Until we find Them / Hasta Encontrarlxs

Yesterday, on the  International Day of the Disappeared, Global Exchange and the People’s Movement for Peace and Justice were honored to give space and give voice to family members suffering from the tragic forced disappearance of their loved ones.  We hosted a BiNational webcast: Until We Find Them. We were joined by:

  • Pablo Centeno, father of Snider Centeno, disappeared by police forces in Triunfo de la Cruz, Garifuna territory, Honduras.
  • José Ugalde, father of Esaú Ugalde, who disappeared on September 14, 2015, at the age of 25, and three months later, was found dead.
  • Iakowi:he’ne’ Oakes,  Director of the Native American Center of New York.

The conversation was hosted by Carla Garcia of OFRENAH and Marco Castillo, Director of Global Exchange

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this powerful and emotional conversation. If you missed yesterday’s conversation, we invite you to view (and share) it here. (In Spanish here).

Forced disappearances is a growing crisis  facing our region.  In Mexico, 110,985 people were reported missing from 1964 to August 22, 2023, according to data from the National Registry of Missing or Unlocated Persons. In Honduras, according to police reports, more than 3,037 women were reported missing between 2018 and 2019. In the United States, according to the National Crime Information Center, by 2016 there were 5,712 reports of missing Indigenous women and girls.

This devastating reality does not impact everyone equally, with forced disappearances disproportionately impacting BIPOC communities, economically marginalized communities and vulnerable populations.

Today, the People’s Movement for Peace and Justice stands up to say Ignored No More.

We call on the governments of Mexico and the United States to reallocate the resources and funds they use to detain, criminalize and deport migrants to find our disappeared loved ones.

They should put the search for the disappeared at the center of the Bicentennial Agreement and any other binational security cooperation agreement.

The US government must stop the export of weapons to corrupt police and military units and end arms trafficking.

Mexico must declare a national emergency due to disappearances and involve all citizens in the search for the missing and disappeared..

And in all cases, those responsible must be identified, punished to the fullest extent of the law, and all necessary measures must be taken to protect the victims and their families.

We thank all families and organizations dedicated to searching for the disappeared. We invite the public to demand justice and not allow any Government to ignore this crisis.

Read our full statement here.

As long as one is missing, any of us can disappear.

Joseph Biden
President of the United States

We as members of US and global gun violence prevention and human rights organizations write to express our deepest concern about the role of US guns in growing violence against journalists and against human rights and land defenders in Mexico, specifically in the state of Guerrero. We urge you to take swift and decisive actions to stop the cross-border trafficking and legal exports of guns that find their way to that state. 

An estimated 250,000 firearms are purchased annually in the US for trafficking in Mexico. Many of these guns, in addition to those exported through legal sales to the Mexican government for use by police, end up in states such as Guerrero where state forces collude with criminal organizations. Guerrero’s strategic geographical location for drug and human trafficking have made this territory the center of a deadly dispute between organized crime groups, local and state police, as well as the military, one of the main buyers of US guns in the hemisphere.   

The impacts of violence in the state are undeniable. The Jose María Morelos Human Rights Center, which has accompanied victims of forced displacement and violence in Guerrero since 2011, in a letter to the White House, documented more than 1,807 forced disappearances and more than 1,360 violent homicides occurred in the state of Guerrero in 2022 alone. According to them, most of these tragic acts happened “with the use of US guns, including [A]R-15, AK 45, M4, Mini-14, AKM, G3, as well as bazookas, tripode submachine guns, Barrett rifles, hand grenades and hand guns from multiple brands”.

Article 19 and multiple media outlets have documented growing violence against journalists in Guerrero, which has become the second most dangerous state in the country and one of the most dangerous in the world to practice journalism. 10% of the 157 killings of journalists in Mexico between 2020 and 2022 happened in the state of Guerrero, including the homicide of Fredid Roman, who was gunned down in August of that year, and the recent attacks and intimidation acts on journalists Arturo de Dios and Eduardo Yener de los Santos, in January and April this year.

This targeted form of violence, with guns from the US, has a direct impact on freedom of expression and the right to report in Guerrero. According to journalist Arturo the Dios, there are “zones of silence” where it is impossible to write about violence without risking getting killed. 

Activists in Guerrero are also the target of multiple forms of violence. The cases of land defenders Vicente Suástegui, disappeared in August 2021, and Arnulfo Cerón, disappeared in October 2019 and found dead in November of that same year, haven’t found justice. More recently, RFK Rockefeller awardee Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, located in Tlapa, Guerrero, denounced being the subject of illegal espionage. Teodomira Rosales, Director of the Jose María Morelos Human Rights Center in Chilpapa de Álvarez, Guerrero, was a victim herself of threats and attacks from members of organized crime groups and had to flee the state with other members of the team. 

The worldwide known case of the disappearance of 43 students from the teacher’s college of Ayotzinpa, Guerrero in 2014, is another case that shows the role of US guns in Guerrero. After the disappearance of the students, local, state police and military units continued to receive guns from the US through legal purchases without any end user control requirement from the US government.

Violence in Guerrero, perpetrated mostly with US guns, will continue as long as US guns continue to arrive through legal and illegal means to the state, despite the evidence of criminal collusion and impunity for violence by local and state police and the military, as in the case of Ayotzinapa. 

