Friday, February 2, 2018

23 Months of Impunity in Assassination of Berta Caceres, but the Struggle Continues

Almost two years after the assassination of the woman who dreamed of re-founding Honduras
COPINH's statement 23 months later
[Original en español]

Today marks 23 months since the assassination of indigenous leader Berta Cáceres and we are about to reach the second anniversary of her transition. We remember this sister on these days, with many people eager to know how far the case has progressed over these two years and what has changed in Honduras with the revelation of manifold human rights violations by extractive corporations who profit off of energy production.

As of now, COPINH continues to struggle for true justice and to push, as a first step, to break the media silence around her case and confront the irregularities that permeate the process.
May of this year will bring the expiration of the preventative detention* for the eight people detained in 2016, including the direct perpetrators of the crime as well as intermediaries such as DESA employee Sergio Rodríguez and armed forces major Mariano Díaz who coordinated the assassination and served as an instructor for the military police.

At this point the Honduran Attorney General and judicial authorities are flailing around desperately to try to move through and put a close to the case by sentencing only those who they have detained. The final arguments are expected in the case halfway through this year. Notwithstanding, the organization, the Honduran people and the international community remain unsatisfied in the face of a lack of action to capture the masterminds who are linked to the powerful and untouchable Honduran oligarchy.

It is worth mentioning that today is the swearing-in hearing for the specialists proposed by the Attorney General to analyze the telephone recordings and financial information in the national sentencing tribunal, which will decide the case.

Regarding the second point about what has changed in Honduras since her death, very little can be said. The concession remains for the hydroelectric damn ferociously defended not only by private enterprise but also by the renewable energy producers who continue to sew hate against the organizations that challenge the installation of numerous deadly projects, ruining their lucrative business.

The government wants to secure the investments of national and international corporations in this business by approving a deceitful law supposedly about “prior, free and informed consent for indigenous peoples” but has been unable to take the final step after strong questioning at a national and international level.

The power structures that protect the deadly project against which Berta Cáceres fought have strengthened themselves with electoral fraud, carried out to ensure continuation of the status quo and protection of private economic interests.

What Berta Cáceres contributed to today’s Honduras is the national uprising that continues without giving up on the same vision that would be on at the front of Berta Cáceres’s mind: the re-foundation of Honduras that no president will be able to carry out, that can only be carried out by the people, the same people who didn’t give up in the streets even as they confronted the violence of the military and their killer weapons, which is the only path to profound change for Honduras.

In the meantime COPINH is convening the “25 years of Life and Justice Gathering” for this 22nd-24th of March to deepen work around the case of comrades Berta and Gustavo and talk about the struggle to this point and what the future holds for Berta’s vision in a country that needs it now more than ever.



*The preventative detention can be extended just once for six more moths, which would expire in November of this year.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Senior citizen murdered by U.S.-financed Honduran military

On January 20th, 2018, the U.S.-financed Honduran military of dictator Juan Orlando Hernández shot and killed a senior citizen, a campesino, Don Telmo, in Colón, for participating in a non-violent protest against electoral fraud, repression and the consolidation of the corrupt dictatorship. What follows is a disturbing video of the last steps Don Telmo took after being shot before bleeding to death and dying, followed by a painting and poem in his honor:

BLOOD FROM THE DEPTHS OF HONDURAS
Painter/Pintor: Daniel Valladares Bustamante

by Joaquín Cardoza
Translation by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle

Don Telmo,
Grandfather in resistance
The official mouthpieces,
bought and paid for,
will pronounce
That you were a terrorist,
A vandal
Maybe even a gang-banger
to try to justify their crime,
to save their backs

ASSASSINS!!!!

Don Telmo,
This is the new Honduras
Of the festering
satraps:

Death,
Narco state,
Buy, sell,
Indignity,
Disgrace....
.
Your killing is a new milestone
For the blond, the rich
And the ignorant poor

For your children, grandchildren and the rest,
 just as for our own,
As the last drop of your blood falls
On the land of this nation,
The struggle digs deep
for redemption
As the people roar
mightily in the streets:

THE BLOOD OF MARTYRS,
IS THE SEED OF FREEDOM!

J.Cardoza.

Original Poem in Spanish:
SANGRE DE HONDURAS

Don Telmo,
Resistente abuelo,
Pregonarán
Los órganos de resonancia,
tarifados,
Qué si usted era terrorista,
Vándalo
O bien marero;
intentando justificar su crimen,
A mansalva

¡¡¡ ASESINOS!!!

