Monday, April 14, 2014

Duelo y Denuncia - Mourning and Condemnation - Solidarity with Radio Progreso

English follows the Spanish

Carlos Mejía Orellana
foto: Radio Progreso
Nota de duelo y denuncia
La Voz de los de Abajo
Chicago, Illinois EUA
13 de Abril 2014

Con tristeza y consternación recibimos las noticias del asesinato el día 11 de abril del compañero Carlos Mejía Orellana, gerente de mercadeo de Radio Progreso y parte del equipo de ERIC-SJ en el Progreso.

Queremos expresar nuestra solidaridad con todos los compañeros y las compañeras de Radio Progreso y ERIC y con la familia Mejía Orellana.

A la vez expresamos nuestra indignación frente a tal acto violenta en contra de Carlos quien tenia medidas cautelares para proteger su vida de parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) y quien, como tantos comunicadores, defensores de los derechos humanos, abogados, y otros comprometidos y dedicados/as a la justicia social, están sistemáticamente asesinados, por los dueños del poder y de las armas, como una clara estrategia de callar las voces que hoy claman Justicia y no mas impunidad en honduras. En casi todos estos casos nunca se han hechos investigaciones verdaderas y los crímenes quedan en impunidad. Desde el golpe de estado de 2009 el índice de violencia por parte del estado y de los señores que ostentan el poder ha crecido de manera alarmante. El sicariato se vuelto una mediada fácil y efectiva para aquellos que con su dinero, compran y arrebatan vidas.

Nos unimos al clamor del pueblo que hoy clama, demanda y exige, NO + Impunidad. Denunciamos y exigimos que el asesinato de Carlos sea esclarecido y que todos los actores tanto materiales como intelectuales - comparezcan y sean castigados.

Reconocemos que el gobierno de Estado Unidos también tiene una cuota de responsabilidad por el baño de sangre ocurriendo en Honduras: por la militarización, por el programa de la llamada seguridad que no proteja al pueblo sino que hace crecer la violencia generalizada, por su constante apoyo a los gobiernos represores y la explotación de los recursos del país. No aceptamos la doble moral que promulga el gobierno de los Estados Unidos y vamos a redoblar nuestras esfuerzas en contra de la ayuda militar, en contra de la
impunidad.


Atentamente
Alexy Javier Lanza
La Voz de los de Abajo Chicago
Dado el 13 de Abril de año 2014 en la ciudad de Chicago



On the assassination of Carlos Mejía Orellana
A note of mourning and condemnation

It is with grief and consternation that we receive the news of the assassination on April 11 of compañero  Carlos Mejía Orellana, director of marketing for Radio Progreso and member of ERIC-SJ in Progreso. 

We want to express our solidarity with all of the compañeros and compañeras at Radio Progreso and ERIC and with the Mejía Orellana family. 

At the same time we declare our indignation at this violent act against Carlos who had protective measures ordered by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) and who, like so many communicators, human rights defenders, lawyers and others committed and dedicated to social justice, are systematically assassinated by the owners of power and armaments in a clear strategy to silence the voices of this who demand justice and an end to impunity in Honduras. In almost all these cases there have never been real investigations and the crimes remain in impunity. Since the coup d e’tat in 2009 the level of violence by the State and the powerful has grown in an alarming manner. Paid assassination has become an easy and effective way for those with the money to buy and do away with lives.

We join in the clamor of the Honduran people who today insist on and demand an end to Impunity. We denounce the assassination of Carlos and we demand that the crime be investigated and that all the material and intellectual authors of the crime, be brought to justice and punished.

We recognize that the government of the United States also has a share of the responsibility for the blood bath in Honduras: for the militarization, for the so called security program that does not protect the people but rather has increased the generalized violence, for the constant support of repressive governments and for the exploitation of the country’s resources. We do not accept the double standard and double talk the U.S. government promulgates and we will redouble our efforts against the military aid and against impunity. 

sincerely, 

Alexy Javier Lanza
La Voz de los de Abajo
April 13, 2014

Chicago, Illinois, USA





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

56 International Organizations Denounce Human Rights Abuses Against Chavelo Morales

el ingles sigue abajo

56 Organizaciones Internacionales Denuncian Violaciones de DDHH en Contra Chabelo Morales

20 Marzo 2014
John Kerry, Secretario del Estado de EE.UU
Julie Ciccarone, Director de Misiones, USAID Honduras
Amanda Johnson Miller, Oficial de Derechos Humanos, Embajada de EE.UU, Honduras
Juan Orlando Hernandez, Presidente, Honduras
Rigoberto Chang Castillo, El Ministerio de Derechos Humanos, Justicia, Gobernabilidad y
Descentralización, Honduras
Abogado Jorge Alberto Revira Avilés, Magistrado Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, Honduras
Ramón Antonio Sabillón Pineda, Director de la Policía Nacional de Honduras
Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Fiscal General, Honduras

