- 1 Early life
- 2 Majority Coalition for a New New York
- 3 Endorsed Nydia Velasquez
- 4 Asian Americans for Equality Award
- 5 Article in the People's World
- 6 DSA endorsement
- 7 Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"
- 8 Defense spending cuts letter
- 9 Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
- 10 "Andean Region Contractor Accountability Act"
- 11 Colombia Support Network letter
- 12 2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia
- 13 2009 letter on Colombia
- 14 "Progressive agenda" on Puerto Rico
- 15 "Sensible" approach to Cuba
- 16 Posada letter
- 17 Staffers trip to Cuba
- 18 Promoting medical training in Cuba
- 19 Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- 20 Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
- 21 Chavez connection
- 22 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 23 Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- 24 Supporting Lucius Walker
- 25 Endorsing Bill Thompson
- 26 PDA contact
- 27 Venezuelan connection
- 28 Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
- 29 Dream of Equality awardee
- 30 ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
- 31 "Progressive Agenda"
- 32 Congressmembers call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions
- 33 Cuban Embassy soiree
- 34 Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
- 35 Letter on US-Mexico security Co-operation
- 36 Puerto Rico rally
- 37 Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founders
- 38 Medicare for All Act
- 39 "Green New Deal"
- 40 HR 109 endorser
- 41 Resolution calling for a final settlement of the Korean War
- 42 Release Judy Clark
- 43 Staff
- 44 External links
- 45 References
U.S. Representative José E. Serrano represents the 15th Congressional District of New York in the Bronx . He is the only Congressman from New York City on the exclusive House Appropriations Committee and serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government . This prestigious chairmanship allows Congressman Serrano to lead the subcommittee, which oversees the budgets of multiple agencies, including the Treasury Department including the IRS; the FDIC; the District of Columbia; the Judicial branch, and other agencies. Congressman Serrano is also Senior Whip for the Majority Whip operation, a position through which he helps develop strategies to marshal support for party positions and legislation. He is an active member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served as Chair of the Caucus from 1993-94. He is now the most senior Member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent.
Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico , on October 24, 1943 , Serrano moved to the Bronx with his family when he was a young boy. He grew up in Mill Brook housing project in the South Bronx and attended local public schools. From 1964-66, Serrano served in the 172nd Support Battalion of the U.S. Army Medical Corps. After an honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to the Bronx and worked in a bank and as a school administrator before his election to the New York State Assembly in 1974.
In Albany , Assemblyman Serrano chaired the Committee on Education for eight years, during which he authored legislation that doubled state funding for bilingual education programs and provided $50 million in funding for New York City to combat its school drop-out crisis. He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection.
Majority Coalition for a New New York
In 1991, on the initiative of Local 1199 local president Dennis Rivera, Reps Major Owens, and Jose Serrano and Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, formed a city wide labor/community coalition Majority Coalition for a New New York, to unite disparate forces for a solution to the city's financial crisis "reflecting the interests of working people"
The coalition aimed to focus on an "issue driven" approach to supporting candidates in Council elections.
Endorsed Nydia Velasquez
In her 1992 New York Democratic primary, Nydia Velasquez ran against two other Puerto Ricans Elizabeth Colon and Ruben Franco, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Velasquez won the primary, receiving endorsements from New York mayor and Democratic Socialists of America member David Dinkins, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressmen Jose Serrano and Edolphus Towns, Local 1199 leader Dennis Rivera and Teamsters leader Barry Feinstein and Puerto Rico governor Rafael Hernandez Colon.
Asian Americans for Equality Award
On Feb. 23 1993, New York Life Insurance Company announced today that it will be a sponsor of the Asian Americans for Equality 19th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration dinner to be held at the Silver Palace in New York City on Feb. 27.
In celebrating the Year of the Rooster, Asian Americans for Equality will be honoring four individuals for their role in revitalizing our cities and bringing communities together. These individuals are: Gale A. Brewer, director of the Federal Legislative Office, City of New York; Derrick Cephas, New York State superintendent of banks; California Congressman Robert Matsui; and New York Congressman Jose Serrano.
