Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Campesinos Protest Against Criminalization

El original declaración en español sigue el ingles
Declaration and photos from Vía Campesina Honduras
"Immediate liberty for the arrested campesinas & campesinos
More than 5 thousand in all of Honduras

Declaration on the wave of criminalization against the campesinos and campesinas of La Paz, Honduras

March 23, 2015,  Vía Campesina Honduras

Campesinos and campesinas, members of the National Center of Rural Workers (CNTC) accompanied by Vía Campesina carried out a march on Monday through the main streets in the province of La Paz as pressure to demand that the government end the violence against the campesinos. 

The countryside has stopped being an important sector for governments since the neoliberal system defines its plan for development based on the industry of agro-exportation, the financial system, mining, tourism, sweat-shops maquiladores and other things and agriculture is left abandoned. 

The agrarian and alimentation crisis is a true human tragedy, the situation in the countryside worsens day after day due to the lack of a true legal framework (to protect it). 

In order to resolve the agrarian problem and guarentee support to the small farming sector of the country, last April 9 the Law for an Integral Agrarian Reform with Gender Equity for Food Sovereignty and Rural Development, was introduced (to the Congress); it has remained tabled by the legislature. 

The campesino movement continues to be repressed on the land, our fields are destroyed, we are beaten, they burn our houses; from 2014 to the present 15 campesino groups in different municipalities, belonging to the CNTC have suffered violent evictions and another 34 evictions have been announced to take place soon. 

As of this moment around 5 thousand campesinos and campesinas at the national level have legal charges against them and more than 700 are women. Just in La Paz of 48 campesino groups 46 of the groups are in legal processes; we have more than 500 people with probationary measures, 161 are women and there are 10 comrades in prison condemned to more than 6 years. They are: 
1. Omar MejíaGálea (10 de Enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la brea Comayagua
2. Benancio  Palomo Chavarría (10 de enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la brea Comayagua
3. Gerson Edgardo Hernández (10 de Enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la brea Comayagua
4. Héctor David GáleasLópez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
5. Nery Antonio Gonzales (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
6.Ángel Arnaldo Martínez Marquez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
7. Manuel Nicolas Dominguez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
8. José David Aguilar Gáleas (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
9. Jacinto Bardales 11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
10. Osmar Lara, Grupo Campesino Unidos para un Futuro Mejor, Marcala, La Paz

Rafael Alegria and Franklin Almendarez
During the protest by the campesino movement the General Secretary of the CNTC, Franklin Almendarez denounced the political persecution aimed at the local group leaders and campesino leaders in La Paz, "our compañeros are followed in public places and public transportation by the police authorities and people dressed as civilians, we also want to sound the alert to the fact of the confabulation of the National Police with the big landowners to facilitate armed civilians executing evictions and persecuting the campesino groups" he stated. 

"In the same way, we vigorously denounce that government institutions such as the Institute for Forest Conservation (ICF) and the National Agrarian Institute (INA) deny us the right to Agrarian Reform, dismisses as "without cause" the filings for titles to the land made by our compañeros, denying them access to natural resources and violating Accord 169 signed and ratified by the Government of Honduras with the International Labor Organization (OIT). The peoples affected must have the right to decide their own priorities regarding the process of development to the extent that this affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well being and the lands that they occupy or use in some way, and (the right) to control to the degree possible their own economic, social and cultural development. (Accord 169, Article 7(1). "

For his part, the General Coordinator of Vía Campesina Honduras, Rafael Alegría stated that, "this march has been organized in La Paz to demand that the government end the criminalization of the campesino movement, we want this day to make history and its voice reach the government to say that we need them to give us land so that the campesinos have a parcel of land to work, that the Law for an Integral Agrarian reform with Gender Equity for Food Sovereignty and Rural Development that is tabled in the congress be passed immediately; the immediate liberation of the campesinos in legal proceedings and of the 11 compañeros imprisoned in Tamara and Marcala; and an immediate end to the violent evictions and the destruction of crops", he concluded. 

​The march arrived to the court building in La Paz where campesinos Blanca Rodríguez Manueles, Rómulo Gáleas and Antonio Gonzales had court hearings for allegedly stealing land, they were accompanied by the Coordinator of Vía Campesina, Rafael Alegría and the General Secretary of the CNTC, Franklin Almendarez; they achieved the campesinos being freed pending the continuation of the investigation. 

