Category Archives: international solidarity

CCR: Parents of Activist Teen Shot and Killed after Illegal Honduras Coup File Suit against Micheletti

Parents of Activist Teen Shot and Killed after Illegal Honduras Coup File Suit against Micheletti

Extrajudicial Killing, Crimes against Humanity and Other Human Rights Violations Occurred under Post-Coup Leader’s Authority and Direction

CONTACT: press@ccrjustice.org

Para leer esto comunicado de prensa en espanol, haga clic aqui.

June 23, 2011, Houston – Today, almost two years after the military coup in Honduras, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, on behalf of David Murillo and Silvia Mencías, the parents of 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo who was shot and killed by Honduran military forces during a peaceful demonstration against the military coup d’etat of June 28, 2009. The defendant is Roberto Micheletti Baín, former president of the Honduran National Congress who assumed the role of head of the de facto government immediately following the coup d’état ousting President Zelaya. The complaint details extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity of murder and persecution, wrongful death and other gross human rights violations that occurred in Honduras under the authority and/or direction of Micheletti.

“I want no more bloodshed,” said Silvia Mencías, mother of the killed teen. “I don’t want any other mothers to suffer the way I have.”

“I was Isis Obed’s friend, teacher and father. We carry our pain like a cross, but Isis Obed’s legacy – the principles with which we raised him – will always be alive in our minds,” said David Murillo, Isis Obed’s father. “In life and in his work with social organizations, he was committed to defending the rights of others.”

On July 5, 2009, President Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras and restore the democratically-elected government. Zelaya intended to fly by airplane to Honduras and land at Toncontin International Airport in the capital of Tegucigalpa . Nineteen-year-old activist Isis Murillo and his family joined thousands of other coup opponents at the airport for a non-violent, peaceful gathering to welcome Zelaya back and support the restoration of the government. When Zelaya’s plane attempted to but was blocked from landing, Isis Murillo was shot in the head by Honduran military and died just moments after.

“The forces of Micheletti’s de facto government killed Isis Murillo as part of the severe crackdown and repression that ensued immediately following the coup,” said Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Pamela Spees. “Our clients’ son was a casualty of the systemic attacks on fundamental rights under this illegitimate regime.”

Subsequent to Isis ’ killing, the plaintiff and his family were subjected to surveillance and harassment by police and other authorities. This harassment took place in the context of what lawyers describe as an intense repression and political persecution that began under Michiletti’s regime that targeted the National Front of Popular Resistance, which formed in opposition to the coup, as well as journalists and other groups standing in opposition.
“How is forgiveness possible if there is no investigation, sanction nor reparation – when there is impunity?” said Bertha Oliva, Director of El Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), Center for Constitutional Rights’ partner in bringing this complaint. “As family members of people who were forcibly disappeared for political and ideological reasons, we know full well that reconciliation is not reached through forgiveness and forgetting of atrocities. We need truth and justice to move forward.”

To view the complaint or for more information on the lawsuit, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Honduras page or www.ccrjustice.org/honduras-coup. For information on the Center for Constitutional Rights Freedom of Information Act litigation around Honduras , visit http://ccrjustice.org/honduras-foia.

 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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June 14th: U.S. Congress to Hear from Honduran Military Coup Leader Under False Premises

Rights Action – June 10, 2011

HONDURAS REPRESSION & IMPUNITY WATCH

U.S. CONGRESS TO HEAR FROM HONDURAN MILITARY COUP LEADER UNDER FALSE PREMISES

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs is to hear from the “Honorable Roberto Micheletti Baín (Invited)”, who is, they say, the “Former President of Honduras”.

Micheletti was a key leader of the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, and was a ‘de facto’ leader of the military-backed regime that carried out widespread repression against the Honduran people.

It is false to say Micheletti is a “Former President” of Honduras.  The so-called swearing in process by the pro-coup Honduran Congress, one day after the illegal military coup, was based on a forged resignation letter of President Zelaya.

The ‘dishonorable’ Micheletti should be tried in court in Honduras for his role in the coup, not received by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as “former President” of Honduras.

WHERE & WHEN

 

HEARING NOTICE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515-0128

Connie Mack (R-FL), Chairman

June 7, 2011

You are respectfully requested to attend an OPEN hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building (and available live, via the WEBCAST link on the Committee website at http://www.hcfa.house.gov):

DATE: Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIME: 3:00 p.m.

SUBJECT: Holding Honduras Hostage: Revoked Visas and U.S. Policy

WITNESSES:

The Honorable [sic] Roberto Micheletti Baín (Invited), Former President [sic] of Honduras

Mrs. Sandra Martínez de Midence, President, Central Bank of Honduras

Mr. Leonardo Villeda Bermudez, Former Executive Secretary, National Convergence Forum (FONAC)

*NOTE:  Further witnesses may be added.

By Direction of the Chairman

The Committee on Foreign Affairs seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202/225-5021 at least four business days in advance of the event, whenever practicable.  Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices) may be directed to the Committee.

