being the nation most dependent on U.S. aid, Uribe painted himself into a Republican corner just as the Democrats were poised to gain control of the White House and Congress. Analyst Daniel Garcia Pena quoted by AFP notes, "(In these elections) President Uribe also loses because he took on the ideological and bellicose agenda of George W. Bush, a politics that was defeated by U.S. citizens ... Obama has a very different set of priorities from Bush in the agenda with Colombia." Uribe's "asks" included continuation of funding for Plan Colombia and passage of the FTA, citing dubious statistics on reduction of the Colombian cocaine flow to the U.S. market, and ended stating that given the successes Plan Colombia "... must be considered before it's abandoned."
The phrase indicates he's really worried about the future of the controversial military aid plan. Unless he knows more than he's letting on, it's hard to understand exactly why. If there is one point where Obama has followed in the Bush footprints, it's security issues. He supports Plan Colombia and extension of the regional drug war under Plan Mexico (the Merida Initiative). For Colombian human rights activists, indigenous protesters, and union leaders, Uribe's expulsion from the haven provided by his primary financial and political supporter in the hemisphere offers an opportunity to seek more peaceful solutions. But so far Obama's campaign statements give them mostly just hope for a different attitude in Washington.
Correa said his real dream is that "the day will come when Latin America, really, doesn't have to worry about who is in the presidency of the United States, because it will be sovereign and autonomous enough to stand on its own two feet." In the meantime, Latin America remains highly dependent on what happens in the United States. The interconnectedness of not just markets but human lives, make U.S. politics more than a game of idle speculation.
President Obama rides in on a wave of enthusiasm from the South and the North. He has a huge agenda awaiting him. He should quickly appoint new ambassadors in Latin America, diplomats with greater knowledge and sensitivity to the region. Currently Bolivia and Venezuela have no ambassadors at all and other Bush appointments represent old and repudiated ways of doing business.
By far the most important challenge will be to listen. Bush imposed an agenda that sought to divide the continent in the narrow pursuit of the economic interests of transnational corporations and political interests of his own administration.
When Mexicans say: "If you don't develop a fair and legal immigration system, you push migrants into the hands of human smugglers and feed organized crime. We have to do something differently."
When Bolivia says: "Our constitutional process is a long-overdue historical reckoning with an indigenous majority suffering poverty and discrimination. It deserves a chance."
These are messages worth listening to.
Latin America is a good place to start to lay out a new foreign policy approach of non-intervention, multilateralism, and mutual respect. The region poses no real threats, and is not a hotspot for war or international terrorism. Democratic societies there are on the cutting edge of redistribution efforts aimed at what Obama tepidly suggests with his theme of dismantling policies that "help Wall Street but hurt Main Street." A good neighbor foreign policy could create more horizontal relations directed toward shared objectives like peace, justice, stability, security, and well-being rather than the pursuit of the narrow interests of the rich and powerful.
This is the kind of change many people down here are hoping for under an Obama presidency.
Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(at)ciponline.org) is director of the Americas Policy Program (www.americaspolicy.org) in Mexico City, where she has been an analyst and writer for two decades.
Will Obama prove, from government, that his war threats against Iran and Pakistan were nothing more than words, proclaimed in order to seduce difficult ears during the electoral campaign? Hopefully.
And hopefully he does not fall for even one moment into the temptation of repeating the exploits of George W. Bush. After all, Obama had the dignity to vote against the Iraq war, while the Democratic Party and the Republican Party gave a standing ovation to the announcement of this slaughter.
During his campaign, the word "Leadership" was the most repeated in Obama's speeches. During his government will he continue to believe that his country has been chosen to save the world, the toxic idea which he shares with almost all of his colleagues? Will he continue insisting in the global leadership of the United States and its messianic mission of command?
Hopefully this current crisis, that is shaking the cement of imperialism, serves at least to give a bath of reality and humility to this government which is beginning.
Obama's victory was universally celebrated as a battle won against racism. Hopefully he takes on, through his acts in government, this beautiful responsibility.
Will Obama accept that racism is normal when it is exercised against the countries that his country invades? Is it not racism to count one by one the deaths of the invaders of Iraq and olympically ignore the many, many deaths amongst the invaded population? Is it not racist, this world, where there are citizens of first, second and third category, and deaths of first, second and third category?
Will the government of Obama confirm, yet again, that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are two names for one party? Hopefully the desire for change, which this election has inspired, will be more than a promise and more than a hope.
Hopefully the new government will have the courage to break with the tradition of the single party, disguised as two, which in the hour of truth do more or less the same thing, while pretending to fight with one another.
Will Obama fulfill his promise of closing the sinister prison of Guantanamo? Hopefully ., And hopefully he will end the sinister trade block against Cuba.
Will Obama continue to believe that it's very good that a wall prevents Mexicans from crossing the border, while money passes without anyone asking it for a passport?
During the electoral campaign, Obama never frankly confronted the issue of immigration. Hopefully from now on, since he is no longer at risk of scaring voters, he will be able and willing to get rid of this wall, much larger and more shameful than the Berlin Wall, and with all of the walls that violate the right of people to free circulation.
Will Obama, who with much enthusiasm supported the recent gift of 750 billion dollars to bankers, govern, as is custom, in order to socialize the losses and privatize the gains?
I fear that he will, but hope he will not.
