In early December, the House Intelligence Committee released the dryly titled but undeniably captivating "Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report", setting off an impeachment process for just the 4th time in U.S. history. In the months leading up to this action, and in the news-packed weeks since, one word has been constant: Ukraine.
Harry Edelman, Head of Youth Engagement for DA BCN, participated as a part of three U.S. delegations to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for election observation missions in Ukraine throughout 2019. He observed during the first round of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election on 31 March in the city of Dnipro. Again, in the second round on 21 April in Kiev Oblast. And for a third time in Mykolaiv Oblast during the snap 2019 Parliamentary elections on 21 July.
On December 12, Democrats Abroad Barcelona met at the charming Catalan restaurant El Disbarat, where Harry gave an informal but very informative presentation on Ukraine. He put current events into context with insights into the country's history and culture, its electoral process, and the surprise election of Volodymyr Zelensky. He also explained the procedures and the important role played by international election observers.
Many thanks to Harry for sharing his experiences, to Hunter for moderating, and to all the attendees who came prepared with excellent questions and comments!
From left to right: Chris Reilly (Chair), Annie Graul (Secretary), Hunter Roberts (Vice Chair), Jim Mercereau (Chair, DA Spain), Catherine Dexter (Membership), Steven Tolliver (former Chair), Harry Edelman (Youth Engagement), Scott Stroud (Chair, DA Toulous)
Last weekend, the DA Barcelona excom team and two special collaborators met for an intense weekend of teambuilding, learning and preparation for the 2020 elections. As we all can probably agree, next year’s election will be an incredibly important one, with so much hanging in the balance: the environment, minority rights, international trade, immigration, diplomacy and international alliances, more justices being named to the courts, the future of Roe v. Wade – these are just a few that come to mind. As overseas Americans, we know that the actions taken over the past three years by the current president have had far-reaching implications, not just for those living in the States, but for individuals and countries around the world. Fortunately, we voters have the opportunity to steer the US back to the proper course just 12 months from now. A lot has to happen for that to work, however, and we are busy laying the groundwork so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
What can you, as overseas Americans and DA members, do now and in the future to help in this effort?
- If you haven’t already, join Democrats Abroad today!
- After you’ve become a member of DA, you can sign the Democratic candidate petitions to ensure that your favorite candidate(s) will appear on the ballot for the Global Presidential Primary (GPP) next year. Each campaign needs at least 300 valid Democrats Abroad members to sign their petition by January 6, 2020 to be included on the Democrats Abroad GPP ballot.
- In January 2020, register to vote. Even if you think that you might already be registered, go to votefromabroad.org, fill out the online form and return it to your local election officials. As an overseas voter, you need to send in the form to request your ballot for every calendar year in which you wish to vote.
- In March, coinciding with Super Tuesday, all members of Democrats Abroad can vote in the Global Presidential Primary. Be sure to watch for emails and follow our social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) for information about this exciting and crucial event. We will be putting out calls for volunteers to help signing in voters, supervising the election space and counting votes afterward, among other important tasks. We can’t make this work without our members, so please be ready to stand up. If you want to get started now, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be informed about your rights and responsibilities as a voter, and be sure to share important, fact-checked information with your friends and family
- Reach out to other Americans who might not be actively involved. Ask them if they have registered and voted in the past, and if they plan to do so this year. Help us to identify expats who have “gone underground” and as such, are harder to reach.
- Phone bank
- Donate! Running an electoral campaign is an expensive endeavor, and the GOP is already out-fundraising and outspending us by a significant amount. Consider donating to Democrats Abroad, to local Democratic party committees in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, or to larger organizations such as ActBlue. You can also donate to Fair Fight 2020, an organization formed by former Georgia Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, to promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.
- Please let us know if you have any further ideas and suggestions to share with fellow Dems!
Have you signed the petition(s) for your candidate(s) of choice yet? Only candidates with at least 300 DA supporters will appear on the ballot for the Global Primary next spring. Click here for more information: http://www.democratsabroad.org/candidate_petitions
Note that you must be a member of Democrats Abroad to sign the petitions, so if you haven't done that yet, join today! Just click above where it says Join/Sign In.
The third Democratic party presidential debate will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2019 (see http://time.com/5669734/september-democratic-debate/ for more information on qualifying candidates for this round of debates).
