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.


Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs)

deportations during the pandemic


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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:

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



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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Delegation to Meet with Social Justice and Human Rights Organizations

Since the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, CRLN members have partnered with local and national organizations to work to restore democracy to Honduras.  Two of those local partners,

La Voz de los de Abajo


Casa Morazan

are organizing a weeklong delegation to Honduras, to build ties with Honduran organizations working on behalf of social justice.  Join us – to hear directly from human rights leaders in Honduras so that we are equipped to advocate for just US policies.

The coup in Honduras, led by a graduate of the US’s School of the Americas program, has led to the deaths of human rights and social justice leaders in Honduras and called into question the US’s commitment to democracy in this hemisphere.  The cost of the delegation is $1,200 including airfare.  Please prayerfully consider joining us on this delegation and working with us upon your return to advocate for policies that will encourage restoring democracy in Honduras.

For more information, call 773-293-2964


Recent CRLN Webstories on Honduras

Summary of Delegation from La Voz de los de Abajo and Casa Morazan

For more than 2 months, the Honduran people and their
organizations have surprised the world with their sacrifice and bravery in
mobilizing daily in resistance to the coup of June 28.  In response to the call from social organizations and the
Honduras National Front Against the Coup, La Voz de los de Abajo and Casa
Morazan is organizing a week-long delegation to Honduras, with the overall goal
of building a solidarity movement supporting the social justice movement in
Honduras and strengthening ties between U.S. organizations and activists and our
counterparts in Honduras.

There is limited space on the delegation. We are looking for
people involved in solidarity work, media, cultural work, trade union and
workers’ rights, healthcare, immigrant rights and others who are interested in
learning directly about the situation in Honduras and willing to help bring
information about the Honduran people’s movement to the U.S.

The delegation will meet with organizations that are
participating in the National Front Against the Coup and with human rights and
alternative media organizations. The National Front Against the Coup is the
coordinating organization for all the organizations in the country that are
resisting the coup. It holds regular general assemblies in which decisions are
made for resistance activities. Below is an introduction to some of the organizations that our delegation will have the opportunity to meet and to talk with.

The Central Nacional
de los Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC) The National Center for Rural

is one of the largest
and most active campesino base organizations in Honduras. It was founded in 1985
when 5 campesino groups joined together to build an organization dedicated to
the struggle for land for the landless and poorest farmers.  It
organizes not only for land, but also for access to healthcare, education,
housing and other basic services. The CNTC has affiliated communities in most of
the 18 departments (states) of Honduras. It was one of the few campesino
organizations to publicly oppose U.S. intervention in Central America during the
1980’s and it has continued to take progressive positions on international and
national social justice issues.  Because of its work in the
countryside its communities and leaders have frequently been targets for
governmental and landowner repression. The CNTC is a member of the Popular
Block, the National Coordinator for Popular Resistance and since the June
28 coup it has been an active participant in the National Front
Against the Coup (Frente Natcional en Contral el Golpe).

El Comite de Familiares de los Desaparecios en Honduras
(COFADEH) The Committee of the Families of the Disappeared in Honduras

was rounded on November 30, 1982 in Tegucigalpa. COFADEH is a center for moral
and political resistance to the abuses of government and an organization for the
defense and promotion of human rights. Its objectives are to fight against
impunity; to use the law and justice to end the practice of politically and
ideologically motivated forced disappearance of persons; to contribute to the
protection of the full application of human rights and to maintain alive the
collective memory of the past.

El Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e
Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH) The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous
Organizations of Honduras

is an activist indigenous organization in the
southwestern region of Honduras with national reach. It was founded in March of
1993 to fight for the recognition of and achievement of political, social,
cultural and economic rights for the indigenous peoples in Honduras. It is also
a center for analysis of the regional and national conditions with the aim of
developing actions and proposals on an ongoing basis for the achievement of its
goals. COPINH is an active member of the Popular Block, National Coordinator of
Popular Resistance and it is an active member of the National Front Against the

La Central General de Trabajadores

(CGT) The General
Workerr’ Center is one of the union
centersin Honduras. It was formed in 1970 and has aroudn 120 thousand affiliated
workers. The CGT is one of the few workers’ organizations to survive through the
decade of the 1980’s which saw the most cruel and bloody refpression against the
working class and the other diverse organized sectors of the people. The CGT is
one of the largest organizations active in the National Front Against the Coup.

