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CRLN has been trying to get co-sponsors on HR1945, the Berta Caceres Human Rights and Honduras Act. Representatives Rush, Lipinski, Garcia, Quigley, Danny Davis, Schakowsky, and Foster have already signed on. If your rep. has not signed on, please respond to the following action alert. 

Currently, Honduras has erupted in reaction against calls for further privatization of health and education. Our friends at SOA Watch have issued a call to action and thorough report on the situation which we re-post here:

Take action: (From SOAW – complete article follows)

  1. If your Representativeis not a co-sponsor of HR 1945, which would suspend US security aid to Honduras, please ask him/her to do so. Call the Congressional Switchboard – 202-224-3121, ask for your Representative’s office, and then the foreign policy aide.  Ask that the staffer request your Representative co-sponsor HR 1945, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, and to let you know when they decide to do so.
  2. Call your Senators (Capitol Switchboard: 202- 224-3121) and ask them to oppose continued US backing of the Honduran regime and take the next opportunity to cut US military and security aid to Honduras.

 

Since late April, teachers, doctors, and medical workers in Honduras have been demonstrating against the privatization of education and medical services. The demonstrations in defense of public education and health services have grown into massive and ongoing national mobilizations demanding the resignation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

US-backed economic policies – such as privatization policies promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – are at the heart of the current crisis in Honduras. Furthermore, it is US political, economic, and military backing of the Hernandez regime that enables him to maintain his grip on power. Honduran social movement leader Carlos H Reyes recently said, ”The United States government is too brazen in the case of Honduras, throwing a lifeline to a dying regime. If it were not for them, the regime would have already fallen.”  With massive demonstrations ongoing against the regime, the US Embassy in Honduras recently announced the arrival of nearly 300 US Marines and others with the US Southern Command’s rapid response force to Honduras and surrounding countries.  The US Marines will conduct ‘training and security cooperation’ with the Honduran security forces, which routinely fire live bullets at teachers and other civilians during demonstrations.

Read more about the US and IMF role in the current situation in Honduras here.

As Honduran economist Hugo Noé Pino and sociologist Eugenio Sosa wrote in a recent article: “The current conflictive situation in the education and health sectors in Honduras has its background in social policies since 2010. The budgets of both sectors have decreased during current decade. For example, spending on education by the central government was 32.9% of the total in 2010 and in the approved budget for 2019 it is 19.9%. Health spending was reduced from 14.3% to 9.7% in the same period.” Notably, this startling decline in education and health spending occurred following the 2009 coup d’etat carried out by SOA graduates. During this same period ‘security’ and defense spending have increased.

The situation in public hospitals is notoriously disastrous due to lack of equipment, medicine, and supplies. In fact, it is so bad that doctors report operating by the light of cell phones and there have been reports of newborn babies having to be placed in cardboard boxes or two per bassinet. There are schools that are falling down and in disrepair.

The dramatic reductions in social spending combined with the increased cost of living is one of the factors that leads thousands to leave Honduras in hopes of working in the United States. Ironically, the head of the IMF Mission that recently visited Honduras celebrated that Honduras’ GDP grew in 2018 ‘supported by private consumption, which was driven by an important growth of international remittances’.  Indeed, there is no denying that the IMF and US-backed neoliberal policies of privatization and reducing public spending benefit the economic elite and result in migration of the general population, leading to increased remittances upon which the economy will increasingly be based.  One must wonder if this is actually their unstated goal for improving the economy — make the situation so bad people leave and then they’ll send home remittances.

Another source of indignation is the corruption and criminal groups that pervade the Honduran government. President Hernandez’s brother, Tony Hernandez, was arrested by the US in 2018 and is currently awaiting trial in New York for drug trafficking. Court documents recently filed in that case revealed a US Drug Enforcement Agency investigation of President Hernandez and others close to him, including SOA graduate Security Minister Julian Pacheco. Numerous public corruption scandals have rocked the country, but Hernandez and his inner circle have remained untouched. Meanwhile, those who speak out and defend the rights of the population are shot at, criminalized, and threatened with death. Read more here.

Take action:

  1. If your Representative is not a co-sponsor of HR 1945, which would suspend US security aid to Honduras, please ask him/her to do so. Call the Congressional Switchboard – 202-224-3121, ask for your Representative’s office, and then the foreign policy aide.  Ask that the staffer request your Representative co-sponsor HR 1945, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, and to let you know when they decide to do so.
  2. Call your Senators (Capitol Switchboard: 202- 224-3121) and ask them to oppose continued US backing of the Honduran regime and take the next opportunity to cut US military and security aid to Honduras.

Thank you,

SOA Watch 

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Enough is Enough — Stop all US and Canadian support for dictatorship in Honduras. Support the Honduran people in resistance. Call and/or email your Congress Representative, Senator or Parliamentarian today (May 31). Tell them you want them to take a position against the human rights violations in Hondurans and against US funding and support for Honduran security forces that are being used against the people. 

