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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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To read the full article: Migrant Justice Newsletter - April 2024 | InterReligious Task Force on Central America (irtfcleveland.org)

Welcome to IRTF’s March 2024 newsletter on Migrant Justice and the current situation at the US-Mexico border. After you’ve looked through the articles, we hope you can take a few minutes to see the TAKE ACTION items at the bottom. In this newsletter, please read about : 1.  Changing Trends in Migrants at US-Mexico Border. 2. ICE Air: Update on Removal Flight Trends . 3. Study Reveals: Border Wall Height Exacerbates Trauma Incidents . 4. At the Border: Recent . Incidents at and around the US-Mexico Border . 5. Border Patrol and Local Law Enforcement’s Patterns of Abuse in Ohio’s Immigration Enforcement. 6. Raising the Credible Fear Screening Standard Will Endanger Lives but Won’t Fix The Border . 7. Children in US-Mexico Border Camps. 8. Migrants Mired in Transit as Mexico Becomes US’s Immigration Enforcer. 9. Kidnapping of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at Texas-Tamaulipas Border Reaches Intolerable Levels . 10.  Migrant Deaths in New Mexico and Western Texas . 11. Human Rights in the Darién Gap of Panamá.

 TAKE ACTION NOW. Here is what you can do to take action this week in solidarity with migrants and their families. (See details at the bottom of this newsletter.) A) SPEAK UP FOR DEMOCRACY IN EL SALVADOR. B)  SPEAK UP FOR PEOPLE IN HAITI. C) STOP DEPORTATIONS TO HAITI . D) PROTECT UNACCOMPANIED MINORS. E) VISIT CAPITOL HILL: #ReuniteUS. F) HELP REFUGEES & MIGRANTS IN CLEVELAND. 

 

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Approximately eleven years ago, Berta Cáceres led a group of activists to block a road, initiating a struggle against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam in Honduras. Despite their victory and the halting of operations in 2018, the community still faces threats and violence. Since Cáceres' murder in 2016, 70 environmental activists have been killed in Honduras, making it the most dangerous country for nature defenders. The cancellation of the project led to division within the community, with some seeing it as a victory for their rights while others anticipated development opportunities. Despite challenges, there have been some strides towards justice, with evidence implicating individuals linked to the powerful Atala family in Cáceres' assassination. However, impunity remains a pervasive issue, and the community continues to face threats and harassment. The struggle for justice continues amidst ongoing violence and institutional weaknesses in Honduras.

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Read the full article: JOHonduras (shorthandstories.com)

Over a span of twelve years (2010-2022), the United States collaborated with a corrupt drug trafficking regime in Honduras to advance its economic and military interests in the region. Despite its recent legal actions against former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) for drug trafficking and weapons charges, the U.S. has failed to acknowledge its longstanding support for JOH. This omission reflects a historical pattern of U.S. intervention in Honduras, which has undermined democracy and contributed to the country's transformation into a narco-state under JOH's rule.

The trial against JOH represents a significant moment, with the U.S. government holding its former ally accountable for his crimes. However, it overlooks the U.S.'s own role in JOH's rise to power, including providing funding, weapons, and training to security forces involved in human rights abuses against Honduran citizens. This complicity underscores a paradox in U.S. foreign policy: a pursuit of justice that ignores its own involvement in undermining democratic values.

Anne Milgram, the DEA Administrator, highlighted JOH's central role in a large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy, financed by drug proceeds to support his political career and furthered through the resources of the Honduran government. This narrative sheds light on the broader implications of U.S. involvement in Honduras, revealing a complex interplay between economic interests, democratic principles, and the pursuit of justice.

 

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We acknowledge that this land, that we now call Colorado, was originally stewarded by the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Pueblo, Shoshone, and Ute people. . We are committed to uplifting our community members from these nations who reside alongside us. We are on land stolen from indigenous people, and it is our responsibility to not only do good work here and walk in gratitude, but also to support indigenous movements for justice.