The organization LOS NECIOS

is a political organization working for radical change in the dominant and unjust
social and economic structures in order to build a different society. The
organization is centered in Tegucigalpa and is composed of members, mainly
youth, from different sectors who are committed to social transformation.
The Necios’ political activity is organizing in diverse social sectors,
political education and ongoing analysis of the national reality. Much of their
work is also in alternative media. The Necios organization was a member of the
National Coordinator of Popular Resistance prior to the coup.

Colegio de Profesores de Educación Media de Honduras
(COPEMH) The College of Secondary School Professors of

is the organization of
all the high school teachers in the country. Teachers have played an extremely
crucial role in Honduran society and COPEMH is the strongest teachers’
organization in Honduras with an impressive ability to mobilize and sustain the
mobilization of its members and supporters. It is an important participant in
the National Front Against the Coup and at least 2 of its members have been
killed during the repression since the coup on June 28th

La Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras
(OFRANEH) The Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras

was founded in 1979 to defend the
Garifuna and other Afro-Honduran’s rights, lands, and culture and to fight for
justice in all spheres of life for these communities. The Garifuna people are
the largest ethnic minority in Honduras and OFRANEH has struggled for legal
recognition and protection of their lands and territory, and for bilingual
education. OFANEH is an activist organization that has participated, since its
founding, in the movements for social justice in Honduras; it has also been a
target for repression throughout its history. It is currently an active
participant in the National Front Against the Coup.

Dr. Luther Castillo and the
First Garifuna Hospital in Honduras

Dr. Castillo is a Garifuna physician and outspoken community organizer and also the
director of the Luaga Hatuadi Waduheno (“For the Health of Our People”
Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to bringing health services to the
isolated indigenous communities on the Atlantic Coast. Dr. Castillo graduated
from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba in 2005 and returned to his
region to lead the building of the first “Garifuna hospital” which serves 20,000
people. He was named “Honduran Doctor of the Year” by the International Rotary
Club of Tegucigalpa in 2007. Since the coup in June of this year, Dr. Castillo
has been threatened and the coup government has tried to shut down the hospital.
Dr. Castillo was a member of the delegation of Honduran civil society that
toured the United States this summer to lecture on the situation in

Each of these organizations is playing an important role in
the struggle to restore the constitutional order in Honduras, beginning with the
restitution of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and in the fight for the “4th
Urn”  aimed at constitutional reform. The delegation will have the opportunity
to visit these organizations and leaders of the National Front Against the Coup
in Honduras, including candidates and elected officials from the Democratic
Unification Party (UD), independent candidates, Carlos H. Reyes and Berta
Caseres, and  anti-coup members of the Liberal Party. The delegation will also
have the oppoortunity to meet with representatives of the communication media,
that have truely informing the people about what is going on in Honduras and to
hear of their experiences and contributions to the resistence.

La Voz de los de Abajo is a Chicago organization that has
worked in solidarity with the social justice movements in Honduras for 11 years.
Much of our work has been directly with the campesino movement and the National
Center for Rural Workers (CNTC). Over the past 11 years we have participated in
organizing for the Pastors for Peace caravans to Mexico, Honduras and
Nicaragua.  We have organized many small delegations that have
traveled to campesino and indigenous communities across Honduras and
participated in conferences and visits to social organizations in Tegucigalpa.

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Mujeres en Resistencia: Reporte de la Delegación de la Comisión de Derechos en Guatemala

Fotos:Trischa Goodnow

La Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala llevo a cabo su delegación anual en Agosto centrada en el rol crucial de las mujeres Guatemaltecas en la defensa de los derechos humanos. La delegación titulada “Defensoras: Mujeres Guatemaltecas Defendiendo Tierra, Justicia, y Derechos Humanos”,  tomo lugar en diferentes localidades de Guatemala en las fechas de 30 de Julio al 7 de Agosto del 2016. Marisa León Gómez, miembro del personal de CRLN, se unió a otras mujeres que trabajan y promocionan los derechos humanos en los Estados Unidos y Latino América para aprender y compartir con sus colegas en Guatemala. La delegación comenzó en la ciudad de Guatemala con visitas a diferentes organizaciones, luego viajo a Nebaj, en el departamento de Quiche para encontrarse con mujeres de la Comunidad Maya Ixil, regreso a la Cuidad de Guatemala, y termino con una visita a las comunidades de San Jose del Golfo y San Pedro Ayampuc, las cuales están en una resistencia pacífica en contra de una minería Estadunidense. La primera visita de la delegación fue a una exhibición permanente ¿Por qué estamos como estamos?, para que las delegadas obtuvieran información de fondo de la situación de racismo, discriminación, desigualdad y violencia que actualmente aflige a la sociedad Guatemalteca.