Estimados señores:
La carta adjunta, firmada por 56 organizaciones de derechos humanos y justicia social, tiene por motivo la niega de justicia, otra vez de nuevo, a José Isabel Morales López. Es una denuncia de los procedimientos judiciales de febrero y las acciones de:
• El Fiscal José Reynaldo Canales, del Ministerio Público de Trujillo, Colón, Honduras por su conducta indebida como fiscal y manipulación de la corte.
• Los Jueces del Tribunal de Trujillo y La Ceiba: Carol Jacqueline Ortega, Luis Alberto Juárez, y Ricardo Geovany Rodríguez, todos culpables de conducta judicial indebida durante el transcurso del enjuiciamiento.
• Los Jueces de la Corte de Apelaciones de La Ceiba: Dilia Iracema Guillén, Garin Enoc Urquía y Rubenia Esperanza Galeano, todos los cuales, juntos con los jueces ya nombrados, violaron las órdenes de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Honduras.
• Finalmente, el Sub Comisionado de la Policía Nacional de Honduras en el departamento de Olancho, Henry Osorto Canales quien cometió el crimen de perjurio en la corte con impunidad además de sus acciones de intimidación, amenazas y abuso de autoridad como miembro de la Policía Nacional.

Como defensores de los derechos humanos, estamos indignados por estos abusos de autoridad de los antemencionados miembros del sistema judicial de Honduras, y el ambiente de impunidad en lo cual ellos han podido operar en violación de los derechos de José Isabel Morales López, un campesino de la región del Aguán en el norte de Honduras y un preso político reconocido por organizaciones de derechos humanos en todo el mundo.

Hacemos un llamado por la libertad inmediata de José Isabel Morales López. Exigimos una
investigación completa de las violaciones de derechos humanos y las irregularidades judiciales en el entorno del enjuiciamiento además de las amenazas y el hostigamiento en contra de la familia y la comunidad. Además exigimos el cese de todo tipo de ayuda militar, policiaca y de seguridad hasta que haya un fin de las violaciones de derechos humanos en Honduras, en particular la ayuda de los Estados Unidos a la Policía Nacional y el financiamiento de USAID al Ministerio Público por razón de los abusos continuos que están siendo cometidos.



56 International Organizations Denounce Human Rights Abuses Against Chavelo Morales

The attached letter, signed by 56 human rights and social justice organizations, is motivated by the denial of justice, once again, to José Isabel Morales Lopez. It is a denunciation of the February judicial proceedings and actions of:

·       The Public Prosecutor, Jose Reynaldo Canales, from the Ministerio Publico in Trujillo, Colon, Honduras who exhibited prosecutorial misconduct and manipulation of the court

·       The Judges of the Tribunal of Trujillo and La Ceiba: Carol Jaqueline Ortega, Luis Alberto Juárez, and Ricardo Geovany Rodríguez, all of whom exhibited judicial misconduct during the course of a trial

·       The Judges from the Court of Appeals in La Ceiba: Dilia Iracema Guillén, Garin Enoc Urquía y Rubenia Esperanza Galeano, all of whom, together with the above named judges, violated orders from the Supreme Court of Honduras

·       And finally, the Sub-Commissioner of the National Police in the Department of Olancho, Henry Osorto Canales who perjured himself in court with impunity as well as having a history of intimidation, threats and abuse of authority as a member of the National Police.

As human rights defenders, we are outraged by these abuses of authority of the aforementioned members of the justice system of Honduras, and the environment of impunity in which they are able to operate in violating the rights of Jose Isabel Morales Lopez, a peasant farmer from the Aguán region of Northern Honduras and a recognized political prisoner by Human Rights organizations around the world.


