December 2019 Honduras coup update

December 2019 Honduras Coup Update

Assassination of Tolupan and Pech defenders

Around 22 December 2019, the family of indigenous Tolupán leader Efraín Martínez Martínez reported that he was missing and they were looking for him. On 29 December 2019, a week later, his body, dead, was found. Efraín is originally from La Flor mountain of the Francisco Morazán province, and was living and died in the north of Honduras.

Also on 29 December 2019, another indigenous leader, of the Pech people, was reported missing – 34 years old Felipe Escobar García. Five days later, on 3 January 2020, Felipe was found dead in El Carbón village, San Esteban, in the north of Olancho. Both Efraín and Felipes were leaders of their indigenous communities and were involved in defending their territories.

Efrain martinez y Santos Escobar dic 2019

Attempts against the lives of garifuna defenders in Masca

On 12 December 2019, in the Masca Garífuna community, gunshots sieged the home of Paula Alvarez and attempted against Paula’s life, leaving Paula gunshot wounded.

On 28 December 2019 in the night time, also in Masca, 70 years of Ignacia Piota Martínez, a Garífuna leader, was attacked by a mestizo man who fired 7 gunshots at 70 years old Ignacia. Ignacia was taken immediately to hospital and transferred to another hospital where her condition stabilised. Ignacia was the older sister of the recently assassinated Garífuna leader Mirna Suazo Martínez, killed on 7 September 2019. Ignacia’s sister Mirna was the community committee president as well as a management committee member of Ofraneh Honduran black fraternal organisation. Another Garífuna man, Oscar Francisco Guerrero Centeno, was assassinated in Masca on 10 October 2019. There are images of Garífuna women marching, holding a banner, saying, stop the assassinations against Garífunas. Ofraneh had spoken up repeatedly about how Masca had become an epicentre of violence in attempt to terrorise the community and push them out from their ancestral land so that outsiders can take over and exploit the lands for commercial gains. The land title and other state departments are complicit, by providing the outsider plunderers with land title documents and placing their names on these and through the army collaborating with these powerful groups. The Garífuna communities in struggle – who are black and matriarchal – face these in addition to insitutionalised and media socialised racism and sexism.

Human rights lawyer attempted against

On 30 November 2019, in a public park in Choluteca at night, lawyer and human rights defender Ely Portillo was spending time with his family, when a guy pulled out a weapon pointed it at Ely and Ely fought with the attacker. Since Ely had been granted protection measures as someone the authorities recognised as being at risk, he tried to call on this help, ‘I called and they answered, however they promised to send escorts, and to date (3 December 2019), they have not arrived.’ From the attack, Ely has a cut on his forehead that is healing. Ely is part of the legal team of Aci Participa NGO, which will be visiting human rights organisations and also state departments including the police, in the work for there to be security for human rights defenders. He experienced first hand, that there is not.

Persecution against Bastion del Sur, Barrios Bravos

On 17 December 2019, Bastión del Sur (Barrios Bravos – Angry Hoods) raised an alert about repression suffered in a number of neighbourhoods, and stated that there are organisations working hard to document the repression as well as lawyers on the cases. Especially worrying are that there are medias and members of the government political party that have publicly smeared Bastión del Sur (Barrios Bravos) calling the people involved terrorists. Those organised continue in struggle despite the risks, with the idea that, ‘if the present is of struggle, the future is ours.’

On 19 December 2019, the home of Aleyda Huete was raided by repressive state entities. Aleyda is the founder of Bastion del Sur (Barrios bravos). It was said that if anything should happen to her, her family, or other militants of Bastion del Sur (Barrios bravos), that JOH, Edgardo Loucel, Miguel Farach and Elba Reyes are responsible. She is being persecuted for struggling constantly against the narco dictatorship and its neoliberal measures.

Grassroots organisations of Aguan office robbed, organisers of the region are at risk

On 20 December 2019, the Grassroots organisations of Aguan office, COPA, was raided – its back door was destroyed, and the office was robbed. Information was stolen regarding COPA’s activities – the robbers stole the desktop computer, containing information about defenders associated with COPA in the region, including in relation to the Guapinol struggle against mining and to declare Tocoa a municipality free from mining companies. This theft places at increased risk the lives of the defenders associated with COPA. This robbery had also occurred following a media smear campaign against those who struggle defending human rights and the environment around Tocoa, Colón.

La Paz against loggers, loggers threaten leader

On 18 December, people of La Paz began occupying a highway to Marcala to close the path for logging company trucks in defence of the Opatoro forests from logging. On 30 December 2019, the CNTC rural organisation’s regional general secretary for La Paz, Sebastian Reyes, who has campaigned in defence of land and water and against logging, spoke up about receiving multiple death threats from logging companies in La Paz. Sebastian reports being followed and watched and persecuted, and had faced charges also; his home has been under siege by contracted hitmen who are there taking photos. If anything happens to Sebastian or his family, Juan Fernando Pereira, a logging contractor, is responsible.

Marcala La Paz: repression against youths and human rights defenders

On 13 December 2019, two young people, Jaime Cálix and Rigoberto Vásquez, were arrested and spent the whole day and night in court, with charges of attempted robbery and damages against the coordinator of municipal women’s office of the city, Rosemery Alvarez. The human rights network of the region, Redhil Paz, mobilised immediately to outside the court to pressure for the youths to be freed. As the trial went into the night time and people saw that the judge had left but the proceedings continued, and that the proceedings seemed biased against the young pair, they were rightly concerned about what would happen to Jaime and Rigoberto, and proceeded to occupy the court. That was about 9pm – court began 9am that day. Military police terrorised and threatened the human rights defenders there, firing their weapons. Outside the court you could see some people filming, some people yelling, and police was grabbing and threatening Lenca indigenous and human rights defenders Donatila Girón and Margarita Pineda, accusing these of agitating and driving the protest, and belittled Donatila saying that her defenders’ vest meant nothing to them, saying it was ‘pure rubbish’. and locked up both of these as well as Jaime and Rigoberto in the court that night, as others continued to protest outside demanding for the lives of Donatila, Margarita, Jaime and Rigoberto to be respected, knowing that lives under custody are lives in danger. Donatila is the aunt of one of the boys, as well as the president of Caucus Mundial organisation. Jaime and Rigoberto were held at least until, if not beyond, 16 December 2019, when hearings resumed.

A celebration for campesina cooperative 9 de julio in La Paz

On 14 December, 9 de julio, a cooperative under struggle, celebrated and partied having organised and set up running an electricity system in their community. They have gone through a lot and this was one of their dreams. Between 2010 and 2014, they had faced so much persecution, many threats, many charges, 17 violent evictions, many gunshot wounds, and had pregnant women who had been hurt in brutal repression to the degree of bringing on the abortion of their unborn babies. Despite of all this the cooperative continued recuperating land and completed another of its dreams. ‘We have fought 9 years and now thanks God we celebrate today, it is a part of the struggle and resistance compañeros and compañeras.’

Justice for Berta

Berta Cáceres, indigenous environmental anticapitalist feminist organiser, was murdered in 2016. Copinh, an organisation she co-founded and led up until she died, demanded that those who contracted for Berta’s murder to also be charged and brought to justice, and that there be an independent mission to properly investigate the case. Why are the Atala family and others free when there is the evidence of their being behind her murder?

Amongst those others not yet found guilty of Berta’s murder was DESA dam company president Roberto David Castillo, an ex military intelligence agent as well as ex ENEE state electricity company official, who is charged but no verdict had been given. It was found out in a 2009 public audit that he had corruptly continued to receive a salary from the army beyond his position there, as well as that he owned a company that was selling overpriced army products. In relation to Berta´s murder, months before the murder, Berta told Global Witness that Roberto Castillo had called her to try to bribe her to stop organising against the Agua Zarca dam project.

None of the Atala family had been charged despite ample evidence of them being behind the murder, because DESA and the Atala family have both extensive high up political connections. DESA secretary Roberto Pacheco Reyes is an ex minister of governance and justice. The DESA vicepresident Jacobo Nicolás Atala Zablah is the current president of the BAC Honduras bank and is an Atala, one of the richest business families in Honduras. Jacobo’s cousin is multimillionaire Camilo Atala, an ex government minister and owner of Ficohsa Bank, and one of the main investors of the polemic Indura Beach and Golf Resort. Jacobo’s brother, José Eduardo Atala Zablah, is on the DESA management committee and is the president of the Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce and ex head for honduras of the CABEI Central American Bank of Economic Integration. CABEI is one of the main investors of the DESA project of Agua Zarca. Another Atala, Daniel Atala Midence, is the financial director of DESA. There are others still.

JOH and TH continue trail blazing their drug trafficking histories

On 9 December 2019, one of the lawyers of the Valle Valle family/cartel and of the killed prisoner Magdaleno Meza, lawyer José Luís Pinto, aged 38, was in a restaurant when gunmen opened fired, killing him with several gunshots in La Entrada, Copán. The Valle Valle brothers themselves, Luís Alfonso and Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle, of the cartel, have been in prison in Miami maximum security prison in the US since 2014, having subsequently declared themselves guilty to trafficking cocaine to US in January 2016, and sentenced by Miami federal court to 23 years of prison.

Then, on 13 December 2019, the director of El Pozo high security prison who was a witness in the Magdaleno Meza assassination in October and was suspended from his position ‘for investigation purposes’, Ildefonso Armas, was driving a pickup truck when he was ambushed by seven attackers on the CA5 Sur highway. Ildefonso was forced off the truck and shot to death with several gunshots, the attackers then fled towards an unknown direction. Ildefonso’s prison superiors Rosa Gudiel and German McNeil did not give any reasons for why he was suspended. CODEH president Hugo Maldonado revealed that Ildefonso Armas was seeking political asylum prior to being killed, because he was worried about a possible attempt against him for having witnessed a gang member kill Magdaleno Meza in prison in Santa Barbara. Meza elaborated materials about drug trafficking where TH and JOH names appear, along with quantities of money that were received for trafficking drugs towards US, as one of the cartel operators of the brothers Valle Valles. These documents were used in court in New York in which TH was ruled guilty. There are indications that Meza had collaborated with DEA in US to reveal secrets about TH and JOH. Meza’s other legal representative Carlos Chajtur also is in fear of a possible attempt against his life.

Update on political prisoner Rommel Baldemar

On 19 December 2019, in La Granja neighbourhood court, a preliminary hearing on Rommel Baldemar’s case was held. Rommel is a political prisoner of the platform in struggle in defence of health and public education in Honduras. He is currently under custody in psychiatric hospital. People were outside the court demanding his freedom.

Women prisoners abused and tortured

On boxing day 2019, images went around of women prisoners having been tortured by soldiers in the prison of El Progreso in Honduras. They have been flogged with iron bars in different parts of bodies. There are images of their beaten bodies.

November 2019 Honduras Coup Update

November 2019 Honduras coup update

This month: one uni student of the students movement, Leonardo Castillo and a high school student, Sulmy López, were killed. Another high school student has been disappeared. An extermination plan is known – to silence opposition and to silence the drug trail of the TH-JOH politician brothers. One more exposition to JOH’s money laundering and scandals for funding the 2017 electoral campaign. Another journalist, José Arita, was assassinated. Human rights defenders Jorge Acosta and Ramón Aguilar were assassinated, another one received a death threat in his car. Villagers of Zacate Grande standing up to large landholders suffer repeat arrests. Campesinos of La Paz have court processes sitting on top of them. Guapinol community defenders against mining also has its eight political prisoners stuck in a dragged out court process, and a journalist who accompanies their struggle suffered a kidnap attempt, whilst the community there live under a state of siege as a public meeting approaches. As communities in Tegucigalpa mobilised again to protect the La Tigra national park from an enormous luxury apartments project, they suffered a violent eviction. The political prisoners from Pimienta suffer persecution outside the prison. Another political prisoner Gustavo Cáceres was finally released after almost 2 years. Surveillance intensified. Campesinos leader and his family were victims to gunshots attack in Bajo Aguan. Protests were repressed.

Two students assassinated, another disappeared

In Trujillo, Colón, on 1 November, in the night time, 25 years old student leader of the MAU (Movimiento Amplio Universitario) uni students movement, Leonardo Daniel Castillo Lagos, was murdered that night with several gunshots including one in the head, and his body was found afterwards on the shore of the Trujillo beach. Leonardo was studying psychology at the UNAH-CU campus. Both his parents were local teachers. MAU issued the following statement about Leonardo’s killing, ‘in Honduras, the government is killing us, and criminalising, jailing and threatening us. And they are stealing our dreams, for being young, for being students, for thinking differently. For bringing to light the constant atrocities of the Government and for demanding a better Honduras. We will keep screaming because of the injustices of our country. Nobody will stop us. WE ARE STUDENTS; NOT DELINQUENTS!’ MAU also blamed COHEP, the Honduran Business Council, for Leonardo’s assassination, since COHEP had just publicly demanded ‘for death squads to show protests organisers to their place’. In the midnight hours the same night, two other students who belong to the MAU, were given death threats.

 

Leonardo Daniel Castillo

In Dulce Nombre de Culmí, Olancho, on 5 November 2019, 17 years old high school student, Sulmy López, was assassinated. Sulmy is the 79th student to be assassinated so far in 2019 in Honduras.

In Tegucigalpa, on 15 November 2019, the parents of 13 years old high school student of Instituto Técnico Luís Bogran, Dayana Lilibeth Gómez Aguilera, reported that Dayana was disappeared. That day, like other days, Dayana said bye to her mum and dad and left the family home in El Carrizal neighbourhood headed for school early in the morning. What was different was, at midday, when she should be at home, she didn’t appear. Dayana was always super punctual, and was home 15 to 20 minutes after school finished. Her mum and dad got more and more worried as more time lapsed. When one and a half hours had passed, they knew that something must have happened and started looking for her everywhere. Her mum went to the school first to ask around there but nobody knew anything. She then went to ask her friends, but they didn’t knew anything. The parents thought maybe she was with her boyfriend and went to find him, but he didn’t know anything. They went to the police then, but they also didn’t know anything, and couldn’t do anything. The parents said she had depression, but she took medication and a bit of everything, and it was not extreme, ‘she just got bored and would get depressed.’ They said their daughter was never in trouble, that she is peaceful. She was a doer, she did her homework, gets excellent grades and all.

In October 2019, two students were reported disappeared from this same school, days later, the body of Oscar Daniel Mencía Cantarero was found, in Villa Cristina neighbourhood. The school principal said, ‘Oscar was always involved in the protests’

Investigative journalists pointed out that the death squads to carry out JOH and TH’s extermination plans, elaborated on next, could be behind the killings and disappearances of students, since students have been a strong voice for calling JOH to get out, for quality education well resourced by the state, and speaking up against the narco state with the TH scandal. Schools where students are most organised and belligerant, are most at risk, remembering also Oscar David, car mechanics student at Instituto Luís Bogran killed, and Dennis Avila Sánchez, 29 years old UNAH student in Tegucigalpa who was killed on 30 October 2019, near his home.

Known extermination plans

On 1 November 2019, an alert came out that the JOH regime was embarking on a plan that had already started, to exterminate those who criticise the regime, and those who used to associate with the mafias of JOH and TH who know things. The extermination would be carried out by death squads of the JOH and TH brothers, over a three months period, according to information that the JOPRODEH human rights organisation has.

They have at the end of October assassinated in the ‘maximum security prison’ Magdaleno Meza, who was involved in the mafias.

Also, on 31 October 2019, the highly ranked official, Presidential Commissioner of Transparency, Alfredo José Cantarero Callejas, whose work is to scrutinise the work of JOH regime president (including about the government’s involvement in drug trafficking), was found dead. Authorities called Alfredo’s death a suicide, saying that ‘obligates’ them to close the investigation; but Sherill Hernández Mancía who worked in Alfredo’s department – Office of Criminal Investigation – confirmed that it was possible that Alfredo was murdered.

Alfredo-Canatarero.png

Julissa Villanueva, the then Forensic Medicine director of the Prosecutors Department, was fired on 21 November 2019, for apparently being slow and thorough in her work. The Medical Association was on her side. Julissa had subsequently spoken up about Alfredo Cantarero’s murder, and Julissa received death threats. She said if anything happens to her or her family or collaborators, that the state and the Prosecutors Department are responsible. She added that she is a scientist committed to uncovering the truth.

It is believed that the attempt against Jaime Rodríguez, threats against journalist Milton Benítez, who directs the program ‘The Yellow Dog’ and spoke up against corruption, the persecution against the organisations Aci Participa and Apuvimeh, and the threats and surveillance against the Garífuna doctor, human rights defender and leader Luther Castillo Harry are all part of this plan. Also on the plan’s blacklists are ex-president Lobo Sosa (association with mafias), and journalist David Romero.

Update on the neverending expositions to JOH’s money laundering and scandals for funding the 2017 electoral campaign

The major ones had been from IHSS social security health services for workers, with scandals of empty hospitals and empty medicine pills causing many deaths, and then the drug cartel head/parliamentarian/brother of JOH, Tony Hernández, had also facilitated large sums for JOH’s electoral campaign. Now, newly uncovered are many other cases including one of the plundering of the agricultural trust (supposed to use its funds to give credits to small grains farmers), but proceeded to assign about US$16 millions to the Honduran army (which applied for a basic grains production project) for the building of a reservoir to irrigate 14 hectares of land in October 2017 (just before the election). Even the Honduras Chambers of Commerce protested this.

Journalist assassinated

On 25 November 2019, journalist of Canal 12, Puerto Vision, José Arita, had finished presenting his program ‘The Hour of Truth’ for the day and stopped to buy something on his way home when unidentified people who travelled in a tourist van fired gunshots at him assassinating him. In this last program he presented, he spoke up about being excluded from some press conferences, and he said, ‘I say to the mayor, to the public and private institutions, that I don’t know what you are scared would happen if I were at a press conference.’ From the same channel, another community journalist Santiago Carvaja of the queer community, was murdered with gunshots four and a half months before José was murdered.

Human rights defenders assassinated and received death threats

In La Lima, Cortés, on 17 November 2019, Jorge Alberto Acosta, aged 62, president of the savings and credit cooperative of the TelaRailRoad Co workers’ union (Sitraterco), was assassinated in the San Juan neighbourhood. Jorge was a human rights defender who received death threats, and the state’s mechanism of protection recognised his need for protection prior to his killing.

JorgeAlbertoAcosta_banner.jpg

The same date, in Marcala, La Paz, human rights defender and Marcala councillor, Marlon Calles, got up very early that morning and went to his car to get his charger, still very sleepy, only to realise something was wrong when he had opened the door on the drivers’ side and noticed that the glass window was broken with a cement tamper, and inside, a note, to him, saying, ‘YOU ARE DEAD’. Marlon had been speaking up against the logging of the Jilguero forest by a transnational logging company – should the logging go ahead, one of the main water reserves of La Paz province would dry out. Days prior to receiving this death threat, his car had already been broken into and someone stole a file from it about a new water project that would affect over 30,000 people in the same region, that is being pushed by local parliamentarian Juan Manuel Melgar. Marlon is known by and has collaborated with Cofadeh human rights organisation since 2018, Cofadeh coordinator said that Marlon doesn’t have any enemies, that the only possible source of the death threats are the business interests that would destroy the water and natural resources of Marcala.

