Another Unionist Murdered in Honduras Print

After the SOA Coup and the Illegitimate Elections

Vanessa Yamileth Zepeda - Presente!

On Friday, February 12, the people of Honduras will march in the streets of Tegucigalpa to honor the life of the most recent victim in a spate of selective murders against activists from the resistance movement. Vanessa Yamileth Zepeda, a 29- year old nurse, was abducted last Wednesday after leaving a meeting of the SITRAIHSS labor union. She was murdered and her body was dumped in a neighborhood with ties to the Resistance movement. Vanessa leaves behind 3 small children, and a country where fear is a growing commodity.

Since the "election" of President Porfidio Lobo in late November, in a balloting process boycotted by the majority of Hondurans, over 10 leaders of the resistance movement have been murdered. Those who dare to raise their voices about this situation are also targeted. Last week two cameramen from media programs opposing the government were kidnapped and tortured. After filing reports on these and other situations, members of the COFADEH human rights team received death threats.

Instead of denouncing this critical situation, the Obama Administration is doing the opposite: attempting to rally international support for an illegitimate regime that almost no other government recognizes. This is part of a complete turnaround by the administration. When SOA graduates orchestrated a coup against President Manuel Zelaya last June, President Obama lent his voice to the chorus of rejection coming from all corners of Latin America. In the following months, however, that position shifted from rejection to complacency to acceptance to promotion. While most Latin American nations view the recent Honduran elections as an illegal effort to whitewash a coup, the U.S. insists that they are legitimate, and the resulting change has been positive. The death of Vanessa and other resistance leaders tells a different story.

Click here to Contact Congress

We urge you to send a message to your Member of Congress to share your concerns for the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras and to insist that the United States stop their efforts to push for international recognition of the Lobo government. In addition, please ask your Member of Congress to call for an end to the training of the Honduran military at the School of the Americas, now referred to as WHINSEC. Indeed, it is distressing that even in the months that the Obama administration was condemning the coup, the training of the Honduran military at the SOA/ WHINSEC continued.

As the people of Honduras take to the streets tomorrow to risk their lives to honor Vanessa and to insist that her life was not in vain, we ask that you take a few minutes to contact your member of Congress. Our combined efforts are necessary to help bring justice a step closer to the people of Honduras.

Graphic History of the Honduran Coup

Click here for the final part of the graphic history of the Honduran coup. The comic is piecing together the evidence of repression, violence and threats against resistance members that went mostly undocumented in the wake of the November 29, 2010 Honduran elections. It also looks at the United States' involvement.

Click here to view the comic online.

Click here to see the complete comic.