Sunday, October 31, 2010

Death Squads in Honduras

by David Pérez and Daniel Trujillo
Anyone who thinks that social and political instability in Honduras ended with the election of Porfirio Lobo as the president of the republic is mistaken, according to the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH).
Human rights violations, political persecution, and selective political murders continue to be the order of the day, which indicates that the 28 June 2009 military coup is continuing.
COFADEH General Coordinator Berta Oliva denounced the emergence of death squads, who assassinate members of the opposition selectively, Honduran teachers being their main victims.
Oliva explained that this year ten teachers have been murdered for their opposition to the current government, which has continued the work of the coup regime.
Oliva participated in the 7th "Herbert Anaya Sanabria" International Congress on Human Rights, highlighting that the method of persecution employed by these "paramilitary groups" in Honduras is very particular.  In fact, they don't kill the leaders of social organizations but their closest family members, in order to cause distress in the organizations opposed to the ruling regime.
"There is a death squad called CAM (Commando Álvarez Martínez), which is carrying out persecution clearly and brazenly," reported Oliva.
The human rights situation in Honduras is precarious, so much so that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the Organization of American States, notes in its report titled "Honduras: derechos humanos y golpe de Estado" (Honduras: Human Rights and Coup d'État) that the current policies of the Honduran state permit violations of human rights of individuals.
In fact, 56 defenders of human rights are being threatened by various armed groups.  Oliva called on the OAS to demand that the United States not support the Honduran armed forces while human rights violations are continuing in this Central American country.
In Oliva's opinion, it's well and good that the OAS has issued a report, but the OAS must demand that human rights be actually respected in Honduras.
Hondurans Demand Establishment of Human Rights Observatory
"We live in deplorable conditions, under bad weather, without potable water, without electricity, in houses made of large tin sheets, and on top of it all, over the last six months they have murdered 16 of our compañeros, trying to intimidate us so they can deprive us of the right to land," said Matías Valle Cárdenas, Vice President of the United Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA) in the department of Colón in northern Honduras.
Since the coup d'état, human rights violations have considerably increased in Honduras.  At the same time, Honduras has become one of the most violent countries in Latin America.  The homicide rate has sharply risen from 2004 to 2009, increasing from 39.7 to 66.8 per 100,000.  In 80.9% of the cases, victims are individuals ages 15-44.
MUCA has said that reported homicides and constant threats are part of a plan of Honduran landlords Miguel Facusse and Reynaldo Canales to appropriate the lands that belong to about 2,400 families, using legal and extralegal means.
Johnny Rivas, Secretary General of MUCA, explained: "In the last six months we have been attacked by the military and police, our right to land has been violated, we have been displaced many times, but the need is great, and every day we are continuing to fight for our rights to be able to survive."  He added: "Since the coup all of us have lost our constitutional rights."
The victims who have turned to Honduran legal authorities to report attacks on their lives, nevertheless, have not received any positive response, thus unable to confront this scourge of violence.  Now they are seeking the collaboration of the international community to establish a human rights observatory.
Similarly, the victims have no confidence in the Porfirio Lobo government, since all they see is a continuation of the de facto government set up by Roberto Micheletti.  The MUCA vice president said that 300 of his compañeros have been detained while fighting for their demands.
It is urgent to end the attacks on the impoverished communities in Honduras, and international organizations can lend their weight to this process to establish a human rights observatory, as demanded by thousands of Hondurans.  If this situation continues, violence will grow further and can bring catastrophic consequences to the people of Honduras.

The original article "Denuncian que golpe militar en Honduras continua" was published in Diario Co Latino (El Salvador) on 28 October 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.


14 victims in a new slaughter in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, 31 oct (PL) A new slaughter registered this weekend in San Pedro Sula left at least 12 victims, Honduran city considered to be one of the most violent in the whole region. 

The massacre took place in the populous slum Felipe Zelaya, when armed individuals with AK-47 rifles shot in indiscriminate way against a group which was about to play a football game.
In the crime scene 10 people died, while other 4 died in the ambulances which took them to a public hospital. 

"We still don't know the motivation of this tragedy", said Security Vice Minister, Armando Calidonio. 