WHAT TO DO

Write to your own Member of Congress, and other government officials, demanding that Micheletti – a dishonorable military coup plotter and leader – NOT be invited to speak at this hearing.

WHITE HOUSE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/, 202-456-1111, Comment Line: 202-456-1414

CONGRESS: Go to http://www.house.gov/ to get info for your member of Congress, and call:  202-224-3121

SENATE: Go to http://www.senate.gov/ to get contact for your Senator, and call: 202-224-3121

STATE DEPARTMENT: 202 647-8947

STATE DEPARTMENT – Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs: 202 647-0834, WHAAsstSecty@State.Gov

AMBASSADOR CRAIG KELLY, Principal Deputy Asst. Secretary, Western Office of Hemisphere Affairs: KellyC@state.gov

MARIA OTERO, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; c/o Laura Pena, Assistant: PenaL@state.gov

BENJAMIN GEDAN, Honduras Desk Officer, (202) 647-3482

DR. ARTURO VALENZUELA: ValenzuelaAA@state.gov

PAUL MONTEIRO, Office of Public Engagement, Darron_P._Monteiro@who.eop.gov

AMBASSADOR HUGO LLORENS, U.S. Embassy in Honduras, LlorensH@state.gov, 504 2236-9320 ext. 4268, 2236-9037; Silvia Eiriz, Eirizs@state.gov

*****************

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the brutal military-backed regime in Honduras, headed by Roberto Micheletti, contact:

Annie Bird, annie@rightsaction.org, 202-680-3002

Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 860-352-2448

Karen Spring, spring.kj@gmail.com, 011-504-9507-3835 [in Honduras]

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[en] Rights Action: ‘Text-Book’ State Terrorism in Honduras

‘TEXT-BOOK’ STATE TERRORISM IN HONDURAS:
DEATH-SQUADS KILL TEACHER, BROAD DAYLIGHT, IN FRONT OF STUDENTS

On March 23, at the same moment that a group of seven Honduran lawyers were presenting information to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Washington DC concerning systematic human rights abuses being committed against the pacifist Honduran National Resistance Front (FNRP), a death squad comprised of heavily armed men wearing ski masks and civilian clothes, killed a prominent FNRP member, a teacher, in front of his high school students.

According to a communiqué issued by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH),

“At 3pm an unknown person was spotted in front of the San Jose del Pedregal High School.  The unusual presence of a stranger caused concerns among students and thirty teachers who make up the staff of teachers who work at the school.  Among the teachers was Professor of Social Science Jose Manuel Flores, who worked as teacher counselor.

“Witnesses on the scene saw two pickups approach the rear of the school premises, apparently 2009 models, one green and white.

“Professor Manuel, as his friends called him, was in the back of the facility overseeing pupils, when the assassins found him.  They passed the perimeter fence and fired their guns at close range.

“The teacher was on a balcony from which he fell, and they fired on him again from above.  As they fled, the ski mask of one of the attackers became entangled in the razor coil over the fence which they had cut open to look for their victim.  The teacher died instantly.”

THIS IS STATE TERRORISM
The killing of a prominent teacher in front of his students and colleagues, in the middle of the day, a man who was active in the FNRP, participating in protests and publishing articles in alternative press, is calculated act of repression designed to terrorize other Honduras and to send a silencing message.

Among many in the FNRP, the timing of the crime – at the same time as the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights hearing held in Washington – is part of that message, reminiscent of the attack on the family lawyer Jari Dixon Herrera immediately following a CNN interview in Washington DC.

While the attackers’ identity is not known, it is important to note that when current Minister of Government Oscar Alvarez served as Minister of Government, under the administration of President Maduro, he instituted a practice in which police dressed in civilian clothes and wearing ski masks (of varying types) participate in raids.  Their appearance makes them indistinguishable from organized crime assassins, who operate with impunity throughout Honduras and the region.

This is the same modus operandi of state terrorism and death squads that operated in U.S. backed regimes in Honduras throughout the 1970s and 1980s, during the so-called ‘cold war’.

During the eight months since the June 28, 2009 military coup in Honduras, dozens of FNRP activists have been killed, some during illegal detention by police forces, others in death squad type situations like the killing of Professor Manuel.

There is not a credible or functional justice system operating in Honduras.  Proper investigation by Honduran authorities is not possible.

In reaction to the killing, teachers are holding a national strike and there is a national protest scheduled to occur March 25.

Millions of Hondurans, along with the Organization of American States (OAS) and many nations around the world, do not recognize the legitimacy of the current acting president of Honduras, Pep Lobo.

The FNRP continues to struggle for the legitimate goal of convoking a constitutional convention to create a new constitution since the current one, formulated in 1981 amidst widespread repression and militarization, does not adequately protect the rights of citizens.

The massive support the call for a new constitution enjoys among Hondurans resulted in the violent military overthrow of the elected president in June 2009 and the de facto powers are attempting to silence this on-going demand through violence such as the killing of Professor Manuel.

UNITED STATES & CANADA
The US and Canadian governments must be held partially responsible for the on-going State terrorism and repression in Honduras.