On 24 November 2019, in Alianza Colina, Santa Barbara, a recognised community leader, Ramon Aguilar, was assassinated.

Villagers of Zacate Grande arrested time and again for standing up to large land holders

Back on 22 September, María Hernández was arrested with charges of usurpation, and at that time, there was an agreement made that her partner, Santos Hernández, who had six charges against him, also for resisting the expansion of large landholders, was to appear in court on the same dates as Maria. So, 25 and 26 November 2019 were their court dates at Amapala Court. On 25 November 2019, María and Santos attended court, accompanied by the president of ADEPZA (organisation of Zacate Grande Villagers for defending territory) Abel Pérez, aged 36. At 3.30pm that day, police arrested Abel at the court for a new charge in addition to existing charges. Then on 26 November 2019, the court was heavily militarised with many agents of navy, investigative police and police there. When court hearings finished, police then also captured Maria and Santos, even putting Maria’s 10 years old son on the police patrol vehicle with them this time. Abel, Maria and Santos spent this night in the police cells there. María was very emotionally traumatised going through all of that. Abel told Maria and Santos to stay calm, ‘we are going to get out of this,’ Abel had been in prison with Santos for 101 days back in 2016, and sentenced with Santos too to 5 years and 1 month of imprisonment; the sentence being under appeal. The accusing party is Jorge Luís Cassis, the latest charge against the three is related to damages to a wall Cassis built in the Playa Blanca community, a wall he built on a disputed space to impede the movement of communities who have lived where they live for over 50 years. Cassis has land titles because large landholders have control over the state institutions, not because the lands are rightly his. On 27 November 2019, Abel, Maria and Santos were released on bail.

Campesinos of La Paz attacked by courts, and police made obvious which side they do and don’t serve

Carlos Geovani Calix of the 9 de julio campesinos group in Tutule, La Paz, and who also belongs to the CNTC campesinos’ federation, had the hearing against him suspended and postponed for the second time on 5 November 2019 because the accusing party – Carlos Arriaga – did not show up to the hearing. This hearing got postponed to 8 November 2019. It was until 26 November 2019 when, in court again, Carlos Calix was found to be innocent of the charges of usurpation by the court. 9 de julio campesino group has been growing food on the land that Carlos Arriaga claimed was his since the beginning of 2010.

Also on 26 November 2019, and in Tutule as well, CNTC La Paz regional directive member, María Rosaura Vásquez, called the police because unidentified persons raided her home and took her home belongings and money for the family’s sustenance by force. The police refused to answer her call for help. Instead, it was members of La Paz human rights network RedhilPaz who went to her home in solidarity and stayed with her, to make sure she was okay.

Guapinol (community against mining) political prisoners continue in dragged out court processes and in prison, a journalist accompanying the struggle suffered a kidnap attempt, and communities approaching a public meeting are intimidated by terror tactics

The eight environmental defenders of Guapinol community and river endured another month in prison. On 5 November 2019 they had hearing, but the prosecutors did not show up, so this was postponed one day. On 6 November, the bail revision hearing was held and people were in solidarity outside with banners, but judge Lizeth Vallecillo decided again to deny them bail. During the hearing, on the balcony the floor above of the court building, police took photos of those friends, compas and family members who were outside in support while the defenders were on trial inside. An appeal was placed on 7 November 2019 again demanding their freedom.

On 14 November 2019, in Tocoa city, journalist César Obando Flores of Diario Colón hn and correspondent of Radio Progreso was one block from his home when some unidentified people who travelled in a van attempted to kidnap him, luckily, he escaped. César had been very steady in accompanying the Guapinol struggle.

On the build up to the open meeting in Tocoa organised by the council where the community aimed to declare Colón to be a municipality free from mining and expel from their community the mining company Inversiones Los Pinares (and partner factory company Ecotek), the community could feel a heavy terror campaign to try to deter people from going to this meeting. On 23 November 2019, two people were killed at the entrance of the Guapinol community – their names are Roberto Portales and Vilma Portillo. Roberto is said to be an employee of the mining company. The back story is not known, perhaps Roberto was a whistleblower. It is timely to point out that one Guapinol defender charged who had not voluntarily appeared in court to subsequently become a political prisoner, Roberto Antonio Argueta, was assassinated by hitmen. The companies (which both have as their biggest shareholders, elite Hondurans Lenir Pérez and Ana Facussé) do anything to impose their project to exploit iron oxide over 200 hectares, using open pit mining, just 150 metres away from the communities, between Guapinol, La Lempira and Ceibita – these communities would suffer grave damages to their water source, health and environment.

Tegucigalpa: Communities mobilised to protect La Tigra national park violently evicted by police

On 7 November 2019, communities surrounding La Tigra national park once again mobilised and blocked roads to La Tigra in El Hatillo, El Chimbo and Río Abajo, in defence of the environment and of their water source, against the massive luxury housing project. The communities were violently evicted by polcie with teargas bombs.

Follow up on some political prisoners from 2017 – the ten from Pimienta, and Gustavo Cáceres

Ten political prisoners of Pimienta, Cortéz, were arrested accused of burning a police station and looting, during the semi-insurrectional period post election in 2017. They were locked up in maximum security prison El Pozo for several months and released on 5 May 2018 on bail, but the freedom not only came with conditions like having to go to court to sign the book every week, but living in constant persecution and knowledge that their lives are at risk. For example, Roque Jacinto Alvarenga, one of the ten, reported on 12 November 2019, that there had been hooded people in vehicles without numberplates, and others on foot or bicycle, going near his home, taking photos of the house without any airs of shame, and then leaving. This was in addition to having had his home raided in the wee hours of the night several times. It was not enough to reinforce the doors and windows, which he tried, so when his home was still raided, he left his home to save his and his family’s life. That was not the end of it, he had many other stories of the antigang police, of a red Hilux, of a black Ford Escape, of a white Kia Sorento, of children of his extended family noticing strange people taking photos of his house, of moving, being found by them, and moving again, of not being able to do jobs he wants to do because of this highly unstable living situation, and once they even appeared while he was fixing something in someone’s home. Roque said this is part of the EXTERMINATION that the police carries out against social leaders, students, ex political prisoners, ‘I think deep down that I am also part of this extermination, but this only God would know, but yes I feel quite unsafe.’ Roque is not the only one persecuted of the ten ex political prisoners of Pimienta, another also received audio files and messages of threat through social media from the investigative police of Pimienta police station.

Another political prisoner from that period, Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres, was locked up from 21 December 2017, taken in a water delivery truck because he carried no ID, at the barricades against the regime – charged with ‘carrying explosives or war weapons’. The hearing process only began almost two years after his arrest without bail, on 28 October 2019. This hearing was then suspended and postponed to 11 November 2019 because the Prosecutors’ ‘witnesses’ didn’t show up. They also did not show up on 11 November 2019. On 14 November 2019, the court finally dismissed the charges, after his 22 and and half months spent in prison, where Gustavo tried to support his family by doing other people’s washing inside the prison. Gustavo was the first political prisoner the be locked up and last to be released from that period. He suffers from anxiety and depression from this ordeal.

Cops case suspended

On 12 November 2019, military police Denis Omar Cáceres (who is on bail) appeared in court accused of the assassination of David Octavio Quiroz back on 15 December 2017 during the semi-insurrectional protests against the military fraud, in Villanueva, Cortés. The officer’s legal team did not show up despite having been duely summoned, and the hearing was suspended.

Surveillance and profiling: against protester and political party activist

On 12 November 2019, Juan Carlos Flores, a business administration graduate and LIBRE party activist and collaborator of the assassinated indigenous anticapitalist feminist activist Berta Cáceres and her family, spoke up about profiling and persecution against him by the military police. He said in the last days of October, four military police had gone to the basketball training carrying a photo of him asking people there if they knew where he lived. Even the photo looks like one taken of him in basketball training with others, he was wearing shorts. He believes this took place because he had been seen collaborating with Berta’s daughter and Libre parliamentarian, Olivia Marcela Zuniga. There are concerns about profiling activities of the state increasing against activists.

Bajo Aguan – attackers gunshot wounded campesino leader and his family

On 13 November 2019, in the Panamá community where campesino leader Santos Torres and his family live, armed attackers shot at and attempted against their lives; they were gunshot wounded and hospitalised but luckily their condition was stable. The whole Bajo Aguán region is permanently under siege by large landholders together with police and military who dispossess campesinos of their territories. For years now the region has been militarised and many campesinos have been killed, many others charged, the state has no interest in changing this.

Protests repressed

On 6 November 2019, there was a protest in Iztoca, Choluteca, that was being violently evicted by the police. A Metro TV channel journalist was covering the eviction when police saw him doing that and pushed and knocked him and his camera about.

On 14 November 2019, in Linaca, Danlí, El Paraíso, villagers there were mobilised in a protest about government neglect – during JOH’s ‘surprise visit’ to Danlí to oversee and do public relations on the investment of about US$113 million to repair 6kms of highway around the country, which does not cover the highway the Linaca needs repaired. The community needs the road to function so that their campesino producers can sell their produce and survive within the economy. They also protested the military involvement in the agricultural industry. Instead of responding by sending construction teams to repair the highway and cancelling the army’s agricultural project, police proceeded to attack the protesting villagers viciously with teargas bombs launched at their heads, abdominals and legs from close range. There are photos of their wounds – bleeding and bruises, bleeding around the eye, eyes covered, head and scalp bleeding. They were 50m from the regional hospital Gabriela Alvarado so did not have far to go to wait for medical attention. Those wounded are José Miguel Zúniga, Kevin Javier Casco, Jonh Milton García (LIBRE municipal councillor), Jorge Miguel Martínez and Cristina Rodríguez – Cristina was hit by three teargas bombs.

On 23 November 2019, in San Juan Pueblo, military police repressed the town centre protests, committed abuses, arrested two protesters and were torturing these.

 

October 2019 Honduras coup update

October 2019 Honduras Coup update

Summary: A campesino of the Bajo Aguan territory struggle was kidnapped by soldiers and murdered. Political prisoner Rommel’s mental health crisis forced a transfer to the psychiatric hospital. A Garífuna kindy teacher killed.

Campesinos growing food in Siguatepeque were oppressed by cops and courts. A Libre party leader was assassinated.

A journalist’s family home was attacked. Police intimidated another media. 18 October 2019 was also a date of major protests nationally because the regime president JOH’s brother Tony Hernández – also then parliamentarian – was declared guilty in New York as a drug trafficker and assassin. Police attacked many times with gases and arrests against ongoing protests against the dictatorship. A teacher leader was kidnapped and left for dead. A Miskita indigenous leader and spouse (teacher) were murdered by hitmen. One more Guapinol community member who opposed Mining company Inversiones Los Pinares was arrested.

Territorial defender in Bajo Aguán kidnapped and killed

On 9 October 2019, in Bajo Aguán, when family members of Marcos Tulio Cruz (aged 44) approached state authorities about Marcos having been kidnapped, those authorities responded telling them Marcos was dead. That he was assassinated, and his body was in the Sonaguera crematorium in Colón. Marcos was part of the campesina land recuperation struggle, and was of the campesina cooperative Unidos Lucharemos, of Luzón Palmeras. Marcos’s brother Rigoberto Durán is a human rights defender. The night before, four soldiers with high calibre weapons raided Marco’s home and kidnapped him, in front of Marco’s mother and brother Rigoberto – Rigoberto tried to stop this and the soldiers bashed him to the degree of causing him to lose a lot of blood and to require immediate surgery. Unidos Lucharemos cooperative has also suffered violent eviction.

MarcosTulioCruz

News on political prisoners – Rommel to psychiatric hospital, Gustavo continues inside

Rommel Herrera, a 23 years old teacher who fought for quality and public education and health services, and who is also studying at uni himself, has been a political prisoner since 30 May 2019 at the La Tolva high security prison, charged (not sentenced, not given bail) with burning tyres at the entrance of the US embassy. His human rights lawyers have been applying for the court to change the measures applied against him in light of severe depression, anxiety, and being a suicide risk, and this went to hearing on 10 October 2019. His relatives and ex-cellmates also political prisoners joined him in court in solidarity. They were very worried about him. In prison, Rommel helped in the kitchen, but mostly, his time in prison had been very lonely, and he didn’t feel tough to fit in there, especially ever since fellow political prisoners Raúl and Edwin were released on bail. The court requested from the Forensic Medicine department a certificate on his depression and on the risk of him taking his life. Since the lock up began, Rommel became depressive, hallucinative, and suicidal. Rommel was seen by his visitors to be constantly moving his legs and putting his hands on his face partially covering his eyes for a long period of time. His mental health state had weighed very heavily on his relationships with his family too. His visitors had noticed that with each visit, Rommel deteriorated to be more scared, more annoyed, more angry, and more suicidal. They tried to give him attention and support but knew the thing he needed most was to be out of the prison.

On the follow up court hearing on 18 October 2019, the court ordered his transfer to a psychiatric hospital in acknowledgement of the severity of Rommel’s state of mental health. Hospitalisation under police custody is his bail condition. So, he is not free and it is not known what would happen to him if and when his mental health improves, if that happens before his trial completes – the court stated it will make further rulings when this time comes. Rommel’s father is happy because at least in the psychiatric hospital, he can visit his son more frequently than in the maximum security prison where he was held for four months. That and Rommel would receive treatment – they continue to be fearful Rommel could take his life. So, on this very day, his dad, mum, cousin, and the human rights lawyers of Cofadeh and compas of the committee of liberation of political prisoners in Honduras followed the police vehicle that drove him back to the prison to complete exit paperwork, and then at 4pm, they followed him to the psychiatric hospital, where they arrived at 6pm. They did that to make sure Rommel didn’t stay another night in the prison, and to accompany him as much as it was possible to.

Meanwhile, the other political prisoner who continues in prison from this period, Gustavo Cáceres Ayala, had his hearing begin. On 21 December 2018 during the protests against the electoral fraude Gustavo was arrested by the police at the La Democracia bridge barricade – he was working, in a truck, that delivered water towards San Pedro Sula but was stuck in traffic – the reason he was arrested was that the police asked everyone for ID and he didn’t carry any – but they also proceeded to set him up by photographing him with some props that the police placed with him. He also said they put a black bag over his head while they intimidated him and interrogated him saying, ‘where are the drugs?’. Gustavo has a brain injury and has the mental age of a 6-9 years old – a forensic medicine doctor confirmed this in court – but he decided he wanted to testify. On the prosecution side, two witnesses did not show up (army bomb expert Bayron Fuentes, and social worker María Lucila Hernández), only the police who arrested him – Edwin Wada Herrera and Alexis Urbina – gave their testimonies, although they contradicted each other about why they arrested him, where, and what he was wearing. The hearing was suspended and postponed to November because of the prosecution’s missing witnesses.

Zacate Grande struggle – large landholder against villagers

Attacks and territorial pressure against villagers of the peninsula of Zacate Grande continue.

On 10 October 2019, Wilmer Rivera of community radio La Voz de Zacate Grande went to the police station to ask for his file after he heard from Valle municipal council authorities that there was a capture order against him, apparently for a charge of usurpation. When Wilmer was there asking for his file, police arrested him. It was only with pressure from Cofadeh human rights organisation that he was subsequently released on bail.

On the afternoon of 12 October 2019, large landholder Jorge Cassis Leiva and his employees accompanied by hired armed men proceeded to build a stones and concrete and barbed wire wall over a space under litigation known as El Plantel. This wall was going to lock inside a whole community – 50 families, who won’t be able to have any vehicles enter or leave, blocking their free movement. The families went to break the wall knowing they would be attacked for doing that but also knowing that they had no choice as being locked in was not an option. There was police there but they knew the police would just watch Cassis’s men attack the families, that if police does anything, it would be to join in the attack against the families. The tension was sustained, the day after, on 13 October 2019, police gangs went around the Playa Blanca community in Zacate Grande looking for campesino men and women. Police and Cassis’s guards harassed Adepza (territorial struggle organisation) member Darwin Aguila. Cassis’s guards also give death threats to women compas who defend their territory in Zacate Grande. Gunshot in the air, likely shot by landholders’ employees, were heard on the night of 16 October 2019 in the Playa Blanca community. Gunshots again were fired on 18 October 2019, as Cassis’s guards showed rage at seeing the wall broken. The guards threatened with more capture orders against any new leaders, and took photos of all the people. Confrontation was looming. Despite the threats and tension, the people of this community remain firmly in struggle as they are disposed to die defending their territory.

Garifuna kindy teacher and black fraternal organisation member killed

On 12 October 2019 in the afternoon, María Digna Montero, well loved Garífuna kindergarten teacher and a member of Garífuna Honduran black fraternal organisation Ofraneh and of its working group of intercultural bilingual education, was at her home in her backyard when unidentified attackers broke in and fired several gunshots at her there, assassinating her, and then fleeing.

Maria Digna Montero

Campesinos of Siguatepeque who grow food oppressed by police and courts

On 12 October 2019, in El Porvenir, Siguatepeque, campesino Héctor Orlando Velásquez of the campesina base/cooperative 11 de marzo was at home when cops arrived, searched his car, and showed him a capture order with charges for being part of a land recuperation process in conflict with supposed landholder Marco Antonio Valerio Barahona. The police proceeded to arrest Héctor. Cofadeh human rights organisation went to visit him at the police cells, and it was the next day when he had hearing in court. The hearing was initially programmed for 9am, but got postponed to 1pm, and it was actually 2pm when he finally went to hearing. Bail was granted with the advocacy of Cofadeh, but there was paperwork to do and it was 4pm when he was reunited with his family and land recuperation compas outside. He is one of several charged – his compas Vicente, Juan and Santos were arrested and imprisoned for 6 days back in March 2019 and continue to have charges hanging over them, having also charges of turning forest land. ‘The regime treat us campesinos with hatred, like we aren’t humans’, Héctor said, ‘we simply dream of a world where we can live, harvest, and have no fear.’ The initial hearing for all four are on 23 October 2019.

At the initial court hearing on that date of the four (23 October 2019), they were accompanied by compas of the La Paz human rights network who had travelled to be there. The case against Héctor Velásquez was dismissed – Cofadeh proved that Héctor did not usurp land, but at this point, the charges against Vicente, Juan, and Santos all continue. Héctor said he is hopeful that his case being dismissed is a step towards the dismissal of the cases against all his compas as well. What are the stories of these compas? There is Vicente Castro, aged 60, the president of 11 de marzo, who smiled, with his unbreakable spirit, as he spoke of the oppressive bail conditions against them, of the expense of travelling to the Siguatepeque court to sign the book every week, and of not being able to work the field – effectively forcing his resignation as the cooperative’s president, and from going there to grow food. Vicente is worried about the self-proclaimed owner appearing again with machinery to destroy their crops – he did that in October 2017. There is Santos Vásquez, aged 49, who was arrested while helping a friend to sow and grow food. And there is Juan Mejía Euceda, aged 61, who was actually locked up for 9 days. It has been hard for him travelling to court every Friday, as well as paying the fare, he loses a day of work – he would normally earn $6 on this day. Juan expressed frustration especially at being prohibited from approaching the land where he had been growing food for over 15 years.

