Please join us in sending a note of solidarity and and a promise to work for peace and understanding to the people of Iran.  We will share these with our allies on the ground.

Dear Friends,

We reject Donald Trump’s unfounded and irresponsible decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement. We will do everything we can to reverse this decision.

We believe the nuclear agreement was working, and we want to see more diplomacy and more steps toward building understanding and peace between our two countries.

We support our allies in the EU, Russia and China to keep the agreement in place and will push the UN to sanction the U.S. for pulling out.

We stand in solidarity with all those working for peace.

** add a comment below in the comments section to add a personal message **

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Thousands took to the streets in Honduras, marking the start of a weeklong Nationalstrike opposing the January 27th“swearing-in” of  fraudulently “re-elected” President, Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) and the deadly repression that has followed.

More than 30 people have already been killed during protests against the disputed election. Hundreds of others have been arrested, injured, or tortured. Nevertheless, the Honduran people are resolute in rejecting both these government sanctioned attacks and the fraudulent results of the November 26 elections.

As thousands of Hondurans courageously take to the streets in protest of election fraud and government repression they are asking us to stand in solidarity with their fight for justice and democracy.

Ask your member of Congress to speak out against this crime against democracy and end U.S. aid to the illegitimate regime.

Explain to them the importance of speaking out in the face of this crystal clear example of election fraud — perpetrated against poor people in a country dominated by U.S. business and political interests and that has “hosted” U.S. military bases since the 1980s.

The US could easily influence Honduras to follow democratic norms, but it chooses instead to continue high levels of  military and police aid that strengthen the hand of the Honduran oligarchy.

It is hard to speak the truth about Honduras. There is a shameful bipartisan tradition of supporting repression in Honduras. Just as the Trump State Department is working to undermine international critics of the election (like the Organization of American States) just as the Obama State Department under Hillary Clinton did after the 2009 military coup.

We need to speak out, not just for the Hondurans, but for the sake of our own democracy.

Here is what we have planned:

  1. Join us on Wednesday to contact your Congress member to demand an end to U.S. financing of the illegitimate regime in Honduras. 
  2. Join us on Thursday for a Twitter Storm!
  3. Join us on Friday to take a Selfie in Solidarity!
  4. Join us on Saturday at one of these events around the country!

We are in close contact with our allies on the ground in Honduras. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.

And if you have other ideas or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Health_EnviroChe1The embargo was already decades old in 1989 when Global Exchange took its first delegation of American citizens to Cuba.  As Global Exchange board member Walter Turner recalls, “ I remember being on that delegation and sitting on the top floor of the Hotel Presidente discussing how to begin the process of ending the decades old U.S. blockade against Cuba.”

President Obama signaled the change to come last fall during his state of the union address, saying, “When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new.”  It has been (and continues to be) a far longer journey to end the blockade, normalize relations and secure the right of Americans to travel freely than any of us expected. But 26 years later, with a well-publicized handshake and the Obama Administration’s new stance that Cuba poses no “terrorist threat”, we sit on the edge of this monumental change.

For Cuba, there could be no thawing of relations until it was removed from the American “blacklist,” a constant source of humiliation for the island nation. Throughout the hemisphere, the US has been much criticized for its estrangement from Cuba, and it was hoped by the Obama Administration that an agreement could be reached before he headed to Panama for the Summit of the Americas. Three rounds of talks between the US State Department and Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ended in March leading to Tuesday’s decree by President Obama.

BloqueoWhile Global Exchange —and other groups who have toiled in the trenches seeking justice for Cuban relations — applaud this important first step, we know there is so much more to do.  As Global Exchange co-founder Medea Benjamin pondered, “Hopefully, the ‘Interest Sections’ in both countries will be turned into embassies… But sadly, not much will change until the economic embargo is lifted. The president himself can make further changes by executive authority, but ultimately the lifting of the embargo must be done by Congress.”

As Felicia Gustin, a journalist with extensive experience in Cuba, points out, there is much to be gained by the people in both countries by lifting the embargo—it’s not just about tourism and access to cigars and rum.

Cuba has long led the U.S. in healthcare, access to education, poverty, disaster preparedness, and sustainability. Gustin adds, “It’s going to take pressure on Congress by those who will benefit most from normal relations — that is, the American people themselves — to bring about these changes.”

GX_RT_CUBA_ONLINE_GRAPHIC_rev2Building people-to-people ties is at the heart of Global Exchange’s mission at home and abroad. Global Exchange will continue to pressure for lifting the embargo, emphasize the need to return Guantanamo Bay back to the Cuban people, and push Congressional policy by taking people to Cuba to see what Cuba is truly about.