  • The US and Canada indirectly legitimized the military-oligarchic regime after the June 28th military coup;
  • they recognized the illegal “elections” on November 28, 2009;
  • they attended the January 27, 2010 “transfer of power”, when the regime of current leader Pepe Lobo took power;
  • they are now promoting the “normalization of relations” with Honduras in the international community;
  • both governments continue to ignore the well-documented State-sponsored killings and repression;
  • both work to invisibilize the massive social movement and the call for a new constitution.

The legitimate struggle of the majority of Hondurans – peaceful and courageous – continues.  They need on-going support.  They also need Canadians and Americans to pressure our own governments – the main supporters of the Honduran regime – to condemn the systemic repression in Honduras; to not turn a blind eye to repression and impunity and casually maintain full political, economic and military relations with the regime.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Annie Bird, annie@rightsaction.org, 1-202-680-3002 & Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-352-2448.  www.rightsaction.org

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[en] Work Brigade to rebuild and relaunch Radio Faluma Bimetu

Work Brigade to rebuild and relaunch Radio Faluma Bimetu, “The First Garífuna Voice”

Encuentro for the Right to Disseminate our Voices
Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras, February 1st through 7th

The call:

Radio Faluma Bimetu, OFRANEH, and COMPPA call for participation and support in the reconstruction and re-launching  of Radio Faluma Bimetu in the Garífuna community Triunfo de la Cruz, in the Tela Bay, Honduras, during the first week of February.

What happened:


In the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 6th, the Garífuna community radio Faluma Bimetu (Sweet Coconut) based in Triunfo de la Cruz was burnt down by unknown armed individuals who proceeded to loot the station’s radio equipment. This is not the first time the radio has been attacked and its equipment stolen.

In 2002, unknown persons stole the Faluma Bimetu transmitter and other key radio equipment. The Garífuna people are in resistance to a slow process of forced assimilation into the dominant culture by proponents of the tourist industry and mass media; and subject to evictions by corrupt corporate monopolies.

Transmission of Radio Faluma Bimetu began in 1997, promoted by the Land Defense Committee of Triunfo de la Cruz (CODETT) in order to strengthen Garífuna culture and defend ancestral lands.

Triunfo de la Cruz, like other Tela Bay-Garífuna communities, has become a conflict zone since the invasion of venture capitalists, politicians, and foreign investors attempting to seize community land for the construction of mega–tourism projects. The Garífuna community radios provide a social service to the community and do not generate private profit. Transmitting from Triunfo de la Cruz, Faluma Bimetu is necessary in the fight against Honduran elite, and its attempts to displace Garífuna communities for more corporate development and tourism.

International Brigade

From the 1st through the 7th of February, there will be a national and international brigade for the reconstruction and re-launching of Radio Faluma Bimetu. During the week, the community, the organizations, the Network of Indigenous and Garífuna radios in Honduras and Central America and citizens of the world will gather to collectively reconstruct and reinstall the house, production and transmission cabins. We will reinstall electricity, paint the walls, remove and replace the roof, rebuild the tables, put a fence around the radio, and reinstall radio equipment (including mixers microphones, headphones, transmitters, computers, CD players, and internet, etc.)

During the same week, OFRANEH will organize accompaniment (day visits and overnight trips) with other radios of the Network of Garífuna Community Radios: Radio Durugubuti Beibei in San Juan Tela and Radio Sugua in Sambo Creek. Come with us and meet the people of OFRANEH, who use community radios and popular communications to fight against the censorship of Garífuna voices and culture.

Encuentro for the Right to Disseminate Our Voices:

On February 6th, exactly a month after Radio Faluma Bimetu was attacked, there will be an Encuentro for the right to communication and for the democratization of the media. It will take place in the same community of Triunfo de la Cruz. Participants include representatives of the Network of Indigenous and Garífuna Radios of Central America, AMARC Honduras, Central America and Latin America, ALBATV (Venezuela), Rights Action, COMPPA, OFRANEH and COPINH, among other regional, national and international organizations.

Inauguration of Faluma Bimetu:


Saturday, February 6th, Faluma Bimetu will be re–inaugurated. The inauguration will include cultural ceremonies, music, art, and declarations against the politics of marginalization and erasure.

Solidarity and Support:

We need $7,500 dollars to rebuild Faluma Bimetu and get it back on the air. Join our work party or support us with what you are able (5$ dollars and up). Raise your voice and help defend the communication rights in this effort to rebuild Radio Faluma Bimetu.

Send your donations quickly and conveniently with  PAYPAL or with a CREDIT CARD, send your paypal donation to encuentro@radioscomunitarias.info or make a donation via http://www.comppa.org/wordpress

Or, send a donation directly to OFRANEH´s account in Honduras using this information:
Account No. 3100023062, Banco Atlántida, SWIFT ATTDHNTE, La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras C.A.

Finally, you can make a tax deductible donation by sending a check to Rights Action.
Make the check out to “Rights Action” and mail it to:
•    UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
•    CANADA:  552 – 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8

Please write “Ofraneh-Radio” in the memo line.

