June 2018 Honduras Coup Update

June 2018 Honduras Coup Update

Political prisoners’ situation update

Of the 22 political prisoners from the recent-electoral-fraud-triggered-semi-insurrectional-period, 17 have been released on bail having been imprisoned for more than four months each – one was released on 25 April 2018, the other 16 were released within the first three weeks of May. Five who continue to be locked up – three of them in maximum security prisons – are Edwin Robelo Espinal, Raúl Alvarez, Gustavo Adolfo Caceres Ayala, José Gabriel Godínez Avelar and Edy Gonzalo Valle. Those who have been released are so thanks to campaigning within Honduras and abroad, but there are grave concerns that the plan is to keep these five locked up. Those released are not free and safe as such, since being released, there has been constant reports of harassment which they and their families have been targets of by the police – of raids and police vehicles circling against their homes, of being watched, and direct threats from police, telling them, that they won’t send them to prison anymore – they will DISAPPEAR them. The campaigns, protests and pressure demanding freedom for political prisoners and an end to the political persecution against them and their families are ongoing – they are not resting and some of those released joined in, including the only woman political prisoner of this group, who said they must be tireless and keep fighting, for justice for all the political prisoners, and for a more just world.

Attacks against organisers, those at protests, blockades..

On 3 June 2018, in Reitoca, a Lenca indigenous group that organises and protests against the hydroelectricity project Rio Petacón of the company Progelsa – largely owned by businessman Jack Arévalo, was protesting and watching over the river, when some men suddenly appeared armed with machetes and pistols to attack, intimidate and threaten those protesting. It was found out that this shock group attack was organised and contracted by the mayor Marlon Osorto. Congress had given Progelsa a 50 years concession to Progelsa, and to the building company SERMACO, which is owned by the head of the liberal party legislative chamber, Elvin Ernesto Santos. The concession is not meant to be given without consulting those who will be affected, especially if those affected are indigenous, but of course they were not consulted, the government chose to consult people who weren’t going to be affected instead, who would be more agreeable. The government also did tell this community something early on, but it was very vague, something about a company coming to invest in the community and a dam and watering system. People heard the word hydroelectricity dam for the first time, not knowing what it was. Ex mayor (Liberal party) Manuel Meza explicitly tricked the community to grant permission for Progelsa – and of course he would do that, he has since been found guilty by courts for assassinations, homicide, illicit association and sentenced to more than a lifetime in prison for being a politician who had no limits in his quest for wealth. But in time, people caught on and would not permit the exploitation of their only water source, the river. They organised to set up camp and watch and stop the building process on 14 January 2018 wearing cloth that covered their faces to try to keep safe and avoid being targeted, but on 30 January as people arrived on the camp, a police-military contingent fired gunshots at people as well as teargas bombs – Mirian Sorto was shot on her left leg, and only now she has finally recovered from the wound and surgery.

Construction already being underway for the dam meant that people can already see the pollution caused by the dam and are deeply affected already. Fruit orchards in the area are ruined with fruit trees falling over. The Canta Callo hill is destroyed. The Rio Grande river in Reitoca is contaminated and the fishes in it are dead – with fish being a major food source for people who live there. At the beginning of 2017 the river turned all black, it looked like an oil spill had occurred. People recorded videos of the black water and dead fish. Waterways started drying up because of the diversion of the dam structure. They had meetings with the council and with Progelsa and brought them to the river to show them all this. The right thing to do would be to withdraw and regenerate the area but they have done nothing but attack people and try to continue implementing.

To push their profit agenda Progelsa started with attempts to bribe people. Indigenous council president Alejandro Herrera Euceda was approached several times and pressured to sign documents and was even approached by a government official in this way, telling him if only they agree to the completion of the dam that environmentalists can have a millionaire fund of reforestation that they have complete control over. Alejandro Herrera knows his life is at risk, having rejected the offer. Others’ are too. Human rights defender Renán Zelaya received threats on whatsapp from Miguel Angel Osorto Aguero, a very trusted employee of the municipality authority. Other members of the indigenous council have been threatened, with attempts of bribes and then death threats, but people there keep fighting to keep the river alive, in Reitoca where it was once peaceful and picturesque.

On 6 June 2018 in the midnight hours, Marvin Norales got arrested and locked up at the Satuye police station in La Ceiba. Marvin is a directive member of Ofraneh – fraternal black Hondurans’ organisation – an organisation that defends ancestral territories of the Garífuna people, Marvin is accused of usurpation of land in Puerto Castillo.

Also on 6 June 2018, a digital press release came out saying that the Amapala municipality Environmental Unit’s director Miguel Gonzales had affirmed that there is an eviction that will be executed against 700 people who live on 3 of the 13 islands on the peninsula – an area being concessioned for model cities. There was no precise information so people don’t know if they live in one of these islands or not. The region’s territory defence organisation Adepza is investigating to find out where these evictions are being planned so that people can mobilise to defend these territories. Subsequently, on 28 June 2018, Gerardo Aguilar, the director of the area’s community radio La Voz de Zacate Grande, spoke up about persecution and harassment lately against the journalists of the community radio. On the one hand, there are people sending messages of threat against those who run the radio, and on the other, Miguel Facussé’s guards keep searching the journalists when they arrive from the communities to work at the radio or are on the island doing personal errands. And if not harassed by the guards, then they are harassed by the soldiers, who target and question young people, stopping and searching and questioning these. These abuses happen all the time, as the territories are militarised. The targeting of young people is because the government knows that the youth are the ones fighting in resistance, so soldiers have orders to attack the youth.

On 8 June 2018, in Tocoa, there was on this date an occupation of the council building, protesting and demanding that the municipality of Tocoa be declared a municipality that is free of mining and other types of projects of death. The crowd wanted to go inside to deliver their demands to the Mayor Adan Funez. Adan sent the state human rights representative of Conadeh Juan Fraño to tell the crowd that the mayor will only receive up to 6 representatives in his office. When people sent ten representatives they were turned away – Adan left and listened to nobody. So people added to the demand a demand for Adan to step down from being a mayor. Adan went on to denigrate those who protested in the press. In Honduras when this happens, it is a threat of attacks to come.

On 12 June 2018, at Amarateca in Tegucigalpa, a protest of heavy vehicle drivers against the high petrol costs and tollway charges that started the morning before had drivers of heavy vehicles park their vehicles beside the highway as they rallied. Over 30 police agents abruptly began bashing up people there accusing these of ‘blocking the way’. Police arrested 13 people and one was hurt so bad he was rushed to emergency, and when they were bashing him people thought the police was going to kill him, and anyone who tried to intervene were getting beatings. Once the 13 were arrested, they were identified, registered, and then released.

On 13 June 2018, in San Francisco, Locomapa, Yoro, indigenous leader Ramón Matute was machete stabbed in the front and back and robbed of his belongings by the Tribal Directive Council vicepresident – Ramón belongs to MADJ environment and human rights movement, and is a defender especially of the forest and indigenous Tolupán territory, which was the reason he was attacked. Yoro authorities are supposed to protect Ramón and other environmental defenders as ordered by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, but instead, it authorises illegally concessions to the forest, and Yoro police had said and done nothing about this attack. This is in the context of worsening tensions and confrontations between forest defenders and forest loggers from the weekend before.

On 28 June 2018, a group of young people gathered at the Plaza Cuba in Tegucigalpa on this anniversary date marking 9 years of military coup, and protested the fraud that kept the dictatorship going. After putting on the national anthem, the people went to block a road, and that was when a police contingent arrived and started launching pepper gas at the young people, bashing them with batons, hitting them with stones. Some men in an Honduran energy company EEH car ran over a protester, trapping his body under the car. One man from inside the car kicked the glass window from inside the car and this splattered broken glass cut into the hands of 2 young people in the protest. More than 20 police were chasing protesters. .

Another community with an ongoing struggle against a hydroelectricity dam and suffering ongoing attacks from the dam company and its proponents is the San José community in La Paz, against La Aurora 1, in the protected area of El Jilguero Reserve. People opposing are threatened and definitely have not been consulted, and communities are divided. Despite that there are no assassinations as yet, people know that this is something that can happen, because of very tense conflicts that are in the community. There are some people of MILPAH organisation who have protection measures, but they are not actually safe, because the recommendation is that they obtain security escort, but the state claims there aren’t resources to provide these (but there are always resources for repression). The Aurora 1 dam has the National party behind it because it is owned by the party’s president and parliamentarian Gladys Aurora Lopez.

Attacks against journalists

On 2 June 2018, journalist Nincy Perdomo was trying to cover a mobilisation of the Alianza against the dictatorship outside the Presidential house building in Tegucigalpa, and was filming the riot squad water thank, when this very water tank attacked and shot at and impacted on Nincy’s body with direct and full pressure.

On 3 June 2018, a number of community journalists around the city of Choluteca tried to cover the developing news and were blocked by the police in charge of the prison from accessing the scene: there were at least 111 people arrested and locked up, many of whom had from the police brutality intense abdominal pains and were denied medical attention.

On 8 June 2018, community journalist Fabio Hernán Vallecillo who lives in Juticalpa, Olancho, was covering a scene of police abuse under ‘operation dragon’ in which they raided a nightclub and arrested a group of young people who were there without identification papers. ‘Sure, I was disgusted, I am human and when I see abuse.., so I told them these operations are pure shows going around grabbing youths who aren’t carrying ID cards and the real delinquent that you officers know where they live are happier than ever’. For having said that, police straight away handcuffed him, threw him into the police patrol and Fabio was locked up for 24 hours before being released.

On 10 June 2018, there was an online article that went out fraudulently, made to look like a Reporteros de Investigación article by using their logo. This fake article had the message of that militarisation of schools helped reduce drug dealers´ access to the schools. This happened after Reporteros de Investigación published articles covering the militarisation in schools and how soldiers have been sexually assaulting female students – so of course they are critical of the militarisation which they clearly see as social control and abuse against students. Such fake articles undermine the work and reputation of the organisation.

