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CRLN recently recommended that you watch a NISGUA webinar titled “From the U.S. to Central America: Asylum, Deportations, and COVID-19,” featuring five panelists from Central America and the U.S. who are experts on migration and powerful movement leaders. The panelists spoke about the illegal and inhumane Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs), also known as safe third country agreements. They also discussed deportations during the pandemic, which have greatly impacted already under-resourced medical systems in the Global South.

The recording of the webinar, complete with English subtitles, is now available for viewing, if you were unable to see it when the webinar first aired.

Links: 

Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs)

deportations during the pandemic

recording

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CRLN is a member of the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN). Karen Spring is HSN’s representative in Honduras and is an insightful analyst of what is going on in Honduras today. We encourage you to tune into her upcoming podcast series. The first 2 episodes aired yesterday on the 11th anniversary of the 2009 overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Read her statement and listen below!

Hi there!

Today is the 11th anniversary of the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras. Like so many, I continue to be inspired by the amazing resistance of Hondurans across the country.

Today, I LAUNCHED the Honduras Now podcast, to remember not just a day that sparked a crisis in Honduras but a day that brought together an amazing and tireless popular movement that despite all odds, continues today.

 

Listen to the first two episodes:

** Episode One: The 2009 coup d’état in Honduras – download HERE
** Episode Two: What the coup means 11 years later – download HERE

If you would prefer to read the episodes (or get the links to Honduran feminist artist Karla Lara’s beautiful music), I will post the show notes at: www.hondurasnow.org

Hasta pronto! Thanks for listening!

Karen Spring
Honduras-based Coordinator, Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN)
Honduras Now Podcast

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Guatemala held elections last Sunday that were marred by the interference of the powers controlling the country in the electoral process. The primary anti-corruption candidate, who had been leading in the polls, fled to El Salvador after receiving a death threat earlier in the campaign season, as did the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal threw various obstacles in front of one of the indigenous parties, MLP, to limit its ability to campaign and to limit the number of votes for its candidates. One of its candidates and two of its campaign committee members were murdered. Neither of the two Presidential candidates who won the most votes and will have a run-off election in September have promised to support the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG), and so it will cease operations in September 2019.

Nevertheless, indigenous and progressive parties did better than usual in this election, and the population in general is outraged at official corruption. Below is a more detailed report on the election results by our friends at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA.

 

Guatemala’s June 16th General Elections:

Parties implicated in corruption will face off for the presidency, dominate congress

Strongest showing yet by opposition parties

 

GHRC

June 18, 2019

As expected, Sunday’s general elections in Guatemala resulted in a run-off for the presidency between former First Lady Sandra Torres (National  Unity of Hope – UNE – party) and four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Giamattei (Vamos Party).  The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) reports that Torres took the lead with close to 26% of the vote and Giamattei followed with just under 14%. The run-off will take place August 11. Elected candidates will take office January 14.

The TSE reports that UNE won 53 out of 160 available congressional seats, up from 28 in the last elections.  UNE’s congressional showing alone makes it the dominant political force. Vamos took 16 seats.  During the outgoing Congress, UNE often voted with the“Pact of Corrupts,” an informal coalition that promoted laws favoring corruption and impunity, of which Vamos was considered an ally.

Maya Mam community organizer Thelma Cabrera (Movement for Peoples’ Liberation – MLP – party) came in with 10.5% of the vote, making her the highest polling indigenous presidential candidate ever in Guatemala, a majority indigenous country.  She came in a close fourth place behind Edmund Mulet.  Cabrera’s newly created MLP party issued a statement late in the day on Monday, rejecting the TSE’s official reports.  The MLP reports that local TSE officials refused to provide copies of the official acts registering polling station results as required by law, in some districts the MLP’s symbol was omitted from the ballot, the TSE did not provide MLP with its legally mandated publicity budget, and the TSE blocked MLP locals from opening bank accounts.  Concern regarding electoral irregularities has been heightened since the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes, Oscar Schaad, resigned his post and fled Guatemala five days before the elections in response to death threats.   Leopaldo Guerra, the Director of the TSE’ Citizens Registry, which oversees the registration of candidates, also took a leave just days before the elections citing health reasons, while the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI), Juan Francisco Sandoval, is also reported to be on vacation.

