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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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Some 650,000 DREAMers are temporarily safe from deportation (at least for now) because of today’s Supreme Court ruling against the Trump administration. Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote when he joined the court's four liberal justices. Their ruling: the 2017 decision by DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. This is an unexpected and positive ruling, but the fight on behalf of the DREAMers is far from over. DACA recipients have gotten advanced degrees; they have started businesses; they have bought houses, had children who are U.S. citizens; and 90% have jobs. Some 29,000 DREAMers are health care professionals. It’s no surprise that the majority of people in the US want the DREAMers to stay. But this won’t happen until Senator Mitch McConnell introduces the American Dream and Promise Act onto the Senate floor. The bill, which would give permanent legal status and path to citizenship for the DREAMers, was passed by the US House with an overwhelming majority on June 4, 2019. The Senate has stalled, refusing to take up this crucial piece of legislation.
News Article
“This infection is on ICE’s hands,” said Elizabeth Bonham, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. Oscar Lopez Acosta was originally from San Francisco de La Paz, a small municipality about 100 miles northeast of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. April 24: ICE released Oscar Lopez from Morrow County Jail because he and other detainees were experiencing high fever. He returned to his family in Dayton. On May 3, he tested positive for COVID-19. On May 4, ICE confirmed that 47 people in its custody at Morrow County had tested positive. On May 10, Oscar López died from complications from the coronavirus after being released from the hospital, the local coroner’s officer confirmed. Ohio Immigrant Visitation has set up a fundraiser for the family of Oscar Lopez Acosta. They need to cover the cost of his cremation, rent, and other living expenses as well as medical bills. Donate at www.paypal.me/ohioimmigrantvisits
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The world should not praise Honduras and condemn Nicaragua for their very different responses [to the coronavirus], while ignoring the results in the numbers so far. Honduras, the United States, and Nicaragua seem to present different ways of dealing with…marginalized people. Nicaragua is tailoring its response to them, perhaps too much so, perhaps not. The U.S. is ignoring them. Honduras is persecuting them. The mainline media seem insensitive to cultural differences and marginalized people, and the media often fail to take account of inequalities. So far, the Nicaraguan strategy of emphasis on education and prevention and an open society with monitored borders seems to be working better than the iron hand strategy of the Honduran government. Berta Oliva, director of the Committee of the Families of the Detained/Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), a major human rights organization, and other human rights leaders have accused the government and the military of using the pandemic as an opportunity to tighten control of the population through fomenting fear of the virus and imposing draconian state-of-siege measures. Keeping people in a precarious state serves the interests of a government that many Hondurans call a “dictatorship.”
News Article
"This country has been inhaling tear gas since 2009," said Bertha Oliva, coordinator of the Honduran human rights group the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH). Repressive measures to arbitrarily detain citizens and control their movements could become normalised in the long term, particularly if these abuses happen without resistance from citizens or civil society, according to Tiziano Breda, Central America analyst for NGO the International Crisis Group. "Where there's no check, the government will implement these kinds of initiatives even when the crisis has passed," Breda said.

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