And now’s your chance to travel with us to Cuba during this historic time of transition.

Travel with Global Exchange to Cuba and see a country rich with tradition and culture, and mark the moment considered the beginning of the Cuban Revolution – the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks lead by Fidel Castro. The Movimiento 26 de Julio became the revolutionary movement which eventually toppled the Batista dictatorship.

Women face obstacles and oppression worldwide. And yet, the struggle continues. Resilient and resolute — women across the globe are working to create meaningful change. On International Women’s Day, we launched a series of blogs through to Mother’s Day highlighting Women’s Voices of Cuba – a series exploring courageous women impacting Cuba. The first blog featured Alicia Jrapko. Today, we launch the second …

Cuba. 1960. Batista has been overthrown, but the tiny island nation is still finding its footing on the global stage. Less than two years after the overthrow of Batista, Cuba announces at the United Nations that it will eliminate illiteracy completely.

It wasn’t going to be easy. In the cities, illiteracy hovered around 11%. Almost half of those living in the countryside could not read. In order to rapidly address the problem, the Castro government commissioned ‘education brigades,’ to bridge the gap between rural and urban education rates.

The backdrop for this massive campaign was one of great hope, but also turmoil. Throughout the post-revolutionary era, terrorism against the Castro government and the Cuban people was prevalent. Bombings, murders, and sabotage were common. For many, the chance to participate in the bold undertaking of this massive literacy campaign was their way to stand up for the values at the heart of the Cuban revolution.

And for many of the young women who participated, it was their chance to break free of strict gender roles and take part in history. In fact, the program stands as one of the most successful literacy campaigns of all time.

By December of 1961, when the program drew to a close, the official literacy rate of Cuba stood at 96% — a dramatic improvement in less than one year’s time. The world was shown that eliminating educational inequality was not only possible, but possible with only the most meager of resources. Immediately following the campaigns, Cubans went on to directly assist in literacy efforts in 15 different countries. “Yo Si Puedo,” a Cuban literacy method, is still used around the world today.

Maestra, a documentary released in 2012, tells the story of the courageous women who defied the world’s expectations by virtually eliminating illiteracy in Cuba. Catherine Murphy, the film’s director, met a number of amazing Cuban women through her work in Cuba in the 1990s. It just so happened that many had been literacy teachers in 1961. From these first encounters, the seed of an idea was born.

“They all talked about it in a magical, electric way. They talked about it as defining moment in their lives. They said it was the most important thing they had done — and they had done amazing, impressive things,” said Murphy.

Catherine began work on a short film. She was motivated by her desire to share a Cuban achievement that ran counter to the mainstream narrative. And she was motivated to tell a story about women. It’s true, men participated in the the program, too. But Murphy chose to focus on the women for a very compelling reason.

“UNESCO estimates there are 800 million illiterate adults around the world, and two thirds of  those people are women. Literacy in its very fundamental way is a women’s issue,” said Murphy.

The touching, personal stories of Maestra transform the abstract numbers and figures of illiteracy to the sweat, pain, and triumph of the actual people who made this campaign possible: Daysi Veitia, who went on to become an architect after the campaign. Gina Rey, who became a leading urban planner after the campaign. And Norma Guillard, now a race/gender justice & LGBT activist in Cuba.

“When they talk about it — it’s so moving. Talk about it like it just happened — like it was yesterday. Remember dates, names, places, this level of detail that is really striking. It was the first time I felt free, first time I felt strong, first time I felt capable. First time I felt like I could stand on my own two feet,” said Murphy.

Maestra has resonated with audiences since its premiere at the Havana Film Festival in 2012. It’s a story that Catherine Murphy works tirelessly to share with as many people as possible. For an independent documentary, getting the film made is only half the battle. Getting people to see it can be just as difficult.

Catherine’s been doing everything she can to make sure Maestra is seen — even if that means she might get a bit of jet lag from time to time.  A screening in Jakarta. A showing in Santiago, Chile. Stanford, California. Toronto. These are stories that must be told.

A story of breaking through gender roles. A story of the imperialism of U.S. policy towards Cuba. And a story about inequality.

“We’re contending against this narrative that says we can’t take care of everyone. I’m not going to pay for your healthcare, your public school. Shows that you can take care of everyone. It’s possible, even for a poor country.”

A story both timely, and timeless.