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On Sunday, Guatemala’s volcano Fuego erupted twice with explosive force, sending ash skyward upwards of 15 kilometers and releasing lava and 100 m.p.h. pyroclastic flows that buried communities close to it.  At present, more than 3,200 people have been evacuated, but the death toll is at 69 and expected to increase.

 

We’ve listed below links to trustworthy organizations in Guatemala that are doing direct relief work and receiving donations to help assist with buying medicine, cleaning supplies, and clothing; rebuilding homes and communities; and other aspects of disaster relief. Some of these organizations are also posting daily updates on their work.

 

Common Hope: https://www.commonhope.org – click on the “For more information” in the red bar. There is a donation link at the bottom of the information.

 

Wings:  https://wingsguate.giv.sh/6a14

 

Friends of Guatemala: https://www.facebook.com/fogrpcv/posts/1638548842927425?hc_location=ufi – earmark “Volcan de Fuego” (donation button is on the facebook page)

 

Alticultura: https://www.gofundme.com/Alticultura – earmark donations for “Volcan de Fuego”

 

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11 CRLN staff, board and members will travel to DC April 20-23 for Ecumenical Advocacy Days and advocate for legislation that would improve the lives of Central Americans and other immigrants with Temporary Protected Status and would suspend U.S. military aid to Honduras. You can help us by giving your permission by Tuesday, April 17 to sign your name onto letters we will deliver to members of Congress or call your Representatives to support the following House bills:

 

American Promise Act of 2017 (H.R. 4253)

 

Background: Until the recent past, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for renewable periods of 6 to 18 months to immigrant applicants from countries in which civil unrest, violence, epidemic or natural disasters made it unsafe for them to return to their countries. In return, immigrants could get registration documents and authorization to work. Up through January 1, 2017, there were people from 13 countries eligible for TPS.

Under the Trump Administration, DHS is conducting a country by country review to assess whether or not to extend TPS. So far, DHS has ruled that TPS holders from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Sudan will have to leave the U.S., despite continuing violence or lack of recovery from natural disasters in their countries of origin. TPS will continue for Syrians who came to the U.S. before August 2016, but those who came after that date cannot apply for TPS, despite the continuation of the war. The decision on whether or not to extend TPS for Hondurans has been delayed until June 2018.

 

Bill summary: H.R. 4253 would change the status of eligible immigrants from 13 countries with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to a status of LPR, lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Immigrants would be eligible to apply if they were granted or were eligible for TPS status, or granted DED, on or before October 1, 2017. Immigrants must apply for this status change within 3 years of the bill’s date of enactment. After 5 years of LPR status, immigrants could apply to become U.S. citizens.

 

Status: Currently has 97 co-sponsors, is in the House Judiciary Committee, and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask to be connected to the office of your U.S. Representative, and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 4253. Below are some talking points you can use:

  1. TPS holders have been in the U.S. for a long time and are well integrated into U.S. communities: Most TPS recipients have been in the U.S. for at least 15 years and many over a couple of decades. They have married U.S. citizens and/or have U.S. citizen children who were born here. It makes sense to naturalize TPS holders rather than deport them and separate them from their families and communities. In addition, 88.5% of TPS holders are in the labor force, higher than the national average. They have jobs that are essential to the economic health of the U.S.
  2. TPS holders contribute a great deal to the U.S. economy. Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS recipients alone are projected to contribute an estimated $164 billion to America’s GDP over the next decade, according to the American Immigration Council. The AFSC cites the $6.9 billion the contribute to Social security and Medicare. They pay income taxes. Their work is integral to large industries such as construction, home health care, and hospitality.

 

The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 1299)

 

Bill Summary: This bill prohibits U.S. 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.

