Monday, March 29, 2010

Threats of massive wrongful dismissals of workers identified with the National Resistance Front(FNRP)

Members of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) visited the offices of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and housing, whose Secretariat is headed by Mr. Miguel Pastor, who was appointed by the present government as Secretary of this institution.

The reason of the visit of the members of CODEH, directed by the President of the organization, Andres Pavon, is due to complaints from workers, who have denounced that they are being fired from their job positions in a humilliating way by hiring others to perform the activities they were assigned to do. This, according to the Labor Code, is  constructive discharge.
 In the place, we realized that this Department has listed more than twelve hundred employees to be laid off, most of them are members of the National Front of Popular Resistance.
The President of CODEH met with the President of the Union and facility staff. It called their attention that ads were placed on the doors of some offices, which said: "To request the job, requirements include: curriculum vitae and current census record, ", which confirmed personnel is being laid off  and at the same time, personnel is being hired. Morover, the census refers to the electoral register of the party in the government.
We were taken by surprise, when we  realized the union has no copy of the bylaws of the institution and it wasn't until then, in our presence, that they received  a copy. 
From CODEH, we are committed to follow up this case and establish a mechanism of communication with the union leadership to act early with the goal of diminishing and impairing this assault on the economic and social rights.  We ask them to respect the progressive principle that can be read in the American Convention Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other ILO standards.

The CODEH intervention, for now, has been influential in preventing expected mass dismissal. We  took advantage of this opportunity to request the Secretary of the Institution to meet  with the owner  days after Easter.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Death threats hanging over defenders of Human Rights

Main collaborator  of father Fausto Milla suffers persecution and death threats

A new case of persecution and death threats against defenders of human rights  was recently recorded by the Area of Access to Justice of the Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH).
This is young Denia Mejia, who  filed a complaint of death threats she has received during  the week between March 14 to  March 20 this year.

"I had received threats right after  the coup took place, consisting of electronic text messages on my phone telling me to depart from the resistance if I wanted to live," said Mejia.

She added that other text messages said  if she remembered the case of Mabel Riccy (raped multiple times and killed by soldiers in 1992).

"From July to date I had not received more threats, but on March 14, while in La Esperanza during the People's National Constituent Assembly,  I received another message in my cell phone and on March 17, I  received others via voice mail, where they said: Shut your beak, girl, if  you don't want someone else to silence it". Afterwards, I received another message on Sunday and on Wednesday another one, "explained the complainant.

Mejia explained that on Saturday (March 20) last week, "while I was outside, my apartment was robbed. They took my laptop, entered through a window and left through the front door. They rummaged through the clothes, as if they were looking for something, they spread everything and rummaged the closet, and didn't take other expensive things, such as a camera and a phone, "said the complainant.

Denia Mejia's apartment is located in a central location in the city of Santa Rosa de Copan in western Honduras.
The National Resistance Front of People is being threatened and persecuted, and several of its members have been killed
Mejia works in the radio program "Morazán Vive"(Morazán Lives) that airs from Monday to Friday from 1:00 to 1:30 pm on the  radio La Voz del Occidente. This program addresses the current threats and repression suffered by the Honduran people, who have  mobilized to express their condemnation of the coup and who demanded the return to constitutional order.

When asked about the causes of  persecution, to which she is being subjected, she said, "I think that it is because since March we are broadcasting the program of the resistance with Father Fausto Milla, also because I've always been in all activities of the resistance. "

"The radio program "Morazán Lives" is a participation program, in which we only serve as guides. The ones, who really make the program,  are the listeners", said Mejia.

Denia Mejia is a teacher, single (30-years-old), student of business administration, living in the city of Santa Rosa de Copán, in Copán, and is the main contributor of acknowledged  priest  Fausto Milla, who heads the Honduran Ecumenical Institute of Service to the Community (INESC).

Father Fausto Milla experienced death threats and persecution during the brutal repression unleashed by the military and intelligence agencies in El Salvador and Honduras supported by the United States, who  implemented the National Security Doctrine against opponents and opposition to the existing regimes and left thousands of dead and  hundreds of  disappeared in Central America in the early 1980's.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More media terrorism: Second Cyber-Attack on the main Resistance news site Voselsoberano and all of its users and readers within ONE week

Second Cyber-attack on the main resistance news site within a week and the third attack on the site in the last 2 months, all since Lobo took office

Dear Users and Readers,
We're working to break the media siege and blockade of information to our site, we inform you : 
1. The site has been denounced as "malicious", as conventional browsers block it immediately. 
2. Users  who don't use Windows software(who use Linux) are not having any problems. 
3. This is just another attempt to silence us because it confirms  we ARE a "dangerous place" for the regime and the far-right, we break the media siege, denounce and spread, we are an open and plural space against the regime . 
4. The site will be closed for a few hours for a new check of the site and reconfiguration, in search of the supposed "virus." 
5. We denounce these attacks and sabotage as part of the actions  of the national and international right wing control of information, from which many alternative media are suffering. 

