When the La Voz de los de Abajo delegation arrived at the campesino community of Guadalupe Carney in Aguán, they were preparing for a community informational assembly and also planning participation in a regional act of resistance tomorrow, January 25th.
We met with leaders from the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA), the campesino organization that founded the Guadalupe Carney community through land recuperations on a closed military base in 2000. The community is named after the U.S. priest James (Guadalupe) Carney, who was killed for his work accompanying the campesinos in Honduras in the 1980s.
David Calix and Adolfo Cruz talked to our group about the human rights violations against their community including the massacre of community members on November 15, 2010 that left 5 members of the MCA dead and 4 seriously wounded.
The massacre was the result of an attack by private paramilitary employed by Miguel Facussé, a big landowner in the region and one of the most powerful members of the oligarchy in Honduras. Previously Facussé had taken over land that was land reform land to be granted to the campesinos. On the morning of the massacre, the campesinos were planning a land recuperation but were all on an adjacent land parcel that is legally titled to members of the MCA. Some of them were eating breakfast, when suddenly a large number of Facussé’s private guards armed with high caliber weaponry appeared and began firing on them. Calix and Cruz emphasized to the delegation that the Honduran press and others have lied in saying that the campesinos were on the land that Facussé claims as his own and that it was them who attacked the guards. "That is a distortion and lie begin used to cover up what happened," they explained. All of the murdered campesinos were found on MCA land. One of the murdered man was found on Guadalupe Carney lands at some distance from the disputed land and had obviously been chased down and then shot.
The MCA leaders showed us photos taken at the scene right after the murders and in them it is obvious that some of the campesinos were shot in the back while running away; another was shot at close range in the back of the head. Some of the murdered men had clearly been eating when they were shot as tortillas and bowls were next to their hands. When the bodies were first found, with at least one local reporter present, the campesinos were not armed and only some machetes were present. However when the photos started appearing in the national press there were guns laying under or near the murdered campesinos and the stories all quoted Facusee’s guards as saying that the campesinos were armed and attacked the guards – although there were no injuries among the private paramilitaries, only dead and injured campesinos.
For close to a year, the coup regime has had a unit of soldiers placed in the center of the Guadalupe Carney community across from the community school. Community members denounce this as blatant intimidation without any justification. The soldiers, several armed with AK47s told the delegation that they were jut there to protect the community from delinquents. We asked them where they were when the community members were murdered, one soldier said, “we were over here and they were over there”.
The delegation briefly greeted the community assembly in which a large number of people were discussing the coup government's move to further attack the campesinos’ land rights by annulling Decree 18-2008. The presidential decree 18-2008 was signed by President Zelaya and approved by the Congress in 2008 and aimed to resolve numerous land conflicts in favor of the poor peasants. Across Honduras the campesino organizations and communities are planning mobilizations this week to protest this new attack on the campesinos.
The La Voz delegation to Honduras will be accompanying the regional protest in Planes, Colon tomorrow and reporting on it in this blog.
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