Afterwards the march went to the prison in La Paz where family members accompanied by congressmen from the LIBRE Party Rafael Alegría and Wilfredo Paz and Franklin Almendarez,  visited the 5 young campesinos who are incarcerated there. 


ANTE LA OLA DE CRIMINALIZACION CONTRA LOS CAMPESINOS Y CAMPESINAS DE LA PAZ, HONDURAS







La Vía Campesina Honduras 23 de Marzo del 2015. Campesinas y campesinos miembros de la Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC) con el acompañamiento de La Vía Campesina, realizaron este lunes una caminata en las principales calles del departamento de La Paz, como medida de presión para exigir al gobierno el cese de la violencia en contra de los labriegos.
El campo dejo de ser un sector importante para los gobiernos, pues el sistema neoliberal definió un plan de desarrollo encaminado a fortalecer la industria de agroexportación, el sistema financiero, la minería, el turismo, la maquila, entre otros y la agricultura quedo en el absoluto abandono.

La crisis agraria y alimentaria es una verdadera tragedia humana, la situación en el campo se ha venido agravando día a día, producto de la falta de un verdadero marco jurídico.
Para solventar la problemática agraria y garantizar el apoyo al sector campesino del país, se introdujo el pasado 9 de Abril la Ley de Reforma Agraria Integral con Equidad de Género para la Soberanía Alimentaria y el Desarrollo Rural, misma que se mantiene engavetada en el legislativo.

El movimiento campesino, continua siendo reprimido por la tierra, nos deshacen nuestras milpas, nos golpean, nos queman nuestras casas, entre el año 2014 a la fecha 15 grupos campesinos pertenecientes a diferentes municipios de La Paz miembros de la Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC),han sufrido desalojos violentos y para los próximos días se anuncian 34  desalojos mas .

Hasta el momento se encuentran con procesos legales alrededor de 5 mil campesinos y campesinas, de ellos más de 700 son mujeresa nivel nacional, solo aquí en el departamento de La Paz, de 48 grupos campesinos, 46 de ellos tienen  procesos legales,  tenemos más de 500 personas con medidas sustitutivas, 161 son mujeres y 10 compañeros guardan prisión, condenados a  mas de 6 años de cárcel, los compañeros son:
1. Omar MejíaGálea (10 de Enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la Brea Comayagua
2. Benancio  Palomo Chavarría (10 de enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la brea Comayagua
3. Gerson Edgardo Hernández (10 de Enero 2014) Grupo Buena Vista, la brea Comayagua
4. Héctor David GáleasLópez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
5. Nery Antonio Gonzales (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
6.Ángel Arnaldo Martínez Marquez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
7. Manuel Nicolas Dominguez (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
8. José David Aguilar Gáleas (11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
9. Jacinto Bardales 11 de Octubre 2013) Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera, Quilaperque, La Paz
10. Osmar Lara, Grupo Campesino Unidos para un Futuro Mejor, Marcala, La Paz

Durante la manifestación del movimiento campesino el Secretario General de la CNTC Franklin Almendarez denunció la persecución política de que son objeto los líderes de base y dirigentes campesinos en el departamento de La Paz, “nuestros compañeros son perseguidos en lugares públicos y en los medios de transporte, por las autoridades de la policía y personas que andan de civil, también alertamos la confabulación de la policía nacional con los terratenientes para avalar que personas civiles armadas ejecuten desalojos y persecución a los grupos campesinos” expreso.

“De igual manera lamentamos enérgicamente que instituciones del estado como el Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF) y el Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA) nos nieguen el derecho a la Reforma Agraria, declarando sin lugar los expedientes de titulación de tierras de los compañeros, negándoles el acceso a los recursos naturales y violentando lo acordado en el Convenio 169, firmado y ratificado por el Estado de Honduras con la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).

Los pueblos interesados deberán tener el derecho de decidir sus propias prioridades en lo que atañe al proceso de desarrollo, en la medida en que éste afecte a sus vidas, creencias, instituciones y bienestar espiritual y a las tierras que ocupan o utilizan de alguna manera, y de controlar, en la medida de lo posible, su propio desarrollo económico, social y cultural. Convenio 169, Artículo 7(1).