We call for the immediate liberty of José Isabel Morales Lopez. We demand a full investigation into the human rights violations and judicial irregularities surrounding the trial as well as the threats and intimidation against the family and community. We further demand that all police, military and security aid be cut until human rights violations end, specifically the continued aid by the United States to the National Police and USAID funding to the Ministerio Publico given the ongoing abuses being perpetrated.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Attempted Murder of Indigenous Leader and Family in Rio Blanco



Report from SOAW Observer in Honduras Brigitte Gynther with additional information added by La Voz de los de Abajo. Original Spanish communique from COPINH linked above.
Yesterday (March 5, 2014)  7 people tried to kill Maria Santos, seriously attacking her, her 12-year old son Paulo, and her husband Roque, with a machete.  Maria is a vocal leader in the struggle in Rio Blanco and member of the Indigenous Council.  Maria has received numerous death threats because of her vocal opposition to the Agua Zarca Dam.  Yesterday, around midday, she was on her way home from making food at the school when 7 people who were hiding in wait came out, surrounded her and attacked her with machetes, rocks, and sticks.  Her husband had been calling her as she walked home because of the constant threats she received, and when he heard she was surrounded, he and her son ran out.  Her husband pled with them not to kill her and when her son ran to try to help his mom, the people attacked her 12-year old son as well, cutting off his right ear and part of his face.  His cranium is fractured.  They also attacked her husband who was also seriously injured.  All three are in the hospital.  Maria is a strong member of COPINH Rio Blanco resistance, despite receiving death threats including threats from the people who attacked her yesterday.  

The indigenous community in Rio Blanco has been fighting for  2 years against the construction of a dam that privatizes and destroys the  Gualcarque River  and will flood lands that are part of the indigenous patrimony in the region. The DESA Company (Honduran) , first in partnership with Chinese state owned company SINOHYDRO which has now withdrawn from the project, has used private paramilitary guards, paid assassins, Honduran military and National Police to attack, murder and intimidate the community. In August of 2013 another community activist Tomas Garcia was shot and killed by soldiers. Indigenous leaders and members of the Lenca organization COPINH have faced criminal charges for their involvement in the struggle for environmental and indigenous rights. 



Rio Blanco community meeting with La Voz delegation July 2013

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chabelo Morales Privado de Justicia - Justice Denied for Chabelo Morales

En Español abajo

Chabelo Morales Justice Denied
Declaration by La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago

We reject and condemn the guilty verdict issued today by the judges in court in La Ceiba,
Honduras against the compañero, member of the Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MCA), Jose Isabel “Chabelo” Morales Lopez.

As close observers of Chabelo’s case and of this trial, we recognize
that the so-called evidence presented against him was based on
distortions and outright fabrications. Witnesses for the prosecution
changed their testimony dramatically from previous statements in
order to implicate Chabelo, and the prosecution put all campesinos and
the campesino movement on trial.

The verdict reflects the power of landowner and National Police official
Henry Vicente Osorto and of the most powerful landowners in
Honduras who lead the campaign to characterize campesinos as
“criminals” and “terrorists”; it is not based on any concrete proof of
Chabelo’s involvement in the death of Carlos Manrique Osorto that
occurred on August 3, 2008 in Silin, Honduras.

Chabelo, his family and his supporters have been repeatedly
threatened during the entire 5 years in which this injustice has
persisted. We hold the Honduran authorities responsible for their
safety and security. We also recognize that the agrarian conflicts
causing so much violence and suffering will only be resolved through a
just, integral agrarian reform based on inclusion of the poorest and
most unprotected campesinos, and for that also we hold the Honduran
authorities responsible.

We call on human rights defenders, solidarity activists, and all those
who seek real justice and inclusion to speak out now and to support
the continuing struggle for “Liberty for Chabelo”.

La Voz de los de Abajo
February 7, 2014 17:40
Chicago, Il, USA

Chabelo Morales Privado de Justicia

Declaración de La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago

Rechazamos y condenamos el veredicto de culpabilidad
emitido por los jueces de la corte en La Ceiba, Honduras, en
contra del compañero, miembro del Movimiento Campesino de
Aguan (MCA), José Isabel “Chabelo” Morales López.

Como observadores cercanos del caso de Chabelo, y de el juicio en su contra,
reconocemos que la pretendida evidencia presentada en su contra esta basada
en distorsiones y declaraciones inventadas. Los testigos de la fiscalía
cambiaron sus testimonios dramáticamente de los que presentaron
anteriormente con el fin de implicar a Chabelo y la fiscalía puso en juicio a la vez
a todos los campesinos y su movimiento.

El veredicto refleja el poder del terrateniente y oficial de la Policía Nacional
Henry Vicente Osorto y de los terratenientes mas poderosos de Honduras que
encabezan la campana para caracterizar a los campesinos como “criminales” y
“terroristas” y no esta basado en ninguna prueba concreta de la participación
de Chabelo en la muerte de Carlos Manrique Osorto que ocurrió en 3 de agosto
del 2008 en Silin, Honduras.

