More than 30 organizations in the United States belonging to the Honduran Solidarity Network (HSN) are organizing national actions the week of June 28th in commemoration of the June 28, 2009 Honduran coup – its martyrs, and the ongoing peoples’ movements in resistance. The HSN is demanding that the U.S. end its military-security intervention (financial and direct “boots on the ground”) in support of the Honduran government.
It has been three years since the June 28, 2009 coup that illegally overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and more than two years since sham elections installed Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo in office. The political and human rights violence has increased during that time. However the people’s resistance and commitment to refounding Honduran democracy continues with protests, strikes, land occupations and the creation of a new political party, LIBRE.
The military coup and its continuation unleashed and deepened the impunity, corruption and violence that has contributed to Honduras being designated the most violent country in the world by the United Nations. Since the coup there have been hundreds of murders thought to be politically motivated. This includes 70 members of the GBLT community; at least 50 campesinos; many well known trade unionists; teachers; indigenous activists; and LIBRE members. In addition more than 20 journalists have been assassinated. Just this year at least 14 people from these groups have been murdered. The Honduran government has not carried out serious investigations of the crimes. Despite all this and in spite of 3 Congressional letters calling for an end to US military/security aid to Honduras because of the human rights emergency; in May, the U.S. authorized an additional 50 million dollars of security aid for 2012.
After the 2009 coup the U.S. government quickly accommodated to the coup government and, besides providing diplomatic support, is deeply involved in training, advising and equipping Honduran military and police. Furthermore the US role has escalated. On May 11, 2012 U.S. DEA agents were part of a violent helicopter assault against a dugout canoe carrying 11 indigenous community members down a river in the Mosquitia area that left 4 people dead (including two pregnant women) and others very seriously injured. The U.S. provided the helicopter and U.S. agents were with Honduran and Guatemalan military on the operation. Community members who witnessed the attack also state that there were English speaking soldiers with the Honduran military who terrorized the community for hours after the attack. This made it impossible for wounded community members to get out of the water and get timely medical assistance.
Berta Oliva, head of the most important human rights organization in Honduras, the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared Detainees (COFADEH) stated in a press conference after visiting the site of the murders in the Mosquitia that the DEA, the U.S. Military with its major military base in Palmarola, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT) have a presence in Honduras, furthermore there are joint operations of U.S., Honduran, Colombian and Guatemalan security forces in the country.
“These activities are done in the name of combatting narcotics traffic in order to justify intervention in the county; and with this (intervention) it is logical that we will never have a future that approaches having a State strengthened by respect for the citizens’ civil and political rights.”, stated Oliva.