On 29 June 2018, journalists Lucía Alvarado of HRN and Manolo Escoto of TSI were in court covering the hearing of Juan Carlos Madariaga – a public official accused of money laundering over US$3 million in the IHSS scandal (IHSS is a health service for workers), when Juan’s siblings Jośe Luís and sister asked them to stop recording and the journalists responded saying it was a public hearing and they had the right to film. When a guilty verdict was given, the family slashed out at the journalists threatening them and were physically attacking them – they did this in the view of public and private security guards who did nothing to intervene.

On the night of 30 June 2018, in Olanchito in Yoro, TNS news and Hoy Mismo correspondent Javier Edgardo Rodríguez was covering arrests at the police station. Javier approached and filmed arrestees when he saw they have been hurt and were yelling out that they were beaten by police for no reason. As he filmed, he saw that one of the arrestees was his brother so he started interviewing his brother on camera, asking why he was being arrested. His brother told him that it was because they refused to be searched, so a search was forcefully carried out and they were arrested. The police immediately ordered Javier to turn off his camera and leave – when he refused, they pulled him away from the arrestees by force. As they took arrestees into lock-up, Javier continued filming. A police car was leaving and stopped and Subinspector Jorge Luis Salgado stormed out from it and pressed Javier against the wall, broke his camera, and yelled at him saying it meant nothing to the police that Javier were a journalist. Four other police came and dragged Javier into a police cell abruptly. He was illegally arrested from 8pm that night until 1am, his release was obtained through pressure by his colleagues – they sought justice saying that the arrest was wrong, but police responded saying they are the authority and will always have the power. The security minister had on 1 July 2018 announced in a public statement that this arrest was because the journalist disrespected the authority.

Trans Immigrant died having endured abuses at an US Immigration Detention

Honduran transperson Roxana Hernández tried for the third and last time to cross the border into the US, when she turned herself into the immigration authorities. These authorities kept her in places known as ‘freezers’ for some time, and then transferred her to the Cibola detention Centre in New Mexico where she died having suffered abuses. On 6 June 2018 activists in Mexico and US protested against the authorities involvement in murdering and covering up this murder. Authorities claimed that she died because of complications from HIV, pneumonia, and heart attack. They told the Honduran family they could pay US$8-10,000 if they want the body delivered to Honduras, that the economic option is to have her cremated and the ashes delivered. If the family had the resources to pay for the body, Roxana probably would not have undertaken this risky journey so many are pushed to make. If her body is cremated then there can be no autopsy to expose what had killed Roxana. People were demanding the Honduran state to pay this cost, so there could be justice for Roxana. Roxana is not the first trans person to die in the immigration detention centres of US, there is a Mexican who died in one having had physical and sexual abuses in the detention centre and refused access to HIV treatment for 3 months. Victoria Arellano died chained to a bed.

Meaningless ‘Fair Trade’ labelling

Fyffes melon and pineapples plantations company based in Honduras and Costa Rica received ‘fair trade’ certification despite repeat complaints of labour abuses and violation and attacks against unionism. In May 2017 Fyffes was suspended from being a member of ETI – Ethical Trade Initiative – but this is ignored by Fair Trade USA that certified a subsidiary of Fyffes in April 2018 – Suragroh – as a socially and environmentally sustainable company, which guarantees safe and healthy work, transparency, and sustainable production and respect for biodiversity. Very absurd, given Fyffes refuses to recognise unions and creates two fake unions, and when there are repeat episodes in which workers suffer from poisoning from fumigation.

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Honduras coup update – May 2018

 

 

 

Honduras coup update – May 2018

This May had repression including of May Day protests around Honduras, and lots of attacks against defenders of land, environment and territory including one murder, a number of political prisoners released on bail but a few remain locked up, attacks against journalists, and the congress moves towards making compulsory both military service and bible reading in schools..

Repression at protests

The May Day protest repression of 2018 was said to be one of the worst in Honduras for decades. Around the country, as well as fighting for workers’ rights, workers were calling for freedom for the political prisoners and for two disappeared comrades (following arrest) – Rolando Vindel and Gustavo Morales – to reappear, and for justice for compas who have been assassinated, and for JOH to get out, still, and already. Not long into the marches, people were attacked by security forces with teargases – teargases so heavy people could not breathe. The people there included children, older people and pregnant women. Similarly, security forces chased and bashed people – people including women, children, older people, people with disabilities. People showing solidarity with others targeted in the repression became targets themselves: 26 years old Esdras Meza tried to help a woman who was choking on teargases when he got ambushed by 6 security forces agents who grabbed him without saying a word to arrest him. He tried to break free saying he was just trying to help a woman but it was other human rights defenders’ presence and another organised worker who physically pulled him away quickly that managed to de-arrest him. And young journalist Jorge Merlo tried to film police brutality when hooded uniformed agents proceeded to hit his camera. A foreign journalist who is a correspondent in Honduras for New York Times, The Guardian and MinnPost was also capturing records of police brutality when he was attacked by police, he was heard saying, ‘I am press, you are going to beat me…don’t beat me, I am the press.’ Many street vendors – mostly of food, had the food they were selling and equipment they were using confiscated by security agents. The attack in Tegucigalpa lasted for ninety whole minutes. Three protesters got arrested and locked up from Tegucigalpa, their names are Pedro Angel Trochez, Cristian Alberto and Gerson Anual Irías. The council building was set on fire – only perhaps it was not the rage of people who set it on fire, since the people who burnt the buildings did it as police and military watched and the agents barely moved to intervene – there were lots of police and soldiers around since the city was heavily militarised – so it was allowed to happen to later pick up other people and accuse them of this ‘crime’. In Tegucigalpa, the protest was evicted before they reached the central park where they read the workers’ proclamation every year. In Choluteca, Choloma and San Pedro Sula, protests were also heavily attacked by security forces with teargases and beatings.

On 4 May 2018, the monthly rally – first Friday of each month since decades ago – of Cofadeh human rights organisation, was held. Relatives of disappeared political activists stood with their lost loved ones. Military police came too – they came to intimidate people photographing them to profile and scare them.

On 18 May 2018, in Choluteca city, a protest against electricity fee increases started for barely twenty minutes when the military police began to attack people – including children and older people – with water tanks and teargases. There was a confrontation lasting over 2 hours. In the process, uniformed agents gave death threats against defenders and journalists including against journalist Johana Arecely Contreras of Mega Red Nacional – they also threatened her with putting drugs in her house to frame her and lock her up – this is on top of 4 other threats she has received this year already. From this protest, five were arrested and held until their initial hearing the next day.

On 29 May 2018, activist Hugo Lopez was to appear in Ocotepeque courts – at risk of being imprisoned by the dictatorship.

Attacks against the earth, environment defenders, indigenous people and organisers

On 3 May 2018, the Pajuiles community that has a camp blockading the construction of a hydroelectricity dam of Hidrocep that would damage the mountain ranges and contaminate the Mezapa river, woke up this morning to militarisation – a contingent of 200 police in 3 convoys and 7 patrols were there at the camp armed with shields, bullet proof vests, teargases. The agents brutally attacked people who have laid down on the road to block machinery. Businessperson Hawit representing the Hidrocep company was also there to watch the security contingent attack people and he was there filming people’s faces using his phone, as were some of his body guards. When community member Gustavo Norberto Lopez Melgar filmed police violence and violent eviction, however, he was arrested. Only the day before, eleven persons (including one woman) of the organisation MADJ in this Pajuiles struggle appeared before a judge, being charged with coercion against Hidrocep.

On this same day, from La Paz, the Las Huertas Lenca indigenous community, Tutule, the Lenca and campesino leader Carlos López Calix was charged this day by prosecutors with land usurpation – this is after him and another comrade Samuel Edgardo Lopez Martinez having been locked up for four months from 18 July 2017 last year when judge Hugo Danilo Torres Perez decided on denying them bail. The pair were given bail again on 11 November 2017 with bail conditions that isolated these and impacted on their subsistence. On 18 February 2018 they were no longer two people facing the same thing together – Samuel’s life was abruptly ended, after having been followed by a police patrol and then found dead. Given these circumstances and the impending hearing, alone, Carlos and his community are in fear of what can happen. In La Paz, at least 700 people of 49 campesino bases have charges against them. Carlos’ farmers group, that he has not been able to participate in due to bail conditions, are having it hard – some comrades are gone, and their base has been evicted at least 26 times. Yet they do what they can, support one another, and get by with crops of chokos, oranges, cassavas, coffee, fruits and veggies.

At another farmers group also in Tutule, La Paz, there had been capture orders against 8 farmers, 2 of whom had been captured – Luis Alfonso Tejeda Orellana and Arturo Salinas… and Yecenia Padilla Orellana had voluntarily submitted herself to the court – the three were in court then on 10 May 2018 before judge Hugo Daniel Torres, who formally charged these with usurpation against Rosario Dominga Reynoso. The farmers are affiliated with the farmers federation CNTC. In La Paz there are over 40 land recuperations going on of hundreds of families, many are harassed, threatened, persecuted and charged.

Just outside of Tegucigalpa, at La Tigre, on 8 May 2018, the hitmen fired gunshots at Cecilio Figueroa, assassinating him. Days before, Cecilio himself and other relatives have placed complaints as there was already an attempt of assassination then, but the authorities did nothing to prevent this subsequent assassination. Cecilio was a social leader who had received threats as he organised defending this protected area of La Tigre, and spoke up about the warnings that his community would be evicted. La Tigre, is the only source of water and lungs (forest) left of Tegucigalpa and surrounding areas. It is an area looked after by ancestral people of these lands. There, they grow fruits, veggies, and flowers, that are sold in markets in the city. The threats began when they heard and responded to notifications from the Forests Department that they would be evicted. The eviction is driven by the government towards the building of a model city or other such ‘development’.

