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SOA Watch remembers Óscar Romero and Argentina PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 March 2017 22:45

(Español abajo)

Today, March 24, SOA Watch remembers the 37th anniversary of the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero in El Salvador. Mayor Roberto D'Aubuisson, a 1972 graduate of the School of the Americas, was identified as the person responsible for ordering his murder. The United Nations also identified D’Aubuisson as responsible for organizing death squads responsible for the deaths of thousands of Salvadorans. As we add our voices to the demands of justice for his murder, we honor his struggle for the Salvadoran people and his demands for peace in Latin America.

In the same way, 41 years after the civil and military coup in Argentina, we remember the demands for memory and truth.  We add our voices to our Argentine sisters and brothers' demands for justice. We do not forget that Emilio Massera, Jorge Rafael Videla, Roberto Viola, and Leopoldo Galtieri, among others responsible for the coup, were trained at the School of the Americas. We do not forget that the United States also bears responsibility for the more than 30 thousand detained-disappeared during the military junta that governed Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

Honoring the memory of Monsignor Romero and the memory of the 30 thousand detained and disappeared Argentineans goes hand in hand with a call for attention today: The same US intervention, policies, military training, and financing that are implicated in the murder of Oscar Romero and in the coup in Argentina continue today. This is the same system that killed Berta Cáceres and more than 120 others in Honduras since 2010.

9One of the ways to honor the legacy of Romero is to demand the closure of the School of the Americas and the end of US support to repressive regimes as in Honduras and Mexico. We invite you to be part of the Spring Days of Action 2017 April 11-21, lobbying with Congress to demand their support for HR 1299, which would cut off military aid to the Honduran regime. The second request during lobby days will be to reject Trump’s supplemental budget that asks for more taxpayer money to build the US-Mexico Border wall and which increases the persecution, detention and deportation of migrants and refugees.

Óscar Romero, Presente!

30 thousand detained-disappeared in Argentina, Presentes!

Sincerely,

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*SOA Watch*

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Este 24 de marzo SOA Watch se une a la conmemoración del 37 aniversario del asesinato de monseñor Óscar Romero en El Salvador, en 1980. El mayor Roberto D’Aubuisson, graduado de la Escuela de las Américas en 1972, ha sido señalado como el responsable de ordenar su asesinato y el de cientos de miles de personas salvadoreñas mediante la organización de una Red de Escuadrones de la Muerte, de acuerdo a un informe de las Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Mientras sumamos nuestra voz a las demandas de justicia ante su asesinato, honramos su lucha por el pueblo salvadoreños y sus demandas de paz en América Latina.

En otras latitudes, después de 41 años del Golpe Cívico y Militar en Argentina, las demandas de memoria y verdad siguen presentes este 24 de marzo y nos sumamos al clamor de justicia de nuestras hermanas y hermanos argentinos. No olvidamos que Emilio Massera, Jorge Rafael Videla, Roberto Viola, y Leopoldo Galtieri, entre otros responsables del golpe, fueron entrenados en la Escuela de las Américas. No olvidamos que Estados Unidos también es responsables por los más de 30 mil detenidos-desaparecidos durante la junta militar que gobernó Argentina entre 1976 y 1983.

Nuestro saludo a la memoria de Monseñor Romero y a la memoria de los 30 mil argentinos detenidos-desaparecidos va de la mano con un llamado de atención a la gente de los Estados Unidos: Las fuerzas estadounidenses cómplices en el asesinato de Óscar Romero y en el Golpe de estado argentino continúan ahora. Estas fuerzas son las mismas que asesinaron a Berta Cáceres y a más de 120 ecologistas hondureños desde 2010.

Desde este espacio creemos que una de las maneras para honrar el legado de los pueblos latinoamericanos es seguir demandando el cierre de la Escuela de las Américas y el fin del apoyo estadounidense a regímenes represivos como en Honduras y México. Le invitamos a formar parte de los Días de Acción de Primavera 2017, entre el 11 y 21 de abril, cabildeando con sus miembros para exigirles su apoyo al HR 1299, que cortaría la ayuda militar al régimen hondureño. La segunda demanda será la de rechazar el presupuesto suplementario propuesto por Trump, el cual pide más dinero de impuestos para construir el muro y que aumenta la persecución, detención y deportación de personas migrantes y refugiadas.