Libre politician assassinated

On 16 October 2019, politician of opposition party Libre, and previously of Liberal Party, Rigoberto Turcios Ayala, known affectionately as ‘the countryman’, was assassinated. Police taped off the crime scene quickly. People don’t who who the killer is or where they went. Rigoberto’s family was not around when he was killed, and aren’t allowed to see his body until the authorities are done investigating.

An attack against a journalist’s family, and police intimidation against another media

18 October was a day of attacks against journalists.

Journalist Jairo López and his partner and her small daughter of Choluteca, had to leave their life and abandon their home in Choluteca because of intense persecution including illegal arrests, death threats, physical attacks and confiscation of his vehicle by police, and being fired from a media he worked for because of orders from politicians and the business sector. But, on 18 October 2019, Jairo and his partner had to go to Choluteca because his partner had to apply for a licence for her work, having lost her job and is not earning a salary because of being forcefully displaced. It was lucky that they decided not to sleep in the home they abandoned on this visit, because that night, in the dark of the night, their home was raided and trashed, things inside were turned upside down – drawers pulled out, things threw all over the place, the stove pulled out, and toilet paper thrown around everywhere. One can only imagine what may have happened to them had they been home – the raid would have been timed knowing they were in town.

In Tegucigalpa, at dinnertime, two police trucks with about eleven cops with helmets and shields on stationed in front of Radio Globo in intimidation while journalists were working and transmitting inside.

18 October 2019 was also a date of major protests nationally because the regime president JOH’s brother Tony Hernández – also then parliamentarian – was declared guilty in New York as a drug trafficker and assassin

There are many ways this fact of Tony Hernández (Juan Antonio Hernández aka TH) as the head of a drug trafficking cartel played out. TH, who made deals and orders to kill, as brother of JOH (Juan Orlando Hernández), as a parliamentarian. TH had control over who was in government – some of the drug money went to the election campaign and into imposing the electoral fraude. Also, the state security forces protected him and were under his command. Also, he ordered his hitmen who killed people who knew things, people he didn’t like, people who threatened the drug movement business, and people who annoyed himself as a politician and his brother JOH too. From the New York hearings (2-18 October 2019) and through press investigations and anonymous and exclusive interviews from the last two years, it came to light that TH headed Los Cachiros, a cartel responsible for 78 assassinations including some journalists. One of the journalists sprayed with AK47 bullets was Nahúm Palacios, two days after he sought protection after having received death threats in March 2010. A director of a local news channel, Nahúm was just 34, he was publicly opposed to the military coup, spoke up about campesino land rights in Bajo Aguán, and about organised crime in the region. It’s for his critical work for which he received threats. Another victim whose death was ordered by Los Cachiros – was journalist Aníbal Barrow, who was kidnapped and killed very brutally with gunshot and then cut up and fed to crocodiles by Los Gordos – the remains of Aníbal’s body were found by a lake 16 days after he was kidnapped. The last person he had spoken to before being kidnapped was another journalist who was affiliated with Los Cachiros. Someone who worked as a hitman of Los Cachiros, who lives a fugitive and disappeared person, revealed anonymously that his boss was a powerful parliamentarian who was well known and charismatic, but who would when he disliked or was annoyed by someone, would smile a certain way with his lips as he gave an order to kill. He also explained how TH controlled the courts so those guilty are ruled innocent and vice versa, an innocent person might collaborate to do prison time to receive money for their family, only to be killed when they finishes the prison term because of what they knew. He explained how it worked. His boss held parties to which he invited only people who had some association with the organisation – there were often some very popular journalists who went there, journalists who collaborated and found out information about other journalists and passed the information back onto the cartel; this is what happened with Aníbal. Evangelical pastors also went to the party, some benefited from the drug trafficking knowingly, but there was one case of two pastors who didn’t know. Sometimes people involved want to leave, but because of what they know, there are orders to kill them. Some tried to bribe or blackmail TH, and get killed for trying. Some others get killed have nothing to do with anything, killing them being a strategy to divert the attention from something else happening at the time. Other gangs asked Los Cachiros for help in covering up the murder of Villatoro, and Los Cachiros helped distort the case using bribes and threats to the police – the police chose the bribes over the threats. There are many other stories and testimonies about TH’s drug trafficking, the above is just to touch the surface.

In this context, the police and the media pledged their alliance to the state, to continuing as before – attacking social and political opposition. As people mobilised these days, the police and military threatened to hurt those who critique them, and ‘restore order and peace’. The churches and medias (maybe some of the same ones who go to the Cachiros parties) repeat their lines too about not disturbing social peace, showing they are on the side of upholding status quo. People on the streets, and there are many, on the other hand, say, enough is enough. JOH needs to get out. The cartel needs to get out of the administration. Corruption – finance sector, speculators, money launderers – needs to end. As do the handing over of Honduran territories to transnational companies and extractive industries. All these elements that keep making poor people poorer and precarious to violence as well.

The rage is organised. There were national strikes and barricades all over with countless tyres on fire. In Francisco Morazán, barricades were presente in Santa Lucia and Tegucigalpa at about twenty different strategic points around different neighbourhoods. There were also strategic points at sometimes different sites in the provinces of Comayagua, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Copán, Cortes, Yoro, Atlántida, Colon, Valle, Intibucá, La Paz, Choluteca.

On this day, we know of reports of police and military repression in Tegucigalpa, and the compa Luí Fer was arrested and locked up in the 5th police station.

Get out JOH! Ongoing protests and gases and arrests

The next days there were in different places and different times of the day, a lot of protests in caravans, barricades, street mobilisations against the dictatorship.

There was also repression.

On 20 October 2019, in La Masica, police and soldiers intimidated and arrested young people.

On 21 and 21 October, as well as general mobilisations, nurses and assistant nurses of Ocotepeque gathered in assembly organising about the lack of supplies and staffing to attend to patients – so severe that patients only receive attention in emergency and critical wards, and the transport workers in the meantime decided to barricade the Panamerican Highway in Valle. On these days, people saw the streets heavily militarised. Lots commented that under the Honduran soldier uniform, there were also Colombian, Israeli and US paramilitaries. The soldiers used chemical weapons. A young student learning to be a teacher at UPNFM (teachers’ university) was arrested at the mobilisation there on 21 October, his name is Douglas Esaú Ramírez. He was locked up at El Manchén police station and Cofadeh human rights organisation went to check up on him and saw that he had been beaten up by police, with lots of marks on his body from the beatings.

On 24 October 2019, there was a gigantic and strong mobilisation demanding JOH to get out in Tegucigalpa at the UPNFM. Not far into the march, the police and tigres closed off the road of the protest route, but people were determined and made it through much more slowly using the footpaths on the sides of the road – only when all the people had gotten through did the police cordon dismantle and move on. A short while after, police began to attack the protest with teargas bombs. People refused to be dispersed and some regrouped to the meeting points and others had gotten trapped in the teargas and sought refuge in a nearby shopping centre, as cops continued launching the teargas bombs without caring what or who they would hit, launching including into a full parking lot. The protest went onto a roundabout near the teachers’ pension building INPREMA, where police again proceeded to attack and had the reinforcement of several police patrols, who chased protesters – mostly young protesters – who fled that area and moved onto occupying the La Hacienda bulevar and then the Villa Olimpica Stadium, continuing strong – it was around there that 18 years old Nahúm Flores was seeking refuge in a shop and police violently captured him and forced him onto a police patrol where he was then locked up in the Kennedy police station. The protests went onto the outside of the UNAH campus, and then inside, where the police again attacked these firing gases inside the campus. So despite attacks, the mobilisation went on for many hours. Nahúm was released hours after his arrest.

On 25 October 2019, in Tela, from Bo. El Retiro, this message came out: ‘They are shooting at us, they are soldiers, they are shooting to kill!’ in the context of continuing protests.

31 October 2019 was also another day of national protest, with mobilisation on campuses and highways, telling JOH to get out.

Campesinos in La Paz in court limbo and in grief

In Tutule, La Paz, it was going to be the final day of initial hearings for Carlos López Cálix of ‘9 de julio’ campesino cooperative. The hearing was, however, suspended to continue on 5 November 2019 because the witnesses of the prosecution did not show up. His family is under a lot of anxiety, worrying that they could imprison him, because it had already happened before, he was locked up in 2017 for almost four months, under charges of usurpation. The charges date back to July 2010, when 9 families began a land recuperation process to grow food for their families, and the charges were placed again all the members, who were mostly given bail except for the time Carlos and a compa Samuel Edgardo López Martínez were locked up in 2017 for almost four months. Being in court makes Carlos think of Samuel. Samuel died under misterious circumstances on 18 February 2018. Carlos knew that if Samuel were still alive, he would be in the courtroom with him, as he was before; in the courtroom and in the prison. Samuel’s mother also cried, knowing he would have been there. The land was under dispute with Carlos Arriaga since 2010, and Arriaga had sold the land to the state agrarian department INA in 2017. The cooperative wishes to pay INA the amount it paid to Arriaga, in exchange for the land title, but everything, all their lives, remain in the air.

Teacher leader kidnapped and left for dead

On 28 October 2019, a Monday, 54 years old teacher and lifelong union organiser Jaime Rodríguez left his spouse Martha and home in the morning on a bus to run some errands. That afternoon, Jaime was kidnapped and forced into a vehicle – his kidnappers blindfolded and tied him up and tortured him with ice and bashed him that whole night. The next day, on the Tuesday, at 5pm, a group of unionised lecturers of the university for teachers (Colpedagogosh) held a demo about Jaime’s disappearance, demanding that his kidnappers released him alive. That Tuesday, at 6pm, Jaime´s kidnappers took him from the place where he was tortured, to a river, where they cut him in the neck and threw him into the river, believing he would have died. Jaime used his survival instinct by lowering his head and pressing his beard strongly against his chest as they cut his throat to minimise the injury. Thrown away in the river and throat slit, local people saw him and rescued him from that river, which was near Herrera park. The local people thought he looked like a beggar. At the same time, his spouse Martha had been running around trying to look for him at the police stations and morgues and at the teachers’ organisation COPEMH office, and had with Cofadeh human rights organisation sought for the police to carry out a search for Jaime – the police response was, ‘we will do it tomorrow’. Unwilling to sit and wait when every hour can make the difference between life and death, Cofadeh began just after 7pm to retrace his steps and undertook to search for him at Parque Herrera and talk to people around there, while Martha was on her way to the Cofadeh office. It was in that moment that Jaime could use the phone of one of the people who rescued him to call Martha, at almost 8pm, when Martha happened to be nearby and was able to find him within two minutes and rushed him to hospital where he was immediately attended to and kept under medical observation. At these moments in hospital and for a while after, Jaime was unable to talk – any speaking could damage his vocal chords in those moments – he did say a line on video however when interviewed by the press – ‘nor a step back’, – to keep fighting. When he was discharged, he left in a wheelchair, and got into a vehicle to go home accompanied by a police patrol – the family said, no, we don’t want police escort, but the police agent said there was no choice, that he had orders from higher up and had to comply. It is clear that death squads and the state were involved and were trying to make it look like it wasn’t them. Finally at home, Jaime had to rest, and take time to heal from the physical and emotional trauma. He had been constantly politically persecuted and had spoken up publicly about being in fear for his life, having always fiercely opposed the JOH and prior coup regimes, and led teachers struggle and had shown himself to be unbendable. A friend and compa of his told the story of how he saw ‘Jaimito’ really angry once, ‘get out of my office, now!!’ his friend hear him tell someone who came to see him. So this friend was surprised as it was out of character, and asked, ‘what happened?’. ‘Look compa, this compa wants to bribe me! This guy told me he is establishing a cooperative in the Centro America shopping centre, to offer personal loans to teachers since we are all fucked with the coup mongers, but that I were to facilitate him access to the teachers’ contacts and that the profits would be split in 3 parts, one part for him who came up with the idea and for other leaders who are already on this game, another part for administration and the employees of his cooperative, and a third part were to be more or less 50,000 lempiras for me.’ So the friend joked and said, ‘oh I understand Jaimito, it was too little cash that this idiot was giving and you were angry because of this, right?’ Jaime gave his friend an angry stare for a few seconds and said, ‘look compa, don’t fuck with me, don’t make me unleash that guy in me again. Best we smoke a cigarrette to calm me down’ they left laughing and smoking.’ Jaime has always been tireless and firm in the struggle. The dictatorship also fired him as a teacher to try to get rid of him.

From the protests of high school students against the dictatorship, two students have been kidnapped and one of these confirmed dead two days later, and another 15 years old was bashed and arrested by police

On 29 October 2019, at 2pm, as high school students of Luís Bogran Technical Institute led protests against the dictatorship, 18 years old Oscar Daniel Mencía Cantarero, in his school uniform – green pants, white shirt and black shoes, was kidnapped by hooded people who dragged him and one other student away. His fellow students demanded that he be freed alive. Relatives looked everywhere for him – police stations, hospitals, the morgue, but had no luck. On 31 October 2019, however, it was confirmed that Oscar had been assassinated, a young person of the struggle, a promise, of many, of the country. His face from when he was alive is shared around as they keep their memories of him alive.

Also on 29 October 2019, from the protest at the Jesús Milla Selva Institute, police arested and bashed up 15 years old high school student Génesis Torres, charged her with ‘attempt’, and locked her up in ‘Core 7’ police cell.

One uni student attacked by state forces and terrorised, another had the charges against him dismissed after two years

In El Progreso, Yoro, people protested on campus on 9 October 2019 demanding for JOH to get out. There, the Tigres squad got agitated and attacked a student who had several times before been beaten by police in protests – Saraí Rodríguez, now aged 23, but this attack was worse. It was worse because Saraí faced a squad of about 80 Tigres agents, and one of them grabbed her by the neck and pushed her face down onto the ground above a teargas bomb. Even the head of the Tigres himself ordered the squad to stop pushing her. Saraí was in a protest again hours later when she noticed a man who she knew was not part of the social struggle, who was there watching and profiling protesters. Saraí went home then for safety, but she found out from others after that an unidentified person was asking for her by name at the protest, and went back to the direction he entered the scene from when he couldn’t find and isolate her. Saraí believes firmly in the importance of fighting in the streets and not being scared of the government, to break down the dictatorship. She does not believe in political parties, which don’t produce governments that serve their peoples. She is thinking about the future generations as she struggles. From the protests there this day, another was wounded by being hit by a teargas bomb and needed medical attention.

On 25 October 2019, UNAH student Kenny Reyes who was charged in September 2017 together with 33 other students and a human rights defender, finally had the charges against him for protesting dismissed.

Obligatory military service’s return looms

Back in May 1994, a broad social movement and a 14 days hunger strike struggled and won the abolition of obligatory military service. In October 2019, nationalist parliamentarian Chávez Madison was pushing to bring it back. Some of the social leaders who worked hard to organise the struggle against obligatory military service from 1994 came back together to speak up against this now. There are already too many soldiers even without conscription, with 20,000 just in the army, not counting military police and other repressive forces.

Miskita indigenous leader and spouse who is teacher murdered by hitmen

On 31 October 2019, in Puerto Lempira, Gracias a Dios, hitmen on a motorcycle ambushed and fired gunshots at a couple in a car, killing both. The couple are indigenous Miskita community media journalist and human rights defender and leader of opposition political party Libre and president of Puerto Lempira community council, Buenaventura Calderón aged 73, and his spouse, a teacher, Maribel Bolian, aged 38. Buenaventura died immediately, and Maribel was taken to hospital and died there. Buenaventura was someone who loved the land, territory and his mother tongue Miskita, and was involved years before in the reconstruction of the history and memory of the disappeared people in collaboration with Cofadeh human rights organisation. He had spoken up about death threats against his life many times.

Buenaventura y Maribel

One more Guapinol community member who opposed Mining company Inversiones Los Pinares arrested

On 1 Ocotber 2019, police and military who guard the buildings of mining company Inversiones Los Pinares arrested Osmin de la O Cedillo of the Guapinol community when he was crossing the road. This is in the context of there being eight environmental defenders held as political prisoners for resisting against the imposition of Inversiones Los Pinares since 26 August 2019.

Other news from October 2019

  • In the context where if there were consciousness in the leadership in army ranks particularly, they could take action to oppose the JOH regime, with the released news of TH being convicted for drug trafficking. JOH ordered the firing of 11 coronels of the armed forces, perhaps this is him not taking any chances.
  • One of many Honduran migrants, Exon David Berrios of Guadalupe, Trujillo (Bajo Aguán), was trying to migrate when in the journey, he was beaten up by Mexican police and gravely hurt.
  • A report showed that Honduras has the highest index of deaths by Dengue in Central America, with at least 144 deaths to 1 October 2019, mostly young children.

September 2019 Honduras coup update

September 2019 Honduras Coup Update

Attacks against those who defend public health and education and called for JOH to get out

On 1 September 2019, in San Juan Pueblo, Luís Alonson Marqués, a youth who pushes a cart and sells icecreams, and who participated in the last protests of the health and education sectors, was kidnapped at 1pm this day. Luís has a life partner with whom he had procreated a son. No further news is known following the kidnap.

On 5, 6, and 7 September 2019, high school students of ICVC (Instituto Central Vicente Cáceres) were occupying a major road demanding JOH’s exit, a truck was also parked across the road barricading it. The students were heavily repressed by the military police with teargas bombs.

15 September is a date when the ‘independence’ of Honduras is celebrated, with marching bands of high schools, so it is a major date of protest, involving largely students, with the message of ‘what independence?’. As the state expected rebellion, it published a Ministerial Agreement (no. 0754-SE-2019) less than a month before on 16 August 2019 establishing sanctions for those who on this date carry signs, clothing, banners, accessories and other manifestations that exhibit political content differing from the theme of the official national parade.’ Threats were repeated on 11 September 2019 to punish any teachers and students who repeat the line ‘Get out JOH’ or sing songs of the same message. Teachers were threatened with having their pay deducted if they protest, despite that this year 15 September is on a Sunday and as such is not a workday for teachers.

On that 15 September 2019, the threats did not prevent protests, and there were students protesting and calling for JOH to get out at the San Pedro Sula Stadium where the official parade was, and in many other places including in Tegucigalpa and Choluteca. All protests were repressed by police. In Tegucigalpa, several were wounded by the police and military repression, including three journalists who were there covering the protests; photojournalist and human rights defender Cesar Fuentes was hit in the forehead by a teargas bomb launched by state security agents. There was overall a lot of teargas filling the air of Tegucigalpa and some young people ran to the Cofadeh human rights office to seek help and refuge. Meanwhile, in Choluteca, teacher and human rights defender Mabel Carolina López was participating in the protests, holding a sign that said ‘get out JOH’ – with the alphabets in many colours and the sign full of cute drawings and details like in children’s books. Mabel held that sign at the main entrance of the school, in front of a police cordon and a police tank, and behind a group of teachers. Then, another line of police and soldiers moved directly towards Mabel, and they shot her from behind, hitting her in the right leg. Mabel was taken to hospital where she was treated by a surgeon who confirmed that no fragments of bullets were left in her body, and who kept her under observation in hospital with antibiotics and painkillers to prevent any infections. In addition to attacking Mabel, the police and soldiers also attacked the teachers Ingrid Prince and Ingrid Sierra. The teachers protested despite threats of economic sanctions from the JOH regime. As for Mabel, it was not the first time she has been tortured by the state, back on 12 August 2009, she was tortured with 24 others, for protesting the coup.