Chabelo, su familia y todos los que lo apoyamos hemos sido amenazados
durante los 5 anos durante los cuales esta injusticia ha perdurado. Hacemos
responsables a las autoridades de su seguridad y protección. También
reconocemos que los conflictos agrarios que causan tanta violencia y
sufrimientos solo se resolverán a través de una reforma agraria justa e integral,
basada en la inclusión de los mas pobres y mas desprotegidos campesinos, y
de ello también responsabilizamos a las autoridades en Honduras.

Hacemos un llamado a los defensores de derechos humanos, a los activistas de
la solidaridad, y a todos aquellos que buscan una justicia e inclusión verdaderas
a pronunciarse ahora y a apoyar la lucha que continua por la “Libertad para
Chabelo”.

La Voz de los de Abajo
Febrero 7, 2014 a las 17:40
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Perjury, Prejudice and Influence = Injustice

February 5th Chabelo’s Trial 
Campesinos of the Aguan - Seminario FIDES 2012

I arrived back in Chicago yesterday; this report is based on information from notes and reports by Dunia Perez of ERICSJ and Greg McCain, a human rights observer in the Aguan as well as a phone interview with Chabelo’s family today. Today the defense and prosecution  present their closing arguments- a verdict may come as early as tomorrow -- V. Cervantes

Yesterday (February 5) the landowner who started violence in the land dispute with the campesinos of Guadalupe Carney, Police Subcommander Henry Vicente Osorto testified. According to those present in the courtroom the prosecution created major theatrical effect -- previously they complained that he was not answering the orders to appear---  while everyone (except the judges) was in the courtroom for a supposed 8:30 am start, nothing happened until 9:30 am. The judges entered at that time and the prosecution introduced Osorto as the next witness. The defense team was not notified that Osorto was going to show up. 

Most shocking was Osorto’s testimony - he blatantly contradicted his testimony and statements made for the 2010 trial. He was not present at the confrontation but has testified that he had phone conversations with family members who were there including Carlos Manrique Osorto the man that Chabelo is accused of killing. The 2010 testimony by Henry Osorto was only that Carlos Manrique said there were campesinos surrounding the house , noise, etc. without mentioning any names at all.  But in Wednesday’s testimony he claimed that he asked Carlos Manrique if he recognized anyone and was told that “Jose Isabel Morales” was the one who shot him and furthermore Henry claims now that Chabelo took the phone from Carlos Manrique while talking to Henry and told Henry “ see what we have done to your family, you think you are so big”.  The defense team moved to declare the testimony invalid but despite the clear the contradictions. The judges ruled against the defense.  

Chabelo's mother shares family photos
with La Voz delegation - 2010
There were other inconsistencies between Wednesday’s testimony and 2010. In 2010 Osorto testified that in general the campesinos were peaceful neighbors but this time he made long statements about how the campesinos are terrorists; he verbally attacked the campesino organization MUCA (who are not at Guadalupe Carney) as having terrorist cells and accused Chabelo of having brought in others from outside to carry out a massacre. This “new testimony” comes straight out off the pages of the propaganda campaigns waged against MUCA, the MCA and other campesinos since the 2009 coup by the giant land owners in the Aguan such as Miguel Facusse and the Honduran military command in the Aguan (most recently, Coronel German Alfaro). It is worth remembering at this point that the conflict between Osorto and the Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MCA) arises from illegal sales/purchases by ex-military and police official s such as Osorto and later landowners like Miguel Facusse of the land that was part of a military base run by the U.S. for training and operations for the Honduran and Salvadoran military and the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980's. The base was closed in 1985 and the land became Honduran government (public) ruled as eligible for land reform distribution to the poor and landless campesinos. 

During Wednesday's session Chabelo's defense lawyers also objected to the fact that this testimony by Henry Osorto as well as the changed testimony by the prosecution’s other witnesses and other “evidence” was a surprise to them as the prosecution had not informed them of this “new evidence” as required. 


Ceremony for campesinos murdered in the Aguan Valley
 since the coup - at least 120 to date.
As I write this, I remember a meeting with the organization “Lawyers in Resistance” in 2011 in San Pedro Sula in which a young lawyer told us that he and other lawyers formed that organization to figure out "how to practice law in a country in which there is no rule of law".

We can only hope that justice will prevail tomorrow when the verdict is expected. 
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