On 9 May 2018, Pedro Canales, a leader of the ADEPZA organisation for many years that have worked defending beaches and territory in and around Zacate Grande, suffered a second attempt against him and others through the mechanical manipulation of his car. A hole had been forced on the radiator of his car. Just weeks before on 16 or 17 April, someone had inserted into his car’s petrol tank honey and sugar. Both actions can cause the motor to overheat and explode if not addressed in time. This occurred at the same time as a scare campaign by the guards and families affiliated with the infamous powerful and murderous Facussé family to re-occupy the Los Hornos community – this family has expressed that it will push out people who are there to push in its people.

On 14 May 2018, in Tocoa, in the Guapinol community, police arrived at a protest against open pit mining – community members have already lost access to water in their homes as a consequence of this mining.

On 15 May 2018, the community of Valle de Siria now has a number of community members and leaders who have received death threats for opposing a geothermic project 12 Tribus SA de CV of ORMAT. Valle de Siria is infamous for the consequences of sicknesses, disability and death the community suffered from open pit mining of Entremares. People have learnt that promises of ‘development’ means development only for the companies.

In the north of Honduras, the San Francisco Tolupan indigenous tribe, has currently a camp since February 2018 blockading loggers of INMARE of Wilder Domínguez, from logging the pine forest there on indigenous territory. They have stopped company trucks that intend on plundering over 16,000 cubic metres of wood without the tribe’s permission. On 29 May 2018, the camp community received a court summon to attend court on 31 May 2018 in Yoro, threatened with charges of disobedience – which carries as penalty prison term of 1-3 years for each person found guilty. The Honduran state is of course and as always in the wrong for granting the concession without consulting indigenous people. The indigenous environmental defenders have from 2013 IACHR protection measures after 3 of their leaders were assassinated by hitmen in another highway blockade against logging and mining, in the same place. The community is in danger, but they are responding by organising more and having more presence in the camp. Currently, four indigenous leaders have received death threats: José María Pineda, Angela Murillo, Celso Cabrera and Ramón Matute. On 25 May 2018 Ramón Matute had to change his mobile number because in his name, some people have been calling his family members threatening them.

On 22 May 2018, in Gracias a Dios, where in 2012, the DEA and Honduran authorities together opened fire on a boat killing four indigenous people, now on this date in the Warunta community, a similar thing re-occurred. Military police were patrolling the waterway, when they signalled for a passing boat to stop, and fired warning shots when it didn’t. The warning shots were heard by other groups of soldiers around the place and they all suddenly arrived on the scene then and surrounded the streets around the lagoon so people from the boat couldn’t escape. The military police again approached the boat and made stop signals, when the boat didn’t stop, again, the soldiers fired ‘warning shots’ again and these hit and killed two indigenous people and wounded another. It was reported that in this context of rage at the military police killing and wounding people, a soldier was stabbed at and wounded. The infuriated and aggrieved community also set the Puerto Lempira council building and state building on fire and destroyed businesses.

On 23 May 2018, at the Tierra del Padre site where the lenca indigenous community there have ancestral land title that is officially recognised from 1736, but where a landowner called Mario Facussé Handal is claiming ownership and manipulating the indigenous council with infiltration and threats, indigenous member and organiser Angel Lanza Galvez received a threat, he was told, ‘you are going to see, with this pistol, I will give it to you all, because whatever happens, they will evict you and I am going to stay here.’ Since the beginning of this resistance against the territory being taken over, 11 villagers have been charged, as the ‘justice’ is always on the side of the powerful.

On 27 May 2018, at 4.40pm, the families of the Young Martyrs of Tumbador Movement recuperated the El Tumbador land in the Guadalupe Carney community in Trujillo, Colón, but when they woke up the next morning they found themselves surrounded by Dinant (palm giant company) security guards and a heavily armed Honduran army – this contingent in the next two hours or more chased and evicted the families there. Dinant security guards particularly actively insulted and threatened the women there. There is a very long history of struggle, repression and broken promises by the state in relation to this farm

Updates on the situation of political prisoners

Of the 23 political prisoners from the period of multitudes of paralysing barricades across the country with the message ‘Get Out JOH’ everywhere, there has been a number of political prisoners released this month through pressure from the campaigns on the streets. Also lots of reports about how bad the conditions in the prisons are or were..

The first to be released on bail this month was Jhony Salgado (38), on 3 May 2018, having been locked up for 4 months and 4 days in El Progreso prison, during which time, a long time, he, and others, had to imagine being there for years, knowing there are people locked up for 15 years without a sentence. He remembers how police raided his house and took him and packed him onto the paddy wagon, ignoring his questions of what he was being arrested for. He was taken to a soccer field and this time, when he asked why they were doing this to him, they answered saying he was a ‘terrorist’. He was then transferred to investigative police, locked up, a report of fiction was typed up and he was told, sign or be bashed. Jhony is relieved to finally be outside, but is scared that they (police) could grab him and kill him at any moment, he has been threatened. Despite all this, ‘I feel like a new person. I feel grateful with all the people that are supporting me and now it’s my turn to put in a bit to help people who are locked up and give strength to them and their family too.’

On 5 May 2018, young political prisoners Maynor Ariel Reyes Mejía was released from El Pozo maximum security prison on bail. While in prison, they were constantly refused visitors – they would change to get ready, and their families would come every Sunday, only to be turned away, except once, on 31 December 2017, but they were charged over $100 each for a visitor ID card. The conditions there were freezing, their heads were shaved, they were psychologically abused, and were once thrown into punishment cells for 26 days, and in there they could not tell day from night, and were not allowed to shower. To get through this time, he thought of his mum.

On 9 May 2018, political prisoner Edwin Espinal, with an extreme record of political persecution against him, and having suffered the pains of losing his partner Wendy in 2009 to a fatal attack by teargases, as well as losing his brother to assassination, mistaken for himself, and a series of attacks including arrests, raid, kidnapping, he is currently locked up in La Tolva. While some others are getting released, when his bail conditions review hearing was held in court, his lawyers knew that the application for bail was going to be denied because Judge Claudio Aguilar was the judge: the same judge who has it against him and ordered a raid against his home back in 2013. The human rights organisation offered evidence, bond, asked for home arrest, transfer, anything but what he is under now, but it was all refused by judge Claudio Aguilar.

On 10 May 2018, from El Pozo maximum security prison, political prisoners Daniel Eduardo Santos Ordoñez, José Orlando Santos Ordoñez, and Edwin Nahúm Amaya Sánchez were released on bail. They were captured in a group of 11 including one woman on 26 December 2017, accused of looting, hurting police and burning down a police station in Pimienta.

On 13 May 2018, there are still 10 political prisoners, still not granted bail, between prisons in La Tolva, El Progreso, and El Pozo. They are: Edwin Robelo Espinal, Raúl Eduardo Álvarez Ordóñez, Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres Ayala, Dany Javier Banegas Reyes, Olvin Nahúm Villanueva Avilés, Omar Enrique Velásquez Yánez, Néstor Armando Almendarez Rodríguez, Marvin Antonio Godoy Arias, José Gabriel Godínez Avelar and Edy Gonzalo Valle.

On 22 May 2018, an international human rights delegation of seven from Canada arrived at the airport in Tegucigalpa to campaign for the freedom of political prisoner Edwin Espinal and all the other political prisoners. They were held back and retained for 4 hours by immigration as they entered – 5 of them were interrogated one by one for four hours. The most interrogated one was Karen Spring, human rights defender who has worked in Honduras since 2009, and Edwin’s partner, Karen was returning to Honduras after a trip to Canada. Others were interrogated about their interest in and concern for the human rights issues since the electoral fraud and violence – Janet Spring: Edwin’s mother-in-law, Jesse Freeston: filmmaker, Meg Jordan: Elmvale pastor, and William Reeves: emergency doctor. Ben Powless (photographer) and Grahame Russell (director of Rights Action) waited outside for the others while liaising with national and international human rights organisations. They came to campaign, and to push to see Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez at La Tolva, as they have been allowed almost no visits in the time since imprisonment. They managed a visit. His mother in law Janet said Edwin was vary pale, that his health was deteriorating, he has lost weight, is dehydrated, that the food he is given is bad, and that his spirit is broken by the cruel and degrading treatment in prison.

It was noted that on 22 May 2018, 17 of the 23 political prisoners have been released on bail. So five were still locked up, Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez amongst these.

Grahame Russell said that Edwin and Raúl ‘send many greetings and thanks to all of the resistance in Honduras and all the human rights activists and the Honduran press that has accompanied the Canadian delegation today. They know that we are in the country and also at the international level speaking up about the arbitrary and abusive detention.’

La Tolva maximum security prison – where Edwin and Raúl are held – has atrocious conditions. Food is inadequate and unsafe – chicken is served half cooked still bloody for example. Drinking water is yellow and there are dirty remnants floating at the bottom. Both food and water are very limited so its not like inmates can choose. There is nothing for inmates to do to pass time, no materials for handycrafts, etc. Visits are sporadic and limited and visitors – especially women, are sometimes made to strip off clothing for a full search, some have been obligated to show that they are not carrying anything inside their bodies in their intimate parts. Inmates are only allowed 3 hours of sunshine. After visits, prisoners are searched in case they carried anything in their bodies.

Other attacks against journalists

UNE TV is one of few mainstream medias left in Honduras covering news on the side of the people, so its journalists are especially targeted for repression.

On 4 May 2018, there was repression against a protest demanding the liberation of political prisoners. When a military police held two social activists, UNE TV journalist Víctor Rodríguez filmed and asked the activists what had happened, and was told by the military police that filming was prohibited. Víctor responded that it was his job and freedom to film and take photos – to that the military police Aldo Rodríguez got annoyed and started to take photos of UNE TV journalists there and everyone in turn focussed their cameras on this military police. Officer Aldo Rodríguez got violent, hit Víctor in the chest, knocked his back onto a wall, and grabbed his right arm and bent it back, while another military police went to hit Victor’s camera. Victor’s compas were quick in filming and applying pressure, so Víctor was not arrested, but all journalists filmed by the military police are all at risk of persecution.

