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Honduras: News & Updates
Honduras did not experience civil war in the 1980s, but its geography (bordering El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) made it a key location for US military operations: training Salvadoran soldiers, a base for Nicaraguan contras, military exercises for US troops. The notorious Honduran death squad Battalion 316 was created, funded and trained by the US. The state-sponsored terror resulted in the forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of approximately 200 people during the 1980s. Many more were abducted and tortured. The 2009 military coup d’etat spawned a resurgence of state repression against the civilian population that continues today.
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April 27, 2021 to May 27, 2021
Did you know that 80% of IRTF's revenue comes from individual donors, with an average gift of $50? Please consider contributing to IRTF this spring. We’ll put your gift to work right away to address long-standing structural injustices and bolster our across-borders solidarity movement, uniting so many people like you who are passionate about our common goals of justice, of mutual care, of human rights…of dignity for all. Your generosity is critical to carrying out our vision of a world of peace in which all beings live with dignity and in mutual relationships of solidarity. Thank you.
May 2, 2021
The countries of Latin America commemorated International Labor Day on May 1 with restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic but with firm claims of a speedy economic recovery. Colombia again witnessed demonstrations but, unlike the previous three days of protests against the tax reform proposed by the government, they took place calmly and without major incident on May Day in different cities, where better labor conditions were demanded. Hundreds of Honduran workers marched to demand that the government promote “mass vaccination” against COVID-19 and other measures to mitigate the crises caused by the pandemic. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Latin America in March 2020, the region has lowered its gross domestic product to 2010 levels, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, 57 percent of employment is precarious and poverty has returned to the levels of 15 years ago, according to the secretary general of the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) for Education, Science and Culture, Mariano Jabonero, in a recent interview with EFE.
April 12, 2021
*Thanks to The Associated Press for the article*
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has struck an agreement with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to temporarily surge security forces to their borders in an effort to reduce the tide of migration to the U.S. border.
The agreement comes as the U.S. saw a record number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border in March, and the largest number of Border Patrol encounters overall with migrants on the southern border — just under 170,000 — since March 2001.
April 12, 2021
Join us for this unique opportunity to interview the filmmakers of Missing in Brooks County, one of the documentary entries of the Cleveland International Film Festival 45. The haunted landscape of Brooks County, Texas, is littered with the bodies and belongings of an unknown number of lost souls. All the while, the national immigration debate drags on, rarely taking into account the very real life and death consequences that are felt in the farmlands of Brooks County and elsewhere. And on both sides of the border, heartbroken families are left devastated, desperate to find out what happened to their disappeared loved ones. Mysteries unfold as two of the families search for answers--and the severity of this broken immigration system becomes more and more apparent.
April 10, 2021
As we continue to face a refugee crisis on the U.S. southern border, it is imperative to address the destabilizing threat posed by environmental degradation in Central America. In particular, climate change and illegal cattle ranching—often by organized crime and narcotrafficking entities—is driving forest destruction and lawlessness within Central America’s largest wildernesses, directly imperiling the physical, cultural, food and water security of local communities and Indigenous peoples.
April 7, 2021
Dr. Dana Frank, a history professor at UC Santa Cruz, is an expert on Honduras and Honduras/US relations. She explains the current situation: why people are fleeing, the role of the US in supporting the narco-dictatorship, and legislative proposals pending in the US House and US Senate that would cut support to Honduran police/military, as well as to President Juan Orlando Hernández. She is author of Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America (2005) . She is currently researching the AFL-CIO’s Cold War in Honduras, 1954-1979.
March 25, 2021
Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante, age 41, was president of the Nueva Granada Board of Trustees and a leader of the local Lenca indigenous community in his hometown of Chinda, Santa Bárbara Department. On March 21, unknown assailants fired 40 shots at him in front of his children as they were returning from his mother’s house in the village of Nueva Granada, municipality of San Antonio in Cortés Department. Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante led Communities United of Chinda, a local group opposing the “El Tornillito” hydroelectric dam that is being constructed by HIDROVOLCÁN (Hidroeléctrica El Volcán Company) in hamlets near the Rio Ulúa. This dam, which will be the second largest in Honduras, will mean the disappearance of ten communities of an indigenous Lenca population because the livestock, crops and houses of these two municipalities would drown, and their inhabitants would be forced to move.
March 24, 2021
For the past few years, residents of El Guapinol have been organizing against the operations of an iron ore mine that is contaminating the Guapinol and San Pedro Rivers, water sources for populations across three departments in northern Honduras. Eight environmental defenders have been held in "pre-trial detention" since September 2019. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stressed that there is no legal reason to hold these eight men in pre-trial detention and that there is no legal reason to prosecute them. The UN Working Group also recommended that those responsible for the illegal detention should be investigated, suggesting that the State is punishing them for exercising their legitimate rights in defending the environment.
March 22, 2021
US Federal Court ruling: Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez, a native of Honduras, conspired with high-ranking Honduran politicians and military and National Police to operate a cocaine lab in Honduras and distribute cocaine using air and maritime routes. FUENTES RAMIREZ paid a bribe of at least approximately $25,000 to Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado (“JOH”), who was at the time the president of the Honduran National Congress, and allowed JOH to access millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine from FUENTES RAMIREZ’s laboratory. JOH instructed FUENTES RAMIREZ to report directly to JOH’s brother, Juan Antonio Hernández Alvarado (“Tony Hernández”), for purposes of their drug trafficking partnership. Finally, JOH told FUENTES RAMIREZ that he wanted to make the DEA think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition and “stuff drugs up the gringos’ noses,” referring to flooding the United States with cocaine.
March 22, 2021
A Honduran Lenca Indigenous activist who helped led a fight against the construction of a dam has been killed. Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante led a local group called “Communities United,” which was active in hamlets near the Rio Ulúa and which opposed the El Tornillito hydroelectric dam. He was shot dead in front of his children. “We condemn the killing of yet another comrade and activist,” said Betty Vásquez, the coordinator of the Santa Barbara Environmental Movement. “It is not conceivable, it is not right, that they criminalize people, persecute people and later kill them for defending the land. We consider this a political assassination.”