Israel’s collective punishment of the 2.3 million people of Gaza – half of whom are children – who are unable to escape the violence and who are starving as supplies of food and water run out must stop now. 

Global Exchange joined millions around the world to urge restraint. You, our members, signed thousands of appeals to President Biden and our U.S. Representatives, pleading with them to use wisdom with their immense power and influence to stay the hand of Israeli vengeance and to keep the road of reconciliation open.

They did not listen but we must insist:  All life is sacred and civilians deserve protection. To get to peace we eventually have to end Israeli occupation, reverse their settlement policies and establish security for everyone, but at this critical moment we call for:

Immediate ceasefire!

To bring you a fresh and in depth perspective from the conflict zone, Global Exchange is working closely with our longtime partner, Ernesto Ledesma of Rompeviento.TV who has started reporting from the occupied West Bank. This reporting is costly and risky, but we do it in the spirit of reaching out and building “people-to-people ties” and human solidarity even in the most dangerous and stressful times.  

Learn more and take action here. 

Right now, the family of Ricardo Lagunes Gasca and representatives of Antonio Díaz Valencia are in Washington DC, meeting with policy makers and the international diplomatic community to push for answers and to demand accountability.

Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, a human rights and Indigenous territories lawyer, and Professor Antonio Díaz Valencia, the leader of the Nahua Indigenous community of San Miguel de Aquila, Michoacán, Mexico, were victims of enforced disappearance on January 15, 2023 for successfully defending Indigenous rights in courts.

They violently disappeared after participating in a community assembly discussing the next steps after winning the case. There are allegations that both received threats from Ternium, the company operating the Aquila mine – a company that has received scrutiny for its blatant disregard of Indigenous rights in the region.

Unfortunately, the plight of Ricardo and Antonio is far from unusual in the region. Between 2002 and 2023, 96 environmental defenders and 62 Indigenous Rights activists have disappeared.

Since their disappearance, Ricardo’s relatives have been demanding a full investigation from the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances and Inter-American Commission.

Ana Lucía and Antoine Lagunes Gasca, Ricardo’s siblings, are visiting Washington D.C. this week, from November 8 to 11, for a meeting with the U.S. State Department’s Task Force of Environmental defenders, a private hearing with the Inter-American Commission, the Office of the High Commissioner and the Mexican Government, and with several allies.

They are seeking support from the international community and international organizations to advocate for the return of both defenders and achieve international technical assistance in the search and investigation in order to seek their humanitarian recovery, find the truth and seek justice in the case.

Watch a video (in Spanish) featuring the families of Ricardo and Antonio below:

One of the key demands of the People’s Movement for Peace and Justice is accountability and justice for the disappeared. Further, Global Exchange has been an ally of human right defenders in Mexico for over 30 years. Our Mexico Human Rights Senior Fellow, Alberto Solis, was contacted by the families and the lawyers of Ricardo and Antonio to support them in their visit to DC. We will be with them to make sure the US State Department follows up on their commitments with the case and the victims. The People’s Movement for Peace and Justice stands with these families, and with all the families of the disappeared.

Will you stand with us, and sign our petition calling for justice for the disappeared, as well as a set of demands to bring peace and accountability to the region?

The spiraling escalation of inhumane violence in Gaza over the last week is heartbreaking and unacceptable. Further bloodshed and the suffering of innocents cannot and will not resolve anything.


Today’s attack on the Anglican hospital that killed more than 500 people is just the next exhibit of untold horrors that awaits us on a path of total rage and revenge unleashed.

That is why we are calling on President Biden to use his trip to Jordan and Israel to insist on an immediate cease fire and the swift delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza before more lives are lost.  Please help us send this message:

Dear President Biden,

As the largest provider of military aid to Israel the United States must use all its influence to call for restraint: An immediate ceasefire that allows for urgent humanitarian relief for Gaza as well as the safety and immediate release of hostages.

Wise leadership can turn this moment of extreme peril into an opportunity for peace.