Rural political observers note that during the campaign president Jimmy Morales’ principal anti-poverty initiative, a bag of foodstuffs known as “bolsa solidaria”, was handed out in many areas by UNE political operators.  This suggests an alliance between the outgoing FCN party and UNE.  Over seventeen years and one presidency, the UNE party, created to sponsor Torres’ former husbandÁlvaro Arzú [CRLN note: her former husband was Álvaro Colom] unsuccessful 2003 presidential bid, has built a voting base in rural areas where political clientelism dominates communities plagued by extreme levels of poverty.  Analysts also questioned Giammattei’s presidential showing, noting the Vamos party had no structure in the countryside and in the city polled similarly to Cabrera and Mulet.

On February 27 the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) and its counterpart in the Public Prosecutors office, FECI, asked the Supreme Court of Justice to remove Sandra Torres’ political immunity, which derives from her status as a candidate, to face indictment for crimes related to illicit campaign financing during her last presidential bid in 2015.  This impeachment request is currently pending before the Constitutional Court. Torres could still face charges. Guatemalan press revealed that the charges against Torres were held up in the Attorney Generals’ Office until after she had gained immunity by registering as a candidate.

In 2009 Alejandro Giamattei faced charges brought by CICIG, he was accused of participation in death squad activities while he served as National Penitentiary Director in 2005 and 2006. After first seeking asylum in the Honduran embassy during the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti, Giamattei was acquitted in 2011 by Judge Carol Patricia Flores.  Flores is renowned for judicial acrobatics which favor impunity for corruption and crimes against humanity.  In April 2015, CICIG and FECI requested the removal of Flores’ immunity so that she could be investigated for money laundering and illicit enrichment.  Instead she was sanctioned and it was removed from presiding over a high-risk courtroom.

Sandra Torres has also been touched by prison murder scandals.  Her niece was arrested as an accomplice of Marvin “El Taquero” Montiel Marin in the prison murder of Montiel Marin’s rival, Byron Lima, for control of criminal networks in prison.  Montiel Marin is imprisoned convicted of running a drug assassin network responsible for burning a bus, killing all 26 people inside.

In keeping with past elections, TSE reported that approximately 5 million of 8 million registered voters participated and 13% voted null or left their ballots blank.  In the 2015 electoral law time nullified ballots can have legal implications; if over 50% of ballots are annulled the electoral law would mandate repeated elections.

This election was deeply impacted by court decisions.  Torres’ early challenger Zury Rios was removed from the ballot after the Constitutional Court supported the Elections Tribunal’s finding that, as the daughter of military coup author Efrian Rios Montt, Zury Rios is constitutionally barred from the presidency.  Corruption charges generally believed to be politically motivated removed another early front runner from the race, Semilla candidate and former Attorney General Thelma Aldana.  Aldana remains unable to enter Guatemala without arrest.  Mario Estrada, a lower polling candidate but who represented a significant party, UCN, was arrested in Miami on drug trafficking charges on April 17.  Despite the scandal, UCN won twelve seats in Congress.

Left-leaning opposition parties made the strongest showing since the 1950 elections spurred a CIA backed coup that led to decades of extreme violence directed against any opposition to the business-military alliance that ruled the country.  Parties identified with social demands and anti-corruption platforms took 15 seats in Congress; Semilla (7), Winaq (4), MLP (1) and URNG (3).  In the previous congress, they held thirteen seats; URNG- Winaq (3), Convergencia (3), and Encuentro por Guatemala (7).  Nineth Montenegro, human rights activist and congresswoman since 1996, was not re-elected.  Her party, Encuentro por Guatemala, did not win any seats and according to reforms in the electoral law, will cease to exist. Winaq candidate Aldo Davila on Sunday became the first openly gay man elected to congress. Sandra Moran was the first openly gay woman when she won a congressional seat in the 2015 elections on the Convergencia ticket.  She did not seek re-election. Convergencia did not win any seats in congress and will face a similar fate as Encuentro por Guatemala.