Por su parte el Coordinador General de La Vía Campesina Honduras Rafael Alegría dijo que, “esta caminata se ha organizado en La Paz para reclamar al gobierno un cese a la criminalización del movimiento campesino, queremos que este día se haga historia y llegue  la voz al Estado de que necesitamos que nos den tierras  para que el campesinado tenga una parcela para trabajar, que se apruebe de inmediato la Ley de Reforma Agraria Integral con Equidad de Género para la Soberanía Alimentaria y el Desarrollo Rural, que se mantiene engavetada en el Congreso Nacional, la liberación inmediata de las y los campesinos con procesos legales y los 11 compañeros que guardan prisión en los centros penales de Tamara y Márcala y un alto a los desalojos violentos y la destrucción de los cultivos”, concluyó.

Los manifestantes llegaron hasta los Juzgados de La Paz, donde se realizaría la audiencia de imputado a Blanca Rodríguez Manueles, Rómulo Gáleas y Antonio Gonzales, por supuesta usurpación de tierra, acompañados por el Coordinador de La Vía Campesina Rafael Alegría y el Secretario General de la CNTC Franklin Almendarez,  logrando que se continúe con la investigación pero con los campesinos en libertad. 





Posteriormente la movilización se dirigió hacia el presidio de La Paz, donde familiares visitaron a los cinco jóvenes campesinos que guardan prisión, acompañados por los diputados del Partido Libertad y Refundación Rafael Alegría y Wilfredo Paz, al igual que Franklin Almendarez.   




Monday, March 23, 2015

Evictions and Violence for National Campesino Day in Hondura



CNTC's Franklin Almendares explains
campesino position to landowners
claiming the campesino land
March 3rd was Honduras’ “National Campesino Day” and the government celebrated with more attacks and repression against the organized campesinos.  In Santa Maria, La Paz, the CNTC ((National Center for Rural Workers)  campesino group, “Juan Almendares Bonilla” was violently evicted from the land they have lived on and cultivated for 6 years. The homes and crops belonging to the 30 families were destroyed in the eviction and 15 members of the community were detained including 3 women and 2 minors. The women and children were released the same day but have to report regularly to the police station - as of March 23  Nine other members, Máximo Carrios, Luis Beltrán Aguilar, José Antonio Vásquez,  Edi Benjamín Vásquez, Oscar Martínez, Esteban López, Héctor Emilio López Chicas, and Arnold Cruz López Rodríguez remained in jail (as of March 23 all were released). Then on March 9th the police detained Samuel Vazquez, a member of the group and also a member of the CNTC regional secretariat for La Paz; he was released on bail later the same day. 

Campesinos meet with CNTC
 leaders and INA (both photos)
In late January as part of La Voz de los de Abajo accompaniment with the CNTC communities, I attended a mediation session with another campesino group and the same locally powerful landowners disputing ownership of the land of "Juan Almendares" at the regional Agrarian Institute office in Comayagua (see photos). At that session there were agreements to remeasure the lands and to attempt to settle disagreements without evictions or violence. However that campesino group reported that they had been violently evicted before and regularly harassed by unknown armed men.  I spoke to the mother of a young campesino from the group who was murdered by gunman near their home. At this time the INA, which has played a very mixed role in the agrarian conflict in the past, is undergoing massive budget cuts and  tasks are being turned over to the government agency called Private Property Council and the function of issuing land titles is being given to a combined public/private enterprise (Coalianza) in which the current President, Juan Orlando Hernandez, and other members of the elite are partners. At this time the INA is not providing services to the campesinos of “Juan Almendares” and the few services they provided to the campesino movement nationally are being withdrawn.

The CNTC (Central Nacional de los Trabajadores del Campo) celebrated their 30th anniversary on January 21st of this year, but they had to cancel festivities because of the number of evictions and detentions and attacks against their members. At this time besides the nine campesinos from “Juan Almendares” the following CNTC members are held in jail/prison: Omar Mejía Gálea, Benancio  Palomo Chavarría, Edgardo Hernández, detained January 10, 2014 and members of the group “Buena Vista”, la Brea, Comayagua;  Héctor David Gáleas López,  Nery Antonio Gonzales, Ángel Arnaldo Martínez Márquez, Manuel Nicolás Domínguez,  José David Aguilar Gáleas,  Jacinto Bardales detained one October 11, 2013 and members of the group “Grupo 18 de Abril la Pollera”, Quilaperque, La Paz; Osmar Lara miembro of the group “Campesino Unidos para un Futuro Mejor”, Márcala,  La Paz y José Isabel Morales (Chabelo) from the Campesino Movement of Aguan at Guadalupe Carney, Trujillo, Colon who has been imprisoned since 2008. There is also repression against CNTC communities in Progreso, Yoro; Cortes; Santa Barbara and Francisco Morazan. There are 2,601 members with some kind of charges against them related to their movement participation (700 are women) and there are 79 current eviction orders issued that affect 2 thousand families. In 2014 alone, 7 CNTC members were murdered because of their participation in the agrarian struggle. 
Evicted community in Progreso, Yoro

