Milwaukee community protests police brutality

first_imgPhoto: Occupy RiverwestMembers from a broad array of labor, community and student organizations participated in a “Black and Brown Lives Matter” protest on Sept. 26 near the Milwaukee Area Technical College, which is across the street from a variety of police buildings. Speakers demanded justice for Michael Brown and others killed and brutalized by the police and vowed to continue their fights for justice, including support for a Sept. 30 Milwaukee rally to demand justice for Dontre Hamilton, a 31-year-old Black man who was unjustly shot and killed by Milwaukee police in a public park. Before the protest, Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” spoke to a crowd of 2,000 at the college.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img

On convention opening day, 1,000 march on RNC

first_imgOn the opening day of the Republican National Convention, the Coalition to Dump Trump and March on the RNC led 1,000 people in a spirited march through downtown Cleveland to near the site of the convention.Speakers at the July 18 demonstration included representatives from the New Students for a Democratic Society, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, the Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the International Action Center, the Anti-War Committee and Workers World Party, among many others. A statement was read on behalf of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian freedom fighter living in the U.S. who has been the target of political repression by the U.S. government.“We say no to the attacks on immigrants, on Muslims! We say no to Trump greenlighting police killings!” said Mick Kelly, an organizer with the Coalition to March on the RNC, in the opening rally. He continued, “We say no to an agenda of war and austerity! We are united in promoting peace, justice and equality. In the period ahead, we have some real challenges — challenges that we are going to rise to!”The march took the streets of downtown Cleveland with militant chants denouncing the demagoguery and racism of Trump and the right wing.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

On solidarity with Standing Rock, executive clemency and the international Indigenous struggle

first_imgGreeting Sisters and Brothers:I have been asked to write a solidarity statement to everyone about the Camp of the Sacred Stones on Standing Rock. Thank you for this great honor. I must admit it is very difficult for me to even begin this statement, as my eyes get so blurred from tears and my heart swells with pride, as chills run up and down my neck and back. I’m so proud of all of you young people and others there.I am grateful to have survived to see the rebirth of the united and undefeated Sioux Nation at Standing Rock in the resistance to the poisonous pipeline that threatens the life source of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It is an honor to have been alive to see this happen with you young people. You are nothing but awesome in my eyes.It has been a long, hard road these 40 years of being caged by an inhuman system for a crime I did not commit. I could not have survived physically or mentally without your support, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul for encouraging me to endure and maintain a spiritual and legal resistance.We are now coming to the end of that road, soon arriving at a destination which will at least in part be determined by you. Along the lines of what Martin Luther King said shortly before his death, I may not get there with you, but I only hope and pray that my life, and if necessary, my death, will lead my Native peoples closer to the Promise Land.I refer here not to the Promise Land of the Christian bible, but to the modest promises of the Treaties our ancestors secured from enemies bent on their destruction in order to enable us to survive as distinct peoples and live in a dignified manner. Our elders knew the value of written words and laws to the white man, even as they knew the lengths the invaders would go to try to get around them.Our ancestors did not benefit from these Treaties, but they shrewdly and persistently negotiated the best terms they could get, to protect us from wars which could only end in our destruction, no matter how courageously and effectively we fought. No, the Treaties were to the benefit of the [U.S.] Americans; this upstart nation needed the Treaties to put a veneer of legitimacy on its conquest of the land and its rebellion against its own countrymen and king.It should be remembered that Standing Rock was the site of the 1974 conference of the international Indigenous movement that spread throughout the Americas and beyond, the starting point for the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UNDRIP was resisted by the United States for three decades until its adoption by the U.N. in 2007. The U.S. was one of just four nations to vote against ratification, with President Obama acknowledging the Declaration as an aspirational document without binding force under international law.While some of the leaders of this movement are veterans of the 1970s resistance at Pine Ridge, they share the wisdom of our past elders in perceiving [that] the moral and political symbolism of peaceful protest today is as necessary for us as [it] was necessary for the people of Pine Ridge in the 1970s. The 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee ended with an agreement to investigate human rights and treaty abuses; that inquiry and promise were never implemented nor honored by the United States. The Wounded Knee Agreement should be honored with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission established to thoroughly examine the U.S. government’s role in the “Reign of Terror” on Pine Ridge in the 1970s. This project should be coordinated with the cooperation of the many international human rights organizations that have called for my immediate and unconditional release for more than four decades.I have to caution you young people to be careful, for you are up against a very evil group of people whose only concern is to fill their pockets with even more gold and wealth. They could not care less how many of you they have to kill or bury in a prison cell. They don’t care if you are a young child or an old grandmother, and you better believe they are and have been recruiting our own people to be snitches and traitors. They will look to the drunks, the addicts and child molesters, those who prey on our old and our children; they look for the weak-minded individuals. You must remember to be very cautious about falsely accusing people based more on personal opinion than on evidence. Be smart.I call on all my supporters and allies to join the struggle at Standing Rock in the spirit of peaceful spiritual resistance and to work together to protect Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth. I also call upon my supporters and all people who share this Earth to join together to insist that the U.S. complies with and honors the provisions of international law as expressed in the UNDRIP, International Human Rights Treaties and the long-neglected Treaties and trust agreements with the Sioux Nation. I particularly appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Parties of the U.S. and the world to join this struggle by calling for my release and adopting the UNDRIP as the new legal framework for relations with Indigenous peoples.Finally, I also urge my supporters to immediately and urgently call upon President Obama to grant my petition for clemency, to permit me to live my final years on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Scholars, political grassroots leaders, humanitarians and Nobel Peace Laureates have demanded my release for more than four decades. My Clemency Petition asks President Obama to commute, or end, my prison term now in order for our nation to make progress healing its fractured relations with Native communities. By facing and addressing the injustices of the past, together we can build a better future for our children and our children’s children.Again, my heartfelt thanks to all of you for working together to protect the water. Water is Life.In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,DokshaLeonard PeltierFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Victory in Baltimore: Charges dropped for May Day protesters

