Pinochet Precedent news

26 January 2007
32nd annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights award 2008 This year's program will mark the 32nd anniversary of the September 21, 1976 car bombing that killed Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Until 9/11, it was the most infamous act of international terrorism ever to take place in our nation's capital. Letelier and Moffitt were colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies, where Letelier had become one of the most outspoken critics of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Moffitt was a 25-year-old fundraiser who ran a "Music Carryout" that made musical instruments accessible to all. A massive FBI investigation traced the crime to the highest levels of Pinochet's regime. The Institute for Policy Studies has continued to host the annual human rights award in the names of Letelier and Moffitt to honor these fallen colleagues while celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas. You are also invited to stay and watch the Presidential Debate with us at the Press Club, beginning at 9 pm. Wednesday, October 15, 2008 National Press Club Ballroom 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC Award Recipients Indian Workers Congress Presenter: Barbara Ehrenreich The Indian Workers Congress has taken a courageous stand against what is essentially modern-day slavery. Their ordeal began when they were among several hundred Indians recruited in 2006 for post-Katrina reconstruction work. The recruiters, hired by Signal Corporation, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, promised the men green cards if they each paid $15,000-$20,000. Instead, after arriving in the Gulf Coast, they were given 10-month guest worker visas and placed in isolated labor camps. In March 2008, more than 100 walked off the job and formed the Indian Workers Congress. With the support of U.S. allies, they embarked on a "satyagraha," a Gandhian tradition of traveling by foot in the pursuit of truth and justice. Their journey took them from New Orleans to Washington, DC, where they testified before Congress and endured a 29-day hunger strike, demanding that Signal and the recruiters be prosecuted for human trafficking. A Justice Department investigation is ongoing. Read More: Indian Workers Congress Francisco Soberon and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) Presenter: Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) APRODEH has been the driving force behind the current trial of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for alleged crimes against humanity during his 1990-2000 reign. This trial marks the first time a former head of state has been extradited to his own country to face justice for human rights violations. APRODEH supplied the attorney who is representing victims' families in this case and is responsible for recent convictions of death squad leaders. In her book Speak Truth to Power, Kerry Kennedy highlighted the APRODEH founder, stating that "In the violent, vicious military and political battle that has divided his country, Soberón has been viewed with suspicion and fear by both sides. Throughout the last arduous twenty years, Soberón has never failed to report abuse, even though doing so has endangered his life." Indeed he continues to face threats from all sides. In May 2008, leading international human rights groups came to Soberón's defense when current government officials made unfounded accusations against him. Read More: Francisco Soberon and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) Read More about The Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards and previous awardees at Selection Committee * Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies * Fred Azcarate, AFL-CIO * Marie Dennis, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns * Joe Eldridge, Chaplain, American University * Jill Gay, Activist * Adam Isacson, Center for International Policy * Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive * Isabel Morel de Letelier * E. Ethelbert Miller, Howard University * Joy Olson, Washington Office on Latin America * Barbara Shailor, AFL-CIO * Daphne Wysham, Institute for Policy Studies Read more>>