In Chinacla, La Paz, a group of high school students of Instituto General Francisco Morazán barricaded and occupied the school protesting the return of Esli Ramírez Romero as their school principal. This school principal had been authoritarian and made changes without consulting students like changing the class hours from 8am-1pm to 7am-12noon when some students cannot arrive at 7am – instead of realising that imposing the change was wrong, she locked the school gates after 7am and anyone who arrived late were punished with having to clean the school buildings instead of receiving classes. She also forced haircuts on the young people, threatened to not graduate students, swapped the high school and primary school buildings and simply never listened to students and parents. So students protest, enough is enough.

Attacks against environmentalists who defend the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers

On 1 September 2019, seven arrested environmentalists of Guapinol whose campaigns are in confrontation with the Inversiones Los Pinares company of the couple Lenir Pérez and Ana Facussé (the daughter of the now dead infamous murderer and millionaire of the palm industry, Miguel Facussé), were refused bail and sent to Tamara prison. The arrestees’ names are: Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, José Abelino Cedillo, Kelvin Alejandro Romero, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ever Alexander Cedillo, Orbin Nahún Hernández and Daniel Márquez.

On 2 September 2019, judge Lisseth Vallecillo ordered for the seven defenders to be transferred to Olanchito prison. On 6 September 2019, just hours after the seven’s lawyer had put in an appeal against the decision to deny them bail, and just as the seven were about to be transferred, they were told a Coronel had just called ordering for them to be taken to La Tolva maximum security prison instead where they had kept recent and current political prisoners, in atrocious conditions. Before their transfer, other prisoners gave them shirts, but as they were being taken, the guards removed their shirts and confiscated other personal hygiene items, belongings and money

On 9 September 2019, from 8am hundreds of community members of the Guapinol and surrounding communities barricaded the access road of the Pinares mining project in the Cayo Campo community, demanding the release of the seven defenders of Guapinol and San Pedro rivers, as well as for the cancellation of the mining project. There was a lot of police and people feared the possible violent eviction. And on 18 September 2019, over 200 national, regional and international organisations signed a letter condemning the state for imprisoning the seven political prisoners of Guapinol.

Repression against La Tigra environmental and community defenders who say no to the imposition of a massive luxury housing project

On 2 September 2019, communities barricading the road to the La Tigra National Park Site and defending the forest and water were repressed with teargases.

On 7 September 2019, communities used rocks, pieces of wood, and anything else they could find to blockade the roads to the La Tigra National Park at El Hatillo. They know rich people want to live there because it’s one of the last places in the city where the water is not running out yet. The rich want to privatise the water for themselves at the expense of many others. Meanwhile, the Honduran government was issuing emergency drought alerts.

On 9 September 2019, with rocks and tyres on fire and lots of people, barricades of all entrances to La Tigra reserve and national park, at Chimbo, Hatillo and the exit to Olancho started at 4am and continued into the night, despite repeated repression and militarisation by police full of riot gear to evict the communities. The resistance only got stronger and more determined to stay and struggle with each attack. One of the banners said, ‘if you drink water, have conscience.’ Police attacked with massive amounts of teargases – hundreds of teargas cannisters were seen at El Chimbo alone – and toxic water tanks, launching of stones, and even with gunshots after the other forms of attack at the El Hatillo and exit for Olancho sites. The police gunshots were captured on video by La Tribuna TV, while police spokesperson Jair Meza denied it, saying, no, we didn’t use guns. The denial was particularly curious given protesters, including a woman and at least one uni student in the protests who were in the protest, were gunshot wounded this day. The student of UNAH was gravely wounded and hospitalised in HEU. Another student was accompanied by Cofadeh human rights organisation, having fainted after taking beatings in the face by the police – this student could not record what happened to them that afternoon. Others were hurt from teargases and stones of the police. Others still were arrested, like 34 year old Raúl Humberto Varela Ortiz was was taken to the Comayaguela 4th police station, having been arrested at the exit to Olancho in the repression, when he and others passing through were arrested – he was on his way to sell loads of beans. Cofadeh pressured for and achieved his release

After the protests that day, the mayor and project developers announced the suspension of the project. The communities knew better and said, no, they are demanding the complete cancellation of the project, not just its suspension, and that areas already logged had to be reforested. And, ‘we need more water, not less.’ – the communities have been putting to the government for three decades now that they need more water supply dams for the city, and for creeks to be reforested. Instead of addressing the issue of the lack of water, the government is prohibiting ‘excessive uses of water’ of residents (not of industries) – against people who never have access to enough water for bathing, cooking, washing, housecleaning and drinking. Meanwhile, the government uses massive amounts of water in its watertanks to evict communities that protest the whole situation. The communities reiterate their demands, to respect land possession of villagers, to abolish the existing laws and agreements that give ways to logging, privatising waters and handing over the power over the management of the territories, and instead ensure territories and water solutions are community controlled.

On 12 September 2019, environmental minister Jose Antonio Galdames was punished for having announced and given instructions for the cancellation of the Bosques de Santa María elites’ housing project involving 1886 luxury apartments, 29 shopping centres, a mountain hotel, a church, a private school, a lake for recreational aquatic activities, a horse riding club and highways, – he was fired from his position, ‘you won’t be a minister anymore,’ he was told, ‘you will instead head the office that will coordinate the green climate fund,’ a project that involves milking millions from the UN for greenwashing projects. It’s not that he was a good minister and did a good thing, but he didn’t have a choice – he granted the environmental licence for the environmentally destructive project back in 2016, and with the current protests, he felt the pressure and knew he would be charged. He couldn’t please everyone though, with the president of the Tegucigalpa Chamber of Commerce Guy de Pierrefeu, and ex presidential candidate and current Liberal Party MP Elvin Santos who owns building company Santos y Compañia, and others pushing for the Bosques de Santa María project. For the project to go ahead would severely intensify the water and drought crisis that is already very much there. Government aerial photos show that the Laureles dam is only 32% filled and the La Concepcion 18% and both were expected to run out shortly should the lack of rain continue, and continued logging threatens to further intensify this crisis.

On 17 September 2019, there were barricades again from 4am in the three entrances of La Tigra National Park, and a grassroots assembly of the communities was held at El Hatillo football field at 10am that day. At first, it seemed that because the Mayor was present giving a speech that the police refrained from using teargases while the speeches lasted. Instead, police was arresting people and fired some gunshots, to not affect the air that the mayor breathes. That morning, in Cofradía, police’s live bullets grazed Victor Zuniga in the right shoulder – others from the protest gave him first aid, and it was confirmed hours later that Victor’s life was no longer in danger. No details are known of the arrestees from that morning. Police also launched stones. In the afternoon, Jhostin Padilla, aged 21, was in the protests when police gunshot wounded him in the pelvis and he was operated on. Jhostin’s grandma Maria, aged 62, was in shock, sitting at the footpath of the hospital entrance waiting for the operation to be over, to know if Jhostin was going to be okay. Police also chased people, and at 2pm that day arrested Adan Ramos, José Ramírez and Renán Ortega, who were told they would be held for six hours for investigation and then released, unless the police were to press charges. The repression was intense, but like on 9 September 2019, the communities did not disperse despite the arrests and gunshots.

On 23 September 2019, the government published a law in the Gazette, declaring environmental licence permissions as ‘reserved information’, to facilitate more hiding of information about deforestation, etc.

Garífuna leader assassinated

On 9 September 2019, in Masca, Omoa, Cortés, Mirna Teresa Suazo was in her restaurant when two hitmen on a motorcycle swung by and fired gunshots at and killed Mirna. Mirna was a Garífuna leader and community council president of Masca. She fought hard particularly for the care and cleanliness of the beach there. There had been a number of unusual assassinations against members of Garífuna communities in the last weeks then – many of which are related to land ownership and management while others are to do with organised crime. In this case, Masca is next to Cuyamel, an area where model cities are being pushed for and there are pressures to hand over territory possession. The Masca community had also managed to prevent hydroelectricity dams from being built there several times.

Mirna Suazo.jpg

Eviction, charges, disappearance and assassination against indigenous Tolupan defenders

On 9 September 2019, in Yoro, indigenous Tolupán defenders were at a camp they set up to defend forest and territory from logging companies when they were evicted by the logging companies’ heavy machinery and also attacked by a group of people with machetes and sticks.

On 12 September 2019, whilst Tolupán indigenous defenders had placed over 30 charges against INMARE logging company and never see any actions by the courts, the INMARE owner Wilder Domínguez who wants to put the indigenous defenders in prison to be able to log and deforest ‘in peace’ got the court to summon the defenders to a hearing within 24 hours of the charges being placed. 9 indigenous defenders were charged, their lawyer obtained bail for these.

Indigenous Tolupán leader of the Locomapa community, Milgen Idan Soto Avila, aged 29, was last seen on 23 September, as he said goodbye to his family and was on his way back to the Tolupán Camp of Dignity to Defend Tolupán Forest and Territory. Milgen was one of the 9 defenders charged by INMARE and a council of sold-out indigenous leaders. His friends, family and compas have been worried that he may have been killed since his disappearance, particularly since Milgen had spoken up about death threats against him for being in the social struggle and defending forest and territory, from leaders of the sold-out council. On 27 September 2019, people knew a body was buried clandestinely and were worried it was Milgen, but continued to search for him, hoping to find him alive. On 28 September 2019, people found his belongings, and 20 hours after, had confirmed that the body buried in the site where INMARE company was logging until 23 September 2019 was the body of Milgen Idán Soto Avila. At the time of his assassination, Milgen had spent 23 days at the camp (the camp itself had been going for 700 days), where he facilitated workshops and discussion for others from the tribe – he was coming back from a short visit to his family. There had been around 20 assassinations against Tolupán members of the Locomapa community who fought against logging within the last years – some of these relatives of Milgen’s – eg Salomón Matute and Juan Matute killed in February 2019, and Milgen always spoke up against these assassinations and the impunity. Milgen also took on the work of providing security for Ramón Matute, the coordinator of their tribe with the MADJ organisation, and had been part of the education and assembly processes for a long time. Despite living in a very impoverished and forgotten area, being of this Tolupán tribe, in his short life, Milgen had learned to play the guitar and spoke a little English and was able to have conversations with English speaking visitors who have come to visit the tribe.

Just one day after confirming that Milgen was assassinated, in the El Portillo community in Las Vegas, Victoría, Yoro, at about 6pm on 29 September 2019, hooded and persons armed with guns fired shots at and killed Tolupán leader of the Las Vegas de Tepemechin tribe, Adolfo Redondo, who is also a Tolupán territory defender. Adolfo is from a region that has no electricity nor internet.

Adolfo Redondo.jpg

Rio Blanco – yet another attempt against the life of an indigenous leader there

On 28 September 2019, in the Rio Blanco community, Rosalina Domínguez and others were working at La Vega del Culatón – ancestral Lenca land where they grow food, but where the DESA hydroelectricity company wishes to possess, when Donato Madrid arrived to harass and threaten everyone working there. The Madrid family has a history of attacking the community farming this land, and also for involvement in the assassination of Berta Caceres. Rosalina approached Donato and told him he had to leave and to stop harassing people who were working there. Donato’s response was grabbing the collar of Rosalina’s shirt and then trying to hit her with the machete at her neck – he was clearly trying to kill her. Rosalina managed to defend herself and community members managed to remove him from the land they were working on. The Madrid family walks around in complete impunity in relation to Berta’s murder too. Rosalina is okay but her life is at risk. Solidarity needed from everywhere. Do speak up about the attacks against the compas of Rio Blanco.

A repeat arrest, ten years later

Emerson Martínez is 32. In Siguatepeque city n 20 September2019, Emerson went to the police station to report that his ID documents had been stolen from him, and instead of attending to this, the police arrested Emerson telling him that he had a capture order from the beginning of the military coup, back in 2009, with charges of terrorism, illicit association and fabrication of war materials against the Micheletti regime. Emerson had no idea that all these years there was a capture order there. He was under police custody and was taken to Tegucigalpa – which is normally a two hours drive, but the police took him on a detour via different police stations and loading him in different police pick-up trucks including one that went on a delivery round to distribute food to different police on duty, and this journey stretched out to being 7 hours long – made even longer by the fact that police bullied and made fun of him the whole time and called him names, joking that they should be careful because he could throw a bomb at them. In Tegucigalpa, he was imprisoned in the Comayaguela court cells, where when he was 22, he was captured, imprisoned and tortured, and Cofadeh human rights organisation pressured for and achieved his release as he was gravely beaten up back then. Being held overnight in the same space forced him to relive all this. The next day Cofadeh obtained bail for him in court, with the next hearing date being 24 September 2019. During these few days, Emerson was very worried about what would happen to his family if he goes to prison. He stayed in Tegucigalpa in this time instead of going back to Siguatepeque and then back to Tegucigalpa for court, probably because he could not afford this transport expense. What’s more, the police that had custody of him told him he was headed for La Tolva maximum security prison. On 24 September, the court ruled in his favor and dismissed the case.

Journalist almost kidnapped at gunpoint

On 26 September 2019, journalist Sandra Maribel Sánchez was on foot arriving to her home when someone who had the build of a soldier got off a motorcycle without a numberplate and pulled out a 9mm gun, pointed it at her and told her to get into a car there – it was sheer luck that another car was driving by very slowly, and the attacker thought it must have been someone who knew Sandra, and he left without her. Sandra Maribel is persecuted – by threats and charges, for speaking up as a journalist against corruption and abuses and plunder facilitated by the government She runs a radio program called 2 more than 1 on Radio Progreso.

Arrest in Zacate Grande, against a very persecuted family of the territorial struggle

On 22 September 2019 at 3.30pm, Maria Hernández, aged 52, was near her home in Playa Blanca, Zacate Grande, when investigative police intercepted her and arrested her on charges of usurpation, and held her in the Amapala court cell overnight without having at this stage told her why she was arrested. Maria was given bail the next day with bail conditions of traveling to sign at the San Lorenzo court every fortnight (a very costly obligation), to not leave Honduras, and to not communicate with the landowner Jorge Luís Cassis, who pressed the charges against her. Hearing will start on 9 October 2019. Maria was very touched by the solidarity of all the compas who had travelled to accompany her and pressure for her release. Maria’s partner is Santos Hernández, who had been imprisoned by similar charges from Jorge Luís Cassis from back in 2015, and who is also currently dealing with usurpation charges from Heriberto Cruz. Maria was worried about what could happen to her 8 year old son who was with her at the time of her arrest and was with her partner/his dad when she was under custody. Cassis’s employee has also physically attacked Santos, back in February, to the point of him being hospitalised with wounds in the head and legs.

Progelsa dam company continues to charge villagers of Reitoca while also trying to poison the whole village

The Reitoca Lenca indigenous community is struggling against the imposition of a hydroelectricity dam project by the Progelsa company. On 24 September 2019, members of the Reitoca Lenca Indigenous Council, Wilmer and Orlando, had their preliminary hearing, having charges from the company. There was a demo outside the courts in solidarity. And on 29 September 2019, villagers who struggle against the dam project sensed a strange smell in the water in the river, and decided to walk around to see if they can see what had happened, and found a bottle of herbicide by the shore of the river. The Reitoca villagers were shocked that someone of Progelsa had tried to poison them by contaminating their drinking water in this way – some 150 people of 35 families drink the water from this river – Petacón, that they found to have been sprayed with herbicides.

Daughter of human rights followed in the Aguan

On 28 September 2019, the daughter of Aguan human rights defender, Irma Lemus, was going from the Trujillo bus terminal to the city centre when a stranger who was tall, white skinned, long haired followed her, abruptly asking her questions. The daughter was scared and tried to stay a while at a corner shop hoping he would leave. She then went towards the city centre and saw that he kept watching her and walking behind her, following her pace as she went quicker, slower, or stopped. Luckily, she ran into an uncle who helped her. Irma is worried for the safety of her family, especially of her daughters.

New land recuperation process of MUCA campesinos

MUCA campesino movement fought for and signed an agreement with the government for land reform in 2010 but the government had not fulfilled its promises and MUCA has no option but to undertake direct action as a result. So on 23 September, at 5.30am MUCA began land recuperation of land that has been confiscated from the Rivera Maradiaga family in Zamora, Tocoa Colon, property that is currently under the title of the Office of Confiscated Goods OABI and is being watched by military.

Girl fled from Congo only to be killed in Honduras

On 29 September 2019, a 5 year year old girl who fled with her family as a refugee from Congo and was in Honduras at the border to Nicaragua, was assassinated with machete by attackers who tried to assault her parents.

Police terrorised subsistence fisherfolk

In Mosquitia, indigenous people were fishing in the sea when about 6 police with rifles walked into the sea in their uniforms towards the fisher folk – the women and men started recording this, saying, ‘look how they are threatening people with their guns, people who are just trying to work.’

 

August 2019 Honduras Coup Update

1 August 2019

UNAH lecturer in literature and active defender of public education, Sergio Rivera, was at the D-1 parking lot on campus, when a CNK (private security company) guard yelled at him, complaining about his participation in defending students and underage street vendors on campus. It was concerning especially because the same guard had been taking photos of Sergio a few days before this. Sergio was also persecuted by the Julieta Castellanos administration for supporting earlier student struggles.

2 August 2019

In Vallecito, Colón, where Garífuna Afrodescendent communities are in resistance and in constant danger, harassment and threat for recuperating land possession where they have held collective land title since 1997 but had been dispossessed firstly by palm giants, and subsequently by drug traffickers and companies of megaprojects (anything from tourism to mining), on this date of 2 August 2019, two armed attackers arrived and fired gunshots at some compas between the lagoon and the beach, but luckily the compas were not hit and they ran and fled the attack and hid. Back in 2014 and 2015, the state had a shelter with police protection for the community as a place persecuted community members can go to and be safe, but this was then suspended and the state gave no explanations. Recently, community members have reported with concerns that there had been more heavily armed people entering the territory in motorcycles and vehicles, and more aggressions, than before. In response, the police kept telling them not to worry, because ‘we know these people, they are our friends’. As if that were to offer any comfort to the community. The community, which is organising women’s cooperatives to grow coconuts and cassavas, knows very well that the state only cares for megaprojects to go ahead, ‘at any moment there could be a massacre.’

4 August 2019

In Santa Martha in San Pedro Sula, people occupied roads against the dictatorship.

5 August 2019

From inside their tiny prison cell, political prisoners Edwin, Raúl and Rommel began a hunger strike to demand better conditions for all prisoners, and for themselves to be transferred, and for those who were behind the assassination of Berta Caceres to be punished, and for the JOH regime to get out. At the same time, in El Progreso, their relatives had started a fast outside state buildings demanding for their immediate freedom. ‘We have suffered aggressions, physical and verbal confrontations and even death threats. We spoke up about these, but the authorities had omitted the case, ignoring us, or repressing us more and showing us more hostility, to the point of shutting us in an improvised cell that don’t have the minimal conditions…in unison, from here, we tell you that they will never shut up our voices that demand justice. As long as the social inequality dominates, there will be the people (fighting against this).’ There is one other political prisoner, named Gustavo Caceres, who has an intellectual disability that impedes him from speaking for himself, he had been arrested and held in the prison of El Progreso since December 2017. Outside, the education sector is on strike and there are no classes.

