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Honduras: 5 Years of Militarization and Repression PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brigitte Gynther   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 16:21

Five Year Anniversary of the June 28, 2009 SOA Graduate-led Coup in Honduras

Five years ago, SOA graduate Romeo Vasquez Velasquez and others forced their way into the home of democratically elected Honduran President Mel Zelaya and put him onto an airplane out of the country, an airplane that first stopped to re-fuel at the US Palmerola military base.  As Hondurans massively mobilized to demand the return of their President, they were met with repression and violence that continues today.  The ultra-right party that took power in the military coup consolidated their stranglehold on the country through elections marked by fraud and vote buying this past November.  Now, with murders and killings taking place across the country, the judicial system seems to be more efficient at prosecuting those who speak up for justice than those who murder and plunder the country. The government has intensely militarized the country in the name of security while meticulously turning Honduras' resources and public goods over to private corporations.  It's no wonder thousands of children are fleeing Honduras to the United States.

Click here to call on the US to cut military aid to Honduras and on the Honduran authorities to respect the human rights of those who speak out for justice.

In spite of the violence, the resistance continues across the country.  In one example, the Lenca people of San Francisco de Opalaca have spent the past five months in a round the clock, day-in-and-day-out blockade at their Municipal office to prevent the government-imposed Mayor, who used fraud to claim he won November's elections, from taking office.  They elected an autonomous Mayor and Municipal Council in a massive Municipal-wide Indigenous Assembly and are exercising their rights to demand democratic governance that obeys the will of the people and that public funds be used for public good, not for corruption. As a result, the Indigenous Assembly-elected Mayor and Municipal Council, as well as community leaders and radio program hosts, have been accused of sedition and 36 community leaders are currently facing trial.  At stake in San Francisco de Opalaca is not only good governance but also acres and acres of pristine forests and other natural resources the communities depend on but that corporations and the World Bank want for projects such as the oxygen trade, dams, and mines.  Two community leaders have already been murdered, one by Municipal employees in broad daylight just a short distance from where hundreds of people were gathered. 

Click here to tell the Honduran authorities to stop the murder and criminalization of those who speak out for justice across the country and the US to stop military aid to Honduras.

To do more, join a delegation to Honduras this August to accompany communities standing up for their rights amidst intense militarization and repression.

Or organize a spontaneous action this Saturday, June 28th, the anniversary of the coup, by putting up SOA Watch's WANTED or MISSED posters related to Honduras in your community. 

SOA graduates play a major role in enforcing the US corporate agenda in Honduras.  Not only are the head of the Honduran Armed Forces and Army SOA graduates, but the same goes for many of the Commanders of Military and Military Police units currently patrolling the country. On May 21, hundreds of Xatruch III soldiers under the command of SOA graduate Col. Rene Jovel Martinez violently evicted small farmer families from their land in the Bajo Aguan, destroying their belongings and injuring people. On May 13, the Honduran Military Police and COBRAS attacked opposition LIBRE party Congresspeople with tear gas and batons inside the Congressional chambers as well as demonstrators protesting outside the Congress with tear gas.  Several LIBRE Congresspeople were injured in the attack and taken to the hospital, suffering from tear gas inhalation and physical attacks by the Military Police or police, including a fractured arm. In a separate event, on June 18, three soldiers and a policeman attacked and murdered 62-year old José Husbaldo Guzmán Argueta, throwing him to the ground and firing two shots with an M-16, while he was working on trying to get a potable water project.  Military tactics are also used by the police. On May 25, two Rio Blanco residents – where the Lenca people have been resisting an illegal hydroelectric dam in their territory for over a year – were tortured by the police, who brought them to a private home, where they beat them, forced their heads under water so they almost drowned, and then put rubber hoods on them so they couldn't breathe.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez has rapidly increased militarization of the country, inaugurating programs such as “Guardians of the Fatherland,” which aims to bring 25,000 children and young people – from kindergarden and up – to military facilities for formation in morals in values, but is heavily criticized as recruiting of children and military indoctrination.  Hernandez and US Ambassador Lisa Kubiske also just celebrated last week the release of the new TIGRES – meaning Tigers – hybrid police-military unit trained by US Special Forces and the Colombian Jungle School in mountain operations, intelligence, and rural operations.  The stated goal is to combat drug trafficking and organized crime but when asked about the three areas he had mentioned the TIGRES would work in, Hernandez refused to specify.  If the new Military Police, a major push of Hernandez, are any indication, one area of work could be targeting the opposition political activists and social movements. 

