Honduras coup June 2013 - 4 years too long

June 2013, with now 4 years of military coup regime in Honduras.....


News Shorts from June 2013 – the mining bomb / model cities becoming more for real / etc

Mining – a bomb waiting to explode. Mining law and environmental destruction including of protected areas

A report from Forest Conservation Department has just been released affirming that the new mining law opens protected areas and national parks to mass mining concessions of iron oxide, with growing business interest to export iron oxide to China and Central America and 10 such projects about to start soon. The mining law is a bomb waiting to explode in the sense that it was approved in January, and has been on hold waiting for regulations to be created, before releasing 300 new mining concessions. Even the USAID director Seeley contradictorily expressed concerns about potential disasters that can be caused by allowing mining in protected areas and parks – this is not to say Seeley/USAID has good politics - he shamelessly advocates the commodification of protected areas and parks, suggesting capitalising these using carbon trading schemes or marketing these as touristic destinations. Meanwhile, in Atlántida, with current mining and hydroelectricity projects, a new earthquake of 5.3 magnitude was felt. Social organisations allege the construction of those mining and dam projects as the cause.

Regulations approved to progress 'model cities', plebiscites announced for two model cities concessions

Before, model cities were speculations. In January, it was made law. Today, there are regulations in place to make them happen, as Congress approved 'Organic Law of Employment and Development Zones' (zede). In this same time, congress approved decrees to hold two plebiscites to coincide with and use infrastructure of the November elections, in the proposed cites of Peña Blanca Cortés, and Suyapa Tegucigalpa, to ask residents to vote on if they agree for their cities to turn into model cities. The proposal for Peña Blanca is to convert into a municipality and an agricultural touristic economic development and employment area/concession, and the proposal for Suyapa is to convert itself into a religious touristic concessioned city.

With the new regulation, 45 articles were approved by 2/3 of the congress chambers, and is said to be in place to achieve the neoliberal Plan de Nacion goals (the 28 years plan for 2010-2038), to be competitive in the world markets. Model cities are an open slate for plunder and can focus on commodifying almost anything. They are cities concessioned, the buyer can organise their own budget, tax system, have contracts including long ones with other entities, and have own legal and economic systems. Populated areas to be concessioned have to go through a plebiscite process for the residents to decide, whereas lower populated areas only need a ruling by the Statistics Departments to rubberstamp that not many people live there, leaving rural populations open to displacement and their environment to plunder, without any consultation.

A bill and another step to privatise higher education

A bill is put, named the New Law of Higher Education. The implications, once approved, is that previously the autonomous public university UNAH had the power to regulate higher education in Honduras – this will be lost, with for profit universities being included in this process as well as in becoming part of the state education budget and use of the techical assistance resources. This will be a step towards dismantling of UNAH and public education.

US State Department warns its citizens again that Honduras is dangerous

US State Dpt issued alert on dangers in travelling to Honduras, highlighting that of 18 assassinations against US citizens since January 2011, Honduran police has not brought any to justice. It pointed to Honduras having the highest homocide rate in the world, saying that the Honduran state does not have enough resources to deal with these problems, this leads to its justification of 'aid'.

Aid from US questioned, aid only goes up and up, fueling violations
In a letter to US secretary of state, 21 US senators questioned US AID to Honduras by Obama administration with reports of flagrant human rights violations and impunity, with four years of coup. Department of state has kept increasing such 'aid' budgets. It sought for 2014 an increase of $26 million to $162 million to the CARSI budget for war against drugs in Central America. Recently, the Honduran congress approved the creation of 1000 new positions for soldiers and elite intelligence group. In 2011, pentagon increased military spending by 71%, up from the year before. In March 2013, subsecretary adjunto of state of antidrugs office William Brownfield announced the approval of $16.3 million to create a special police force to combat graver crimes. Keeping Honduras in news as most violent country world and failed state is part of its strategy to justify a possible intervention against it (which will only increase the violence). US uses this double discourse, with increased presence and military bases, and to confuse, with social projects and cooperation.
Continuation of grave political persecution in Honduras in June 2013

Summary of political assassinations in June 2013 – journalists and party activist

On 12/6/13, Nilson Zuniga was supposably 'collaterally' killed in an attempt against Radio Globo journalist Tony Quintero
On 24/6/13, Radio Globo journalist Annibal Barrow was kidnapped and disappeared by hitmen, his body was found buried and decomposed on 9/7/13
On 15/6/13, young Libre party activist Marvin José Rivera was attempted against and died in hospital.
On 26/6/13, Libre Party leader Silvia Aguiriano, and her sister Teresa Matute and their bodyguard were riddled with bullets and assassinated by hitmen.

Deaths in attempts and kidnappings against Radio Globo journalists this month

Radio Globo is an alternative but for profit media that is famous for its journalists reporting critically about the coup.