Against the oppressive regime

Estimad@s usuari@s y lector@s:

Seguimos trabajando para romper el cerco mediático y bloqueo de información a nuestro sitio, al respecto queremos informar:

1.  El sitio ha sido denunciado como "malicioso", por lo que los exploradores convencionales inmediatamente lo bloquean.

2. Los usuarios de software antimonopólico no están teniendo ningún problema.

3. Este es un intento más por acallarnos, ya que SI somos un "sitio peligroso", para el régimen y la ultraderecha, rompemos el cerco mediático, denunciamos y difundimos, somos un espacio contra el régimen abierto y plural.

4. El sitio será cerrado por unas horas para una nueva revisión y reconfiguración, en busca del supuesto "virus".

5. Denucniamos estos ataques y sabotaje como parte de las acciones de la ultraderecha nacional e internacional de control de la información, de la que muchos medios alternativos están siendo víctimas.


Ilustração: Arturo Gallo Sepia.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Two more journalists, Jose Bayardo Mairena Ramirez and Manuel Juarez, murdered

by César Silva

The wave of repression against journalists and leaders of the People's National Resistance Front of Honduras is unstoppable. This morning the journalists, Jose  Bayardo Mairena Ramirez and Manuel Juarez, were killed by several bullet wounds. The incident took place in the department of Olancho, specifically in the road which leads to the city of Juticalpa.

The journalists were driving from  the city of Catacamas to Juticalpa in the course of their informative work  at 11:30 am, when they reached the community Tulin and another vehicle reached them. From the  vehicle he was shot  more than 60 times, which caused the instant death of journalist José Bayardo Ramírez on the spot, whereas reporter Manuel Juarez while still alive was taken by others to a hospital but died within minutes.

The journalist Jose Bayardo Mairena Ramírez, working at Channel 4 in the town  was considered one of the most combative journalists in the area of Olancho. He strongly questioned the military coup led on June 28, 2009, just as he had  reported  through the radio station where he worked in Olancho the constant human rights violations by the army and police against citizens in resistance.
For his part, journalist Manuel Juarez, who worked in radio Excelsior and Channel 4, was also a permanent critic of violent acts in the country.
About the killings of journalists, the Journalists' Association of Honduras, CPH which is run by journalists who supported the coup has remained in a permanent silence.

Trade Unionists in jail on charges of sedition
by César Silva
The board of the Union of Workers of the National Autonomous University of Honduras UNAH were arbitrarily arrested Thursday afternoon March 25 and immediately sent to jail with shackled hands as fearsome criminals
The trade unionists are accused for the crime of sedition under charges which  are  16 in total, from which eleven were arrested, five were given house arrest for being older , six were sent to prison and five  had to seek shelter to avoid capture.
The detainees are among others, the union president René Andino, Orbelina Zúñiga Gutiérrez, Óscar Orlando Salgado, and Marco Antonio Moreno.
The judge   Melvin Bonilla, has determined to send the union members to the National Penitentiary in Tamara, as if they were dangerous criminals, a clear warning of what can happen to those who choose to defend their rights.

Thousands of citizens took  the streets and came to the courthouse to show solidarity and demand justice for the unionists. They were assaulted by police, more than 200 troops were deployed to launch tear gas, beat them up with clubs, and  evicted them  from the vicinity of the courts.