Óscar Romero, ¡Presente!

30 mil argentinxs detenidxs-desaparecidxs, ¡Presentes!

Sinceramente,

SOA Watch

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 March 2017 03:22
 
Take Action for Honduran Refugees & Berta Cáceres PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arturo J. Viscarra   
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 16:34

March 2nd marked the anniversary of the assassination of the visionary leader Berta Cáceres, as well as the reintroduction of the bill named in her honor, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR 1299). A few weeks ago it was reported that two of those charged with Berta’s murder were trained by the United States in Ft. Benning, Georgia, home of the School of the Americas (SOA-WHINSEC)

Ask your Representative TODAY to co-sponsor HR 1299, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act!

Our 2017 Spring Days of Action will honor Berta's tremendous legacy by calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Honduras, as well as demanding that the Trump administration respect the rights of Central American refugees, too many of whom have been forced to flee their homes due to U.S.-led militarization. But we are doing things a bit differently this year. Instead of asking supporters to travel to Washington, DC, we are asking you to lobby or protest your members of Congress in your home districts between April 11 - April 21, when Congress will be "in district". Please stay tuned for more details about our 2017 Spring Days of Action or email our Advocacy Coordinator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

For now, we need to keep the momentum going on HR 1299! 38 Members of Congress have already officially co-sponsored HR 1299, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act!

Email your representative today to ask them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation (or thank them for already having done so), which would suspend US military/security aid to Honduras pending credible and complete investigations into the murders of Berta and other Honduran Human Rights Defenders. We see the campaign around this bill as part of our support for Central American asylum-seekers, as an important way to address the real root causes of migration.

Please take action for justice and accountability in Honduras today!

In Solidarity,

Arturo, Brigitte, Eduardo, Katherine, Roy, and the rest of SOA Watch

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 17:47
 
Press Release: Protest as Scandal-Ridden President of Honduras Meets with Members of U.S. Congress PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arturo J. Viscarra   
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 15:25

For immediate release
March 21, 2017

Contact: Arturo Viscarra, 617-820-3008 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Family members of the slain Honduran environmentalist and Indigenous leader, Berta Caceres, and other activists confront President of Honduras during meeting with Members of U.S. Congress
In wake of serious controversies, JOH asks U.S. Representatives for continued aid


For more photos and video of the protest in Cannon House Office Building, click here

Washington, DC – Protestors, including a sister and niece of the late Berta Caceres, blocked the door to the room where Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was meeting with members of the House Central America Caucus today. President Hernández’s meeting is at the invitation of Central America Caucus founder and co-chair Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), and follows Rep. Torres response to Caceres’ family members declining their request that she cosponsor the HR 1299, the “Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.” Caceres’ family members had sent Rep. Torres an open letter urging that she cosponsor HR 1299, citing ongoing murders and threats to social leaders and activists and the flawed investigation into Caceres’ murder. The bill would suspend U.S. support for Honduras’ security forces “until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.” Leaked court documents indicate that at least two of those indicted for Ms. Caceres's murder received extensive U.S. military and intelligence training, including at the infamous School of the Americas.

“A government that fails to protect its citizens and whose security forces are implicated in attacks and killings of activists should not be receiving security funding and training from the U.S. government,” the family’s letter states.

President Hernandez’s visit to DC to meet with the Caucus also comes amidst controversy in Honduras over his intention to run for re-election. Under the Honduran constitution, presidents are limited to one term, but the Supreme Court is allowing Hernandez’s run in 2017. The Honduran Congress removed several Supreme Court judges in 2012 in a “technical coup,” however, after ruling a police reform law unconstitutional. Hernandez was the president of the Congress at the time.

Another scandal looms impicating Hernandez's family, party, and cabinet in drug trafficking. A DEA informant and former member of the Cachiros cartel, Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, testified in a New York court last week that he had discussed a bribery scheme with President Hernandez’s brother, Congressman Antonio “Tony” Hernández. The hearing was about former president Porfirio Lobo's son, Fabio Porfirio Lobo, who plead guilty to trafficking drugs last year. Rivera Maradiaga has also testified that former President Lobo took bribes from the Cachiros, offering protection from authorities, and from extradition, in return. President Hernández is from the same political party, the National Party, as former president Lobo.