On 12/6/13, hitmen in another car sprayed with bullets attempting against Radio Globo journalist Tony Quintero, leaving him gravely hospitalised – operated and moved to intensive care. A technician who was in the car with him to install a radio into the car, Nilson Zuniga Andino, also shot, was taken to hospital and died there. Tony works without censoring, exposing the chaos, crisis and violence that Hondurans live in. 30 journalists have been killed in last 10 years, 25 of which since the coup in 2009.

On 24/6/13, in San Pedro Sula, Radio Global journalist Anibal Barrow was kidnapped by 3 heavily armed men who got in his car and forced his two relatives and driver off, and was taken to an unknown direction. From this time he was declared disappeared. Anibal's empty vehicle was found near a sugar field on the city's outskirts, on it, authorities have reported a bullet hole on the right front window, and traces of blood were found inside and a piece of brain mass was found. Anibal works for Globo TV, and on this program, on the day before he was abducted he interviewed 3 Libre party candidates and also talked about the 4th anniversary of the military coup. His body was found buried on 9/7/13 in a decomposed state with indications of having been burnt and mutilated, a few metres near where part of his body (brain mass) was found and in clothes that matches what he was wearing that day

More threats, evictions, and shootings against organised farmers

On 4/6/13, the Panamá community that occupies the Paso Aguan farm reported threats by Dinant palm company security guards and members of Xatruch operation headed by Coronel Germán Alfaro Escalante. The community denounced the complicity of prosecutors, judges and of Xatruch soldiers which are seen on trucks and cars of Dinant.

On 12/6/13, at El Coowle, in San Manuel Cortes, a heavy state security contingent of 500 arrived at 5am in 5 buses, 2 military trucks and vehicles without numberplates, and at 8.30am, violently evicted 1000 families of MOCSAM farmers movement, launched lots of teargases onto people's backyards, fired at least 5 live shots as farmers were fleeing. Chasing and attacks lasted almost an hour, and older farmers unable to escape were harassed by agents who told farmers they should get jobs from the sugar companies. There were also complaints from women of insults from agents. Several children from ages of 20 months to 11 years were suffocated by the gases and needed care. CAHSA employees took photos and attended to police with soft drinks and water. The eviction was illegal as protection measures have been applied for at the SPS appeal courts. MOCSAM has been occupying land since 17/4/12, international day of campesina struggle; land that has been expropriated by the state from CAHSA sugar company. In this time MOCSAM suffered 8 violent eviction, in the last one 2 farmers were assassinated and MOCSAM reoccupied on 17/5/13.

On 14/6/13, a condemnation was made by human rights organisations in Aguan, knowing of the assassination plan against political prisoner of 5 years (condemned for 20 for a crime he did not commit) and farmer Chavelo – José Isabel Morales, of the community Guadalupe Carney. Similarly, a condemnation was made against the plan to criminalise the MARCA leaders and Via Campesina coordinator Rafael Alegría in plans to maliciously link them with the criminal attempt against the Aguan large landowners' lawyers - Walter Diaz Padilla who has been assassinted with gunshots, and Omar Garay who was gravely wounded in an attempt. With these having taken place in a region completely militarised and controlled by Operation Xatruch.

This month, the head of Tocoa police affirmed on video that Dinant guards assassinated 3 villagers in October 2012

Repression during June 2013 against the Rio Blanco highway occupation that began 1 April 2013 against Agua Zarca hydro-dam project

On 11/6/13, at Rio Blanco, the police/military contingent accompanying DESA and Sinohydro employees and site technicians threatened women and children of an attack against them. The contingent tore their flag and the cables that are part of the physical structure of the highway occupation.

At an initial hearing of Berta Caceres, Copinh indigenous leader falsely accused of carrying illegal arms, the case was temporarily suspended due to insufficient evidence, but on 13/6/13, the prosecutors department lodged an appeal against the suspension.

On 26/6/13, La Tejera has been militarised, with the military surrounding 'el roblón' occupation. Agents chased community members and invaded people's homes without authorisation. This is in addition to harassment, constant vigilance and capturing of photos and videos against community members, and threats of new arrests and evictions.
State agents gave security to company buildings.

On 29/6/13, at 6pm, active Copinh member of Unión Río Blanco Roque Domíneguez was attacked with machete stabs in his face and left arm by four individuals who are part of a group in favour of Agua Zarca Hydroelectricity project. Roque was hospitalised in a delicate state. A new judicial and political persecution process was reported, against the Indigenous Council's president Francisco Javier Sánchez and vicepresident Lucio Sánchez with capture orders against these, criminalising indigenous land struggle defending territory and rivers.

The implicated companies in this project are: DESA, Sinohydro and Ficohsa. Also implicated are World Bank and CABEI.

Killing of Libre political party activists

On 15/6/13, Marvin José Rivera, young activist of Libre party was attempted against as he left on motorcycle the National Engineers Amphitheatre, he was taken the hospital and died there. Outside the hospital, friends, family and alternative media who tried to go see Marvin were refused entry and exposed to violence, to the degree that another youth was wounded by stabbing by a hospital security guard. This was the day before the launch of the Libre candidate Xiomara Castro.