first_imgCharges have been dropped on three of the protesters seen above, who were arrested at the ICE office on May 1.Three demonstrators who were arrested while protesting at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on May 1 won their cases in court on May 22.Those whose charges were dismissed include the Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, a noted Baltimore activist and former president of the Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Rasika Ruwanpathirana, an immigrant, filmmaker and representative of Workers World Party; and Andrew Mayton, a union activist. A fourth protester, Baltimore law student Alec Summerfield, is scheduled to go to court in June. All four had been charged with “failure to obey.”On May 1, after hundreds marched from downtown Baltimore, the four were arrested at Baltimore’s ICE office as they demanded that ICE shut down. They were also demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to racism and police terror.Sharon Black, speaking for the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, the organizer of the demonstration, said, “ICE is the notorious agency that has brutally separated immigrant families and deported scores of immigrants under new orders from the Trump administration.”Black continued, “This is a victory today. Our demand to stop deportations is all the more urgent since the Trump administration is considering ending the Temporary Protected Status on Haitian immigrants.“The Haitians eligible for TPS, who are mainly survivors of natural disasters in Haiti that made their lives there impossible, have recently had their status extended, but only for six months. The People’s Power Assembly and Workers World Party point out that if their TPS is withdrawn, it would put some 58,000 Haitian people at risk for immediate deportation.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Labor groups fight poor conditions in poultry industry

