Thursday, March 31, 2011

Honduras is Burning: Eyewitness Report

Rights Action - March 31, 2011
HONDURAS IS BURNING: Endless Repression By Military-backed Regime
Eye-witness report from the streets of Tegucigalpa

(Police truck spraying vaste quantities of teargas at peaceful protesters, March 30, 2011, Tegucigalpa. All photos, Karen Spring, Rights Action, March 30, 2011, Tegucigalpa.)


By Karen Spring (Rights Action, Tegucigalpa, March 30, 2011

Today, a National Strike was called in Honduras by the public sc

hool teachers and the National Front of Popular Resistance to protest the last two weeks of brutal and fierce repression, the eighteen political prisoners on trial and the attempt of the post-coup regime and international financial institutions to privatize public education.

In various key locations in all areas of the country, thousands of H

ondurans occupied major roads, bridges and universities to participate in the National Strike. Most protests and gatherings were repressed and unconfirmed reports say that at least 46 people were illegally detained, many injured and one killed during the violent evictions throughout the country.

In Tegucigalpa, I experienced a snap shot of the repression that occurred throughout Honduras as the police, military and the post-coup Pepe Lobo regime evicted, illegally detained, beat and shot at with tear gas and live bullets the public school teachers and the pro-democracy people’s movement.


In the morning, I arrived at the road occupation in front of the STIBYS (National Drink & Bottling Union) headquarters just as a large line of police in riot gear along with the police water tank marched towards the people and began firing tear gas and drawing their batons.

I walked in the opposite direction and into the rows of transport trucks, cars & impatient drivers in the traffic jam that built up since the beginning of the road occupation earlier that morning. I began running away from the clouds of dispersing gas while being pushed by panicked people scared to get stuck and to breath in the poisonous gas that was still being fired by police a far distance behind us.

After the repression had died down, I went back to the STIBYS building to find a group of men throwing buckets of water on dried bushes, grass and trees in a gulley next to STIBYS that had caught fire during the eviction approximately 50 meters from a gas station and even less from a large propane tank. At that

point, the fire had been contained but smoked still rose from the burning bushes.

When I arrived at the STIBYS entrance, I found out that many people had been stuck inside the building

(that is roughly 30 metres from the road) during the eviction and that police had shot approximately 30 tear gas canisters inside the STIBYS property, at the entranceway and inside the building.

Many were experiencing severe breathing problems and one young girl, roughly 16 years old, was sitting on the crowded floor, crying and with a large bruise forming on her left arm above her elbow

where police had hit her with a baton.

Half an hour later, after speaking with people that had returned after the eviction, I left and headed for the Supreme Court, 10 minutes down the road.


I arrived at the gathering in front of the Supreme Court around mid-day to find a large crowd of public school teachers and various social organizations awaiting the results from the legal hearing occurring at that time in Court.

Eighteen teachers arrested last Friday, March 25th that have been held since then in the National Penitentiary in Tegucigalpa were on trial and being charged with sedition and illicit protest, two charges often laid in Honduras to criminalize protesters.

We were told that results would not be known until later in the afternoon. After hearing of the potential eviction of the road occupation in front of the National Autonomous University (UNAH) on Radio Globo, I decided to go to the University.


At the UNAH, I spent roughly two hours behind a line of police heavily armed (likely by US and Canada military aid to the post-coup regime) and in full riot gear they shot tear gas, threw rocks, sprayed high-pressured water from tanks at student protesters at the National Autonomous University.

As I arrived at the moment the police began to evict the road occupation in front of the University, I stood behind the police line observing the hour and a half

battle between heavily armed state forces and protesters.

One young male student that strayed from the protesters was pointed out and chased down by a young man (that was later identified as a police officer dressed in civilian clothes) with riot police close behind him.

The student was first tackled by the infiltrated police officer and seconds later four to six officers dressed in riot gear with their batons drawn. As I arrived metres away, a fight had broken out between two officers near the now hurt student lying tackled and trampled on the ground.

Apparently, one of the officers that had tackled the student had drawn his pistol and was pointing it at the student lying on the ground. The other officer was screaming at him, pushed him away and ordering him to put his gun away. It was a very intense moment particularly as many police arrived to surround the student, most kicking or hitting him with their batons.