What happened today shows the level of persecution and harassment to which   social organizations are being subjected after the military coup against the constitutional president Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
Cesar Silva

University union leaders arrested, charged with sedition

Police guard the court building
Police guard the court building
During a court hearing with the Criminal Justice Section of Tegucigalpa, judge Melvin Bonilla issued precautionary measures against 10 of the 16 members of the Workers Union of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Sitraunah), accused by the prosecution of sedition, coercion, and usurpation.
Bonilla also issued house arrests against 5 people for being over 60 years old, and another worker because he has diabetes. The judge who bears the burden of proof is Alina Aguilera, but she could not conduct the hearing this day and Judge Melvin Bonilla. acted in her place.
A team of lawyers with the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Cofadeh) came in person to the seat of the court located in La Granja, Comayagüela, but they were prevented from entering by the security guards and police.
Cofadeh believes that the judge’s actions violates the process of presumption of innocence. The defense said there is no risk of flight by the accused so preventative detention was unnecessary.
Moreover, the union defendants argued that there is no risk of obstruction of justice by their clients, so the decision to give them provisional measures of preventive detention is due more to a kind of bias towards the workers union for being a part of the National Front of the Popular Resistance.
Despite the restrictions on information, it is known that the 10 union members will be deprived of their freedom and will remain imprisoned at the National Penitentiary, located in Tamara, Francisco Morazán, about 15 kilometers from the capital, until the time and date of next hearing.
The court building remained guarded by a strong contingent of riot police stationed in front, sides and back of the court building, while more than a hundred members of the National Resistance Front demanded outside the immediate release of the union workers.
The conflict between the union workers and authorities of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) had not been resolved for three weeks, since there was no agreement on a number of wage increase demands presented by SITRAUNAH. They had proceeded to take the university campus buildings to protest the stalemate in negotiations.
Around 4:00 pm the riot police (over one hundred) fired tear gas and struck protestants with batons as a show once again of repression against the National Front for Popular Resistance.
The unionists’ lawyers requested a new hearing to review the precautionary measures, based on Articles 80 and 82 of the Constitution of the Republic, and 173 numerals 5,6 and 7 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

They try to kill another member of the Resistance

March 23, Tegucigalpa. 
Alexander Antonio
The electricity  technician, ALEXANDER ANTONIO HERRERA, a 35-year-old married father with 8 children, all minors (6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15) denounces that at seven p.m. he peered into the porch of his home to protect visually his wife, who went to buy tortillas for dinner in the crowded Residential Honduras in Tegucigalpa.

He went out twice to the porch of his house,  due to the uncertainty generated by the insecurity of all of those who have achieved a  chance of appearing in a newspaper or videos in acts of heroism resisting the coup. This act of advertising is one of the features that characterize cases of summary or extrajudicial killings against members of the resistance.

Manuel Flores     Renán Fajardo murdered on Dec.   Vanessa Zepeda (Feb.)
this week  

Alexander is one of them. He stayed at the Embassy of Brazil near President Zelaya on September 22, on the day of the cruel eviction carried out by military and police against  poor and  unarmed people, harassed and vilified through the death instruments(military, death squads) financed with public funds  from  the  taxes you pay, or by the external debt.

So is the case of Alexander, who likewise integrated the caravans that came from Radio Globo with provisions for people trapped at military checkpoints in the department of Danli, during the illegal and illegitimate curfews(during the second time Zelaya tried to get inside the country through Nicaragua).

His 6-year-old child  is getting harassed at school John F. Kennedy in Colonia Kennedy, Tegucigalpa. The child is accused by one of his teachers of being the son of a member of the resistance to the degree that it has led to the boy's  physical abuse.

The second time Alexander approached the porch of his house, strangers who were outside his home began to shoot at him. Consecuently, one of the shots caused a wound in his right leg and the bullet impacts  remained embedded in the walls, furniture, even in a refrigerator that is in the living room. He saved his life, because he was able to  intuit the  intention of the attackers throwing himself on the floor and  leaving him a chance to turn off the lights. The criminals did not enter his house and it is not known why, but they moved to a hill from which one  can view his home and they mercilessly fired from there, regardless of his children's lives at risk, who were fortunately unharmed in the attack.

At the time of aggression, he called a friend of his who is a policeman, who arranged for a police patrol to go to  his home and agents of the DNI  transferred him to the police office, they took  his data, photographs from his wound, but didn't take  him to a hospital to seek medical care, which he had to do on his own, moving in such condition to a clinic where he was assisted.

We  ask for protective measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, since
we can do little  for another victim of repression, who has 8 children, a wife, a modest home that has cost him part of his life as he tells.

Rebecca Becerra denounces more harassment

What you will never see reported on AP 

Just yesterday, a coup government official had to come to the Special Human Rights Court to testify in the case of harassing Rebeca Becerra and her daughter, and not even 24 hours afterwards, she is now denouncing once again that two men are persecuting her(before it was only one). Last week, she had already complained about the same.