This is the third slaughter registered in the second most important city of Honduras during the last two months.

On September 7, 17 workers were murdered when they were working in a shoe factory. 

Other 6 youth were found dead on October 14 inside a house of the same neighbourhood. 

Honduras is one of the most violent countries in Latin America, with an average of 69 crimes for every 100 thousand inhabitants. 

San Pedro Sula has the worst rate, with 119 violent deaths, when the average worldwide is 8.

The Central American country's situation worsened after the coup d'état of June 2009 against the government of Manuel Zelaya. 

Only during the first 6 months of 2010, around 3,000 crimes occurred here, according to a report issued by the National Human Rights Commisioner.
Fuente:  Prensa Latina - asg/car 


Youth disappeared after being detained by the police


Tegucigalpa 24 de octubre de 2010.  The
 Committee for Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, CODEH, denounced the disappearance of the youth, Hector Mauricio Altamirano (17) after he was detained by the police. 

According to the complaint by CODEH, "yesterday  afternoon, a motorized police patrol made a stop signal to Altamirano. Immediately after a police car patrol arrived, they  forced him to put the motorcycle inside the bed of the truck in which Mauricio was taken and ever since he's been missing." 

The event took place in colonia Torocagua in Tegucigalpa, from where they transported him  to the area known as "el poso"(the well), where they got him in the car patrol before the sight of several witnesses who observed  while the police carried out this action of evident violation of human rights, according to the complaint made by CODEH.

From the moment of his abduction followed by his disappearance, members of CODEH and relatives of the victim have been looking for him in police stations, without  positive results. 

The organization reports that "at 8 in the evening, a friend of the victim received a call from phone  96109740. It was Mauricio's voice who told him that the police had him in a place he didn't know and were demanding from him in order to free him to pay the amount of 30 thousand lempiras(approx. US $1,600)”.

The abduction and disappearance of youth Mauricio Altamirano is of great concern for his family, in view, according to what CODEH reports, that  Altamirano and his family have been constant victims of harassment from part of police assigned to the police post of colonia las Pavas, place where the victim lives. 

According to the human rights organization, after the coup d'état, "during one of the aggressions by the state repressive forces, in an act of self-defense, the population tried to burn down the facilities. In the attempt, a motorcycle was burnt, which has been charged to the policemen. Ever since, police harasses Mauricio and his family linking them to  burning the motorcycle". 

CODEH reports that a month ago, young Mauricio was retained by the police assigned to the colonia Cerro Grande and to obtain his freedom his family had to pay 600 Lempiras.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Army and Police attack, persecute, and harass human rights defenders in Honduras

H. Castro: “The Lobo regime tries to impede our work as Human Rights attorneys "

Mario Casasús, Defensores en Línea, 29 de octubre de 2010

Hedme Castro

In an interview with, Hedme Fátima Castro denounces suffering systematic persecution in the hands of police and Honduran Army forces. Yesterday (October 28), she was victim of a similar assault, after being run over by a van, which intercepted her but only took out her Human Rights Attorney ID, credential granted by the Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) and the keys of her car; two hours later they gave her back her documents. Something similar had happened to the teacher and human rights attorney when police confiscated her ID and then gave it back to the offices of COFADEH. Hedme Fátima Castro (Sub-Coordinator of Program E-Defender) counts with Precautionary Measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), but they have been useless due to the negligence of the Porfirio Lobo Sosa regime and his complicity with the repressive forces of the State, as was demonstrated with the recent public hearing of the IACHR last monday October 25. 

Read more: 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Congress initiated process of abrogation of the Teachers' Statute and of other professions

Clarification: For considering the measure extreme [abolishing completely the Teachers' Statute ], the preferred to approve a decree with the abstention of liberal and UD congressmen, which consists in excluding the workers governed by statutes and collective contracts from a minimum wage raise. (Read more: )

