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Afro-Descendant & Indigenous: News & Updates
October 20, 2020 to January 30, 2021
The spirit of IRTF’s 40th anniversary theme, Memory and Resistance, is seen and felt in the juried artwork expressing contemporary justice issues of our time. The artwork honors the memories of past and present advocates on whose shoulders we have stood and who inspire us to envision a world of peace and dignity for all. Inspired by the martyrdom of Cleveland women Jean Donovan and Sister Dorothy Kazel in El Salvador in 1980, we will highlight, celebrate, and commemorate our collective legacies of resistance with a series of Memory and Resistance programming over the next year.
January 8, 2021
On January 6, 2021, the former head of security for a subsidiary of the Toronto-based mining company Hudbay Minerals officially pled guilty in a Guatemalan court to killing a local Indigenous community leader and paralyzing another Indigenous man. This could have important ramifications for two lawsuits against Hudbay underway in Ontario that centre on the Sept. 27, 2009, killing and maiming of the Indigenous men. Mynor Padilla, the former security chief of CGN, a Guatemalan nickel-mining company that was owned by Hudbay between 2008 and 2011, pled guilty to the crimes on Dec. 17, 2020, as part of an agreement struck between Padilla and his victims, among them Angelica Choc, the widow of slain community leader Adolfo Ich, and German Chub, who was paralyzed. On Wednesday, the court accepted and ratified the guilty pleas.
January 7, 2021
Sandra Cuffe in Puerto Barrios
January 5, 2021
The year 2020 was the most violent in Colombia since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016, with widespread attacks on social activists, trade unionists and former guerrillas in the peace process. The figures released by the INDEPAZ human rights NGO make for shocking reading. During the calendar year, 309 social activists and human rights defenders were killed (totalling 1,109 since the peace agreement was signed) and 64 FARC former guerrillas were killed (249 in total). There were also 90 massacres which claimed the lives of 375 people. Additionally, state security forces killed at least 78 people.
December 29, 2020
Another indigenous environmentalist has been killed in Honduras, cementing the country’s inglorious ranking as the deadliest place in the world to defend land and natural resources from exploitation.
December 15, 2020
The Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) started a hurricane relief fund. Those wanting to help get funds to grassroots organizations, rescue teams, and humanitarian support on the ground, can donate here: http://Bit.ly/emergencyresponsehn. Read the short article to learn about the podcast series Honduras Now, hosted by HSN co-coordinator Karen Spring.
July 18, 2020 to October 30, 2020
On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garífuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community (plus one man from Belize) were kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests and uniforms of the Military Police and the Police Investigations Directorate (DPI). Snider is the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz. His community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2015. The Honduran state, however, has still not respected the court's judgment. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and four others is another attack against the Garífuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of Afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live. Join us to demand a full investigation and action to save the lives these men: Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Misael Trochez Calix, Alber Sentana Thomas, and Snider Centeno.
October 12, 2020
A group of armed men arrived at the Garífuna community of Vallecito, whose residents have been victim to harassment, intimidation and threats over their land for many years. Attempts at forcible seizure of their territory (sometimes successful) has come from drug traffickers and African palm growers. In recent years, private investors (including many from the US and Europe) have been looking at Vallecito and other Garífuna communities on the Atlantic Coast to build their Model Cities, which was authorized under the ZEDE (Economic Development Zone) legislation passed in 2013. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has criticized the government of Honduras for not adhering to its mandates to protect Garífuna ancestral lands and adequately investigate the murders of Garífuna community leaders. As recently as May 2019, the Court acknowledged that Garífuna community members are still experiencing "direct death threats," "blackmail, increased robbery," and "profiling of leaders."
October 5, 2020
The ZEDEs (Zonas de Empleo y Desarrollo) -- also known as "model cities" -- continue stirring up controversy on the pages of the daily newspapers and on the streets of Honduras in the form of organized resistance. Edmundo Orellano is the former foreign minister and former defense minister of Honduras. In this article published in La Tribuna, he describes the ZEDEs this way: "We are handing over the territory and sovereignty, displacing the population and stripping it of its real estate, to establish small States ['model cities"] in a territory that will no longer be ours, populated by foreigners, that are like the ones that appear provoking the islanders in the video went viral on the networks, they will be, for the most part, louts."
October 5, 2020
A "model city?" According to Edmundo Orellano, the former foreign minister and former defense minister of Honduras: "We are handing over the territory and sovereignty, displacing the population and stripping it of its real estate, to establish small States ['model cities"] in a territory that will no longer be ours, populated by foreigners, that are like the ones that appear provoking the islanders in the video went viral on the networks, they will be, for the most part, louts." This article looks at local resistance on the island of Roatán to the model city (aka ZEDE, or Zona de Empleo y Desarrollo) called Próspera .