Esteban Torres

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Esteban Torres

Cablegram to Portugese Socialists and the M.F.A.

In 1974, after a pro-communist military coup in Portugal;

More than eighty Americans, all identified with opposition to the Vietnamese war and with various radical and liberal causes, sent on August 9 a cablegram to to the Portugese Armed Forces Movement, to Portugese president francisco da Costa Gomes and to portugese socialist leader Mario soares expressing the hope that "democratic freedoms"...will continue to grow in Portugal".

Michael Harrington, the national chairman of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, organized the effort with help from 5 "Initiators" - Lawrence Birns (writer), Sissy Farenthold (past president National Women's Political Caucus), Congressman Michael J. Harrington, Martin Peretz (chairman, editorial board New Republic), Cleveland Robinson (vice president, Distributive Workers of America), Leonard Woodcock (president United Auto Workers, Jerry Wurf (president AFSME).

Esteban Torres signed the cablegram.[1]

"Congressional Pink Caucus"

In October 1989 the Nicaraguan Sandinista Government announced that they would no longer comply with the 19 month-old cease-fire agreement with the Contras. This had been considered a prime step forward for the "peace process" that was progressing slowly as part of the Arias Peace Plan.

A resolution was introduced in Congress deploring the Sandinistas' action. The Senate voted unanimously in favor, but in the House the vote was 379-29. All the 29 Congressmen voting against the resolution were Democrats.

The Council for Inter-American Security dubbed these 29 people the "Congressional Pink Caucus":

Nicaragua

A Latino delegation from the US was invited to observe the February 25 1990 Nicaraguan elections. It was led by Congressman Esteban Torres of California, and coordinated by Antonio Gonzalez of the Southwest Voter Research Institute. The delegation included Ed Pastor (Phoenix County Supervisor), Dallas based journalist Mercedes Olivera, Brownsville attorney Linda Reyna, California businessman Michael Hernandez, San Antonio professor Avelardo Valdez.[2]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Esteban E. Torres, California 34, in that year's Congressional elections.[3]

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 Esteban Torres. 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."[4]

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.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs and its only affiliate New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, were all known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.

Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs

A New York affiliate, New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, c/o Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

Cuba trip/controversy

California Rep. Xavier Becerra's trip to Cuba in January 1997 caused such a furor last week that Florida's two Republican Cuban-American Congress members from Dade County-Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-quit the House Hispanic Caucus in protest.

It left the caucus, which is chaired by California Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Los Angeles Latino, bereft of Republican representation.

Diaz-Balart said the congressman's trip "to meet with the Cuban tyrant while Becerra was campaigning for caucus chairman "manifested a gross insensitivity toward the pain of all who have been victims of the Cuban tyranny.

Becerra wrote in his disclosure form of his Dec. 5-10 trip that he had gone there ``to study the impact of Helms-Burton and the effects of the embargo on supplies of food and medicine.

The trip was sponsored by a Los Angeles-based pro-democracy group called the Southwest Voter Research Institute, which picked up his $1,800 tab.

So controversial was the trip that Becerra's offices in both Washington and Los Angeles refused to return telephone calls discussing his motives in making it.

Becerra traveled with fellow California Democrat Esteban Edward Torres, whose spokesman said the congressman was going to not comment on the trip for a while.

The single most expensive trip, a Feb. 11-17 1997 Human Rights Project expedition taken by James Casso, chief of staff for California Rep. Esteban Torres, a Democrat, cost $3,500. His reported purpose: "To investigate the human rights situation in Cuba. [5]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Esteban Edward Torres Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[6]

The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First

Esteban Torres is on the list of Congressional Representatives who have participated in hearings/briefings since 1998, with the very radical Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First, founded by Frances Moore Lappe (Democratic Socialists of America, Institute for Policy Studies) and Joseph Collins (Institute for Policy Studies), authors of the book "Food First".[7]

Chicano movement

The 40th Anniversary Commemoration Committee of the Chicano Moratoriums was formed in the summer 2009 by the Chair of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee of August 29, 1970 along with two independent Chicano Movement historians whom although not of the baby boomer generation, have become inspired by the Movimiento. The organization posted a list of significant “Chicano movement” activists on its website which included Esteban Torres of TELACU.[8]

References

  1. Democratic Left, Sep. 1975, page 2
  2. [Unit April 30, 1990]
  3. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  4. [1] The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list, accessed June 14, 2010
  5. The Miami Herald January 14, 1997, Congressional travelers are attracted to Cuba, CAROL ROSENBERG
  6. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  7. [ http://www.foodfirst.org/es/about/staff, Food First staff page]
  8. Chicano Moratorium website: Moratorium Participants (accessed on April 16, 2010)