Many of us confirmed this in a recent delegation to Mexico, composed of human rights and gun violence prevention organizations, as we heard from the victims, journalists and human rights defenders about violence carried out by both criminal groups and military and police authorities. We witnessed the life threatening circumstances in which the population survives, with levels of gun violence considerably worse than in the United States. 

President Biden, action is required now and you can play a significant role in ending gun violence in Guerrero. Please consider the following actions:

  • Because of the role of US-sourced firearms in violence in Guerrero, grant asylum for all victims and survivors of violence from the state of Guerrero.
  • Press the Government of Mexico for effective human rights-centered public safety in Guerrero, including effective protection for journalists and human rights and land defenders, as part of the Bicentennial Agreement. 
  • Include the impacts of US-sourced guns in Mexico, including  high-violence regions like Guerrero, in your public and private statements about gun violence prevention. 
  • Direct the Departments of State and Commerce to stop all gun exports to police and military units in the state of Guerrero until substantial advances are made to end collusion between state forces and organized crime and to investigate and bring to justice serious human rights violations in the state . 
  • Direct federal agencies to actively enforce the provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act  against the trafficking of guns destined for Mexico.  
  • Direct ATF to lead increased cross-border efforts to end gun trafficking to Mexico and produce accurate, timely and effective gun tracing data. 

We know and trust that you can and will take action before violence with US-sourced guns in Guerrero takes more innocent lives and expands to other regions in Mexico and the United States.

