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Sunday
Oct 22nd
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Saturday’s report from Honduras PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Sullivan   

Lisa SullivanYesterday I joined a team of human rights observers from Colombia, Panama, Honduras, the US and headed south of the capital. Over 70 human rights observers from 10 had gathered at the offices of COFADEH in the early morning and we were each assigned a series of communities to visit, to monitor the situation prior to tomorrow’s “elections”.

After some 4 hours on the road, my team knew that we had arrived when the road, and the country quite literally, ended, our windy dirt and gravel road stopping suddenly at the Bay of Fonseca, with nothing but sea and El Salvador beyond that point. 

We gathered under two nem trees in the dirt patio of  Dona Guadelupe and neighbors soon arrived, each of them bearing 2 or 3 chairs for us.   The shy and serious faces of sustenance fishermen and farmers slowly opened up as we asked them to share their stories of recent months and days. There was one word that was repeated by every single one of them, old and young, men and women: fear.

Most of those present had been put on a list of resistance leaders, created by local mayors on orders of the coup regime. They had been targeted after walking 6 days into the capital to greet President Manuel Zelaya who was trying to re-enter the country.  Zelaya had promised these communities that they would be given titles to the lands.  Outside investors were claiming the rights to these lands that had birthed generations of their ancestors, but whose stunning views of mountains and seas made them desirable as sites of future resorts.  They openly wondered if one of the reasons for the coup was the fact that Zelaya was overthrown was the fact that he had consistently defended the interests of poor farmers and fishermen over those of the corrupt elites who had ruled this small nation for centuries.

Since appearing on “the list” police have been entering their homes, demanding knowledge of their whereabouts from their families, following them to fields and fishing posts.  One fisherman after another shared how they were not sleeping in their homes, how they feared leaving their wives and children alone as they tended to fishing traps, how they wondered if they would be the next ones to be found in a field and without life.

The look in their eyes reminded me of something deep in my memory. Having lived in Latin America for 32 years, it’s impossible to erase the faces of fear that filled this continent in the 1970s and 80’s. I thought that those times were long gone. New challenges and new hopes are bursting from the South. These were supposed to be different times.

I can’t help but feel tremendous anger towards my own country at this moment.  Just has hope was rising from Honduras, it was demolished by the coup. And now, these elections seek to erase the dark image and put a shining façade on the same ugly repressive machine that erases dreams and converts ancestral lands into exclusive resorts. The US government has indicated that, in spite of the fact that most world opinion refuses to anoint the coup in this way, they will accept the results of this election, and thus set Latin America back three decades, into a time of darkness and fear.  

 

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Download the Spring 2016 issue of Presente

The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Spring 2016 issue.

As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.

The recent decision by the U.S. judge in North Carolina to extradite one of the perpetrators of the 1989 massacre at the University of San Salvador gives us hope that justice will prevail in the end. It will take all of us to create change! Please join us as we mobilize to the U.S./Mexico border from October 7-10, 2016!

Other articles in this issue cover a protest by SOA Watch in Chile against US bases in Latin America, the FBI surveillance of SOA Watch, updates from Colombia and Mexico, news about the first Border Patrol agent to receive training at WHINSEC, background information about Direct Action, the Youth Encuentro in Guatemala, and more.

Download this issue of Presente here.

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