Article in the People's World
Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"
H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including José Serrano. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.
Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."
- This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
- The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.
Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs
Defense spending cuts letter
May 19, 2020.
Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry:
We write to request a reduction in defense spending during the coronavirus pandemic. As you draft this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we encourage you to authorize a level of spending below last year’s authorized level. Congress must remain focused on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and distributing needed aid domestically. In order to do so, appropriators must have access to increased levels of non-defense spending which could be constrained by any increase to defense spending.
Co-signatories included Jose Serrano .
Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
In 1999, eleven imprisoned Puerto Rican independence fighters were released on parole from long prison terms in the US. they were Eliam Escobar, Dylcia Pagan, Alberto Rodriguez, Ida Luz Rodriguez, Alejandrina Torres, Adolfo Matos, Edwin Cortes, Ricardo Jiminez, Luis Rosa, Alicia Rodriguez and Carmen Valentin. A twelfth prisoner Juan Segarra Palmer, accepted an offer to nullify his fine and was due to be released in five years. Two other prisoners Antonio Comacho Negron and Oscar Lopez Rivera refused the clemency offer.
The clemency offers came after a long campaign that saw 75,000 people sign a petition in Puerto Rico and the US. The campaign, led by the Pro-Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, involved such activists as Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu and Dr. Aaron Tolen, President of the World Council of Churches.
Political leaders who supported the prisoners included Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Nydia Velazquez (D, NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
"Andean Region Contractor Accountability Act"
April 25, 2001 Rep. Jan Schakowsky introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations
- To prohibit the United States Government from providing financing for nongovernmental organizations or individuals to carry out military, law enforcement, armed rescue, or other related operations in the countries of the Andean region, including any operations relating to narcotics control efforts.
This Act may be cited as the `Andean Region Contractor Accountability Act'.
- In this Act, the term `countries of the Andean region' means the Republic of Bolivia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Peru, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. 
Colombia Support Network letter
The letter called on President Pastrana to end a military blockade on the Colombian town of San Jose de Apartado, a sister community of Madison Wisconsin, where the Colombia Support Network is based.
- We write to you to bring your attention to the humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population of the Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its outlying settlements.
- We urge the appropriate authorities of your government to dismantle the paramilitary checkpoint on the road between San Jose and Apartadó, ensure the continued safety of the road, and fully investigate recent threats and attacks on the Peace Community.
- The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its settlements, including the village of La Union, receive the permanent accompaniment of international organizations.
- These include Peace Brigades International (PBI), as well as the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which currently has two US citizens in La Union. We support the work of these two respected organizations as well as the Peace Community in its effort to build a non-violent alternative to the conflict.
2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia
Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.
- Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- (Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
- We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:
Signatories included Jose Serrano.
2009 letter on Colombia
From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.
- Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
- The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
- After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.
Signatories included Jose Serrano.
"Progressive agenda" on Puerto Rico
More than 250 Puerto Rican activists and leaders met in The Bronx “to discuss the state of our communities” and to begin the development of a “progressive political agenda” for Puerto Ricans in 2004. The Boricua Roundtable met at Hostos Community College on May 21-22, 2004.
A major theme of the meeting was mobilizing the Puerto Rican vote against the ultra-right in the White House and in Congress.
New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera said, “We are not going to let them rob us of another election” nor let the Supreme Court “impose” a president. “We have every intention of rescuing the White House,” he said.
Rep. Gutiérrez blasted the Bush administration’s war policies, urging the participants to discuss opposing the war in Iraq and “its impact on our community.”
“We don’t want to die in a declared or undeclared war started by a president that wasn’t elected by the people,” he said.
Gutiérrez also called on the activists to work in solidarity with all Latin Americans, including recent immigrants, as a way of affirming “our Puerto Rican-ness.”
Rep. Velázquez said the disparities in Bush’s economic policies shows the U.S. is at war not only in Iraq, but also “against the poor.”