Name Nationality / Organization name
Daniel US Citizen
Evelyn Fraser Academic Coaching DC
Fabiola Campos  ÁGAPE ppr la libertad y el Respeto a la Vida 
Leonor Flores Aguilera Amores …Cadhac
Arturo Cervantes Trejo ANASEVI AC.
NORA TORRES Rdz  BUSCANDO NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS DE TAMAULIPAS A.C.
elizabeth lee Camada Peace Action Network
David Adams Center for Architectural& Design Research
Norma Mendieta Mendieta Centro de Atención a la Familia Migrante Indígena AC
Sara San Martín Romero  Centro de Estudios Ecumenicos A.C.
Ma Sandra Beatriz Mercado Sánchez  Colectivo De Pie Hasta Encontrarte Guanajuato 
Marta Pablo Cruz COLECTIVO OAXAQUEÑOS BUSCANDO A LOS NUESTROS A.C. 
Rebeca Zúniga-Hamlin Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC)
Raquel Pastor  Derechos de la Infancia y la Adolescencia
José Ugalde Mejia  Desaparecidos justicia a c Querétaro 
Mercedes Lourdez González González  Desaparecidos justicia A C. Querétaro 
Michaelene Loughlin Emmaus Community of Christian Hope
Consuelo Tafoya Guerrero ENLACE COMUNICACIÓN Y CAPACITACIÓN A.C.
Juan Aguirre  Estudiante 
Ethan Vesely-Flad Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)
Pedro Pérez Pineda  Firma 
Sharon R. Olberding Franciscan Peace Connection
José Luis Manzo Ramírez Frontera con Justicia AC [Casa del Migrante Saltillo]
JOSE ENRIQUE KOENIGUE  FUNDEJ JALISCO
Judith Beck  Global Exchange 
Don D Emmal Hunger programs
Elvira Martinez Monroy Independiente 
Má del Socorro romo franco  Independirente 
Brian Stefan-Szittai InterReligious Task Force on Central America
Marcia Halligan Kickapoo Peace Circle
Tania Del Moral Latin America Working Group
Tracy Rosenberg Media Alliance
Laura Carlsen MIRA Feminisms and Democracy
Dennis Kreiner mr
Claudia Velasquez Mujeres, Organización y Territorios MOOTS AC
Jarrett Cloud US Citizen
Carmen US Citizen
Lindsay Hope Kern US Citizen
Sherri Hodges  US Citizen
Lorraine  US Citizen
Jim Loveland US Citizen
B.C. Shelby US Citizen
Po Murray Newtown Action Alliance
Jerrilynne Titsworth  US Citizen
David Ramsay US Citizen
Calli Madrone US Citizen
Trevanne Foxton US Citizen
Klaus Steinbrecher US Citizen
Lana Henson  US Citizen
Joseph Dadgari  US Citizen
Reed Fenton  US Citizen
Joel Kay US Citizen
Tina Ann US Citizen
Charles Dineen US Citizen
Guadalupe Yanez US Citizen
George Flores US Citizen
Bryn Hammarstrom US Citizen
Eugenia Ahern US Citizen
Deborah Richardi US Citizen
irantzu US Citizen
Andrea US Citizen
Jean Lindgren US Citizen
Timothy Post US Citizen
judith williams sandoval US Citizen
JUAN CARLOS ROSAS PAREDES US Citizen
Tony Segura US Citizen
Jerry Rivers North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)
Daniel Perez Ongd AFRICANDO
Gregory Perkins PCUSA
cheryl kozanitas Peace Action of San Mateo County
LaVern Olberding Peace Resource Center-San Diego
Paul George Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Jonathan Peter Peterfam Trust
John Herbert Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
Programa Casa Refugiados AC
Catalina castillo castañeda  Red x la infancia ac 
Lana May US Citizen
Elisse De Sio US Citizen
Robin Terry  US Citizen
Kit US Citizen
Abbie Bernstein US Citizen
Marilyn Long US Citizen
Patricia Mensing Sisters of Saint Joseph
Jesús Salazar vidales Tesoros perdidos
Clementina Lorenzo flores Tesoros perdidos
Una promesa por cumplir 
Maria angelica Quevedo Bedolla Unidas por el dolor
Tranquilina Hernández Lagunas  Unión de familias Resilientes Buscando a sus corazones desaparecidos 
Alexis Maestre Saborit Union for the Justice Laura Marx
Maribel Ramos 
Patricia Vallejo
Enrique Pastor
Berenice Gonzalez
Irma Pous Fernandez
Jorge Pastor
TELLO ALFONSO JULIETA
Elena Marquina Barrera 
Silvia G Goytia
Silvia 
Irene Rivera Pérez
Patricia Rojo
Lucila Servitje 
Liliana Trueba 
Martha Cain
Judith
Sidney Ann Ramsden Scott
Catherine Crockett
Abigail Hossler 
cheryl kozanitas
Chris Nelson
Robert Beren
Thomas
Judy bierbaum 
Sallie
Ron MIttan
Paul Markillie
Ernst Rudolf Mecke
cynthia edwards
Roberta Frye
Dona LaSchiava
Leanne Friedman
Mark Karlin
Lisa Kellman
Esther Garvett 
Maure C Briggs
Ruth
Kyle SCHMIERER
Catherine Lanzl
Bianca Benincasa 
Joseph Abela
Helen Gex Greer 
tony hintze
Kathy Bradley
susan tucker
Molly Lazarus
Connie Tate
michael lahey
Musa Eubanks
Óscar Revilla
Bruce Ross 
Patricia Blackwell-Marchant
Mark Nuckols
Jon Anderholm 
Roman LoBianco 
Fermin Morales 
Lynn Shoemaker
Glenn Hufnagel
Joan Yater
Luis Escala Rabadán
Mary Danhauer
Barbara Hoch
Melissa Fleming 
Marie Focella
Amy Henry
Susan Cotton
Carol Frechette
Larry Lewis
Wallace Schultz
Dorothy Lynn Brooks
Steve Overton
Robert Janusko
Mark Hayduke Grenard
Judy Butler
Penny Robinson
Justin Truong
Lorie Lucky
Tom Meisenhelder 
Cory Pinckard
Lourdes Best
Drewek
Cindy Meyers 
Mike Shores
Mark Soenksen 
Mark Proa
Michele Spring-Moore
June Elliott
Stephanie C. Fox
Tony Clunies-Ross
Diambu Smith 
Janice Wilfing
mark levin
Rick Moffat
Ian
Joseph Reginald Cota
Lois Kaufman
Kelly Caffrey
Nancy Hiestand
Joan Sitomer
Jack Stansfield
Ronald Brown
Richard Johnson
Hannah
Crystal Schaffer
Julie Skelton 
Virginia
Dan Hubbard
Eric Nichandros
Virginia. Jastromb
Marian Scena
Don Hon
Michael Swanson 
Jeffrey Colledge
Maryann Smale
Mary Lebert
alice jena
Theodore
Joseph De Feo
Stephanie Eastwood
Carolyn Riddle
joe smith
Zoe Harris
Hilde Kinable
Glenn Dansker
Ira Gerard
Cori Bishop
Michael Hogan
Manuel Leon Torres 
Morgan Paulus
Carola Barton
Lynn Biddle
Antonieta
LaVern Olberding
Jim Yarbrough
Brian Dolenz
Lorin Peters
Kenneth Crouse
Robert New
Shannon Markley
Rich
Tim Glover
Leah Hallow
Lynn Abbott
Winston
Monica Stuhlreyer
Julia Richards
A.L. Steiner
Susan Perry
Warren M. Gold
Scott V Grinthal
Steve Bloom

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
President of Mexico

Dear Mr. President,

Through this letter, the undersigned individuals and organizations from Mexico, the United States and Europe want to express our concern and pain at the situation of violence in the state of Guerrero.

Several of the US and European signatory organizations recently visited Mexico as part of an international arms delegation from the United States to Mexico and as participants in the Summit for Peace. During our stay we learned, through the voice of the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, and Alejandro Celorio, Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about the efforts of his administration to stop arms trafficking from the United States and about the commitment of his government to defend Human Rights and address the causes of violence, including inequality and marginalization.

On the other hand, during a visit to the state of Guerrero, we heard from human rights defenders, journalists and families who were victims of forced displacement and relatives of the disappeared about the bloody reality facing the population of that state.

The José María Morelos Human Rights Center, in a letter to President Biden, reports that in the year 2022 alone, 1,807 disappearances were committed and 1,360 intentional homicides were committed by members of organized crime in collusion with local authorities.

We listened to the testimonies of local journalists about how the State of Guerrero has become the second most dangerous entity in the country to practice journalism, with 10% of the 157 murders of journalists committed between 2020 and 2022 in the country. Days after our visit and presenting the situation of violence in the state, journalist Eduardo Yener de los Santos was the victim of assault and robbery at his home.

