Representative Hank Johnson and 43 representatives have reintroduced the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1945, in the current legislative session of the House of Representatives. The bill would suspend US military and security aid to Honduras until important human rights conditions are met, including justice for the murder of Berta Cáceres, the killings of over 100 small farmers in the Aguan Valley, the murders of demonstrators who were killed by security forces while opposing election fraud last year, and more.
Urgent Action: 12 human rights defenders facing years in jail in Honduras
On Saturday, February 23rd, 12 Honduran activists who have been defending the drinking water of numerous communities from a mine owned by members of Honduras’ powerful oligarchy were jailed in an extreme misuse of the justice system. This Thursday, February 28th, a hearing will be held that will determine if the 12 defenders of the Guapinol River will spend up to several years in jail while awaiting trial or not. The US-backed Honduran Public Prosecutor’s Office is pursuing charges against at least 32 defenders of the Guapinol River; many are facing serious charges that could result in decades in prison…
Update: Thanks to everyone who took action! The court ruled to dismiss the charges against the 12 Guapinol water defenders!
Guatemala: The Search for Truth and Justice Under Attack!
The search for truth with justice is under attack again in Guatemala. Currently, a proposal in congress seeks to reform the 1996 National Reconciliation Law and seeks to grant immediate amnesty to perpetrators of human rights violations during the 36-year armed conflict. The National Reconiliation Law that came about after the Peace Accords were signed and excludes amnesty for crimes against humanity – disappearance, genocide and torture – has been instrumental in paving the way for key trials that have taken place over the past several years. Between 2008 and 2018, over 30 military officials and civil defense patrols have been convicted of human rights violations, over a dozen more cases are pending, and an overwhelming number of those convicted or pending trial are School of the Americas graduates.
Take Action! No to US Coup d’état in Venezuela; Yes to Sovereignty of the People
On January 23, 2019, Juan Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela following a phone call from the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence. In doing so, the US and Guaidó are attempting a coup d’etat to achieve Washington’s longstanding goal of removing Nicolás Maduro from the presidency of Venezuela.
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Senator Marco Rubio, and US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams are working hard with the Venezuelan opposition, and with other right-wing governments across the globe, to carry out a coup against this Latin American country. A recent article by Mint Press News recounted Elliott Abrams’ ominous historical role guiding disastrous US intervention in Latin America, “Abrams is notorious for overseeing the US covert policy of arming right-wing death squads during the 1980’s in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. His lead role in the Venezuelan coup has stoked fears that another blood-drenched proxy war might be on the way.”
US continues to back repressive regime in Honduras
Sunday, January 27th marked one year since US-backed Juan Orlando Hernandez was installed for a second term as president of Honduras, in the midst of massive demonstrations against widely-recognized election fraud. It was the United States that first recognized Hernandez and ensured he remained in the presidency.
A Miami Herald expose found that US-made M-4 weapons were used by the Military Police to kill 19-year old Kimberly Dayana Fonseca during last year’s demonstrations. Between 2015 and 2017, the State Department authorized companies to export over 10,000 firearms to the Honduran government. Over 35 demonstrators and bystanders were killed during the pro-democracy demonstrations. Dozens more were arrested and jailed; several demonstrators, including Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez, have now been imprisoned in inhumane conditions for over a year. Edwin and Raul are in a military-run maximum security prison where their health is deteriorating and they have lost over 40 pounds each.
Urgent Action! Take action today!
Less than one month ago, we gathered outside of Eloy Detention Center during the Border Encuentro for a vigil led by Phoenix-based immigrant and human rights organization Puente Arizona to call for the release of the incarcerated migrants, for an end to profiteering of human suffering, and for the abolishment of ICE. We addressed the connection between US militarization in Latin America and forced migration to the United States, and through personal testimonies we learned the horrors of living and surviving inside for-profit detention centers. Alejandra Pablos, immigrant rights and reproductive justice activist, community leader and two-time detainee at Eloy Detention Center, was one of the speakers and she, alongside other immigrant rights activists throughout the US, is being targeted for her activism and for denouncing systems of injustice. Alejandra has been added to a growing list of names of immigrant and human rights defenders in the US who are being targeted by ICE for deportation.
On December 11, 2018, after years of fighting her deportation, an immigration judge in Tucson denied her Asylum and ordered her deportation. Right now, we must step up, join leading community voices in the fight against deportations, and use our people power to demand Arizona Governer Ducey issue a pardon for Alejandra’s 8 year-old criminal record.
Recently, she, alongside other social justice activists in the US testified in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC about the pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders in the US. We must continue to stand in solidarity now by taking concrete actions all corners of the US, and not lose sight of the connections between the policies of displacement in countries of origin and the policies of criminalization, detention and deportation here in the US.
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