“They need to cut Medicare and Medicaid to finance the war,” she said, noting that 44 million people have no medical insurance, “half of them Black or Latinos.” She stressed the need to fight on working-class issues, declaring, “When I fight for working families, I fight for Puerto Ricans.”
Velázquez didn’t let her own party off the hook, saying it was important to make sure that “John Kerry embraces the Puerto Rican agenda.” She publicly demanded that the Kerry campaign put a Puerto Rican or Latino deputy at its top levels to better articulate and advocate for Latino issues.
She called on everyone present to organize the Puerto Rican vote to defeat Bush, noting there are sizable populations of voting-age Puerto Ricans in key states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona.
Rep. Serrano suggested organizing “freedom rides” to Orlando, Fla., to register Puerto Rican voters. The Puerto Rican population in Florida has almost doubled from 1990 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and much of that growth is centered in the Orlando area. Florida is now the state with the second highest Puerto Rican population in the country after New York.
The Boricua Roundtable ended with the singing of the anti-imperialist version of the Puerto Rican national anthem – La Borinqueña.
"Sensible" approach to Cuba
According to Congressman Serrano's website;
- Since his earliest days in Congress, Congressman Serrano has been actively involved in ending the embargo against Cuba. He has sponsored legislation and worked tirelessly to educate other Members of Congress about how the embargo harms American businesses and American farmers. While Serrano was once part of a tiny group in Congress to support a changed approach to Cuba, growing numbers of Members join Congressman Serrano in signing on to his Bridges to the Cuban People Act each year.
In 2005 several far left Congressmembers wrote to President Bush urging him to extradite alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to face justice.
- We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.
Signatories were; Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, John Olver, James McGovern, Donald Payne, Lane Evans, Carolyn Maloney, Tammy Baldwin, Lynn Woolsey, Jose Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Bobby Rush, Edolphus Towns, Sam Farr, Bennie Thompson, Ed Pastor, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters.
Staffers trip to Cuba
Rep. Jose Serrano, sent George A. Sullivan to Cuba for for days in July 2003. The trip was courtesy of a $1,825.00 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas "To examine U.S. policy toward Cuba, the impact of the American trade embargo and the economy of Cuba."
Promoting medical training in Cuba
Teresa Glover, a 27-year-old medical student, told me during a recent visit to her medical school. "Nobody in my family has ever had the chance to be a doctor." Glover's mother is a teacher, and her father a dispatcher for the New York subway system. Her background is a mix of African American, Barbadian, and Cherokee. She graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. "I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn't sure how to get into medicine. I had decent grades, but I didn't have any money, and even applying to medical school cost a lot."
In her third year, Glover is negotiating the classic passage from the laboratory to the clinic. . She is enrolled at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, which is its Spanish acronym) in Havana - a school sponsored by the Cuban government and dedicated to training doctors to treat the poor of the Western hemisphere and Africa. Twenty-seven countries and 60 ethnic groups are represented among ELAM's 8000 students.
Glover's mother heard about ELAM from her congressman, Representative José Serrano (D-N.Y.). "Mom calls me. 'I have news. There's a chance for you to go to medical school.' She waits for it to sink in. 'You'd get a full scholarship.' She waits again. 'But it's in Cuba.' That didn't faze me a bit. What an opportunity!"
Lifting travel ban on Cuba
- Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
- By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.
Signatories included Rep. Jose Serrano.
Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included José Serrano. 
Heating oil deal
On Dec. 6, 2005, Rep. Jose Serrano, D. N.Y., along with Citgo CEO Felix Rodriguez, leaders of neighborhood organizations, and Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, delivered the first installment of 8 million gallons of Citgo heating oil earmarked for New York City, to be sold to those in need at a substantially reduced rate.
- “I met President Chavez in 2005 when he came to my district at my invitation,” said Congressman Serrano. “His focus on the issues faced by the poor and disenfranchised in his country made him a truly revolutionary leader in the history of Latin America. He understood that after 400 years on the outside of the established power structure looking in, it was time that the poor had a chance at seeing their problems and issues addressed. His core belief was in the dignity and common humanity of all people in Venezuela and in the world.
