Today marks the 9th anniversary of the June 28, 2009 US-backed and SOA graduate-led coup in Honduras. We continue to stand in outrage and solidarity with everyone that has suffered, has been tortured, murdered, and incarcerated in the aftermath of this intervention. We acknowledge the current turmoil in Honduras: five political prisoners are still held captive in US-modeled prisons, the children currently kidnapped from their parents in US detention centers, those murdered and disappeared, and the people of Honduras that continue to resist the current Juan Orlando Hernandez dictatorship. Today we uplift the struggle and resistance of the communities, activists, human rights defenders, and everyone fighting for dignity, truth and justice.
Since 2009, the post-coup regime has maintained a violent system of oppression reflected in the blatant disregard for human rights that has led to perpetual instability and impunity. Since the coup, we have watched with horror as human rights defenders, indigenous and campesino communities, environmentalists, lawyers, journalists, LGBTQ community members, students and social movement leaders continue to be targeted for criminalization, attacks and murder.
We condemn the six generals officially linked to the orchestration of the coup, four of whom were trained at the School of the Americas – Generals Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Luis Prince Suazo, Miguel Angel García and Carlos Cuellar. It is proven once again that the leadership of SOA graduates in the coup is but a reflection of anti-democratic actions by School of the Americas.
Over the past nine years, we have witnessed the alarming rate at which the US foreign policy crisis in Honduras – that is, US military and political intervention – has in turn triggered and exacerbated a humanitarian crisis throughout Mexico and at the US/Mexico border. The unprecedented exodus of Hondurans fleeing for survival is a direct consequence of the 2009 coup.
The inhumane policies of deterrence and expansion of the US southern border throughout Mexico and the northern region of Central America, including the US-funded Southern Border Plan, have created a vertical border throughout Mexico to ensure the persecution, detention, deportation of migrants and refugees. Those who survive the US-funded State of Exception through Mexico arrive to the US/Mexico border only to have their international rights as refugees and asylum-seekers stripped from them, and are met by dehumanizing, racist and torturous policies of imprisonment and family separation.
In order to adequately address what we are seeing as a result of the expansion of US border imperialism, we must acknowledge the historic role the US has played in creating the conditions of violence that force people to flee their homelands.
The 2009 ousting of democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya has not only destabilized the country; it exposed the deadly impact the US-backed intervention continues to have on the people of Honduras. More recently, the fraudulent November 26, 2017 elections triggered yet another blow to the Honduran people, as the unconstitutional presidential candidacy of Juan Orlando Hernández was proclaimed victorious by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The result of a ten-hour long “electoral informations system crash” suddenly put Hernández ahead of Salvador Nasralla, despite the claim of an irreversible victory for the latter with sixty percent of the vote counted. This electoral fraud sparked a national outrage that continues to manifest itself in the streets of Honduras today.
Over 30 people were killed for protesting, hundreds were injured and tortured, and over a thousand people were arbitrarily arrested at the hands of hyper-militarized state security forces. The aftermath of the elections led to the arrest of 23 political prisoners on trumped up charges. While many have been released, they continue to face charges. The five political prisoners that remain: Edwin Espinal and Raúl Álvarez detained at the maximum security prison La Tolva; Edy Gonzalo Valles detained at the maximum security prison El Pozo; and Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres Ayala and José Gabriel Godinez Ávelar detained at the penitentiary in El Progreso, continue to fight for their freedom.
Before, during and since the elections, there has been an increasingly militarized presence of state forces to target and persecute the same sectors of society that have actively denounced the 2009 coup. We condemn the ongoing counterinsurgency tactics carried out by the US-trained and financed terrorist state security forces that seek to silence and break the will of the Honduran people.
Today we join the Honduras Solidarity Network and others to uplift the people of Honduras’ demand to end US military and security funding to the murderous coup regime. We demand the liberation of all political prisoners in Honduras. We also call on the United States to put an end to the criminalization, imprisonment, deportation and killing of migrants and refugees. We continue to demand justice for Berta Cáceres and the hundreds of people assassinated or forcibly displaced as a consequence of the post-coup regime and the US military, economic and political intervention in Honduras.
On this anniversary, join us to demand the liberation of political prisoners and drop all charges against them, and call on the US to end all support for the coup regime! Call your Representative to ask that they co-sponsor the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1299!
As thousands of Hondurans continue to take to the streets to express their fierce rejection of the coup regime, we must do our part to hold the US to account for directly training and financing Honduran state forces.