Don Telmo,
Esta es la nueva Honduras
Del sátrapa
Enquistado:

Muerte,
Narco estado,
Compraventa,
Indigidad,
Desvergüenza....
.
Su asesinato es un nuevo hitz
Para rubiios, ricos
Y pobres ignorantes

Para sus hijos, nietos y demás,
 Como para los nuestros,
Al caer la última gota de su sangre
Sobre el territorio nacional,
Se recrudece la lucha
Para la redención,
Pues como  grita
con energía, el pueblo en las calles:

¡SANGRE DE MÁRTIRES,
SEMILLA DE LIBERTAD!

J.Cardoza.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

ALERT! Edwin Espinal arrested for participation in protests against the dictatorship

COPINH denounces arrest of prominent Honduran activist Edwin Espinal, captured for his participation in protests against the dictatorship

[Original en español]

Tonight, while driving home, compañero Edwin Espinal was captured by members of the police along the Fuerzas Aramadas Boulevard in Tegucigalpa for his participation in the protests days before against the imposition of fraud and dictatorship by Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH).

Edwin Espinal is a well-known figure in the struggle against the dictatorial regime imposed since the 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras. His capture stems from orders by JOH the dictator to repress, demonize and criminalize the dignified protest of  people who oppose the imposition of violence and betrayal.

Edwin's capture comes days after having been victim of a demonization campaign in social media, just like what has happened to our brothers Martín Fernández and Víctor Fernández from the Broad Movement for Justice and Dignity (MADJ), as well as Father Melo from Radio Progreso among a long list of sisters and brothers in struggle against the regime.

The actions by the JOH government seek to sew fear and consternation amongst the mobilized people, as has been demonstrated by the brutal displays of force by the military police and the illegal statements by FUSINA, trying to interfere with the basic right to protest.

Nonetheless, the strength of our cry as a Honduran people against the illegality and illegitimacy of JOH is clear and we are sure that nobody will rest until he falls.

While JOH's spurious electoral tribunal certifies his illegal victory, they capture and criminalize compatriots who struggle for truth and dignity.

They use an iron fist against the people, but for foreign interests they kneel down as low as they can.

COPINH demands Edwin Espinal be released immediately and holds the Honduran state accountable.

We call on the national and international community to denounce these actions of criminalization along with the series of assassinations, aggressions, campaigns of stigmatization and brutal repression by the state against a mobilized people.

COPINH calls for a deepening of national mobilization against fraud and dictatorship.

The more they repress, the more we struggle and organize.

January 19th, 2018.

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota and Etempica our voices rise, full of life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

No to US support for electoral fraud and repression by Honduran dictator!


Friday, December 22, 2017

Open Letter to the People of the U.S. from Opposition Alliance Coordinator and Ex-President Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Open Letter to the People of the United States
People of the United States:
 
For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country "Banana Republic" and characterized our politicians as "cheaper than a mule" (as in the infamous Rolston letter).
 
Thousands of Hondurans protest at U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa

Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty.
We have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor--spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people. Certain sectors of Honduran private industry have also suffered greatly from punitive taxes and persecution.

You, the people of the United States, have been sold the idea that your government defends democracy, transparency, freedom and human rights in Honduras. But the State Department and Heide Fulton, the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires who is serving as de facto Ambassador to Honduras, are supporting blatant electoral fraud favoring Mr. Hernández, who has repeatedly violated the Honduran Constitution and (as noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) basic human rights. He is responsible for the scandalous looting of USD $350 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute and while he lies to you shamelessly that he is fighting drug cartels, he has destroyed the rule of law by stacking the Supreme Court with justices loyal to him.

The people of the United States have the right to know that in Honduras your taxes are used to finance, train and run institutions that oppress the people, such as the armed forces and the police, both of which are well known to run death squads (like those that grew out of Plan Colombia) and which are also deeply integrated with drug cartels.

People of the United States: the immoral support of your government has been so two-faced that for eight consecutive years the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation has determined that the Hernandez regime does not qualify for aid because of the government’s corruption, failing in all measures of transparency. With this record, the Honduran people ask: Why is the U.S. Government willing to recognize as president a man who the Honduran people voted against, and who they wish to see leave office immediately?

People of the United States: We ask you to spread the word, to stand up to your government’s lies about supporting democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and to demand that your elected representatives immediately end U.S. support for the scandalous electoral fraud against the people of Honduras, who have taken to the streets to demand recognition of the victory of the Alliance Against the Dictatorship and of President-Elect Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla Salúm.

We can tolerate difference and conflict, seeking peaceful solutions as a sovereign people, but your government’s intervention in favor of the dictatorship only exacerbates our differences.

The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.

We stand in solidarity with the North American people; we share much more with you than the fact that the one percent has bought off the political leaders of both our nations.

As descendants of the Independence hero Morazán, we want to live in peace, with justice and in democracy.

The Honduran people want to have good relations with the United States, but with respect and reciprocity.

Tegucigalpa, December 21, 2017

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Constitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras 2005-2010
Chief Coordinator, Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship
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