The student was violently lifted from the ground, again hit more than a dozen times with the wooden batons that the police carried then dragged and pushed to the police patrol. In the hour and a half I stood behind the police, 5 students were arrested and taken to the police post in the neighbourhood, the Kennedy.

As it is required by law that state forces respect the autonomy of the UNAH, police and military cannot enter the University (even though the University’s autonomy has been violated many times since the June 28th, 2009 military coup), many students who were and were not participating in the occupation, ran into the University to flee the repression and tear gas (even though moments before police had shot tear gas inside and had entered to moment later be chased out by protesters).

One student approached me asking me if I was a journalist and then reported how he had shown up for classes to find the University in chaos. He told me that the Director of the University, Julieta Castellanos, had opened the University, insisting that classes commence despite the repression that had ensued for weeks at the University. He told me he had not been participating in the road occupation and that he had simply arrived to attend his classes to find it impossible to enter or be inside the University safely.

As the police waited for the orders to enter the University, metres from the gates, to arrest, beat up and repress those they could find, a Honduran human rights organization mediated an agreement between the student and the police.

Even though I was there at the University during the day and listening to reports from different areas of the country on radio throughout the day, the actual number of people illegally detained and injured from the UNAH and throughout the country is unknown and difficult to confirm at the writing of this article.

In such chaos, it is difficult for human rights organizations to confirm injuries and deaths. From the protest in northern Colon, it still has not been confirmed the status of the woman that was reported killed by police.

Re-posted from Rights Action.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letter from Miriam Miranda, recently FREED Garífuna resistance leader

Honduras: The Coup d'etat, its inheritors and the criminalization of social protest
Miriam Miranda

Yesterday I was captured in a selective way by agents of the Ministry of security in the middle of a protest around the Garífuna community Triunfo de la Cruz. In the process of being arrested they shot several tear-gas bombs at me which hit me in the abdomen, causing burns on my stomach, afterwards I was assalted and as the police beat me they cursed with racial insults.

The operation directed by Sub-Commissioner Víctor Sánchez Bonilla, the one who in the midst of the crowd pointed me out to his subordinates to be the only own captured amongst all the people, demonstrates the strategy by the repressive forces of focus on social movement leaders as military objectives.

It is worth mentioning that upon being captured they took me directly to the Tela jail cell without completing requirements, without medical attention for the burns and the poisoning that I suffered from the tear gas bombs. It wasn't until two and a half hours later that they read me my rights without telling me what they were accusing me of. Later on the Judge on shift informed me that they were accusing me of sedition.

In Honduras the chaos by which the country was subsumed due to the 2009 coup d'etat perpetrated by the judicial and legislative powers and the armed forces under the instructions of the U.S. Right wing and of course the Pentagon continues.

Despite the plastic smiles of state functionaries and their eagerness to achieve international recognition, the criminalization of social protest has sharpened with the regime of Porfirio Lobo, who with his sinister ways discredits his administration in the eyes of human rights organization.

Thanks to the solidarity and international pressure, pressure from the Garífuna community and of Hondurans conscious of the current crisis, they conceded me "provisional" freedom. The operatiors of justice of Honduras under pressure saw themselves obliged to carry out their duty. Nonetheless in the stacks of jails of the country are detained countless political prisoners, as is the case of the 18 teachers who in this moment are held by the prison in the capital of the republic.

The intensification of the violence against the popular resistance is part of the methods of security dictated by the Colombian boss Alvaro Uribe, advisor in repression, who a few weeks ago announced a conference in El Salvador about "democratic decurity," to which Mr. Porfirio Lobo and his dolphin Oscar Álvarez punctually agreed. The colombianization of Central America is reaffirmed by the the Mérida Initiative and the militarization that we suffer.

In the midst of the international year of "Afro-descendants," the Garífuna of Honduras are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 años. At the same time some Afro-righ organizations have allied wtih the repressor regime and are trying to celebrate the territorial evictions happening as much in Africa as in Latin America through a supposed world summit of Afro-descendants that serves as an instrument and make-up for the violence of the current government and its neo-liberal policies.

Through the Assembly of the Peoples of the Land and Sea, carried out in February of this year in the community Durugubuti Beibe, the indigenous and black peoples of Honduras reaffirm the defense of our territory, the right to autonomy, the respect for the right to consultation and the immediate suspension of the construction of the hydroelectric dams in the Patuca river: a death sentence for the Tawahka people and the coutnry.