Will Obama sign and comply with the Kyoto Accord, or will he continue awarding the privilege of impunity to the nation that most pollutes on the planet? Will he govern for the automobiles or for the people? Will he be able to change the deadly mode of life of a few who raffle off the destiny of us all?
I fear that he will, but hope he will not.
Will Obama, first black president in the history of the United States, bring to reality the dream of Martin Luther King or the nightmare of Condoleezza Rice?
The White House, which now is his house, was constructed by black slaves. Hopefully he will not forget it, ever.
translated from Spanish by Leila (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over 360 Latin America Experts Call on Obama to Improve U.S.-Latin American Relations
Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Anticipating a democratic victory in the November 4 presidential elections, 368 academics specializing in Latin America recently sent a letter urging Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama to become a partner, rather than an adversary, concerning changes already under way in Latin America. Above all, the signers are asking Senator Obama to understand the current impetus for progressive change in many of the region's countries: the rejection of the failed "free-market" model of economic growth that has been imposed in most countries since the early 1980s - a period which has seen the worst economic growth failure in the region, in terms of per capita GDP, in over a century -- and the adoption of more socially just and environmentally sustainable development styles.
The signers expressed their hope that an Obama administration will embrace the opportunity to inaugurate a new period of hemispheric understanding and collaboration for the welfare of the entire Hemisphere.
Most of those signing are members of the Latin American Studies Association, the largest and most influential professional association of its kind in the world. Signers include Eric Hershberg, President of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) and twelve LASA Past Presidents, along with over 350 other academics and Latin America experts.
The letter follows:
October 20, 2008
Dear Senator Obama:
We write to offer our congratulations on your campaign and to express our hope that as the next president of the United States you will take advantage of an historic opportunity to improve relations with Latin America. As scholars of the region, we also wish to convey our analysis regarding the process of change now underway in Latin America.
Just as the people of the United States have begun to debate basic questions regarding the sort of society they want-- thanks in part to your own candidacy but also owing to the magnitude of the current financial crisis-- so too have the people of Latin America. In fact, the debate about a just and fair society has been going on in Latin America for more than a decade, and the majority are opting, like you and so many of us in the United States, for hope and change. As academics personally and professionally committed to development and democracy in Latin America, we are hopeful that during your presidency the United States can become a partner rather than an adversary to the positive changes already under way in the hemisphere.
The current impetus for change in Latin America is a rejection of the model of economic growth that has been imposed in most countries since the early 1980s, a model that has concentrated wealth, relied unsuccessfully on unrestricted market forces to solve deep social problems and undermined human welfare. The current rejection of this model is broad-based and democratic. In fact, contemporary movements for change in Latin America reveal significantly increased participation by workers and peasants, women, Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples-- in a word, the grassroots. Such movements are coming to power in country after country. They are neither puppets, nor blinded by fanaticism and ideology, as caricatured by some mainstream pundits. To the contrary, these movements deserve our respect, friendship and support.
Latin Americans have often viewed the United States not as a friend but as an oppressor, the guarantor of an international economic system that works against them, rather than for them-- the very antithesis of hope and change. The Bush Administration has made matters much worse, and U.S. prestige in the region is now at a historic low. Washington's tendency to fight against hope and change has been especially prominent in recent U.S. responses to the democratically elected governments of Venezuela and Bolivia. While anti-American feelings run deep, history demonstrates that these feelings can change. In the 1930s, after two decades of conflict with the region, the United States swore off intervention and adopted a Good Neighbor Policy. Not coincidentally, it was the most harmonious time in the history of U.S.-Latin American relations. In the 1940s, nearly every country in the region became our ally in World War Two. It can happen again.
There are many other challenges, too. Colombia, the main focus of the Bush Administration's policy, is currently the scene of the second largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with four million internally displaced people. Its government, which criminalizes even peaceful protest, seeks an extension of the free trade policies that much of the hemisphere is already reacting against. Cuba has begun a process of transition that should be supported in positive ways, such as through the dialogue you advocate. Mexicans and Central Americans migrate by the tens of thousands to seek work in the United States, where their labor power is much needed but their presence is denigrated by a public that has, since the development of opinion polling in the 1930s, always opposed immigration from anywhere. The way to manage immigration is not by building a giant wall, but rather, the United States should support more equitable economic development in Mexico and Central America and, indeed, throughout the region. In addition, the U.S. must reconsider drug control policies that have simply not worked and have been part of the problem of political violence, especially in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. And the U.S. must renew its active support for human rights throughout the region. Unfortunately, in the eyes of many Latin Americans, the United States has come to stand for the support of inequitable regimes.
Finally, we implore you to commit your administration to the firm support of constitutional rights, including academic and intellectual freedom. Most of us are members of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the largest professional association of experts on the region, and we have experienced first-hand how the Bush administration's attempt to restrict academic exchange with Cuba is counter-productive and self-defeating. We hope for an early opportunity to discuss this and other issues regarding Latin America with your administration.
Our hope is that you will embrace the opportunity to inaugurate a new period of hemispheric understanding and collaboration for the common welfare. We ask for change and not only in the United States.