Here in Barcelona, Democrats Abroad will be hosting a debate watch and conversation, to be preceded by a short update on chapter activities, on Friday, September 13, 2019. Details coming soon - watch this space and save the date!
On July 12, Democrats Abroad participated in a "Lights for Liberty" vigil in Barcelona in solidarity with the 818 #Lights4Liberty vigils across the USA and worldwide. At the vigil we read aloud and distributed, in both English and Spanish, a flier informing people of the worsening humanitarian crisis for migrants and refugees.
Since Trump took office, the number of people detained in the U.S. has risen from about 34,000 in 2016 to more than 52,000 today. Over 14,000 of them are children. Since 2017, seven children have died in U.S. detention — oftentimes in for-profit facilities. During the spring of 2018, the U.S. government systematically separated over 3,000 children from their parents without establishing a proper way to track the families separated or count the number of children detained; many still have not been reunited. Doctors and lawyers who have visited the camps have confirmed that the people detained are subjected to living conditions that are inhumane and comparable to torture centers. Claims of sexual and physical abuse have gone without investigation. The sick and elderly are confined to “icebox” rooms for weeks. Children as young as four months, separated from their parents, are handed to unrelated, slightly older children to be cared for. People have gone weeks without taking a shower or brushing their teeth. Medicine is confiscated and medical care is withheld.
Our Barcelona vigil was an impactful and inclusive experience for everyone participated and attended. We co-organized the event with Womens March Barcelona and we also allied with local Central American groups: Casa CentroAmerica and Tierra Catracha/Red de Hondurenas Migradas, who gave passionate speeches about the violent situations refugees from the northern triangle are fleeing.
More protests are planned for the months ahead, including a #WeThePeopleMarch solidarity event on September 21 and participation in the Global Climate Strike event on September 27.
In the meantime, what else can you do?
1. Donate to an organization that is doing frontline support work for migrants and those in detention. Make it a monthly donation if you can. We suggest RAICES and https://
2. Call your US representative and senators daily and demand an end to US concentration camps, accountability for DHS, ICE and CBP, and an end to human detention for all migrants.
3. Volunteer with a local immigration rights advocacy organization. If you can't find one where you live, then form an education+action group of your own like we did in Barcelona. Facebook page: Immigrant Justice Now International; Facebook group: Immigrant Justice Now Spain; Twitter: @TogetherIntl; Instagram: @
4. Activate within your community by organizing with your neighbors, your friends, and your colleagues for ongoing action against detention camps in your area. (See #3 - our group is remaining focused on crimes against humanity in the USA, but we are also paying attention to the situation in Spain and Europe and will expand our actions by allying with local groups whenever we can.)
5. Engage in non-violent civil disobedience for as long as it takes to close every U.S. detention camp and to convince our government to respect human rights. Organize local protests, sit-down strikes, and ongoing action at ICE, CBP and local representative offices, and local detention camps, and support those who do with money, amplification on social media, media access and coverage, and your time. We can provide networks and resources to support these efforts.
Barcelona chapter members and friends gathered at The Lexington Bar on the evenings of July 31st and August 1st to watch two debates between the very large Democratic field of candidates. Turnout was even better than for debate-watching party for first round of debates in June, with approximately 40 people showing up this time to watch the 20 candidates. The new leadership team (shown below) did a great job of organizing the event and revving up enthusiasm.
The next round of debates will be held in mid-September, and there will be gatherings in Barcelona for those too, typically scheduled a day or two after the actual debates are broadcast in the U.S. Momentum is building as our chapter gears up for what promises to be a tumultuous political year ahead, the global Democratic primary and the vital general election in November 2020. Watch this space for more information!
Like the Barcelona weather, the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is really heating up. Earlier this week, CNN announced the line-up for the second round of Democratic presidential primary debates, which will be held in Detroit on July 30 & 31.
Please join Democrats Abroad Barcelona for one or both of the following Debate Watch parties, where we will watch and discuss recorded versions of the complete debates:
Debate 1: Wednesday, July 31
On night 1, the public will hear from candidates Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson.
Details and RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/
Debate 2: Thursday, August 1
On night 2, the rest of the candidates will take the stage: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang.
