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Dear NFWM Board members

 

Below is an action alert from FLOC regarding the recent murder of Santiago Rafael Cruz.  Please act on this alert yourself. 

 

We also ask that you try to get the national executive from your denomination/community to send a letter and that you forward this alert to any others who may be willing to act.

 

Thank you.  Susan Alan

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NFWM Action Alert:

NFWM urges supporters of farm workers to respond to FLOC's updated request below for action to ensure a prompt and throrough investigation of the murder of Santiago Rafael Cruz, one of their staff members in Monterrey, Mexico. FLOC is seeking letters to the Governor of Nuevo Leon, the state where Santiago was killed, with copies to the Attorney General of Nuevo Leon and to the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico as well.

On April 9, Santiago was found tied up and beaten to death in the FLOC office. Testimony by witnesses who found the body indicate that Santiago was tortured by more than one individual in the early hours of the morning and that the office showed no sign of forced entry or robbery.

Regular updates on the investigation will be available at www.floc.com

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JUSTICE FOR SANTIAGO RAFAEL CRUZ


Santiago Rafael Cruz was a FLOC staff field organizer, working on a number of FLOC efforts and campaigns in Ohio and North Carolina.  In February, Santiago joined the FLOC office in Monterrey México.  His job involved helping H2A "guest workers" going to work in the fields of North Carolina  and other locations, investigating and helping resolve grievances concerning abuses in the recruiting systems and employment conditions, and managing the office administration.  He was staying in an upstairs room of the office while looking for permanent housing.

On April 9, Santiago was found tied up and beaten to death in the FLOC office.  Testimony by witnesses who found the body indicate that Santiago was tortured by more than one individual in the early hours of the morning and that the office showed no sign of forced entry or robbery.

FLOC leaders and staff who have worked with Santiago know him as a cheerful person concerned with the human and working rights of immigrants.  We are all shocked and devastated by his brutal murder.  FLOC President Baldemar Velásquez says "We will not forget Santiago".  Like all FLOC struggles, we will not let this go until justice has been won.

Santiago's murder will not intimidate FLOC into abandoning its operations in Mexico.  Rather, FLOC will reinforce the security of its Monterrey office, and will continue the struggle for justice and human rights protections for all farmworkers.  Santiago's years of service defending the rights of fellow Mexicans who work the fields in the United States and Mexico will not be forgotten or in vain.

We have received thousands of calls and messages expressing shock and sympathy over Santiago's murder.  We thank everyone for your support and efforts on behalf of Santiago and FLOC.  This is a hard time for us, and knowing many friends stank with us in solidarity provides some comfort.

For more information on Santiago's murder, see the FLOC website at http://www.floc.com.

ACTION

FLOC and our allies in Mexico have offered to cooperate in the investigation of Santiago's brutal murder.  In Mexico, criminal investigators sometimes presume relatively simple solutions to potentially complicated cases, especially those involving defenders of human and worker rights.  We are asking Mexican authorities to conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation.  To ensure a complete review of this case, we have also asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to fully investigate Santiago's case.

FLOC asks our supporters to contact the Nuevo Leon Governor and Attorney General to demand:
* A formal, timely, honest, and thorough criminal investigation.
* A just prosecution and punishment for the murderers.
* Official measures to ensure that FLOC members and human and worker rights defenders
     are not subjected to political and economically motivated threats.
* Restitution for Santiago's family.

Below is a draft letter Gov. González.  Please modify it to reflect your organizational and individual concerns, and FAX, email, or mail it to:
    José Natividad González Parás
    Gobernador de Nuevo León
    Zaragoza y 5 de Mayo, Colonia Centro
    Monterrey, N.L.
    México 64000
    Telephone from the U.S.: (011-52) (81) 2020-1226 or 2020-1509
    Fax from the U.S.: (011-52) (81) 2020-1087 or 2020-1085
    Email: gobernador@nl.gob.mx

With a copy to state Prosecutor Trevino:
    Attorney General Luis Carlos Treviño Berchelmann
    Procurador de Justicia de Nuevo León
    Ocampo 470 Poniente, Colonia Centro
    Monterrey, N.L.
    México 64000
    Telephone from the U.S.:  (011-52) (81) 2020-3333 and 2020-3317
    Fax from the U.S.:  (011) (52) (81) 2020-4094, 2020-4038 or 2020-4088
    Email:  ltrevino@nl.gob.mx

And a copy to the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico:
Ambassador Antonio Garza, Jr.
U.S. Embassy
Paseo de la Reforma 305
Colonia Cuahtemoc
Mexico, D.F. 06500
Telephone from the U.S.: (011-52)(55) 5080-2000
Fax from the U.S.: (011-52)(55) 5525-5040
Email: ccs@usembassy.net.mx

Also, please send a copy to FLOC and to our allies in Mexico, so we can follow up on Santiago's case:
    lzavala@floc.com in N.C.office and to mhale@floc.com in the Ohio office
    AFL-CIO Solidarity Center


SAMPLE LETTER

[date]

José Natividad González Parás
Gobernador de Nuevo León
Zaragoza y 5 de Mayo, Centro
Monterrey, N.L.
México 64000

Dear Governor González Parás:

I am writing to inform the State of Nuevo Leon government that I am outraged by the brutal murder of migrant farmworker union organizer Santiago Rafael Cruz in Monterrey on April 9.  Santiago was a human and labor rights defender who worked hard to ensure better working conditions for Mexicans working as H2-A guest workers in the fields of North Carolina. Santiago's union, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC, AFL-CIO), won a historic collective agreement in 2004 with the North Carolina Growers Association to represent nearly 7,000 Mexican farmworkers who harvest tobacco, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and Christmas trees.

In 2005 FLOC established an office in Monterrey to represent the contractual rights of its members as they travel from their home states through Monterrey en route to North Carolina. As you know, the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey hands out the majority of H2-A visas, and FLOC's office plays an important role ensuring workers are protected from illegitimate labor contractors in small towns of Mexico. FLOC's agreement cleaned up and systematized the recruitment of these workers in Mexico, jeopardizing the sometimes corrupt interests of fly-by-night labor recruiters in rural areas of Mexico who previously overcharged workers by hundreds of dollars to find them jobs in the U.S. Since FLOC established its office in Monterrey in 2005, it has been the victim of attacks in the media, deportation threats, several robberies, and violent intimidation.

I respectfully request that your government ensure the following steps:

* A formal, timely, honest and thorough criminal investigation (averigüación previa)
* A just prosecution and punishment for the perpetrators of this crime
* Measures to ensure that FLOC and human and labor rights defenders are not
    subject to political and economically-motivated intimidation
* Restitution for Santiago's family

I look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

 


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