6 August 2019

In Tegucigalpa, UNAH students protested fighting against ‘CC-4’ – denouncing how drug trafficking is also behind contributing to the political party campaigning funds of the JOH regime. Police attacked these students together with employees of the Little Caesars Restaurant launching teargas bombs at these. From the teargas bombs of the military police, a total of four small businesses were set on fire.

Meanwhile, in San Pedro Sula, students of UNAH-VS were on campus in occupation and protest, and others were in class, when police gassed, repressed and beat with batons anyone they found inside, including Chevez, a human rights defender, breaking his glasses and mobile phone. The repression went into the night, and a few students and a cameraperson were left wounded.

7 August 2019

UNAH-VS students continued the struggle to end the dictatorship and protesting the repression of the previous day, marching en-masse, joined by local public uni and high school students from UNITEC and UTH, energetically chanting and singing. As students were marching, a plain clothed man pointed a gun at some uni students threatening these.

In the night time, San Pedro Sula also had mobilisations calling for JOH to get out. There was brutal police repression against journalists there.

Tegucigalpa also had mobilisations this night calling JOH to get out. Earlier in the day, there was a demo outside the Prosecutors department where relatives of the political prisoners continued to fast demanding their freedom, and there was also mobilisation at Palmerola, the US military base in Comayagua, demanding freedom for political prisoners.

In Choluteca, people who belonged to Bastión del Sur – the struggle there against the dictatorship and all that embodies this, were attacked. Police arrested an underage youth, mounted an operation near the home of Doña Aleyda Huette, and confiscated a motorcycle, before that they also destroyed a motorcycle of one of the protesters.

In La Esperanza, Intibucá, where people set up barricades of roads with tyres on fires to overthrow the dictatorship, state security forces brutally repressed the people in struggle with teargas bombs.

8 August 2019

In Tegucigalpa, high school students of ICVC protested the JOH dictatorship. A teacher reported that the police and soldiers savagely attacked hundreds of students with teargases over about two hours.

Meanwhile, in the US, in Miami, when a group of Hondurans protested against JOH, the Honduran Consul Gerardo Simón was annoyed by them and called immigration to capture these, assuming that they were all without papers. There were also protests of Hondurans in Los Angeles.

9 August 2019

The big news of this date was that after more than 18 months of political imprisonment in maximum security prison La Tolva, Edwin Espinal and Raúl Alvarez’s release on bail was ordered, as the courts felt the pressure of the campaigners outside – people had campaigned long and hard, and as lawyers argued, the decision to detain them pre-trial was arbitrary, and the judge who made the decision did not have the jurisdiction to. Edwin was immediately released, and Raúl’s was pending because he had one more charge addition to what Edwin has, but his release was to be in the next days. Rommel Herrera and Gustavo Cáceres, however, continue inside, so the campaigns outside continue. People mobilised with lots of banners, chanting, music, drums, and screaming. Police looked to be posted in strategic points, primed for repression.

In Sabá, Colón, where people were in protest, calling the JOH dictatorship to get out, police repressed people using including firearms. Police shot against a youth in protest, wounding him with a gunshot under the collarbone. Also in Colón, in Tocoa, people were in protests against CC-4, and a police truck caught on fire. There were several protesters arrested.

In San Pedro Sula, around 10,000 students continued to protest against the JOH dictatorship inside UNAH-VS where uni authorities had to call off classes. CNK security company ID checked people entering the campus in vehicles but did not ID or impede the entry of police and military agents who invaded shooting at students, staff, human rights defenders and journalists teargases and rubberbullets (perhaps gunshots too, reports were unclear on this occasion). In the parking lot of the uni, a plain clothed person pointed firearms at students threatening these, and he left after without being arrested. Private guards also joined public forces in attacking those in protest. A special forces agent wounded the forehead of Canal 11 cameraperson Jual Carlos Castillo who was there covering the repression. Students who organise and raise their voices know they are being profiled and followed.

Also in San Pedro Sula, underage high school student of JTR, Josué Morales, who was arrested and imprisoned since 18 July 2019, was finally released, with charges against him dismissed. He was arrested with other students and a guard when police invaded their school occupation and he was singled out and not given bail.

This date, there was a massive mobilisation of teachers and university in Tegucigalpa.

10 August 2019

There was repression of protests in San Juan Pueblo, Naranjal and in La Masica. In San Juan Pueblo, Laínez’s agents bashed a youth named Ariel Arita and dragged him to the police station there. In El Naranjal, state security forces that invaded the community had arrested Humberto Ramos, and people were worried because nobody knew where he was, if he had been disappeared by the state forces.

11 August 2019

As a Gringa housing megaproject ‘Bosque de Santa María’ inside La Tigre national park is being developed – damaging the environment and providing housing for wealthy people while the poor do not have minimal housing conditions, research has revealed that it will affect the water supply (eg, for bathing), of 40% of the neighbourhoods in Tegucigalpa.

12 August 2019

In Cortés, at the UNAH-VS, where students protests had continued, police abusively broke in the gates and fired shots and teargas inside wounding one person. There were images of this person on the groud, while other students gathered around trying to deal with the situation and and support and get help for the wounded person.

Also in Cortés, there was mobilisation in Choloma and in Baracoa against the dictatorship. In Baracoa, police and military told protesters they had an hour before teargas bombs would be used to evict their highway barricade, and subsequently heavily repressed people on the barricade.

Jesuit priest Padre Melo – Ismael Moreno spoke up about a vehicle stopping near him, for minutes, and taking photos of him. Melo and his companions jotted down the numberplate and looked up the vehicle and found out that it is of an armed forces official, Marvin Licona. Padre Melo had for most of his life been of the resistance, through Radio Progreso, and his work in liberation theology, and had been persecuted and also lost loved ones who were themselves persecuted – it started with his dad when Melo was 16 – people said Pedro José Moreno was robbed and killed, but Melo knew better, his dad was a campesino leader who was part of the land expropriations. Then back in 1989, he was close to the UCA Jesuits and the employees of El Salvador, on his journey in becoming a Jesuit priest, and was particularly close to the cook Elba Ramos and Elba’s daughter Celina, who had plans to be picked up by Melo to spend Christmas with his family in El Progreso in Honduras, when the massacre of the El Salvador state killing all the priests and employees there happened days before Christmas. In the next stage of his life, he was friends with the founders of Copinh Berta Caceres and her ex partner Salvador Zuniga for over 20 years, supporting and counselling both of them through their separations and reconciliations over the years. Berta had the keys to Melo’s home to stay in one of the spare rooms when passing through El Progreso in her travels. In 2013, in a protest of Rio Blanco, she joked to Melo as they took a photo together, ‘who will go first, you or me?’, Melo didn’t answer, but Berta made that joke because she feared for both their lives. Berta was assassinated in her home on 3 March 2016.

13 August 2019

In San Juan Pueblo, Atlantida, police, head of San Juan Pueblo police station, agent Lainez, allowed his police agents to shoot against a group of protesters on this tuesday night, attempting against the lives of three people.

In the context of the education strikes, in Tegucigalpa, two young students of the José Pineda Gómez high school, named José Manuel Aguilera Cruz and Kevin Alberto Matamoros Colindres, two friends, were kidnapped together at night time by people who drove a van – José and Kevin were assassinated and their bodies were found in the Villeda Morales neighbourhood.

estudiantes del colegio.jpg

14 August 2019

In Tegucigalpa, police attacked high school students in protest against the JOH regime with teargases.

In Vallecito, Colón, armed men in two vehicles invaded and terrorised the Garífuna community there. The Garífuna are in a process of territory recuperation in reaction to which there are systematic harassment, intimidation and threats against them.

15 August 2019

On this day, six students of the UPNFM teachers training university underwent discharge hearings. Two provincial directors of education of La Paz and Choluteca spoke up about having been suspended and not given reasons why, however, one of them had received threats from National Party activists and neither of them are part of the National Party.

16 August 2019

In Yorito, Yoro, police and military violently evicted the community there – who are mostly indigenous Tolupan and Xicaque peoples – who were there defending the community against the Los Pinares mining company that threatens to exploit there and contaminate the water sources and destroy their forests. The repression was so brutal that several community members were left gunshot wounded. The government authorities that granted the concessions and permissions in complete disregard of the communities’ wishes are complicit.

In Nacaome, Valle, the people protesting against the JOH dictatorship was attacked by the police and military. Lots of people had to run, people ran, stopped, threw stones back, kept running.

The good news on this date was that political prisoner Raúl Alvarez was also finally released on bail after twenty months of imprisonment. Raúl said they had made it feel impossible that they could be released, so they couldn’t believe it when they received that news. ‘I am happy to be able to see my family and friends. The 20 months have been very hard. We have been abused. The visits were very limited. Our lives were always in danger. The hardest thing was losing my daughter when I was imprisoned. My partner was 4.5 months pregnant and we have always wanted a baby. (in addition,) my house was illegally raided and my mum started to have panic attacks and had to leave and live in another city. I went for a long time without seeing her. The dictatorship took all this from me. They said we were of the Resistance and that it is the fault of the protests that they had suspended different benefits like of visits from family and partners.’ ‘It was thanks to national and international pressure that we could leave the cells and save our lives.’

‘In 2009 when the coup happened I was 17. Thanks to my family I had been able to study and have gained social and political conscience and from this I joined the struggle against the coup. Because of lack of opportunity and work, I joined the police. It wasn’t my career but I needed a job. I was there 2 years and they kicked me out illegally. In 2017 I joined the struggle against the electoral fraud. I think that the government wanted to ‘pass me the bill’ and criminalised me together with Edwin, to send a message to the people who have gone out to the streets.’ About the campaign efforts made for them, they learnt about these through their families. ‘Despite of everything I feel stronger. The government had not been able to bend me. I am here and I know exactly why and against whom I keep struggling.’ In regards to Rommel, he said it was very hard leaving him behind, and that they will keep fighting for his freedom.

21 August 2019

Claudia Mejía, a teacher and human rights defender of the ICVC public school in Tegucigalpa that has been heavily attacked in the last months by public security forces, was being held at the IHSS secretary general’s office since that morning. Her daughter Claudia Elvir who has a 7 months old baby she breastfeeds, went to help her mother and was also being detained there as a result. They were being escorted by police and had not been allowed phone calls. These arbitrary detentions were reported by Claudia Mejía’s elder daughter, Miriam Elvir, who is a journalist.

26 August 2019

Eight human and environmental rights defenders of Guapinol and San Pedro environmental committees who are part of a group of 32 with lingering charges (that were dismissed in March 2019 but the decision was subsequently overturned by a ministerial prosecutor) and capture orders against them for defending the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers against the contamination of mining exploitation by Inversiones Los Pinares, and having maintained a protest camp for several months voluntarily appeared in court before federal judge Lizeth Vallecillo hoping to end these charges against them once and for all, only to be denied bail and locked up again, in Tamara prison. The names of those imprisoned on this day are José Abelino Cedillo, Daniel Marquez, Kelvin Romero, Porfirio Sorto, Orbin Hernández, Arnold Alemán, Ever Cedillo. Also named on this list of charged persons was Antonio Martínez Ramos, who would have been imprisoned too, if he hadn’t already died in 2015. They were refused bail because one of their charges are ‘illicit association’, a charge that automatically comes with the refusal of bail – one of the laws of the dictatorship to create political prisoners.

28 August 2019

Roberto Antonio

Roberto Antonio Argueta Tejada, aged 45, a community member of La Ceibita, Tocoa, was assassinated in Tocoa city near the hospital – he had charges and capture order against him, like 31 others, for defending the common resources of the Guapinol community against mining company Inversiones Los Pinares. Roberto was not a member of the organisations but the environmental defence organisations offered him legal representation – he was one of those whom chose not to appear in court.

29 August 2019

This is a date when those Guapinol defenders imprisoned on the 26 August and Jeremías Martínez Díaz, who had already been imprisoned without bail for another charge related to the defence of the San Pedro and Guapinol rivers in Tocoa, have their hearings resume. There had been a lot of uncertainty, including of which judge will oversee their case – knowing some judges are biased in favour of the mining company.

Meanwhile, in Tegucigalpa, one of the political prisoners left in prison, teacher Rommel Baldemar spent this day in hospital to be examined by Forensic Medicine. While waiting outside the hospital with his lawyer Karol Cárdenas, he felt very moved and joyful to be able to briefly see his family and friends who waited outside with him. Rommel said being imprisoned, he had been especially fragile because he doesn’t know how to be tough in this rough social environment of a maximum security prison. He is constantly in fear there. Amongst those who visited him was his recently released fellow political prisoner Raúl Alvarez – cellmates of 2 months, who took the opportunity to hug Rommel and tell him that he loved him very much as a friend. Those who got to see Rommel felt a great deal of pain and anguish, at not having been able to take him home with them.

31 August 2019

Edgar Joel Aguilar

At midday, in Santa Rosa de Copan, Channel 6 crime reporter Edgar Joel Aguilar was driving on a motorcycle that had Channel 6 logos on it, when unidentified people fired many gunshots at his face, killing him immediately. The day before, he had sought protection from the authorities because he was being followed by unidentified people. Edgar Joel Aguilar had worked as a journalist for 12 years and had suffered several attempts against his life in 2012 and 2017. He is the third journalist assassinated in Honduras in 2019.

On the Guapinol case, the initial hearing of Guapinol defenders was suspended – as sought by Inversiones Los Pinares, the judge Victor Mendez was disqualified for having had in March 2019 overseen this case and declared 13 defenders innocent.

July 2019 Honduras Coup Update

July 2019 Honduras Coup Update

As barricades and school occupations continued from having started at the end of April, repression against students continue to be severe, and the struggle is in the backdrop of a dengue epidemic that the Honduran healthcare system, denied of resources from the state, is not handling. In Choluteca where the social struggle is reputed to be the strongest, a heavy hunt for the ‘leader’ was confessed by the police, and also an 11 year old daughter of a social leader was assassinated.

1 July 2019

The day before, the Platform for Education and Health made the decision to continue the struggle and not go back to classes on this date, in response to the persecution and intimidation started by the state against teachers; over 300 teachers have been called to discharge hearings in the provinces and some health sector staff had been fired.

It was a date full of action – especially of students, and of heavy repression against these in many parts of Honduras.

In the north:

Uni students of Valle de Sula bravely barricaded the campus only to be met with military police and cobra cops surrounding the campus and firing gunshots as well as teargas bombs at these that night over about 1.5 hours. Three students were wounded in the process and people were calling out for Human Rights Defenders to please go save lives there.

In Puerto Cortes, in the Medina neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula, the school principal is pro-JOH, and was trying to assert authority against parents who occupied the school to stop classes. The parents were educating the principal.

Also in San Pedro Sula, CTHA school students were stopping classes to fight against the privatisation of education and health, when the students was assaulted by a pro-JOH activist who pointed his gun at them.

In La Flecha, Santa Barbaras, students were protesting when they were attacked by police, and a youth named Víctor Cáceres Santamaría was wounded by a bullet shot by police. His sister called out for help to transport him from the hospital in San Pedro Sula to the hospital in Santa Rosa del Copan as it is what he needed but his family cannot afford the ambulance transport costs.

Meanwhile, in El Progreso, Yoro, in the middle of a massive dengue epidemic, the hospital puts only one doctor on duty for the city, when children are at risk of dying.

In Tegucigalpa,

In the Kennedy neighbourhood, in the afternoon, imbecile police attacked students throwing teargas bombs at them, and the attack took place in front of the hospital. There are images of someone hurt, with large bruises on the chest. Police arrested four students and held these at the Kennedy police station. The Instituto Tecnico Honduras high school in the neighbourhood had summoned the school’s parents to an extraordinary meeting in 3 days time on that date.

That morning, in the Alemán neighbourhood in Comayaguela, students protested – a noise and dance protest – in the Instituto Monterrey high school against the hiring of scab teachers. This was happening in a number of schools as yet another attack against teachers in struggle. Everyone needs to see the struggle to the end, to not lose.

In this atmosphere of constant protests, this day in the city centre, both the MacDonalds and a hamburger joint were closed, in addition to at least 6 smaller shops around there. Street venders are there resisting getting kicked out, but there aren’t the usual number of people hanging around eating street foods. Taxi drivers in the city deal with having to pay higher fees to provide their service when they are making less money. Families whose homes are in the neighbourhood of public high schools complain of being constantly affected by gases from police repression. Occupations of roadways and schools continue without organisational leaders having called for them. Meanwhile, elites also meet in their residential areas plotting to maintain their power. Commentators say the platform of struggle for health and education has some credibility, but that it needs to live up to its words of, ‘if they mess with anyone they are messing with eeryone, that is for everyone to respond to’, because a lot of people have been messed with, manifestain repression, in discharge hearings. There is an example of a doctor who has worked for over two years in San Felipe hospital and had carried out more than 200 surgeries and her contract was not renewed because she participates in the manifestations of the platform

Meanwhile, indigenous Misquito people had already mobilised for 70 days in Puerto Lempira when on this day they had arrived in Tegucigalpa to the teachers university and marched from there to the presidential house from 7am in the morning. Their regional authorities tried to boycott their mobilisation but they resisted and are continuing the struggle and called out for support from people of Tegucigalpa.

Bus drivers’ work continue to be very dangerous, and this day, 35 years old bus driver Franklin Hectaniel Garcia who was completing paperwork to resign from his bus driver position was on this day travelling on another bus when he was assassinated as a passenger.

2 July 2019

As more teaching and healthcare staff are subject to discharge hearings, there is a callout for those subject to discharge hearings to bring copies of these hearings to their respective unions to organise better against these.

In Valle de Siria, Francisco Morazán, the Pedro Nufio school’s first grade teacher was fired. The school’s parents, mothers and students occupied the school since the day before in response.

In Santa Bárbara, the provincial education director Melissa Rodríguez Velasquez made second orders to the school principals of the schools repeatedly occupied by teachers ‘despite dialogues’, to immediately recover the schools naming 6 schools including Instituto Juan Lindo in Trinidad of Santa Barbara, having previously ordered the recovery of the schools on the ten years anniversary of the military coup, on 28 June 2019, and threatened that if the schools were not recovered immediately, including with that the school year would be cancelled for not fulfilling the 200 days of class a year. In Instituto San Juan Lindo, where young high school students had been occupying since the afternoon and the authorities and their allies had been threatening the students, was then assaulted by a group of hooded armed attackers who arrived in the midnight hours and forced the security guards into submission and proceeded to point guns at the heads of students ordering an end to their resistance. The attackers snatched the kids’ mobile phones, clothes, money and other things. They used military style tactics and beat kids and threw kids onto the ground, saying that that was only a warning and that if the kids kept going they were going to kill the kids. The attackers fired a gunshot and disappeared into the shadows. This brutality happened in Trinidad, of all places. Trinidad known for poets, for gigantic chimneys, for academy, for coffee, for famous footballers and for shoe makers, for campesinos growing corns and beans, for its mountains that sing, for beautiful people, and also, for dreams and struggles.