Serrano also issued a tweet to mark the occasion.
New York Congressman José Serrano, whose district has for many years received discounted heating oil from Venezuela, reminisced about Chávez, who he says, “Changed the Conversation In Latin America.” ”
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Supporting Lucius Walker
On Sept. 17 2010, Harlem’s Convent Avenue Baptist Church filled with people celebrating the example, ongoing legacy and life of the Rev. Dr. Lucius Walker. Walker, 80, died suddenly Sept. 7 at his home in New Jersey.
"Joining the wide representation of Cuba solidarity, socialist and progressive activists" were Cuba’s United Nations Ambassador Pedro Núñez Mosquera; Nicaraguan Ambassador María Eugenia Rubiales de Chamorro; many members of, and the spirited choir from, Walker’s Salvation Baptist Church; New York City Councilperson and Freedom Party candidate for governor, Charles Barron; Ramsey Clark; and Akbar Mohammed of the Nation of Islam. Messages and resolutions from churches, individuals and elected officials, including congressional Reps. Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano and Maxine Waters, and author Jane Franklin were acknowledged.
Endorsing Bill Thompson
According to Danny Rubin of the People's World, "Bill Thompson will have the overwhelming vote of the African American and the Afro-Caribbean community, where his roots are. He has strong ties in Brooklyn where both he and his father had long political careers, and has been endorsed by Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano, state Senator Jose Serrano, Jr., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and the Bronx Democratic Party. . As well, Thomson has the endorsements of a growing number of African American elected officials, including Manhattan Democratic Party leader Denny Farrell, State Assemblyman Karim Camara, Congressman Gregory Meeks and the Rev. Floyd Flake.
According to data the Venezuelan delegation to Washington filed with the Foreign Agents Registration of the US, Venezuelan officials had 82 contacts with personalities in the United States. The list includes meetings with lawmakers, NGOs, and representatives of US actor Danny Glover's office.
The website of the US Government's Foreign Agents Registration published a report by Olivia Goumbri, who identifies herself as the Venezuelan Embassy's Social Outreach Counselor. The document elaborates on the Venezuelan officials' contacts with US political, cultural, and academic leaders.
Pursuant to the US law, foreign government agents in the United States have to report such activities to the NSD.
The document includes a questionnaire in which Goumbri was asked whether her foreign principal (the Embassy of Venezuela) had engaged in any political activity in the US. Goumbri's response was Yes.
Several congressional representatives, a pro-Cuban organization, religious leaders, social organizations, and actor Danny Glover's office are among the 82 registered contacts between Venezuelan diplomats and US-based individuals or organizations. Such activities took place from November 2012 to April 30, 2013.
Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Yvette Clarke, Gregory Meeks, Karen Bass and Jose Serrano - an admirer of late President Hugo Chávez- are some of the members of the House of Representatives who were contacted by the Venezuelan diplomatic mission through their parliamentary offices .
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez switched course January 2009, and revived a program that gives discount heating oil to poor Bronx residents.
The program, which critics call a propaganda ploy designed to embarrass the Bush administration, was suspended just two days earlier because of falling oil prices.
The program was revived largely due to last-minute intervention by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx), who was instrumental in creating the subsidy program three years ago. Serrano and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) "really came through," Joe Kennedy, the chairman of Citizens Energy, told the Daily News.
Kennedy's nonprofit administers the program, which last year provided cheap heat to 200,000 households in 23 states.
Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
On Monday December 16, 2014 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.
The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.
“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.
Signatories included Rep. Jose Serrano..
Dream of Equality awardee
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included US Rep. Jose Serrano .
Congressmembers call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions
May 15, 2015, Sixteen Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter calling on President Obama to withdraw sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials, and also to withdraw the language of an executive order justifying the sanctions.