On 20 May 2018, one of few critical journalists left in the south of Honduras in Choluteca, Jairo López, director of tv program El Informador, was driving with his police escort – he has one because he is politically persecuted and is on a Protection Mechanism program – when he was stopped by police at a checkpoint in Pavana, in which while other cars were just asked to lower their windows, he was made to stop for a complete search.

On 21 May 2018, at the UNE TV studio, journalist Ronny Martínez was transmitting live on TV when he received messages from his workmates that his car signal lights were on and a window was left open. As soon as there was a news break, he went outside to the carpark to check. He saw that the back window on the other side of the car was broken, that his wallet as well as some papers in a suitcase were taken from the backseat, but other things were left behind. It was also noticed that the security camera in the carpark normally pointing to his car was raised to face higher to not capture what happened at the car. This is the second time in two months people had broken into his car and taken things that are likely to contain sensitive information related to his journalism or parliamentarian work (being a Libre parliamentarian), the first time was in his birthtown, Danlí, El Paraíso. He has been recognised as a politically persecuted person by IACHR since 2010.

On 22 May 2018, the alarm was raised that smear campaigns have been orchestrated again against several human rights defenders and journalists.

Against human rights organisation Ciprodeh’s director, Wilfredo Méndez, there was a viral video on whatsapp that framed him as someone who profits from human rights work saying that Ciprodeh receives millions of lempiras every year and from that Wilfredo spends on travels around the world. A message said, ‘in Honduras we don’t need scammers, much less fellow countrymen who don’t recognise the work of the military in our neighbourhoods where before we could not feel safe… the defenders are a complete failure, if WILFREDO MENDEZ really worked, there wouldn’t be so many deaths’.

Against Lennys Fajardo, journalist of COQUIMBO group – digital media, and member of PEN International Honduras, they cloned her facebook profile page and had her fake facebook profile show her to belong to the National Party of Honduras. Since the beginning of May, Lennys has had five people use fake facebook profiles to frame and attack her.

Against Gilda Silvestrucci, correspondent of Telesur and Radio Globo director of the program ‘En la Plaza’ has for months been subject to threats, insults and harassment on social media, by someone who goes by the facebook name of ‘Ramón Jérez’. On 1 May she was told there ‘you are going to wake up sprayed by gunshots’ and many other messages about her being a woman, about her private life and about her children. There’s someone else too who harasses and threatens her using phone calls.

Obligatory military service

Military service is currently not obligatory in Honduras but the congress is wanting to introduce mandatory military service. Human rights defender Juan Almendarez asserted that governments try to introduce this when they feel weak when they are facing war – but that the war in front of Honduras is one against its own people.

Bibles in the schools

They don’t stop at making military service obligatory, they don’t stop at anything. The congress is pushing in Honduras to make bible reading an obligatory part of schooling, saying it is to reduce violence and corruption, its proponents of course are corrupt, and not for a lack of compulsory bible reading.

April 2018 Honduras Coup update

April 2018 Honduras coup update

Five months on from the beginning of the fraudulent re-election of JOH and the fiery struggle to stop this dictatorship, the dictatorship continues to be such and is attacking anyone still resounding the words ‘Get out JOH’ and chasing others they remember as having been loud in this struggle. Similarly it has under siege farmers who are continuing their years of struggle for land and justice, journalists and environmental defenders are similarly persecuted for continuing to tell the stories and for being there to stop mines and dams. An ex police who joined the struggle against JOH was threatened and now assassinated.

Continued attacks againt people calling for JOH to get OUT including an assassination against an ex-police

While there isn’t currently a blockade in every highway from early every morning to stop the JOH regime that has assassinated many for participating in exactly this before, the JOH dictatorship continues to act with brutality and severity against those who keep the fire burning.

On 31 March 2018, José Duarte was murdered (40th person killed by the JOH fraud dictatorship regime). José was a police agent, but he quitted and joined in with the struggle on the streets and in social media. Before having been killed, he was seen on UNE TV speaking up about being persecuted by the police force for having taken up a position of struggle for justice.

On 3 April 2018, in Tegucigalpa, young Jorge Espinal was somewhere writing ‘Get out JOH’ when a military police launched into brutally beating him to the point of leaving him disabled.

On 4 April 2018, in Choloma, police proceeded without any capture orders to arrest 13 youths who regularly participated in the protest marches.

On 18 April 2018, in Marcovia, Choluteca, people were protesting against the fraud and calling for an end to corruption, when the protest was met with repression and some youths were arrested.

On 22 April 2018, in Tegucigalpa, at night time, lawyer Claudia and her spouse were illegally arrested by police when they were found with a flag of the Libre party – Claudia had been at a protest outside the presidential house with a placard saying ‘Get Out JOH’. As well as arresting them police tried to plant (literally) a marijuana plant in their backyard to then sue them for the possession of drugs.

On 23 April 2018, in Las Vegas, Santa Bárbara, police arrested Darwin Pacheco, who is active in the struggle against the fraude and dictatorship. He is falsely accused of having participated in the burning of the local police station during the antifraud protests there.

Also on this date, one of the over 20 political prisoners of the JOH regime Jhony Salgado, was finally released after having been imprisoned for almost 4 months. He is granted bail to continue the court case outside the prison. The charges he faces are: carrying of commercial weapons illegally, and undue use of police uniform.

The defence lawyer taking his case is Merlyn Bonilla who is herself the parent of a victim of an extrajudicial execution in Agua Blanca El Progreso.

Just to push the point further that the JOH dictatorship regime is very touchy about being told to get out, back in December 2017 when there was a campaign to write ‘get out JOH’ on the money notes of Honduras as one means of protest. THe Central Bank of Honduras president Manuel Bautista warned that all notes intentionally damaged with ‘offensive’ writings on them won’t be received by the banking institutions saying they will ‘lose their value’.

Farmers and land under siege

Especially at the region occupied by palm oil giants such as Dinant in Bajo Aguán, but also in other regions such as La Paz, farmers have faced this month sieges, threats, intimidation and arrests.

On 1 April, the Paso Aguán farm in the Panamá community in Trujillo, Colón, in Bajo Aguán had been told they will be evicted. In addition, people heard that the army will use strategies like planting weapons and drugs and then ‘finding’ these in raids in order to arrest farmers and warp public opinions, and planting infiltrators within the movement. They are resorting to these measures as they had found that farmers’ land struggles keep on going despite violent eviction, teargases, killings, threats and persecution. Back in October and November, during the soldiers’ occupation of the farm, farmer José Alfredo Rodríguez and the 13 year old Mancias were murdered on this farm.

On 5 April 2018, in Paso Aguán, voluntarily withdrawn from areas where farmers organise were Dinant guards and Xatruch army agents who have occupied there since May 2014 – but as these left in their trucks they took away with them people’s work tools, tractors, horses, etc. Farmers also point out that of the region, the area farmers occupy is small in comparison with the area Dinant and the military occupied there.

This withdrawal was not a sign of better times ahead. The very next day on 6 April 2018, the Xatruche operation arrested there Ariel Chávez at 5pm. Ariel is a son of Gregorio Chávez – the name of the farmers movement there because Gregorio was a farmer activist there who was murdered on 2 July 2012. Ariel was selling what he had harvested that day from the land he worked that he inherited from his dad. When people approached police to ask for information about the arrest of their compa Ariel, security agents threatened these, getting their weapons ready and pointing these at the community members, including at the Aguan Agrarian Platform coordinator.

Elsewhere, in Lepaguare, Tutule, La Paz, on 11 April 2018, police captured Arturo Salinas when he was on this way to work. Arturo belongs to the farmers group 8 de febrero and the group is associated with CNTC – national federation of rural workers. On his capture order it says he is accused of usurpation of land.

Another farmers group of Bajo Aguán was undersiege on 14 April 2018 – the La Concepción MUCA settlement in Tocoa, Colón. A heavy military and police contingent arrived to the home of Lazaro Peralta and of some other neighbours there, this military occupation started at 5am, without announcing what their intentions were. People feared Lazaro would be arrested because back in 2016 there was a similar operation against him in which him and his dad were arrested. Four hours on, Lazaro Peralta was arrested, as were Diego Ruiz and Bairon Peralta, all MUCA campesino leaders. All three were charged with the supposed illegal possession of weapons – Lazaro and his dad faced this charge too back in 2016 (he was found not guilty then for lack of evidence). The three were meant to have hearing for the arrest on 14 April at 8am on 15 April – however they were surprised with a new charge of attempt of assassination which caused the hearing to be suspended and moved onto 30 April. This delay meant that the three were imprisoned for 8 days before being granted bail after the new charge was dismissed for lack of evidence. The weapons possession charge remains – the regime is using his charge lots against activists at the moment as part of their strategy. Lazaro is amongst MUCA leaders who since over 2 months ago have been pushing for a MUCA assembly to elect a new directive committee for MUCA because the current one is imposed by a paramilitary group – something that would have singled these out for persecution, in a context with many farmers charged, others assassinated, some both.

Communities and advocates defending indigenous territory and nature against mines, dams and megaprojects also being attacked..

On 4 April 2018, Eulogia García who has received a chain of threats spoke up about new threats she is receiving from an identified National Party activist. Eulogia is a defender who actively opposes a mining company, and who defends indigenous and women’s rights as a Lenca indigenous woman. She is of the San Antonio Chuchiltepec community in the Zacapa municipality in Santa Bárbara. She belongs to MAS – Santa Barbara Environment Movement.

On 5 April, the El Triunfo community of Choluteca were protesting and calling on the mining company that wants to impose itself there to leave, when the company’s agents fired gunshots against women there. In response to the gunshot attack, people threw stones at the attackers.