Eric Hershberg, LASA President 2007-09, Professor of Politics and Director of Latin American Studies, Simon Fraser University
Charles R. Hale, LASA Past President (2006-2007), Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
Sonia E. Alvarez, LASA Past President (2004-2006), Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Politics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Marysa Navarro Aranguran, LASA Past President (2003-2004), Charles Collis Professor of History, Dartmouth College
Arturo Arias, LASA Past President, (2001-2003), Professor of Spanish and Portuguese University of Texas, Austin
Thomas Holloway, LASA Past President (2000-2001), Professor Of History, University of California, Davis
Susan Eckstein, LASA Past President (1997-98), Professor of Sociology & International Relations, Boston University
Cynthia McClintock, LASA Past President (1994-95), Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
Carmen Diana Deere, LASA Past President (1992-94), Professor of Food and Resource Economics and Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Lars Schoultz, LASA Past President (1991-92), William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of Political Science, UNC, Chapel Hill
Jean Franco, LASA Past President (1989-91), Emeritus Professor, Columbia University
Helen I. Safa, LASA Past President (1983-85), Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Paul L. Doughty, LASA Past President (1974-75), Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Maria Rosa Olivera-Williams, LASA Past Congress Chair (2001-2003), Associate Professor of Latin American Literature, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Thomas Abercrombie, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, NYU
Holly Ackerman, Ph.D. Librarian for Latin America and Iberia, Duke University
Judith Adler Hellman, Professor of Social and Political Science, York University, Toronto
Norma Alarcon, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Alfonso Alvarez, Social Worker, Boston College Graduate School
Wayne F. Anderson, Professor of History and Latin American Studies, Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
Robert Andolina, Assistant Professor of International Studies, Seattle University
Frances R. Aparicio, Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
Kirsten Appendini, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico
Juan Manuel Arbona, Associate Professor, Growth and Structure of Cities Program, Bryn Mawr College
Benjamin Arditi, Professor, Centro de Estudios Politicos, UNAM, Mexico, DF
Mauricio Arenas - CUPW Local 626
Andres Avellaneda, Emeritus Professor, Spanish and Latin American Studies, U. of Florida
William Aviles, Asociate Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska, Kearney
Dra. Emperatriz Arreaza-Camero, Investigadora adscrita al Cine Club Universitario de Maracaibo, Universidad de Zulia
Florence E. Babb, Vada Allan Yeomans Professor of Women's Studies, University of Florida
Xochitl Bada, Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies Program. University of Illinois at Chicago
Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Director of Development Studies, Associate Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Brown University
Sharada Balachandran-Orihuela. Doctoral Student. English department, University of California, Davis
Deborah Barndt, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University, Toronto, Canada
Magdalena Barros Nock, Professor/Researcher, CIESAS Mexico
Leslie Bary, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Emilio Bejel, Distinguished Professor of Latin American Studies, University of California at Davis
Lourdes Beneria, Professor of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
Carollee Bengelsdorf, Professor of Politics, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
Rina Benmayor, Professor, Humanities and Communication, California State University Monterey Bay
Vivienne Bennett, Professor, Liberal Studies Department, California State University, San Marcos
Charles Bergquist, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Washington
Michelle Bigenho, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Hampshire College
O'Neill Blacker-Hanson, Assistant Professor of Latin American History, Valparaiso University, Indiana
Mario Blaser, Assistant Professor of International Development, York University, Toronto
David Block, Curator of Latin American Collections, Cornell University
Laura Bonilla-Merchav, Department of Art History, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Stephen R. Boucher, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Resocurce Economics, UC Davis
Kirk Bowman, Associate Professor, Sam Nunn School International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
Kalina Brabeck, Psychologist, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Rhode Island College
Rosalind Bresnahan, Ph.D., Collective of Coordinating Editors, Latin American Perspectives
M. Brinton Lykes, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Professor, Community-Cultural Psychology, Boston College
Janet Brody Esser, Emeritus Professor and Past Associate Director, Center for Latin American Studies, San Diego State University
Alejandra Bronfman, Associate Professor, Department of History University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Dr. Ronda Brulotte, Lecturer III, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Monica Bucio, PhD Candidate, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Stephanie Buechler, Research Associate, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Amy J. Buono, Assistant Professor of Art History, Southern Methodist University
Maria Cristina Burgueno, Associate Professor of Spanish, Marshall University
Kathryn Burns, Associate Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill
Marisol de la Cadena, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Davis
Kia Lilly Caldwell, Assistant Professor, Department of African and Afro-American Studies University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Maxwell A. Cameron, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia
Ginetta E.B. Candelario, Director Latin American & Latina/o Studies and Associate Professor, Sociology Department, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Gloria Canez, Investigadora del Departamento de Estudios Sociales del Sistema Alimentario CIAD AC, Sonora, Mexico
M. Carmen Carrero de Salazar, Course Director, Faculty of Education, York University
Jennifer J. Casolo, PhD Candidate in Geography, University of California at Berkeley
J. Celso Castro Alves, Assistant Professor of Black Studies and History, Amherst College
Emma Cervone, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
John C. Chasteen, Distinguished Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill
Ronald H. Chilcote, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Riverside
Donna Chollett, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota-Morris
Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History, Salem State College, Massachusetts
Clemency Coggins, Professor of Archaeology and of Art History, Boston University
Jorge Coronado, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese, Northwestern University
Fernando Coronil, Presidential Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Dominic Corva, Ph. C., University of Washington Department of Geography
Jennifer N. Costanza, PhD student, Sociology, Brown University
Liliana Cotto-Morales, Professor, University of Puerto Rico
Raymond Craib, Department of History, Cornell University
Altha Cravey, Associate Professor of Geography, UNC Chapel Hill