TSE results divide the remaining congressional seats between fifteen small, right wing parties.  Like UNE, they generally appear to have ties to corruption and drug trafficking networks, but are more strongly allied with the military, which seeks protection from prosecution for crimes against humanity.  Giamattei’s VAMOS party won 16 seats, while current president Jimmy Morales’ FCN party took only 7 seats.  Zury Rios’ VALOR party won 9 seats. The Humanista party, whose presidential candidate Edmund Mulet took third place with just over 11% of the vote, won 4 seats in Congress. Mulet was accused of collaborating in a child trafficking ring in the early 1980s. Mulet’s newly formed party’s founders came from the government of former President Alfonso Portillo, who served a prison sentence in New York for financial crimes. Portillo’s attempted bid for Congress was barred by electoral laws, his party, BIEN, won 8 seats.

The most significant incident reported at the polls on election day was the arrest of former General Luis Enrique Mendoza Garcia, the father-in-law of Estuardo Galdamez, presidential candidate for the governing FCN party who garnered just 4% of the vote.  General Mendoza Garcia, arrested Salama, Baja Verapaz, is charged with participating in acts of genocide against Maya Ixil communities between 1982-83.  Galdamez, a congressman representing El Quiche, also served as a military officer in the Ixil area during the genocide.  Maya community leaders and authorities from El Quiche reported with concern that during his campaign Galdamez sought to revive networks of military and former civil patrollers by promising payments to war veterans and demanding impunity for crimes against humanity committed by the military against a largely civilian population in the 1970 and 1980s.  Galdamez and seven fellow congressmen are accused of working with then Vice President Roxana Baldetti to pay fellow congressional representatives for votes on law proposals.

At least two candidates were murdered during campaigns, a mayorial candidate with the FUERZA party and a municipal corporation candidate with MLP.  The MLP also reported the murder of two campaign committee members in the Peten department.  The MLP killings are the latest in a series of murders that target successful Maya-led political projects. Thelma Cabrera represented the newly formed MLP party, the political arm of CODECA, a grassroots indigenous campesino community development organization.  A second successful community development organization, CCDA, brought important support to the Convergencia party. CCDA’s former National Coordinator, Leocadio Juracan, was a high profile congressman who from congress visibly promoted indigenous and campesino rights.

Last year, as planning for campaigns began, CODECA reported that six local leaders were murdered; the CCDA reported three. In 2019, CODECA reported the murder of a community organizer. All of these killings remain in impunity.  Cabrera’s relative success has caused reactions from the business sector. Juan Carlos Telef, president of Guatemala’s largest business association, CACIF,expressed concern that someone with Thelma Cabrera’s political perspectives could gain 10% of the vote.

Given Cabrera’s successful campaign, the increased show in congress, and the violence against MLP, CODECA and CCDA, it is concerning that attacks against parties with strong indigenous and campesino ties could increase in coming years.


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Click here to demand justice for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!

From Karen Spring, Honduras Solidarity Network Coordinator (see more statements and news stories below):

“March 3, 2016

This evening at approximately midnight, the General Coordinator of COPINH,

Berta Caceres

was assassinated in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca. At least two individuals broke down the door of the house where Berta was staying for the evening in the Residencial La Líbano, shot and killed her. COPINH is urgently responding to this tragic situation.

Berta Caceres is one of the leading Indigenous activists in Honduras. She spent her life fighting in defense of Indigenous rights, particularly to land and natural resources. In 2015, Berta won the Goldman Prize for her outstanding activism and leadership. Her death will have a profound impact on the many Lenca communities that she worked with, COPINH, the Honduran social movement, and all that knew her.