For more information on how to participate and support Faluma Bimetu, contact us:
encuentro@radioscomunitarias.info
http://www.radioscomunitarias.info
http://www.comppa.org/wordpress

For more information please consult the following links:
VIDEO:
Antes y Después del Atentado Contra Faluma Bimetu
Before and After the Attack of Radio Faluma Bimetu

Collection of Denouncements, Audios, and Letters of Solidarity
http://honduras.mediosindependientes.org

OFRANEH:
Honduran Black Fraternal Organization, OFRANEH
Telephone (504) 4420618, (504) 4500058
email: ofraneh@yahoo.com
http://www.ofraneh.org

COMPPA:
Popular Communicators for Autonomy
comppa@comppa.org
http://www.comppa.org

A partial list of equipment stolen or damaged during the attack:
1 – 500 watt transmitter 1- 10 channel mixer 2- desktop computers
1- cellphone for the  station
1- air conditioner
1- dvd and cd player
4- microphones  (2 condensed mics and y 2 handheld mics)
2-digital voice recorders 2 – headphones
2- speakers
2 –portable microphones
1- building material ($500.00 corrugated metal roofing, paint, and lumber)
1- electrical wiring

As OFRANEH and COMPPA, our hearts and solidarity go out to the Haitian people.  To support the many rescue and relief efforts in Haiti, visit the following pages and support their work:

http://rightsaction.org/Alerts/Haiti_Earthquake_011310a.html
https://donate.pih.org/page/contribute/haiti_earthquake?source=earthquake&subsource=homepage
http://www.haitiaction.net/About/HERF/1_12_10.html

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[en] Maquila Solidarity Network: Honduran workers win break-through agreement

[Originally posted on the Maquila Solidarity Network website.]

Historic Victory: Jerzees de Honduras workers win break-through agreement

November 18, 2009

On November 14 an unprecedented agreement was struck between Russell Athletic and the union representing unjustly laid off workers at its former Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) factory.

Russell has agreed to open a new facility in the Choloma area, re-hire and provide substantial economic assistance to the 1,200 former JDH workers, institute a joint union-management training program on freedom of association and commit to a position of neutrality with respect to unionization, which will open the door for union representation at all of Fruit of the Loom’s Honduran facilities (Russell Athletic is owned by Fruit of the Loom).

“This agreement represents one of the most significant advances for fundamental workplace rights in the twenty-year history of apparel industry codes of conduct,” said Scott Nova of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), which conducted independent investigations into violations of freedom of association at JDH. “It is hard to overstate the significance of this breakthrough.”

“For Honduran workers this agreement represents real hope, especially in the midst of an unemployment crisis in our country,” said Evangelina Argueta, Coordinator of the Honduran General Workers’ Confederation (CGT) in Choloma, which spearheaded the fight for the former JDH workers. “The fired workers haven’t had income to support their families. Now they can be assured that they will have a job – this is the most valuable thing to come out of the agreement.”

Russell Athletic was under serious pressure to repair the damage caused by its decision to close the JDH factory last January, which was widely condemned as an attempt to destroy a newly formed union (see last issue of the Update for details).

At the urging of students, unions and labour rights organizations, including United Students Against Sweatshops and MSN, over 100 universities in Canada and the US that have adopted ethical purchasing policies either withdrew their licensing agreements with the company or threatened to do so unless it took action to remediate the violations. Retailers and other Russell consumers were also approached.

“This is the first time we know of where a factory that was shut down to eliminate a union was later re-opened after a worker-activist campaign. This is also the first company-wide neutrality agreement in the history of the Central America apparel export industry – and it has been entered into by the largest private employer in Honduras, the largest exporter of t-shirts to the US market in the world. This is a breakthrough of enormous significance for the right to organize – and worker rights in general – in one of the harshest labor rights environments in the world,” said Rod Palmquist, USAS International Campaign Coordinator.

Talks between the union and the company finally began after Russell Athletic’s membership in the Fair Labor Association (FLA) was put on “Special Review” status last June. An FLA investigation carried out in response to a complaint filed by the CGT, the Clean Clothes Campaign and MSN confirmed the WRC’s finding that the presence of the union was a significant factor in the FLA member company’s decision to close the JDH factory.

The FLA told the company it had to negotiate remediation with the factory union (SITRAJERZEESH) and the CGT, and engage with MSN and the WRC.

Fruit of the Loom is the largest private sector employer in Honduras, owning eight factories that employ over 10,000 workers, making the impact of this agreement extremely significant.

“The partnership being created between a large private employer and an independent union federation is unprecedented in the history of the apparel sector in Honduras and in Central America,” said Nova.

Implementation of the agreement will be monitored by a joint union-management committee, with an agreement to enter into binding arbitration in the case of disputes over implementation or interpretation.

“We feel that the company acted in good faith during the negotiations, and this has to be recognized,” said Argueta. “Relations between workers, the union and the company have been strengthened, and this will be reflected when the new factory is opened.”