People make comments on social media, saying, ‘they are killing us… they (JOH and his gang) do this by using a discourse of peace and tolerance, by presenting themselves as sheep when they are wolfs.’ Amnesty International had sent a delegation to Honduras to document the human rights situation in Honduras from April to date. Meanwhile, on this date, in the context of also many Hondurans fleeing towards the US, Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres, who was arrested by US immigration authorities back on 6 June 2019, on his second attempt of the year to enter US, died this date in immigration detention. This is one way the Trump US government punishes Honduran migrants. Another is its order on this date to suspend all economic aid to Honduran NGOs, for not having stopped the mass migration attempts.

3 July 2019

On this date, in La Mosquitia, 27 people were victims to a shipwreck and 9 had disappeared. Reports of deaths by dengue had reached 79. Multitudes victims of repression. A report also came up this date that a group of 22 indigenous land defenders of territory from Arenales, Santa María, La Paz, have been suffering years of bail conditions of not going to their land, since charges placed from 2012 and 2015.

4 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa, high school and university students were occupying their campuses and schools in protest. State repression was reported at the Teachers’ University – teargas bombs were threw at the campus buildings, and at the high school Instituto Técnico Luis Bográn, and around the Kennedy neighbourhood.

At the Olancho exit in Tegucigalpa, the secretary general of the Good Samaritan campesina cooperative, José Francisco Izaguierre Figueroa, was arrested in the Kennedy neighbourhood without an arrest order. Initial hearings set for 10 July 2019.

In Santa Bárbara, where young Eblin Corea was assassinated weeks before, his family and friends had gone to his grave every night to guard it and prevent the regime from digging up the evidence from the grave. ‘Here we have had to sleep since the death of the child,’ his dad said, ‘here we have placed ourselves.’ On this date, they spotted a vehicle driving around the cemetery and saw its occupants taking photos.

5 July 2019

Amnesty International issued this press statement, ‘the message of president JOH is very clear: yell ‘get out JOH’ and demand a change and one can have to pay for this dearly.’

6 July 2019

Estefany

In Choluteca, at night, 11 years old Estefany Yolany Quiroz López was travelling with her dad Gabriel Quiroz and other adults in a van when attackers on three motorcycles intercepted the van and fired shots that hit Estefany. Estefany, a child in year 6 at school, died in emergency. She was Gabriel’s only daughter and this could only be interpreted as a political attack of the JOH regime against the resistance in the south, as her dad Gabriel is an active member of the Bastión del Sur movement against the JOH dictatorship and also belonged to the FNRP resistance front since 2009 and its political party arm. He said, ‘I would have preferred to die instead, because my daughter was just starting her life.’ Gabriel had appeared on a list of capture orders together with other compas of Bastión del Sur, accused of damages during social protests. Gabriel is also a founding member of Los Indignados, and was in hunger strike with 3 others against impunity, and has suffered harassment, persecution, charges and attacks for being in the social struggle.

In the rural area of Namasigue, community radio Sterio Namasigue 89.1fm gave the last minute news that in San Bernardo, DPI (police investigative) agents proceeded to capture innocent people of the social struggle without capture orders.

7 July 2019

In the midst of massive protests, the JOH regime played dirty tactics to instigate attacks from the general prison population against the political prisoners – Edwin Espinal, Raúl Alvarez, and Rommel Baldemar Herrera, for these protests, by suspending visits against all prisoners from families and partners and suspending the transporting of prisoners to medical and legal appointments, and instigating that the political prisoners had caused them to undertake these measures. Threats and hostility against the three had intensified placing their lives at grave risk.

8 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa, as high school students continued their occupations and protests, two students of Instituto Central, one guy and one girl, were arrested. The girl was forced onto the front seat of the police patrol 511. Sometimes there were feelings that teachers weren’t aware, weren’t following up, and that there was no first aid organised for students, who put their lives on the line, in a struggle that is for a large part in solidarity with the students. And that along similar lines, that teachers also need to be better organised in communicating about discharge hearings to respond collectively.

Also in Tegucigalpa, a group of indigenous Misquitos siblings had travelled a long way to carry out a hunger strike outside the presidential house – they were gassed by security of JOH. The Misquitos are a very forgotten people that has suffered a lot under the JOH regime. There is a call out for solidarity with them and for donations of electrolites.

9 July 2019

As the Congreso Movil occurred in Gracias Lempiras, where over two days, the legislative power ‘consulted’ the head of security about the presence of journalists towards reforming laws to reduce journalists’ access, journalists of Radio Progreso – a press that covers news critical of the JOH regime, Eleana Borjas and Héctor Maradiaga, arrived to cover these sessions only to be impeded by the JOH regime from doing so.

10 July 2019

On this second day of Congreso Movil in Gracias Lempira, when politicans held a session without quorom to spend 5 million lempiras, Libre politicans went into ‘legislative insurrection’ and demonstrated and boycotted the session – they were attacked by police with teargas and beatings. Parliamentarian Edgardo Castro was taken to a clinic affected by gases, and Parliamentarian Rony Martínez, who is also a journalist transmitting for UNE TV was also attacked and affected by gases. One can imagine, if they do this to parliamentarians, who play within the game, what would they do to people who challenge the system outside of it?

On this day there were mobilisations for education and health, and against JOH, in the central region of Honduras, in San Juan Pueblo in Atlántida. In Choluteca, people organised a Festival of Progressive Song ‘Wake Up Humanity’.

In Comayagua, several compas of the Nueva Esperanza community had been arrested by police, and Sandra Echeverria went to the police station to ask how her arrested compañerxs were and the police in this moment arbitrarily arrested her too accusing her of usurpation of lands.

In Tocoa, 12 years old Stiven Castellanos died of Dengue fever in hospital. Tocoa is the municipality with the highest number of reported dengue cases. In its province Colón there are 688 cases altogether on this date.

12 July 2019

A day of massive protests and repression, especially in schools, but also in other mobilisations of the platform for education and health and against the JOH dictatorship, with images of barricades with tyres on fire, of attacks by regime security forces, of kids throwing back stones, in many places around the country.

Medias that talk really badly of students and protesters were saying that those students in struggle cause the teargas shot by police at other students – amongst these bad medias are Hable Como Habla, Corporación Televicentro, Emisoras Unidas, channel ten, and channel 11. In this context too of abuses by the regime, a journalist overheard a 12 year old girl saying, to her 9 and 10 year old friends saying she wanted to leave Honduras, ‘it’s nasty here’.

The most shocking attack by the state this day was at the teachers’ university UPNFM, against a children’s education centre on campus, CIIE, where over 700 children were in class learning when security forces unleashed massive amounts of teargases inside at the children. A mother said, ‘I saw the little ones run desperately, crying, coughing, frozen in fear and by the terror, in their innocence they don’t know that they are living under a repressive government that violates human rights.’ Parents, as they send their little ones to schools and preschools, instead of packing a toy or school book in the backpack are forced to pack a cloth with vinegre. There are images of a kid receiving first aid from an adult, crying in shock, ‘I cannot, I cannot..’, of children with backpacks on running through the corridors to escape and catch a bus. A teacher made a public apology to the CIIE community for not having been able to protect the children from this state attack, and called out for people to join efforts to protect the children and students, saying a community in silence is in complicity with the crimes. ‘We must keep struggling, as long as the storm continues.’

In the south, in Jícaro Galán, in Nacaome, Valle, where people barricaded, police fired live gunshots and chased and harassed people. There were no reports of anyone wounded or captured.

In Atlántida, at the Ramón Fiallos bridge that the community barricaded for education and health, police heavily repressed the barricade with gases and arrested Movimiento Amplio activist Don Braulio Serrano early that morning. He had not been allowed to see his spouse nor receive the water she wanted to pass him. She was worried for his health because he has hypertension. The lawyers also impeded his lawyer Martín Fernández from representing him.

In Santa Bárbara where families of the prisoners of El Pozo were protesting and fled from police repression to their houses, police chased them and shot teargases at their houses and a 7 months old baby inside an attacked home died inside having inhaled teargases.

13 july 2019

At the UPNFM teachers’ university, uni students protested the police attack against the children of CIIE the day before, for which they were attacked by police and tigre squads who attacked students with gases. School students also protested in Tegucigalpa and were attacked by teargases.

In San Juan Pueblo, from the protests, a youth named Angel Rodríguez was arrested.

In this context, a lot of international human rights organisations are in town, however, people in struggle are not heaps hopeful about what they might contribute towards changing the situation.

Thanks to government repression and manipulation, political prisoners Edwin Espinal, Raúl Alvarez and Rommel Herrera had been receiving death threats from other prisoners since 7 July 2019 and were separated from other prisoners as they had asked to be, but in terrible conditions, without windows, air circulation or running water, and for an extended period without drinking water. They have been sick.

14 July 2019

Dengue deaths continue, in Juticalpa, Olancho, more children and girls died this day and there were endless queues with families of patients with dengue symptoms.

The Cortés Chamber of Commerce announced that Honduras is in recession, that there has been especially huge drops in income in the last months, that the economy is upheld mostly by remittances. Meanwhile, the US Trump government officially begins this day to hunt down Honduran and other Central American immigrants.

And plunder of Honduran natural resources continues to worsen as Tela mayor Mungía is set on privatising and concessioning the Lancetilla Botanic park, the second biggest botanic garden and forest investigation centre of the world, threatening this place.

15 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa, students of the teachers university protesting were again heavily repressed by police which shot teargas bombs at them. Students respond throwing stones.

In Danlí, the teachers university stood strong and resisted the taking of university lands for the building of a mega police station. Just as, also in the south, people protest against plans to impose projects of wind energy and open pit mining there.

16 July 2019

The Agua Zarca dam project of DESA company continues to attack the Rio Blanco company, this time, Madrid family members broke in at night and destroyed all the harvests of ten hectares of land, mostly corn, which indigenous families organised with Copinh collectively sowed on the ancestral lands of Vega del Culatón and Achotol. At least 25 families involved in growing food there were left without the food they grew to feed themselves. The Rio Blanco community has been attacked more than 22 times since the assassination against Berta Caceres and the Madrid family has threatened and persecuted indigenous leaders with impunity since 2012. There are collections for this community in solidarity in three cities, for tents, mattresses, tarps, building materials, tools and food contributions.

Similarly, in the night time, in San Francisco, Locomapa, Yoro, unidentified persons broke in through some wire fence and destroyed the property including the area where the family was preparing to grow basic grains, of an indigenous leader and MADJ member of the Matute Avila family. This leader already suffered losing family members to assassination, smear campaign and other aggressions for defending common and natural resources of the indigenous tribe.

At the national congress, during a heated session, police thrown a teargas bomb inside creating a ‘smoke curtain’, and the congress proceeded to assign over 44 million lempiras to the security department, during a full dengue epidemic too, a crisis that has received no funds.

Radio Globo journalist Marvin Neptalí Ortiz was driving home with one of his children when he was followed by a beige coloured microbus – a vehicle that had followed him on a previous occasion as well. They tried to lose the microbus by making many turns but they were still being followed for a long time.

18 July 2019

In San Pedro Sula, police and tigres squad broke into the high school JTR – Instituto José Trinidad Reyes, breaking the school gates and forcefully entered shotting teargases, chasing and beating up young students, when most students were in classrooms doing exams and had to flee. ‘He killed them, he killed them!’ A kid was heard crying. Police arrested six people; 16 years old student Angie Grissel Bonilla Hernández, 17 years old student José David Morales Gosselin, 18 years old student Víctor Fernando Trujillo Murillo, and 19 years old Yeison Ariel Almendares, and 34 years old security guard of the school, Mario Roberto Sánchez. The six were accused of damages and attempt against the state of Honduras. Solidarity protests were being organised to pressure for their liberation. There were student actions being coordinated in different places on this and the next day, all suffered police repression.

In Choluteca, a teacher in struggle, Olman Osorio, was wounded and had his life attempted against as he was leaving Choluteca. There were reports that his condition was stable.

19 July 2019

Of the six arrestees of JTR high school, the charges were dropped against five for lack of merits in the cases. Against 17 years old student José Morales, however, charges of damages continue, and he had been given the bail conditions of signing at the court every fortnight. His initial hearing was set for 9 August 2019 at which it will be decided if the court case will continue with bail or if he would be locked up. There are real concerns the regime may imprison him. José is organised with MADJ.

In Colón, in the San Marco exit, where there were protests of the platform, there was heavy repression. One person was for example, hurt, with his blood and cuts around the body.

20 July 2019

In Mezapa, Arizona, Atlántida, at the front of the home of Calixto Velasquez, a MADJ activist/leader, at about 11.30pm this night, gunshots were heard, and then people found two youths there aged 24-30, Ronal Rodríguez of Mezapita, and Manuel Rodriguez of Matarras (alias The Grandad) assassinated.

22 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa, school students barricaded the road in front of the school Central Vicente Caceres, and repression continued against them. And that night, in the context of protests, Cabañas, La Paz, was militarised.

A five years old arrived to San Lorenzo hospital with very grave Dengue symptoms, and had to wait more than 3 hours to be seen. Whereas the state never lacks resources to respond with repression immediately when there are protests.

24 July 2019

Police arrived at the field of watermelons and maiz, pointing a gun at Santos Hernández’s head threatening to kill him. Adepza (organisation for defence of territory in the region) member Santos Hernández was once again arrested, this time while on his land growing watermelon and maiz, where Jorge Cassis claims to own land title. The same Jorge Cassis who in easter 2015 got Santos and Abel Perez imprisoned for months for cleaning up the community parking lot and charging a parking fee to holiday goers there to earn something for mere survival, because Jorge Cassis had also proclaimed himself to be the owner there. If this is not enough, it is in addition to an attack in February 2019 by an employee of Jorge Cassis, Sabino González, who wounded Santos in the head and legs and hospitalised him. For the new charges on the watermelon and maiz field, one of his bail conditions are to not go near the fields where he grows corn and watermelon, something which again, robs him of his livelihood.

25 July 2019

When protests are on, the streets of Choluteca are always filled, it feels amazing with so many people, so much consciousness. On this day there was heavy repression against the protests. One teacher was bullet wounded in the leg and hospitalised in the Seguro Social. Five students were arrested and severely beaten by police in the police truck. One of these was a young 8th grade student named Eberto Gabriel – a gang of police chased hem like they were hunting people and the Cobra police savagely bashed him. Erick Orban was rubber bullet wounded. Police proclaimed that after months of profiling that they had arrested the student who ‘organised all the marches and demonstrations in Choluteca’ and that the ‘marches will be quieter now.’

A call out for support for Yeison Paz was made this day. He is a young Honduran who fled in the first caravan of immigrants, dreaming of arriving in the US and helping his mum who lives in extreme poverty. In Mexico he received a beating that left him in a vegetative state, bed ridden with only his mum who has no access to material wealth under this system as his support.

At UNAH, there were night time protest festivities, people made a JOH piñata and enraged people had fun bashing the piñata.

26 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa at the Instituto Central Vicente Cáceres high school, students occupied the school from 2pm and waited for the provincial education director Héctor Napoleón Bonilla to show up for negotiation, having sent him a petition for better physical infrastructure and education quality. Héctor didn’t came, he sent the police. From this brutal police repression that followed, 8 high school students were wounded. Nobody would give testimonies, or if they made comments, not in their names. Arriving afterwards, one can see many rocks and empty tear gas bomb cannisters at the gate of the school and still feel the gas heavy in the air. A teacher lamented that the ambulance came late, waiting for the police repression to calm down to enter the scene and get the wounded students. One of the students was impacted on the face. The student’s condition was observed overnight by medical staff.

27 July 2019

Deaths by one type of dengue had reached 100 in the current epidemic in Honduras. The health system is not paying for attention and treatment on weekend when the situation is clearly calling for this.

30 July 2019

In Tegucigalpa, bus drivers of the UNAH to El Carrizal route stopped their buses this day demanding secure work conditions, facing death threats for their work of driving buses.

New Criminal Code

In the backdrop of severe repression, the politicians of the regime approved a new Criminal Code that they published in May and are ready to roll out in November. It will increase censorship, repression, it will silence and further criminalise people in struggle, heighten level of evidence required in cases of violence against women for lessen penalties, in a place where femicides are high. Those of the state will be able to steal from it and can simply return what they have stolen to avoid proceedings. Drug traffickers and money launderers and organised criminals also have penalties against them heavily reduced.

June 2019 Honduras Coup Update

June 2019 Honduras Coup Update

28 June 2019 is the 10 years anniversary date of the atrocious military coup in Honduras. Throughout June 2019, the strike and barricades of the education and healthcare sectors that began at the end of April 2019 continued, accompanied by the heavy cargo transport sector, paralysing the highways across the country and drying out petrol and electricity, driving into desperation the JOH (Juan Orlando Hernández – second term president by electoral fraud in 2017) dictatorship regime; this regime which only wants to keep privatising and repressing. This desperation translated into severe repression where gunshots were fired in many barricades on different dates and places wounding and on several occasions killing protesters.

1 June 2019

In Colón, in Guadalupe Carney, the campesino communities have a very long history of land struggle, recuperating land that had been occupied first by US military, and subsequently by palm giants. There, the protest in struggle for education and healthcare was heavily militarised including with low flying military helicopters and state security forces attacked and evicted the communities with gunshots, beatings and teargases, wounding several there. Ezequiel Urrea Sagastumen (aged 58) was gunshot wounded. When Jairo Leonel Hernández Ramírez (aged 24), Merlin Ignacio Hernández Hernández (aged 19), Snaider Cruz and Lilian Urrea went to help Ezequiel after he was shot, police threw three teargas bombs at them to impede them. Others wounded were Jorge Sorto Portillo (aged 15), William Aron Ruíz Zanches with a fractured right hand (aged 8), Edwin Manuel Morales, human rights defender Pedro Ulloa with a rock launched into his right arm, and Pedro’s son Obed Ulloa, who the soldiers bashed and snatched his notebook and mobile phone. Pedro and his son had already been recently attacked in repression before this. The police and military also damaged people’s cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. In addition, campesino leader Adolfo Cruz’s family home was raided and death threats were given to him and his family. People observed that not only Honduran police and military forces were there repressing them but also Israeli and Colombian paramilitary, serving the business interests of the region: Standard Fruit, and palm oil companies of Dinant, René Morales and Reinaldo Canales. Despite the high level of repression, people continued the barricade and struggle.

Also in the Colón region in Sabá, late in the evening, people barricading a major road there as part of the strike were viciously attacked. Military and police gave an eviction threat and afterwards shot gunshots, at the bodies.

In Danlí, the police repression was also heavy. People wounded and beaten up included Kevin Josue Ortiz Sevilla, Miriam Guerrero, and some human rights observers there.

From the healthcare sector, IHSS social security workers, who are 5300, announced they will join in the strike on Monday.

2 June 2019

From the day before, the repression in Guadalupe Carney in Colón further intensified as the police in their massive attacks against people, managed to lose a gun on that day before and had returned this next day to arbitrarily raid all the homes, to ‘find the gun’. The air-level intimidation also intensified with several police and military helicopters and small planes of Standard Fruit hovering over and firing gunshots from the air terrorising the communities. These hovering helicopters landed on the community’s football field that morning. Once on the ground, the police, military and paramilitary people chased people and fired gunshots towards them as they chased. The repression only stopped at about 5pm.