This was all predictable and foreseeable, especially considering what has happened in the last days (see previous post):
The approval has a seal on it  against the Teachers' Union
Red Morazánica de Información
Tegucigalpa October 27, 2010.  The National Congress abolished different statutes as a part of a strategy against the social conquests of the people, which started with the coup d'état against Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. 
The abrogation will affect the teacher sector the most, whom the oligarchy intends to take away their achievements since before the coup d'état with the purpose of privatizing education and destroying the biggest trade union in the country. 
 The approval of the decree, which repeals the salary clause for minimum wage, is also apparently due to pressure by the International Monetary Fund FMI. 
 The abrogation contradicts in a clear way article 95 of the Teachers' Statute, which literally states: The rights recognized by this Law will not be diminished, distorted, nor ignored and all provisions in this sense will be null ipso jure. The teacher personnel on duty as this Statute comes into effect, will conserve the rights acquired through the previous Law of Personnel and Wage Scale of  Teachers as much as it favors them.
Last Sunday, the president of the Teachers' Union of Middle School Education (Copemh), Jaime Rodríguez, denounced that the head of the regime, Porfirio Lobo, "seeks to blame the Teachers' Statute for the disorder in education and intends to eliminate articule 49", of that same law. 
“Porfirio Lobo does not keep his word , the act [agreement] said that the body of teachers and the government express their total support to the executive decree [statute], but now he suddenly says that he will not comply with article 49", when article 95 [of that Statute] says that rights of teachers can't be reduced", questioned Rodríguez in this moment. 

FNRP calls for demonstrations. The decree seeks to divide the front.  

The National Front of Popular Resistance, FNRP,  called for demonstrations combined with  the teachers' sector, who already called out  all teachers to mobilize in the capital city.

Lawyer Rasel Tomé, leader of the FNRP, denounced that the approval of the legislative decree does not only aim to abrogate the statutes, but also aims directly to divide the National Front of Resistance, when intending to cause conflict between the teachers' sector with the workers' sector agglutinated in the political organization.  
Why does the Congress "not touch anything from the thermal energy companies or fast food companies", the politician of the Resistance asked himself. Tome argued that from Congress, attacks are directed at the people, but not at the big companies which are protected with special laws that puts them above the population. 

The approval of the decree had opposition by the parliamentary collective of Unificación Democrática (UD), who via Marvin Ponce and the head of the legislative caucus, Sergio Castellanos, who warned Congress about the negative results of such law.
 This new post-coup action has as backdrop the failure to comply with the Law of Minimum Wage, which states that it must be approved during the month of January each year, or in case of defect the Law establishes its retroactivity starting from the first month of the year. i

Lobo has refused to establish the new minimum wage in order to please the private sector of the country which proposes a new salary raise until the next five years. 
The Pinu Social Democratic Party (PINU-SD), the National Party(PN), the Christian Democrats DC, and a part of the Liberal Party PL supported the abrogation of the statutes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teacher is shot in front of his students in Tegucigalpa

The War Against Teachers: The Regime Targets Teachers Again 


1. Yesterday, in a communiqué, the Teachers' Union accused repressive organs of the regime of persecuting leaders and threatening them to death. They blamed the Education Ministry, the Police, and the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation(DGIC, now called DNIC) for "persecution and death threats" to the teachers' leaders at a local, departmental and national level.

The Teachers' Union of Middle School Education(Copemh) denounced that teacher, Javier Castillo, in the Lempira Department, "has been a victim of threats by gunmen, demanding him to retire from the teachers's struggle", case which has already been filed to human rights organizations.

The context surrounding the crimes and harassment  against teachers is that in view the government wants to eliminate the Teachers' Statute (a law which grants teachers' rights, their minimun wage, and guarantees public education) in order to  privatize education, the teachers organized massive protests against these measures. El Heraldo published an article yesterday, as usual with its smear campaign against teachers, in which it  states that " it is impossible to pay salaries indexed to teachers" according to the Teachers' Statute, if there is a minimum wage raise.

Yesterday, October 25, the Teachers' Union of Middle School Education (Copemh) denounced that Porfirio Lobo seeks to eliminate article 49 of the Teachers' Statute, "seeking to blame the Teachers' Statute for the disorder in education and intends to eliminate article 49", of that same law. However, the Statute's article 95, states that the rights recognized by this law will not be diminished, manipulated, nor ignored. This is why the teachers are organizing a protest and why also the regime clearly seeks to demobilize them through intimidation and coersion by shooting a teacher in front of his colleagues and students and sending gunmen to threaten another one within the same 24 hours.