Marta G. Cruz-Concepcion, Teaching Fellow, 2008-10 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Marco Cupolo, Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of Hartford
Edward D'Angelo, Professor of Philosophy, Quinnipiac University
Juanita Darling, Department of International Relations, San Francisco State University
Karen Davis, Faculty Lecturer, California State University Monterey Bay
Don Deere, PhD Student, Philosophy, DePaul University
William D. DeGrush, St. Michael's College, Colchester, VT
Guillermo Delgado, Lecturer in Latin American Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Jonathan Dettman, M.A.T. Associate Instructor, Department of Spanish, University of California, Davis
Dr. Rosalina Diaz, Associate Professor, Education Department, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York
Ariel Dorfman, Walter Hines Page Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies, Duke University
Lindsay DuBois, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Christopher Dunn, Associate Professor and Chair Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University
Luis Duno-Gottberg, Associate Prof. Rice University
Christine E. Eber, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New Mexico State University
Marc Edelman, Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
David Egilman MD MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, Dept of Community Health, Brown University
Lynn England, Lecturer, Utah Valley University
Cecilia Enjuto Rangel, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Romance Languages, University of Oregon
Edward Epstein, Professor of Political Science, University of Utah
Arturo Escobar, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, UNC, Chapel Hill
Francisco Escobedo, Assistant Professor, School of Forest Resources & Conservation, University of Florida
Diego Escolar, Profesor Adjunto de Antropologia, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
Monica Espinosa-Arango, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota
Alicia Ivonne Estrada, Assistant Professor, Central American Studies Program, California State University, Northridge
Judith Ewell, Newton Professor of History Emerita, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Reverend Marc Fallon, csc, Catholic Social Services, New Bedford, MA
Claire Farago, Professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Colorado at Boulder
Linda Farthing, independent scholar and author
Paja Faudree, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brown University
Karen Ann Faulk, PhD, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Sandra Fernandez Castillo, Associate professor of Philosophy, University of Chile
Sujatha Fernandes, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNY
Virginia M. Fields, Ph.D., Senior Curator, Art of the Ancient Americas, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Luis Figueroa, Associate Professor of History, Latin American, Caribbean, Latina\o Studies Coordinator, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
Eileen J. Findlay, Department of History, American University
Liz Fitting, Assistant Professor Sociology & Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University, Halifax
Sara Maria Lara Flores, Investigador, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico DF
Yvette G. Flores, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Chicana/o Studies Faculty Director Quarter Abroad Program Education Abroad Center U.C. Davis
Alcira Forero-Pena, Assistant Visiting Professor of Anthropology, UCD, Denver
Jonathan Fox, Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
Erich Fox Tree, Visiting Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Wellesley College
Elisabeth Jay Friedman, Associate Professor of Politics and Chair of Latin American Studies, University of San Francisco
Max Paul Friedman, Associate Professor of History, American University
Monica Frolander-Ulf, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown
Carmenza Gallo, Associate Professor of Sociology, Queens College, New York
Alyshia Galvez, Assistant Professor, Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies, Lehman College/City University of New York
Forrest Gander, Writer, Professor of English & Comparative Literature, Brown University
Angela Garcia, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Irvine
Spike Gildea, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon
Andrea Giunta, Professor of Latin American Art, The University of Texas at Austin
Helen Sabrina Gledhill, Scholar at the Centro de Memoria da Bahia, Fundacao Pedro Calmon, Brazil
John Gledhill, Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology & Co-Director, Centre for Latin American Cultural Studies, The University of Manchester, UK
Tanya Golash-Boza, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Department of Sociology, University of Kansas
W. L. Goldfrank, Prof of Sociololgy and Latin American & Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roberta E. Goldman, Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Brown University
William W. Goldsmith, Professor and Director, International Studies in Planning, Cornell University
Judith Goode, Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Gail Gonzalez, Associate Professor and Chair Modern Languages Department, University of Wisconsin
Miguel Gonzalez, Sessional Assistant Professor, International Development, York University, Toronto
Soledad Gonzalez Montes, Profesora-investigadora, El Colegio de Mexico
Paul Gootenberg, Professor of History, Stony Brook
Hubert C. de Grammont, Investigador, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico DF
Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University
Karen B. Graubart, Associate Professor of History and Director, Program in Latin American Studies, University of Notre Dame
Terence Grieder, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin
Anna Gruben, Acting Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon
Kevin Guerrieri, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of San Diego
Matthew Gutmann, Professor of Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and Latin American Studies, Department of Anthropology, Brown University
Liza Guzman, Ecology Graduate Student, UNC-Chapel Hill
LaDawn Haglund, Assistant Professor, School of Justice and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University
Richard L. Harris, Professor Emeritus of Global Studies, California State University
Faye V. Harrison, Professor of Anthropology and Director, African American Studies, University of Florida
Daniel Hellinger, Professor of Political Science, Webster University, St. Louis
Elizabeth A Hennessy, PhD Student, Geography Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kimberly Hernandez, Spanish Language Instructor, North Carolina Central University
Marco Polo Hernandez Cuevas, Associate Professor of Spanish, North Carolina Central University
Doug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite University
Peter E. Hildebrand, Professor Emeritus Food and Resource Economics, and Director Emeritus, International Programs, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida
Derrick Hindery, Assistant Professor, International Studies Program and Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Donald Hindley, Professor of Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies, Brandeis University
Mary Holper, Boston College Immigration & Asylum Project, Boston College Law School
Lori Hopkins, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of New Hampshire
P. Terrence Hopmann, Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins University