In San Pedro Sula, trees fell in front of the Multiplaza shopping centre due to heavy rains and electric storm, causing congestion in the area near the shopping centre. People commented that this is nature participating in the national strike!

3 June 2019

In La Paz, the teachers, healthcare workers and youths of La Paz and Comayagua barricaded the CA5 highway to La Paz and were attacked brutally by a contingent of 300-400 agents who arrived in 6 commandos, 12 police patrols, and 2 military trucks. The agents attacked those barricading with beatings, rubberbullets, teargas bombs and stone launcher, and arrested several youths. Amongst the people beaten up, fractured and affected by gases was the San José village school principal whose left arm was fractured from the police brutality. Many fled repression by running into the forest or under the bridge. Having fled frantically, some people don’t know where some others were, and were stressed that something may have happened to them.

In Tegucigalpa, near the teaching university UPNFM, there was repression against the mobilisation with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets. Nurse Karen Díaz was hit by rubber bullets shot by soldiers at her in the chest and in the face where she suffered a deep open wound. Karen only realised she had been wounded in the face when she felt her shirt blood drenched and started to feel pain in her chest and she also felt heat and burning in her face and felt a tooth move. Karen said she will keep fighting. She was strong and stayed on her feet when wounded and asked her daughter to take a photo of the injuries to keep evidence of the attack.

Heavy storms caused damages to the infrastructure of schools in Tegucigalpa and surrounds. For these to be fixed, for teachers´ rights to be respected, and for quality free education are some of the things the strike is fighting for.

There were also highway barricades at Cerro de Hula, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, and in Siguatepeque where people also spelt Get out JOH with lots of clothes on the highway. People also occupied the Roatán International Airport on the Bay Islands in protest.

There was talk about teachers having signed onto a negotiation; those who are in struggle have not signed anything because to have done so was to have sold out, because the regime is not agreeing to all the demands, and are bribing leaders to sign agreements. There were some who have sold out but they do not represent people who continued and continue the barricades.

On this date, political prisoner Romel Valdemar Herrera Portillo was transferred from Tamara prison to La Tolva maximum security prison in El Paraíso.

4 June 2019

In Colón, in Sabá, the community barricaded the bridge over Aguán river. Military and police attacked the barricade firing gunshots, chasing and arresting anyone they could. Three people were gravely wounded from the military and police attacks, including a minor named Jonatan from the Montefresco neighbourhood, and a man named Ronco.

Also in Colón, in Guapinol, Tocoa, the people’s barricade was invaded by police and military forces which arrived firing gunshots, and chasing people to their homes in their community and into palm plantations. Some people have been wounded. Many are at risk. Some were lost to their loved ones for a long time. People were worried about possible deaths.

In Atlántida, Tela, the protests were being violently repressed by the police. About 11pm, journalist Leonardo Guevara was covering the repression for Radio Progreso and the head of police Mario Alexander Oliviera responded to his reporting by trying to snatch his microphone and mobile phone while other police attacked him with teargas. Leonardo held onto his phone and microphone good and left the area. As another bolt of repression was being unleashed Leonardo began to record that and another police tried once again to take his mobile and microphone off him from behind, but they also didn’t manage to. Ironically, Alexander Oliviera is the police assigned to be protecting Leonardo as a persecuted journalist, and was not supposed to be persecuting him.

In San Pedro Sula, in Rio Blanco, the young people of the community were in protest when police opened gunfire against these and chased and hunted them down.

At the protests in Cortés, in the La Paz neighbourhood in Lima, police arrested four people including one child aged 12.

In Zambrano/Durazno, police arbitrarily arrested and beat up student Edgar Noe Acosta Ortega (20), who was to be released 6am the next day.

In Tegucigalpa, masses of people were in mobilisation, including intern patients of the HEU teaching hospital who joined the people outside. Near the ENEE state energy company building, police threw teargas bombs and arrested four youths: Emerson Cruz, Jorge Andrés Torres Martínez, Sergio Daniel Juárez Flores and Cristofer Nolasco, and locked them up at the Kennedy police station. At the mobilisation a large group of at least 50 infiltrators carrying weapons arrived in three cars when the mobilisation was in UNAH, and attacked the international correspondent of Hispan TV Dasaev Aguilar, who threw his camera off a bridge destroying it. At this point, the mobilisation dispersed to regroup later.

5 June 2019

In the midst of massive insurrectionary movements in Honduras with these traffic stopping strikes, over 300 US marines of the Special Purpose Marine Aero Ground Task Force of the South Comando arrived in Honduras. Their pretext was ‘to train regional forces to deal with natural disasters’.

In Atlantida, Tela: the protest was being repressed, and Wilson Adonay Alvarenga of Jilamito, Arizona, was passing through when he was targetted by police. Wilson was hurt and hospitalised for days at Mario Catarino Rivas hospital.

In Tocoa, people in protest and in land recuperation struggles were being threatened with eviction by the presence of many tanks.

In La Lima, there were barricades that paralysed transport there. There were also actions in San Pedro Sula, assemblies in many provinces, and in Mosquitia, enraged people in land struggle burnt down the government building of Gracias a Dios in the Puerto Lempira municipality.

6 June 2019

In San Pedro Sula, outraged people took the risky action of setting some 50 vehicles of the privatised electricity company EEH on fire.

In La Paz, Marcala, students occupied the 21 de octubre school building, and were threatened with that if they didn’t vacate, they would be charged.

The political prisoner Rommel Valdemar Herrera was hugged by his dad for the first time after his arrest six days before, when he appeared in court this day and was given a little time of contact with loved ones. His friends and compas placed pressure on the courts in solidarity with him outside the court. His next hearing date was 24 June 2019.

libertadprommel

8 June 2019

In Guapinol in Tocoa, in Colón, the community that had for many months upheld resistance against mining companies in defense of the Guapinol river was raided by military police without a court order to do so. The military police force arrested a youth named Marlon Figueroa, along with other youths. Their families fear for the lives of the arrested youths. It turned out that they were released that night, but not without threatening them first, saying that what had happened was only to give them a glimpse of what can happen to them for their persistance in defending the rivers.

People have long known that the JOH regime contracts staff of its political party and obligates these to turn up to protests in support of the JOH regime. Now the shamelessness had gone further as to send these government staff to plant trees for public relations sake, while the regime’s ally industries burn forests.

9 June 2019

Hedman Alas bus company announced that buses were going to be cancelled the next day because of protest roadblocks.

10 June 2019

in Intibucá, a group of school students aged 9-13 were participating in the protests when a group of national party activists accompanied by police and military agents attacked them, yelling ‘kill them!’ and humiliating, abusing, threatening them and was going to arrest them. Salvador Zuniga the founder of Cinph Indigenous Grassroots Power Coordinator intervened immediately to defend the school children when the group then responded attacking Salvador throwing punches at him and tearing the shirt he had on.

In Danlí, people barricaded the highway exit for El Paraíso.

In Choluteca, in El Estadio, youths put up barricades and were attacked and chased by four police patrols.

12 June 2019

In Tegucigalpa, a group of human rights defenders began a hunger strike on 10 June 2019 demanding freedom of all political prisoners. In the midnight hours on 12 June 2019 a group of attackers arrived where the hunger strikers had set up, and proceeded to break the sticks and tubes of the tent where the hunger strikers sheltered, and tore up any fabric, knots and wires that sustained the structure. While those on hunger strike felt threatened and are sure their attackers are sent by the JOH government, they had people trying to repair the tent, and moved to refuge in the Copemh teachers union building, and continued with strength and determination, on their hunger strike.

In Tegucigalpa, during the day, people again protested at the Toncontín International airport. Police attacked, beat up and chased people, amongst the people attacked was teaching student Paola Pineda who was ganged up against by a dozen police. One police grabbed her by the hair and another said, ‘grab this daughter of a bitch and beat her up’, ‘why would you do that?’ Paola protested, and the police said smugly, ‘because I wanna’, and took her things and physically and verbally attacked her and tried to arbitrarily arrest her over several minutes. ‘Let her go!’ people around Paola yelled. Journalists of C-Libre, UNE TV and Notifides who tried to cover this ended up attacked by police as well. There was a total of four arrestees from the Toncontín repression, including Alejandro José Zepeda, aged 19, and Edy Orlando Zuniga, aged 22. The four were released hours later. At this mobilisation, also the teachers union president of COLPEDAGOGOSH, Edwin Hernández spoke up about threats and persecution from state security forces, and shortly after that, people spoke about having seen him being approached by unidentified men near the airport, and not seeing him since, and of having called him and his not answering. People were concerned he may have been disappeared.

In El Hato in Tegucigalpa that night, people set up a barricade with a pile of tyres on fire stopping traffic and burning the fire of revolution, with a large banner saying, NO TO DICTATORSHIP.

In Choluteca where people have for many months held protests twice a week against the JOH dictatorship and constantly resist severe repression, people barricaded the Pan American highway and were attacked by police. Metro TV reported that there were arrests and disappearances; Angélica María Galos, a teenager who was filming the police when a woman police snatched her mobile phone and tried to push her into a vehicle, and as she struggled free, police shot her with firearms and presumably wounded her, at that point three hooded men appeared and kidnapped her. Angélica María Galos was disappeared.

 

In Danlí, in the night, as people of Nueva Esperanza and Cofradía neighbourhoods protested, they were repressed with public security forces’ gunshots. The agents proceeded to chase them to their homes, launching teargas bombs to their backs as they chased.

There were also barricades reported over the San Juan River in Atlántida, as well as in Choloma, Cortés.

In this volatile context, of Valle de Siria in Francisco Morazán, environmentalist leader Santos Isidro ‘Chilo’ aged 40, left home on motorcycle to go to his work as a security guard at Alma Latina High School. When Chilo didn’t come home his spouse became worried and people began to look for him and found him gravely wounded with three gunshots in the chest and abdomen and signs of torture were seen on his body. Chilo subsequently died in hospital. Chilo was a spokesperson for CAVS – Valle de Siria Environmentalist Committee, that has opposed mining in the area for 20 years, in a place internationally known for the shocking health impact the Entremares open pit mining had caused people who lived there. CAVS has received threats for opposing the projects San Ignacio I, II, and III and for defending the Playa river – they fight because new mining projects would further damage the area already heavily destroyed by Entremares open pit mine.

Chilo

13 June 2019

In Villanueva, Cortés, from early in the morning, people barricaded at the traffic lights towards San Manuel Cortés. When police evicted them with teargas bombs, people including unionists and teachers started to set up tyres and light fires on them on the CA5 highway to blockade the ways to Tegucigalpa and to San Pedro Sula. Police attacked people with teargas bombs and people determined not to be evicted responded with stones. Police called on reinforcements and minutes later a group of plain clothes police were arriving and launched masses of teargas bombs forcing protesters to back into roads of nearby neighbourhoods. Police with bullet proof vests, helmets and riot shields chased and pushed people and kept hitting them with gas. Police also fired gunshots at protesters, one gunshot hit teacher José Ramón Salina in the back. José was critically wounded and was struggling for his life. It did not finish there, around 200 soldiers and police went onto chasing young people to their homes’ doors, ready to assault the homes and hunt down the youths. Later, thankfully, news came from José’s colleagues that he was stable.

In San Pedro Sula, teachers and students were in protest as well.

In the 6 de mayo community in Santa Barbara, teachers and parents held a protest demanding free access to quality healthcare and education. Suddenly, a contingent of military police and riot cops arrived and pulled out their guns firing shots and shooting teargas bombs at protesters and chasing them. One teacher and uni student being chased and bashed and sprayed with peppergas was 28 years old Bayron Roberto Rodríguez. ‘(Don’t hurt me), I am a teacher,’ he pleaded, and ‘they told me that I was nobody, and they kept bashing me.’ He ran and was practically pushed into the river. His compas rescued him. Afterwards, he said, ‘I appeared in a river, and a muchacho took me to the clinic, they said I had concussion, and I forgot afterwards what happened.’ As well as being hurt, he was in a lot of shock and the doctors helped stabilise him. Byron had red marks all over the body from where he had been hit. In addition, he had received some psychological beatings and is tormented by nightmares and bad memories and fear. On the other hand, he had felt very warmly the solidarity of his compas, family, friends and human rights defenders who have all been a huge support. Byron himself finds atrocious the conditions of the school where he teaches, with the roof, fences, entrance and bathrooms all in desperate need to be repaired. It is just wrong how neglected the education and healthcare sectors are. Byron feels strongly the importance of fighting for the common good, and not for some political party. Byron reflects back to the time when the coup started, 10 years ago in 2009, him and his compas were graduating from their teacher training then. They were ‘products’ of the coup, he felt, and now he falls victim to its repression.

Byron was by far the only person hurt in the repression of this day. Many went into hiding running from gunshots and teargases. Many were affected by teargases. A youth named Erick Zerón was arrested – people were worried not knowing which police station he was being taken to. Many more were hurt, but they did not speak up out of fear.

14 June 2019

In Tegucigalpa, Ruy Díaz and Wilton Gómez continued their hunger strike at the Copemh teachers union building demanding freedom for the political prisoners Edwin Espinal, Raúl Alvarez, Gustavo Cáceres and Rommel Valdemar, and there was another attack. This time three men on a dark pick up truck tried to take the tent, but the security of Copemh saw this and intervened quickly. Ruy and Wilton’s lives are at risk.

In Choluteca, people organised a large mobilisation, barricade, and truckdrivers helped make the barricade even stronger by parking a truck across the highway. Frustrated police chief Roberth Nahin Nuñez threatened to burn businesses like petrol stations and houses of protesters. Police contingent proceeded to chase protesters and ended up launching teargas bombs inside a petrol station. Petrol station employee and fire safety delegate Ariel Baquedano was wounded with burns from the two teargas bombs launched by police – his leg caught fire.

In Villanueva, Cortés, the people organised a barricade which was savagely repressed by police, with teachers beaten up, wounded, and suffocated with teargas and peppergas. Those in struggle didn’t call it a day though, they regrouped and mobilised towards San Pedro Sula.

In Francisco Morazán, at the Panamerican highway, people barricaded the turnoff for Reitoca. Police attacked people on the barricade with teargas bombs, affecting many including children and elderly people.

There was also a barricade in Atlántida.

And in this heated context, another assassination. Indigenous Tolupan ex leader Miriam Mercedes Burgos was killed, in the Jicaritos village in Cuyamapa.

miriam mercedes.jpg
15 June 2019

In Atlántida, teachers and community members of Arizona and Esparta barricaded the CA-13 highway barricaded at the Ramón Fiallos bridge over Lean river.

A preliminary report was released by local human rights organisation Cofadeh of the repression between the second week of May until 9 June 2019. It gave the following overview: 42 protests and 136 points of protests had been repressed by state forces in 11 provinces in Honduras. There has been reports of infiltation by parapolice-paramilitary. 4 dead by firearms. 33 wounded by rubberbullets and other objects. 36 beaten. 3 tortured. 48 illegal detentions. 32 death threats. 1 political prisoner.

16 June 2019

Heavy cargo transport workers have already been part of this strike, but on this date, they announced a national level strike. Their demands: renewal of operation permits, as well as joining in with actions in defence of health and education sectors.

In Tegucigalpa, where Ruy and Wilton continued their hunger strike inside the Copemh teachers union building, just after midnight, a group of unidentified people arrived in a truck and started to knock loudly on the doors in intimidation. They sounded as if they were done, but after a short silence, they were heard hammering over a long time. The next morning people saw a motorcycle parked there of numberplate MPA3833 at the gate of Copemh. Police patrol PN631 then took this motorcycle.

Late this late, people observed and shared and warned others that the regime had transported and placed war equipment along the CA-5 highway for repression.

17 June 2019

In Tegucigalpa, uni students of UNAH began indefinite occupation of their campus as part of the strike for education and healthcare. Repressive forces threw teargases to inside the campus, especially affecting where there is an experimental children’s education centre, with small children inside receiving the classes, inside the campus.

In Colón, communities barricaded roads in Corocito, Bonito Oriental, and Guadalupe Carney community, Trujillo.

In Choluteca, people barricaded roads and in this afternoon, military police arrested six protesters. They seemed to have been released the day after under pressure of human rights defenders.

18 June 2019

It’s a day of actions and barricades organised by people in just about everywhere – Tegucigalpa, Cortés, Yoro, Atlántida, Copán, Santa Babara, Boulevard San Lorenzo of Valle, CA5 entrance to Tegucigalpa blocked with heavy cargo trucks, the front of the Las Cascadas Mall in Tegucigalpa, highways of Colón. And on top of that, you have the trucks of the heavy cargo transport workers. In the Olancho province, it was confirmed that the petrol stations in most of the province was left without petrol, with some having a little and being forced to ration out – an impressive result of weeks of constant barricades between Juticalpa and Catacamas by those in struggle. Similarly, many petrol stations in Tegucigalpa the capital city had run out of petrol with some that have some rationing, up to US$10 worth of petrol per vehicle. But, action, reaction, lots and high intensity of both.

The Cobras specialist police force had decided to go on strike. But while Cobras are not repressing, many military police are.

At the Quebrada Seca bridge in Yoro, people barricaded the bridge and there were also protests in the Las Minas and La Sarrosa villages where people blocked the paths towards Santa Rita. State security forces repressed with a lot of teargases and a lot of arrests. The teargases inundated including the Berlin health centre and some homes in the area, where babies rushed from their homes to emergency included one that was one month old and another about 5 months old. The health centre had children and adults inside including women giving birth who were affected by the teargas. The seven arrestees from the Quebrada Seca repression were Fernando Betancourt (34), Jerson Gustavo Araon (28), Cristian Rodríguez (26), Osman Romero (47), Julio Chacón (37), Marvin Bonilla (54), and Tomás Guzmán. Plus two arrestees from Las Minas village Lucas Cárdenas (37) and Jorge Espinoza.

In the Atlántida province, on the CA-13 highway, people organised simultaneously at least 10 barricades, including on the bridge above Dante river, in Jutiapa, and in La Ceiba, in Pajuiles and Toyos, where people blocked roads burning tyres, and a Coca Cola vehicle was used to block the road. Some bus companies like Transportes Mirna decided to suspend their operations for now with the highways blocked. In Jutiapa, in the midnight hours, where people were protesting and barricading and stopping traffic, the driver of a vehicle that was blocked came out of the car and fired gunshots at barricade participants – from this round of gunshots, Eliud Orellana and another compa (name unpublished) were hospitalised and died in hospital, and another two were wounded.

June 2019

In San Pedro Sula, at the Mario Catarino Rivas hospital, in the context of the struggle for free and quality healthcare and education, people spoke up that the hospital’s conditions are such that two patients are placed per hospital bed. Meanwhile, in Choloma, ‘public transport’ workers also joined the strike, protesting highly dangerous work conditions, their colleagues, a driver Melvin Joel Medina Benavides, and his helper ‘El Flaco’, were doing their last round in Lopez Arellano neighbourhood, when two people who had boarded the bus pulled out their weapons and shot both of them dead, and fled. El Flaco will be remembered by his relos and ex classmates, as a guy who is ‘calm, happy and a good friend’. Melvin will be remembered as friendly and polite with a timid smile that won the trust of those around him.