As the people of Honduras continue resisting five years after the military coup d'etat unleashed widespread repression on the country and five months after the inauguration of President Hernandez following fraudulent elections, it is more important than ever to speak out against continued militarization and repression in Honduras. 

Click here to tell the US to stop funding the Honduran military and police and call on the Honduran authorities to respect the lives and rights of activists.

Click here for more information about an August delegation to Honduras to accompany communities struggling for their rights in the face of intense militarization.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 19:06
 
Art is Not a Crime - Another Victory for SOA Watch! PDF Print E-mail
Written by María Luisa Rosal   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 21:48

Do you remember the Art is Not a Crime Campaign we launched just over a few weeks ago? Well, I am very happy to say that we have GREAT news to share with you!

Today, myself, along with fellow SOA Watch Activists Dominique Diaddigo-Cash, Gail Taylor and Nico Udu-gama appeared before the Washington, DC Superior Court for our arraignment hearing. We had been arrested and detained for six hours after having put up a beautiful mural with other friends and activists - about a dozen of us total - to commemorate just some of our sisters and brothers from across Latin America who have been murdered at the hands of SOA graduates.

The pressure created by supporters like you made a huge difference!

This is truly empowering news! Over 1,200 supporters from across the United States and Canada signed a petition asking US District Attorney Ron Machen to drop the charges, which carried a maximum penalty of 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine. We are especially grateful to our attorney Mark Goldstone - criminal defense and constitutional lawyer - for having represented us. Today, all of the charges against us were dropped! We challenged the system and won!

We felt supported by each and every one of you, as you never left our side. This is what solidarity looks like! This is what our movement is all about! You all continue to inspire us, and it is encouraging to see just how big the impact of solidarity can be when we continue to stand together and build a culture of peace and justice.

In response to the attempts by Washington, DC police to silence us, supporters throughout Denver, Colorado, Guatemala City, Guatemala, Los Angeles, California, Takoma Park, Maryland and UC Riverside, California, have put up more posters to continue to denounce the human rights violations that continue through the training of Latin American military and police at SOA/WHINSEC, funded through US tax dollars. Download the posters today and send us a picture when you put it up in your town!

Our fellow comrade Nico was absolutely right - "Our message is too powerful to be locked behind bars." Let's continue to spread the message through creative actions! As for me and the rest of the Washington, DC staff, as well as our vibrant community of local activists, we remain committed to putting up more art, because we know just how important it is to never forget. We know how important it is to continue taking a stand for justice and exposing the realities of US Foreign Policy in Latin America. Ultimately, we know why we must close the SOA.

Let's keep walking together. I'll see you at the gates of Ft. Benning this November!

in solidarity,

María Luisa Rosal

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 June 2014 23:59
 
Job Opening and Internship Opportunities
Join the resistance! Join the SOA Watch family! We are looking for candidates for the SOA Watch Latin America Liaison position in Latin America, and for activantes in Washington, DC.
Read more...
 
Poster Campaign PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00

Together with street artist César Maxit, SOA Watch developed a series of downloadable posters (in Spanish and English) for you to spread the word about the impact of the School of the Americas on people all over the hemisphere (scroll down for step-by-step instructions).

The posters show the names, faces and stories of people who were murdered at the hands of graduates of the School of the Americas, and the names and faces of SOA graduates.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 14:46
Read more...
 
WANTED for Genocide PDF Print E-mail
Today, on Saturday, May 10, people around the world are commemorating the one-year anniversary of the conviction of SOA graduate Ríos Montt for genocide perpetuated against the Maya Ixil people during Guatemala's internal armed conflict.

Print out and post the posters that SOA Watch created in cooperation with street artist César Maxit, to stand in solidarity with genocide survivors.

high resolution pdf versions
in English: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dzc6buy85qvqek0/wanted-montt.pdf
en Español: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ukvh5oghfagcb7m/se%20busca%20rios%20montt.pdf

high resolution jpg versions
in English: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1o93iiq11rwjw5v/wanted-montt.jpg
en Español: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8t66b5mkcouoora/se%20busca%20rios%20montt.jpg

#GenocideSentenceGT #sentenciaporgenocidio #YesItWasGenocide #Sihubogenocidio

 
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