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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
 
SOAW Mourns the Death of Charlie Liteky and Celebrates His Life and Contribution to the SOAW Movement PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 23:29

http://ww2.hdnux.com/photos/51/23/67/10829261/3/1024x1024.jpgSOAW mourns the death of Charlie Liteky, as well as his wife Judy Liteky five months earlier.  Both Charlie and Judy were instrumental in the SOA Watch Movement.  Charlie, a former Army Chaplain, made headlines when he returned the Medal of Honor he had received as an Army Chaplain during the Vietnam War in protest of the Reagan Administration's Contra war in Nicaragua in the 1980s.  Charlie and Roy Bourgeois, together with 7 others, held a 35 day water-only fast outside of the School of the Americas, helping to spark the SOAW Movement.  Following the fast, Charlie, Roy, and Charlie's brother Patrick, planted crosses with the photographs of the Jesuit priests assassinated in El Salvador, throwing their own blood on the walls of the SOA.  When sentenced to prison, they became the SOAW Movement's first prisoners of conscience, beginning a long tradition of civil disobedience.  Judy Liteky also played an important role in SOAW, as one of the filers of a lawsuit to try to force the Pentagon to release the names of the soldiers trained at the SOA-WHINSEC.  Charlie and Judy will be greatly missed and we are grateful to their contributions to the creation of the SOAW movement, the struggle to close the SOA and against US empire and wars around the world.  Read the National Catholic Reporter Article about Charlie here.

There will be a Celebration of the Life of Charlie Liteky on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 2pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco.  Click here for more information.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 17:12
 
Call to action: One year anniversary of Berta's murder PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brigitte Gynther   
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 21:32
These are trying times, but they are also filled with intense resistance that gives us hope that a different future is possible. We must continue to work for a world of justice and peace. Berta Cáceres' visionary leadership and resistance during her life and the steadfast continuation of the struggle by her colleagues in COPINH inspires us to continue the long-term work of resisting U.S. empire and domination around the world, including stopping U.S. military aid and training in Honduras. 

March 2nd marks the 1 year anniversary of the brutal assassination of Berta, and we encourage you to organize an event this March to remember Berta and call for an end to the U.S. militarization of Honduras. Berta's organization,
COPINH has issued a call for actions around the world on March 2nd as well as for events throughout the month of March (Read Statement Here). We share a few ideas and possible dates, by no means all, here:
  • March 2 - Global Day of Action and Anniversary of Berta's assassination: Organize an action or a Vigil for Berta and so many others who have lost their lives speaking out for justice.  If your Representative or Senator supports continued U.S. funding of Honduras' security forces, hold the event outside his/her office (contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more on your Rep. or Senator's position)
  • March 4 - Berta Cáceres' Birthday: Honor Berta's legacy as an environmentalist, anti-racist, and feminist social movement leader
  • March 8 - International Women's Day: Show a film on Berta and her legacy - click here for some suggested videos/documentaries
  • March 27 - Anniversary of COPINH: Organize a protest against US military aid to Honduras and learn more about COPINH's righteous struggle
  • March ? - Participate in an protest in solidarity with refugees & migrants; bring posters of Berta to call attention to the U.S. role in creating forced migration from Honduras

We look forward to hearing your ideas and events you may be planning. Please contact us for contacts, materials, and information about your Representative/Senator's position or anything else you need to make an action, vigil, or event happen near your home.  If you plan an event please let us know so we can share it.  A number of organizations around the country are planning actions, and we'll be posting information on events already being planned in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago and other locations next week.

To get involved in this Call to Action, SOAW advocacy work (e.g. pushing to suspend US military/security aid to Honduras, or opposing the "Alliance for Prosperity"), or to be a part of the SOAW Honduras Solidarity Collective, please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grassroots power works! Together we will challenge U.S. Imperialism in Honduras, which contributes so much to the forced migration of Honduran refugees, tramples on Native people's rights, and facilitates the destruction of the environment.

Berta Vive! La Lucha Sigue!

En Español: Llamada de Accion: Un año sin Berta.

Estos son tiempos difíciles, pero también están llenos de una intensa resistencia que nos da la esperanza de que un futuro diferente es posible. Debemos seguir trabajando por un mundo de justicia y paz. El liderazgo visionario y la resistencia de Berta Cáceres a lo largo de su vida, además de la continua lucha de sus colegas de COPINH, nos inspiran a continuar la resistencia al imperio y la dominación de Estados Unidos en todo el mundo, incluyendo su ayuda y entrenamiento militar en Honduras.

El 2 de marzo marca el Primer Aniversario del brutal asesinato de Berta. Le animamos a organizar un evento durante el mes de marzo para recordar a Berta y pedir el fin de la militarización estadounidense en Honduras. La organización de Berta, COPINH, ha emitido una convocatoria de acciones en
todo el mundo el 2 de marzo, así como para eventos durante todo el mes de marzo.  Leer el comunicado completo aquí. Compartimos algunas ideas y fechas posibles:

2 de marzo - Día Mundial de Acción y Aniversario del asesinato de Berta:
Organice una acción o una Vigilia para Berta y tantos otros que han perdido la vida hablando por la justicia. Si su Representante o Senador apoya la continuación del financiamiento estadounidense a las fuerzas de seguridad de Honduras, mantenga la vigilia fuera de su oficina (póngase en contacto con This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it para obtener más información sobre su representante o senador).

4 de marzo - Cumpleaños de Berta Caceres: Muestre una película.  Haz clic aquí para ver algunas ideas.

8 de marzo - Día Internacional de la Mujer: Honrar y rendir homenaje al legado de Berta.

27 de marzo - Aniversario de COPINH: Organizar una protesta contra la ayuda militar de Estados Unidos a Honduras

Marzo: Participe en un evento solidario con personas migrantes y refugiadas.

Esperamos escuchar sus ideas y saber de los eventos que podría planear. Por favor comuníquese con SOA Watch si requiere contactos, materiales e información sobre la posición de su Representante / Senador, o cualquier otra cosa que necesite para que una acción, vigilia o evento ocurra cerca
de su casa. Si planea un evento por favor háganoslo saber para poder compartirlo. Varias organizaciones de todo el país están planeando eventos, así que también estaremos compartiendo información sobre acciones que ya están siendo organizadas en Los Ángeles, Minneapolis, Chicago y
otros lugares la próxima semana.

Para involucrarse en este Llamado a la Acción, al Trabajo legislativo de SOAW (por ejemplo, presionando a suspender la ayuda militar / de seguridad de EE.UU. a Honduras, u oponerse a la "Alianza para la Prosperidad"), o para ser parte del Colectivo de Solidaridad con Honduras de envíe un
correo a This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

El poder de las bases funciona! Juntos vamos a desafiar al imperialismo estadounidense en Honduras que contribuye tanto a la migración forzada de refugiados hondureños, pisotea los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y facilita la destrucción del medio ambiente.

¡Berta Vive! La Lucha Sigue!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 22:12
 
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