hunger strike for housing in Chile needs letters of support/WHC

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 9 May 1998 18:46:24 -0700 (PDT)


=46WD via PeaceNet <peacenet-info@igc.apc.org>
/** labr.global: 358.0 **/
** Topic: WHC - CHILEAN HUNGER STRIKE **
** Written  8:03 PM  May  8, 1998 by labornews@labornet.org in
cdp:labr.global **
Date:        05/07  4:01 AM
=46rom:        Western Hemisphere Conference, theorganizer@labornet.org

May 7, 1998

Open Letter to all Supporters of Labor and Human Rights

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Prior to participating in the April 15-18 People's Summit in Santiago,
Chile, I had the opportunity to attend various meetings and
discussions with trade unions and community organizations in Chile, on
behalf of the Western Hemisphere Workers' Conference Continuations
Committee.

One of the organizations I had the honor of meeting was the Committee
of the Homeless Neighbors of Buin.  Buin is a town south of Santiago
in which 44% of the residents are homeless.

Despite this bleak backdrop, these people are fighters with great
conviction and determination, with community support to give them aid
and support to see that they get the justice they deserve.

One of great responsibilities the community of Buin has undertaken is
taking into their own homes as many of their friends and families who
otherwise would be left out in the street.

But this story does not end here, for they, the people of Buin, with and
without homes, are not letting the Chilean government forget their
obligations under the urban land reform these people had fought long
and hard to win.

The government committed itself to building permament housing for the
people of Buin, but instead the government has chosen to use the land
for homes that the government then rents out -- most often not to those
who are homeless.

In desperation, they have resorted to the use of a hunger strike. Bruno
Gomez, a key leader of the Committee of the Homeless Neighbors, has
not only made the conscious decision of participating in the hunger
strike, but has also decided to abstain from drinking any liquids.  They
urgently need your support!

I am attaching a copy of the letter I sent to the Chilean Minister of the
Interior.  Similar letters should be sent from individuals, unions,
community organizations across the United States.

Please send faxes of protest to:
Mr. Carlos Figueroa S.
Minister of the Interior
Palacio de la Moneda
Santiago, Chile
011-562-696-8740

Also, please send a copy of your letter of protest to:
Western Hemisphere Workers' Conference
c/o Ed Rosario
1188 Franklin Street  Suite 203
San Francisco,  CA  94109
=46ax (415) 440-9297
e-mail: unite@igc.apc.org

We must continue to build a response of "Global Unionism." We must
mobilize everywhere in support of people who are under attack.  We
must organize in defense of workers and peoples' rights everywhere.
Remember, no matter where you live, it's all one fight!

In Solidarity,

Ed Rosario - Coordinator
Western Hemisphere Workers' Conference
Continuations Committee

***************************************************

May 7, 1998

Mr. Carlos Figueroa S.
Minister of the Interior
Palacio de la Moneda
Santiago, Chile
=46ax: 011-562-696-8740

Dear Mr. Figueroa:

I send you this letter concerning 600 homeless families in the Chilean
town of Buin. It has come to my attention that Mr. Bruno Gomez has
gone on a hunger and liquid strike as of May 1st, in hopes of bringing
resolution to these families' right to housing.

I had the privilege of meeting Bruno Gomez and the people of Buin
when I was in Chile in mid-April on behalf of the Western Hemisphere
Workers' Conference =EF which represents tens of millions of workers. I
was able to participate in various meetings in Buin and other Chilean
cities prior to the Peoples Summit of the Americas, which was held in
Santiago on April 15-18, 1998. This was the counter-summit to the
Summit of the Americas, which was attended by the heads of state.  I
participated in the Peoples Summit as part of the national AFL-CIO
delegation of the United States.

We urge that you use your office to ensure that the just and legitimate
demands of the 600 families of Buin are met.  We of the Western
Hemisphere Workers' Conference rally in solidarity with the people of
Buin and wholeheartedly support their continued and long-awaited
struggle for their day of justice.

It is our intention to organize delegations to the Chilean Consulates in as
many cities throughout as possible. We will hold the Chilean
government responsible for the condition of Bruno Gomez and the pain
and suffering he must endure.  We will not relent until their demands for
public and affordable housing are met.

Housing for every person and his or her family is not a privilege, but a
right!

Yours Truly,

Eduardo Rosario - Coordinator
Western Hemisphere Workers' Conference
Continuations Committee

cc:     Consulado de Chile - San Francisco
        Comite Vecinos sin Vivienda de Buin
        Luis Messina
        Stan Gacek
        Walter Johnson

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