 

Status: Currently has 71 co-sponsors and is in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It needs more co-sponsors, preferably some Republicans, to get out of Committee. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask to be connected to the office of your U.S. Representative, and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1299. Below are some talking points you can use:

  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 or that funding Honduran troops will give the U.S. influence over 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. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/berta-caceres-honduras-military-intelligence-us-trained-special-forces
  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. 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. Officials also have been implicated in taking bribes from drug trafficking gangs in exchange for allowing gangs to operate without police interference. http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/corruption-honduras-result-of-functioning-system-report
  3. The U.S. should not fund security forces used by an illegally installed president to repress nonviolent dissent against his electoral fraud. President Hernández ran for a second term, forbidden by the Honduran Constitution, and the vote count was labeled “highly irregular” by the Organization of American States, whose initial call for new elections was rebuffed. The U.S. congratulated Hernández on his “victory.” Hondurans call this a “second coup.” Hernández uses the military in domestic policing, also forbidden by the Constitution, and has formed a Military Police Force in addition to the National Police. All security forces have been deployed against the many people who protested the election results, with 30 people killed, scores wounded, and many rounded up and thrown into prison since the November elections. https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/us-policy-perpetuates-violence-honduras

 

 

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1. Contact Honduran Authorities

2. Contact US and Canadian Representatives

Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Espinal was arrested by US-trained police forces
on January 19, 2018, on trumped up charges related to protests against the
presidential election fraud on November 26, 2017. Since the elections, at least 35
demonstrators and bystanders have been killed during anti-fraud protests, the
majority carried out by state security forces which routinely fired live bullets at
protesters. In the same context, according to data from Honduran human rights
organizations, at least 393 people were injured and 76 people tortured. The Public
Prosecutor’s Office, which has two embedded US advisors, has yet to prosecute any
of the murders by state forces, but instead, has arrested and pressed charges
against dozens of pro-democracy demonstrators.

We encourage you to join the Global Day of Action today, March 19,
2018, to demand the immediate freedom of Edwin Espinal and all political prisoners in                                                                                                        Honduras.

Edwin Espinal and other 25 political prisoners have been targeted for their role in the
opposition to the elections and involvement in anti-fraud protests. They face
fabricated charges including accusations of terrorism, arson and criminal
association. Some cases are being reviewed by judges embedded in military-led
task forces and many arrests were carried out by US-trained, vetted, and financed
security forces like the special forces TIGRES unit. The majority of the 26 Honduran
political prisoners are being held in newly built US-modeled, military-run, maximum
security prisons and their cases have been plagued by the refusal of Honduran state
prosecutors to share information with their attorneys. Judges ordered pretrial
detention for all 26 political prisoners who could remain in prison for years while
awaiting trial. The political prisoners are being held in jails across the country – in the
northern cities of Tela and El Progreso, in the “La Tolva” prison in Morecelí, El
Paraiso, and the “El Pozo” jail in Ilama, Santa Barbara.

US-trained security forces and officials have not only carried out the arbitrary
detentions of political opposition and social movement leaders, but in some cases
run the prisons. Human rights defenders, journalists, and even the attorneys and
families of the accused have been denied access making it extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to verify their conditions. We know that some political prisoners have
been held for long periods in solitary confinement and denied their essential rights
under the law. This is deeply regrettable but not surprising in a political environment
where corruption and impunity are rampant.

Edwin Espinal has been subject to state harassment, violence, and threats since the
2009 US-backed coup, which has led him to receive precautionary measures by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. On March 3rd, Edwin Espinal began
a hunger strike to demand that he, political prisoner Raúl Eduardo Álvarez, and other
inmates be taken to see a physician. There is some sort of flu-like virus circulating
inside the jail module where approximately 200 prisoners are being held. Edwin and
other prisoners have been refused medical attention for several days. In another
maximum security prison where 15 political prisoners are being held, a tuberculosis
outbreak was recently reported, suspecting at least 30 cases and 5 deaths. The
prevalence of these illness can be linked to the poor conditions inside the prison
including severe water shortages and less than adequate amounts of food provided
to prisoners

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Since the murder of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres on March 2, 2016, presumably to stop her activities to organize resistance against the building of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam on a river sacred to the Lenca people, her family has called repeatedly for an independent international investigation. The Honduran government could not be trusted to carry one out, first accused COPINH members and others close to Berta, has refused to share information about the investigation with the family, and has stalled the progress of the case at every turn. The family believes that high level Honduran government officials, in collusion with the dam company (DESA), are complicit in Berta’s assassination.

Therefore, In November of 2016, the International Advisory Group of Experts (GAIPE) was created to carry out this investigation on behalf of the family. They made their

report

public on Wednesday, November 1.