“All the support we received from groups like the WRC, MSN and from all of the university students was fundamental and we are very grateful,” said Argueta. “The support of international organizations is very important.”

•    Read the Joint Public Statement on the agreement by the union and the company (November 17, 2009)

•    Read more on the Jerzees de Honduras Campaign.

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[en] Rights Action: Day 132 of Honduras Coup Resistance – Failure of “Guaymuras Accords”

Day 132 of HONDURAS COUP RESISTANCE – FAILURE OF “GUAYMURAS ACCORDS”
(November 6, 2009, Honduras Coup Alert#87)

(131st day of peaceful resistance to the coup regime. Photo, Karen Spring, November 5, 2009, Tegucigalpa)

BELOW:

  • COPINH (Civic council of popular and indigenous organizations of Honduras) analyses the failed “Guaymuras Accords”
  • CPTRT (Center for the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture) summary report on use of torture by oligarchic-military regime

TO DONATE FUNDS – SEE AT BOTTOM

Please continue to financially support the pro-democracy, anti-coup movement in Honduras.  This extraordinary struggle, to defeat the oligarchic-military regime and to remake their constitution and country, will continue well into 2010.

VIEW The Real News

“Nothing resolved in Honduras: Widely-celebrated, US-brokered agreement looks to have strengthened coup instead of reversing it”: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=4431

HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO HONDURAS, November 24–December 1, 2009

Consider joining a Rights Action delegation to Honduras.  For information: Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-352-2448

FOR INTERVIEWS & MORE INFORMATION

* * *

COPINH – CIVIC COUNCIL OF POPULAR AND INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF HONDURAS
The indigenous-campesino organization COPINH denounces the “Guaymuras Accords”

In the face of the signing of the accords to seek a solution to the crisis generated by the military coup d’etat against the people of Honduras, COPINH emits the following communiqué:

1. We have no trust in the negotiating commission of the coup regime, given that they have never demonstrated a willingness to reinstate the constitutional president of the republic.  Its only purpose is to buy time to consolidate the objectives of the coup d’etat in looting the national treasury and imposing neoliberal projects of privatization of natural resources and state institutions.

2. We denounce the malicious and intentional attitude of the government of the United States of America, that takes ambiguous positions but, behind the scenes, has supported the coup-makers and, if not, how can they explain that in the kidnapping of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales they used the [U.S. military’s Honduran] Palmerola base?  If the yankees had so much political will to contribute to the resolution of this crisis, why so much tolerance, patience and complacency with the coup-makers in lending themselves to a dialogue where they present deceiving agreements as a solution?

3. We call out people not to rest until we achieve the convoking of a popular and democratic national constitutional assembly, which should be made up of the different social sectors of the country such as women, feminists, youth, indigenous and black peoples, workers, the LGTB community, community councils, representatives of marginalized neighborhoods, teachers, artists, peasants, honest business people, intellectuals, professionals, the informal economy sector, alternative media, among others.

4. We urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements in which the mediation shouldn’t be to the liking and oversight of the yankee government, which has helped drive the coup d’etat against our people, but instead by people like Rigoberta Menchu, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, democratic countries that make up the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) and UNASUR, foundations like the Carter Foundation, social movements of the countries of Latin America and the world like the Landless Peoples Movement of Brazil, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, the Scream of the Excluded, Jubilee South, the Convergence of Popular Movements of the Americas, the School of the Americas Watch, the platforms of solidarity with the Honduran people and others.

For this the front should name a negotiating commission that understands that the coup-makers are perverse and that the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. government in general are driving the coup d’etat and proposing, as key points, the restitution of the President of the Republic Manuel Zelaya Rosales to govern for the time that the coup-makers robbed of his governing period, the installation of a national constitutional assembly and the dissolution of the coup congress, of the coup supreme court, of the coup public ministry, the reduction and purging of the armed forces, the definitive purging of the national police and the punishment of the people involved in the coup d’etat and the violation of human rights.

5. We urge once again to the candidates of the Democratic Unification Party, the Popular Independent Candidacy, the PINU party and the Liberals, who are in resistance, to be consistent and renounce, once and for all, participation in the electoral farce set up by the coup-makers.  To our people we urge you not to participate in the electoral circus and to boycott that act of the coup-makers.

6. To the international solidarity we invite you to strengthen the support to the Honduran people not just as a principle of solidarity but for reasons of self-defense since if the coup-makers consolidate in Honduras the democratic spring of the peoples of the world and particularly the peoples of our America will end.

With the ancestral force of Lempira, Iselaca, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices filled with life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace.

HERE NOBODY IS GIVING UP / AQUI, NO SE RINDE NADIE

* * *

INTRODUCTION TO CPTRT’S RECENT REPORT DETAILING THE USE OF TORTURE BY THE COUP REGIME

By the CPTRT (Center for the Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and their Families).  Complete report in Spanish:  http://www.cptrt.org/pdf/Tortura_Represion_Sistematica_GolpeEstado.pdf.  Translated by Patricia Adams of the Quixote Center, www.quixote.org)

The political military coup in Honduras, which took place on June 28, 2009, has special characteristics … .