Organized crime groups terrorize entire regions, as in the recent attacks in the Tierra Caliente area and in the high mountains of Guerrero.

And as if that were not enough, organizations with a long and proven track record in the defense of human rights in the region, such as the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, have been subjected to intimidation and espionage actions.

We know that much of this violence is carried out with firearms that come from the United States, and our organizations are spearheading many of the efforts to stop the flow of guns out of our country, including a recent letter to President Biden, lobbying Congress to pass the ARMAS Act, supporting the prohibition of assault weapons and promoting the demand of your Government to gun manufacturers weapons and gun dealers in Arizona.

Your government is taking important steps towards peace in Guerrero, but we are extremely concerned about strengthening the role of the Mexican armed forces without this implying greater transparency or security in Guerrero. The Mexican Army is one of the principal gun buyers from the United States in the world and we know little or nothing about how, to whom and under what criteria it distributes these weapons to police units and military zones in Guerrero, despite the fact that many of these units have proven links to organized crime. In the case of Ayotzinapa, for example, the Guerrero state police continued to receive weapons imported by the army, despite the proven links of this corporation with organized crime that led to this still unresolved tragedy.

We are very concerned about the lack of prompt and expeditious justice mechanisms. Most of the cases of victims of violence that we know of have filed lawsuits without any consequences. The cases of disappeared activists, such as Vicente Suástegui, and of those who have died, like Arturo Cerón, remain unresolved. According to the Morelos Center for Human Rights, more than 25 defenders have had to flee the state, while migrant aid organizations report that thousands of people from Guerrero have had to leave their homes to seek refuge in the United States.

Therefore, we kindly request that, in addition to your current efforts:

  • Take the necessary measures to return public security to a civilian institution and strengthen transparency and citizen observation of temporary military action.
  • Ensure prompt and expeditious justice for all the people of Guerrero, as well as the effective protection of victims of violence.
  • Strengthen and accompany the work of human rights organizations and state journalists.
  • Relaunch your administration’s efforts to establish a sensible drug policy that puts people at the center.

President, count on us to accompany the fight to end the flow of arms from the United States to Mexico and for a sensitive and humane drug policy in that country. We hope to have your commitment to prioritize the end of violence in Guerrero.

