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   Vol.67/No.1           January 13, 2003  
Support builds for
fight against deportation
The following are excerpts from some of the letters sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s district director in Houston, Hipolito Acosta, demanding an end to the INS’s efforts to deport Militant staff member and Perspectiva Mundial associate editor Róger Calero.

On December 3 INS agents arrested Calero, a 12-year permanent resident, as he came through Houston Intercontinental Airport on returning from a reporting assignment in Latin America. He was jailed for 10 days, until immigration authorities paroled him after receiving a flood of protest messages like those below. The INS maintains its efforts to deport Calero, based on a 1988 conviction on charges of selling about an ounce of marijuana to an undercover cop when he was in high school. In 1990 the INS waived this conviction and granted him permanent residence; they renewed his legal status in 2000.


Don Seaquist, secretary-treasurer, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789, St. Paul, Minnesota.

My name is Don Seaquist and I am the Secretary/Treasurer of UFCW Local 789 located in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am writing this letter in support of Róger Calero. During a two-year union organizing campaign Róger continually stood tall defending the right of employees to organize a union.

This campaign to organize workers was with Dakota Premium Foods in South St. Paul, Minnesota. During this tumultuous time for himself and his co-workers, Róger worked with a variety of community groups to bring together people that had many different backgrounds.

His leadership was instrumental in those workers organizing, bargaining, and eventually getting a collective bargaining agreement with their employer.

It is my understanding that Róger has recently been released from jail, and that is a good first step in correcting the injustice that has befallen him. Deporting Róger will serve no purpose but to fan the flames of injustice and bring to light another in a long series of improper actions on the part of the federal government, all in the name of anti-terrorism.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary, National Union of Journalists, United Kingdom.

I write to express our concern at reports that journalist Róger Calero is facing continued exclusion proceedings.

Róger’s detention, the initial confiscation of the tools of his trade and his subsequent treatment appears to undermine his rights as a U.S. resident of 12 years standing.

Moves to exclude him from the U.S. damage the reputation of the U.S. worldwide and give cause for concern. We are particularly concerned that this appears to be an attempt to prevent a journalist from carrying out their profession.

Jay Miskowiec, staff writer, La Prensa de Minnesota; member, PEN International Freedom to Write and Writers in Prison Committees, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As a citizen of the United States who believes in the sanctity of our Bill of Rights and the fundamental right of freedom of expression, I am writing to protest the detention of Róger Calero by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Your actions will be brought to the attention of my students, readers and colleagues.

Julian Petley, Brunel University, United Kingdom.

I would like to add my name to the petition demanding an end to the deportation of Róger Calero. I am chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and a regular columnist for Index on Censorship.

Susan Severin, president, Marin Interfaith Task Force on Central America, Mill Valley, California.

The INS detention of Calero at Houston International Airport on December 3 and its attempt to revoke his permanent residence status are an attack on his right to work as a journalist in this country, and on the rights of everyone.

We protest the INS move to exclude Calero from the United States while he was returning home from a reporting assignment at international conferences in Havana, Cuba, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

We demand the INS immediately release Róger Calero, drop its effort to deport him to Nicaragua, and allow him to resume his residence and work in the United States.

Mac Scott, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants, Prison Moratorium Project, New York.

I am writing to express our dismay and outrage at the recent detention of Róger Calero by your district of the INS. Our information is that you are attempting to exclude him on the basis of an old marijuana charge from 1988, despite his U.S. residency of 12 years.

We would like to point out that in St. Cyr, the Supreme Court ruled on charges that had been brought prior to 1996, that they could not be held to the same standard as post-1996 charges. The ruling also stated that this is held to especially apply for guilty pleas prior to 1996. Your agency is persisting in applying bad law in this situation despite Mr. Calero’s longtime residency establishment.

Gregory D. Coleridge, American Friends Service Committee, Akron, Ohio.

As a Quaker social action organization, we believe in the dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, income or political beliefs. We see that of God or good in every person and believe that every person should have their human rights as human beings protected. We believe Mr. Calero’s human rights are being violated by the INS.

Thomas Kleven, professor of law, Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston, Texas.

I am sure that numerous other reporters, including some resident immigrants, attended the same newsworthy events he did in Cuba and Mexico without having similar action taken against them. Basing this action on a more than ten-year-old marijuana conviction is an obvious sham, given the INS’s reapproval of Mr. Calero’s resident alien status since then with full disclosure and knowledge of the facts.

Rather this is about silencing people who disagree with the policies of the Bush Administration, in violation of their free speech rights and of the First Amendment right of Americans to receive information so that they can evaluate the policies of the government.

Cuban patriot in U.S. prison backs Calero fight

Below is a message from Fernando González Llort supporting the fight to prevent the deportation of Róger Calero by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Writing from a federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, González is serving a 19-year sentence on frame-up charges. He is one of five Cuban revolutionaries convicted by the U.S. government on conspiracy charges because of their role in infiltrating and obtaining information on U.S.-based counterrevolutionary organizations that have a history of launching violent attacks against Cuba with Washington’s knowledge and complicity. The five were convicted on the conspiracy and espionage charges in June 2001 and are serving prison terms ranging from 15 years to a double life sentence. Their attorneys recently filed a motion for a new trial.


I extend my solidarity to compañero Róger Calero, associate editor of Perspectiva Mundial, currently facing detention and an unjust and arbitrary exclusion process by INS officials.

From my position as a political prisoner in a U.S. jail, I demand that compañero Calero be released immediately, that INS officials cease the exclusion proceedings they are threatening against him, and that they restore all his rights as a permanent resident of this country.

The arbitrary action against compañero Calero is an attack on his political activity and the ideas he professes. This is unacceptable and must be denounced. It is not by chance either that this happened as he returned from a working trip to Havana, Cuba.

I join with all those demanding an end to the unjust situation that Róger Calero faces, and I hope he will soon resume his work on this magazine.

Fernando González Llort
Oxford, Wisconsin

Related articles:
Róger Calero Defense Committee starts tour
Róger Calero Defense Campaign Tour
Support the Róger Calero Defense Committee  
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