Actualización de la Puya

La Resistencia de la Puya

es una resistencia pacífica por las comunidades de San Jose del Golfo y San Pedro Ayampuc en contra de la minería Estaunidense de oro Kappes, Cassidy & Associates. CRLN ha apoyado la Resistencia de la Puya, la cual se ha estado organizando en contra de la mina y en la defensa de su agua desde hace cuatro años y medio. En el 2012, Miriam Pixtun Monroy, lideresa Maya Indígena de la resistencia, asistió y hablo brevemente acerca de la resistencia en el Encuentro Anual de CRLN, después de que el orador principal termino. Martha Pierce, miembro de la Junta Directiva de CRLN, visita la resistencia cada año conjunto a su delegación que hace en Guatemala.  La delegación de GHRC se encontró con Miriam en la Cuidad de Guatemala y luego viajaron a La Puya para ver personalmente la resistencia. Miembros de la resistencia, explicaron los nuevos avances a la delegación y las luchas que encuentran mientras continúan resistiendo pacíficamente la presencia de la mina en sus comunidades:

  • La compañía minera nunca obtuvo un permiso legal de construcción para operar y también fallo en consultar a las comunidades antes de empezar la minería, violando los Acuerdos de Paz de Guatemala de 1996.
  • Miembros de las comunidades han sido criminalizados, ha habido opresión militar y policial, y una gran división de familias ( en ciertas familias, ciertos miembros trabajan para la mina y otros miembros se oponen a la mina y son parte de la resistencia)
  • La comunidad gano amparos en contra de la compañía minera, lo cual tuvo que haber parado cualquier actividad minera desde Noviembre del 2015. Sin embargo, las comunidades no fueron notificadas de su victoria hasta Enero del 2016.
  • Debido a que la compañía minera no paro sus actividades aun con una orden de la Corte Constitucional, la comunidad comenzó una segunda resistencia en frente del Ministerio de Energía y Minas en la Cuidad de Guatemala la cual llamaron

    “ La Puyita”

    . Esto se debe a que el Ministerio de Energía y Minas dijo que iba a “analizar” la orden de la Corte Constitucional, en vez de simplemente acatar la orden como se supone que lo tienen que hacer.
  • Debido a la resistencia en ambos lados, La Puya y la Puyita, la compañía minera finalmente paro todas sus actividades el 10 de Mayo del 2016. Legalmente, no debería de haber ninguna actividad dentro de la mina. Sin embargo en la visita de la delegación a la Puya, los delegados presenciaron un carro conduciéndose en el complejo de mina y miembros de la resistencia reportaron actividades mineras llevadas a cabo por helicópteros y otras formas.
  • Miembros de la resistencia, también reportaron que hay rumores que el Ministerio de Energía y Minas quiere utilizar otro amparo justificándose en que Kappes, Cassidy & Associates han invertido más de $40 millones, y que deben completar su trabajo para que todo su capital no se desperdicie y para que inversores extranjeros no tengan miedo de invertir en Guatemala.
  • Las comunidades ya están vigilantes del hecho que la compañía minera puede demandar al Gobierno de Guatemala,

    como fue el caso en El Salvador.

  • La resistencia realmente aprecia la presión en contra del Gobierno de Guatemala y  de la compañía minera y el trabajo de solidaridad con su causa. Miembros de la resistencia dicen que el apoyo internacional es muy importante para su trabajo y para la defensa de los ríos y el medio ambiente.

La CICIG, Corrupción y El Ministerio Publico de Guatemala

La organizaciones de derechos humanos y de justicia social aprecian el trabajo de la

Comisión Internacional en Contra de la Impunidad en Guatemala  (CICIG).

Muchas defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos durante la delegación expresaron que el record de derechos humanos de Guatemala sería peor de no ser por la CICIG. Sin embargo, muchas organizaciones dijeron que la CICIG está fallando en trabajar con mujeres y movimientos u organizaciones indígenas.

La Red de No Violencia en Contra de la Mujer (REDNOVI)

expreso que la CICIG no ha beneficiado la prevención de la violencia en contra de la mujeres. La representante de REDNOVI espera que la CICIG comience una investigación de estructuras paralelas que previenen el proceso de la prevención de la violencia en contra de la mujer pueda avanzar. Igualmente, miembros de la resistencia de la Puya esperan que la CICIG pueda ayudar con su caso. Como se explicó arriba, la compañía minera Estadunidense Kappes, Cassidy & Associates ha operado ilegalmente en Guatemala, y miembros de la resistencia han sido injustamente criminalizados.