2012 eviction  of CNTC community, La Paz

The CNTC is being targeted around the country because it is a national organization with groups in 14 of the 18 provinces and it  has refused to give up the struggle for a just agrarian reform or to give up land recuperations. Despite the fact that they have legal status (personalidad juridica) and represent more than 400 affiliated campesino communities, the Hernandez government is working to criminalize them and the campesino movement in general more than ever. Recently Franklin Almendares, the General Secretary of the CNTC,  was at a meeting on agrarian matters  convened by government ministers and including campesino organizations and he was told that they would not deal with "groups that don't respect private property" - i.e. the CNTC.  They will, however, deal with and command groups that don't respect human life or the property of the campesinos and campesinas. 

V. Cervantes- March 22: updated with new info March 24







Wednesday, January 28, 2015

San Pedro Sula - Resistance March January 27, 2015


San Pedro Sula, January 27, 2015
V. Cervantes


In San Pedro Sula, I accompanied the  FNRP march  as it took over the main boulevard leading from SPS to Choluma at around 4pm  and walked very slowly for more than an hour and half to the toll booth station; this caused a back-up of traffic for many miles back into SPS. Arriving at the tool booths the protest blocked off all but one lane and the cars that had been behind the march began to pass through the booth. Urged by the protester to “Don’t pay the toll!” the cars and trucks began zooming through without paying. The resistance then unblocked the other lanes and hundreds of vehicles began going through without paying. It wasn’t until after 6pm that the protest ended and the still heavy traffic began paying tolls again. 
Padre Fausto Milla

The march itself was not massive,  but very spirited and organized. There were representatives from trade unions, student organizations, teachers' unions, FNRP, Libre (including the LIBRE congressman from SPS, Edgardo Castro), social justice groups and activists such as Father Fausto Milla, left groups and representatives of a campesino group that was recently evicted from their land in Choluma, Cortes. There was an impressive amount of support from the public for the march. The cars that were stuck behind the march for 2 hours were mainly supportive; the drivers were honking in rhythm with chants and giving the thumbs up signs out the windows. The issue of the increase in tolls is a big issue for the people in the Sula Valley and that was evident in the shouts of encouragement given by bystanders and motorists.

Edgardo Castro, Libre Congressman
There was a substantial National Police presence but they did not threaten the march even when it blocked off the highway. There was only one negative incident in which a driver came down the shoulder of the road and pulled out a pistol threatening the protest but protest organizers and the police responded and he surrendered his pistol. It later appeared that the police released him when the protest ended. 




Sunday, January 25, 2015

Honduras - From Campesinos to Congress -

From the mountains of Comayagua -
January 23  -- V. Cervantes

videoWe arrived at the Camino al Futuro (Path to the Future) campesino community after crossing a shallow river and coming to the end of a dirt road near the community of San Antonio de la Cuesta. We were in two pick-up trucks carrying members of the national leadership of the CNTC (National Center for Rural Workers). I was there as an international observer and advocate for campesino rights from La Voz de los de Abajo.  The community is small around 20 adults and not all of them are back in the community yet after a violent attack from masked men burnt them out on December 27th. Camino al Futuro has been working for 7 years on the land and filed a request 7 years ago with the Honduran forestry commission for title to open land in a forest region that is suitable for cultivation of corn, beans and other food crops. Their title has never been granted and recently a local large landowner has tried to intimidate the campesinos into leaving although the land-owner has no legal right to the land.
On December 27th, masked men dressed all in black and armed with assorted weapons including rifles arrived at the community without any eviction order or legal documents and after 8pm when it was dark (Honduran law requires any police actions of evictions to be carried out only in daylight from 6am to 6 pm).