On 12 April, in San José, La Paz, two police armed with guns and bulletproof vests arrived at the door of Liliam López and her children, asked her son at the door for water and then used that as a pretext to enter the house and once inside they began threateningly searching the house. Liliam’s son asked to see the search warrant saying they can’t do that without one, the police ignored him and continued searching, raiding. When they were done and had found nothing incriminating, they took a photo of the son and left without saying anything, and fled by flagging down a moto-taxi. Liliam López is the women’s coordinator of the indigenous organisation Copinh. When a complaint was placed at the police about the raid, police said they have no record of themselves doing that. Not only was the raid itself a grave violation, it is also a sign that the lives of those targeted in this attack are at risk.

On 14 April, the Pajuiles sector is on alert as they are taking direct action to blockade the Hidrocep company from moving in their machinery to imposing and building the hydroelectricity dam Los Planes. If this project goes ahead, the water source of the community is threatened. The community blockading the machines from the area are at risk of attacks from the company and state.

This same day, in La Paz, Lenca indigenous leader Hilario López has been released after having been found not guilty for the charge of homocide, however, the charge and hearing continue for the charge of illegally carrying weapons.

On 30 April 2018, in Arizona, Atlántida, mayor Arnoldo Chacón is being charged and threatened for accompanying communities in opposition to mining and hydroelectric projects there on the Hilmaito river. The Hilmaito river is the main water source in the area. He is doubly charged with defamation and usurpation of land, together with 4 community leaders. Through Radio Progreso, concerns are raised too about possible plans to assassinate him, given that his lawyer Carlos Hernández has been assassinated.

Against students

On 5 April 2018, at night time when students who work during the day took night classes, hooded police and military under the direction of a prosecutor surrounded the Genaro Munoz school and entered it en-masse and in the name of a prevention operation. They began to search all the students, in some cases taking advantage of the situation to sexually harass – to touch the intimate parts of some female students’ bodies.

In Costa Rica, the student activist and Honduran refugee Eduardo Urbina who has been detained for a few days by the Costa Rican migration authorities (where he was living and seeking asylum), was finally granted refugee status as a politically persecuted person in Honduras and released from immigration prison.

On 19 April 2018, police and cobra squads violently evicted launching teargases repeatedly against students protests at the UNAH campus in Tegucigalpa. There was one protest in solidarity with a UNAH-VS student who has been raped on campus, demanding a safer environment to study in. Another protest was of the MAU broad university movement commemorating the 30th anniversary of the capture and subsequent disappearance of Roger Gonzáles.

Threats and intimidation against journalists

On 23 April 2018, Noti Omoa owner, and Omoa Cortés correspondent for HRN radio and Sinprodoh TV, Mauricio Ortega, received death threats on a facebook message. The message read: “Mauricio no te metas donde no te incumbe x andar ese micrófono diciendo lo que no podes quedar con el osico llena de moscas malparido” – which is something along the lines of – Mauricio you and your microphone, get out of what is none of your business or you will be dead and have flies covering your body. The message was sent from the facebook name of “Mgp Capitan Barcaza”. The same day he got this threat, he was followed in the car at night by a black van without numberplate when he was driving home with his spouse and daughter after having gone to a family gathering.

On 24 April 2018, in San Francisco, La Paz, Olancho, journalist Carlos Roberto Flores was filming a car accident scene involving the police patrol PN-614, in which the police was arresting a motorcyclist, when police threatened the journalist carrying credentials to stop recording or have his camera confiscated. When he continued the police approached him to hit at the camera and at the same time, touched the gun the police carried. The footage of this was put on San Pancho TV.

On 25 April 2018, in Choluteca city, Mega Red Nacional (national mega network) journalist Johana Arecely Contreras was intimidated for the fourth time this year by state security agents. This time, she was covering police repression at a protest in which police launched peppergas at young people who had to flee and find refuge, when she was attacked by police. The video showing what happened is here: https://www.facebook.com/MegaRedNacional/videos/2037652866450046/ – it shows the police tried to hit Johana with a baton and then started to film her face – and immediately at least 5 uniformed agents ambushed her to intimidate her and invade her space, yelling at her, ‘look for something else to do, its better if you go to sleep’. Johana was filming police repression in which they launched pepper gas at young people and they had to flee and find refuge. Previously, back in January, soldiers on patrol 6314 obstructed her work twice, and on 28 March 2018 motorised police officer Moran attacked her directly when she was covering a protest – she was on a motorcycle and officer Moran aggressively forced her off the motorcycle and snatched and threw away her mobile phone with which she was transmitting live and beat her.

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update

 

 

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update

3 March 2018

In Tela, Yusa, 16 communities gathered organising against mining and extractivism, and chanting, Berta Caceres presente, on this 2 year anniversary of her assassination.

5 March 2018

In Namasigue, Choluteca, the community camp Rancherías was set up to oppose the imposition without consultation of a solar park project by the Norwegian company Scatec Solar (that operates as Energías Solares in Honduras). On this date, four unidentified men on motorcycles set on fire this camp including a hut people built. They away the flag and yelled abuse at the villagers. ‘We hold the company and the two people the company has contracted to be responsible for this and any other attacks, because they have been following us and taking photos of us and abusing community leaders.’ The camp is mostly women, this struggle has been for over 2 years.

Around this 2 year anniversary of the murder of well-known indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, on this date, one more was arrested for her murder -Roberto David Castillo. Roberto David Castillo is an electrical engineer and graduate of US military of West Point, who has been dam company DESA’s Board of Directors president and legal representative since 7 November 2011 and granted power of administration for DESA since 1 December2011. He is also the president of Panama based PEMSA -one of two main shareholders of DESA. He has also been the Management Control Coordinator of ENEE (state electricity company) since 14 January 2018. Prior to DESA, he was the second lieutenant of the Honduran army’s military intelligence. His arrest is significant, however, the masterminds of the assassination remain untouched.

6 March 2018

Unidentified persons raided the office of Grupo Sociedad Civil (Civil Society Group) and stole only documents. The group’s director Jessica Sánchez and her team has been accompanying the MAS – Santa Bárbara environmentalist movement, as well as work in defence of women’s rights, demanding the end to femicides in Honduras. This raid happened shortly before International Women’s day, and just days before the election of new representatives on the Protection Mechanisms Board.

This day was last day and day four of the hunger strike of political prisoner Edwin Espinal at the military run maximum security prison La Tolva. He started the hunger strike to demand medical attention for him and other prisoners who had caught a virus going around in this part of the prison where 200 are locked up together and at least 20 caught the virus affecting their respiratory and digestive systems. He had to end the hunger strike as his illness got to a dangerous level. At the same time, prisoners are also denied their basic rights to water in this prison – there are 1000 prisoners in this prison and they are given 5 minutes in which to flush and use toilets, to get and store drinking water, and to shower – water mains are shut off at other times and plastic bottles are somehow prohibited, making it impossible for inmates to store drinking water that they need for the day. When the water was shut off after five minutes this day, inmates began to bang on the walls and make noise. In some parts of the prison, in retaliation, prison guards shot teargas into common areas shared by 200 inmates. Prisons in Honduras are already horrendous, military maximum security prisons means additional access barriers for national and international human rights organisations.

And Edwin is one of many political prisoners captured in this time of antifraud insurrection. There is one more from Tegucigalpa, 11 from Pimienta, 9 from Choloma, and 6 from El Progreso. They don’t formally belong to organisations. They are marginalised and had access to very little education. A lot of their families are working with the human rights organisation Cofadeh to pressure for their freedom. Some human rights organisations and independent lawyers have taken on some of their cases, but them being fairly invisible in the public eye means there are not many advances in the courts. Most relatives have been able to see their loved one only once since their being captured. Speaking with them is very expensive, people have to buy $5 calling cards to speak for 10 minutes. Prisoners are given very poor, bad smelling, portions of rice, beans and two tortillas. Every 2 or 3 days, the soldiers let them out in the sun for only 10 minutes. All prisoners are given only five minutes to wash themselves and drink water in. Soldiers also torture inmates by banging on the metal doors at least twice each night to interrupt their sleep. Guards again dedicate themselves to harass prisoners at the time when guards change over. Inmates are exhausted, dehydrated and psychologically traumatised.

9 March 2018

Early in the morning this day, the Chiquita Banana Company, Honduran Industrial Relations Department and JOH dictatorship regime joined forces to violently evict the Chiquita workers on their 71st consecutive days of being on strike. Security forces fired live gunshots at people and used teargas bombs against them, wounding a number of workers and their children. Police captured two workers who were subsequently de-arrested by their comrades. For being involved in the strike, Chiquita fired 77 workers and suspended 700 more. The workers went on strike demanding that the collective contract be respected and defending their access to local healthcare as workers. They may have been evicted, but the workers are not going back to work and are preparing renewed protest actions. Because of which, they ask those following their situation from anywhere to remain alert. Chiquita is an US company based in Florida.

10 March 2018

In the Florida Sector on the Atlantida coast, around where a mining project is being imposed, soldiers are moving around the area asking people for and about Ubaldina Santos, the National Coordinator of MADJ (Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice), who is always organising in defence of natural resources in the area.

15 March 2018

Since this night, police and military surveillance has under siege the indigenous Lenca community of Reitoca, which has maintained a blockade of about a hundred people every night since 14 January 2018 defending their territory against the imposition of a hydroelectricity dam by the Progelsa Company. The community is protecting the Río Grande river and their water source from exploitation and environmental degradation. Damages caused already by the building include water contamination, reduced water flow, death of flora and fauna, deforestation, and impact on people’s health with cuts on the skin and infections and viruses. The community has kept up the blockade despite the intimidation, surveillance, attacks and harassment they have received from military police, police, army and Progelsa contracted private security guards. Past attacks include repression by military police on 30 January 2018 on which occasion community members Miriam Geraldina Osorto and Andrés Gutiérrez were gunshot wounded and continue to recover.