The first component is the participation of the old followers of the National Security Doctrine that have continued practicing torture with impunity since the 80’s and who are the principle military and police advisors of the de facto regime.

The second component is the strategy of low intensity conflict, psychological torture, state terrorism, total suspension of constitutional guarantees, the state of siege and the presence of national and international hired assassins.

The third element is that the coup is taking place in the country where one of the most important US military bases exists [Palmerola, 40 minutes north of Tegucigalpa, the capital city] and where international military trainings and maneuvers occur frequently.

The fourth element is the alliance of economic, media, political, judicial, and religious powers in the country, that openly denies the coup, referring to it as a ‘constitutional succession.’ An alliance which also proclaims and justifies this military coup in the name of the law of God, peace, and democracy, all while keeping silent about murders, torture, and human rights violations.

The fifth component is the condemnation of the coup as a military coup, by almost 100% percent of the world’s countries, with the exception of United States, which condemns it as a coup but does not consider it to have been military in nature.

The sixth component is that the coup is considered as being not only against Zelaya but against the entire people of Honduras, and is a threat to the stability of some Latin American governments.

The seventh component is the existence of the popular response by the National Resistance Front Against the Military Coup, which has been protesting continuously for more than 120 days, despite the massive repression by brutal military and police force, the use of toxic gases, chemical weapons, intense noises, murders, persecution, political imprisonment and massive use of torture.

The eighth component is that the coup has occurred in the context of an electoral process which censors and gags the freedom of expression, in which the de facto government has fierce control of more than 90% of the communications media, and through which a variety of media outlets and journalists were militarized and repressed, including Radio Globo, Cholusat Sur, Diario Tiempo, Canal 11, Radio Progreso and the newspaper El Libertador.

The ninth element in that candidates from the opposition parties for the upcoming presidential, congressional, and mayoral elections have been subjected to torture, to being followed, to violent trauma and to murder. These facts are indicators of the restrictions on freedom and the civil and political rights of an electoral campaign process.

The tenth component is a 60% increase in femicide, the violations of the rights of trans-gender people, as well as the persecution and racism against the indigenous and the Garífunas. In this context, it is especially important to mention that since the sixth of October of 2009, 12 people affiliated with the Lenca indigenous organization COPINH have sought political asylum inside the Guatemala Embassy, that Augustina Flores, sister of COPINH leader Berta Caceres, was tortured by the police forces, and that the Lenca resistance leader Antoio Leiva was murdered.

Additionally, on the 21st of October, Day of the Forces that are Armed against the people, the criminal policies of the de facto regime resounded clearly when the repressive forces of the Direction of Criminal Investigation were ordered to break in, terrorize and silence the language and culture of our brothers and sisters of Radio Flumabimeto and Radio Duruugubuty, radio stations of the Garífuna peoples in the regions of Triunfo de la Cruz and San Juan, in the Bay of Tela, terrorizing 46 communities.

The murder of leaders of the teachers movements has been another characteristic of this military coup: Roger Vallejo, Martín Rivera, Mario Fidel Contreras, and Eliseo Hernández, as well as Jairo Sánchez, the President of the Union of INFOP Workers (SITRAINFOP), who was shot and eventually died from the wounds he sustained.

Lastly, we wish to point out the enormous risk of human rights defense work: our staff has been threatened, followed, and shot at, and their phone lines have been tapped and cut.  We are grateful for the international solidarity and support and for our organization, particularly we are thankful for the Research Centre for Torture (RCT DANIDA).  This report is a product of team work and the vocation to ethical and responsible service of the CPTRT.

We also take this opportunity to publicly recognize all the human rights organization, national and international, who are against the military coup.

Juan Almendares
Executive Director of the CPTRT

RISE IN REPORTS OF TORTURE AND CRUEL, INHUMAN AND DEGRADING TREATMENT

Tegucigalpa November 2, 2009: The CPTRT reports that the number of cases of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading (TCID) treatments has risen at an alarming rate and has become of means of political repression in the wake of the coup d’etat.

Throughout these four months, the CPTRT alone has registered 475 cases of torture and TCID. Nonetheless, it is estimated that the number of total cases in considerably higher given the tendency of under-reporting for fear of reprisal or lack of trust in the judicial system.

Between 2007 and the first half of 2009, CPTRT saw an average of 2.5 cases of torture each month, compared with 118.75 cases per month in the current context.

The majority of victims of torture seen by CPTRT have been protestors that have shown a serious opposition to the coup, although members of Congress, advocates of the 4th ballot box process, and journalists have been targeted as well.

[Translators note: The possible presence of a 4th ballot box was the subject of the non-binding survey President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya tried to carry out on June 28th 2009, the day of the coup d’etat. If the results of the non-binding survey would have been positive, Zelaya could have used them to back his proposal to Congress for the presence of a 4th ballot box in the November general elections. If the Congress approved the presence of the 4th ballot box, the Honduran people would have been able to vote for the creation of a Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new Constitution.]