Adicionalmente,  El Ministerio Publico de Guatemala ha tenido un rol prominente en los casos de corrupción de oficiales de alto rango. La actual Fiscal, Thelma Aldana, llevo a cabo investigaciones que probaron que el ex- Presidente Otto Pérez Molina y la ex- Vicepresidente Roxana Baldetti estuvieron involucrados en el escándalo de corrupción de la aduana en Guatemala. La Fiscal previa, Claudia Paz y Paz, hizo un gran cambio en el sistema judicial de Guatemala, siendo su mayor logro la sentencia en cargos de genocidio y crimines de lesa humanidad del Militar General y  ex-Presidente Efraín Ríos Montt. La sentencia de Ríos Montt fue anulada por la Corte Constitucional días después, Sin embargo la juez Paz y Paz desafío el statu quo en Guatemala y abrió las puertas de la justicia, las cuales habían estado cerradas por mucho tiempo.

La corupcion rampante en Guatemala continua, tanto en el gobierno como en la oligarquía Guatemalteca. Impuestos bajos y/o evasión de impuestos por los ricos de Guatemala continúan teniendo un gran efecto en el país. Iduvina Hernandez, de


, explico a la delegación que el 6% más rico de la población evita pagar impuestos, y los que sí pagan (las clases trabajadoras) son robados por el gobierno. Los niveles de impunidad en Guatemala son alrededor del 90% por corrupción y evasión de impuestos. Igualmente, los  gobernantes de Guatemala defienden de cualquier manera posible los intereses económicos de la elite y de empresas extranjeras. Todo esto roba al estado de fondos, haciéndolo difícil que la situación vulnerable del país mejore.

La Administración de Jimmy Morales y los Militares

A pesar de haber progreso en Guatemala en las áreas de impunidad y corrupción, con el arresto del ex Presidente y Vicepresidente, el gobierno de Jimmy Morales está lejos de ser el ideal. El Presidente Morales ha sido vinculado con y ha defendido a los militares que estuvieron involucrados en el conflicto armado interno y en violaciones de derechos humanos. Morales ha reclamado el país vecino de Belice como Guatemalteco, ha incluido mensajes xenofóbicos y racistas como parte de su comedia, y ha negado que el genocidio en contra de la Comunidad Maya Ixil haya ocurrido.

Plan Alianza de la Prosperidad


conjunto a otras organizaciones, están dudosos del Plan propuesto como Alianza para la Prosperidad, dando $750 millones de dólares a los países del Triángulo Norte: Honduras, Guatemala, y El Salvador. Las organizaciones de derechos humanos están escépticos de las siguientes tres razones: a) El plan apoya la inversión extranjera en los tres países, lo cual puede resultar en situaciones como la de la Puya, b)Una gran parte del dinero va hacia los militares y las iniciativas de seguridad, a pesar de que hay pruebas de violaciones a derechos humanos por los militares y y la correlación de los altos niveles de violencia con la presencia de los militares en las calles, c) El dinero va a gobiernos corruptos los cuales tienen records terribles en valorar los derechos humanos. Adicionalmente, el plan se ve como un esfuerzo para parar inmigración a los EE.UU. a través de la militarización y la detención de inmigrantes antes de que lleguen a tierras Estadunidenses. Los delegados de GHRC se reunieron con representantes de la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Guatemala y encontraron que los EE.UU. todavía tiene confianza en los militares de Guatemala, al expresar que, “ los militares del presente son diferentes”.  La delegación tuvo una discusión con el representante de la Embajada Estadunidense acerca de puntos de consternación en el ámbito de derechos humanos en Guatemala.

Mujeres en Resistencia (Lista y Resumen de Organizaciones durante la delegación)

La primera reunión organizacional fue con


(Familias de Desaparecidos de Guatemala) la cual fue fundada por familiares, sobre todo madres y esposas, de los desaparecidos del conflicto armado interno. 45,000 personas fueran desaparecidas forzosamente  durante el conflicto armado en Guatemala. FAMDEGUA tiene un papel crucial en el rol de exhumaciones de cementerios clandestinos y reparaciones a las víctimas, así como acompañar casos como el de la mascare de las Dos Erres. A pesar de recibir amenazas a muerte y vandalismo en sus oficinas, de 107 exhumaciones hechas, 1276 restos han sido recuperados.

