CISPES letter of solidarity with Alex Sanchez and Homies Unidos
June 25, 2009
It was with sadness and indignation that we learned of the arrest of Alex Sanchez, executive director of Homies Unidos in Los Angeles, by the FBI on June 24. Alex is a longtime fighter for justice in the immigrant community and has worked tirelessly to support the rights of youth in the US and El Salvador. He and Homies Unidos, the violence prevention and gang intervention organization he helped found, have been close allies of CISPES in the struggle for justice and against police violence throughout the Americas.
We are concerned that the federal indictment against Alex follows in a long line of false charges against him and appears to be part of a pattern to target him for his work to promote an alternative strategy for combating violence than that of the LAPD and Salvadoran National Civilian Police (PNC), which over the years have chosen iron-fist tactics over crime prevention programs. While Alex and Homies Unidos have sought to promote reconciliation within their community, many politicians in El Salvador and the US have stood by a failed model of combating gang violence with indiscriminate police violence, criminalizing youth and utilizing corrupt institutions like the LAPD and PCN to attack suspected gang members and social movement leaders alike.
CISPES stands by Alex and Homies Unidos in rejecting the changes against him, and we repeat the statement of the Homies Unidos board that “an indictment is an allegation only”. Though the media seems intent of vilifying Alex and the work he has done to rescue youth from gang violence, we stand by him and believe that he is innocent of the crimes he is being accused of.
The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)