2. Military and police selective crimes, persecution and harassment against Teachers

Since the coup d'état took place last year, around 10 teachers members of the Copemh, the backbone and one of the biggest organizations in the National Front of Popular Resistance. have been killed and none of their deaths have been investigated by authorities.

On March 23 this year, one of those  teachers, Manuel Flores, member of Copemh, National resistance front leader, and founding member of the Central American Socialist Party(PSoCA), was also murdered in front of his students and colleagues at the High School where he worked. His death was attributed to youth gangs by the authorities, as it is their habit. 
Teachers were victims of repression; harassment, threats, aggressions, imprisonment and assassination. Teachers Andrés Martínez; Edgar Soriano; Luís Sosa and Carlos Anariva were captured and tortured, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a legal suit against them for exercising their right to peaceful protest.
Teachers Nelson Milla Díaz, Néstor Alemán, and Juan Ramón Márquez were captured and taken to the Transit Police Station where their bodies, bloodied from the beatings, were cleaned up as were those of other teachers.

Teachers Dagoberto Espinal, José María Andino and German de Jesús Maldonado, were captured and taken to Liberty Plaza, next to the Presidential Palace, where they were illegally detained for hours. (Source: COFADEH/Quixote Center)
According to a list of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared in Honduras COFADEH, after the coup d'état the death of at least 8 murdered teachers is registered. Among them : Roger Abrahán Vallejo(shot by the military during a protest), Félix Orlando Murillo López(who was a key witness of Roger Abrahán Vallejo's death and was found some weeks later dead with signs of torture), Rubén Estrada, Mario Fidel Contreras Moncada, Sergio Eliseo Juárez Hernández, Gradis Espinal, Blas López, and  José Manuel Flores. At the wake held to honour Vallejo's memory, teacher Martín Florencio Rivera was stabbed to death. (Source: In These Times / Honduras Resists: Violence against the Resistance Movement, Unionists continue  by Kari Lydersen)
On June 10, 2010, a group of heavily armed men tried to kidnap without success the finances secretary of the Teachers' Union of Middle School Education of Honduras(COPEMH), Carolina Pineda, informed the president of the organization, Jaime Rodríguez. (Source: Honduras Laboral)

3. The "Evil" Teachers' Statute: Repression, scapegoating Teachers, Smear Campaigns by Corporate Honduran Media as well as government officials blaming the Teachers' Statute of the cause of all evils in the country,while stealing the teachers' pension funds and pushing for a bill to privatize education

On Thursday and Friday (August 26-27), police and military violently repressed public school teachers who have taken to the streets for almost 3 weeks to demand, amongst other things, that the Pepe Lobo regime return 4 billion lempiras (or some 200 million dollars) that were taken from the National Institute of IMPREMA, an institution that manages teachers' pension funds, after the military-oligarchic coup against President Zelaya on June 28, 2009.
 Friday (August 27th), teachers were violently evicted twice from the area around the National Pedagogical University, first, when they had occupied the boulevard, and second, when teachers were regrouping and meeting inside the University.
At the university, located close to a major boulevard and across from a business shopping center, police arrived with 2 water tanks, firing more than 100 tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at the teachers and members of the resistance movement in and outside the university grounds, beating up those they chased and captured without regard for the presence of children and the public in the busy area of the city and the peaceful form in which the teachers were protesting.
From a black Toyota four-runner parked on the street in front of the university, a man opened fired at the protesters with a 9-millimeter gun.  Although no one was shot, the car was later identified as belonging to the National Congress.
Over 100 people were captured and 'guarded' by police against a fence outside the university.  They were later released after human rights representatives arrived and negotiated with the police.  Many teachers and resistance members, fleeing the tear gas, were trapped inside the classrooms in the university where they suffered from severe exposure to tear gas.  Over 7 people were injured from the gas and from police beatings, including a journalist from Globo TV/Radio Globo.
The day before, on Thursday, after occupying a street close to the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa, the teachers were violently evicted by police and military.  Six teachers were reported injured from the tear gas and wounds inflicted by the police.
These two days, last week, were the icing on the cake to the violence inflicted against the teachers movement on August 20th, when again, police and military evicted the movement and brutally beat up 3 union leaders and one teacher, all of whom were supposedly identified on the spot to the police by individuals infiltrating the marches.
Before and particularly since August 20th, the major media outlets owned by the oligarchy have continued a media campaign against the teachers' movement to portray them as instruments of violence with no regard for children's education and the educational system in Honduras. 
(Source: Honduras: Teachers and Students Resist Repression by Karen Spring)