On 26/6/13 in Juticalpa, Silvia Aguiriano Libre Party leader, her sister Teresa Matute and their bodyguard were riddled with bullets and assassinated. Silvia's spouse said that some men waited for her after she left a Libre meeting and shot at them.
Threats and intensification of siege upon La Nueva Esperanza community in their opposition against mining company

As La Nueva Esperanza community continues its resistance against the mine installation of Lenir Perez's La Victoria (Lenir Perez is son-in-law of infamous palm giant Miguel Facusse), the repression this community is suffering is but an example of what will come with Mining Law having been passed, which is only awaiting regulations before 300 new mining concessions are facilitated.

On 3/6/13, a group of police entered Nueva Esperanza shooting – Agent Marcio Castillo fired two shots at community leader Enrique Castillo (79) without wounding him. Another unidentified agent fired three more shots at other community members. More shots were heard that night. In addition, people complained of aggression and death threats by police.

On 5/6/13, police accompanied and facilitated entry into the community for a group of 20 plain clothed heavily armed unidentified men. These men terrorised people with repeated death threats. From this time these men with police support maintained a state of siege, and the teacher Henry Yanes Torres and some El Carmen teachers had to suspend classes for security reasons.

Previous complaints about police led to accused police being transferred elsewhere this day, and confirmations were made by authorities that none of the 'police activities' complained about were recorded, showing the 'police' are actually private agents of mining companies.

In this time people who received death threats include:

Priest Cesar Espinoza, who already received a death threat previously on 28/1/13 with text messages from supposed mine workers. More recent messages have included, 'if the mines come with machetes, we are coming for you and the sisters to chop you all up.' Cesar confirms that the threats come from Lenir Perez, owner of La Victoria company and his workers and Gustavo Urrutia.

Omar Orellana, Atlántida coordinator for MADJ, who reports also that his telephone became under intervention. MADJ is a social organisation accompanying La Nueva Esperanza in its struggle against the mining company.
Melvin Reyes, of MADJ.

Henry Yanes Torres (teacher) who suspended the classes because of death threats, and who was then on 14/6/13 about 6.30pm attempted against – he received a call informing him that several armed people were coming, when he realised they were headed for the house, he, Melvin Adonis Romero and José Marti Lemus decided to leave. They were chased and when the hitmen realised they were not going to be able to physically capture them, they began to fire shots towards the three. Henry, Melvin and José hid, and the attackers continued to the highway but were reported to afterwards return to where this occurred.

Telephone intervention was also reported by the president of the community.
On 30/6/13, hitmen threatened 4 others in the community and disarmed these to leave them defenceless.

Meanwhile, more company machines kept entering la Nueva Esperanza and chopped down more trees

Human rights violations against Human rights defenders
On 5/6/13, Mario Zavala, human rights defender of CPTRT, when he was going to work, suffered military intimidation

On 15/6/13, around 10pm, an anonymous human rights defender of Ciprodeh in Tegucigalpa was followed to his home where they invaded his home illegally to brutally drag him out, beat his body with gun, and without reason threatened him with being detained until he identified himself as a human rights defender. He was persecuted because a soldier noticed he changed paths when he was driving to avoid the search checkpoint where he had observed abuses by soldiers – who picked on, thrown to the ground, beaten, arbitrarily detained a group of young people who were just there chatting and leaving. He changed paths because he felt unsafe. The soldiers were not carrying ID. This was in La Era neighbourhood and he was out with a group of friends.

4 years of resistance and solidarity against this bloody coup. Snapshot of this June 2013..

Mass mobilisations were held screaming out 4 years of military coup in Honduras, in different cities around Honduras. Solidarity actions were held in several US cities , screenings of Honduran farmers struggles continued from Germany this month in Italy with International Food Workers Union along with other groups and organisations

The Rio Blanco blockade continued past its 3rd month despite continued evictions, threats, attempts, and judicial persecution. Court solidarity was organised demanding for false charges against Indigenous leader Berta Caceres to be dropped.

A new land occupation/recovery of hundreds of hectares began in La Canaan in Naco Santa Barbara by 600 families, with food sovereignty as amongst its objectives

The youth of Movimiento Morazanista de Poder Popular, made a statement declaring their enthusiasm in strengthening its space as a democratic, horizontal, participative and coherent one, reaffirmed their efforts in creating grassroots strategic nuclears as a way of organising that builds direct democracy, that the importance like in basketball is playing and struggling collectively, in team. They expressed their commitment to fight with love to defend mother earth and humanity and all life threatened by the predator and exploitative capitalist system. They did that during a form where local youth organised food and lodging for 400 youths participating from different parts of Honduras.

In Spanish Television, a documentary was screened about the martyrs of Astillero, and how their blood feeds into the struggle against mining today in Arizona, Atlantida. http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/pueblo-de-dios/pueblo-dios-honduras-m...