In Colón, there were barricades in Tocoa, in the Cayo Campo community and in the Prieta community. In Cayo Campo police and soldiers were firing live bullets at protesters. In Prieta, police evicted protesters in the mid morning.

19 June 2019

Petrol continues to be scarce in cities like Tegucigalpa and Olancho. Heavy cargo transport workers have been on strike since Monday. There are again barricades all over, in Tegucigalpa on the eastern exit, and at many different points of the CA5 that connects Tegucigalpa (the political capital), with San Pedro Sula (the industrial capital), and to the ports of the north and south coasts, as well as on the Panamericana highway in Valle, and on the highway between Tegucigalpa and Choluteca in the south where heavy trucks parked across the highway. That night, in El Hato, Tegucigalpa, the fiery image stuck – tyres on fire in the night, and a banner in front, ‘This is the moment. Get out JOH’. It was hot. It was, it is, the moment.

The Tigres police squad joined the Cobra special forces in announcing their strike of ‘fallen arms’, in protest for their own rights and also saying that they disagreed with repressing the protests. However one evaluates this situation, and even with some armed confrontation between the forces on strike and those upholding the status quo, there was still heavy and bloody repression by national and military police (with a squad of 7500) against people in protest unleashed this date. So around Tegucigalpa, there were confrontation between the police/special forces at the police buildings in the Kennedy neighbourhood and in the Belén neighbourhood and others and people heard gunshots and teargas bombs in these buildings. The military police in turn assaulted the Cobras police cartel. No spokespeople were on the news telling people what was happening. Noticing what is happening around there, people spontaneously started to barricade bridges, streets and highways and were repressed by national and military police forces. In the last hour of this day, in the midst of all these, mysteriously, six officiers of the presidential honour guard were arrested at JOH’s home and taken prisoners.

From the Kennedy neighbourhood protests in Tegucigalpa, Luis Enrique Maldonado, aged 29, was attacked by gunshots of the military police during the protest, one gunshot hit his head. He was gravely wounded, taken to Hospital Escuela where neurosurgery specialists tried to save his life and couldn’t. He was killed.

From the El Pedregal neighbourhood protests also in Tegucigalpa, Erik Peralta, aged 38, was participating in the protest when he was stabbed by soldiers and assassinated.

Erik Peralta.png
This extreme repression in Tegucigalpa was all carried out in the late evening hours by the military police – Cobra and Tigre police forces on strike did not appear then to defend people. At least 11 (some reports say 25) others were wounded by gunshots and taken to emergency and surgery departments in the hospitals of Tegucigalpa, and at least 20 wounded overall of all injury types from the repression. Most of the people hurt participated in the protests, others were passing through. One was working at someone’s house doing some landscaping and received a gunshot in his abdomen. Another was going to drop someone near a petrol station and seeing how protesters just holding up their barricade and not attacking were attacked with gunshots when he himself was then suddenly hit with 50-60 gunshots in the arms, head, back and leg. He observed that police was using non police cars to try to make it look like that attacks were not by police.

Earlier that day, apparently some Cobra police arrested and locked up two police infiltrators in the protests when they were in a corner making calls. And at 5.15pm, near the Finlay park in the city centre, police repressed the protest with gas and at least 10 police agents beat up Roberto Ismael Núñez Castellanos (36) and hit his back with a rubber bullet. They arrested him and accused him of ‘public scandal’. Roberto was lcoked up in El Manchén police station and released the next morning. He is a micro business person who supports social struggles, and who wants the country to be free of dictatorships, for his children, for his partner.

In Ciudad Nueva in Choluteca, employee of telephone company Claro, Iván Elías Palma, aged 19, was going to work when he yelled ‘get out JOH’ and was arrested for that. The police dispossessed him of two mobile phones and the keys to his motorcycle!

20 June 2019

It’s another day with barricades all over. To name some, in Ocotepeque, people burnt tyres and barricaded highways at the borders of the country with El Salvador, – El Poy, and with Guatemala – Aguacalientes. People also barricaded the highway that links Tegucigalpa with Nicaragua – Las Manos, and felt tremendous joy and resistance at the barricade. In El Paraíso, people barricaded the highway towards Danlí in the morning. Heavy cargo transport workers were on strike barricading the Cortés port, facing a heavy contingent of police and soldiers ready to repress late at night, anxious about the stopped petrol tanks. Meanwhile, some police maintain their ‘fallen guns’ strike, in San Miguel neighbourhood, some five or six patrol vehicles of hooded police were in caravan, demonstrating their being on strike. At the same time, people reported soldiers wearing police uniform, dressed to repress.

In La Paz, people barricaded the highway turnoff to Yarumela, playing soccer there also, when police and soldiers fired gunshots against and assassinated 17 year old Eblin Noel Corea Maradiaga, a student leader, who was playing soccer there and had spoken up about threats and harassment he had been getting related to his participation in the protests. His family, friends, and community were tremendously enraged and saddened. He was many things to many people. The goalie of Leones de Judá team. A good friend. A singer. Someone who went on the migrants caravan and returned, ecstatic about having been able to know Guatemala and Mexico in this way and for the journey. Someone with Lenca roots. Someone very friendly, happy, good, and respectful. Someone with whom, many shared cherished memories. If only he did obtain asylum instead of being deported on the caravan. That night at 11pm, people expressed some of their rage setting the police station on fire.


In La Esperanza, Intibucá, another place where most people are Lenca indigenous, people, including the very young and the very old, barricaded defending health and education. Police repressed the protests 7am into the afternoon firing live gunshots and gases, including against children. Military police particularly attacked homes of the Venecia neighbourhood using teargases shot inside, as well as live gunshots, and gassed the Enrique Aguilar Cerrato area of the hospital affecting patients inside including pregnant women. They intoxicated the air around the barricade with massive amounts of gases, and arrested including elderly people and minors. One documented arrest was of 17 years old Edwin Cantarero who was arrested accused of supposably breaking a car window at the protest. While under police custody police attacked him with a teargas bomb from which he fainted, they then removed him from the gassed cell and bashed and insulted him, and threatened him with, ‘today you will get to know the devil’, ‘we will throw you to the Saviour to disappear you,’ before releasing him to his mum that afternoon. Edwin is on the Guarajambala community radio team. There were two other young arrestees tortured. Salvador Zúniga was also attacked again after the attack the week before.

In Tocoa in Colón, the barricades of the Guapinol community and of the Cayo Campo community were both evicted by the police with live gunshots. People struggled on and re-occupied the bridge over the Tocoa river.

In Tegucigalpa at the Toncontín International Airport, the immigration office retained Telesur Mexico journalists Eduardo Martínez and Juan Carlos Martínez, telling them that they needed to be invited to come to Honduras and cover news.

Also in Tegucigalpa, people barricaded the street of the Zonal Belén market, and were repressed by police including with gunshots. Uni students protested inside the UNAH campus and were stuck inside, in danger, with police surrounding all exits. There are 2 A4 papers full of names of students inside before sunrise. Meanwhile, it was reported that people saw smoke coming out of the Tizatillo police station, and heard gunshots and screaming that come from inside. People think it was confrontation between on strike Cobra forces and police forces.

In Choluteca, people’s barricades were surrounded by police and soldiers from the morning and were repressed then until midday.

In the entrance of Nacaome, people barricaded the bridge over the Guasirope river in protest for health and education. It was in the evening that police and soldiers suddenly attacked them with teargas and rocks and chased people. As protesters fled to a nearby house they were quickly surrounded by the security forces who launched teargases at the roof and doors of the house, intoxicating people inside including elderly people and children.

21 June 2019

The day before, the state electricity company ENEE issued a communique stating that on the Atlantic coast, due to the highway barricades stopping tanks from arriving to La Ceiba, the Laeisz private company is running out of energy supplies, that from 6am this morning many circuits of electricity distribution will have to be cut off, ‘unless protesters allow the tanks to arrive.’

The barricades continued strong. There were barricades in at least the following places: Limones, Nacaome, Valle, Choluteca, many parts of Colón, Puerto Cortés and Yoro.

In Limones, the military police repressed the barricade and tortured the teacher Carlos Flores.

In Nacaome, Valle, people’s barricade was brutally attacked by the police and military under the orders of police subcomissioner Wilmer Jurandir Pineda Ordóñez, with gunshots, chasing and teargas bombs. The security forces were especially attacking young people, but they also launched teargas bombs at the home where people fled to seek refuge.

In Cuyulapa, the barricade was repressed by soldiers using gunshots, gravely gunshot wounding the youth Manuel Castro Aguilar.

In Colón, where there were barricades by many different communities in different points, soldiers under the command of Subcommissioner Vieda were violently evicting communities at the different points firing gunshots and teargas bombs. The repression was in Guadalupe Carney, La Confianza, Lempira farmers settlement, Guapinol, Prieta and Saba communities in Colón. By 5.30pm, there were at least two youths gunshot wounded, and many others have been tortured.

At the Cortés port, where military police desperately and brutally repressed people, one youth who was hurt was Junior Javier Humaña Gomez, against whom the military indiscriminately sprayed with teargases during the protest repression.

At Quebrada Seca in Yoro, the community barricaded and the police repressed and chased protesters who were barricading. Police captured community member José Gabriel Godínez, brutally bashing him and fracturing one of his arms. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

In Choluteca, in police repression of barricades, police agent Rodríguez of patrol 1103 103 brutally attacked human rights defender Daniel Arturo Betancourt.

22 June 2019

In Colón communities upheld barricades in Guapinol, La Confianza and Guadalupe Carney and probably other points too. Police and soldiers attacked all these barricades with gunshots that morning. In Guapinol the repression continued into the afternoon.

In Tegucigalpa, JOH regime’s political party national party organised a ‘March for Peace’, and journalism student Jefferson Martínez went to cover and transmit it live for the facebook page ‘Somos Periodismo HN’ from 8.40am. At 9.23am, he announced, ‘they are gassing, they are gassing,’ and you could see the nationalist activists fleeing. Some nationalist activists then grabbed him and bashed him in his face and body, he thought he was going to die. Jefferson was then arrested by police when a nationalist activist accused him of throwing the teargas bombs that police would have shot. There were images of him on social media with a bloody noise and bruises all over. Hours later the judge released him having found no evidence against him. Why police repressed the nationalists’ ‘demonstration’ is not known.

23 June 2019

In Yarumela, La Paz, relatives of Eblin Noel Maradiaga – the youth assassinated by police on 20 June 2019, were accompanied by many people, protesting demanding justice for Eblin, confronting the police and military cordone, yelling, ‘assassins! Assassins!’ ‘Study and Learn! Never ever become cops!’

24 June 2019

Major actions on this day included barricading El Danto Bridge in La Ceiba with tyres on fire from 6am, barricade of the Cortés port, and uni student occupations of the UNAH campus in Tegucigalpa and CURLA on the Atlantic coast, and school students’ occupations and road barricades of the main public high schools.

At the Cortés port, soldiers repressed those on the barricades with gunshots and savage amounts of teargas bombs forcing people to flee. Business-state alliances were made obvious as the Standard Fruit company openly dropped off pineables to the soldiers who threatened protesters. There was also a busload of teachers from Yoro who were headed for the Cortés port, but were all arrested by police and never arrived to the port.

The students’ occupation of the UNAH campus in Tegucigalpa was raided by an enormous contingent of military police, police, and Tigres (the ones who didn’t go on strike? Or perhaps the strike was no longer), firing gunshots, teargas bombs and chasing and hitting students, just before 5pm, and continued beyond 7.30pm. From this attack, eight were gunshot wounded by gunshots of the military police and police – six students and two UNAH security guards. Some of the students wounded were Carlos Godoy and Esly Quevado, who were both shot in the legs, Elder Nahúm Pereira, who was shot in the stomach, Josué Rafael Fonseca Mendoza, who was shot in a hand, and Marixa Ardon. Of these, two were gravely wounded. The UNAH director Francisco Herrera said he was surprised the military police contingent invaded given that negotiations were going on.

The Instituto Técnico Honduras (ITH) high school occupation in the Kennedy neighbourhood in Tegucigalpa was attacked by security forces with toxic gases causing students to suffocate. After dispersing the students with teargases, the agents also chased the students with their weapons in their hands.

Also in Tegucigalpa, the school students of Vicente Central highschool barricaded the road with tyres on fire, they were being watched by military police who were in riot gear and filming.

25 June 2019

In solidarity with students of UNAH Tegucigalpa after the grave repression the day before, and in struggle for public healthcare and education, the VS – Valle de Sula campus of UNAH, accompanied by high school students of JTR – Instituto Jose Trinidad Reyes and of INTAE, occupied the uni campus. They were raided by the military also and shot at with gunshots and teargas bombs and were chased and beaten up. There were students wounded by the teargas bombs and by beatings, and one who has respiratory condition had their life put in question by the teargas attack. Infiltrators were noticed on campus also.

In Nacaome, the students of the teaching university also occupied in protest. Police and soldiers tried to invade but the uni’s private security guards managed to impede them. The police and soldiers did, however, shoot rubber bullets and teargas bombs inside the campus, launched from outside.

In Choluteca, people barricading were repressed with teargas bombs and were chased from two directions. People were wounded. One of the people wounded was a Wendys employee who was giving out leaflets for the company. REDEHSUR human rights defenders were also attacked and threatened. Marlon Alexander García Gutierrez for example was transmitting live for the facebook page Defensorxs Redehsur when he was shot by police on a motorcycle with a rubber bullet in the chest. Luckily though, Marlon was wearing his backpack on the front so there was padding which reduced the impact of the shot.

In Tegucigalpa, the barricade of the high school students of ITH was attacked again this morning by military police after the attack the day before. The attack was worse this day, as military police used gunshots. ITH students were supported by students of Instituto España Jesús Milla Selva (JMS). Many students covered their face to avoid being profiled.
Also in Tegucigalpa, the students occupying Instituto Central Vicente Cáceres were once again being watched by military police on motorcycle patrols which militarise the streets around the school, holding weapons and using their phones to film students. Human rights defender Erick Martínez approached a military police and asked for their ID and the military police responded, ‘here, I am the law’ and refused to give his name.
26 June 2019

The ENEE state electricity company announced blackouts in many areas, in north, central and south part of honduras the next day. Perhaps related to barricades and energy supplies, but no mentions nor pleads were made this time.

In Tegucigalpa, in the Kennedy neighbourhood, the confrontations between ITH high school students and riot cops continued this day with stones thrown from both sides. The road was completely blocked and there was no moving through. When things began to calm down, police launched a teargas bomb into the school corridor forcing the students and teachers to flee. Students went out then to occupy the road and were supported by JMS students. Police and military police attacked them with teargas bombs. ITH authorities announced there were to be no classes on the 27th and 28th June, as authorised by the provincial director of education, with 28 June 2019 being the anniversary date of 10 years of military coup in Honduras.

As high school students of Central Vicente Cáceres also continued their third day of barricade, police and military did move in this day to repress them with teargas and chased the students. Their classes were also to be cancelled the next days.

At the La Tolva prison, political prisoners Edwin Espinal, Raul Alvarez and Rommel Herrera spoke up about death threats against them inside the prison.

In Santa Barbara, Selvin Maldonado, a police judge (presumably there is a court dedicated to judging abuses by police) was assassinated at home that night – several armed people arrived and shot at him without having said anything.

The UNHCHR announced it will deploy special forces to monitor abuses of police and soldiers in the protests in Honduras and observe the human rights situation there.

27 June 2019

American Airlines and United Airlines annnounced that flights to Tegucigalpa on 28 June were cancelled.

In Santa Barbara, the province where student leader Eblin Corea was recently assassinated by police, school students in protest were surrounded by military and police who threatened the students and ordered them to all get on their knees and this image went around – just in case anyone was in doubt that the Honduran regime was a dictatorship.

In Arizona, Atlántida, teachers from Esparta and Arizona barricaded the Ramón Fiallos bridge over the Lean river and were brutally repressed by soldiers with teargases. There were people who had suffocated and fainted. A soldier, of whom there is a photo of in the social media, threatened young human rights defender Marlon Cruz, ‘idiot kid, in the tigres there are gangsters and with them we are going to kill you.’ When Marlon publicly spoke up about this death threat, soldiers shot a teargas bomb at his feet. Another soldier in charge of the violent eviction pushed Marlon and gave another soldier the order to bash him and illegally arrest him. Another soldier gave an order to remove him from the highway barricade and he was pushed by 7-8 soldiers with shields to remove him.

Of Bajo Aguan, exiled human rights defender Irma Lemus received a call from a private number. The caller asked Irma to return to Honduras and to withdraw her charges against mining company Inversiones Los Pinares for having given her death threats – she was offered a large sum of money in exchange. She refused to negotiate and said publicly that if she returns to Honduras it would be to continue struggling against all these projects of death against humanity and fight for justice. She had survived attempts, charges, harassment from military and transnational, and threats and a new attempt against her life on 30/1/19, and a kidnapping attempt on 17/2/19, and constant political persecution since 13/9/12 up to 16/3/19. She’s even had dead animals hung on her door in intimidation. She didn’t survive all this to sell out, she told the world.

28 June 2019

As the militarisation was extreme and the state security forces occupied just about all the strategic points of barricades protesters would occupy before protesters could get there, in anticipation of huge protests this 10 year anniversary of the military coup, so for this day of the month, not many protests were realised, they were impeded.

People in La Esperanza, Intibucá – land of Berta Cáceres, indigneous leader assassinated in 2016, did protest.

The teachers of La Entrada, Copán, mobilised, while 21 teachers were illegally called to meetings about their jobs and weren’t allowed witnesses. One teacher gave statements to the press – many teachers have worked for one year without being paid! She told the press, in argument with the government official in front of the camera. They are not there to have their individual cases resolved. Pay us all, is one of the demands.

In Choluteca, protesters did barricade the exit to Marcovia. Military police and police under orders of sub-official Vallecillo ferociously repressed people firing gunshots and launching teargas bombs at protesters from the wee hours of the morning. A journalist said their cameraperson had disappeared in that context. Also in that context, an old man selling tortillas on bicycle and with an esky had police throw three teargas bombs at him.

29 June 2019

Around lunchtime there were public security forces surrounding the home of organised teacher Genaro Oscar Garcias, looking like they were about to raid his home. There was a callout for support, to place pressure and prevent the raid.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, there was a reminder of the desperation of Hondurans as one Honduran migrant, Saily Yasmín Andino aged 19 was travelling on the La Bestía train trying to make the journey to cross into the US, when she hopped off the freight train to buy something to eat in a moment when it had stopped, the train sn

arted moving. Saily tried to grab onto it and hop back on, but she fell, and she fell under and the train ran over her and she was killed. She is one of many who died on the journey.

30 June 2019

In Tegucigalpa at the Toncontín International Airport, once again, an international journalist is stopped and interrogated. This time it was Juan Pablo Dalence Vidal of Radio Suecia and Sveriges Radio. Juan was held at the airport and interrogated and there were concerns he would be deported to Bogotá.

The workers union of the psychiatric hospital Santa Rosita announced they are joining the strike on the next day 1 July. This struggle of the healthcare and education sectors are carrying on.