In the month of August, the repression and infiltration of marches, assemblies and the seizure of the installations ofINPREMA, were some of the strategies to demobilize sectors which had decided to protest. (Source: COFADEH)

Teacher is shot in front of his students in Tegucigalpa

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Red Morazánica de Información
Tegucigalpa 25 de octubre de 2010. Two gunmen aboard a motorcycle attacked a teacher of a school in Colonia Villa Nueva in Tegucigalpa. 
According to versions broadcasted by Radio Globo, the teacher received several gunshots, shot "with a gun with silencer".
The teacher, whose name and identity is unknown is in grave danger in a hospital of the capital city.
According to a radio, the event had occured in front of his students and colleagues.
The assailants fleed inmediately after they commited the crime, while the teacher was transferred to a hospital due to the gravity of the wounds caused by his aggressors.
After the coup d'état, about 10 murdered teachers in circumstances that have not yet been clarified by the State, have been reported.

Murdered prominent artist Nestor Zúniga, FNRP and COPINH member and brother of indigenous leader, Salvador Zúniga, run over by man in motorcycle military reservist and member of Unión Cívica Democrática (UCD, pro coup organization)

Néstor Ovidio Zúniga Photo: COFADEH

Red Morazánica de Información
Tegucigalpa. 25 octubre 2010. Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations, Copinh), informed this Sunday, that artist, Nestor Ovidio Zúniga, died in Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa after being ran over by a motorcycle driven at high speed by David Franco, who left him abandoned in the middle of the road.  
The artistic and social activist, Ovidio Zúniga, brother of the indigenous leader, Salvador Zúniga, was a member of Copinh and of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) of the Department of Intibucá, east of Honduras. 
Copinh denounced that David Franco, without complying with the legal time for investigation was freed by the Public Prosecutor, Aguilar Murillo, daughter of retired captain, who today is the head of the reservists and of the Unión Cívica Democrática (UCD) of La Esperanza, Intibucá. 
This is an act in which we "see a clear intention of affecting the Zúniga family and our organization, Copinh", they accuse. 
“Our comrade, Néstor, was an active militant of the Resistance Against the Coup d'état, being a victim of brutal repression on June 30, 2009. In spite of that episode, Néstor continued to be active and participating in the struggle and actions of Copinh and FNRP until the day he died", highlighted Copinh. 
He was also an active member in the "liberation struggles as Central American internationalist in the worst moments of the dirty war in the 80's, where in the ranks of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional released several campaigns of revolutionary and logistical propaganda with the Fuerzas Armadas de la Resistencia Nacional de El Salvador (Armed Forces of National Resistance of El Salvador)", revealed Copinh. 
Consejo Cívico valued that Néstor was a prominent artist of La Esperanza, author of a painting which guided the first pilgrimage carried out by Copinh to Tegucigalpa in 1994. In this work of art could be read "He (Lempira) lives, comes with us since the end of oblivion". 
Néstor Ovidio Zúniga participated in the artistic creation of the mural painting dedicated to Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero in the Church Perquín Morazán, in El Salvador. His main artistic work was wood carving, "leaving a beautiful creative legacy in the Normal de Occidente where the Battle of Trinidad is recreated", evidenced Copinh. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Second Phase of the Coup d'État: Plan Colombia (Merida Initiative) for Honduras