Berta Caceres and COPINH have been accompanying various land struggles throughout western Honduras. In the last few weeks, violence and repression towards Berta, COPINH, and the communities they support, had escalated. In Rio Blanco on February 20th, Berta, COPINH, and the community of Rio Blanco faced threats and repression as they carried out a peaceful action to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. As a result of COPINH’s work supporting the Rio Blanco struggle, Berta had received countless threats against her life and was granted precautionary measures by the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights. On February 25th, another Lenca community supported by COPINH in Guise, Intibuca was violently evicted and destroyed.”

CRLN, the Honduras Solidarity Network, and our partners in Honduras are all urgently demanding a thorough and immediate investigation of the circumstances surrounding Berta’s death.



Click here to demand justice for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!



News and statements about Berta’s Assassination:

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El Representante Hank Johnson reintrodujo el

Proyecto de Ley Berta Cáceres de Derechos Humanos en Honduras

, en el 115 Congreso como Resolución de la Cámara 1299 (HR 1299) el 2 de marzo. Esta fecha fue el primer aniversario del asesinato de Berta Cáceres la feminista e activista de derechos indígenas y medioambientales en Honduras. El proyecto de ley suspendería toda la ayuda militar y policial de los Estados Unidos a Honduras, incluyendo equipo y capacitación, hasta que se cumplan condiciones básicas de derechos humanos. La policía y el ejército hondureños han estado implicados en cientos de violaciones a los derechos humanos desde el derrocamiento del gobierno en el 2009, y no deberíamos apoyarlos con nuestros impuestos.

Tenemos una oportunidad asombrosa en los dos últimos años del 115 Congreso (2017-18) para generar suficiente apoyo para este proyecto de ley y lograr su aprobación. Ya, los representantes Schakowsky, Lipinski, Gutiérrez, Rush y Davis de Illinois han firmado para copatrocinar el proyecto de ley.

Aquí hay tres buenas razones por las cuales usted debería firmar su nombre en una carta a su Representante en apoyo de esta resolución. Las cartas serán entregadas por el personal de CRLN cuando estemos en DC para los Días Ecuménicos de Acción (Ecumenical Action Days- EAD):



  1. La familia de Berta apoya este proyecto de ley


    , y nosotros en CRLN creemos en apoyar a los sobrevivientes de los abusos de los derechos humanos. Dos de los sospechosos arrestados en relación con el asesinato de Berta trabajaron en inteligencia militar y fueron entrenados en la Escuela de las Américas de los Estados Unidos, y la familia de Berta cree que los autores intelectuales del crimen ocupan posiciones en los niveles más altos del gobierno. Retirar apoyo financiero, y expresar las razones por hacerlo, sería un golpe para estas fuerzas y podría debilitar su posición dentro de Honduras.


  2. Los movimientos sociales

    en Honduras (LGBT, mujeres, indígenas, garífunas, sindicatos, ecologistas, pequeños agricultores) y los periodistas que los cubren están bajo constante amenaza de violencia

    y nosotros en CRLN queremos hacer todo lo posible para enviar el mensaje de que tienen solidaridad internacional en estos tiempos peligrosos. Ha habido alegaciones creíbles de un ex miembro del ejército de la existencia de escuadrones de la muerte dentro del ejército hondureño, las cuales han recibido entrenamiento en los Estados Unidos y que tienen una lista de importantes líderes del movimiento social. Tenemos que detener el entrenamiento que los Estados Unidos da y que ayuda a lograr estos asesinatos.


  3. El actual presidente, Juan Orlando Hernández, su administración y partido político están plagados de corrupción.


    Ha sido nombrado por un líder de narcotraficantes en un juicio en Nueva York como receptor de sobornos de su cartel, con el hermano de Hernández actuando como enlace. Su Partido Nacional robó cientos de millones de dólares del sistema nacional del seguro de salud para financiar su primera campaña. Volverá a postularse a la presidencia este otoño, lo cual viola la Constitución; despidió a cuatro magistrados de la Corte Suprema que estaban en contra de la reelección y nombro a cuatro que si estaban a favor. Los Estados Unidos no debe recompensar con fondos a alguien que parece dispuesto a beneficiarse a expensas de su país.