Even though the Honduran government refused to release all the evidence, they did, when ordered by a court to do so, hand over some of it. GAIPE’s conclusions based on even this smaller proportion of the evidence confirm the Caceres family’s suspicions. Excerpts from the report:

“Based on the analysis of [this partial] evidence collected, GAIPE has documented criminal conduct and irregularities in the investigation, and has identified the possible intellectual authors of the murder.” [The Honduran government has repeatedly claimed that it has been pursuing the investigation diligently and that those arrested for the crime were not acting on higher orders, that there were no other intellectual authors of the crime.]

“This report demonstrates that shareholders, executives, managers, and employees of DESA; private security companies working for DESA; and public officials and State security agencies implemented different strategies to violate the right to prior, free and informed consultations of the Lenca indigenous people. The strategy was to control, neutralize and eliminate any opposition [to the dam].” They did this through “smear campaigns, infiltrations, surveillance, threats, contract killing, sabotage of COPINH’s communication equipment; cooptation of justice officials and security forces, and strengthening of parallel structures to State security forces.”

GAIPE found “willful negligence” on the part of the international financial institutions, who funded the  project and “had prior knowledge of the strategies undertaken by DESA,” to protect the human rights of the affected communities.

“GAIPE established,


with evidence that has been in the possession of the Public Prosecutor’s Office since May 2, 2016


[emphasis CRLN’s], that the planning, execution and cover-up of Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores’ murder started in November 2015. That period coincides with the mobilization of indigenous communities and COPINH in opposition to the Agua Zarca Project.” [The early possession of this evidence establishes the government’s role in the cover up of the murder.] “The failure to provide access to this information has also promoted impunity for criminal attacks against members of COPINH and Lenca communities that oppose the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project.”



CRLN would like to publicly thank Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for issuing statements after the release of the report to publicize its findings:


Rep. Schakowsky’s statement:

“Berta Caceres was murdered in cold blood almost two years ago, and justice has yet to be served.”

“The report released this week gives us clear and unequivocal evidence of how carefully orchestrated the assassination plot was and how rampant the impunity has been. It is unacceptable that, despite the mounting international and domestic pressure, the Honduran Public Ministry has dragged its feet and refused to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. Berta’s family has put themselves in great personal danger and spared no expense to ensure that this private investigation was completed. Now it is time for justice to be served. The Honduran government should know that the world is watching, and that their mishandling of this crucial trial will not go unnoticed. An ally of the United States like Honduras must commit to fostering an independent press, an impartial judicial system, and a robust and free civil society.”


Sen. Patrick Leahy:

“This damning report corroborates what many have suspected — that the investigation of Berta Caceres’ murder has been plagued by incompetence, attempts to stonewall and deflect blame to protect those who conceived of and paid for this plot, and a glaring lack of political will.  The Public Ministry needs to fully disclose, without further delay, all testimony and electronic and ballistics evidence to the Caceres family’s legal representatives and defendants’ lawyers, as required by law.  The Ministry also needs to ensure that every piece of evidence is properly safeguarded, and to follow the evidence wherever it leads to arrest those responsible.

“It is shameful that despite intense domestic and international pressure, this horrific case has languished, while those responsible have sought to derail it.  And there are hundreds of other Honduran social activists and journalists who have been similarly threatened and killed, whose cases have not even prompted investigations.

“Any hope that the Honduran Government may have of continued U.S. assistance under the Alliance for Prosperity Plan will hinge, in part, on the outcome of the Caceres case, acceptance of the legitimate role of civil society and the independent press, and top-to-bottom reform of the judicial system.”

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An anti-democratic drama is being played out in Honduras, as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) just announced late afternoon yesterday a victory in the polls for President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will now be allowed to serve an un-Constitutional second term. He has already concentrated power in his own hands such that he controls Congress, the Supreme Court, and has closed media outlets critical of his administration.

 

Click here to sign onto an action alert from Witness for Peace calling for the U.S. to suspend security aid until the TSE agrees to an open and transparent count of the votes and an impartial investigation of allegations of fraud.