Rene Harder Horst, Associate Professor of History Appalachian State University
Sallie Hughes, Associate Professor, School of Communication, University of Miami
Janise Hurtig, Senior Researcher, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
Forrest Hylton, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, New York University
S. Ryan Isakson, Assistant Professor, International Development Studies, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Reiko Ishihara, Ph.D., Former Visiting Professor, Institute of Interethnic Studies, University of San Carlos of Guatemala
Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian, Vice Provost for Library Affairs, Adjunct Associate Professor of History, Duke University
Laura Jensen, LMT, Cultural Anthropologist, MPH candidate, New Haven, Connecticut
Reynaldo L. Jimenez, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Florida
Benjamin H. Johnson, Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University
Jennifer Jolly, Assistant Professor of Art History, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
Susanne Jonas, Latin American & Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tedd Judd, PhD, ABPP-CN Adjunct Clinical Faculty, Department of Psychology, University of Washington
Karen A. Kainer, Assoc. Prof., School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Susana Kaiser, Ph.D., Department of Media Studies, University of San Francisco
Marina Kaplan, Associate Professor of Literature, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Nicole Kellett, Research Associate, University of New Mexico
Norma Klahn, Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz
Cecelia F. Klein, Professor, Department of Art History, 100 Dodd Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Benjamin Kohl, Associate Professor, Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University
Sarah Koopman PhD Candidate, Geography, University of British Columbia
Elizabeth Kubick, Independent Scholar, Latin American and Caribbean Issues
Maria L. Lagos, Associate Professor Emerita, Lehman College, The City University of New York
Victoria Langland, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Davis
Brooke Larson, Professor of History, Stony Brook University
Nathalie Lebon, Assistant Professor of Women's Studies, Gettysburg College
Catherine LeGrand, Associate Professor of History, McGill University, Montreal
Michelle Lenoue, MA Latin American Studies, San Diego State University
Kelley Leon Howarth, Senior Instructor of Spanish & Head Undergraduate Advisor, Department of Romance Languages, University of Oregon
Alejandra Letelier Kramer, Anthropology Department, University of California Santa Cruz
Fredric G. Levin, College of Law, Gainesville, FL
Elizabeth Lilliott, Associate Researcher, Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation
Amy Lind, Mary Ellen Heintz Associate Professor of Women's Studies, University of Cincinnati
Flora Lu, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of CA--Santa Cruz
Anibal Lucas, Director, Organizacion Maya K?iche?, New Bedford, MA
Jennie M. Luna, Ed.M., Doctoral Candidate Native American Studies, U.C. Davis
Silje Lundgren, Ph.D. candidate, Inst of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden
Amy Lutz, Professor of Sociology and Education, Syracuse University
Barbara Lynch, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ann Magennis, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Colorado State University
Mary Ann Mahony, Associate Professor of History, Co-coordinator, Latin American Studies Committee, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT
Maria Margarita Malagon-Kurka, PhD in Art History
Laura Malosetti Costa, Co-Director Magister in Sociology of Culture and Cultural Studies, IDAES, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Buenos Aires
Bernardo Mancano Fernandes, Sao Paulo State University
Valeria Manzano, History Department, Indiana University at Bloomington
Michael Marchman, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky
Maxine L. Margolis, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville
Diane Marting, Past President of the Mississippi Foreign Language Association, University of Mississippi
Lillian Manzor, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Director, Degree Programs in Latin American Studies, Director, Cuban/Latino Theater Archive, University of Miami
Patricia M. Martin , Professor of Geography, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, CANADA
Ruben Martinez, Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature & Writing, Loyola Marymount University
Patricia Mathews-Salazar, Associate Professor of Anthropology, BMCC & Graduate Center, City University of New York
Kathleen McAfee, Faculty of International Relations, San Francisco State University
Frank D. McCann, Professor Emeritus of History, University of New Hampshire
Robert McKee Irwin, Professor of Spanish, UC Davis
Marc McLeod, Associate Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies, Seattle University
Malcolm K. McNee, Asst. Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, Smith College
J. Patrice McSherry, Professor of Political Science and Director, Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program, Long Island University
Carmen Medeiros, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University
Zoila Mendoza, Professor of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis
Cecilia Menjivar, Professor of Sociology, Arizona State University
Brent Metz, Asst Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Kansas
Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Rutgers University
Kenneth J. Mijeski, South Eastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) Past President (1999-2000), Professor of Political Science, East Tennessee State University
Rosamel Millaman Reinao, Assistant Professor. Escuela de Antropologia. Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Chile
Rosamel Millaman Reinao, Assistant Professor, Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Chile
Marilyn G Miller, Associate Professor, Tulane
Lisa Mills, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa
William P. Mitchell, Prof. of Anthropology and Freed Foundation Professor in the Social Sciences, Monmouth University
Raul Molina Mejia, Adjunct Professor of History, Long Island University
David Mora-Marin, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, UNC-Chapel Hill
Julio Moreno, Associate Professor, History and Latin American Studies,
Co-Director, Center for Latino Studies in the Americas, University of San Francisco
Kim Morse, Assistant Professor of History, Washburn University, Topeka, KS
Julia E. Murphy, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary
Dr. Silvia Nagy-Zekmi, Professor of Hispanic and Cultural Studies, Director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Villanova University
Maria Isabel Neuman, Profesora titular de la Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela
Liisa L. North, Professor Emerita, Political Science and former director of Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York University, Toronto, Canada
John M. Norvell, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Pitzer College
Marcia Ochoa, Assistant Professor of Community Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Joanna O'Connell, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota
Patrick J. O'Connor, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Oberlin College
Elizabeth Oglesby, Assistant Professor of Geography and Latin American Studies University of Arizona
Diana Ojeda, PhD student, Clark University, Worcester MA, USA