first_imgDes Moines, Iowa, Dec. 18 — Labor groups are fighting for safer conditions for poultry workers and against proposed measures to increase production speeds at processing plants.The poultry industry is booming with record profits, a market dominated by corporations such as Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, Perdue and Sanderson Farms. These corporations jointly control roughly 60 percent of the domestic chicken market. Still unable to satisfy their greedy appetite for profit, the owners are forcing their workers to pay with their health and sense of human dignity.At the behest of poultry industry owners, the National Chicken Council on Sept. 1 announced it was petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the speed limits allowed on production lines, despite the current speed already being hazardous to workers’ health. To make matters worse, industry lobbyists are also pushing for the USDA and Congress to completely eliminate federal limits on production speed.The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that poultry workers are twice as likely to suffer injuries on the job as other workers in the U.S., due to the nature of their work. The United Food and Commercial Workers union says that “forcing poultry workers and federal meat inspectors to work significantly faster will increase the odds they’re injured and make chicken less safe for every consumer to eat.”Workers such as Rosa Rivas, a former employee of a Tyson Foods plant in Springdale, Ark., have spoken out against the wretched conditions they endure. After working at the plant for over a decade, Rivas said, “My experience was the lines are going pretty fast, and people struggle to work as fast as they ask us to work.”The speed of the processing lines at the plant damaged Rivas’ hands. “Yes, my fingers still hurt from that and sometimes my fingers still cramp up because of how fast we were made to work on the lines.” (KNWA, Northwest Arkansas News)Last year, Oxfam published a shocking report entitled “No Relief,” revealing how nonunion poultry workers “earn low wages, suffer elevating rates of injury and illness, toil in difficult conditions and have little voice in the workplace.” The report details how workers are denied adequate bathroom breaks, forcing many to wear diapers under their uniforms while working the production line.“Routinely, poultry workers say, they are denied breaks to use the bathroom. Supervisors mock their needs and ignore their requests; they threaten punishment or firing. Workers wait inordinately long times [an hour or more], then race to accomplish the task within a certain timeframe [e.g., 10 minutes] or risk discipline,” said the Oxfam report.  A recent report by the GAO also vindicates the Oxfam findings and the concerns raised by workers for several years. “When asked by GAO, workers in five selected states cited bathroom access as a concern and said they fear speaking up at work, where OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] inspectors typically interview them.”Labor groups such as Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) are responding to the GAO report, raising public awareness of the dangers in the poultry and meatpacking industries and fighting for the rights of workers.  The IWJ mission statement describes the group as “a national network that builds collective power by advancing the rights of workers” though the labor movement and “engaging diverse faith communities and allies in joint action.” A delegation representing IWJ delivered a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Undersecretary Carmen Rottenberg on Dec. 12, urging them to ignore the demands of the NCC and the owners they represent.The National Employment Law Project (NELP) has joined IWJ in a joint campaign to address these concerns. The NELP senior fellow for worker safety and health, Debbie Berkowitz, responded to the GAO report by stating, “The report confirms that the meat and poultry industry, in its quest to keep production lines running at any and all costs, is not only cutting the corners on worker safety but further dehumanizing them by denying them legally required bathroom breaks.”Dangers in poultry plants and the meatpacking industry are nothing new. The American public first got a sordid glimpse of such horrific working conditions in the muckraking novel “The Jungle” (1906) by socialist author and journalist Upton Sinclair. Focusing on the state of “Packingtown,” a name given to Chicago’s stockyards, Sinclair demonstrated the degradation and unsanitary conditions confronting workers, who were risking their lives due to their bosses’ pursuit of profit.Published over a century ago, “The Jungle” raised a public outcry for change. Reforms were passed through local and federal legislation, but that was not enough to secure the livelihood of workers in the poultry and meatpacking industries. With the billionaire class represented by a reactionary Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump, they are conspiring to turn back the hands of time to repeal gains made by the working class and strangle the labor movement.Workers cannot rely on elected officials or capitalist slave drivers to improve their situation. Only a strong, unrelenting, working-class movement will be able to achieve such a goal. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Acciones para ‘Cerrar los campamentos’ se aceleran en Houston