Rivera Maradiaga testified that he provided a recording of his meeting with Tony Hernández, in which Hernández requests a bribe, to the DEA. Rivera Maradiaga has also provided courtroom testimony that ties current Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco to the Cachiros cartel.

Ms. Caceres's niece stated, "One of my questions to the U.S. government is why are we giving secuity aid to a corrupt government, a government that is protecting narco-traffickers?". She also yelled to President Hernandez as he left the meeting amid heavy security, asking why he refuses to allow an international investigation into the murder of her aunt. She was ignored.

For more information: bertacaceres.org

Sources: The Guardian: Berta Caceres court papers show murder suspects' links to U.S.-trained elite troops; InSight Crime: Another Day, Another Damning Testimony of Elites by Honduras Trafficker; AFP: Honduras vows fight against drug gangs after narco-chief testimony
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The US trained two of those indicted for the murder of Berta Caceres PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 March 2017 22:58
One year ago we awoke to the devastating news that Berta Cáceres, the renowned Indigenous and social movement leader of Honduras, had been assassinated. This week The Guardian reported that two of those charged with Berta's murder were trained by the United States in Ft. Benning, Georgia, home of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC).  One of them, Army Major Mariano Diaz, was the chief of army intelligence a the time of Berta's murder.  He had been a direct commander of a third suspect, Henry Javier Hernandez, a former special forces sniper who has admitted to being at Berta's home when she was murdered.  A source quoted in the Guardian article explains, "The murder of Berta Cáceres has all of the characteristics of a well-planned operation designed by military intelligence." US-trained military intelligence.

We must continue to fight for justice for Berta and the people of Honduras in our own communities, in the streets, and in the halls of power. Yesterday, the one-year anniversary of Berta's murder, Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) and 24 other Congresspeople re-introduced the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act in the 2017 Congress (HR 1299). Please take action by asking your Representative to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation, which would suspend US military/security aid to Honduras due to their obvious ties to human rights violations.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative's office. Once you are through, ask to speak with or leave a message with your representative's Latin America policy aide. Here's a sample message you can share with them:

"My name is _____. I am a constituent from (your city and state). I am calling to ask Rep. _____ to co-sponsor HR 1299, The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, calling for a suspension of U.S. security aid to Honduras until human rights violations committed by the Honduran security forces cease.  The Honduran security forces have been implicated in repression against activists, and even though a US trained military intelligence official has been charged in Berta's murder, those who ordered Berta's murder remain free, and environmental and Indigenous leaders continue to be threatened, attacked, and criminalized.  Can I count on Rep _____ to sign on? Please call me this week at (your phone number) to let me know if Rep. _____ will sign."

While Army Major Mariano Diaz and 7 others, including an executive of the hydroelectric dam company that Berta opposed, have been charged with her murder, there have been numerous irregularities in the investigation that suggest those who ordered Berta's murder will be protected. None of those who gave the order to murder Berta have been charged and the repression against activists continues.

The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act is ever more important given these new, but unsurprising connections between US aid and human rights violations in Honduras. On February 1, 2017, the US and Honduras signed an agreement for the disbursement of the first $125 million dollars of the "Alliance for Prosperity" (or "Biden Plan"), a massive funding package originally touted as a 'Plan Colombia' for Central America.  While Indigenous leaders, journalists, lawyers, members of the LGBTQ community, environmental defenders, and community leaders continue to be murdered, threatened, followed, attacked, and criminalized, the US government has only increased its support of the repressive Honduran regime.  It is past time that the US stop training and financing the Honduran security forces. Please call/pressure your representative now to co-sponsor HR 1299, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.

Berta was an exceptional, visionary leader whose message and struggle is needed today more than ever.  Her life and legacy call us all to act against US imperialism, militarization, patriarchy, and corporate pillaging of the environment and communal goods.  As Berta called out during her Goldman Prize acceptance speech, "Wake up humanity, there is no more time.... The Gualcarque River has called us, as have the others that are seriously threatened.  We must answer.  The militarized, fenced in, and poisoned Mother Earth, where elemental rights are systematically violated, demands we act.  Let us construct societies capable of co-existing in a just and dignified way."

Please take action in honor of this incredible leader today!