Click for Info on Senators  Click for House of Representatives

 

The Honduran people are in the streets by the thousands again facing US financed, armed and trained Honduran Police and Military. A two day national action and strike for May 30-31 was originally called as a  protest in defense of public education and public health in the face of new attacks on public services by the regime of Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH). Today’s protests covered the entire country and not only defended public services but once again called massively for the end of the illegitimate government of JOH — a government that has been imposed and sustained by US and Canadian support. There are marches, highway take-overs in the rural areas, occupations of public schools by parents and students, mobilizations of teacher and health care worker unions, campesinos, indigenous communities, taxi drivers and university students. The protests are becoming a non-violent uprising of the people against the dictatorship but are being met with violence, tear gas and live ammunition from the regime. One teacher was assassinated in his home the night before these national actions began, another teacher and a student were wounded today by police.

 

Since the most recent electoral crisis of November 2017 in which JOH was imposed on the people through fraud and violence, security forces have killed more than 20 people and many more, including at least 15 ? journalists have been assassinated by death squad style killings. Since the 2009 coup, also heavily backed by the US and Canada, hundreds of Hondurans have been killed by security forces and paramilitary type groups. Many hundreds more have been killed by narcotics cartel linked violence while the ruling party politicians, including JOH himself and his brother have been either charged or are under investigation for being part of the narcotics cartels. Link to article

 

Enough is Enough — Stop all US and Canadian support for dictatorship in Honduras. Support the Honduran people in resistance. Call your congress representative, Senator or Parliamentarian today (May 31). 

Click for Info on Senators  Click for House of Representatives

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30 people gathered on the evening of May 16 to hear from Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb about their participation in the March 2019 People of Faith Root Causes Pilgrimage to Honduras sponsored by SHARE-El Salvador, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Sisters of Mercy. This interfaith group of 72 people formed a “reverse caravan,” on a mission to find out why so many Hondurans are leaving their country behind and journeying en masse to settle in other countries.

Rabbi Gottlieb emphasized the U.S. role in creating the root conditions causing people to migrate. She pointed to more than a century of U.S. corporate economic exploitation of the country. U.S. companies have bought up Honduran agricultural land and used Hondurans as cheap labor to plant and harvest crops for export. While once bananas were the primary commodity, today it is palm oil, grown on plantations which destroy the biodiversity of the land.

Today, both Honduran large landowners and transnational corporations are stealing land and water from indigenous people in order to expand large agricultural enterprises and to build mines and hydroelectric dams. Their actions are enforced by Honduran military and police forces, who use violence against people protesting the theft of their land and water. These are further causes of migration, as people who have been targeted by such violence or who have lost land or access to water sometimes leave if they no longer feel safe or no longer can support themselves.

Rabbi Gottlieb picked up a tear gas canister made in Pennsylvania, which was lying on the ground at the Lenca indigenous communities she visited. She scooped up some water in a bottle from the river sacred to the Lenca people, a river threatened by plans to build a dam, which the people had been protesting. Later, in front of Heidi Fulton, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Rabbi Gottlieb performed a cleansing ceremony in which she poured the water over the tear gas canister and demanded that the U.S. stop sending such weapons to Honduras to terrorize people.

Rabbi Rosen pointed to the U.S.-supported 2009 coup in Honduras, which supplanted a democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya, as a root cause of mass migration. Zelaya had supported progressive social reforms, but the coup consolidated the power of the right-wing National Party, whose candidates have “won” every Presidential election since, although each time amid allegations of fraud. The OAS, during the last election in 2017, declared that there were so many irregularities in the vote counting process that no one could be sure who won the election.

Under the National Party, protest has been criminalized by laws with overly expansive definitions of “terrorism,” free speech has been threatened through selectively enforced defamation laws, social goods like education and health services have been privatized, land reform measures have been reversed, and social security and pension funds have been looted. These political realities are another root cause of migration, because many people no longer feel that they can change the conditions that oppress them through peaceful means without getting injured or killed by the government.

Nevertheless, both rabbis emphasized that many people continue to stay in Honduras and non-violently resist the current Honduran administration. Members of social movements in Honduras actively resist oppressive government policies and demand that the illegal administration of President Juan Orlando Hernandez step down, despite his ongoing attempts to silence their voices through ordering security forces to attack their demonstrations with tear gas and live bullets.

For reports from this delegation, see https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/delegation-examines-firsthand-the-root-causes-of-migration-in-honduras and https://www.paxchristi.net/news/honduras-pax-christi-co-president-marie-dennis-returns-root-causes-delegation-honduras/7250

For photos from the delegation, see https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS842US843&q=2019+SHARE+delegation+to+Honduras&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjh_f700K3iAhUPiqwKHeRJC1gQsAR6BAgJEAE&biw=1680&bih=858

Three groups within the national Honduras Solidarity Network—Alliance for Global Justice, La Voz de los de Abajo, and Code Pink– also sponsored an emergency delegation to Honduras March 25 – April 2. Their complete report can be found at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1alBO_-Z6sIrbUUuT89FX3K5CMKVMLvL1.

 

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