Please President Biden, take the risks of true leadership for peace. Speak up for all the children of the region and their dreams to one day live in peace and freedom from fear.

It is not too late.


Message from our friends at the Haiti Action Committee:

Haiti Action Committee condemns in the strongest possible terms the UN Security Council vote on Monday to authorize yet another invasion of Haiti. Organized and promoted by the US, the invasion will be fronted by Kenya, which has pledged to send 1000 police. The Kenyan police force is notorious for its corruption and brutality, including the recent killing of over 30 people in a peaceful demonstration over increased fuel prices. Soon, this police force – along with other foreign troops – will be murdering Haitians.

The authorization comes despite overwhelming opposition from multiple sectors of Haitian society, who have demanded instead the removal of the current regime of unelected and illegitimate Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the installation of a broadly representative transitional government. While the US characterizes this new intervention as an attempt to stop “gang violence,” the real aim is to prop up the current dictatorship and to fend off the broad-based efforts within Haiti to oust it.

This is why Henry, the neoliberal puppet of the US and the Core Group of foreign occupiers, has called for foreign troops and why Kenyan soldiers are preparing an invasion. Faced with collapsing infrastructure, the spectre of famine looming over half the population, a new cholera outbreak, and a defunded health care system, Haitians now fear that the militarized national police and their armed proxies, the paramilitary “gangs” who have been terrorizing dissident communities, will be buttressed by more foreign tanks and troops, to further oppress the civilian population.

We remember the democratically elected governments of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas movement that were twice overthrown by US-supported coups d’etat. Had it not been for the coups, “Today, many of the beautiful dreams of the Haitian people would have already materialized,” a recent Fanmi Lavalas statement declared. “The anti-democratic forces have produced a hell on earth: kidnapping, insecurity, misery, hunger, corruption”—a failure that now requires a new occupying army to sustain it.


ON 1/5/23 AT 8:30 AM EST

Originally published in Newsweek

Last summer 53 migrants died locked inside an insulated semi-truck just beyond the U.S.-Mexico border. They experienced death from heat stroke, which starts with muscle cramping, heart-pounding, terrible headaches and dizziness before delirium and convulsions set in. This may have been the deadliest human smuggling case in U.S. history, but sadly, these horrific border incidents are happening more often. President Joe Biden blamed this particular case on the “multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry”. But the real question is: Why would innocent families be willing to risk their lives and those of their children in the first place?

I hope that addressing the underlying causes of immigration—including gun violence and climate change—will be discussed by President Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they meet at the “Tres Amigos” Summit in Mexico City Jan. 9-10. With the recent spike of migrants arriving at the border and North America being one of the deadliest regions in the world for migrants, this issue can no longer be ignored.

Last year set a record number of deaths at the Mexico-U.S. border—a number that is severely underreported due to the sheer size and remoteness of the roughly 2,000-mile border territory. The decomposition and scattering of human remains by wildlife in the desert further obscures the true death toll. What we do know is that U.S.-Mexico border policies are only forcing migrants to take increasingly dangerous routes.

For nearly three decades, politicians have been responding to the immigration crisis by ramping up border security with militarized policing and criminalizing migrants. But for families forced to leave their homes to survive, not even this is a deterrent. We need more compassionate policies that support migrants with pathways to claim asylum and move across the region with human rights; but, until we address some of the underlying issues of why people are leaving their homes in the first place, such as gun violence and climate change, we will never solve this crisis.

The illegal flow of guns across borders mostly lands in the hands of Mexican paramilitary, corrupt police, and cartels. Roughly 70 percent of the firearms involved in homicides in Mexico can be traced back to the U.S. It is far too common a story that civil society and independent voices—everyday workers and students—are violently attacked, killed, or disappear when protesting the government or in the way of cartels. I can’t help but think of the Ayotzinapa case in which 43 college students disappeared and to this day remains unsolved. The armed violence is reason enough for families to consider crossing the border.