SOA Watch


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 March 2017 19:41
 
¿A quién protege el Estado de Honduras? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 March 2017 22:24
Este 2 de marzo se cumplió un año del asesinato de Berta Cáceres, y los que dieron la orden para asesinar a Berta están en plena libertad. El Estado de Honduras se ha negado aceptar una Comisión Independiente, por parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), en su lugar prefiere una investigación secreta donde se han denunciado numerosas irregularidades ¿A quiénes están protegiendo?, nos preguntamos.

Hasta el momento, ocho personas han sido detenidas en este caso; todos con responsabilidad de autores materiales o intermediarios. Ninguno parece ser quien dio la orden de asesinar a Berta. Dentro de ellos figuró, un oficial de la inteligencia militar, en servicio activo en las Fuerzas Armadas hondureñas, y dos ex militares.  De acuerdo al diario The Guardian, dos de ellos tuvieron entrenamiento militar en los Estados Unidos. El mayor Mariano Díaz Chávez era de las Fuerzas Especiales hondureñas, fue instructor de la Policía Militar del Orden Público, participó de misiones oficiales en Irak y el Sahara, y recibió entrenamiento dos veces en los EEUU - incluso entrenamiento antiterrorista el 2005 en EEUU - además de cursos de contra-insurgencia en Honduras.

El ex-teniente Douglas Giovanny Bustillo, otro de los implicados, también era ex-jefe de seguridad del Proyecto Agua Zarca, a lo cual Berta se oponía. Bustillo además recibió entrenamiento en la Escuela de las Américas en 1997.

El año pasado, el Diario The Guardian informó que un ex soldado hondureño, miembro de una unidad de élite, dijo que había visto el nombre de Berta Cáceres y otros en una "lista negra" que circuló dentro del ejército.  Según The Guardian, Díaz Chávez y otro implicado, Henry Javier Hernández, quien admitió estar involucrado, estaban juntos en el XV Batallón en el Bajo Aguan, la misma región donde estaba estacionado el ex soldado vio la "lista negra".

Pese a que un informe de Global Witness señaló a "Honduras: El lugar más peligroso para defender el Planeta", donde, desde el golpe de Estado de 2009, han sido asesinadas 123 activistas, EEUU mantiene bases militares en Honduras, entre ellas "Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta-Bravo" un batallón completo que opera en la Base Aérea Soto Cano, y sigue dando entrenamiento militar a las Fuerzas Armadas hondureñas con un enfoque en las Fuerzas Especiales.

Increíblemente, Honduras saltó, el año 2016, al segundo lugar de los países que más soldados envían a entrenamiento a la Escuela de las Américas, registrando 261 envíos. Además, los EEUU acaba de firmar un acuerdo con Honduras para desembolsar los primeros 125 millones de dólares del "Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad" conocido como el "Plan Colombia" para Centro América.

Para los defensores de derechos humanos, para los investigadores, para los historiadores no es novedad que a mayor ayuda militar y entrenamiento de EEUU a los ejércitos de América Latina es mayor la incidencia de asesinatos, desapariciones y casos de abuso y violencia.

A un año de la muerte de Berta Cáceres y de tantos que han perdido sus vidas, por la violencia y la nefasta política exterior de los EEUU, volvemos a exigir el fin del entrenamiento militar de los EEUU en América Latina, tanto en la Escuela de las Américas como en tantos otros lugares.

Volvemos a exigir el fin de la ayuda militar y de "seguridad" de EEUU a Honduras y el fin de la militarización y de la imposición de un modelo económico neoliberal en este país.

Respaldamos la exigencia del COPINH y de la familia de Berta Cáceres para una Comisión Independiente e Internacional para investigar a los verdaderos responsables del asesinato de Berta.

Mientras no se investigue ni castigue a las estructuras del poder que están detrás del asesinato de Berta Cáceres, seguirán libres para seguir asesinado a las y los luchadores sociales en Honduras.

Exigimos el fin de las amenazas, ataques, y criminalización contra el COPINH y todo el movimiento social de Honduras. Manifestamos nuestra amplia solidaridad con todos los movimientos sociales y de derechos humanos hondureños que siguen clamando justicia para todas y todos los que han sido asesinados o desaparecidos en este país.

En Solidaridad,

Observatorio de la Escuela de las Américas (SOA Watch)


Last Updated on Friday, 03 March 2017 22:51
 
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