Anthony Oliver-Smith, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Florida
Andrew Orta, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Gerardo Otero, Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Okezi T. Otovo, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, Georgetown University
Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, Associate Professor of History and Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Connecticut
Javier Eduardo Pabon, Assistant Professor International Studies, St. Augustine's College
Joseph M. Palacios, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Amalia Pallares, Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies and Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
Juan Manuel Leon Parra, Graduate Student, Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College
Professor Alberto Julian Perez, Director, Latin American and Iberian Studies, Texas Tech University
Melanie Perez Ortiz, Catedratica Asociada, Departamento de Estudios Hispanicos, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras
Hector Perla Jr., Assistant Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Ann H. Peters, Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University
Anna Peterson, Professor of Religion, University of Florida, Gainesville
Brandt Peterson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Adjunct Professor of International Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Watson Institute, Brown University
Nancy Postero, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UC San Diego
Kerry Preibisch, Associate Professor, University of Guelph and Visiting Fellow, University of Sussex
Yolanda Prieto, Professor Emerita, School of Social Science and Human Services, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Lola Proano Gomez, Professor, Languages Division Pasadena City College.
Edwin Quiles, Professor, University of Puerto Rico
Joanne Rappaport, Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University
Laurel Rayburn, PhD in English, Brown University
Cynthia Radding, Gussenhoven Distinguished Professor of Latin American Studies, Department of History, UNC, Chapel Hill
Ana Cristina Ramirez Barreto, Profesora-investigadora en la Facultad de Filosofia, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Morelia, Mexico
Margo Ramlal-Nankoe, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Ithaca College
Elias A. Ramos, Professor of Latin American Literature, California State University-Northridge
Marcus Rediker, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh
Martha W. Rees, Professor, Agnes Scott College Decatur, GA
Bernardo Rengifo Lozano, Professor of Philosophy, Universidad de los Andes
Gerardo Renique, Associate Professor of History, City University of New York (CUNY)
Rosana Resende, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florida, Department of Anthropology
Jennifer F. Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The University of South Carolina
Patricia Richards, Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, University of Georgia
Kenneth M. Roberts, Department of Government, Cornell University
William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, Global Studies, and Latin American Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
Debra H. Rodman, Assistant Professor Anthropology and Women's Studies, Randolph-Macon College
Marisol Rodriguez, Senior Research Assistant, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University
Maria Rogal, Associate Professor of Graphic Design & Affiliate Faculty of the Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville
Karem Roitman, Lecturer, Regent's American College London, London UK
Cristina Rojas, School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa
Rachel Rosenbloom, Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College
Regina A. Root, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, College of William and Mary
Frances Rothstein, Professor of Anthropology, Montclair State University
Frederick Royce, Assistant Scientist, University of Florida, Gainesville
Alma Ruiz, Curator MOCA, The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Ruben G. Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Dereka Rushbrook, Lecturer in Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona, Tucson
Eduardo Saenz-Rovner, Professor of Economic History, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota
Frank Salomon, John V. Murra Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert Samet, Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University Department of Anthropology
James Sanders, Associate Professor of History, Utah State University
Luis Sandoval, Graduate Student, Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College
Myrna Santiago, Associate Professor of History, Director, Women's Studies Program, Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga, CA
Patricia Sawin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Marianne Schmink, Professor and Director, Tropical Conservation and Development program, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Barbara Schroder, Ph.D., City University of New York
Ofelia Schutte, Professor of Philosophy, University of South Florida, Tampa
T.M. Scruggs, Associate Professor, School of Music, University of Iowa
Miguel La Serna, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Maureen E. Shea, Associate Professor of Spanish, Tulane University.
Barry G. Shelley, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Avrum J. Shriar, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Urban/Regional Studies and Planning L.D. Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University
Sharleen H. Simpson, PhD, MSN, MA, ARNP, Associate Professor of Nursing and Anthropology, Affiliate Faculty in Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Peter Singelmann, Professor of Sociology, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Sandy Smith-Nonini, Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, UNC, Chapel Hill
Dr. Caridad Souza, Lecturer, SUNY-College at Oneonta
Liv Sovik, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Karen Spalding, Professor of History, The University of Connecticut
Shannon Speed, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator, Indigenous Studies Initiative University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Anita Spring, Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Florida
Barbara Stallings, William R. Rhodes Research Professor, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Florida
Steve Stein, Professor of History, Director Center for Latin American Studies, University of M
EL SALVADOR: OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN SEASON STARTS
Campaigning "Officially" Starts for the 2009 Salvadoran Elections
The official "campaign" period started November 14, 2008 for the Presidential election and on November 17, 2008 for the Legislative Assembly elections. The Salvadoran Constitution provides that presidential election campaigns should last only four months, and parliamentary election campaigns should last only two months, while municipal campaigns should last only 30 days. According to political analyst Napoleón Campos, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has permitted "proselytism" by political parties for the past two years, which constitutes a violation of the Salvadoran Electoral Code. The two principal political parties initiated their campaigns a year ago, which served as an excuse for the TSE not to exercise its authority over their actions. The TSE only has authority to proceed during the "official" campaign period, or when either party actively "asks for votes."