From left to right: US Ambassador Hugo Llorens, David Johnson, and Honduran Security Minister, Oscar Álvarez
David Johnson (R), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Hugo Llorens, U.S Ambassador to Honduras, attend a news conference after a meeting with Honduras' President Porfirio Lobo at the presidential house in Tegucigalpa October 21, 2010. Johnson is on an official visit to Honduras to discuss efforts to combat narcotics trafficking.
David Johnson (R), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Hugo Llorens, U.S Ambassador to Honduras, attend a news conference after a meeting with Honduras' President Porfirio Lobo at the presidential house in Tegucigalpa October 21, 2010. Johnson is on an official visit to Honduras to discuss efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Photo Source: Reuters

by OFRANEH (Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras)

The announcement made by Security Minister, Mr. Oscar Álvarez, of requesting a Plan Colombia for Honduras (1) is a component of the campaign undertaken by Mrs. Hillary Clinton to intensify militarization in the continent with the alleged purpose of stopping drug trafficking towards the United States.

At the start of September this year, Mrs. Clinton pointed out that the United States seeks to implement a Plan Colombia for Mexico and Central America (2). Despite acknowledging the controversy caused by this US initiative, the person in charge of foreign policy for the Obama Administration insists in pressuring so that Central America and Mexico facilitate the militarization that will be entailed by Plan Colombia.

In the face of the imminent arrival to Honduras of Mr. David Johnson, US Sub Secretary of State for Antidrug Fighting, Minister Álvarez echoes the Clinton strategy for the continent. However, as it is a custom of the State Department, a root cause analysis of the problem is avoided to be carried out, allowing the media circus surrounding drugs, avoiding to touch the heart of the current violence crisis and the absence of governance taking place in Honduras and in neighbouring countries.

It is unbelievable that with all the technology and financial resources owned by the United States, they have been uncapable of controlling the drug problem. To start, the great drug market in the cities of rich countries persists to date besides the fact that they don't only credit the greatest number of consumers, but that at the same time they produce the indispensable chemical precursors and their financial entities have been in charge for decades of the laundering of thousands of millions of dollars. To make matters worse, the United States are the source of firearms of all sorts of caliber, from which the criminal organizations supply themselves.

"Organized crime, money laundering, and corruption are a global threat", denounces Antonio María Costa, executive director of the Office Against Drug and Crime of the United Nations (UNDOC) with headquearters in Vienna, before the United Nations General Assembly (3). Last year, Mr. Costa pointed out how the banks laundered during the financial crisis US$ 352 thousand million, establishing the bills originated from drug trafficking as the only liquid capital obtainable by banking institutions in danger of collapse (4). In addition to Mr. Acosta's indications, the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (ONUDD) reports that organized crime generates 119 thousand million dollars, making drug trafficking one of the most lucrative businesses on the planet (5).

The information offered by UNDOC and ONUDD about the profit of organized crime make us think that without the support of the banks and their tax havens, including the cooperation of corrupt officials, drug trafficking, and other forms of organized crime wouldn't exist.

The war on drug trafficking should take place in a financial level, disarticulating the existing complicity to pursue the bank secrets and the tax havens; much more than persisting in the obsolete tendency towards a futile war, that in spite of the enormous financial and human investment, after over thirty years has not otherwise than led towards a proliferation of addicts and unnecessary victims.

In Honduras, the legal reform provided by Article 49 of the Draft Bill for the Law of Modernization of the Tax, Custom, and Anti-Evasion System proposed by the Finance Secretariat to the Legislative Power has caused bitterness among the power elite. In other words, the oligarchy feels threatened by any initiative of control of the banking secret and money laundering taking place in the country.

Notwithstanding the failure of the War on Drugs, the same strategy continues with a secret agenda which goes beyond stopping drug trafficking and refers to consolidating the political-military control of the continent.

The role assumed by the main drug consumer on the planet, the United States, as a judge in matters of certifying which are the countries that supposedly fight or not drug trafficking is part of a tragicomedy of global dominance in hands of the empire.

A classic example of this is Afghanistan, where in spite of being invaded by the United States and NATO, opium and heroin production has intensified during the last decade. Something similar happens with Plan Colombia, since Plan Colombia never stopped coca production but did intensify the internal war of that country, which counts with four million Colombians transferred within its frontiers and millions ousted.

Plan Colombia or Merida Initiative for Honduras will certainly have an increase in violations of the already threatened human rights of Hondurans; situation which worsened with the coup d'état perpetrated last year in Honduras.