The sanctions to which the letter refers were based on legislation voted by Congress in December and signed by the president on Dec. 18. On Mar. 9, after the arrest of several Venezuelan political figures whom Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused of plotting a coup, President Obama issued an executive order declaring an "emergency" on the basis of a supposed "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States and its interests by Venezuela, and imposed the sanctions, mostly on mid-level security personnel.
The sanctions prevent them from traveling to the United States and freeze any assets they might have in this country.
The congresspersons who signed the letter were: Hank Johnson, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Jose Serrano, Sam Farr, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Jim McDermott, Bobby Rush, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Mike Capuano, Charles Rangel, Chellie Pingree, and Earl Blumenauer.
Cuban Embassy soiree
It was remarkable how many non-Cubans knew the Cuban national anthem well enough to sing along July 2015 as the flag was raised over the newly re-established embassy on 16th Street NW. Then they joined in the delirious shouts of "Viva Cuba!"
"It's an amazing moment," said Phyllis Bennis, a fellow with the progressive think-tank, Institute for Policy Studies. "In the decades-long effort to normalise relations with Cuba, to stop the US attacks and hostility toward Cuba, we have not had so many victories. Suddenly we have a victory. The flag going up - that's huge."
Not that there wasn't plenty of unfiltered emotion. Standing near Bennis was Valerie Landau, daughter of the late documentary film-maker and activist Saul Landau. The elder Landau spent the better part of his life working towards this moment, before cancer cut his work short in the middle of another documentary on Cuba, in 2013. Travelling with Castro through Cuba in the late 1960s, he memorably filmed the revolutionary leader shedding his uniform and playing baseball, shirtless, with peasants.
"We're continuing his work in our own way," said Valerie Landau, who leads tours to Cuba and also works with the Cuban Health Ministry on education programmes. "I think this is a real crossroads, and there's going to be a lot of change in Cuba. Some of it at their own speed and choice, and some of it as a result of an avalanche of interest on the part of Americans who're hungry to know and see Cuba."
The limestone and marble mansion opened as the Cuban Embassy in 1919 and quickly established itself as a delightful society-party venue. Diplomatic relations were broken in 1961, two years after Castro took power. The mansion was shuttered. It reopened in 1977 as the Cuban Interests Section, parallel with a US Interests Section in Havana. The move to have fully fledged embassies again came after President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro resolved in December to normalise relations.
Code Pink provided entertainment|with chants and signs that said "Salsa se! Embargo no!"
"I didn't know if I'd live to see this day," said Code Pink organiser Medea Benjamin, who lived in Cuba from 1979 to 1983. She said she was deported for being so outspoken - hence her "love-hate relationship" with Cuba. Lately it has been more love. She leads large tours of activists to the island and is planning an upcoming teach-in in the city of Guantanamo against continued US control of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
Inside the embassy, actor Danny Glover drifted from room to room. A regular visitor, his ties to Cuba run so deep that when the remaining Cuban Five prisoners were released by the US in December, one of the first phone calls made by their informal leader, Gerardo Hernandez, as a free man was to Glover.
Glover found his way over to celebrated Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez, who was one of the bold-faced names from the island included in the Cuban delegation.
The reception was liberally sprinkled with Democratic senators and members of Congress, some of whom have been toiling at reaching out to Cuba for as long and as hard as the activists and the policy experts.
"I've spent 25 years in Congress trying to change this policy," said Democrat Jose Serrano, who hosted Castro in the Bronx in 1995, and was criticised for it by some. "We gave him a party at a place called Jimmy's Bronx Cafe. People who went to that event are texting me now saying 'Don't you feel vindicated?'"
Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation
On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States 
The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.
Letter on US-Mexico security Co-operation
- Urgent alert from our friends at CISPES- Los Angeles Chapter : "The US plans to expand cooperation between Mexico and the United States to unfairly and inhumanely target Central American migrants and asylum seekers at the upcoming "Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America".
- We asked Representative Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach to author a letter to Secretary Tillerson calling for to put the human rights of Central Americans and all migrants and refugees front and center, and he's circulating a letter now. To have the biggest impact possible we need as many Members of Congress as possible to sign this letter!