La siguiente fue una reunión con


(Seguridad en Democracia). Guatemala siendo un país extremadamente peligroso para defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos, SEDEM trabaja en en la evaluación de riesgos y medidas de autoprotección para los defensores. SEDEM trabaja tambien con la reforma del ejército y la policía desde una perspectiva de derechos humanos y en la desclasificación de información de violaciones de derechos humanos durante el conflicto armado interno.

La siguiente reunión tomo lugar en Nebaj, en el departamento de El Quiche, donde hubo un genocidio de la comunidad Maya Ixil.

Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial (ECAP)

es una organization que trabaja en factores psicosociales con individuos y comunidades que han sufrido 30 años del conflicto armado interno. Esto incluye trabajar y brindar apoyo psicosocial a las mujeres y las comunidades indígenas que ahora son testigos de los juicios por genocidio y / o violencia sexual durante el conflicto armado.

Luego la delegación se reunió con

la Asociación Flor de Maguey y el Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos, CALDH.

La reunión con la Asociación Flor de Maguey fue probablemente la más emotiva para la delegación, ya que la Asociación consiste en un grupo de mujeres sobrevivientes mayas del genocidio en la región de Quiché. La delegación escuchó el testimonio de cada mujer en el idioma maya Ixil, luego traducido al español y más tarde al Inglés. Las mujeres hablaron de diferentes traumas vividos durante y después del conflicto armado interno, incluyendo el sufrimiento de violencia sexual, la desaparición forzada de miembros de la familia, presenciar la matanza de miembros de la familia, y testificar en el caso de genocidio de Ríos Montt. Las mujeres formaron una red de apoyo en sus comunidades y se ayudaron mutuamente a sanar al compartir sus historias, el dolor y la búsqueda de la justicia.


es un grupo que apoya a grupos como la Asociación de la flor Maguey, proporcionando acompañamiento pysco-social y ayudando a luchar por la verdad y la justicia.

Finalmente en Nebaj, Las delegadas se reunieron con

la Red de Mujeres Ixiles

la cual consiste en una red de 364 mujeres que trabaja para apoyar a las víctimas de la violencia actual contra las mujeres y para avanzar en los derechos de las mujeres.

De regreso en la Cuidad de Guatemala, la última visita organizacional fue con

La Red de No Violencia en Contra de la Mujer (REDNOVI),

la cual trabaja para prevenir, actuar y eliminar todas las formas de violencia y opresión en contra de las mujeres. REDNOVI trabaja en leyes, políticas públicas y mecanismos específicos por la defensa y el avance de las mujeres. La red está formada por diferentes organizaciones que trabajan en diferentes áreas en la defensa de los derechos de la mujer.

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Bill Summary: 

This bill prohibits funds from being made available to Honduras for the police or military (including for equipment and training), and directs the Department of the Treasury to instruct U.S. representatives at multilateral development banks to vote against any loans for the police or military of Honduras, until the Department of States certifies that the government of Honduras has:

  • prosecuted members of the military and police for human rights violations and ensured that such violations have ceased;
  • established the rule of law and guaranteed a judicial system capable of bringing to justice members of the police and military who have committed human rights abuses;
  • established that it protects the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, government critics, and civil society activists to operate without interference;
  • withdrawn the military from domestic policing; and
  • brought to trial and obtained verdicts against those who ordered and carried out the attack on Felix Molina and the killings of Berta Caceres, Joel Palacios Lino, Elvis Armando Garcia, and over 100 small-farmer activists in the Aguan Valley.

Current co-sponsors:

60 total in U.S.; from IL – Schakowsky, Lipinski, Gutierrez, Rush, Davis, Quigley, Foster

Reasons to Co-sponsor

  1. The U.S. should not fund security forces that have committed such an alarming number of human rights abuses with a 97% impunity rate.

    Some argue that U.S. training for Honduran troops will professionalize them, but there is no evidence of improvement since the 2009 military coup d’etat. Those who planned that coup
    are still in power. In fact, there is credible evidence that units of the Honduran military trained by the U.S. are operating as “death squads” and have hit lists of the leaders of various social movements. Berta Cáceres was one casualty.
  2. The U.S should not entrust funds to an administration as corrupt as that of Juan Orlando Hernández’ in a country with such a weak judicial system.

    We cannot have any confidence that funds given to Honduras will be used for their intended purpose. There is rampant institutional corruption in Honduras. High-level officials siphon off money from public institutions for their own gain or for political advantage. The looting of at least $350 million from the social security system by its chief administrator, part of which funded National Party efforts to elect current President Hernández in 2013, is an example.