NAME NATIONALITY/ORGANIZATION
jANET MAKER US Citizen
Timothy Post US Citizen
Klaus E. Lehmann US Citizen
john sinnigen US Citizen
Martha Kransdorf US Citizen
Rocky Schnaath US Citizen
Judith Lienhard US Citizen
Matthew Cloner US Citizen
Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez US Citizen
Marilyn Jane Long US Citizen
A Lee Miller US Citizen
dianne post Central Phoenix Inez Casiano NOW
Valarie Liveoak  US Citizen
Rick Moffat US Citizen
Julia Richards US Citizen
Anna McNaught US Citizen
Carol Devoss US Citizen
Michael Halloran  US Citizen
Peter Townsend US Citizen
Barbara Tapia US Citizen
Dr James Creechan author of Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds Author
David Walker US Citizen
Debra Atlas US Citizen
Ruth S Sheldon US Citizen
Susan Boggiano US Citizen
B.C. Shelby US Citizen
Elisse Diane De Sio US Citizen
Lawrence C. Hager Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Tina Ann US Citizen
Julie Adelson US Citizen
Maure C Briggs US Citizen
Melissa Fleming  US Citizen
Elizabeth Butler US Citizen
Bill Rosenthal US Citizen
Lawrence Abbott US Citizen
alyson shotz US Citizen
Fred Lavy US Citizen
Daniel Wilkinson US Citizen
Steve Graff US Citizen
Michael Garitty  US Citizen
Lupe I. Torre US Citizen
Rich & Eileen Heaning US Citizen
Susan Ruzic US Citizen
Brandon Kozak US Citizen
John Webster US Citizen
Katherine Wojtan US Citizen
Betsy Eudey US Citizen
Susan US Citizen
Maria Ponce Sevilla US Citizen
Richard Stern US Citizen
Barbara and Jim Dale US Citizen
Karen Levine US Citizen
Rick Se US Citizen
José Luis Loera Programa Casa Refugiados AC
Kyle Schmierer US Citizen
Lawrence G. East US Citizen
Dan Hubbard US Citizen
Koen Ooms US Citizen
Richard Han US Citizen
Janet Williams US Citizen
Bernice Coleman US Citizen
Melvin Mackey US Citizen
Linda Ferland US Citizen
les roberts US Citizen
Matthew Anderson US Citizen
Sherri Hodges  US Citizen
Ellen S Cohen US Citizen
Richard Johnson US Citizen
Diana Horowitz  US Citizen
Steve Bloom US Citizen
Carla Garcia Co-redes Negras por la Paz y la Justicia
Jerome Geffner US Citizen
Robert A Veralli US Citizen
Linda Rushoe US Citizen
Harriet Mullaney US Citizen
John Reed Brundage US Citizen
Igor Rodriguez US Citizen
Carrie Kuehl US Citizen
Kathy Bradley US Citizen
Carly Cassano US Citizen
Scott Gibson US Citizen
Jonelle Ringnalda US Citizen
Lorie Lucky US Citizen
Jane C. HOlt US Citizen
Leticia morales US Citizen
Gerritt and Elizabeth Baker-Smith US Citizen
Rachael Denny US Citizen
John Arnold US Citizen
Marta Diaz US Citizen
US Citizen
Dawn M Albanese US Citizen
Bruce Richard Ross  US Citizen
Musa Robert Eubanks US Citizen
Romana Rojas  US Citizen
PatrIcia Mensing US Citizen
ALFRED JONAS US Citizen
Glenn R. Hufnagel US Citizen
John K Pritchard US Citizen
Mark Seis US Citizen
Derek Gendvil US Citizen
Faith Colligan US Citizen
Edward Norkus US Citizen
Sandra Connan US Citizen
Nancy Hiestand US Citizen
Jeff Shelby US Citizen
Johannes Kiockern US Citizen
Kathleen Doyle US Citizen
Susan K. Shimer US Citizen
Maureen Sheahan US Citizen
Ernst Rudolf Mecke US Citizen
Janice Welsch US Citizen
Judith Beck  US Citizen
Patricia A. Blackwell-Marchant US Citizen
Stephanie C. Fox US Citizen
Mark Ginsburg US Citizen
Marianne Montero Riverdale Presbyterian Church
Ted Fishman US Citizen
Ryan Baka US Citizen
Steve Overton US Citizen
Susan Zipp Associaton of World Citizens
Meg Newman US Citizen
Tammy Lettieri  US Citizen
Tony Clunies-Ross US Citizen
Mike Lyman US Citizen
Paul Helbling US Citizen
Jarrett Cloud  US Citizen
Pamela Brubaker US Citizen
June Esposito US Citizen
Russell Novkov US Citizen
Merilie Robertson US Citizen
Amy Henry US Citizen
Elizabeth G. Burr US Citizen
angela wilson US Citizen
US Citizen
David Kannerstein US Citizen
Paul Eisenberg US Citizen
Aaron Stark US Citizen
Judy bierbaum  US Citizen
Andrea La Vigne US Citizen
William Welkowitz US Citizen
Mary Murphy US Citizen
Amy US Citizen
Linda McDowell  US Citizen
joe smith US Citizen
Barbara Porter  US Citizen
Lorraine Brabham  US Citizen
Loretta Armstrong US Citizen
Lisa Gherardi US Citizen
Fred Granlund US Citizen
Brian J B US Citizen
Kathy Braun, OSF US Citizen
cheryl kozanitas US Citizen
Ronald Brown US Citizen
Pamela Gibberman  US Citizen
Marc Beschler US Citizen
Patrick Malone US Citizen
Jefferey US Citizen
Mary Danhauer US Citizen
Khairieh Amr US Citizen
Rena Lewis US Citizen
Victoria Thornton Bruckner US Citizen
Ken Windrum US Citizen
Antonieta Gimeno US Citizen
Molly Lazarus US Citizen
Helen Gex Greer US Citizen
Marie Lucey US Citizen
Marsha King US Citizen
Stuart Lynn US Citizen
C s US Citizen
S. Kay Olson US Citizen
susan tucker US Citizen
Jean Lindgren US Citizen
Joan Yater US Citizen
Michael Swanson  US Citizen
Patricia Miller US Citizen
Claudia Velasquez US Citizen
Patricia Guthrie Guthrie & Larason
Janet Court US Citizen
Jennifer Kane Rodehaver US Citizen
alice jena US Citizen
Mark Proa US Citizen
Barbara Hoch US Citizen
Linda Paul US Citizen
Teresa Jaeger US Citizen
Lori Lyles US Citizen
David Gardner US Citizen
gina willis US Citizen
Miriam Bannon US Citizen
Eric NIchandros US Citizen
Joseph De Feo US Citizen
John Hockman US Citizen
Marta Wilcox US Citizen
Clinton Keaton US Citizen
Terrie Smith US Citizen
Dr. Mha Atma S Khalsa US Citizen
Dean Griswold US Citizen
Maryann Smale US Citizen
Cindy Meyers US Citizen
Norma Mendieta Mendieta Centro de Atención a la Familia Migrante Indígena
JOHN C PROCHASKA US Citizen
Karen Jacques US Citizen
Carmen J AgoyoSilva US Citizen
Theodore Voth US Citizen
US Citizen
Susan Scott US Citizen
judith williams sandoval US Citizen
Diane Olson Schmidt  US Citizen
Kathy Shores US Citizen
Maryellen Redish US Citizen
Elyse Jacobson  US Citizen
Celeste Hong US Citizen
Hilde Kinable  US Citizen
Peter Costantini US Citizen
David Adams US Citizen
Charles Christopher Weisbecker US Citizen
Ian Brown US Citizen
Dorothy Anderson US Citizen
Carole Browner  US Citizen
Grace Payne US Citizen
Tsee Lee US Citizen
Raymond Finney US Citizen
Paul Wasserman US Citizen
Marie Manning US Citizen
Don Somsky US Citizen
sudia paloma mccaleb US Citizen
Lansing Shepard US Citizen
FERNANDO COTO  US Citizen
Shirleem US Citizen
Kathleen Carr US Citizen
Patricia Zamudio US Citizen
Danie Kaufman Endangered Language Alliance
Karla J Devine US Citizen
Sayrah Namaste US Citizen
Janice Dlugosz  US Citizen
Cory Pinckard  US Citizen
Leslie Mullin US Citizen
Matthew Boguske US Citizen
Susan Perry  US Citizen
Ricardo Guillermo Gállego Iglesias por la Paz
Larry Lewis US Citizen
Lopamudra Mohanty US Citizen
Andrew R Kalukin US Citizen
Adriana Sletza Ortega Cuerpo Académico Procesos Transnacionales y Migración BUAP-CA-230
Carolyn Riddle US Citizen
A.L. Steiner US Citizen
Cori Bishop US Citizen
Sherry Purcell  KINGSTON CENTRAL AMERICA SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE.
Robert Poignant US Citizen
Jeffrey Paul Horejsi US Citizen
Lorin Peters US Citizen
Allan Campbell US Citizen
L. Bradley US Citizen
Drew Cucuzza US Citizen
Susan Goldberg US Citizen
Utkarsh Nath US Citizen
enea.koxhioni@gmail.com US Citizen
Ira Gerard US Citizen
Brian Peng US Citizen
Tania Del Moral Latin America Working Group
Arturo Cervantes Trejo Universidad Anáhuac México
Michelle  Impacta Cine 
José Luis Manzo Ramírez Frontera con Justicia AC [Casa del Migrante Saltillo]
Po Murray Newtown Action Alliance
Verónica Evangelina Guillén Trujillo  Junax Ko’tantik 
Liliana cristina sandoval  Buscadoras zacatecas a. C
Marcela María Aguilar Esquivel Mexican Citizen
Leonor Flores Aguilera Cadhac …Amores 
Jesús Salazar vidales  Tesoros perdidos
Enrique Pastor Mexican Citizen
Raquel Pastor Derechos de la Infancia y la Adolescencia
BERENICE GONZALEZ Mexican Citizen
Jorge Pastor Escobar Mexican Citizen
TELLO ALFONSO JULIETA Mexican Citizen
María Eugenia Guerrero Juárez. Colectivo Amor, Esperanza y Lucha Zacatecas.
Elena Marquina Barrera  Mexican Citizen
Silvia G Goytia Mexican Citizen
Marta Pablo Cruz Colectivo Oaxaqueños Buscando a los Nuestros A.C.
Irene Rivera Pérez Mexican Citizen
Angélica Rodríguez  Regresando a casa Morelos A. C.
Patricia Rojo Mexican Citizen
Programa Casa Refugiados AC
Ed Perry Mexican Citizen

