A reception on November 10 in Riggs Library at Georgetown University marked the formal launch of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. A gathering of over 100 supporters from the university, metropolitan Washington, organized labor, business, religious, and community organizations was on hand for the event. The gathering was addressed by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, Lou Giraudo of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, and Joseph A. McCartin, Executive Director of the Initiative.
On November 4, 2009, the Kalmanovitz Initiative welcomed Baldemar Velásquez, President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and attorney Leonel Rivero for a discussion of the union’s struggle against the abuse of migrant workers on both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border. They presented a briefing on FLOC’s ongoing independent investigation into the April 2007 assassination of farm worker organizer Santiago Rafael Cruz in Monterrey, Mexico.
Santiago Rafael Cruz was found murdered at the Monterrey, Mexico offices of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee on April 9, 2007, where he worked as a field organizer for farm workers traveling to the United States. Since that time, FLOC President Baldemar Velásquez and thousands of supporters have called on the government of the state of Nuevo Leon to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Cruz’s murder. Despite an order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, says Velásquez, authorities have refused to pursue the political and economic motives that may have led to his killing.
FLOC President Baldemar Velásquez and attorney Leonel Rivero addressed the connection between the U.S. labor market that draws Mexican workers across the border and the corruption of human trafficking. They also presented a briefing of FLOC’s independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding this crime.