    The Unbearable Solitude of Honduras’ Attorney General

Officials also have been implicated in taking bribes from drug trafficking gangs in exchange for allowing gangs to operate without police interference.

Another Day, Another Damning Testimony of Elites by Honduras Trafficker

3.  U.S. funds should not be sent to support military and police forces in a country which                 appears headed for dictatorship.

Current President Hernández is running for re-election, forbidden by the Honduran Constitution. Last year, he fired 4 Supreme Court justices who challenged the constitutionality of his running for re-election and appointed replacements who would support it. He uses the military in domestic policing, also forbidden by the Constitution, and has formed a Military Police Force in addition to the National Police. This year, the Honduran Congress passed changes to the penal code that threaten free speech and freedom of assembly rights, with stiff criminal penalties, which have citizens worried that they will not be able effectively to publicly oppose government policies.

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Timeline of Events Surrounding Coup

Both the U.S. and Honduran mainstream media has published misinformation about the events surrounding the coup of June 28,2009.  For example, the allegation that President Zelaya wanted to change the constitution in order to extend his time in office was invented by the coup leaders and repeated early and often.  However, President Zelaya never stated this.  The following timeline includes critical events leading up to and following the coup, including social legislation passed by President Zelaya in the months before the coup:

November 11, 2008:

President Zelaya announces his intent to conduct an opinion poll to see if the people want to have a fourth ballot box installed at polling places during the next election (11/29/09).  This fourth ballot box would be in addition to the ballot boxes for President, Congress, and local officials for the purpose of holding a non-binding referendum asking people if they want the government to hold a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution.

February 2009:

President Zelaya increases the minimum wage by 60%. Chiquita (formerly United Fruit Company) and Dole join the Honduran Business Council in complaining that this will cut into their profits and lead to mass unemployment.  However, this increase results in salaries that are still less than a third of a living wage for Hondurans.

March 24, 2009:

President Zelaya issues a decree to the National Statistical Institute to hold the opinion poll on June 28, 2009.  Article 5 of the Honduran “Civil Participation Act” of 2006, approved by Congress and the Supreme Court at the time, allows public officials to perform non-binding public consultations to inquire what the population thinks about policy measures.  While the constitution can only be changed by a 2/3 majority of the Congress, Zelaya was merely attempting to gauge public opinion as an advisory measure for Congress.

March 25, 2009:

The Attorney General’s office notifies Zelaya that if he proceeds with the opinion poll, he will be charged with abuse of power.

May 2009:

The Supreme Court, the Congress, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal all rule that the opinion poll is illegal, in spite of the fact that in 2006, the Congress had passed and the Supreme Court had approved the above-mentioned Civil Participation Act allowing for non-binding public consultations.

June 25, 2009:

Gen. Romeo Vasquez, trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, tells President Zelaya that the armed forces will not distribute ballots for the non-binding referendum as ordered by the president.  President Zelaya fires him.

June 26, 2009:

Supreme Court rules that Gen. Vasquez be reinstated.  President Zelaya refuses to do so, saying “If an army rebels against a president, then we are back to the era of the cavemen, back to the darkest chapters in Honduran history.”  He and his supporters go to the Air Force base to collect and distribute the ballot boxes themselves.

June 28, 2009:

Early in the morning, armed forces led by Gen. Vasquez storm Zelaya’s home, disarm the Presidential guard, and fly him to Costa Rica.  The plane stops at Palmerola, a joint U.S. and Honduran military airfield.

The military patrols the streets in tanks and fly overhead in planes.  Electricity, phone lines, and international cable TV lines are cut; water is cut off to some neighborhoods; TV and radio stations supportive of Zelaya are taken off the air; and the stations still on the air report no news.

Nine ministers in Zelaya’s administration are detained.  A dozen Zelaya ministers go into hiding, fearing arrest.

An extraordinary session of Congress is called, but not all legislators are notified or present.  There is later dispute over whether Congress had a quorum.  A fake letter of resignation from President Zelaya is read and a vote is taken to remove Zelaya from office and install Roberto Micheletti, President of the Congress, as President.  Micheletti immediately orders a 24 hour curfew for all citizens which lasts for three days.  People cannot leave their houses even to buy food or water, without fear of army retaliation.  After the third day, the curfew is suspended and reinstated arbitrarily, at the whim of the coup government, for the next several months.