Global Exchange will be investigating, observing, and reporting on Guatemala’s historic (run-off) presidential elections. 
Tune in here for updates and news.

The August 20th election is in the international spotlight because emergent democratic forces represented by the Semilla Movement and their candidate, Bernardo Arévalo, won a run-off spot in the general elections that took place last June and then successfully defended it against trumped-up legal attacks that sought to disqualify their party and close the door on democracy.

Hundreds of observers are expected to be in the country during the election.

Tension between Guatemala’s authoritarian ruling structures and the democratic impulses of its people are nothing new.

In 1944 (during the final days of WWII) Guatemala had a popular uprising that brought Bernardo Arevalo’s father, Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo out of exile and into the Presidency, where he built a broad consensus, modernized education, established the first ever labor code and created the social security system that still exists today.

When Arévalo’s successor, President Jacobo Arbenz, sought to expand those gains with a land redistribution program he came up against an implacable oligarchy that welcomed the notorious CIA led coup of 1954 that snuffed democracy and led to generations of terror, repression, civil war, and the genocide of Indigenous communities –much of it with the direct or implicit support of the United States.

Things began to improve in Guatemala following the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords, but recent decades have seen an upsurge in criminal violence, environmental destruction, and rampant corruption, while the structures of extreme wealth and enforced poverty continue much the same as in1944

History may or may not be repeating itself as the candidacy of Bernardo Arevalo takes center stage, but there is no doubt the Movimiento Semilla has created high expectations and infectious positive energy throughout Guatemala and Latin America.

Our delegation is being convened by CESJUL, the Bogota, Colombia based legal training and human rights organization. They have assembled a stellar group of journalists, human rights specialists, scholars, and elected officials from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.

Our observers will be just that, observers. And they will report on what they see.  That’s where you come in. Working closely with [Prensa Comunitaria] the journalists on our team will deliver contextual analysis and up to the minute coverage of this hotly contested event.

For the latest on upcoming pre, during and post election webcasts and live updates please visit our webpage.

¡Viva la democracia!

The landslide victory of President elect, Bernardo Arévalo and his running mate, Karin Herrera of Guatemala’s Semilla Party in last August’s election represents a solid win for democracy.  It is a breath of fresh air for Guatemala, long held back by oligarchy. The result opens a whole new chapter of public life in Central America’s largest country. 

Semilla’s candidates won big because their call for a clean break with a deeply corrupt, self-perpetuating ruling elite resonated so strongly with Guatemalan voters. Nevertheless, despite the popular mandate, the masters of the old system will not just pack up and leave and the so-called “Pact of the Corrupt”, are already working hard to derail the Semilla and undermine the incoming administration.