Details and RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/
Both events will be held at The Lexington Bar, Carrer de Muntaner 108, Barcelona
- 7:00 PM arrival, meet and greet, stop by the bar for drinks and snacks
- 7:30 Debate begins
- 9:45 Drinks and discussion
Bring your friends - all are welcome. We will ask for a donation of €5 for Democrats Abroad, and please buy a drink or some food to thank our gracious hosts at the Lexington.
Building on the success and great fun of last year's Barcelona Pride we marched again under our Democrats Abroad Barcelona Chapter banner on Saturday June 29th. We met at the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies like we did last year. We flew the US and pride flags and had plenty of signs. We picked up a bunch of marchers along the way, including two guys from Colorado who mentioned that they had a gay governor. We said, "We know we got our members from Colorado to request their absentee ballots to vote for him ." We mentioned that we had Crisanta Duran as a guest speaker at one of our meetings two years ago and some of us are supporting her in her campaign to unseat the current Republican congressman. Needless to say they were surprised. While the turnout was a limited we made our mark and handed out cards to folks we met along the way.
As out-going Chair and member of the Election Commission, I am pleased to announce the candidates for Barcelona chapter leadership positions for the coming 2019-2021 term.
The roles and candidates are as follows:
Chairperson; 2 Nominees: Harry "Cody" Edelman | Chris Reilly
Vice Chairperson; 2 Nominees: Wendy Hunter Roberts | Catherine Dexter
Secretary; 2 Nominees: Andrea Host-Barth | Ann Graul
Treasurer; 1 Nominee: Sharon Avery-Fahlström
The following are statements from those candidates who have submitted them. Please stend-by for further information on on-line, proxy and in-person voting proceedures. And please plan to attend the elections meeting on 15 May in Barcelona.
DA Spain - Barcelona Chapter
2019-2021 TERM CANDIDATES' STATEMENTS
Candidates for Chairperson:
Harry “Cody” Edelman
You may have met Cody if you were registering voters last fall. He was the field director for Rock the Vote Spain, focusing on registering young Americans living and studying abroad. He is currently a student with a Spanish language school, while at the same time completing a master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management through Georgetown University. He does not have any kids, but is living with his girlfriend, Gabriela, and their two cats in Barcelona.
Cody was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the wrestling team in high school. Upon graduating, he studied International Relations and Military Affairs, minoring in German and East Asian studies while attending The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina on a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship from 2009-2013. He would subsequently be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army as a logistics officer. Where he was stationed for four years in Germany. Harry moved to Spain shortly after leaving the army. He’s very excited about taking Democratic principles to younger votes.
I am a US Citizen by choice. I’ve had an interest in politics my entire adult life. I am a Democrat – I believe deeply in social equality and economic opportunity for all.
My professional life has seen me based in Asia, USA and Europe. My career has encompassed business development and senior sales roles in several industries with the majority spent in new technology/media related companies. In 2009 career opportunity bought my wife, Ann, and me to Barcelona where we’ve happily lived since, staying connected to USA and voting regularly as Democrats living abroad.
I studied the U.S. political system for 3 years in school and was a resident green card holder as Bush v Gore unfolded in 2000. I wanted the right to vote in the U.S. where I was living, so I became a U.S. Citizen in 2001 in San Francisco. Later in New York, I worked on two presidential campaigns - for John Kerry and Barack Obama. I subscribe to an idea derived from Muhammad Ali’s poem “Me, We” – I see “Me” as representing how Republicans see the world and “We” as Democrats do.
As America goes, so goes the world. Today, issues I support are under direct assault by the current U.S. administration. These include Campaign Finance Reform, Environmental Protection and Climate Change, Universal Health (Obama)Care, Sensible Immigration Reform, Women’s equality and reproductive rights, Gun Control, LGBT Rights, Consumer Protections, Voting Rights and much else. At the same time, nationalist right-wing parties – all with similar divisive populist messages and policies - gain strength across Europe and the world.