A few days before on Christmas day a young man from the community was attacked by men with machetes. On the 27th this paramilitary force arrived and began shooting into the air and yelling -- the community members fled into the hills above and neighboring areas while the men burnt out their homes, belongings, stored food supplies and knocked down houses, punched holes in the roofing and walls and stole any belongings that weren't destroyed. The community remained hiding all night and the next day in the hills (including with small children and babies) without blankets, coats, food or shelter.
Since there was no eviction order the CNTC denounces this act as a criminal act. For their part the campesinos of Camino al Futuro are determined to rebuild and stay in the struggle.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January 25th  after a congressional defeat JOH begins a country-wide campaign was  launched in support of the military police for a national plebiscite and Radio Progreso is banned from participating as part of the press corp in the National Congress starting at the beginning of the new session January 24. (See note at end of article)

From Honduras
Tegucigalpa - January 24
V. Cervantes

UPDATE on the Military Police debate in the National Congress: Juan Orlando Hernandez got one of his first big legislative and political defeats when the congress voted 67 to 61 against his proposal to write the Military Police into the Constitution and put them directly under his command. The opposition  alliance held together with only a handful of individual desertions - so that LIBRE, PAC and the Liberal Party were able to embarrass the National Party which had claimed days ago that they had at least 80 votes and would easily get the 86 votes needed to win.  Juan Orlando’s National Party with the help of most of the media waged a campaign against Libre in particular accusing the political opposition of being tied to organized crime and creating a “Non-Governmental” organizations called Hondureños por la Paz y Justicia that put paid ad’s everywhere with pictures of President Zelaya, Xiomara Castro and others saying, “They are against your security”. This caused such a scandal that the National Party had to distance themselves from the “NGO” and some members of congress are calling for an investigation. 

This vote also is a set back for JOH’s other proposal to change the constitution by allowing re-election which is prohibited constitutionally — that proposal has not been brought to the congress for a vote yet.  

On the more sober side, JOH is unlikely to have gone to vote without having a plan B and he began working that plan the day before the final vote when the Nationalist Party introduced a measure to take the same proposal for  the military police to a national plebiscite although the exact wording of the resolution hasn’t been decided. Also, in the debate on the National Party proposal the opposition to the formation in the first place of the Military Police as a measure for increasing militarization was weakened as the Liberal Party joined the National Party in singing the praises of the PMOP and only disagreed on the command structure. January 25th JOH announced that a country-wide campaign was being launched in support of the military police for  the plebiscite. 

It remains to be seen how LIBRE and the smaller opposition groups (Liberals, PAC, PINU)  will negotiate or reject the referendum and to what extent the opposition alliance will continue. Meanwhile there are also resistance members  discussing that there are a number of other issues related to the rights of the opposition (reform of the Electoral Tribunal for example) and important issues for the social movements (Agrarian Reform, privatization, lay-offs of public sector workers, model cities etc.) that need urgent attention from the Congress and LIBRE. 

The success of LIBRE and the opposition in the PMOP vote is being celebrated by the people in resistencia and should raise the morale of the movement and bring it out to participate in the January 27th mobilizations called by the FNRP. 

News Announcement from Radio Progreso 
via Greg Mc Cain
Radio Progreso announced that it's correspondent Eleana Borjas was told by authorities of the National Congress that starting tomorrow when the 2nd Legislature convenes Radio Progreso will no longer be allowed to cover the proceedings inside the Congress even though they have the authorization to do so.


DENUNCIA. Radio Progreso denuncia a las autoridades del Congreso Nacional que han decido y han comunicado hoy a nuestra corresponsal Eleana Borjas, que a partir de la segunda legislatura que se inaugura mañana, no permitirán más la cobertura de Radio Progreso a pesar que contamos con la autorización para hacerlo.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 1 in Honduras - Police, Police, Police

PMOP 
 La Voz de los de Abajo is in Honduras accompanying the CNTC and the campesino communities. 

1/23 ADDENDUM:  The original post gave 1/25 as the likely vote on the military police but the vote is scheduled to take place the afternoon of 1/23. As of 2;30pm National Party did not have the necessary votes lined up and was trying to introduce a new measure calling for a public referendum on the PMOP proposal. This has been rejected so far by the other political parties. 