Guatemala’s newly elected leaders do not take office until Jan 14, 2024.  These next months will be challenging. Guatemala’s democratic champions need and deserve the support of the international community at this critical juncture.

What we have been doing:

As part of our commitment to democracy in our region, Global Exchange worked with The Center for Latin American Socio-Legal Studies – CESJUL(Colombia) and the Grupo Foco (Guatemala)  to convene a international observer mission (MIOE) that brought together journalists, elected officials, academics, and local grassroots organizers from Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Canada, and the United States to accompany and report on Guatemala’s recent electoral processes. 

The Mission bought together many allies including Prensa Comunitaria (Guatemala), RompeViento TV (CDMX), Peninsula 360 Press (Redwood City, California), and the Latin American Working Group (Washington, DC).  Check out our reports and webcasts below. 

As Guatemala navigates this current reality, we’ll continue to monitor the situation along with our allies and experts and be sure to share their insights into Guatemala’s current political landscape.  Stay tuned!

Two days ago, the interdisciplinary group of independent experts investigating the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico, delivered their final crushing report, describing the Mexican military’s involvement and ongoing obstruction of the investigation of one of the greatest atrocities committed in contemporary Mexico.

And this week, relatives of disappeared persons in Guerrero have been searching for remains of their loved ones in the hills above the state capital of Chilpancingo, without success. In 2022 alone in Guerrero, 1,807 disappearances were committed and 1,360 intentional homicides were committed by members of organized crime in collusion with local authorities.

The violence, the chaos, and the impunity demand our immediate attention – and action.

Can you take just a few moments of your time today to help stop the violence in Guerrero, Mexico?

We urge you to ask any organization or faith community with which you are connected to endorse a letter on the dire situation in Guerrero addressed to Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, urging him to take action to protect lives in the region.

We’re doing everything we can to engage communities on both sides of the border on this important issue. Last week, we participated in a webinar “How European weapons are fueling violence in Mexico,” as Latin American and European leaders concluded a summit. Three European disarmament organizations released a brief on the same issue.

It is clear beyond dispute that US weapons flowing into Mexico cause violence and destruction. The only question left now is – can you take just a few moments of your time to do something about it?

We urge you to join us in that effort. Please, sign this letter and ask groups to endorse it as organizations, before the end of next Tuesday, August 1.

Gun violence in Mexico and Central America has created chaos and heartache on an unimaginable scale.

Parents grieving from forced disappearances, cartels conducting assassinations in broad daylight, torture, arbitrary arrests – an environment where violence is far too often met with impunity, where death and destruction can come at any time from both state and non-state actors alike.

The guns fueling the violence come primarily from the United States. Some are trafficked illegally. Some are exported legally. Regardless of how these dangerous weapons end up in Mexico, the fact is that 70 percent of the firearms recovered from crime scenes in Mexico originated in the United States.

Recently, Global Exchange’s Stop US Arms to Mexico program co-organized an international delegation to investigate the global firearms trade and its human impacts in Mexico. Twelve international experts and advocates from six countries that export or traffic firearms to Mexico joined the delegation. Out of this delegation, we’ve put together a video series detailing the stakes of the crisis, as well as proposals to help end the violence.

Please take a few moments of your time to watch the introductory video from this series to learn more about the impact of U.S. guns in Mexico.

We have been working for nearly a decade to call for action to significantly reduce U.S. legal arms sales (to pre-Merida Initiative levels) and stop illegal gun trafficking to Mexico.

Starting today, and through the rest of this week, we’ll be participating in a week of online action. We’ll be joined in this effort by the Latin America Working Group, Global Action on Gun Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, Black Lives Matter-South Bend, Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, and many other organizations.

We’ll also be reaching out to you with more information about how you can join in!

Together, we can help stem the tide of gun violence.

On June 30th, we took to the streets from Tapachula, Mexico to New York City, USA and online to make our demands heard – demands to bring accountability, justice, and transparency to the U.S./Mexico policies that impact our communities and lives on both sides of our shared border.

In concert with civil society organizations across the United States and Mexico, the People’s Movement for Peace and Justice organized actions in Tallahassee, FL; San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; and across Mexico in Mexico City, Tapachula, Chiapas, Puebla, and Tlaxcala calling for justice for the victims of the devastating fire in Ciudad Juárez, which left forty dead and ALL victims of the current cruel and ineffective U.S./Mexico immigration policies.

Our voices have made a difference!

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission has made a recommendation in favor of our demand for justice for the migrant victims of the devastating fire in Ciudad Juárez. (Available here in Spanish.)

We also received the commitment from the Federal Government in Mexico to establish a working group with the Ministry of Interior to follow up on the agreements of the Peace Summit from earlier this year.

These commitments and recommendations represent a significant step forward in the ongoing movement towards finding justice and building a lasting peace throughout the region. We could not be more pleased with the outcome of this day of action – and we’re excited to keep putting pressure on the governments of both the United States and Mexico to demand the policy changes that will make these goals possible.

We recognize that there is yet more work to be done – and we will not rest until the full demands of the People’s Movement for Peace and Justice are not just heard, but realized.

We are calling for more just and humane immigration policies in both the United States and Mexico, an expansion of asylum, justice for the disappeared and commonsense policies to reduce gun violence.