The torture has been physical, psychological, and sexual and has been almost exclusively committed by the police and military. The torture has included both traditional and new methods, such as viscous blows to the body and throat, burns via the application of lit cigarettes to the body and genitals, use of gas, deprivation of water and food, humiliation, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, the threat of death, the threat of disappearance, and the threat of the use of electric shock, among others.

GIVEN THE ABOVE, CPTRT:

Demands that the Honduran state investigate, pursue and penalize those responsible for the crimes of torture and TCID, and demands that attention, reparation, and restitution be provided to the victims.

Offers the reminder that torture is a crime against humanity that is not subject to a statute of limitations and that the passage of time does not make impossible either investigation of the crimes nor penalty of those responsible.

Offers the reminder that the prohibition of torture is an obligation that Honduras assumed on a national level through the Constitution, and through the ratification of international instruments like Convention on Torture, among others.

CPTRT states that the defense of human rights in the country has become a high risk activity for its staff, which has been threatened continuously through intimidation, being fired upon, followed, and threatened. Therefore, CPTRT urges the international community to undergo pertinent actions to protect the life of defenders and also makes a special call to the representatives of the EU to apply the European Guidelines of Human Rights Defenders.

* * *

FUNDS NEEDED to support organizations and people working on human rights issues and with the National Front Against the Coup.  Make your tax-deductible check to “rights action” and mail to:

UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552-351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS:  http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

For foundations and institutional donors, Rights Action can (upon request) provide a full proposal of which organizations and people we are channeling funds to and supporting.

WATCH A 2-PART “FAULT LINES” NEWS REPORT ABOUT HONDURAS:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYY4vj9ROC0&feature=player_embedded
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upMu_oR2YUU&NR=1

FOR INTERVIEWS & MORE INFORMATION:
In Honduras, Karen Spring, 011-504-9507-3835, spring.kj@gmail.com
In USA, Grahame Russell, 860-352-2448, info@rightsaction.org

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[en] Tom Loudon – Honduras: A Time of No Time

Detail from a painting in the COFADEH office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo: Sandra Cuffe

HONDURAS: A TIME OF NO TIME

By Tom Loudon*

October 19, 2009

For the last week and a half, negotiations between President Zelaya and the coup government have dominated the news in Honduras. Last week, it appeared that a negotiated solution might emerge.  However President Zelaya’s ‘absolute deadline’ of midnight October 15th came and went and absolutely nothing changed.

The ‘negotiations’ have the entire country suspended in a sort of time warp.  Everyone waits for an outcome from the talks, which never emerges. Zelaya’s first extension, which was to have ended on Friday the 16th, has now been extended to today.  However, coup leader Micheletti is now refusing to recognize what had previously been accepted and continues his stalling game.  It is hard to know what could change between now and Monday which would lead to a resolution.

It is beginning to appear as if, in fact, there never has been any interest on the part of the de facto regime in a real resolution.  Rather, negotiations have served to consume time, running the clock in the hope of using the November 29th elections to claim that a legitimate government has been elected.

This weekend, an unidentified person in the State Department is quoted promoting the notion that perhaps the U.S. would recognize the outcome of the elections even if Constitutional order is not restored, provided they are verified free of fraud by international observers.  Although a certain number of countries may eventually go along with this approach, large sectors of people inside Honduras and most Latin American governments will not.  Given the impasse on negotiations and failure to restore Constitutional order, the 13 ALBA countries have announced that they will not recognize the November elections and have resolved to promote that position among other countries.

The broad based national coalition against the coup [‘National Front Against the Coup’] in Honduras has issued a call for citizens to disrupt the elections.  This weekend, Independent Presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes began holding popular assemblies proposing to his supporters that they affirm his decision to withdraw from the race.  Today, the left wing UD party also announced that if there was not a restitution of Manuel Zelaya to the Presidency, they would also withdraw from the elections.

Meanwhile, the repression has been ramped up, posing serious new challenges for the resistance movement.  The first response to the resistance on the part of the coup regime was to launch uncontrolled violence and blanket repression against protesters, and anyone else in the vicinity.   More recent tactics expose the highly sophisticated apparatus which is behind this coup and capitalize on the collective memory of torture, disappearance and terror that were practiced here not very long ago.

POLICE STATE AND THE SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

Executive Decree PCM-M-016-2009 eliminates freedom of speech and association, and allows police to enter private houses at will, without a warrant.   In addition to giving police blanket authorization to attack and arrest anyone without cause, many of those arrested have been charged with sedition.   Although Micheletti claimed to have lifted the decree prior to the negotiations, in actuality, it has remained in effect.  Today there was an announcement that it had been revoked.  Perhaps this time it may actually be more than a promise.