Para más información, le presentamos algunos artículos recientes sobre Honduras:

Lea aquí acerca del Padre Ismael Moreno Coto, o Padre Melo, un sacerdote jesuita “que se ha convertido en uno de los principales líderes opositores de Honduras, el país más violento de Centroamérica”:


https://www.nytimes.com/es/2017/03/26/el-sacerdote-que-se-enfrenta-al-pr…

El Blog

Honduras Resiste

por nuestros companerxs de La Voz de los de Abajo tiene muchos artículos en español e ingles sobre la situación de DDHH en Honduras y Berta Cáceres:


http://hondurasresists.blogspot.com

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Haz click aquí para exigir justicia para el asesinato de Berta Cáceres!

Escrito por Karen Spring, Coordinadora de la Red de Solidaridad con Honduras (Vea abajo para más historias, reflecciones, y artículos sobre la vida y asesinato de Berta):

“3 de marzo, 2016

 

Esta noche del 2 de marzo, aproximadamente a las 11:45 pm, la coordinadora general de COPINH,

Berta Caceres

, fue asesinada en su pueblo natal de la Esperanza, Intibucá. Al menos dos individuos rompieron la puerta de la casa donde Berta se hospedaba en el Residencial La Líbano, le dispararon y la mataron. COPINH está respondiendo de forma urgente a esta situación trágica.

 

Berta Caceras es una de las principales líderes indígenas de Honduras. Paso su vida luchando por la defensa de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, particularmente de su territorio y recursos naturales. En el 2015, Berta ganó el premio Goldman por su lucha y liderazgo incansable como defensora. Su muerte tendrá un impacto profundo en las comunidades Lencas con las que trabajaba, en COPINH, en el movimiento social de Honduras, y en todos quienes la conocieron.

 

Berta Caceres y COPINH han estado acompañando diversas luchas por el territorio en el occidente de Honduras. En estas últimas semanas, la violencia y represión en contra de Berta, el COPINH y las comunidades que apoyan, había escalado. El 20 de febrero en Rio Blanco, Berta, COPINH y la comunidad de Rio Blanco se enfrentaron a amenazas y represión mientras llevaban acabo una actividad pacífica para proteger el Rio Gualcarque de la construcción de una presa hydroeléctrica por parte de la empresa hondureña DESA con financiamiento internacional. Como resultado de el trabajo de COPIHN en apoyo de la lucha de Rio Blanco, Berta recibió múltiples amenazas contra su vida y fue otorgada medidas cautelares de parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. El 25 de febrero, otra comunidad Lenca apoyada por COPINH en Guise Intibuca fue desalojada violentamente y destruida.”

 

CRLN, la Red de Solidaridad con Honduras, y todxs nuestrxs compañerxs en Honduras estamos exigiendo urgentemente una investigación exhaustiva e inmediata de los hechos ocurridos.



Haz click aquí para exigir justicia para el asesinato de Berta Cáceres!



Otras historias y declaraciones acerca la vida y asasinato de Berta Cáceres:


Declaración (en facebook) de La Voz de Los de Abajo


Historia en Democracy Now!


Artículo en La Prensa del punto de vista de la madre de Berta

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The end of 2016 and 2017 have seen the adoption of Peace Accords between the Colombian government and the largest rebel group, FARC, and a new round of Peace Talks begun between the government and the smaller rebel group, ELN. At this point, the FARC has demobilized and is moving into designated “camps,” where they will live for an allotted amount of time before being free to relocate. They have been given the right to form a political party and run candidates for public office.

However, other armed groups who were not part of the Peace Accords still roam the countryside and are moving with their weapons into the spaces that the FARC used to control. These are the right-wing successors to the paramilitary groups that were supposedly dismantled ten years ago. Local people they terrorize say these newly named groups contain many of the same individuals who belonged to the former paramilitary groups. They also say that the national security forces do nothing to stop paramilitary violence, even when they are stationed nearby and are asked to do so.