Our country survives one of the biggest political and economic crises in its history, situation which some intend to ignore, whitewashing a bloody reality, with the aim of personal profit associating the local power elite and the satraps on duty with the empire's interests.

A report issued by the questionable Honduran Human Rights Commisionate(CONADEH) on October 19, indicates that Honduras is the homicide world champion (66,8 for every 100,000 inhabitants, with 286 murders per month), revealing also that since the coup violence has escalated in Honduras. The report also points out the erratic policies of the Security Ministry (6). Of course that the Security Minister, Mr. Álvarez, uses very adequate excuses to proliferate repression: drug trafficking and youth gangs better known as "maras".

A Plan Colombia for Honduras is a sordid signal of danger for our people, who has suffered a constant plunder of natural resources of the country and is subdued to the ignominy of migration to the North as an only economic way out of poverty, which is seen by the majority of the Honduran population as a viable exit.

What is missing is that Mrs. Clinton gives green light to increase the budget for the ministries implicated in human rights violations, all in the name of supposedly stopping drug trafficking. In the meantime, the United States continue using drugs as an instrument fo social control and as an excuse to occupy us militarily.







La Ceiba, Atlántida 21 de Octubre del 2010

Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH

Honduras: State Department Visits Coordinate Military and Police Aid

Honduras Coup Regime Watch
October 20, 2010 URGENT – CALL AND FAX

Today and tomorrow, David T. Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs visits Honduras to meet with de facto president Pepe Lobo and Minister of Security Oscar Alvarez.

According to a State Department press release, together, Johnston, Lobo and Alvarez will “convene the U.S.- Honduras Merida- CARSI Task Force.”   The Merida Initiative funds, equips and trains police and military forces in Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to combat drug trafficking.

It is of extreme concern that the State Department is focusing on generating the first institutionalized structures to support the Merida Initiative (CARSI) in Central America precisely in Honduras where escalating political repression, control of state security forces by organized crime and a dramatic increase in the role of the military in civilian governance has led human rights organizations to call for an end to U.S. military and police aid to Honduras.

Just last week a delegation of Honduran human rights organizations met with the White House’s National Security Council and members of congress, calling for an end to police and military assistance.

Please call and write Dan Restrepo, the Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs of in the National Security Council of the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to voice your outrage.

Below find:
 §  White House’s National Security Council and State Department phone numbers,
 §  a sample letter or fax, and
 §  an article that provides background information on the Merida Initiative and the current situation in Honduras and Central America.

Dan Restrepo
Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs
National Security Council
Old Executive Office Building,
Washington, DC
Telephone: 202 456-9491
Fax: 202 456-7111

 Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
State Department
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC
Telephone: (202) 647-4000


Dear [Secretary of State Clinton or Restrepo]:

I write to urge the United States to immediately suspend military and police assistance to Honduras.  It is unthinkable that Assistant Secretary of State Johnston is currently convening the CARSI Task Force in Honduras together with the acting Honduran President Pepe Lobo and acting Minister of Security Oscar Alvarez, implicated in grave human rights violations.

Currently Honduran State security forces are participating in grave human rights violations, and are articulated with paramilitary organizations and death squads.

The U.S. must respond to the demand of Honduran human rights organizations and suspend police and military aid to Honduras.  If not, the Obama Administration will go down in history for escorting Central America back to control by military governments and massive human rights violations.


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John Negroponte launched the Merida Initiative in 2008 when he served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere.  Initial coordination in Central America took place during Negroponte’s official tour of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in June of 2008 to promote the initiative.  Later CACRSI, the Central America Regional Security Initiative, and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) were divided from the Merida Initiative, which now refers exclusively to the Mexican portion of the program.  In the 2008, 2009 and 2010 appropriations bills, a total of $258 million dollars were appropriated for Central America, $1,322 million for Mexico and $32 million for the Caribbean.

Merida Initiative funds are coordinated by the State Department via three bureaus within the State Department.  The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs administer the majority of the funds, appropriated to the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) account.  The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs administers funds appropriated as part of the Economic Support Fund, and funds appropriated to the Foreign Military Financing account are administered through the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

However, the actual implementation of activities is carried out by other agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).  Significant coordination is also carried out with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), among others.