The problem is so prolific, the Mexican government filed a $10 billion lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors in 2021 for damages caused by illegal gun trafficking. U.S. federal courts dismissed the lawsuit last year, thanks to America’s all but untouchable gun lobby. The immunity that American gun manufacturers have is offensive and needs to end.

We urge North American leaders to take concrete measures to end U.S. gun exports and trafficking to Mexico, including banning assault weapons across the region, increasing restrictions for sales and canceling transfers to corrupt police and military units. This would be a meaningful start to helping families feel safe at home.

Another issue driving forced migration across North America is climate change. From Guatemala to the Artic Circle, the increasing frequency and severity of forest fires, droughts, storms, and floods are displacing entire communities, threatening livelihoods and traditional ways of life. People of color, low-income communities, women, and Indigenous Peoples are impacted most severely.

A migrant helps two Venezuelan children
A migrant helps two Venezuelan children cross the Rio Grande river from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, in search of political asylum on Dec. 27, 2022.HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

In Canada, increasingly intense wildfires and changing water levels are disproportionally affecting First Nation indigenous communities. Traditional food sources are threatened, impacting livelihoods, cultural identities and means of survival. In northern Mexico, drought continues to dry up water sources, reduce crop yields, and put rural farmers out of work. Without water, food or a way to make a living, the only choice is to seek better conditions elsewhere.

To mitigate the impacts of climate change, there must be a regional plan to dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions, help communities prepare and mitigate climate-related disasters, and create a new green economy to generate jobs while protecting the environment. And we must show deference to the practices of Indigenous Peoples, who have proven to be the best protectors of the environment, and allow these communities to maintain control of their ancestral territories so that they can stay safe and thrive in their own homes.

Biden, ALMO, and Trudeau will soon have an opportunity to broaden their agendas to include the underlying factors of immigration. I’ve joined the leaders of dozens of organizations in signing a letter addressed to the three leaders, urging action on guns, climate, and immigration, including all of the ways these issues intersect and compound each other.

Many of the signatories will be gathering for a Peace Summit in Mexico City next month to mobilize a multinational political action agenda in the lead-up to the 2024 elections in both the U.S. and Mexico. There, we hope to discuss the solutions put forward by the “Tres Amigos.”

Marco Castillo is the co-executive director of Global Exchange, a nonprofit promoting human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice around the world. He is spearheading the alliance of more than 100 grassroots organizations in the lead-up to a Peace Summit in Mexico City on Feb. 23-24, 2023.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

We are devastated by the news that 54 migrants lost their lives and more than 105 were seriously injured last night when the trailer in which they were traveling overturned in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. This tragedy is a direct consequence of the anti-immigrant policies – put in place by Trump and continued by Biden – that put already at-risk populations (families and individuals fleeing violence, persecution, and poverty) at even greater risk.

The Biden administration has failed in its promise to reverse the worst of Trump’s draconian, anti-immigration policies – not only by continuing, but also expanding Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico Program to deny entry and due process to those seeking safety and refuge in the United States. 

We know these policies violate the human rights of migrants and refugees and put these already vulnerable populations at grave risk of further persecution and violence. 

Governments must end these deadly policies and focus their efforts on protecting the life and rights of everyone, but particularly of vulnerable populations that seek refuge from violence and poverty.

Global Exchange is continuing our work to advocate for an end to Title 42, the Remain in Mexico Program and all “Safe Third Country” agreements. (Watch my recent interview with Marc Lamont Hill on UpFront.)

But today, right now, we are asking you to help us protect those who face the gravest risks as these policies continue. Please make a gift to our Migrant and Refugee Relief Fund; 100% of the funds raised will go to frontline shelters and legal aid organizations across Mexico working to protect and support migrants and refugees.

We have been able to send critical support to shelters that provide humanitarian assistance to the migrant population in Mexico. With your contribution, we can continue to support these vulnerable populations who face increasing hardships and dangers that threaten their lives.

Thank you for supporting the Migrant and Refugee Relief Fund.

Never another night like last night.