Thank you very much once again to international solidarity and the movement of all of us, what happened yesterday demonstrates that prompt actions achieve positive results.

For a free, pluri-cultural, democratic, participatory, anti-militarist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal Honduras, NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY NOW!

La Ceiba, March 29th, 2011

Miriam Miranda
General Coordinator
National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

Carta de Miriam Miranda, lidera Garífuna de la resistencia recién LIBERADA

Honduras: El golpe de Estado, sus herederos y la criminalización de la protesta social
Miriam Miranda

El día de ayer fui capturada de forma selectiva por agentes del Ministerio de seguridad en medio de una protesta en las inmediaciones de la comunidad garífuna de Triunfo de la Cruz. En el proceso de ser arrestada me dispararon varias bombas lacrimógenas impactándome una en el abdomen, causándome quemaduras en el estómago; posteriormente fui arrastrada por el asfalto al mismo que tiempo que los policías me golpeaban, proferían insultos raciales.

El operativo dirigido por el Sub Comisario Víctor Sánchez Bonilla, el que en medio de la muchedumbre me señaló a sus subalternos para que fuera la única capturada en medio de todas las personas, demuestra la estrategia por parte de las fuerzas represoras de focalizar a dirigentes como objetivos militares.

Cabe mencionar al ser capturada me llevaron directamente a una bartolina de la cárcel de Tela, sin hacer requerimiento, sin atención medica por las quemaduras y la intoxicación que sufrí por las bombas lacrimógenas. Hasta dos horas y media después me leyeren mis derechos sin que me dijeran de qué me acusaban. Posteriormente me informo la Juez Ejecutora de turno que se me acusaba de sedición.

En Honduras se continúa el caos en que se sumió el país a raíz del golpe de estado del año 2009, perpetrado por el poder judicial, el Legislativo y las fuerzas armadas; bajo las instrucciones de la derecha estadounidense y por supuesto el Pentágono.

A pesar de las sonrisas plásticas de los funcionarios estatales y su avidez en lograr el reconocimiento internacional, la criminalización de la protesta social se ha agudizado con el régimen de Porfirio Lobo, el que de forma siniestra aduce una campaña de descrédito en contra de su administración por parte de las organizaciones de derechos humanos.

Gracias a la solidaridad y presión internacional, de la comunidad Garifuna y de hondureñ@s conscientes de la crisis existente, se me concedió libertad "provisional". Los operadores de justicia de Honduras ante las presiones se vieron obligados a cumplir su deber. Sin embargo en las hacinadas cárceles del país están confinados un sinnúmero de presos políticos, como es el caso de los 18 docentes que en este momento guardan prisión en la capital de la república.

El recrudecimiento de la violencia en contra de la resistencia popular, es parte de la cátedra de seguridad dictada por el sátrapa colombiano Alvaro Uribe, asesor en represión, y el que hace pocas semanas dictó una conferencia en el Salvador sobre la “seguridad democrática", a la cual asintieron puntualmente el Sr. Porfirio Lobo y su delfín Oscar Álvarez. La colombianización de Centroamérica es reafirmada por la Iniciativa Mérida y la militarización que sufrimos.

Al son del año internacional de los "afrodescendientes", los garífunas de Honduras sufrimos una acelerada expulsión de nuestros territorios que hemos habitado durante 214 años. Mientras tanto algunas organizaciones de afroderecha se han alienado con el régimen represor y pretenden festejar los despojos territoriales que se están dando tanto en África como en América Latina, a través de una supuesta cumbre mundial de afrodescendientes que sirve de instrumento y maquillaje a la violencia del actual gobierno y sus políticas neoliberales.

A partir de la Asamblea de los Pueblos de la Tierra y el Mar, efectuada en febrero de este año, en la comunidad de Durugubuti Beibe, los pueblos indígenas y negros de Honduras reafirmamos la defensa de nuestros territorios, el derecho a la autonomía, el respeto al derecho a la consulta y suspender de inmediato la construcción de las represas hidroeléctricas en el río Patuca: sentencia de muerte para el pueblo Tawahka y el país.

Muchísimas gracias de nuevo a la solidaridad nacional internacional y al movimiento de todas y todos, lo que paso ayer demuestra que las acciones a tiempo se logran resultados positivos.