Declaration regarding the case of writer Rebeca Becerra

On Friday March 25th, Virgilio Paredes will have to appear before the Special Human Rights Court to testify in the case brought by Lic. Rebeca Becerra, fired from the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports (SCAD) days after the coup d'etat of June 28, 2009 and arrested along with her young daughter by order of Myrna Castro and Virgilio Paredes and transferred to the El Manchén police station, justifying her detention based on the argument that she had taken public SCAD documents when in fact Becerra was merely carrying out a simple administrative task.
Rebeca Becerra, a writer recognized throughout Latin America, and her family, have been subjected to harassment and death threats from that fateful day that changed the political face of the country, to this moment.
Virgilio Paredes is acting director of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH) without complying with the academic requirements demanded by the internal regulations of IHAH that the director of the institute must be an historian, anthropologist and/or archaeologist. At the time the arrest of Becerra and her 6-year old daughter, Virgilio Paredes was working as de facto administrator in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports.
In addition, Lic. Becerra has sued the ex-de facto minister Myrna Castro who any moment should have to appear before a judge herself.
Also scheduled to appear in court this Friday are Melba Bardales and Maura Castro, leaders of the Ministry's union who, instead of defending Becerra, accused her publicly in the media, including on Radio Globo, of having confiscated public documents, furthermore arguing in the defense of the de facto minister Myrna Castro.
The firing of Becerra was not justified and as such the crime can be classified as political persecution and not abuse of authority, as the Special Human Rights Court is attempting to frame it, since it was under conditions of a coup d'etat and the authorities were de facto. The letter of dismissal does not specify the reasons why Becerra should leave her position as General Director within the SCAD; Becerra furthermore was National Secretary of Culture for the Central American Educational and Cultural Committee (CECC), part of the System of Central American Integration (SICA) and was carrying out unprecedented work in the National Book and Documentation Department.
The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights is pressuring the State of Honduras to provide security for Becerra due to the situation of danger in which she and her two young daughters currently exist, subjected to harassment and psychological pressures; the human rights of these minors are being violated.
"I will not allow this injustice committed against me and my family to pass; if the Special Human Rights Court does not find in my favor, I will appeal my case to a higher level," stated Becerra. "I have been told to take security measures such as moving to a different city, hide in safe houses, and leave the country, but I am not a criminal who should have to flee and be exiled from the country I love, that has given me so much and within which I want to return to my cultural work. The criminals are others who should be brought to justice; the criminals are those who perpetrated a coup d'etat and who have subjected us to a state of terror and criminality never before seen in the country; the criminals are occupying public offices and we must be able to point them out without fear.
We didn't go into exile in the 1980s when my family (parents and brothers and sisters) were subjected to death threats, psychological harassment, and physical aggression with the disappearance of my brother Eduardo Becerra Lanza, and I won't do it now."
The Special Human Rights Court has offered Becerra security by providing police or national army protection, but Becerra laughs at the offer, responding "They are the enemy of the Honduran people, the ones who tortured and murdered my brother Eduardo Becerra Lanza, the ones who disappeared and tortured my father, those who when we were children shoved their rifles into our chests and stomachs. To accept something that low would be to betray the memory of my dead, to betray the fight of my mother and my whole family, and to betray the fight of the Honduran people, the resistance. It would be to allow the assassin to wash his hands of the crime."

Rebecca Becerra denounces once again recent harassment 

Today Friday, March 26 at about 3:30 am two men in hats and dark clothing, tried to enter the building where I live with my daughters. Neighbors said they were in the empty lot adjacent to the apartment building at night.
Due to my state of tension and vigilance during the night I decided to take a pill to rest and fell asleep until I heard screaming when one of the neighbors  saw them in the previously mentioned empty lot.
Usually I've been watched by an individual but the situation is worse because this time they were  two, their intent is to be deduced in the most logical way.
I hold responsible the government of Mr. Pepe Lobo, the Ministry of Security and the ones involved in my case for what may happen to me and my daughters.
The complaint shall be made within the Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared of Honduras today COFADEH in a few hours.
Tegucigalpa March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010