first_imgDesde que las familias de inmigrantes empezaron a ser destruidas en la frontera en 2018, han habido docenas y docenas de protestas, marchas y mítines en Houston contra las políticas racistas de la frontera de Trump.Pero ahora que las condiciones brutales dentro de los campos de concentración de inmigrantes finalmente han estado ampliamente expuestas al mundo, la gente se ha indignado aún más. Los eventos para cerrar los centros de detención se llevan a cabo a un ritmo acelerado.Houston FIRE (Lucha por los migrantes y refugiados en todas partes) ha protestado recientemente en la oficina del Senador estadounidense John Cornyn, participó en un discurso en contra del cuatro de julio contra los campamentos y se manifestó en un centro de detención federal en el centro de la ciudad.La protesta del 2 de julio en la oficina de Cornyn fue parte de una campaña nacional para “Cerrar los campamentos” convocada por MoveOn.org en las oficinas centrales de congresistas que regresan de Washington, DC para el feriado del 4 de julio. Decenas de miles en todo el país acudieron a estas protestas.Algunos de los demócratas que se postulan para la presidencia han aparecido en Houston para protestar. El 29 de junio, el candidato Beto O’Rourke convocó una manifestación en el centro de detención Casa Sunzul, que alberga a menores no acompañados. Casa Sunzul está dirigida por Southwest Key, una organización sin fines de lucro notoria que recibió cientos de avisos de infracción por parte de los reguladores estatales durante las inspecciones realizadas durante los últimos tres años.Pero la indignación palpable de los manifestantes de Houston en la protesta del 2 de julio fue mucho más allá de la política demócrata. Las cuatro esquinas de una intersección de la calle estaban llenas de personas que gritaban: “¡Cierren los campamentos!” Llegaron cientos de familias, veteranos activistas, grupos religiosos, activistas por la paz y muchos que nunca habían protestado antes.¿Qué hay para celebrar?Luego, el 4 de julio, cuando algunas personas estaban listas para la barbacoa o pensando en los fuegos artificiales posteriores, el Carnalismo Brown Berets de Houston celebró el evento “Un Cuatro de Mentiras”. Como dijo la organizadora Elizabeth Lozano, “tenemos niños en campos de concentración. ¿Qué hay para celebrar?”Uno de los primeros oradores recordó a la gente: “América Central ha sido colonizada y saqueada por los Estados Unidos. Ahora la gente está huyendo de las horribles condiciones que se han creado. Matarán a estos refugiados en los campos de concentración si no luchamos por ellos”.Las instancias citadas de acciones colonizadoras de los Estados Unidos incluyeron su derrocamiento en 2009 del presidente democráticamente electo de Guatemala, poniendo en su lugar a un dictador vicioso que permitió que los estudiantes que protestaban fueran asesinados y asesinatos de activistas y organizadores indígenas. Antes de eso, en la década de 1980, el gobierno sandinista en Nicaragua fue atacado por contras respaldados por los Estados Unidos que cometieron crímenes horrendos: asesinatos, violaciones y terror. El número de invasiones militares y “intervenciones” de los Estados Unidos en América Central es demasiado largo para enumerar aquí.Ed E SomiSek, miembro del pueblo indígena Esto’k Gna que ha vivido en lo que hoy es Texas y México durante siglos, habló: “Nuestra gente ha vivido históricamente en ambos lados del río, se movió por el área y ahora nos están haciendo extranjeros. Están construyendo un muro en las tumbas de nuestros antepasados”.El líder de Black Lives Matter, Ashton Woods, consiguió que la energía de la multitud fluyera mientras dirigía los cánticos y hablaba: “Estoy aquí como un descendiente de un esclavo, una persona LGBTQIA con SIDA. Personas como yo están en esos campos de concentración. Estas personas están huyendo de la violencia creada por este gobierno. ¿Qué tenemos que celebrar hoy? ¿El encarcelamiento en masa, la Decimotercera Enmienda, los campos de concentración y las mujeres trans que son asesinadas y brutalizadas?” [La Decimotercera Enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos incluía la legalización de la esclavitud en las cárceles]Sema Hernández, activista y retadora del senador Cornyn de Texas, dijo a la multitud: “Necesitamos desmantelar este sistema imperialista basado en el capitalismo y la supremacía blanca. Tenemos que acelerar nuestro trabajo para abolir ICE [Inmigración y Control de Aduanas] y cerrar estos campos de concentración”.La pancarta de Houston FIRE y los letreros de color amarillo brillante fueron muy bien recibidos. La indignación sobre los campos de concentración ha reavivado la indignación que comenzó el verano pasado cuando las familias se separaron por primera vez. ¡FIRE tiene la intención de mantener ese fuego encendido!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

In NYC, movement declares: Independence for Puerto Rico!