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Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was found guilty of cocaine trafficking Friday after a two-week trial in a New York federal court, where prosecutors accused Hernández of ruling the Central American country as a narco-state and accepting millions of dollars in bribes from cocaine traffickers in exchange for protection. He faces a possible life sentence. Hernández served as president of Honduras from 2014 to 2022 and was a close U.S. ally despite mounting reports of human rights violations and accusations of corruption and involvement with drug smuggling during his tenure. Hernández was arrested less than a month after his term ended and was extradited to the United States in April 2022. “The majority feeling is satisfaction, a feeling of progress in achieving justice,” says activist Camilo Bermúdez from Tegucigalpa. He is a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, the organization founded by Berta Cáceres, the Lenca Indigenous environmental defender who was assassinated in 2016 while Juan Orlando Hernández was president. We also speak with Dana Frank, professor of history emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who says the 2009 U.S.-backed coup against President Manuel Zelaya set the stage for the corrupt governments that followed. While U.S. prosecutors may have convicted Hernández, Frank stresses that multiple U.S. administrations “legitimated and celebrated him.”

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Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, 55, has been found guilty in a New York federal court on charges related to drug trafficking and weapons possession. The jury convicted Hernandez on all three counts, including conspiring to import cocaine into the US, carrying "machine guns and destructive devices" for cocaine shipments, and conspiring to use those weapons for his goals. US prosecutors accused him of collaborating with major cocaine traffickers, protecting shipments in exchange for bribes. Hernandez, who denied the charges, faces potential life sentences. His two-term presidency (2014-2022) was marked by scandals, and the trial was closely watched by Hondurans.

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In a trial involving former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, a witness accused an unnamed member of the Israeli embassy in Colombia of participating in a cocaine ring. The testimony revealed details of a money-laundering scheme linked to the drug trade. The witness, Luis Perez, a convicted drug trafficker, disclosed this information while testifying against Hernandez. Perez claimed that the embassy official transported large sums of money for the Sinaloa cartel between Honduras and Colombia. The allegations, though unverified, raised broader questions about Israel's involvement in Latin America and its historical ties to government and drug smuggling in the region. Hernandez, who faced charges of drug trafficking and weapons offenses, denied any wrongdoing. The trial highlighted the complex relationships between governments, drug cartels, and foreign entities in the region, shedding light on the extent of corruption and complicity in the drug trade.

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Rights Action commemorates the 8th anniversary of the assassination of Berta Caceres and the attempted killing of Gustavo Castro. The current trial of former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) in New York for operating a drug trafficking cartel from within the Honduran government adds significance to this anniversary. The 'Putting the U.S. and Canada on Trial Campaign,' led by former Rights Action colleague Karen Spring, aims to expose the corruption and impunity of the U.S. and Canada in supporting a military-backed, drug-trafficking regime in Honduras for nearly 13 years. Berta Caceres, a victim of the U.S. and Canadian-backed coup in 2009, dedicated her life to activism against repression, militarism, and human rights violations. Despite charges laid against individuals connected to the coup, justice remains elusive due to the political and economic elites' influence. The message encourages continued activism and struggle against injustices, inequalities, and environmental exploitation, embodying Berta's legacy and vision for a better world.

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Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is currently facing drugs and weapons charges in a trial in New York City. Prosecutors allege that he ran a "corrupt and violent drug-trafficking conspiracy" during his time in office, accepting millions of dollars for facilitating cocaine shipments to the US. The trial has significant implications for Hondurans, as it examines the legacy of a divisive figure in the country's recent history. Hernández, known as JOH, had campaigned on promises of a better life for Hondurans and adopted "iron fist" policies to address drug-related crimes. However, his administration faced accusations of corruption, electoral fraud, and human rights abuses. The trial has drawn attention to the alleged complicity of the US government in supporting Hernández despite warning signs of his involvement in organized crime. Activists and journalists see the trial as an opportunity to demand accountability not only from Hernández but also from the US and Canada. Critics highlight the role of the Honduran news media in the scandal, accusing some outlets of being influenced or bought off by Hernández. Despite a change in leadership, concerns persist about ongoing violence and human rights abuses in Honduras. Some view Hernández as a symbol of larger criminal structures that continue to operate in the country. The trial is seen as a reflection of the deep-seated issues within Honduras, touching on various sectors of society, including government, media, business, and gangs.

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Five years after he was lavished with praise by Donald Trump for “stopping drugs at a level that has never happened” – and two years after he was extradited in shackles to the US – the former Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernández is to stand trial in New York on Monday, accused of overseeing a “narco-state” and accepting millions in bribes from drug traffickers, including the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

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