Seattle CISPES en la lucha!
For Seattle CISPES, 2005-2006 was a year of transition. The year started with the end of the battle against the ratification of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), as the U.S. Congress approved the deal in early July, 2005. However, the grassroots political organizing of CISPES and other groups in the Seattle area helped make the vote on CAFTA the closest on any trade agreement in U.S. history. Six of Washington state’s nine Representatives voted against the agreement.
In October, 2005, as Seattle CISPES moved out of its anti-CAFTA organizing mode, new staff member Cameron Herrington took over the role of committee coordinator from Dave Tatro, who had ably filled that role for the previous eight years. Under new leadership, the committee used events throughout the year to build momentum and draw in new activists. Seattle CISPES hosted Salvadoran union leader Wilfredo Berrios in November as part of his nationwide speaking tour, celebrated the committee’s 25th anniversary with a party in December, sent three delegates to observe El Salvador’s elections in March and welcomed 100 guests to a fundraiser and salsa dance in June. Amidst these events, the committee initiated its ongoing program of monthly Political Discussion Nights, which bring together activists for an informal dinner and discussion about an current issue in Latin American politics. Seattle CISPES also intensified its work with students and youth, as committee members made presentations at high schools and colleges and students became involved in the committee.
At the end of 2005-2006, Seattle CISPES found itself working closely with Seattle’s strong immigrant rights’ movement. The committee’s current campaign, an outgrowth of relationships forged with local immigrant rights’ organizations, is aimed at exposing the role of United States foreign and trade policy in creating conditions in Latin America that force millions to immigrate to the U.S.