Thank you for making this (first) victory possible.

We will not stop until the work is done.

We, the members of the International Mission of Human Rights Observation and Defense, which includes the organizations which have signed on below, issue this emergency call to national and international public opinion and civil society, and assert and demand the following:

  1. The political and institutional crisis which is unfolding in Perú is one of the gravest ones in its history as a republic. Its current stage began with the removal from office and detention of former President Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022, which installed the current illegitimate régime headed by Dina Boluarte and her cabinet;
  2. The interim government’s negation of the people’s will is reflected in the imposition of states of emergency which violate fundamental rights, and reliance on violence as a mechanism of repression that has especially targeted Peru’s Andean indigenous and campesino communities in the country’s most marginalized regions in the south, north, and in Lima, resulting in the more than 72 deaths and hundreds injured and unjustly detained. Impunity for these state human rights crimes has been the prevailing rule and has impeded their investigation through measures that include the centralization of case files, which undermines regional prosecutions;
  3. The principal current demands of the Peruvian people include: closure of congress, new elections, the convening of a constituent assembly to approve a new constitution, the resignation of Boluarte and her cabinet, and immediate freedom for former President Pedro Castillo;
  4. Despite the violence and repression which has resulted in hundreds of people arbitrarily killed, injured, detained, and disappeared due to abuses by state military, and police authorities, impunity continues to prevail, without a single sentence imposed upon those responsible, disregarding the convergent, well documented reports and recommendations issued the UN, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and international missions.
  5. Peru’s popular movements have designated July 19th as the target date for the third “taking of Lima”, which has been convened by the families of victims of repression from throughout the country, human rights activists, and students seeking to exercise their internationally and nationally recognized rights to freedom of assembly, expression, and social protest;
  6. The interim government must cease its efforts to stigmatize and criminalize the popular exercise of these rights through processes of intimidation that include what is understood historically in Perú as the methdologies of “terruqueo” (labeling of dissidents as supposed “terrorists”);
  7. We denounce and reject the authoritarian and repressive rhetoric and actions of the interim government headed by Dina Boluarte and the president of the Council of Ministers, which put the country’s most vulnerable sectors and especially its indigenous peoples and communities in danger of renewed repression;
  8. We also denounce the presence of U.S troops on Peruvian territory which is intended to protect the economic interests of extractivist corporations and industries such as mining and oil, and which have intensified the country’s prevailing climate of social intimidation and repression.

We demand an end to the concerted campaign of intimidation, disinformation and social panic which seeks to associate the “taking of Lima” with ostensibly terrorist organizations such as Shining Path, and urgently call for the international community to be alert to prevent the recurrence of new crimes against humanity and continued impunity in Perú.

SIGNATURES

 International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement (ITCPM) (México)

CESJUL (Centro de Estudios Socio Jurídicos Latinoamericanos – Colombia)

Grupo de Trabajo (GT) “Fronteras, Regionalización y Globalización” del Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO)

National Lawyers Guild (San Francisco Bay Area chapter) (USA)

Global Exchange (USA)

Instituto Ambientalista Natura (Perú)

Comité de Solidaridad con Perú (México)

American Association of Jurists (AAJ)

International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)

International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)

Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (UK)

Progressive Lawyers of Turkey (CHD)

There are still spots remaining on this year’s annual Day of the Dead trip to Oaxaca, Mexico!  Join us from October 28th to November 5th, 2023 to experience one of the most renown Day of the Dead celebrations in the Americas.

Curious about what you might experience?  Here are some thoughts from a past participant, Catherine Suarez, a Spanish Instructor at Las Positas College in California who traveled with Global Exchange to Oaxaca. 

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Our trip with Global Exchange to Oaxaca, Mexico was more than a typical educational opportunity. The participants were able to actively participate in many authentic aspects of everyday Oaxacan life associated with the preparation for the Days of the Dead. In addition, the group experienced social processes and was able to participate in meetings and workshops about sustainability, indigenous people’s human rights and the historical importance of corn in the Valley of Oaxaca.

Our group leader, Juan de Dios Gómez Ramírez, a Doctor of Sociology, provided us with much more than the basic information about the Valley of Oaxaca, its people and their social struggles. The level of information and the way in which it was delivered resembled a college-level course. I purchased a notebook in the Mexico City airport “in case I needed to take a few notes”. By the end of the study/travel program, I had completely filled the notebook with information that I cannot wait to incorporate into my lessons and future presentations.

We met with several authors and also attended a week-long Book Fair in the Zocalo where we were able to take part in workshops, presentations by authors from different states of Mexico, Cuba and South America, and search for rare and difficult-to-find books. For example, I have been researching Afro Caribbean Peoples, including Afro Cubans, Afro Puerto Ricans, Afro Dominicans and Afro Mexicans. I was able to purchase several books about Afro Cubans and Afro Mexicans at the fair. The Book Fair was dedicated to the memories of Mexican author José Agustín and Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez.

At around midnight on November 1st, while we were in the cemetery, one observer commented that he “will never view death the same way again.” I think that he spoke for many of the people in the cemetery that night. If I could edit his quote, I would add that our group will “never think about human rights and the importance of sustainability, especially corn, for the people of the state of Oaxaca the same way again.”