 

The behavior of the TSE has been highly irregular since election day last Sunday. The members of the TSE waited almost 10 hours to make any announcements about the vote count after the polls closed, then making public at 1:40am that with more than half the votes counted, opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was leading by 5%. At that point, TSE judge Marco Ramiro Lobo pronounced that statistically, the vote count in favor of Nasralla had an “irreversible tendency.”  In the 2013 elections, with this proportion of the votes counted, the TSE declared Juan Orlando Hernandez the victor, but this time, the TSE went silent for a day and a half while tensions and suspicions mounted in the public that the members were scheming about how to increase the vote totals for Hernandez. An observation mission from the European Union issued a statement critical of this behavior and urging the TSE to keep frequent, open and transparent communications with the public. They also criticized the lack of press time and space given to opposition candidates before the election and the vastly greater amounts of money spent and press time given to Hernandez. In the 2013 elections, it came out later that his party, the National Party, had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the country’s health system to fund Hernandez’ campaign and buy votes.

 

Starting mid-day Tuesday, the TSE made regular announcements about new vote totals coming in from the countryside which were overwhelmingly in favor of Hernandez. Videos of National Party members stamping ballots for Hernandez, allegations of vote buying by the National Party, and photos of police and military intimidation in various parts of the country were flying around on social media. Then late Wednesday afternoon, the TSE pronounced Hernandez the winner by 22,000 votes. Nasralla has refused to accept the results, saying that the election was stolen. The U.S. has said that it will work with whoever wins, but calls to the Embassy by CRLN questioning the integrity of the electoral process before theTSE declared a victor were answered firmly that the Embassy considered the elections free and fair and that we should just wait for the results.

 

Nasralla’s party (a coalition party of Libre and PINU, the Alliance Against the Dictatorship) wisely has kept copies of the vote tallies at each precinct. Given the strange behavior of the TSE and the amount of social unrest, an independent and transparent vote recount is in order.

 

Click here to sign onto an action alert from Witness for Peace calling for the U.S. to suspend security aid until the TSE agrees to an open and transparent count of the votes and an impartial investigation of allegations of fraud.

 

To read more about the Honduran election, see links below. For statements from Honduran civil society organizations, see attached documents.

NYT:

“Political Unrest Grips Honduras After Disputed Election.”

Honduras Culture and Politics blog:

“What May Be Coming in the Honduran Elections”

(posted Monday giving reasons for why the vote count was highly unlikely to change in favor of Hernandez)
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Tens of thousands of Hondurans have been in the streets protesting what they see as a stolen election since the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that the vote totals show current President Juan Orlando Hernandez winning by a little over 1%. There are grounds for their suspicions:


  • The Economist,

    before the election, published an article,

    “Is Honduras Ruling Party Planning to Rig an Election?

    saying that they had a recording of a training session for National Party members who would be manning voting tables at polling places on election day that included 5 methods for rigging votes in favor of the National Party presidential candidate, sitting President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
  • The TSE initially stalled the announcement of voting results an unprecedented 10 hours after the polls had closed, then over the next week experienced what they described as “computer crashes” 3 times, after which the tendency of the votes (the percentage going to each candidate) shifted dramatically in favor of President Hernandez. Before the “crashes”–which caused delays of 5 or more hours–the tendency was a 5% lead for opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla. A TSE member in the first announcement stated that the vote tendency toward Nasralla’s lead was “irreversible,” and that a win for Hernandez would be statistically virtually impossible.

The military, military police, special forces, and national police all have had a heavily armed presence in the streets to shut down the protests and were using live ammunition as well as rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons against the crowds as of last week. 8 people have died, many more have serious injuries, and over 500 have been arrested.

Then, in an astonishing event last night, some of the Cobra special forces, later joined by the National Police, announced they were going on strike until the political crisis was resolved. Sovereignty is lodged in the Honduran people, according to the Constitution, and the police stated they were no longer willing to follow orders that expected them to confront and repress the people’s rights (presumably to free speech and assembly). They stressed that what they were doing was not to be considered political, nor a labor complaint, but that they felt they were being asked to do things that violated basic rights. Unfortunately, the military and military police are still in the streets with their U.S.-provided weapons and “counter-insurgency” training.