Por una Honduras Libre, pluricultural, democrática, participativa, antimilitarista, antiracista y antipatriarcal, LA ASAMBLEA NACIONAL CONSTITUYENTE, YA

La Ceiba, Marzo 29 de 2011

Miriam Miranda
Coordinadora General

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miriam Miranda Detained! PLEASE CALL NOW!

Leader of National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) Miriam Miranda DETAINED


At 6:30 am, Miriam Miranda, general coordinator of the National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) and an important leader in the National Front of Popular Resistance, was detained by police during a road occupation in a Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz in Tela Bay, Honduras. Miriam is currently being detained in the police post in Tela. Reports from OFRANEH office say that she has been burned on her stomach from the tear gas that the police used to disperse the crowd during the eviction.
Police at the post in Tela say that she is being charged with sedition and obstruction of a public road.

Miriam, OFRANEH & the Garifuna communities of the Tela Bay have lived for more than two decades of violent & systematic threats of expulsion as a result of the interests of the national & international tourist industry, international financial institutions (including the World Bank and the IDB), Honduran elite & businessmen, the military and police that are all associated with the construction of the mega tourist projects.

Since the June 28, 2009 coup d'etat, the repression against OFRANEH, community leaders & the Honduran pro-democracy movement has worsened & there has been a strong push since then to continue the mega tourist projects that the communities of Tela Bay have strongly resisted for decades.

Calls are needed to secure Miriam Miranda's immediate and unconditional release.

Police post in Tela: 011-504-2448-2079

Fiscal (attorney) in charge of Miriam's case in Tela:
Coritza Vega
011-504-2448-1349 and 011-504-2248-1752

Oscar Álvarez
Security Secretary

Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
President of the Supreme Court

Tel 011-(504) 2269-3000, 2269-3069

Fax: 011-504-2269-3114/3060

Luís Alberto Rubí
Attorney General of Honduras
Tel 011-(504) 2221-5670 2221-3099


WHITE HOUSE:, 202-456-1111, Comment Line: 202-456-1414

CONGRESS: Go to to get info for your member of Congress, and call: 202-224-3121

SENATE: Go to to get contact for your Senator, and call: 202-224-3121

STATE DEPARTMENT: 202 647-8947

STATE DEPARTMENT - Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs: 202 647-0834, WHAAsstSecty@State.Gov

AMBASSADOR CRAIG KELLY, Principal Deputy Asst. Secretary, Western Office of Hemisphere Affairs:

MARIA OTERO, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; c/o Laura Pena, Assistant:

BENJAMIN GEDAN, Honduras Desk Officer, (202) 647-3482


PAUL MONTEIRO, Office of Public Engagement,

AMBASSADOR HUGO LLORENS, U.S. Embassy in Honduras, 011 [504] 2236-9320 ext. 4268, 2236-9037

Silvia Eiriz,

AMBASSADOR to the OAS, H.E. Carmen Lomellin

Phone: (202) 647-9430

Fax: (202) 647-0911 or (202) 647-6973

The most recent information is that Miriam has been taken from the police station to receive med
ical attention after calls began pouring in from around the world. We must keep up the pressure.

For more background information on Miriam and OFRANEH please see Toussaint Losier's article in the Bay Street Banner Permanent Resistance or the report of this blog
from one of our many visits with Miriam.

(Photos Below: La Voz de los de Abajo delegation meeting with Miriam during January 2011 dlegation)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Zelaya condemns repression of teachers

Letter from the General Coordinator of the FNRP in Support of the Teachers

March 24, 2011

Brothers and sisters,

Honduran People,

I write these lines to condemn the inhuman attacks against the teachers of the nation. The attacks have as their only aim to liquidate the teachers’ organizations and to break-up the

social movements in Honduras; never before has such a brutal plan been executed in our country using such premeditation and advantage to sustain the privileges of a voracious and bloody elite.

We find ourselves facing nothing less than the execution of the third part of the con

spiracy that destroyed democracy with the Coup d’Etat of June 29, 2009, which consists of the appropriation at all costs of the country’s natural resources to fill their pockets at the expense of millions of poor people; the first mission towards this goal is to destroy the organized sectors, beginning with the national teachers’ organizations.

