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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 19, 2019
Nicole García Aguilar was granted asylum in October but was held another seven months while ICE appealed
April 12, 2019
Recent attack on human rights workers and their families in Honduras. This case is especially shameless as a 90-year-old woman was one of the victims. Injured in the attack by police was the mother of Hedme Castro, director of Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa (ACI PARTICIPA) in Choluteca, where residents have been protesting government policies that open up land to extractive activities, such as mining.
March 24, 2019
While walking home on March 27, journalist Leonardo Gabriel Hernández was shot six times and killed. On his TV program El Pueblo Habla (The People Speak), he discussed social issues and local politics and was known to speak out critically against the municipal government in Nacaome, Valle Dept.
March 12, 2019
Honduran environmentalist and activist Berta Cáceres was killed in 2016. Her daughter Bertha Zúniga is picking up her mantle through her work for the indigenous Lenca community.
RRN Case Update
March 7, 2019
Honduras - case summaries 2018
Here is a summary of the 18 urgent actions that IRTF's Rapid Response Team responded to in 2018. We saw a significant increase in two areas of human rights violations: assassinations and criminalization of protest. Many of these occurred where communities (peasant, indigenous, Afro-descendant) are organizing resistance to protect their ancestral lands, waterways, and cultures against the enormous threats they are facing from mega-projects: extractive industries, industrial agriculture, hydro-electric dams, and other “development” projects. Police and military do the bidding of private companies—breaking up peaceful protest, beating demonstrators, and jailing leaders. This is a disturbing trend that threatens their ability to protect the environment and their democratic rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. (Even journalists reporting on these environmental defense movements are being attacked by police; see letter Nov 23).
March 5, 2019
Guapinol Water Defenders Set Free! The 12 human rights defenders in this case have had their charges dropped as of Monday, March 4, 2019! The international attention on this pivotal case involving the right to clean water helped the judge in the case make the right decision to drop all charges and set these advocates free!
February 16, 2019
Camilo Atala, president of Ficohsa bank, protested after he was one of the 16 people whose names Congresswoman Borjas read from the security ministry’s inspector general report as a suspected plotter of the killing of environmental activist Berta Cáceres in 2016.
February 7, 2019
In November 2018, a joint investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office and the Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras – MACCIH) linked Lobo’s brother and former secretary to another case of alleged misappropriation of public funds. Known as the Brother’s Petty Cash, the scheme was described as “a framework for diverting public money originally destined to defray presidential palace security costs into their own pockets.”
February 5, 2019
The chief prosecutor’s office said it would seek formal charges against Roberto David Castillo Mejia for his alleged in the assassination of indigenous and environmental defense leader Berta Cáceres. Castillo Mejía Castillo was president of Empresa Desarollos Energeticos (DESA) when Cáceres was killed in 2016. Cáceres was a leader in her people's fight against the company’s construction of a hydroelectric dam, which would cause environmental destruction and cut off their access to their traditional waterway.
January 31, 2019
Despite corruption scandals and ongoing political instability stemming from a post-election crisis that was never resolved, the US has stood by President Hernández. Honduras was the home base for US counterinsurgency operations and regional military training in Central America during the Cold War...Home to the only US Southern Command joint task force in Latin America, with the exception of Guantanamo, and to several forward operating bases used by US forces, Honduras maintains its pivotal importance to the US in Central America. US government and military officials recently reiterated their support for President Hernández' administration. On January 22, US Vice President Mike Pence called Hernández to “reiterate the strong and collaborative relationship” between the two countries and commend the Honduran president on his response to recent migrant caravans.