INS tries to exclude "Militant" editor
walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 13 18:47:02 MST 2002
Activists in solidarity with Cuba should take
the time to read the following material and
respond to its important appeal for support.
While Washington is working actively to oust
the democratically-elected government of
Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, one of its many
spurious claims is that it is defending the
"freedom of the press" in Venezuela today.
The only such freedom which Washington
really respects is the freedom of the capitalist
media there to try to organize the overthrow of
Chavez' popular nationalist administration via
lies, distortions and working overtime to try to
sow panic among the population.
Yet while engaged in this utterly reactionary
campaign, Washington arrests and threatens
with deportation a working journalist from
The Militant and Perspective Mundial based,
they say, on an ancient (1988) arrest and
plea bargain he made for selling marijuana
to an undercover cop. The full story is much
more detailed than this, and is laid out here.
I urge you to read this material carefully and
respond quickly to its appeal for support.
For convenience, I've taken all the material
from this weeks issue of Calero's newspaper
and reformatted them into one large six-
page file. Please reprint it, circulate it, and
respond to its appeal. Find the Calero file:
Those who may not share the political stance
of the Socialist Workers Party, The Militant
and Perspective Mundial, yet who support
the Cuban Revolution and simple democratic
rights should, in the spirit of "an injury to one
is an injury to all" reply promptly to the appeal
for support below from The Militant.
US left-wing political groups have not always
given adequate support one another's efforts
to defend each other when they face political
repression by the government. This weakens
the struggle as a whole and gives the powers
that be a few reasons for smug satisfaction.
Roger Calero is lucky to have support from
his wife, former co-workers and an organization
with members experienced in putting together
campaigns of this nature. Let's do what we
can to beat back this anti-democratic attack
and, in doing so defend the political rights of
immigrant workers and everyone else in the
United States of America.
While I'm here in Cuba I'll circulate material
and collect signatures for Calero. I urge all
readers of this message to do likewise.
Walter Lippmann, Lead Moderator
UFCW President, Local 789: 'A travesty of justice'
The following message was sent by Bill Pearson, president of
Local 789 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union in
South St. Paul, Minnesota, to the Immigration and
Naturalization Service in Houston, where Róger Calero is
being detained in an immigration jail, facing exclusion from
the United States. Calero was a member of Local 789 before
beginning his current job as associate editor of Perspectiva
Mundial and a staff writer for the Militant.
My name is Bill Pearson and I am President of UFCW Local
789. We are located in South St. Paul, Minnesota, and have a
membership of 8,000. Our members work in grocery stores,
nursing homes, and packing houses.
I am writing you for a very specific reason. It is my
understanding that you have arrested Róger Calero.
Apparently, there is discussion that he be deported. This
would be a travesty of justice.
I came to know Róger when he was working in a packing plant
in South St. Paul. It was the Dakota Premium plant, and
Róger was an active and committed leader in helping
stabilizing the workers and bring about a labor agreement.
He was bright, articulate, and well read. His co-workers saw
him as a person to turn to for help. So did I.
Making him leave the country would be an injustice. I
implore you, do not deport him. Allow him to stay and Latino
workers will be the better for it.
Please feel free to contact me at 651-451-6240 for a more
personal endorsement of his qualities.
President, UFCW Local 789
Vol.66/No.48 December 23, 2002
Facts on INS detention
of Róger Calero and
the fight to free him
Printed below is the fact sheet explaining the events behind
the detention of Róger Calero. Supporters of the campaign to
free Calero can use it to win others to the fight demanding
his release from INS custody.
On December 3, Róger Calero, the associate editor of
Perspectiva Mundial, a Spanish-language news magazine
published in New York, was returning home to the United
States from a reporting assignment in Havana, Cuba, and
Guadalajara, Mexico. At Houston Intercontinental Airport,
Calero was seized by the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS), told he was denied entry to the United
States, and carted off to an INS jail. He now faces
exclusion from this country.
Calero has lived in this country for the past 17 years and
has held permanent residence since 1990. Besides his
position as an editor of Perspectiva Mundial, Calero works
as a staff writer for the Militant, a New York-based
newsweekly. As a reporter he has traveled widely, both in
this country and in Latin America, covering labor and
This attempt by the INS to exclude Calero from the United
States and deport him to Nicaragua is an attack on his
rights as a permanent resident, on his right to exercise his
work as a journalist, and on the rights of all.
Calero and his supporters have launched a public campaign to
win his release and the restoration of his rights. Your help
is needed. Join the fight!
December 3: INS detention
The INS seized Calero on December 3 at Houston
Intercontinental Airport. Calero was on a one-week
assignment for Perspectiva Mundial to report on an
international conference in Havana on the Free Trade Area of
the Americas, attended by trade unionists and other
delegates from Latin America, the United States, and Canada.
He then spent several days covering an international student
conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, sponsored by the
Continental Organization of Latin American and Caribbean
Students. In Houston, Calero was detained and then
transferred to an immigration jail run by a private company,
the Corrections Corporation of America.
Charges against Calero
The immigration cops are seeking to "exclude" him--deny
Calero reentry into the United States--and deport him to his
native Nicaragua, based on a 1988 conviction, when he was a
high school student in Los Angeles, on a charge of selling
marijuana to an undercover cop. Faced with the prospect of
jail, Calero copped a plea and received a suspended 60-day
sentence with three years probation.
Permanent resident for 12 years
When Calero applied for permanent residency in 1989 he
specifically included information about his conviction,
which immigration officials waived in order to grant him a
green card giving him the right to live and work in the
In 2000 the INS replaced his card with full written
information of the 12-year-old conviction. Today, Calero,
who is married to a U.S. citizen, lives in Newark, New
For the past 12 years Calero has exercised his rights as a
permanent resident, including most recently as a journalist
for a Spanish-language news magazine. INS officials are now
trying to take away those rights.
Prior to beginning his job as associate editor of
Perspectiva Mundial and staff writer for the Militant,
Calero worked as a meat packer in Des Moines, Iowa, and then
in Twin Cities, Minnesota, where he participated in a
successful union-organizing drive at the Dakota Premium
plant in South St. Paul. He is continuing his work as a
journalist from his prison cell in Texas.
Action is needed now! You can help!
Calero is fighting today to win his freedom on bond from an
INS prison and for an immediate halt to government exclusion
proceedings against him. He has retained an attorney and is
appealing for public support to press the INS to restore his
rights and his freedom.
Send a letter of protest to Hipolito Acosta, District
Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 126
Northpoint Drive, Houston, TX 77060; fax: 281-774-5989; tel:
281-774-4610. Please send copies to Calero's magazine,
Perspectiva Mundial, 410 West Street, New York, New York
Sign and distribute petitions demanding justice for Róger
Make a financial contribution to help cover rapidly mounting
legal and other expenses. Checks can be written out to the
Political Rights Defense Fund, P.O. Box 761, Church Street
Station, New York, NY 10007. Contributions are
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