Democrats Abroad is a global organization helping to ensure that Democrats among the estimated 9 million ex-patriot Americans, U.S. taxpayers all, are heard via elections or lobbying efforts. Topics range from taxes (ie FATCA and HR7358) to social rights. There are many examples where absentee ballots by Democrats have determined the outcome of important US races. This must continue. While every election cycle is described as “the most important ever”, those words will never be truer than in 2020 and so we must prepare. It is essential that the local DA Chapter continues to work to support the various rights and issues of U.S. Citizens resident in Catalunya and to encourage them to vote at U.S. election time.
If elected, I will focus on the following:
· Develop and execute a multi layered strategy to reach and register as many potential Catalunya based U.S. qualified Voters as possible using the advice and expertise of various data gathering and online media experts in my network.
· Supporting on-going DA lobbying activities, particularly those related to fairness in taxation.
· Develop the internal structure necessary to build on the foundations put in place by previous DA Barcelona organization members.
· Provide regular meetings and forums for all issues affecting Democrat voters resident in Catalunya.
Candidates for Vice Chairperson:
A long-term expat here in Spain, I grew up mostly in Bethesda, Maryland, in a foreign service family, and last lived in Seattle in the U.S. I'm a freelance translator and Pilates instructor professionally and follow the bizarre twists and turns of U.S. politics perhaps too closely for my own good in my spare time. A sworn never non-voter and, goes without saying, never-non-Democratic voter, I want to do my part to help get the vote out for 2020 with the great group of committed volunteers in Barcelona. The huge field of amazing candidates on the horizon gives me hope, and if every citizen who wants the country's future to be sane votes, there will be a Democrat in the White House in January 2021.
Wendy Hunter Roberts
W. Hunter Roberts has been an active member of Democrats Abroad since landing in Europe in 2011. While living in Budapest she served on the executive board as a member at large during the time that the organization grew to twice its previous size.
She has been an activist her whole life. She was a charter member of psychotherapist for social responsibility during the arms race in the 1980s. In the fall of 2018, she volunteered with the Rock the Vote Spain events in Barcelona, registering nearly 60 young students herself.
She works as a therapist and coach online with clients throughout the world. She now lives in Barcelona overlooking las Ramblas and looks forward to helping to grow the DA chapter in Barcelona as well as ensure that there is active participation of its current membership.
Candidates for Secretary:
Andrea Host-Barth is a 61-year-old retiree currently living southwest of Barcelona, near Sitges, Spain. She and her husband, Karl, have been living in Spain for nearly two years. Before coming to Spain, they lived in the Philadelphia area. For political and practical reasons, they maintain an address in Miami, Florida.
Andrea spent her professional career working in IT in higher education. In her last position, she served as a Customer Success Manager with Ellucian. She provided IT and software support for over 100 customers. She was responsible for ensuring that services were delivered accurately and on-time. An experienced project manager, she is process-oriented and developed streamlined policies and procedures for many of the services her team provided.
Politically, Andrea considers herself a middle of the road Democrat; she is open-minded and open to the ideas of other parties. In the past, she volunteered to help with the campaigns for local politicians and Barack Obama knocking door-to-door, writing letters, and making phone calls. In November 2018, she traveled back to Miami to volunteer as a non-partisan poll-monitor for the organization Election Protection, ensuring that all votes count.
Now that Andrea’s retired, she is eager to do more to help the Democratic party come out on top in the 2020 election. Serving in the role of secretary for Democrats Abroad is just one way she can serve. She also believes her skills in IT, management, and customer support make her a good candidate for the position.
I have lived in Barcelona for more than 30 years, but never lost my interest in U.S. politics and society. Nonetheless, family and other obligations kept me from being little more than a “member in name only” of Democrats Abroad prior to 2016. The election of Donald Trump caused me to rethink my priorities and dedicate more time and energy to the party. As Democrats living overseas, the most important thing we can do for our home country is to vote, and Democrats Abroad plays a critical role in getting U.S. citizens registered (and re-registered every year) to exercise this constitutional right. If elected Secretary of DA-BCN, I will bring my passion and communication skills to the group, with the aim of increasing participation and communication among our members so that we can mobilize an informed and effective block of overseas voters in 2020.
Help us get overseas voters registered by contributing to Democrats Abroad at this link: secure.democratsabroad.org.
Contribute to the Democratic Party to help make sure that their votes and your vote are heard nationally and in the states in which it was cast. The link for overseas contributions is: my.democrats.org/page/contribute/contribute-from-abroad.