Submission to the International Monetary Fund agreements negotiated by the regime, include the reduction of the wage base through firings, restructuring and the dismantling of union organizations in the country. We must not make any mistake about the true intentions of the repression which is to break the will of the teachers’ struggle; when they show their inflexibility and are spending million

s of lempira on bombs and bullets with the security forces, we cannot believe that they are only thinking about the Teachers’ Law.
We must understand that they are not looping for Solutions for Honduras. They are only following instructions and are creating the system, the enclave that includes the conditions for the privatization of health, Education, and the other public services.

The payment required by the Teachers’ Law, if we fulfill it, is viable and must be paid; the State can do so; I personally know the issue well, and I have no doubt that this is not a question of a lack of government funds; it is part of a plan that implies the disappearance of the professional organizations of the teachers for other organized forms in the country that favor their goals. This macabre strategy is directed at destabilizing all the social organizations with conscience such as those of the teachers nationally.
Compañeros to know their plan gives an advantage and allows us to join with other sectors affected by the Coup d’etat. The destiny of Honduras, and other countries in the region, is at play in this struggle. The dimensions of this issue require urgent attention because the level of repression shows the desperation of the regime in the face of the strength of our ideas and the truth that is with us.

Our mission is to support without reservation the teachers, the men and women that struggle, so under no circumstances are the decrees against the teachers upheld; and to demand their immediate derogation.

Compatriots this is the hour to give the best of ourselves. They are the aggressors, those that behave with brutality, we can beat them; we can win over them with the unity of the people and defeat the perfidy that those who don’t love the Education of the people nor the mission of the teachers.

We continue in the struggle; comrade teachers: count on us; the Honduran people support the teachers until victory.

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Coordinador General
Frente Nacional de
Resistencia Popular

Friday, March 25, 2011

Honduras: URGENT ACTION - Two actions requested

Honduras Accompaniment Project - Two Urgent Actions Requested

1. The Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) reports this morning that 26 people continue to be detained in the aftermath of yesterdays repression- including 6 minors. All are being held at the police station Core 7 Metropolitana.

Spanish Speakers: Please call 011-504-2237-6830 - and express your concern for their safety and that their human rights be respected - including freedom of expression..

English Speakers:
2. Calls are also needed to the State Department and US Embassy in Honduras. Please express your concern for the safety of Honduran Human Rights Defenders who have been in Washington DC this week – speaking with members of Congress and testifying before the Inter American Commission for Human Rights . These human rights defenders have documented and given testimony regarding intense repression in Honduras, impunity and the lack of rule of law. Please express your concern for their physical safety on their return to Honduras. Please call on the Government of the United States to strongly uphold the rights of Honduran human rights defenders to defend human rights.

US Embassy in Honduras: 011-504-2236-9320 or 2238-5114

State Department: 202- 647-3482 - Ben Gedan, Honduras desk officer

202-647-2126 – Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Thank you for accompanying front line human rights defenders and those they defend in Honduras.

Honduras Accompaniment Project

Edwin Sorto--Primary School Teacher from Lempira

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Police and Military Raid the National Autonomous University of Honduras

Original Spanish below or:

Police and military raid the National Autonomous University of Honduras

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 12:36PM

Police special force COBRAS and military elements threw large quantities of tear gas on to the UNAH campus then entered the property.

Dozens of police and military have again raided the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), where thousands of students are receiving classes.

Students had taken over the boulevard bordering UNAH when the repressive forces proceeded to remove them and they took refuge within the educational institution, where they were followed by agents.

This is the fourth time this kind of repression has taken place. The last time was on the 5th of September when the police took control of the university campus in the early morning and captured union members Cristian David Durón Durón and Antonio López Mendoza, who were sent to court in an effort to criminalize their labour struggle.
Members of the police's special force COBRAS as well as military elements first threw large quatities of tear gas onto the campus, then entered the property. Many students fainted, vomited, and suffered other reactions due to the tear gas.

No university authority protested these actions. Each time that the regime has raided UNAH it has been claimed that the raid was requested by the university rector Julieta Castellanos.

It has also been reported that students from Francisco Morazán National Teaching University (UNPNFM) as well as striking teachers were repressed at protests today.

The police were reportedly entering homes in the neighbourhoods of Tres Caminos, Luís Landa, and El Hogar, where people who were being chased by the police and army had taken refuge. Many homeowners gave shelter to those who were pursued.

During the previous three days of repressed peaceful protests various people reported that they had been threatened by police for protecting those who sought refuge in their homes.