21 March 2018

On this date, MASSVIDA (Social Environmentalist Movement of the South for Life) coordinator Germán Chirinos Gutiérrez was granted protection measures from the Inter American Commission of Human Rights following persecution and recent death threats against him. Germán was on 6 January 2018 kidnapped from his workplace in Nacaome by unknown persons using his own vehicle who were going to kill him – he was saved by the sounds of people approaching which scared his attackers into throwing him out of the car into the fence, then fleeing. Following this attempt he began to notice people watching him, and he started getting text messages of death threats on his mobile phone. MASSVIDA organises against mining companies. Others of MASSVIDA face repression also and charges.

22 March 2018

Olivia Marcela Zúniga Cáceres received death threats through messages on facebook. Olivia is one of the daughters of Berta Caceres Flores, indigenous feminist anticapitalist activist who was assassinated in March 2016. Olivia is also a parliamentarian of the opposition party Libre. The death threats are aimed at silencing her political discourse in the parliament, ‘keep talking and keep judging without knowing what you are getting into, you got to the congress to say that JOH and (nationalist parliamentarian) Elden killed your bitch mother haha, join everyone, invite the gangsters those of Opalaca, we have put up with too much of your shit already, you wanted war well you just wait, we at 3am we are going to smash you hypocrite.’ Olivia has been the coordinator of CInPH, one of the organisations defending indigenous rights in the region.

24 March 2018

Coordinator and defender of MAS – Santa Barbara Environmentalist Movement, Betty Vasquez, had her image was attacked on TV by 2 Nationalist parliamentarians of Santa Barbara. Betty and MAS accompanies the Chinda people in opposing the installation of the Hydroelectricity dam el Tornillito, and the indigenous lenca people of Zacapa, San Francisco de Ojuera, in opposing mining projects. MAS is also in solidarity with those charged for protesting against the fraud, and with other organised activists in Santa Barbara.

25 March 2018

In Choloma, volunteer reporter of Mega Red Nacional, Carlos Wayne, was covering and live streaming the protest and police/military brutality (beatings, gas and gunshots) early this Sunday, when, to stop him from transmitting, the police/military snatched his equipment and bashed him. He was left with bruises in his chest and dirt all over his face, hands and clothes. They also confiscated his press vest. Lots of protesters health were affected by the teargases. And the gunshots frightened everyone.

In Tegucigalpa on a highway that goes towards Danli, Libre party activist Hector Nuñez noticed soldiers in Mexican uniforms there and was surprised and began to take photos of these. The soldiers bashed him in response to his photography. It showed that Mexican soldiers of the Peña Nieto adminsitration are supporting the JOH dictatorship in Honduras, and were ready to help repress the highway occupations and protests over Easter. A month before, a boatload of US Comando Sur soldiers arrived at the Cortes port as well – having come to train the military police, on the pretext of coming as a medical brigade and humanitarian aid, but they came and trained soldiers and brought arms and are about to go home because they finished that. There is also knowledge of thousands of Colombian soldiers in Honduras.

27 March 2018

In the Choluteca city this night, young people were protesting near the Fausto Flores stadium, when a police patrol slowly drove by and began shooting at protesters’ bodies, and were backed up by more uniformed agents arriving and being and arresting youths. Seven were arrested – three of these were wounded with gunshots and two with severe beatings in the face – José Ruiz Madariaga, Fernando Jacobo Vásquez, Elki Daniel Hernández (aged 15), Justin Ariel Espinal, Cristian José Paz (aged 16), Pedro Pablo Matamoros, and Carlos José Baca Alvares (aged 16). Despite the severity of their wounds they were taken into custody immediately rather than being given immediate medical attention. Journalist Mauricio Rivera of UNE-TV went to the hospital emergency department and livestreamed on his own facebook account following the 16 year old Yorvin Quiroz, who had a bullet perforate the top of his left shoulder.Yorvin was at the protest against JOH with his friends and they were there for 2 hours when the slowly moving police patrol by the street of the stadium started to shoot. Journalist Rivera went onto the police buildings to try to report on the 7 arrestees but police impeded access to the journalist.

30 March 2018

In Comayagua, Marlón Galeano, had during this religious festival of Easter written with colourful religious crafty material that people wrote Easter messages with, ‘FUERA JOH’ – get out JOH. JOH ordered that Marlón be fired from his job – from the Unit of Supervision and Local Control of Water. As well as being fired he is receiving death threats.

31 March 2018

Ofraneh (Black Fraternal Organisation of Honduras) coordinator Miriam Miranda was passing through a checkpoint when police agents forced her to get out of the car, treated her like she had committed a crime, and threatened her with being imprisoned together with her companions. Ofraneh struggles defending Garífuna ancestral territory and the environment, against mining projects and work to demand justice in cases of social and community activists being assassinated.

February 2018 Honduras coup again update

February 2018 Honduras coup again update

The repression against those struggling against the JOH dictatorship continues to be grave. There continues to be resistance, but the rage and immensity of it all is far greater.

1 February 2018

There were hooded persons seen lurking around in front of the home of an activist, Miguel Briceño.

2 February 2018

The city of Nueva Ocotepeque woke up militarised. People see the military presence as a message of fear and warning against those whom oppose the dictatorship imposed by JOH and National Party.

Human rights defender Pedro Ulloa was finally freed, having been captured accompanying the Honduran women’s day march on 25 January 2018 in Tocoa, his initial hearing was scheduled for 31 January 2018 in Trujillo Colon,. His case was dismissed in the courts for lack of evidence from the prosecution. The human rights defender was accused of robbery and of having assassinated more than 10 people on 3.8.09 – something that involved the killing including of an organised farmer of Siete de Enero, Arnulfo Guevara, that farmers assure was killed by the security guards of Coronel Henrry. It is known that the prosecution department had grabbed the lists collected of community leaders in the area and drew out from the list Pedro’s name and that this was how he came to be selectively targeted for persecution.

On the same day, in Comayagua, others arrested and charged and held for protesting against the fraud and dictatorship were freed also for lack of evidence presented by the prosecution for the charges. So the cases were dismissed for Lenín José Guevar, Héctor René Ríos, Luis Enrique Bonilla, and Ludwin Cruz, who were accused of aggravated robbery and an attempt to start a fire. Cofadeh participated as observers in this initial hearing that lasted two days.

3 February 2018

In La Entrada of Copan, a 13 year old child was bashed up and arrested for having been singing the song Fuera JOH! (Get out JOH!), in moments when police agents were doing rounds. The police got off the patrol and began to hurt him when he resisted arrest, protesting, saying he did not commit any crime.

One of the medias that has continued to report news honestly, UNE TV, suffered this day the constant loss of signal.

4 February 2018

The JOH regime threatened NGOs that defend people with the suspension of their constitutionality. The regime made an announcement warning that this can happen to the NGOs that ‘promote the de-stabilisation of the country’, by ‘agitating people’ or ‘misinforming people about companies’ actions for the benefit of the communities’.

5 February 2018

In Choloma, Cortés, Chiquita bananas workers were on strike demanding for the recognition of their rights as per their collective contract. Hundreds of Chiquita workers accompanied by others in the community upheld massive barricades – in addition to blocking the way and placing tyres and setting these on fire, in an epic moment, many people combined their strength and together tipped over a giant cargo truck as part of the barricade that got the company executives’ attention. This was at the Choloma river bridge. As early as 7.45am military police cracked down and repressed heavily with gunshots, launching teargas bombs three times – one hit the roof of a house affecting the breathing including of the children and elderly people inside, putting out the tyres on fire with shots from the water tank.

Some of the gunshots fired hit and assassinated (39th person killed by the JOH fraud dictatorship regime) Ismael Herández (aged 40) – who was hit twice in the back. Ismael was the patronato president of the El Kilómetro community in Choloma, Cortés. He is very well loved in his community. People have no doubt that he was targeted at being shot, that it were not random fatal gunshots. As well as the gunshots he was ferociously beaten by police with batons, so ferociously that his head was barely attached to his body when people lifted his body onto a pickup truck hoping they could save his life.

ismael hernandez

At another person in Choloma was badly beaten by police in the back and was left with marks all over their back. They were advised by the authorities not to place a complaint against the police, for safety. Several journalists who were covering this barricade were also beaten

National Party official puts a bill to ‘regulate’ social media, targeting people who write comments on their social media pages against public officials and power groups.

6 February 2018

Libre (opposition party) politician Heber Esaú Padilla (aged 29) was persecuted back in the 2009 coup, he is now again receiving constant threats. In a recent barricade protest, he saw a police with the surname Gálvez giving orders to shoot, so he approached him and asked why they were doing that when it was not a violent protest, Heber was then yelled at by the police saying he was sick of them (protesters), and then ‘we have got you checked already, and the next time you come, I won’t be coming to throw gas at you, I will come to break you’. ‘Are you threatening to kill me’ Heber checked, and the police answered, ‘this is what I am telling you, if you come back again, I am not coming to play’ – 5 military police and 20 soldiers. On another occasion, Heber was at a protest against the re-election of JOH when the military police arrived and began acting violently against protesters – people wrapped up the protest to go home as did he, but on his way home he saw the sirens of a military police patrol, and saw they slow down and start to fire gunshots towards him – he continued his way home and the military police parked outside his home watching and intimidating for about 20 minutes. His neighbours have also seen at other times police and army agents in front of his house taking photos of the street and his home. Most recently his image appeared on a social media smear campaign that singled him out as an organiser of the barricades in the region.

7 February 2018

Activist Miguel Briceño made a statement that he is at a high risk of being assassinated by the JOH regime. That in recent times, he counts three occasions in which hooded un-uniformed persons have been right outside his home, and another three occasions in which the military police have also intimidated and posted themselves outside his home.

