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Choluteca, Honduras - Februrary 26

New Defender Training in Central America – Day Three

The final day explored in detail the goals, commitments, and activities of the Global Workers Defender Network. The framework we launched in 2008 has matured and evolved as we have expanded the Network to more regions.

Choluteca, Honduras - Februrary 25

New Defender Training in Central America – Day Two

Day Two of the training ambitiously covered numerous topics including: wage and hour laws (i.e. basic minimum wage issues), workplace health and safety, unions, farmworkers, and human trafficking. The day also included a first for us, one virtual session led by an immigration lawyer in Seattle via GoToWebinar. Each session included exercises to help the participants understand and apply the law, including: a True and False foot race on comparative legal systems, a game of Jeopardy to identify safety violations in the workplace, and a version of Balderdash to discern false answers on the H-2 visa. The fun activities kept the participants actively engaged.

Choluteca, Honduras - Februrary 24

New Defender Training in Central America – Day One

35 human rights advocates from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the United States gathered in Choluteca, Honduras, a small town in the farm belt of southern Honduras, for the first day of the Fourth Global Workers Defender Network Training. Some participants travelled more than eleven hours to make it to the event.

San Salvador, El Salvador - January 29

A final meeting with an international organization caused Cathleen to reflect on the method of our approach.  Each country has a small core group of organizations that work on migration issues—usually a mix of policy, research, and social services.  What she saw unique about our work was that we were bringing to the table experts on the substantive area of law—labor.  Apparently, issues related to migration are relegated to the small group of migration advocates regardless of the underlying issue.

San Salvador, El Salvador - January 28

The last leg of Cathleen Caron’s trip was to El Salvador.  She had follow-up meetings with some groups to confirm their participation in the New Defender Training scheduled for the end of February and made some new contacts as well.
 

San Pedro Sula, Honduras - January 25

Sister Valdette, a Brazilian nun of the Scalibrini order, invited Cathleen to the Center for Returned Migrants, an office she runs in the airports.  The sister has achieved such prominence in Honduras for serving deported—“returned” as she more appropriately calls them—migrants that she has changed the national dialogue on the issue and now regular receives national awards for her work.  

San Pedro Sula, Honduras - January 24

In 2012, San Pedro Sula gained the unwelcome infamy of having the highest murder rate in the world outside of a war zone.  The U.S. Peace Corps, as well as many other international organizations, have pulled out due to the violence.  Although Global Workers travels to many places under US State Department travel advisories, this was the most challenging and the place to enact the security precautions we have developed.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras - January 23

An organization Cathleen was interested in meeting, ERIC, a Jesuit organization that addresses various human rights issues, one of them being migration, invited her to attend the launch of their report, Third Public Opinion Survey of Honduras.  The press conference was packed and there were headlines for the rest of the week.  The survey painted a dismal picture of Honduras today—a country on the brink of political collapse.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras - January 22

Today Cathleen met with the Canadian embassy to discuss the temporary foreign worker program to Canada.  There are two known recruiters to Canada and purportedly a third.  We have received various reports of worker abuse both in Canada and Honduras.  Cathleen reached out to the embassy to see how they handled complaints from workers and efforts to combat the chronic fraud around these programs (people “sell” visas to unsuspecting and hopeful migrants).  The embassy has structured itself to do very little to make the program transparent and abuse free.

Yuma, Arizona - December 1

CITA Unveiling & Open House - Day 2

It was 2:30 a.m. on this brisk morning in Yuma as about 15 invitees gathered in the hotel lobby to head into San Luis, AZ’s Friendship Park for the 18th Annual Dia del Campesino (Farmworker Appreciation Day). This annual event allows health and information service providers as well as the local community not only to share a variety of services and information to the almost 4,000 farmworkers and their family members who gather at the park, but also to celebrate the hard work and contributions of these farmworkers.

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