Policías y militares allanan otra vez la UNAH

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 12:36 dina meza
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Los elementos COBRAS y militares primero estuvieron lanzando gran cantidad de gases lacrimógenos y después entraron a la UNAH

En estos momentos decenas de policías y militares allanaron nuevamente la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, UNAH, donde hay miles de estudiantes recibiendo clases y graduaciones de otros tantos.

Estudiantes se habían tomado el boulevard aledaño a la UNAH y los cuerpos represivos procedieron a desalojarlos y se resguardecieron en la institución educativa, pero fueron seguidos hasta allí.
Es la cuarta vez que hay este tipo de represión, la última se llevó a cabo en el 05 de septiembre donde los policías coparon los predios universitarios a primeras horas de la mañana, capturando a sindicalistas entre ellos a Cristian David Durón Durón y Antonio López Mendoza, que fueron enviados a los tribunales de justicia, como una forma de criminalizar la lucha sindical.
Los elementos COBRAS y militares primero estuvieron lanzando gran cantidad de gases lacrimógenos y después entraron a la UNAH, donde hay varios estudiantes que se desmayan , vomitan y tienen otras reacciones por los efectos de los gases.
Ninguna autoridad universitaria ha protestado por esta nueva acción, siempre que el régimen ha allanado la UNAH aducen que han sido llamados por la rectora Julieta Castellanos.
También se informa que estudiantes de la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán, UNPNFM y maestros fueron reprimidos.
Los policías están ingresando a casas de las colonias Tres Caminos, Luís Landa y El Hogar, hasta donde escaparon las personas que son perseguidas por la policía y el ejército que obligan a los y las dueñas de viviendas que les han dado albergues a los y las perseguidas.
En las tres manifestaciones pacíficas reprimidas en los días anteriores varias personas han sido amenazadas por la policía por haber protegido a quienes corrieron a refugiarse a sus casas.

Repression Against Teacher Union Continues. Resistance Continues

The Teachers' Union has faced almost a week of continued violent repression by the Honduran Police and the repression has now spread once again to the National Autonomous University of Honduras--see upcoming post.

Repression on Tuesday March 22:

Via the Honduran Accompaniment Project

Radio Globo in Honduras is currently reporting that police have surrounded the COPEMH building in Tegucigalpa begun throwing tear gas bombs inside of the building. COPEMH is the association of secondary school
teachers in Honduras. They are reporting that there were approximately 27 teachers and parents inside, eating and resting. Representatives of human rights organizations and the subdirector of the FNRP are on site.

The public offices of the Comisión de Verdad are also located in the
COPEMH complex. There are two buildings side by side that are part of
the same complex, COPEMH occupies one and the CdV office is located in
the tower next to it, which COPEMH rents out.

Teachers organizations and the FNRP are calling for a national civic
strike tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23.

epression on Wednesday March 23:

Via Karen Spring from Rights Action

200 people are inside the COPEMH office in Tegucigalpa and police are throwing tear gas canisters into the building in a repeat of last night's violence. A red cross ambulance is on the site waiting to take away the injured.

This is now the fifth straight day of police and military violence against teachers and university students in the Honduran capital.

Repression on Thursday March 24th--Sixth Day:

Via Karen Spring of Rights Action

Teacher's march is currently being evicted by police that are launching tear gas & detaining teachers/resistance close to the Hotel Clarion in Tegucigalpa. Some people that have fled from the gas went to COLPROSUMAH (teacher's college) building where police are shooting tear gas as well. Based on the calls that I have received, more than 20 people have been detained & there are reports that people are injured. I'm sure there are much more.

Reports say that the smoke from the gas is entering the emergency wing of Hospital Escuela (the public hospital in Tegucigalpa).

Please stay tune for more updates and see post below on writing letters to Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Urgent Action: Call on the International Community to ensure all Human Rights are respected in Honduras

March 21, 2011

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) is requesting that letters be written to leaders at the Organization of American States (OAS) and Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the current human rights crisis in Honduras, including threats and attacks against specific human rights defenders and violent repression of public protest, as outlined below in the following sample letter:

José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General

Organization of American States (OAS)
1889 F Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20006, USA

Sr. Felipe González, President

Inter-American Commission for Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20006, U.S.A.

Dear Sirs,

It has come to my attention that the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) has made an urgent call to the international community to demand that Mr. Porfirio Lobo's regime cease it's repression and continued criminalization of peaceful protests taking place in Honduras.