9 February 2018

In Choloma, Cortés, military police evicted the barricades against the fraud and JOH dictatorship firing live gunshots, and then proceeded to launch teargas bombs into people’s homes there, leaving including many children crying unable to breathe and with their eyes burning from the teargas.

At about midnight, Franklin Almendares was on his way home from a meeting when a new black double cabin Hilux reached him, rammed into the back of his car with the intention of stopping Franklin. When they saw that he was not stopping, they drove in front of him to block the way and bashed his car on the driver’s door, to force him to stop. The attackers forcefully dragged him out of the car and searched him and his bag the way a soldier or police would, taking his diary, a little money and a bottle of water – almost all that he was carrying – however they did not take his good watch or good backpack that actual robbers would have taken. Franklin Almendares is the general coordinator of CNTC – National Central of Rural Workers. There were police around afterwards who were suspiciously offering to do something with him to find the attackers but of course he had no reason to trust them and went home.

10 February 2018

In Potrerillos, Cortés, in the stadium, people were having a fundraiser soccer game in solidarity with a young guy who was wounded in the protest, but the game was raided by military police which surrounded the stadium, people fear for what can happen to the young ones and children inside. It was reported that three persons were arrested.

11 February 2018

Choloma, Cortés is on alert. Militarisation.

In El Progreso, Yoro, people are seeking solidarity of lawyers to free political prisoners there, having eight who have been imprisoned since December 2018.

12 February 2018

Melvin Osorto Aguilera’s brother was arrested and beaten all over the body and face for protesting, a rib is wounded and his back was in pain, his two mobile phones and cash were taken off him, the the burnt tyres were used as evidence against him for his ‘crime’.

13 February 2018

Police sees an attacker stab journalist César Omar Silva when he was transmitting live his program at the protest – the police intervened but let the attacker go as if they hadn’t done anything. César Omar Silva works for UNE TV, the only TV financially independent from the JOH regime. César Silva has a very long history of journalism that is on the side of people and truth and of being politically persecuted for such.

15 February 2018

Officially formed this day is a committee to defend political prisoners in Honduras made up of activists of human rights, teachers, farmers, union and other organisations. From this period since November of fraud and dictatorship, there are twenty-two people in four prisons who are political prisoners whom are indefinitely imprisoned. Sometimes on arrest political prisoners start with charges like ‘illicit association’ and sedition, but these are quickly dropped so that only charges like robbery and attempts to start fire remain – this is so official data can be used to back up the regime’s shameless claims to the media that ‘there are no political prisoners’, when it is clear each person was arrested for their participation in protests.

There are political prisoners and the below is the list published by human rights organisation Cofadeh:

In the Tela prison:

1. Lourdes Johana Gómez Núnez. Lourdes is imprisoned with her little daughter and partner. She is from Pimienta.

In La Tolva high security prison, held in solitary confinement are:

2. Edwin Robelo Espinal

3. Raúl Eduardo Alvarez…

Edwin has such limited visiting rights he only been allowed to see his lawyer.

In El Progreso, imprisoned are:

4. Arles Saúl Cardona Saavedra.

5. Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres Ayala.

6. Jhony Andrés Salgado Fuentes.

7. Dany Javier Banegas Reyes.

8. Olvin Nahúm Villanueva Avilés.

9. Omar Enrique Velásquez Yánez.

10. Antony Reynaldo Acosta.

11. Néstor Armando Almendarez Rodríguez.

12. Marvin Antonio Godoy Arias.

And in Ilama prison known as El Pozo, ten people from Pimienta:

13. Daniel Eduardo Santos Ordóñez

14. José Orlando Santos Ordoñez

15. Edwin Nahún Amaya Sánchez

16. Mynor Ariel Reyes Mejía

17. Roque Jacinto Alvarenga Corea

18. Wilfredo Cáceres Sagastume

19. Francisco Miguel Gómez Martínez

20. Melvin Mauricio Chávez Pérez

21. Jonathan Ricardo Perla López

22. Santos Ramón Paredes Quiroz

On this day there was a barricade at the exit to Marcovia in Choluteca.

16 February 2018

In the López Arellano neighbourhood in Choloma, Cortés, there was an alert sent out that there was there a white Hilux with no numberplate that had hooded men inside going around looking for people who participated in the protests. Words are out that state has ordered death squads to search for protesters. There were reported afterwards protesters arrested.

In the neighbourhood Modesto Rodas Alvarado, at 10.20pm on this Saturday night, in the context of a protest against the JOH dictatorship, Sergio Borjas was arrested by military police and in custody in the El Manchén police station in Tegucigalpa. He was held at least overnight, at least until appearing before an executor judge the next morning.

This night the Francisco Morazán Boulevar was barricaded with tyres, fire and bodies.

18 February 2018

The state based MACCIH Mission of Support Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, might be folding after much publicity about how a member Juan Jiménez Mayor (ex peruvian PM) and a few other members of its international panel had resigned from the mission due to the lack of real support from the UN and OAS. For ‘having shaken’ the image of Honduras in this way, Juan Jiménez Mayor has received death threats.

19 February 2018

This morning, the body of (40th person killed by the JOH dictatorship regime) Samuel Edgardo Martínez López (aged 33) was found, having been killed. Samuel is the president of the ‘9 de Julio’ farmers group in Las Huertas community in Tutule, La Paz, one of the most heavily attacked zones of land recovery by police, military, court and elected authorities. Samuel Martínez was born on 16 February 1985. This young person not only had to carry with him charges that he has had since 20 July 2010, but was locked up for 4 months in the La Paz prison together with another land defender Carlos Eduardo López, accused of usurpation of land. The authorities try to pass off his killing as a traffic accident, which is suspicious, since he is on bail and has on a long term been heavily persecuted. His comrades know his wishes to be farewelled with a music band, so they organised this for him, along with the tears, flowers and memories. The members of this farmers group have lived, struggled and worked together for eight years. A comrade said, ‘We used to talk about what would happen if one of us were gone, but we didn’t imagine it could be so soon, and this hurts, a brother is taken from us.’

In Ceiba, the executive director of human rights organisation Ciprodeh, Wilfredo Méndez, was driving in La Ceiba for work to present a report on corruption and human rights in Honduras, when he was intercepted and threatened by armed men from a vehicle at about 5pm during peak hour. They drove beside him and a passenger pointed a gun at him from inside the car. They kept following him and then stopped and followed again, and when they were beside him again, the drive pointed a gun at him. They did this for 10 to 15 minutes before stopping. Wilfredo is committed to continuing the struggle for human rights despite the threats.

This day also marks a year of Omar Suazo being held political prisoner. Omar Suazo is from Sambo Creek. Omar is a Garífuna musician and someone who has clear ideas about defending his culture and identity and is a protector of ancestral territory there. He is an activist who opposed the building of a hydroelectricity dam over the Cuyamel river. Omar is imprisoned with an accusation of assassination against a hitman who had stabbed Omar four times in the back with a knife.

21 February 2018

In Gualala, Santa Bárbara, (41st person killed by the JOH fraud dictatorship regime) 16 years old Luís Fernando Ayala was reported disappeared on 20 February 2018 and on 21 February he was found assassinated – his hands were cut and there were many signs that he was tortured before he was killed. This child and his family are active members of MAS Santa Barbara Environmentalist Movement. At just age 16, he was someone who had a lot of conviction in the struggle to oppose mining on their territory. Him and other youths have been charged by military police too before that for participating in protests against the fraud and dictatorship of JOH following the election.

In Luzon, Colón, where palm plantations overrun, there is an alert that on this day that there is an eviction order against the farmers group Unidos Lucharemos (Together We Struggle). There were grave concerns because the community is surrounded by authorities and also by a group that previously possessed and sold the land in the 90s.

In Locomapa, Yoro, the indigenous Tolupan people of the San Francisco tribe were being threatened, at a time when this community is holding an active camp in place defending the forest and territory through the organisation MADJ (Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice). There is harrassment coming from Noe Rodriguez, the president of the Xicaques tribes federation.

22 February 2018

In Arizona, Atlántida, attacks against the members of MADJ continue. At 6am, police and investigative agents raided the home of MADJ activists Aquilina Mejía Guerra and Luís García searching their house and arresting the environmental defender Aquilina Mejía Guerra, accusing her of allegedly having two molotov bombs found (which is said to have been planted there by the same raiding authorities, something which happens often). The couple has been persecuted by investigative police agents for some time now. The charges against Aquilina are possession and fabrication of ‘war weapons’. She was imprisoned for five days and finally freed on 26 February, free of the charges.

23 February 2018

The protest caravan against the JOH dictatorship in Villanueva Cortés was repressed with teargas bombs. In Dos Caminos, the military police, cobras and police fired gunshots and launched teargas at the bodies of the barricade there. The human rights defender and MADJ member Fany Beatriz was driving when her car was shot twice as well as being filled with teargases, forcing her to jump out of her car and flee when it was still in motion.

Report released this day: Melon workers of the transnational Fyffes (company recently acquired by the Japanese giant Simitomo), had women workers intoxicated while working because of the use of toxic substances on the plantations back in December. The workers had just entered when they smelled a strong chemical smell – some fainted and others began to vomit and others had parts of their bodies go to sleep. The women were taken to a doctor contracted by the same company, where they received injections, were oral rehydration and some pills and only 3 days of rest. On the following days, some of the workers’ faces swelled up. Others felt a very bitter taste of the inhaled chemicals, others continued getting very dizzy. Most of the workers were single mothers whose families depended on their jobs. The Industrial Commission came to investigate the attack against the workers, but they only met with the administrators and bosses of the company, that said the women had a virus, that they weren’t exposed to toxic gases. The union had trouble getting testimonies – 13 women were affected but only 2 would give testimonies, because they were all threatened with losing their jobs. This intoxication incident is not an isolated case, there were also cases in the farmers Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz in Marcovia.