These armed groups have often been deployed to further private interests on valuable land—for example, to violently displace communities of small landholders to provide free land for wealthy individuals or corporations to plant palm oil plantations. By 2017, over 6 million people had been violently displaced from their land in Colombia during the course of the 50+ year war.

Since December of 2016, these reorganized paramilitary groups have gone on a rampage, particularly in areas with African-descended and Indigenous populations, and killed hundreds of people. There is no peace, despite the Peace Accords, in the many areas where these groups are active. Without some commitment on the part of the Colombian government to disarm and dismantle these reorganized paramilitary groups, there will be no peace in Colombia. Nor will there be peace unless those in the paramilitary groups who have committed human rights violations are held to the same standards of justice as members of FARC during the period of transitional justice on the road to peace.

Before he left office, President Obama had promised $450 million to Colombia, much of it to be given to NGOs rather than the government, to support the implementation of the Peace Accords. While CRLN appreciated the diversion of military funds to funds for peace, we thought these funds would be better used if distributed directly to grassroots Colombian groups active in the local places where peace must be realized between former combatants on opposite sides in the war or between combatants from either side and civilian survivors of violence. That may be a moot point, as President Trump and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have signaled that the US may withdraw support from Colombia’s peace process entirely. We must advocate for continuing support for the peace process, given its fragility and the challenges it faces.


CRLN will be in DC from April 21-24, visiting Illinois Representatives and Senators. Send your signature to D.C. with CRLN

by singing up HERE.

Our ask will be for funding to implement the Peace Accords in Colombia and for Colombian officials to dismantle paramilitaries still active in the country.​

For further reading, here are some recent articles on Colombia:

Amnesty International report on attacks in NW Colombia:


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/colombia-spike-in-attacks-against-peace-community-shows-conflict-still-alive

Telesur article on paramilitary groups moving into territory left behind as FARC demobilizes:

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Paramilitary-Groups-Fight-To-Take-Over-Lands-Left-by-FARC-20170212-0040.html

Washington Office on Latin America on Colombian Congressional efforts to water down Peace Accords:

Colombia’s New Transitional Justice Law Violates the Spirit of the Peace Accords


NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) on the importance of continued US-Colombia solidarity:


https://nacla.org/news/2017/02/07/continued-importance-us-colombia-solidarity-trump-era?platform=hootsuite&utm_content=buffer3fe1d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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More than a month after the murder of Honduran indigenous Lenca activist Berta Cáceres, the Honduran investigation into the crime has gone nowhere. CRLN believes that both the Honduran government and the U.S. State Department are blocking attempts by Berta’s family and human rights groups to transfer the investigation to an international team with no conflicts of interest in the case who could ensure justice.

Berta’s family insists it does not trust Honduran officials to investigate her murder and have called for an

independent, international investigation coordinated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

and whose conclusions would lead to a court case to try those responsible.  Honduran law states that the family can have access to the case file and consult with experts of its choosing, but the state prosecutor’s office has refused to share information with them and has ignored their requests for experts to be present at various moments in the investigation. The sole witness to the crime, Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro, says that Honduran investigators modified the crime scene and sought to intimidate him into incriminating members of Berta’s organization, COPINH. Honduras’ 98% impunity rate is also grounds for mistrust.

President Juan Orlando Hernández claimed that Honduran investigators were working with the FBI to solve the crime. CRLN members and staff who called the State Department to ask it to support an IACHR investigation were also told that the FBI was working with Honduran investigators. However,

it turns out that this is not true

. Given the U.S. record of support for the current Honduran administration, in spite of massive government corruption uncovered last year and its abysmal human rights record, FBI help might not be what is needed anyway.

President Hernández also called on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for help, but as the family and human rights groups quickly pointed out, this office does not conduct investigations, just observes. Finally, President Hernández agreed that the Organization of American States (OAS)’s Commission Against Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH, for its Spanish acronym)  could make an investigation. However, that body is only consultative, and the Honduran government has no obligation to enforce its recommendations. The U.S. State Department agrees, however, that MACCIH is the proper channel for the investigation.