first_imgIt is a fact that the oldest colony in the world is Puerto Rico. It stands to reason, therefore, that one of the longest resistance struggles against U.S. imperialism is Puerto Rican.That fact came to life again this year as event after event led to a massive uprising that resulted in toppling the corrupt government of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Puerto Rican activists, Sept. 21This people’s movement on the island came in the wake of the disastrous consequences of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. About 3,000 people died in that hurricane, and thousands more became climate refugees as they were forced to flee the island.The governor’s corruption had been well known, but when leaked chats exposed vile homophobia, misogyny and elitist contempt even for hurricane victims, the people said basta — enough.This rise in the movement was recently reflected in New York City. A large number of Puerto Ricans have historically resided here, with a rich history of resistance, including the formation of the inspiring Young Lords in the revolutionary period of the late 1960s and 70s.On Sept. 21, over 600 Puerto Ricans and their supporters marched under the banner of the Frente Independentista Boricua (Boricua Independence Front) from Columbus Circle to the United Nations.The Frente is a united coalition comprised of A Call to Action in Puerto Rico, Committees of the Boricua Resistance, ProLibertad, Patria y Cultura, Nationalist Party, Junta de NY y NJ, NY Socialist Front, Comité del PIP de Nueva York, Virtual Boricua, Puerto Rican Workers’ Revolutionary Party (PRTP – Macheteros) and NY Boricua Resistance.This new umbrella of groups reflects growing unity in the movement and a determination to fight for independence till victory.Lorraine Liriano Chavez told Workers World: “El Frente Independentista Boricua is committed to the independence of Puerto Rico and will continue to educate, organize and protest. We will support the struggle of our sisters and brothers in the archipelago. We recognize that our struggle for liberation is within a larger framework of justice against capitalism and imperialism. Our solidarity with working-class communities in the U.S., Latin America, Africa and Asia is paramount to our liberation.”Also for the Frente, Ana M. Lopez told WW: “Our former political prisoners that participated in the march and rally on Sept. 21 were by and large living or born in the U.S. They dedicated their lives for the independence of Puerto Rico. Already two-thirds of our people live in the U.S., thus we are the engine within the ‘belly of the beast’ that will bring our decolonization and freedom at last.”Another Frente organizer Nephyr Rodriguez added, “It was evident, the growing number of youths that participated demonstrating great pride in their identities of being Puerto Rican.” He continued, “These youth are supporting our right to have a free and independent nation.” The Frente is not stopping after this successful march. On Oct. 5, the movement will hold the Third Peoples’ Assembly from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. at the Overthrow, 256 Grand Street, Brooklyn.Former political prisoner, Oscar Rivera, second from left, with Workers World Party members Marsha Goldberg, Teresa Gutierrez and Richard Kossally at Sept. 21 rally.These assemblies mirror the peoples’ assemblies that emerged after the toppling of Gov. Rosselló. Spurred by the victory of bringing down a corrupt governor, the people of Puerto Rico are now holding serious discussions throughout the island of what’s next to keep the movement going through these peoples’ assemblies.It is clear that no corrupt government, no hurricane, no U.S. imperialism can stop the yearning of the Puerto Rico people for independence. Si se puede!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Capitalism kills as health workers lack protection

first_imgOver the last three months, the U.S. government has proven its inability to protect and incompetence at caring for the population. A basic step to promote public health in the face of an epidemic — recommending that we wear protective face coverings when in public — was beyond the capitalist government.We are now paying a terrible price for that inaction.However, the federal government was not the only entity that failed miserably. The Trump administration did not appear out of thin air. They did not become horrible overnight.There are many large and wealthy hospital systems and other institutions that also fell asleep at the wheel. Starting in late March — when shortages were becoming more acute — some hospital systems finally started to seek out supplies of more personal protective equipment [PPE] and ventilators on their own.Why wait for shortages that they knew would come? They should have recognized that the government’s inaction would lead to the current problem, and they should have acted to prevent it, instead of wasting two months.While the primary failure was that of the government, we are seeing the failure of capitalism. Most of the major hospitals in the U.S. are private, for-profit businesses. In this era, businesses generally operate on small margins and with small inventories.Hospitals probably do not have internal structures that allow for the decisive measures that were necessary. There is no mechanism under capitalism to build a temporary hospital in three days as China did, for example.There are courageous health care workers who are risking their lives to care for others.  Some of them have died; others will die. Their government and their employers have failed them.This has been a major failure of the capitalist system. The big capitalist countries in Europe also responded poorly to the crisis. In recent days, the U.S. and at least a couple of European countries have pirated PPE destined for a supposed allied country. There are disputes between European Union countries and between Canada and the U.S. over PPE and medical equipment.While these disputes are brewing, China is delivering material aid all over the world, including to these parasitic countries.Capitalism has again proven to be inadequate to meet the needs of the working class on a world scale. Capitalism must be overthrown. Our livelihoods, our health, the health of the planet — our very lives depend on it. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

