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An activist caught in the web of the INS

January 31, 2003 | Page 12

Dear Socialist Worker,

On December 3, Roger Calero, an editor of the left-wing Spanish newspaper Perspectiva Mundial, affiliated with the U.S. Socialist Workers Party, was arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as he returned from a trip to Cuba and Mexico. He now faces deportation.

Calero, originally from Nicaragua, has been a legal U.S. resident for the past 12 years--working as a journalist and an activist during that time. In November, he had traveled to Cuba for an international conference in Havana on the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement--and then had gone to Mexico for the 16th Congress of Latin American Students.

But when he attempted to re-enter the U.S., he was arrested--supposedly because in 1989, when he was a high school student, Calero was convicted of selling an ounce of marijuana to an undercover cop. The conviction already has been waived twice by the INS--first when Calero applied for permanent residency in 1990, and then when his residency was renewed in 2000.

Authorities aren't going after Calero because of a 13-year-old minor drug conviction. They're attacking him because he's a socialist and an activist.

On December 13, Calero was released from a Houston prison, pending a March 25 INS hearing aimed at permanently removing him from the United States.

The only way to protect our civil liberties is to make sure that we raise our voices against attacks like these. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Nicole Colson, Chicago

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