This action of the police must be supported by

renewed calls for a political solution to this crisis, namely a recount of the contested vote tallies with the presence of all political parties and ideally supervised by an independent, international body such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

While many international organizations have called for such a recount, the U.S. Embassy has not. Further, with ironic timing, the State Department has just certified that Honduras is making improvements in cleaning up corruption and in meeting human rights standards, so that military aid and Alliance for Prosperity funds (much of it designed for security forces to prevent people from migrating to the U.S.) will not be held up.

Please call Senator Durbin’s office (202-224-2152) and Senator Duckworth’s office (202-224-2854) and the office of your Representative (ask to be connected to their office after calling the Captiol Switchboard at 202-2243121) with the following message:


I am concerned that the U.S. says it promotes democracy when, in fact, it is aiding a foreign government that is in the process of conducting election fraud. Right now in Honduras, 9 days after the Honduran people voted in a national election, tens of thousands are in the streets protesting that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), appointed by current President Juan Orlando Hernandez, has engaged in fraud in order to give Hernandez more votes.


The protesters have been violently repressed by the military and police, who have killed 8 people and injured many, yet the protests continue. People are saying that this feels like a second coup.


The Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union have both called for recounts of the contested votes to resolve the crisis, and last night, the National Police went on strike and also called for a resolution of the crisis. Only the U.S. Embassy continues to support the TSE. I am calling on (Senator Durbin or Senator Duckworth or Rep. ____) to make a public statement challenging the State Deparment and Embassy’s position and calling for a vote recount. It should compares the polling place tallies held by representatives of the various political parties with those recorded by the TSE. All political parties should be present and ideally the recount should be supervised by an independent, international body such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The U.S. should not recognize a new President in Honduras before such a recount, or a new election, takes place.

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On Sunday, the Organization of American States (OAS) reaffirmed its stance that there could be no certainty about election results in Honduras, because of the extent of the “irregularities” in the vote-counting process and failure to reach standards of democracy, and it called for new elections to be held. On the same day, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) declared Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner. On Monday, the vice-president of Honduras declared that no new elections would be held.

Some excellent articles are getting into the press, which is finally questioning what role the U.S. plays in Honduras and why the State Department has been largely quiet in the midst of the corruption of a basic democratic electoral process and state-sponsored violence against unarmed protesters in the streets:

NYT Op-Ed by Silvio Carrillo, Berta Caceres’ nephew:
“America’s Blind Eye to Honduras’ Tyrant”

Council on Hemispheric Affairs article by Patricio Zamorano:
“The Silent Cry of Honduras”

The New Yorker article by Jonathan Blitzer:
“In Honduras, Calls Rise for New Presidential Elections”

Black Lives Matter:
“Chicago and Honduras: Laboratories for Neoliberalism”

CRLN hosted Padre Ismael “Melo” Moreno, who heads a Jesuit-run radio station in Honduras, as its Annual Luncheon Speaker after the 2009 coup in Honduras. There are very few opposition media outlets in Honduras, but Radio Progreso is one of them.Last weekend, their radio tower that transmits to the entire southern half of Honduras was sabotaged, and they can no longer broadcast in this area that includes Tegucigalpa, the capital city. Recently, they have experienced interruptions to their signal in the town of Progreso. UNE-TV, another station that was reporting on violence by the security forces, had their fiber optic cable destroyed. Like during the coup, it now appears that there are forces trying to shut down any critical voices in the media. During this Christmas season, if you would like to contribute to a fund to raise Radio Progreso’s tower, as well as to fund emergency medical, housing, transportation, and legal aid for people protesting the fraudulent elections, click here.

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We need your help! Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has just circulated a sign-on “Dear Colleague” letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to President Trump, urging him to join the Organization of American States in calling for new elections, and to immediately suspend all security assistance to Honduras. The letter highlights the violent repression of protests since the election, and urges the President “to make clear to the Honduran government that these abuses must cease immediately.” The letter states,

“We continue to have concerns over the candidacy of Juan Orlando Hernandez, as the current president’s campaign for reelection violates the Honduran constitution’s explicit ban on re-election. This blatant violation of Honduran law continues to be an issue of concern, in addition to the lack of integrity in the elections…We believe that the Honduran people have a right to peaceful protests, and are alarmed at the actions of Honduran security forces.”