- Call or email your representative today and ask them to join Mr. Lowenthal as a co-signer.
Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) led 37 Members of Congress, including top Democrats from the Armed Forces, Judiciary and Appropriations committees, in sending a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to raise red flags about “suggestions that the United States deepen security collaboration with Mexico along its southern border [with Guatemala] due to evidence that Mexico’s Southern Border Program has led to wide-spread human rights violations and abuses against migrants and asylum-seekers.”
Signers: Don Beyer (D-VA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Mike Capuano (D-MA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), John Conyers (D-MI), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington, DC), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA) , Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Maxine Waters (D-CA), John Yarmuth (D-KY).
Puerto Rico rally
Congressman José E. Serrano March 20:
This morning, I also joined the Hispanic Federation, 32BJ SEIU, Make The Road New York and many others at a rally in front of @FEMA to urge the Trump Administration to do more to help Puerto Rico on the 6 month anniversary of Hurricane Maria
Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founders
In August 2018 Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founding members included Representative Jose Serrano.
Medicare for All Act
In February 2019 Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced H.R.1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019. By May 29 she had 110 co-sponsors including Rep. Jose Serrano.
"Green New Deal"
We have the momentum to make a Green New Deal real, but we need a critical mass of Congresspeople to support the proposal.
Take action on Dec. 10 to show Congress the Green New Deal is a top priority.
Congressional supporters by December 1 2018:
- Jared Huffman (CA-02)
- Jackie Speier (CA-14)
- Ro Khanna (CA-17)
- Mike Levin (CA-49)
- Ted Lieu (CA-33)
- John Lewis (GA-05)
- Joe Neguse (CO-02)
- Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
- Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
- Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
- Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)
- Rashida Tlaib (MI-13)
- Ilhan Omar (MN-05)
- Deb Haaland (NM-01)
- Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
- Jose Serrano (NY-15)
- Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
HR 109 endorser
Resolution calling for a final settlement of the Korean War
February 26, 2019 Press Release
Washington, DC – As President Trump arrives to Hanoi, Vietnam, Rep. Ro Khanna, along with eighteen Democratic Members of Congress, have introduced a resolution calling for a final settlement of the Korean War, now officially in its 68th year.
The resolution -- which is backed by former President and Nobel Peace Laureate Jimmy Carter and a range of Korean-American and pro-diplomacy organizations -- urges the Trump Administration to provide a clear roadmap to achieve a final peace settlement while highlighting the importance of reciprocal actions and confidence-building measures between the parties.
“Historic engagement between South and North Korea has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to formally end this war,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “President Trump must not squander this rare chance for peace. He should work hand in hand with our ally, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, to bring the war to a close and advance toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.”
“I commend this important resolution that will help bring this nearly 70 year conflict to a close,” said President Jimmy Carter. “I have visited North Korea several times to talk with their leadership and study the best path forward for peace. Ending the threat of war is the only way to ensure true security for both the Korean and American people and will create the conditions to alleviate the suffering of the ordinary North Koreans who are most harmed by ongoing tensions.”
Co-led by prominent progressive Reps. Andy Kim, Barbara Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Deb Haaland, and Jan Schakowsky, the resolution calls on the Trump Administration to make greater efforts to include women in the peace process, citing the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 which Trump signed into law. Women’s rights icon Gloria Steinem, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday in support of the resolution.
The resolution clarifies that ending the war does not necessitate a withdrawal of US troops from Korea or an acceptance of North Korea as a legitimate nuclear power. The resolution calls on the Administration to continue the repatriation of servicemember remains, and expand cooperation to achieve reunions of divided Korean and Korean-American families and facilitate people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian cooperation.
Rep. Khanna has been a consistent voice for diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula. Shortly after Trump threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea, Khanna was joined by over 70 Congressmembers on his bipartisan “No Unconstitutional Strike on North Korea Act”, which would reinforce existing law prohibiting an unauthorized and unprovoked strike on North Korea. He has also been critical of those in both parties who have sought to restrict flexibility in negotiations, instead urging support for the diplomatic approach of our South Korean ally and its President, Moon Jae-in.