On March 17th, in the cities of Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, and Danlí, the preventative police as well as men in civilian clothing driving cars without license plates repressed peaceful demonstrations of teachers and members of the National Front of Popular Resistence (FNRP). According to a preliminary report, as many as 50 people were detained, wounded, and beaten in those demonstrations. On March 18th, there was another violent eviction of protestors in Tegucigalpa, which resulted in the death of teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez, who was a founding member of COFADEH.

Earlier the same week, COFADEH released an urgent call-out denouncing “harassment and death threats against human rights defenders, including Blanca Azucena Espinoza, president of the Buenos Amigos peasant cooperative in the Aguán Region; Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, former Human Rights Commissioner of Honduras (CONADEH); Pedro Vicente Elvir, Dagoberto Posadas and Eduardo Argueta Santos, labour union activists; Kenia Oliva and Karol Cardenas, human rights lawyers at COFADEH; Trinidad Sánchez, director of the Alternative Commerce Network (Red COMAL); and Héctor Renán Soto, director of the Civil Society Group (Grupo Sociedad Civil).”

Considering the above mentioned cases, and numerous previous denouncements, we call on the OAS to maintain Honduras' suspension from the organization, and we call on the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to institute effective measures to ensure full respect for all human rights in Honduras.

[Your signature]

Please also send a copy to:

Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés

President of the Supreme Court of Honduras
Tel (504) 2269-3000 2269-3069

Luis Alberto Rubí

Attorney General of the Republic of Honduras.
Fax (504) 2221-5667
Tel (504) 2221-5670 2221-3099

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)

Barrio La Plazuela, Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301
Apartado Postal 1243
Tegucigalpa, HONDURAS
Fax:+504 2220 5280 (ask for: "tono de fax, por favor")

And your country's representative to the OAS


H.E. Allan Culham

Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the OAS
Phone: (202) 682-1768
Fax: (202) 682-7624


H.E. Carmen Lomellin
Ambassador, Permanent Representative
Phone: (202) 647-9430
Fax: (202) 647-0911 or (202) 647-6973

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Educator killed - Repression against Teachers

La Voz de los de Abajo dennounces the murder of Ilese Velasquez and the ongoing brutality against the trade unions, campesinos, and people of Honduras. We hold the regime of Porfirio Lobo responsible for the death of Ilese and for the repression and impunity that reign. We also hold U.S. policy in Honduras responsible for the violence against the Honduran people and condemn the U.S. government's political and economic support for coup d' 'etat and the continuation of the coup under Porfirio Lobo.

Below is a brief report on Thursday and Friday's repression summarized from different news sources including Resistencia - Red de Informacion Morazanica

On Friday, March 18th Ilse Velasquez, a teacher’s union activist and a member of COFADEH since her brother Manuel Velazquez was disappeared, was killed during a ferocious repression against a protest by educators in Tegucigalpa. The 59 year old teacher lost consciousness on the street after a tear gas canister fired by the riot police struck her forehead. The cloud of toxic smoke that surrounded her severely affected the respiratory system. Moments after, Mrs. Velasquez was hit by a car that caused severe internal injuries. Although Ilse was assisted by other teachers and demonstrators that took her to a nearby hospital, she died after being cared for in an emergency room. The existing video captured by security cameras shows the driver of the car that struck the educator losing control due to tear gas exposure.

On Thursday, army and police forces fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators in several cities and detained around fifty people. In Tegucigalpa, anti-riot police, supported by Army troops, used brutal force to disperse thousands of demonstrators gathered in Miraflores boulevard, the Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared denounced. Security forces also dispersed demonstrations in El Paraiso and Comayagua. President of the Federation of Teaching Organizations in Honduras, Joel Almendarez, revealed that at least 10 of his comrades were beaten and needed to be taken to hospital.

The demonstrators protested against a bill, presented before the National Congress, envisaging passing over State education responsibility to the councils, thus leading to privatization of education to the detriment of poorest sectors, according to teaching leaders.

The protestors also demanded payment of delayed salaries to thousands of teachers and paying off the Executive's debt to the National Institute of Teachers' Welfare.

Demonstrations this week also involved transportation workers, who protested a rise in fuel prices, and other sectors that oppose a rise in family food basket prices.

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