MOUNTING POLITICAL VIOLENCE
Attack on ARENA Caravan in Meanguera, Morazán
ARENA presented a complaint before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), seeking a written reprimand and fine for the FMLN. The petition forms part of the complaint against the FMLN, that in ARENA's judgment, committed a violation of political rights of the citizens who have decided to support ARENA, through the attack of an ARENA caravan during Rodrigo Ávila's visit to various municipalities in the Morazán department. The violent acts occurred on November 8, 2008 in Meanguera, Morazán, where a group of people dressed in colors and symbols of the FMLN political party attacked a caravan with stones and sticks. The aggression resulted in damages to vehicles and injuries.
ARENA also denounced the acts of violence before the Human Rights Ombudsman's office. Oscar Luna, the Human Rights Ombudsman, affirmed that his office will not tolerate violent acts of this kind by either political party, and made a call to the FMLN to communicate fully the pact of non-violence signed by the political parties in October. He further called on the TSE to make a pronouncement regarding these types of acts and asked the Attorney General to fully investigate the case in other to find out the identities of the intellectual and material actors of the aggression. The TSE declared the complaint inadmissible because the Tribunal does not have the authority to decide cases dealing with criminal actions; only the Attorney General and the Human Rights Ombudsman's office have legal competence to hear a case about physical injuries.
Mauricio Funes, FMLN presidential candidate, stated that it is of utmost importance to find out who is responsible for the actions that took place in Meanguera and to sanction those responsible. Salvador Sánchez Cerén, FMLN vice-presidential candidate, has stated that the attack is not necessarily associated with the FMLN political party, and suggests that the people who committed the attack were not FMLN members.
FMLN Youth Leader Shot and Killed in Chalchuapa, Santa Ana
On the night of November 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm, David Antonio Péńate, a 21 year-old student and secretary of the FMLN grassroots committee, was shot and killed by unknown actors in the city of Chalchuapa. The victim was standing near a bench in the San Juan neighborhood, only ten meters away from his home, with three other members of the FMLN while selling a weekly publication of the political party. Three unknown persons approached the group, one of whom had his face covered, and without a word exchanged began shooting at David Péńate. The other two people fled on bicycle and stole another bicycle from bystanders who were present purchasing pupusas and newspapers.
According to the investigation of the crime conducted by the legal department of the Archbishop of San Salvador, there is sufficient evidence that the crime was planned with the goal of eliminating community leaders and members of the FMLN political party in the municipality of Chalchuapa, in the Santa Ana department, while at the same time terrorizing members of the party. The execution of the young leader shows political motive due to his prominent work he was doing in the pre-election campaign for legislative, municipal, and the presidential candidates.
This homicide received very little attention from the Salvadoran media. The murder adds to a list of recent political murders that several social organizations are compiling. However, the political motivation behind the murder will likely remain ignored in the official statistics of violence in El Salvador, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
MORE DIRTY CAMPAIGN TACTICS
FMLN Files Complaint Against ARENA Before TSE, Attorney General, and Human Rights Ombudsman with Regard to Fuerza Solidaria's "Dirty Campaign"
The FMLN filed a complaint against ARENA before the TSE for the "dirty campaign" the party is allegedly conducting under the Salvadoran counterpart of the Venezuelan organization, Fuerza Solidaria (Solidarity Strength). The FMLN asked the highest electoral tribunal to exercise its authority and stop the "dirty campaign" during the "actual" campaign period, alleging violations of Articles 227, 228, and 232 of the Electoral Code, which state: electoral propaganda should only be promoted by registered political parties or coalitions; those that slander or defame candidates shall be punished by law; and political parties and coalitions must never use the images, slogans, or photographs of other candidates in their own party's campaign. The complaint is currently being studied, and the TSE has not yet made a final pronouncement. The FMLN also filed complaints with the Attorney General's office and the Human Rights Ombudsman's office.
Ávila's Response to "Dirty Campaign" Ads
Rodrigo Ávila, ARENA presidential candidate, was emphatic in saying that the campaign being promoted by Fuerza Solidaria is not financed nor supported officially by the ARENA political party. "It's true, there are ARENA members in that citizens' movement, but it is in their personal role and I have asked that they lower the volume on these types of things," Ávila stated. He further argued that the campaign sponsored by Fuerza Solidaria is not a "dirty campaign." "A campaign that tells lies is not the same as a campaign that tells truths," he continued, "When one says there is an intimate relationship between South American governments and the opposition party, this is a reality that we all know. There are convincing facts that demonstrate this relationship."