U.S. cities, states look to socialist Cuba for COVID-19 help

first_imgWith the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 expected to surpass 200,000 by the end of August, governing bodies in U.S. cities and states are taking matters into their own hands. They are calling for U.S.-Cuba scientific and medical collaboration against the pandemic.On July 21, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution for the U.S. to cooperate with Cuba against COVID-19, saying this could “save lives.”  (48hills.com, July 22)In 2007 the first medical students from the U.S. to graduate from the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba, vow to return home to use their skills to treat poor people, in keeping with the school’s socialist principles.Resolution sponsor Supervisor Hillary Ronen pointed out that Cuba’s pharmaceutical industry has developed drugs that should be available in the U.S.: “Limiting cooperation with Cuba makes no sense.” Similar resolutions have passed or been submitted in several California cities and in Massachusetts and Minnesota state legislatures.On Aug. 7, Minnesota state senators and representatives sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz, along with a senate resolution and house bill advocating reaching out to Cuba. The letter noted that “[A]s the place where George Floyd was killed, we have an obligation to our people of color and Indigenous communities to demonstrate our commitment to address the vast disparity in the impact of the pandemic on their populations. Our proposal may present one of the best opportunities to do so by recognizing and learning from a country whose medical brigades and outreach have brought assistance to the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people.” (Cubadebate.cu, Aug. 12)Sen. Sandy Pappas noted, as of July 6, that Cuba had a total of only 2,380 cases and 86 deaths. Around that time, U.S. deaths per capita were 53 times greater than Cuba’s. As of Aug. 16, U.S. deaths are over 80 times greater.Pappas, who has taken three delegations to Cuba, acknowledged that nation’s long history of providing medical assistance to other countries during epidemics like Ebola, swine flu and dengue.As of May, over 50 countries have requested and received assistance from Cuba to combat the virus, and over 80 countries have requested Cuban pharmaceutical products, including interferon, proven to successfully mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. Cuba has sent more than 2,000 doctors and nurses to 23 countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East since the pandemic began. (The Nation, May 22)The Trump administration has refused to lift the U.S. blockade of  Cuba and allow interferon or other Cuban-made drugs to be sold or tested in the U.S. In 2005, Cuba offered to send 1,600 medics, field hospitals and 83 tons of medical supplies to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina decimated the city. U.S. President George W. Bush rejected the aid. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, President Trump rejected Cuba’s offer to send doctors and humanitarian aid to Puerto Rico.In April, Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s Ambassador to Canada, stated: “[I]f the current United States government asks for assistance to confront COVID-19, Cuba would provide it. Cuba advocates that solidarity, the need to put aside political and ideological differences between countries and cooperation among all, is the only way to overcome this pandemic.” (The Progressive, April 30)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

‘Good riddance’ to ICE detention in Ohio’s Butler County

first_imgClevelandOhio immigrant rights organizations and attorneys held a virtual press conference May 28 to announce a win: Immigrants will no longer be subjected to the deplorable conditions of detention at the Butler County Jail, in Hamilton. Organizers are demanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement release everyone detained in the jail.Third International Human Rights Day protest outside Butler County Jail, Dec. 10, 2020. Credit: Ohio Immigrant AllianceAbdoulaye Lam and Demba Diawara, who were later deported to Mauritania, gave prerecorded testimony about the abusive treatment they were subjected to in the jail. Prison guards beat them and called them racial slurs. The food served was “horrible.” They were not given clean clothes. There were no hot showers, and the building was unheated in the winter. When they complained of stomach pain, they were not allowed to see a nurse.“This is something I will never, ever forget,” Lam said. Diawara demanded: “Shut down this jail!”Lam and Diawara had spent many years in the U.S. and had small businesses in the community before being arrested and ultimately deported. Their spouses are legal residents, and their children were born here. “My daughter cries every single day,” said Diawara.Speakers credited the “bravery and courage of the people who are inside,” like Lam and Diawara, for sending out letters about jail conditions, which led to a lawsuit. Rather than refraining from subjecting detainees to an inhumane situation, notoriously racist Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones ended the county’s contract with ICE.Lynn Tramonte, representing the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, said, “We say good riddance.” Previously ICE ended its arrangement with the Morrow County Jail, where 100% of those incarcerated had contracted COVID-19 after being denied face masks, soap and implementation of social-distancing measures. Similar victories have been achieved in Georgia and Massachusetts.Immigrant rights activists are collaborating with state abolition groups to fight intolerable county jail conditions, which people incarcerated by the criminal injustice system also face. Justice will not be served if people without documents are merely transferred to other horrible facilities — or if they are deported.“Ohio is not a place where we want to detain immigrants,” said Danya Contractor, with the mutual aid group Ohio Immigrant Visibility. The two remaining county jails in Ohio that contract with ICE are Geauga County in Chardon and Seneca County in Tiffin.Technically, anyone who has been in the U.S. since at least November 2020, and is not deemed to pose a risk to the community, is legally eligible for release. However, immigration attorney Brian Hoffman pointed out that this is nearly impossible to prove before a judge without an attorney. Only 14% of migrants in ICE detention have attorneys, and the percentage is even lower in some states.Abolish ICE! Free them all!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more