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Yuma, Arizona - November 30

CITA Unveiling & Open House - Day 1

Mexico Program Director, Griselda Vega arrived in Yuma, AZ to join our Jornaleros-SAFE partners in celebrating CITA’s expansion. A surprise dinner was held in honor of Chuck Barrett, advocate and consultant to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and advisor to the Jornaleros-SAFE project.

San Miguel, El Salvador - November 15

On her second visit to El Salvador, Cathleen travelled to San Miguel, the major city in the eastern part of the country and a large migrant sending state. The synergy with the local groups was great. The local Catholic Charities office has been coordinating with the University Gerado Barrios to handle labor rights cases for workers from El Salvador.

Choluteca, Honduras - November 14

On her second trip to Honduras, Cathleen travelled to the southern pacific coast, the heart of agricultural production. This zone is home to vast plantations, many foreign-owned, of melons, okra, sugar cane, and shrimp farms. Many of these farms pay below the minimum wage and it seems that there is little that can be done to make them comply with the most basic labor laws. It is no coincidence that many Hondurans from this area choose to migrate.

Mexico City, Mexico - November 13

Centro Prodh – Jornaleros SAFE Launch

Today marked the official launch of the 2 ½ year Jornaleros-SAFE project in which Global Workers, along with its 3 partners – Centro Independiente de Trabajadores Agricolas (CITA), the Dimensión Pastoral de La Movilidad Humana (DPMH), and the United Farm Workers (UFW) – documented the recruitment abuses faced by Mexican workers as they go or attempt to go work in the United States under the H-2A temporary work visa. The day kicked off with the presentation of the report followed by the international press conference, all of which was streamed live online.

Mexico City, Mexico - November 12

Strategy Session - Article 28 of the Federal Labor Law of Mexico

As follow-up to the publication of our Article 28 report, Mexico Program Director Griselda Vega held a group strategy session in Mexico City. The focus of the meeting was to bring together leaders in the migration and labor worlds to discuss: Article 28 of the Federal Labor Law of Mexico, which is intended to protect Mexican nationals as they travel abroad to work; the changes proposed under the new Labor Reform in Mexico; and figure out collaborative strategies to challenge the Mexican government to enforce this 40+ year old legal provision.

Guatemala, Guatemala - November 8

Canadian Embassy Meeting

On Cathleen’s last day in Guatemala City she met with a representative of the Canadian embassy. Working with the Canadian embassy to improve their temporary foreign worker program has been a continuous struggle. They seem to intentionally distance themselves from the program so they can in no way be responsible for any violations. Even asking for basic data on the numbers of workers from the region seemed to be considered information that could not be shared. They have created walls around the program that virtually guarantees abuses will only flourish.

Guatemala, Guatemala - November 8

Defender Network meeting

Capitalizing on the presence of the Defenders for the Canadian training, we held a mid-year meeting to follow-up on the planning from the April 2012 forum. Various Defenders reported on meetings they had attended as representatives of the Defender Network, including one on regional strategic litigation, and the UN process on women Cairo+20. Others talked about cases. We also discussed projects in development, such as a needs assessment on the Mexico and Guatemala border about Guatemala farmworkers in Mexico. We agreed that the Defender Network would participate in the “Grupo Articulador”, a group of advocates pushing the Guatemalan government to form a more coherent migration policy.

Guatemala, Guatemala - November 7

Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Training

Guatemala, Guatemala - November 6

Meeting with Ministry of Labor

Accompanied by Miriam Ramirez of Defender G&C Consultores, Cathleen met with the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor. Three temporary foreign worker programs recruit Guatemalans: Canada, USA, and Mexico. While the Mexico program is perhaps the most regulated on paper - there is an agreement between governments - it seems that the highest number of abuses occur in this program. The Canada program has good protections but the discriminatory hiring practices are rampant and the Canadian government distances itself to an alarming degree of the problems in the sending countries. The USA program is the most clandestine of all, many governments in the region do not even realize that the USA recruits at all, when the program has been operating for more than twenty years.

Guatemala, Guatemala - November 5

Executive Director, Cathleen Caron, arrived in Guatemala City for the week primarily for two events: training on the Canadian foreign temporary work program and a mid-year meeting of the Guatemala Defender Network.

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