The Merida Initiative promotes interagency coordination and particularly joint national security actions by police and military. Central America nations have been struggling for over 20 years to remove militaries from internal security functions following the genocide and massive human rights violations carried out in the 1980’s by Central American militaries, with strong U.S. support.


Levels of violence in Guatemala, Honduras and EL Salvador have grown over the past decade to such an extent that United Nations statistics demonstrate that the level of killing is higher than even during the internal armed conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s, and are among, if not the, highest murder rates in the world.

It is interesting to note that while the Sandinista government in the early 1980s dismantled the corrupt security forces in Nicargua, which currently enjoys a lower murder rate than Washington, DC, no such process occurred in other Central American nations.  In El Salvador and Guatemala, in theory new civilian police forces were constructed following the peace processes, however many military personnel were simply shifted directly into the police, and parallel death squad structures were immediately articulated within the police forces.

It is worth noting that the militaries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have been heavily implicated in drug trafficking.  In the case of the Honduran and El Salvadoran militaries, they undertook extensive collaboration with the covert Contra supply network operated by White House aid Lt. Col. Oliver North out of the Ilopango air base in El Salvador at a time when internal Central Intelligence Agency reports, a Department of Justice report and a Congressional report all document that the Medellin drug cartel contributed cash to the Contra effort in exchange for accommodation of their activities by CIA and other US authorities.   US Ambassador to Honduras at the time, John Negroponte, was a key bulwark of support for the Contra support.

The 1980’s set the stage for the growth of organized crime in the region and the creation of the mechanisms for impunity that allow them to flourish, including the structuring of the justice system in the current and 16th Honduran constitution, approved during a military government in 1982.

It is also interesting to note that in the recent coup attempt in Ecuador it has been alleged that police anti narcotics units that took over control of the airports had been trained by and maintained close relations with the US embassy.


Yesterday Johnston visited Guatemala focusing on reviewing the International Commission Against Impunity and Corruption, a United Nations sponsored effort to prosecute organized crime networks through the Guatemalan justice system with the assistance of international lawyers.

Currently there is an effort to regionalize CICIG, creating similar programs in Honduras and Guatemala.  Though debate is ongoing, Honduran human rights organizations fear that the ongoing control of the justice system by the authors of the June 2009 military coup will make it impossible for a CICIG type program to effectively combat impunity, and that such a measure, structurally ineffective from the start, would lend legitimacy to the coup government currently engaged in massive human rights violations, which is anxious to gain reentry to the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Honduran resistance movement, born in the wake of the military coup, hopes to convoke a National Constituent assembly to create a new constitution that would restructure the justice system.  Members of the Resistance explain that structural weaknesses in the justice system can only be addressed through the drafting of a new constitution.


The ambassadors in the different countries included in the Merida Initiative, CARSI and CBSI play a key role in implementing in defining the activities.  The current ambassador to Honduras is career diplomat Hugo Llorens.  Most Hondurans believe Llorens played a key role in consolidating the coup, and even in carrying it out.  In 2002, during the failed coup attempt in Venezuela, Llorens was the Director of Andean Affairs in the National Security Council, the key advisor to George W. Bush on Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador issues.

Honduran Minister of Security Oscar Alvarez has implicated in gross human rights violations, including massacres, when he last served as Minister of Security in Honduras from 2002 to 2005 under then president Ricardo Maduro.  Alvarez participated in Pepe Lobo’s first official act as de facto president of Honduras, the signing of a security cooperation agreement with Colombia, signed by then Colombian President Uribe.  Colombian security forces, especially during the Uribe administration, have committed massive human rights violations including the kidnapping and killing of urban youth, transporting them the jungle and dressing them as guerrilla combatants to demonstrate to the press as victories in Colombia’s internal armed conflict, a practice known as “false positives.”

US Assistant Secretary of State David Johnson was appointed to his current position in 2007, during the Bush administration.  He served the Clinton Administration White House from 1995 to 1997 as Spokesman for the National Security Council.  From 2002 to 2003, under the Bush administration, during the early stages of the US invasion of Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, Mr. Johnson served as Afghan Coordinator for the United States.

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