Three snapshots from culled from notes during a recent visit to Honduras, from the offices of COFADEH – Committee of Families of the Disappeared of Honduras – illustrate life under the current police state:

Agustina Caceres, a school teacher from La Esperanza , arrived at COFADEH after 21 days in prison.  Agustina received the “Teacher of the Year” Award last year for excellence in teaching and is known for her community service with youth gangs.  She was sitting on a curb, waiting for transport back to her hometown after the celebration in Tegucigalpa to celebrate Zelaya’s return, when police started beating her.  They continued to beat her face after she was handcuffed.  She was released from prison, after her teachers union posted over $5000 in bail, and is charged with sedition.

Four people arrived who had been arrested on August 12, the day of a large protests and heavy repression. Two had never been involved in political activity and had not attended the protest.  One had attended the protest earlier that day and was then arbitrarily pulled off a bus with his sister and another person while on their way home much later.  The fourth voiced protest from a distance about a young boy who was being beaten by the police which provoked her arrest.  All were arrested and beaten with long night-sticks or metal poles.  They were held in a room laying face down on the floor with arms cuffed behind their backs.  Police came by and deliberately stepped on their exposed toes. They were held for nine days.  All have been charged with sedition though no evidence has been presented. They are awaiting trial.

A woman from a Tegucigalpa barrio arrived with a small son who had been shot in the stomach.  She went to file a police report and was told that the shooting was her own fault because of the state of siege she should not have let him out of the house.

In addition to generalized police repression against the entire population, there is an increase in selective intimidation, threats and assassination.

This week, union leader Jairo Sánchez, president of the SITRAINFOP union, finally died after having been shot in the face on September 24th.  It is said that he was first thrown to the ground, and then fired on a point blank range.  Early this morning (October 19), Elisio Hernandez, director of a rural school in Macuelizo and anti-coup activist, was also murdered.

Because of the increased incidence of violence and intimidation many people who have been involved in the resistance are leaving the country or going into hiding internally.

“OPERATION SILENCE”

The forced and violent closure of independent national radio and TV stations (Radio Globo and Channel 36) has successfully cut off access to accurate information about what is really happening in Honduras.  Three radio shows, which played once a week on a station owned by Ricardo Maduro (known to be sympathetic to the coup), were also suspended this past week.

Indirectly, these news outlets also served a coordination function for the resistance movement; assisting in the effort to conduct simultaneous actions in different parts of the country and notify people where and when repressive actions were being carried out.

In a country with large percentage of rural inhabitants and scarce access to internet, “Operation Silence” has dealt an effective blow to the resistance movement.

Today, the day when a new human rights mission sent by the UN began its work, Radio Globo was allowed to re-open, but with a gag order.  It was also thought that Channel 36 would re-open.

SUDDEN ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN EARLY END TO THE SCHOOL YEAR

Social unrest and strikes since the coup have already resulted in major interruptions for public school students.  This week, the government suddenly announced that the school calendar would be cut by one month.   With less than one week of prior notice, classes were required to end on Friday October 16th and all school activities to end by October 30th – a full month before the school year normally ends.

This measure is understood as a move to demobilize teachers – an important sector of the resistance movement with a long history of struggle.  Ending the school year early interrupts efforts which might emerge on the part of teachers to disrupt elections, as many of the polls are located inside of the schools.  It also gives the army sufficient time to occupy the schools.

Previously the government has threatened reprisals against teachers who were participating in resistance activities.  Teachers who are insisting on continuing the school year past the government cutoff are now being threatened for wanting to teach.

Although the regime may be enjoying short term success in suppressing the demand for restoration of Constitutional order, in the long term police state repression will not contain the huge numbers of people who will continue to struggle for economic and political justice.

Media hype to the contrary, the growing number of left wing governments being elected in Latin America is not the result of anything Hugo Chavez is doing, rather the efforts of people who are tired of poverty and social movement demanding change.

This week, for example, despite Micheletti’s iron clad crack down, the resistance scored a major goal.  The Honduran Soccer team qualified for the World Cup.  Soccer in Honduras is like baseball and football combined in the U.S.

Micheletti, anxious to take full advantage of this event, declared a national holiday and held a ceremony to honor the winning players with special medals.  However, the captain of the team, Amado Guevara, refused to accept a medal from the illegitimate government and had his jersey smuggled inside the Brazilian Embassy to President Zelaya.  Despite the media blackout, news of this open defiance of the dictator spread throughout the country.  Later Amado Guevara denied that he had been involved in sending his jersey to the Embassy.  Certainly the coup government found an effective way to threaten him, because his family is known to be vehemently anti-coup.

It is hard to predict where things are headed in Honduras.  Unfortunately, the second deadline extension given by President Zelaya had not produced a negotiated settlement, rather another long weekend of suspended animation.

By late tonight, there was still no news of any agreement, just references by the coup government of the need to avoid placing a deadline on the negotiations.  If Constitutional order is not restored quickly, a massive boycott of the elections is likely. Any candidate who chooses to remain in the race will be judged as illegitimate, leading to a further breakdown of order.

In this time of no time – the clock is running out.

* Tom Loudon is currently in Honduras, working with the Quixote Center, www.quixote.org, toml@quixote.org

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