The Front of Resistance to the Coup is born, a coalition of labor, farmworker, student, indigenous, Garifuna (a mixed Afro-Caribe people), and feminist groups.  People who had not been part of protests in the past join the Front’s non-violent resistance in daily public demonstrations and marches in spite of the curfew.

All Latin American countries, the European Union and much of the rest of the world unequivocally condemn the coup and call for the reinstatement of President Zelaya.  Many over the next several days recall their ambassadors and cease economic relations with Honduras.  Secretary of State Clinton, refusing to use the word “coup,” condemns the “action” taken against President Zelaya and calls on “all parties in Honduras to respect the constitution and the rule of law.”  President Obama calls Zelaya’s ouster “illegal.”  However, the U.S. does not recall its ambassador, withdraw its military personnel from Honduras, cut off aid, or cease trade relations with Honduras.

June 30:

UN General Assembly calls for restitution of Zelaya as president of Honduras.

July 1:

Introduced by Micheletti, Congress issues an order suspending freedom of assembly, freedom of transit, due process, and permitting search and seizure without a warrant.

July 2:

European Union countries recall their ambassadors to Honduras.

July 4:

Organization of American States (OAS) suspends Honduras’ membership.

July 5:

President Zelaya flies to Honduras.  Crowds gather at the airport to meet him, but coup government prevents the plane from landing.  1 killed, dozens wounded.

August 4:

The State Department sends a letter to the Senate to “clarify” the U.S. position on the events in Honduras.  “We energetically condemn the actions of June 28. We also recognize that President Zelaya’s insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal.”  The State Department is still unwilling to call the events of June 28 a coup.

September 3:

U.S. State Department stops $30 million in non-humanitarian aid from going to Honduras but is still unwilling to call the events of June 28 a military coup.

September 21:

President Zelaya returns to Honduras secretly and takes up residence in the Brazilian Embassy.  The coup government again declares a curfew, which lasts until Sept. 23 at 10 a.m., only to resume at 4 p.m. that same day.  People are trapped in their houses, many without food or water.  Nevertheless, many defy the curfew and gather outside the Brazilian Embassy in support of Zelaya that night.

September 22, 2009:

Early in the morning, police violently break up the gathering of Zelaya supporters.  Mr. Micheletti issues a secret decree suspending the constitution and civil liberties for 45 days, finally published in the government register September 26.  Campaign of harassment begun against those in the Brazilian Embassy.

September 30, 2009:

Police invade the National Agrarian Institute, arresting 50 farmworkers who had been occupying the building since the coup.  The farmworkers were trying to prevent the coup government from destroying or changing land titles that were finally being registered for farmworkers under Zelaya’s land reform measures.

October 29, 2009:

Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon negotiates an accord between Zelaya and Micheletti, in which Micheletti agrees to let the Congress vote on Zelaya’s restoration to the presidency in return for Zelaya’s agreement that he will not seek a constitutional assembly or change the constitution, that he will support November 29 elections and encourage his supporters not to protest them in any way, that the army will be responsible for elections logistics and “keeping order” during the campaign season and on election day, and that he will participate in a “unity and reconciliation government” with those who carried out the coup.  Sec. Shannon makes clear that the expectation on all sides is that Congress will vote on Zelaya’s reinstatement very soon, by November 6 at the latest.

October 30, 2009:

Congress announces it will go on indefinite recess.

November 3:

Sec. Shannon announces that the U.S. will recognize the legitimacy of the November 29 elections whether or not Zelaya is restored to the presidency.

November 9:

President Zelaya announces he will no longer support the accord, since the Congress shows no sign of voting on his reinstatement.

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(Español abajo) This week will mark eight months without justice in the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Her murder in March of this year was an escalation against Honduran social movement leaders in an already violent environment rampant with impunity. Meanwhile, Honduran social movements continue at great risk to resist the militarization of their communities with U.S. security aid. There have been

several more high level assassinations


human rights leaders

since March–this has got to stop!

Support the work of Central American communities struggling on the front lines!

Click here to sign CRLN’s letter to your Representative

asking them to support H.R.5474, the “

Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act

,” which would suspend U.S. security aid to Honduras until the Honduran police and military demonstrate respect for human rights according to international standards.

Resiste Militarización en Honduras HOY

Esta semana marcará ocho meses sin justicia en el asesinato de Berta Cáceres. Su asesinato en marzo de este año fue una escalación en contra de lxs líderes Hondureñxs de movimientos sociales en un ambiente ya lleno de impunidad y violencia. Mientras tanto, los movimientos sociales en Honduras siguen resistiendo la militarización, la cual se lleva a cabo con fondos de seguridad de los EE.UU, de sus comunidades. Desde el marzo,

han sido varios otros asesinatos


líderes de derechos humanos

–¡ya basta!