Tegucigalpa  -   January 21
V. Cervantes  posted 1/22/2015

Police, Police, and more Police

Arriving  at the airport in SPS  I found the airport being patrolled by the new Military Police (PMOP), plus a couple of mysterious police with “INTERPOL” stenciled on their bulletproof vests (a Honduran at the airport told me that they are really just officers from the DGIC - Criminal Investigations Directorate), and a handful of regular National Police in their office down a hallway near the car rentals and bus station. The newspapers were also focused on the police, and full of assurances by the government that everyone loves the military police (PMOP) and that the president’s proposal to change the constitution to ensure the PMOP are permanent and authorized to report directly to the president (not the usual military chain of command)  will surely pass congress. However as of today it seemed the measure was still at least 6 votes short of the 86 Juan Orlando needs to change the constitution. Opposition to the constitutional change includes the LIBRE, PAC, PINU and most of the Liberal Parties. However the Liberal Party has offered a compromise proposal of making the PMOP permanent through a constitutional change but specifying that the PMOP is part of the normal military chain of command. Juan Orlando quickly rejected that proposal. 

The PMOP were originally created under the banner of fighting crime and deployed in the city streets in areas with high crime rates. They are one of several new security forces that have been created since the 2009 coup: the Xantruch joint military-national police command in the Aguan Valley now also extended across the northern coast with a new acronym FUSINA;  the Tigres (a special National Police unit) and now the Military Police (PMOP) - the next plan is the creation of separate municipal police forces. Of course the regular National Police and the special riot police (COBRAS) are still on the streets also. 

Coming from Chicago, the rhetoric around the need for “more police” to make our lives safer sounds familiar; it’s a constant theme in every mayoral election, but just like in Chicago, having more police hasn’t helped Honduras.  In Honduras there are a dizzying array of different uniforms and weapons on the streets with all the police entities, but all the police forces seem to suffer from the same problem of corruption and  human rights violations, not a surprise in that there has not been any change for the better in Honduras and impunity continues to rule. 

Honduran human rights defenders and activists in the social movements seem to agree on the analysis that Juan Orlando is setting up conditions for a more open permanent dictatorship (there is also a proposal to change the constitution to allow presidential re-election) and that the uncontrolled extreme neoliberal programs of privatization, model cities, mono-cultivation  in agriculture, mining, ad naseum is the larger goal— (yes its true that the coup in 2009 tried to justify Zelaya’s overthrow by accusing him of trying to change the constitution to allow reelection. He wasn’t talking about re-election but JOH is). 
Thousands of public employees are being laid off 

The vote on the PMOP proposal will probably be on January 25 Juan Orlando and his National Party (PN) are threatening members of the National Congress who vote against it with losing government funds for electoral campaigns and projects in their provinces; according to local press reports congress members have also been offered money to vote with the PN. JOH proposed having a secret vote but that seems unlikely. Opposition members from the resistance political party LIBRE and the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) are denounced in the press and by the PN as being opposed to the proposal because they are tied to organized crime. The press has published the results of an opinion poll that the government claims shows majority support for the PMOP and has threatened to take their proposal to a public referendum if the Congress doesn't pass it.  

LIBRE held a press conference yesterday denouncing these attacks and calling for the JOH government to abide by the Cartegena Agreement which guaranteed  certain rights and protection to Zelaya and the resistance political party.  A group of congressmen and women from LIBRE and PAC filed a formal complaint of defamation against Juan Orlando Hernandez with the justice department today.

Meanwhile another related topic in the press and under discussion in Honduras is what had seemed to some like a landmark case in which the victims of repression actually managed to get military personnel taken to court -
the case of Ebed Yanes, a 15 year old  Honduran student who was shot to death by Honduran military when he went through a road block without stopping. The judges ruled on Tuesday that one of the soldiers is guilty of homicide but then freed the other two soldiers who also fired at Ebed,  claiming that the prosecutors didn't charge them correctly, although the judge had other options besides dismissing charges. It was never disputed that all three soldiers opened fire. The father of Ebed stated that they had hoped that their case would be an exception and really receive justice " but we can't be the exception and we are another part of the statistics of cases of impunity that our country has"
 (source: defensoresenlinea.com)

Seems like once again a good time to look hard at the US governments stubborn defense and support for coup governments, militarization and impunity in Honduras - could it be that the US is just as anxious to push the neoliberal program  and also doesn't mind the human cost. 




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