FMLN Condemns ARENA for Using FMLN Party Logo and Images in Another "Dirty Campaign"
Only a week after the FMLN presented a complaint in front of the TSE against ARENA for "dirty campaign" tactics being employed through the ads paid for by Fuerza Solidaria, the FMLN has filed further complaints of "dirty campaign tactics." This new report comes a few days after the official start date of the electoral campaign and in the moments when the levels of confrontation between both major political parties are on the rise.
The FMLN political party asked the Attorney General to proceed with a case against the persons responsible for making and distributing propaganda against their party. Two men were detained on the night of November 10, 2008 by the National Civilian police for hanging up propaganda on lampposts along the Pope John Paul II Avenue and Constitution Boulevard. The propaganda included photographs of FMLN leaders and persons close to the FMLN presidential candidate, Mauricio Funes, who according to the propaganda will make up a supposed "Bolivarian government," or a government that mirrors that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Included in the confiscated material is a receipt issued to the ARENA party for the order of 500 posters entitled "Bolivarian Government."
The FMLN has also filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office against the ARENA party president and the ARENA presidential candidate, Rodrigo Ávila. Moreover, they have accused them of defamation and forgery.
LATEST PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY RESULTS
In November, the results of four different public opinion polls were released, with the FMLN leading ARENA in the presidential election in all polls. The margin between the candidates ranged from 2.5 percentage points to 13 percentage points. See the table at the bottom of this e-newsletter for voter preference for the FMLN and ARENA in the four most recent public opinion surveys.
The October and November survey results show a stark contrast between the public opinion polls conducted by universities and foreign pollsters and those conducted by the Salvadoran mainstream media. Polls from the Central American University (UCA), the Technological University (UTEC), and the Channel 12 poll that was conducted by MEBA, a Mexican corporation, show at least a 10 point margin between the candidates; while polls conducted by Diario de Hoy newspaper, the television corporation Telecorporación Salvadoreńa, and La Prensa Gráfica newspaper show the FMLN leading the polls by a much smaller margin of 3 percentage points.
FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes, maintained that public opinion polls, such as the one released by LPG Datos, for La Prensa Gráfica newspaper, which reveal a close margin between the two major political party presidential candidates, could form part of a government plan to commit fraud in the 2009 presidential election. The survey Funes refers to, conducted by LPG Datos, resulted in a 2.8 point margin between the candidates, after the margin was measured around 7 points for several months.
ARENA presidential candidate Rodrigo Ávila, and leaders of the Christian Democratic Party and the National Conciliation Party have publicly asked Funes to stop talking about potential fraud in the upcoming elections. Ávila stated, "Here, the only one who is talking about fraud is Funes because whoever does it imagines others do it too." Ávila interprets Funes' concerns about fraud as insecurity regarding the most recent polls and the stagnation of the FMLN campaign for having begun eight months before ARENA's.
OTHER ELECTION NEWS
Supreme Electoral Tribunal Approves 9,544 Vote Receiving Boards for the 2009 Elections
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) approved 9,544 Vote Receiving Boards (JRVs) to operate for the 2009 elections. The number includes 10 "special" ballot boxes designated to collect the votes of Salvadorans living abroad who have a Unique Identification Document (DUI), which is required to vote. These 10 ballot boxes do not have the backing of the Legislative Assembly, and there has been disagreement among representatives about where the boxes should be located. The 2009 elections have 164 JRVs less than the 2006 elections because reforms to Article 241 of the Electoral Code have changed the number of ballots that each JRV collects to 450. The majority of the JRVs, 2,750, are concentrated in the San Salvador department, while La Libertad department will have 1,045. On Wednesday, December 3, the TSE will make official the names of the persons who will constitute the 9,544 different JRVs throughout the country.
Even though the number of JRVs has decreased, the TSE has increased the number of voting stations. They have projected to set up 461 voting stations in the 14 different departments, which is 63 more than functioned in 2006. On November 28, the TSE will make known the definitive location of each of these voting stations.
Reforms to the Electoral Code
On November 5, 2008, the Legislative Assembly passed, with 61 votes, additional reforms to the Electoral Code. These reforms require the secretary of each Vote Receiving Board (Junta Receptora de Votos or JRV) to sign and stamp the ballot, the show it to the other members of the JRV, then to the electoral observers, and finally to the person who will be casting his or her vote on the ballot. This reform may restore voter confidence, but it does not revert Legislative Decree No. 502; ballots found without stamps and signatures may still be counted as valid. Before ballot lacking a signature and stamp is counted, an investigation of ballot characteristics will take place, including consideration of the type of election, the seal of the Republic of El Salvador printed on the reverse, the correlation between the ballot number and its corresponding JRV. Moreover, and secretary of a JRV who fails to fulfill his or her obligation to stamp and sign the ballot will be fined $114.29. These reforms will be made effective as law after being signed by the president of El Salvador, Antonio Saca, and published in the Diario Oficial, which is the equivalent of the United States Federal Registry.
Reforms to the Electoral Code and process are a source of confusion for voters. The process of reinstating the regulatory instructions regarding the signature and stamp, as well as the electoral reforms imposing fines for secretaries of JRVs who fail to stamp and sign ballots are steps toward securing free and fair elections in El Salvador. However, without overturning Decree No. 502, El Salvador is still vulnerable to electoral fraud.
- Written and researched by Michelle Petrotta and Guadalupe Cortez-Vega