Rep. Khanna will travel to Atlanta next week to sit down with Pres. Carter to discuss developments on the Korean Peninsula and solicit guidance from the Nobel Laureate about how the next generation of policymakers can best pursue a pro-diplomacy agenda for America.
Current original cosponsors (18): Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Deb Haaland, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jan Schakowsky, Raúl Grijalva, Bobby Rush, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Tulsi Gabbard, Adriano Espaillat, Andy Kim, Rashida Tlaib, Judy Chu, Jose Serrano, Gwen Moore.
The resolution is endorsed by organizations including the National Association of Korean Americans, Ploughshares Fund, Women Cross DMZ, Korean Americans in Action, United Methodist Church – Global Ministries, Win Without War, Peace Action, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Just Foreign Policy, Beyond the Bomb, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Release Judy Clark
April 2 , 2019 New York State Board of Parole Supervising Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
Dear Commissioners of the Board of Parole:
We, the undersigned Federal, State, and local elected officials and leaders of civil rights organizations, write to urge the New York State Board of Parole (“Parole Board”) to follow the law and parole guidelines and grant parole to Judith Clark.
During her 37 years in prison, Ms. Clark, through her words as well as her deeds, has transformed herself into a symbol of redemption, hope, and the human capacity for change. She has disavowed violence, accepted responsibility for her actions, and issued heartfelt and public apologies dating back to 1994 when parole was not even a remote possibility.
Ms. Clark participated in an unspeakable tragedy. Three people were killed, including two police officers. Although Ms. Clark was the “getaway” driver and did not fire any weapon, she does not minimize her role or in any way try to absolve herself from guilt. Judith Clark is painfully aware of the irrevocable harm she caused, and for more than three decades has done everything a human being could do to repair, repent and express remorse. She again forthrightly acknowledged her role, accepted responsibility, and expressed her contrition to the Parole Board at her initial appearance before the Board in April 2017.
At age 69 and after 37 years in prison, Judith Clark is among the oldest and longest serving women in New York State prison (only one woman among the almost 2,400 currently incarcerated in New York has served longer than Ms. Clark). We ask that you consider who she is today in 2019, not who she was in 1981, and implore you to grant her release.
The following are past and present staff:
- Imelda Aguirre
- Benjamin Allen
- Adam Matthew Alpert (Matt)
- Maria Bello
- Nadine Berg
- Ischia Bravo
- Jheanelle Brown
- Evelyn Castro
- Danny Chandler
- Shawn Choy
- Carla Coley
- Dale Crowell
- Kitty Davila
- Melisa Teresa Diaz
- Gabriela Domenzain
- Idalia Dominguez de Marty (Pichi)
- Migdalia Feliberty
- Maria Fernandez (Angela)
- Vanessa Gonzalez
- J. William Goold (Bill)
- Lucy McLelland Hand
- Priscilla Hernandez
- Elizabeth Howie
- Anthony Jordan
- Damian Lara
- Paul Lipson
- Isabel Llanos
- Samelys Lopez
- Munir Madyun
- Andrea Martin
- Maria Robles Meier
- Angel Moreno-Velez
- Dara Nussbaum
- Luis Oliveras
- Saul Pena, Jr.
- Luis Perez
- Federico Perez
- Alejandro Perez
- Angela Karina Ramirez
- Jazmine Raveneau
- Fitzgerard Restituyo (Fitz)
- Awilda Rivera
- Jose Rodriguez
- Nelson Rosa
- Siddhartha Sanchez
- Carlos Sanchez
- Philip Schmidt
- Cheryl Simmons-Oliver
- Krystal Smalls
- Rosalinda Staples
- George Sullivan
- Patricia Lee Villarreal Tamez
- Diaraf Thiouf
- Michael Jose Torra
- Luis Torres
- Ellyn Toscano
- Anna Nuzzi Vincenty
- Clara Wagner-Anderson
- Daniel White
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