Caribbean Latin America Coalition Update

The Caribbean Latin America Coalition (CLAC) is a partner organization of SPC. It addresses general US-Latin America policy (including immigration) and also has active projects related to Colombia, Cuba and El Salvador.

CLAC collected and packed items for the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba when it passed through town in mid-June. The 19th Friendshipment Caravan stopped in 46 US States and six Canadian provinces, collecting 100 tons of humanitarian aid and converging at the US - Mexico border on July 3, where Homeland Security seized 31 computers (destined for classrooms, clinics and hospitals) from the Caravan.

After crossing the border into Mexico, the caravan is on the road again but remains committed to regaining possession of the computers. To protest this confiscation of humanitarian materials contact: 1) Border Patrol - 877-227-5511, 2) Office of Foreign Assets Control - 800-540-6322, 3) Your House representative - 202-225-3121. To learn more, visit www.pastorsforpeace.org.

A successful fundraising effort for Syracuse's sister community in La Estancia, El Salvador surpassed goals and will assist in part with student scholarships. CLACster Shirley Novak will travel to La Estancia in August to deliver the aid. There are still items for sale if you'd like to purchase a hammock or other handmade crafts.

CLAC members also attended the CNY-Cajibío retreat at the end of June. Cortland, Ithaca and Syracuse have a joint sister community partnership with Cajibío, Colombia. Cajibío organizers held a major planning retreat in March (attended by two CNY organizers). At our local retreat, we heard report backs from the March planning session and strategized ways we can work in solidarity with the Small Farmer's Movement of Cajibío and the Colombia Support Network for a just US policy towards Colombia.

CLAC continues to support the work of the local Detention Taskforce, sending a representative to taskforce meetings and contributing to the bail fund. CLAC members also have a strong presence at monthly Regional Transportation Center (RTC) demonstrations and flyering efforts to increase awareness of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at the RTC.

Plans for the annual November demonstration to close the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning, GA have also begun. CNY has a strong history of participation in this movement and will once again be providing a local training and orientation. Look for more information soon.

Finally, CLAC representatives recently met with congressional candidate Dan Maffei. Topics discussed included: US military buildup in Latin America, immigration policy, trade, SOA, and Cuba. CLAC hopes to meet with the Republican challenger as well in an attempt to educate and pressure our local congressional representative to take better stands on Latin American policy.


CLAC's next monthly potluck is Thursday, August 7, 6 pm at the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice (2nd floor). Contact Paul Weischelbaum for information, pweichs@juno.com.