Welcome to The INTERCONNECT Website
- A body of information: the newsletters themselves
- A key component in building the Latin America solidarity movement. Our readership represents over 1850 groups in all 50 states, working with the people of Latin America;
- An initiator and the inviter to four national conferences on US-Latin America relations and strategies for improvement;
- An important part of the LASC Coordinating Committee;
- A non-profit corporation (Grassroots Interconnect, Inc.) that can accept tax-free donations.
- An e-mail listserv with action alerts;
- A blog – probing deeply into the analysis of US policy toward this Hemisphere, US militarization of the Hemisphere, the effects of corporate globalization and free trade on this region.
New Paper Finds IMF Lending Still Requires Harmful and Inappropriate Economic Conditions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released a new paper today that finds that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still prescribing inappropriate policies that could unnecessarily worsen economic downturns in a number of countries. The paper, “Empowering the IMF: Should Reform be a Requirement for Increasing the Fund’s Resources?” examines conditions tied to the IMF’s new lending to El Salvador, Pakistan, Ukraine and other countries and finds the IMF is requiring macroeconomic conditions that can unnecessarily exacerbate the effects of the global economic recession on these countries.
FREE HAITI’S POLITICAL PRISONERS!
RESTORE DEMOCRACY TO HAITI!
In Haiti today, hundreds of political prisoners are jailed under the most inhumane conditions. Arrested during or after the U.S.-orchestrated 2004 coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, most of these prisoners have never been charged or tried. The United Nations occupying forces, charged with enforcing “law and order,” has been a full participant in these illegal detentions, as has the Haitian government of President Rene Preval.
In Rochester, NY, by the 1980’s there were six groups working in solidarity with the people of Central America and the Caribbean.
With escalation of the US-backed wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with the clear threat of a US invasion of both countries, the six groups came together in the Rochester Central American Caucus. The Caucus developed the local chapter of the National Pledge of Resistance, aimed at warding off a US invasion of Nicaragua. This was a time when the US mercenary army, the Contras, was losing.
In 1992 Peter and Gail Mott raised funds to bring together 30 Central America organizers from across the US in the Central America Solidarity Roundtable. They met for three days in the Adirondacks. The conference announced these efforts to be a movement, decided to work to build this movement and to change the focus from Central America to all of Latin America. The Roundtable also called for a national newsletter. The Motts began that newsletter as INTERCONNECT in 1995 and have co-edited it for 13 years.
In 1998 INTERCONNECT issued a call for the Emergency Strategy Planning Caucus on the War in Chiapas in Washington. Over 200 activists attended. The Caucus created the Mexico Solidarity Network.
In 2000 several of us created the LASC – Latin America Solidarity Coalition (see below).
The Latin America Solidarity Coalition was created from the planning committees for the first three national LASC conferences.
The LASC Coordinating Committee meets regularly by conference call, planning the future work of LASC, future conferences, national statements and actions, and supervising the working groups.
The LASC working groups are formed as needed to solve public policy problems. New members are recruited by each of the following four working groups:
- National Endowment for Democracy
- On the crisis in Venezuela, including the role of the AFL/CIO’s Solidarity Center in the attempted coup of 2002
- On the crisis in Haiti. (This working group began the planning of the Haiti Tribunal)
- US militarization in Latin America
LASC principles and priorities are summarized on the LASC website, as are the guidelines for a solidarity group to join the LASC and to have a representative on the Coordinating Committee.
The first Latin America Solidarity Conference (LASC) (planned by a group of activists from around the country) was held in 2000. Over 600 people came to Washington, D.C. to participate. An equal number had to be turned away for lack of space. This was an educational session with many speakers from Latin America, workshops planning shared strategies, and planning sessions developing an overarching analysis of US policy and hemispheric needs.
The second LASC was held a year later in Chicago. Over 200 participants worked for two days reviewing the pre-conference work of eleven task forces – each based on a hemisphere-wide issue (trade, globalization, militarization, indigenous and women’s issues, environment, etc). Workshops developed these proposals and plenary sessions adopted priorities, strategies, principles, and demands for the movement.
Four hundred attended the third LASC in 2002 in Washington, D.C. This conference was educational, with many speakers from the region. It also included a mass action for the boycott of Taco Bell – with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
LASC4 was held in April 2007 in Chicago. Over 300 people attended what became our most successful conference, combining speakers, strategies and organizing (see the July 2007 issue of INTERCONNECT on this website). A mass demonstration on the boycott of McDonalds’ had been planned; but a few days before the conference McDonalds agreed to all the conditions, so we held a celebration instead.