We need your help in securing the signature of your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this letter
.  Only members of the House can sign the letter.  The deadline for signatures is today, Wednesday, December 20th, at 5pm.

——–

To sign on to the letter (or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the letter), your Rep’s staffer can contact Zach Freed (Zach.Freed@mail.house.gov)

NOTE: Please do not contact Ellison’s staff yourself, but ask the staffer to do so.


Call the Capitol Switchboard at 
(202) 224-3121, give them the name of your Rep, then ask to be connected.

When you call, ask to speak with the aide who handles foreign policy.

Use the script below in speaking with the aide. If the foreign policy aide is not available, ask to leave a message on his or her voice mail.  Be sure to get the name of the foreign policy staffer so you can follow up.



Script:
“My name is _____.  I am a constituent from (your town/city) in (your state).  I am calling to ask Representative _____ to sign the Ellison sign on letter calling for new elections in Honduras and renewing the call to suspend all security aid to Honduras.

 

The deadline for sign ons is today. Has Representative _______ seen this letter?  Can I count on him/her to sign on?  Please call me this week at (_your phone number_) to let me know if you have seen the letter, and if Representative _____ will sign it.”

 

**In your phone conversation, please highlight why this letter is important to you, especially if you have travelled to Honduras or heard a Honduran leader speak in your community.


PROMPT FOLLOW-UP:

It’s useful to follow up with an email to the aide, and you can use the action alert above. You can ask whoever answers the phone for the email for the foreign policy staffer and/or use this formula if you know how to spell their name correctly (the person who first answer the phone can spell it for you):

Firstname.Lastname@mail.house.gov
, e.g.
Jane.Doe@mail.house.gov

In an email, you can just ask them to sign the letter, and then if you like send some information.

Here are a few links to share with your Reps:

1.

U.S. at a Crossroad as It Confronts Turmoil in Honduras
in the New York Times

2.

In Honduras, Calls Rise for new Presidential Elections
in the New Yorker

3.

America’s Blind Eye to Honduras’s Tyrant
in the New York Times

4.

The US Should Back New Elections in Honduras
in Bloomberg

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[Español Aqui]

CRLN is seriously concerned about increasing levels of violent threats against the Lenca indigenous inhabitants of Rio Blanco, who have been resisting the illegal construction of a hydroelectric dam across a river on their lands. This is exactly the type of escalating threats that ended in the murder of Berta Caceres, so it is imperative that we act now. We received a request from the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) for international voices to add to COPINH’s complaints to the Honduran authorities about the threats and crops destruction and to ask them to act to protect members of the Rio Blanco community.. Apparently, the police have started accompanying armed men with guns responsible for the threats rather than arresting them.

 

Please email the Human Rights officer at the U.S. Embassy, Jason Smith, SmithJA6@state.gov, or call the Embassy at 011 504 2236-9320 and ask to be connected to Jason Smith. Please also call the Honduran Ambassador to the U.S., Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes, 1-202 966-7702. You can use the following script:

“I am very concerned about the increasing frequency of violent threats by men with guns against members of the community of Rio Blanco, Intibuca, including death threats against the children of Francisco Javier Sanchez. Threats of increasing frequency preceded the murder of Berta Caceres, who worked with this community, so the threats must be taken very seriously. The community has identified one individual making threats–Franklin Madrid–and has asked for the authorities to arrest him and any others making threats. Instead, the police have accompanied those making the threats.The U.S. funds training for the Honduran police. If they are abusing their positions as law enforcement, they should not receive U.S. funds. Please call on the Honduran authorities to protect the lives of people in Rio Blanco by arresting and bringing to justice those who are harassing them.”

The COPINH letter follows:

COPINH urgently communicates to the national and international community our serious worry about the defenseless state of the Lenca people in Río Blanco, faced with armed men and constant threats. We insist that the authorities take immediate action to protect the physical wellbeing and lives of COPINH members in Río Blanco, who continue to defend their ancestral territory against the invasion of people linked to the DESA corporation.

Continue reading Action Alert: Contact officials to demand protection for Rio Blanco

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