by Rights Action
On March 23, at the same moment that a group of seven Honduran lawyers were presenting information to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Washington DC concerning systematic human rights abuses being committed against the pacifist Honduran National Resistance Front (FNRP), a death squad comprised of heavily armed men wearing ski masks and civilian clothes, killed a prominent FNRP member, a teacher, in front of his high school students.
According to a communiqué issued by the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH),
“At 3pm an unknown person was spotted in front of the San Jose del Pedregal High School.  The unusual presence of a stranger caused concerns among students and thirty teachers who make up the staff of teachers who work at the school.  Among the teachers was Professor of Social Science Jose Manuel Flores, who worked as teacher counselor.
“Witnesses on the scene saw two pickups approach the rear of the school premises, apparently 2009 models, one green and white.
“Professor Manuel, as his friends called him, was in the back of the facility overseeing pupils, when the assassins found him.  They passed the perimeter fence and fired their guns at close range.
“The teacher was on a balcony from which he fell, and they fired on him again from above.  As they fled, the ski mask of one of the attackers became entangled in the razor coil over the fence which they had cut open to look for their victim.  The teacher died instantly.”

The killing of a prominent teacher in front of his students and colleagues, in the middle of the day, a man who was active in the FNRP, participating in protests and publishing articles in alternative press, is calculated act of repression designed to terrorize other Honduras and to send a silencing message.
Among many in the FNRP, the timing of the crime – at the same time as the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights hearing held in Washington - is part of that message, reminiscent of the attack on the family lawyer Jari Dixon Herrera immediately following a CNN interview in Washington DC.
While the attackers’ identity is not known, it is important to note that when current Minister of Government Oscar Alvarez served as Minister of Government, under the administration of President Maduro, he instituted a practice in which police dressed in civilian clothes and wearing ski masks (of varying types) participate in raids.  Their appearance makes them indistinguishable from organized crime assassins, who operate with impunity throughout Honduras and the region.
This is the same modus operandi of state terrorism and death squads that operated in U.S. backed regimes in Honduras throughout the 1970s and 1980s, during the so-called ‘cold war’.
During the eight months since the June 28, 2009 military coup in Honduras, dozens of FNRP activists have been killed, some during illegal detention by police forces, others in death squad type situations like the killing of Professor Manuel.
There is not a credible or functional justice system operating in Honduras.  Proper investigation by Honduran authorities is not possible.
In reaction to the killing, teachers are holding a national strike and there is a national protest scheduled to occur March 25.
Millions of Hondurans, along with the Organization of American States (OAS) and many nations around the world, do not recognize the legitimacy of the current acting president of Honduras, Pep Lobo.
The FNRP continues to struggle for the legitimate goal of convoking a constitutional convention to create a new constitution since the current one, formulated in 1981 amidst widespread repression and militarization, does not adequately protect the rights of citizens.
The massive support the call for a new constitution enjoys among Hondurans resulted in the violent military overthrow of the elected president in June 2009 and the de facto powers are attempting to silence this on-going demand through violence such as the killing of Professor Manuel.
The US and Canadian governments must be held partially responsible for the on-going State terrorism and repression in Honduras.
  • The US and Canada indirectly legitimized the military-oligarchic regime after the June 28th military coup;
  • they recognized the illegal “elections” on November 28, 2009;
  • they attended the January 27, 2010 “transfer of power”, when the regime of current leader Pepe Lobo took power;
  • they are now promoting the “normalization of relations” with Honduras in the international community;
  • both governments continue to ignore the well-documented State-sponsored killings and repression;
  • both work to invisibilize the massive social movement and the call for a new constitution.
The legitimate struggle of the majority of Hondurans – peaceful and courageous - continues.  They need on-going support.  They also need Canadians and Americans to pressure our own governments – the main supporters of the Honduran regime – to condemn the systemic repression in Honduras; to not turn a blind eye to repression and impunity and casually maintain full political, economic and military relations with the regime.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Annie Bird,, 1-202-680-3002 & Grahame Russell,, 1-860-352-2448.

* * *
Since the June 28th military coup, Rights Action has channeled tens of thousands of dollars of donations and grants to Honduran civil society organizations (including thousands to COFADEH) doing pro-democracy, human rights defense and emergency-repression response work.
To support Honduran pro-democracy, human rights organizations, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:
UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552 - 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
North Americans must send this information to our politicians, governments and media – not to the Honduran regime.  We must hold our governments partially accountable for Honduras' State repression.  The United States and Canada are the main governments that accepted the June 28, 2009 coup regime, that endorsed the November 29 "elections" that served to “legitimize” the June 28th coup and sweep under the rug 5 months of repression and killings. Now, the regime of Pepe Lobo continues with repression. But for the support the Honduran regime receives from the USA and Canada, it would not be able to repress with such impunity.