¡Apoye el trabajo de las comunidades en el frente de la lucha!

Firme nuesta carta a su Representante

urgiendo que apoye H.R.5474, el “

Proyecto de Ley de Derechos Humanos en Honduras ‘Berta Cáceres’

,” que suspendería asistencia de seguridad de los EE.UU. a Honduras hasta que su ejército y policía conformen con normas internacionales de derechos humanos.

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CRLN board member, Sidney Hollander, and program director, Gary Cozette, are currently in Honduras on human rights delegation with our partners,

La Voz de los de Abajo

a Chicago-based group. Yesterday, on the anniversary of the coup, the group attended the Resistance March in Tegucigalpa, in solidarity with the Resistance movement and in protest of the on-going human rights abuses committed under coup-successor, President “Pepe” Lobo. Below is a letter from Gary and pictures from the march.
Dear CRLN Members and Friends,

Yesterday, our Chicago delegation accompanied the lively, diverse Resistance March in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Sidney Hollander, the CRLN Board member on this delegation, calculates turn-out by about how many people can fill a baseball stadium, which he estimates at 40,000. His guess? A shade under 40,000. Others estimated as high as 100,000.   We heard unconfirmed reports that some buses coming to the march were not allowed to enter Tegucigalpa. The reason the numbers were lower in Tegucigalpa than in previous major marches is in large part because the Frente has decided to decentralize them. Subsequently, major marches took place in all parts of the country yesterday. In Tegucigalpa, I was amazed by the great number of young people, ages 14-25, participating with great creativity. We hope to have pictures on our web site soon. In the mean time, you can see pictures from one of the web sites noted below in today’s

Hemispheric Brief

coverage of the coup anniversary.

On a negative note,

Berta Caceres,

a key leader of COPINH, the national indigenous organization of Honduras, was taken captive by military police in the town of La Esperanza. After the local population mobilized at the police station and an urgent action alert went out, Berta was released several hours after her capture. However, the police confiscated from Berta 400 signed affidavits seeking a national Constitutional assembly. The Resistance Front is organizing across Honduras to secure over 1 million signed affidavits to convene a national constituent assembly to draft a new Constitution to replace the current one drafted in 1982 amid the Cold War violence of the 1980s.  Diverse sectors of Honduran civil society in the resistance movement tell us that the current Constitution is privileging the interests of the oligarchy, the elite and transnational corporations seeking to “loot” their national resources.

Gary L. Cozette, Program Director

Hemispheric Brief – June 29, 2010 / Excerpts covering Honduras

In Honduras, more on the one year anniversary of the coup.

IPS has a good report

from Thelma Mejía who says “defacto” military veto power in the country continues to block any possible political or electoral reforms in the country.  The story comes after the head of the Honduran Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) said the possibility of ending the military’s role as the transporter of ballot boxes during elections was being considered.  Just days later, however, the TSE changed its tune entirely after a meeting with senior military officials.  According to IPS, the TSE now it “will seek to ‘expand’ the functions of the military [in the electoral process], including the possibility of allowing members of the armed forces to vote. According to Leticia Salomón, an expert in military affairs, one of the most significant consequences of last year’s coup has been the growing role of the military in the public sphere.  The country now has “highly politicized security forces, and in the case of the military, the leadership has become a decision-making body, says Salomón.

The pro-coup

El Heraldo

reports on FNRP protests yesterday, saying only about 2000 individuals showed up for marches in the capital commemorating last year’s coup.  I haven’t seen figures from the FNRP itself yet but

Vos el Soberano

does have photos. Pro-coup

La Tribuna

, meanwhile, reports on FNRP marches in San Pedro Sula where some 3000 resistance members took a bridge for nearly three hours.  Meanwhile, the FNRP announced it had collected

some 600,000 signatures

in favor of holding a constituent assembly.  For his part, Mel Zelaya watched events from the Dominican Republic.  In a letter released on the coup’s anniversary, Mr. Zelaya’s harshest words were saved for the United States, which, he now claims, was “behind the coup.”  As the


reports, Zelaya cited what he called the “public support the United States wound up giving to the coup.”  And RAJ at

Honduras Culture and Politics

has a list of recommendations about what the Lobo government could do to start a process of real national dialogue.  I recommend reading in-full.

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