It seems clear that both Honduras and the U.S. are primarily engaged in public relations and damage control around Berta’s murder, not interested in finding the material and intellectual authors of her death. Both are interested in at worst destroying, at best keeping the lid on, social movements which disrupt the ability of corporate extractive industries to do their business. That business is protected by both private security guards and the

Honduran military and police, heavily funded by the U.S

., who are deployed against activists, like Berta and many others, in the social movements. COFADEH, the most prominent human rights organization in Honduras, is talking about the

activity of death squads

again.

Berta’s daughters and son have returned from meetings in the DC area, disappointed at not getting official U.S. support for an IACHR investigation. They have returned to Honduras, where they will participate in an International Solidarity event called “Berta Cáceres Vive” [Berta Cáceres lives] April 13-15, organized by COPINH, the organization their mother co-founded. As U.S. citizens, the ball is in our court now. Stay tuned for next steps as CRLN and other organizations concerned about Honduras identify strategies to prompt a credible investigation into Berta’s death.

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Berta Caceres’ Case

COPINH denounces the continous will of the Honduran State to keep in impunity the case of Berta Cáceres Flores. Read their statement here: (Spanish only)

http://copinhonduras.blogspot.it/2017/04/el-copinh-denuncia-la-reiterada.html

On April 7th,

Two letters by US Senators and Representatives were sent to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressing their concern about the situation of human right defenders in Honduras.

78 US politicians demand that military and police aid to Honduras be withheld until the situation for human rights defenders improves drastically in the country.

CRLN staff and board members participated, in a Voz de los de Abajo delegation in March, as human rights observers in a march by COPINH and its allies to the Supreme Court. They delivered a letter containing a constitutional challenge to the legality of the Legislative Decrees authorizing the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project on the Gualcarque River, something Berta had wanted to do before she was killed. That was March 1, and the Constitutional Chamber has not yet admitted it for consideration by the Supreme Court.

*Karla Lara and Melissa Cardoza, feminists, social justice organizers in Honduras and close friends of Berta Caceres, are doing a US tour April 20th to May 23rd.

Melissa Cardoza’s book,


13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance,
tells thirteen stories of women who joined the resistance to the U.S.-backed 2009 coup d’etat. She will be touring along with her fellow member of the Honduran “Red de Defensoras,” or network of women rights defenders, beloved Honduran jazz/folk protest singer

Karla Lara,

who appears in one of the book’s stories and has been an icon and sharp voice in the resistance.

They will be in Chicago with CRLN on April 30th, Join Us.

Read more about Karla and Melissa and their work here.

2017 National Elections

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) is an ally of the Juan Orlando government, by letting him run for the 2017 elections, despite that re-election is prohibited by the Honduran constitution. Now, the TSE wants to forbid the Party Against Corruption (PAC), a major opposition party, from the national elections on November. The TSE wants PAC to hold an internal leadership election on May 21ST. However, this date will give the political opposition just four days to decide on a political alliance- making it extremely hard to form such alliance. By May 25, all alliances must be officially listed.

Garifuna and Indigenous Communities

The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples,

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, visited Honduras from April 16-21st.

She met with the highest national governmental authorities, representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Her first visit to the country was in November 2015

. This second visit was a follow up on observations and recommendations regarding the process to regulate the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples. She presented recommendations to the Honduran government, and many fear that these

recommendations will be ignored once again.

The Honduran government is currently drafting a free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) law. However indigenous organizations, such as OFRANEH (Garifuna) and COPINH (Lenca) , denounce that the government is

marginalizing indigenous communities from the process and instead the Juan Orlando’s administration is taking over.

There has been a

recent violent attack against labor leaders at the international company Fyffes.

Solidarity Center reports that “Moisés Sánchez, secretary general of the melon export branch of the Honduran agricultural workers’ union, Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), and his brother, union member Misael Sánchez

, say they were attacked late last week by six men wielding machetes as they left the union office in the southern town of Choluteca

, an area where agricultural workers harvest melons and other export produce”.

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