25 February 2018

Human rights defender Joaquín Mejía received death threats against himself and his family. Joaquín is also a member of ERIC (Jesuit radio). The latest threats had come in the context of his participation in being a travelling guest speaker in different US cities, as organised by Alianza Americas, in speaking about the political situation in Honduras. On this day, the death threats calls to him and calls of extorsion against his family started up again. As well as for going on the speaking tour, the death threats are also because of the investigative and media work he does in relation to human rights violations in light of the JOH fraud dictatorship regime. Joaquín’s work also goes towards the litigation against the Honduran state in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights – the commission of which had recently granted him protection orders – although that state never complies with such.

27 February 2018

In La Paz, over 50 indigenous campesinas and campesinos have capture orders and charges of land usurpation. Before this, already, their daily lived reality included being harrassed, being followed, being threatened and abused, and already before this, also judicial persecution. The targeted community has lived and defending the land from dams and mines for over 40 years. In this province, there are currently 700 farmers facing charges who are on bail. There are two farmers imprisoned without bail – one in La Paz and another in Comayagua. There could have been more but the human rights organisation Cofadeh had pressured for others to be freed.

In Lepaguare, San Pedro de Tutule, 8 capture orders had been emitted against leaders of the farmers group 8 de febrero. They have been recovering land for some years. Police raided the home of 8 de febrero farmer Yesenia Padilla trying to arrest her. ‘Where is the capture order or raid order?’ She and others demanded. She escaped arrest this time but is being charged with usurpation of land against Rosario Dominga Reynoso who claims to be the landowner. Yessenia is now one of three women of the 8 de febrero group who since has a capture order against her.

28 February 2018

Javier Trejo Licona, a leader of Cofradia community in Cortés, and a leader of Vida Nueva of the Libre and Alianza parties, was arbitrarily captured and charged, ultimately for his activism. There are National Party activists who serve as witnesses against him and give fake testimonies, and who have been granted the status of protected witnesses.

 

 

 

Part 5: Honduras Coup Repeat Update: 16-31 January 2018

Part 5: Honduras Coup Repeat Update: 16-31 January 2018

Backdated news

On 7 January 2018, Oscar Antonio Flores, a small business person who buy things in El Salvador and sells them in Tegucigalpa, was travelling towards San Salvador and ended up in the police cell in Pespire, Choluteca where he died a death made to look like a suicide. He left Tegucigalpa on 4 January 2018. In Choluteca, where he was on 6 January 2018, there were barricades, and a police report said that he was ‘disturbing the social order’ and villagers had tied him up by feet and hands and then called the police and had him arrested. This version was created in the context of the protests. And seeing news on social media, people who were in the protest there recognised him and said he was at the protest. His sister, however, denied to Radio Progreso that he ever participates in protests or has any political affiliations or convictions.

16 January 2018

In the north, at about 5pm, around 50 FUSINA security agents ambushed the home of Francisco Godinez – the regional secretary general of national rural worker federation (CNTC). Francisco Godinez, and other CNTC organisers Sergio Godinez, Pedro Sánchez, and José Godinez were shown capture orders against them. They ran for their lives, and the agents chased them. Francisco had already received death threats by telephone. They knew this was to terrorise them for participating in anti-JOH actions.

A youth, Raúl Eduardo Alvarez had his home raided in Comayaguela, and he was arrested as a suspect for setting Hotel Marriott on fire in Tegucigalpa on 12 January 2018 following the heavy repression with gunshots, teargas and beatings against protesters.

In Villanueva in Tegucigalpa, a black out that night had people feel terrified about possible raids, this neighbourhood having been brutally repressed a few weeks back for barricading.

In Cofradía, San Pedro Sula, six military police patrols persecuted leaders of Alianza party.

144 police agents who were on strike previously – they resigned from the repressive state forces. Some soldiers did as well.

Meanwhile, teacher Agustina Flores who in September 2009 was beaten by the polices Esther Ponce and Arecely García and was subsequently illegally detained for 21 days in maximum security prison for women, for having participated in protests, brought this case to the courts. It is the first case against police from the 2009 coup to make it to the courts, yet, it hasn’t made it yet – the hearing was again cancelled this day, because the defence of the police did not come.

17 January 2018

In Cofradía, most of the communities had been militarised, with the area being saturated with over 30 motorised military police – 20 police patrols and 10 military police patrols. Squads of military police swarmed the streets.

In Tegucigalpa, in several neighbourhoods, people saw soldiers go around in white double cabin cars without number plates. El Rincón neighbourhood was also heavily militarised.

18 January 2018

As the last congress session prior to the imposing swearing in of the new congress was being held, the streets near the streets near congress were heavily militarised.

19 January 2018

The general strike started on 20 January, so the night of 19 January 2018, barricades started everywhere. Many bus companies announced that services were cancelled for 20 and 21 January. There is a sentiment with the general strike that, with some having resigned, there are 25000 police and soldiers in Honduras. If barricades are everywhere and many in Honduras, repressive forces cannot be everywhere and people can win.

At 8.45 pm near the Cristina bus company in Comayaguela, Edwin Robelo Espinal was riding on his motorcycle when he was arrested by military police. A resistance activist, Edwin Espinal, who has been on the news since 2009, first for losing his partner who was also a fully determined resistance activist – Wendy Avila (then a 25 year old law student) – to the repressive forces’ teargases and hospitals with orders to be negligent so resistance participants’ lives were not saved. And subsequently, different episodes of persecution against himself over the following years – raids, torture, arrests. Edwin was last arrested and beaten by police on 8 September 2017 in the Kennedy neighbourhood accompanying a local environmental protest – a police who self-identified as ‘Brad Pitt’ threatened him, saying he has Edwin’s profile compiled, before then releasing him. In the recent wave of state driven smear campaigns on social media, Edwin has also been a target, accused along with others of ‘terrorist’ acts. Edwin often over the years has accompanied different grassroots struggles in solidarity. It is in this context that the regime targeted him and framed and accused him as being another ‘leader’ accused of breaking the windows and starting fires at Hotel Marriott following the 12 January 2018 repression nearby outside the Presidential house with gunshots, bashings, and teargas bombs. The night of 19 January 2018 as he was being arrested, people around tried to film but were intimidated to stop. Edwin’s motorcycle was left on the street. As he was taken into custody, they took photos of him for the press to show he is taken prisoner, and used the pretext that he was carrying two mobile phones (normal practice in Honduras – one phone for each major telecommunications network) and some money (lempiras equivalent to about $200) as reason to treat him as a dangerous person, that with the unfounded charges of ‘aggravated damage’ and more severe charges of terrorism and illicit association that the state wanted to push through, Judge Claudio Aguilar in the General Cabañas Cuartel ruled not only to deny Edwin bail but to imprison him in the maximum security prison known as La Tolva, in Moroceli, El Paraíso. Cofadeh human rights organisation coordinator Bertha Oliva said that by sending anyone to La Tolva arbitrarily like that they are in another way killing them.

Two youths (one aged 14) who clean windows of cars on the corner Bancafeh in Tegucigalpa, David Josue Maldonado Avila and Moises David Avila Garcia, were beaten and arrested by police out of the blue in this context of the repression, they were taken in patrol 232.

A number of banana farms in different provinces have been paralysed as the workers on these farms complete more than 20 days of strike against the transnational banana company ‘Chiquita Honduras’. 2800 workers were on strike demanding the reactivation of the medical assistance plan for their families that are closer for them to get to and gives a better health service and that has given them this service for 40 years, than the new medical centre assigned to providing them health services. The farms they have stopped are: Indiana, Mopala, Santa Rosa, Limones, Laureles, Ceibita, Corozal 6 and 7, which are in La Lima, and Omonita farm of San Manuel, Cortés, and the Cob farm in El Progeso, Yoro. The workers on strike are intimidated and threatened with being fired or with the company closing and moving, and people know the company has been plotting to declare the strike illegal. Workers on strike will take their protest to the next level, occupying public buildings and highways, if their demands are not met.

20 January 2018

This first day of the national general strike against the JOH fraud dictatorship regime was met with repression all over with the military police set out to repress all protests even if people were protesting on footpaths. Despite which, people did stop the economy this day, there were barricades just about everywhere.

….

Don Telmo.

There was also another assassination! (34th person killed by this JOH fraud regime) Don Telmo Villareal, an old man who travels around on a bicycle, was gunshot wounded at the barricade of Sabá in Colón, he was losing a lot of blood and he is remembered saying, ‘compa, help me,’ people took him to the hospital but he died before they got to the hospital. Here is a narrative of someone writing about what happened to Don Telmo:

The assassination of Don Telmo has moved a lot of people. To favour the truth and to be true to social conscience, it is important to clarify what happened. He was not an old man who happened to be passing through near the protest and suddenly was wounded by a misguided bullet. I understand that sometimes people apply a way of dramatising the political repression of the government with the creation of a surreal victim, like that of an old man who had nothing to do with politics. This for me is to reaffirm the right-wing discourse that criminalises social protest. Because, in a way, it is as if we would be saying that the assassination of a person protesting is less grave or that it can be somehow justified. To deny the social conscience of Telmo and his active participation in the protest, and the wish to build around his assassination greater indignation by exploiting his supposed lack of political sense, we would be following the game of the right. The counterdiscourse, then should be for there to not be assassinations against Hondurans, MUCH LESS against Hondurans who protest. Because protesting is one of the most basic and important social rights for the development of a society’s democracy.

Don Telmo, an older adult or someone elderly, he was not at the front of the barricade – space held by the youngest members of the Sabá movement against the dictatorsip. He stayed at a prudent distance, knowing that at age 72 he could not keep up the same frenetic rhythm of the tireless Honduran youth. Minutes before the soldiers’ starting to shoot, however, he had showed his support of the protest. He was telling off the soldiers good. After, surely tired, he had withdrawn to a less conflictive position within the protest group. Within minutes the repression unleashed. The teargas bombs did not chase away a people who had inherited the historical banana industry workers struggles, who are used to decades of brutal punishment. Nor did they chase away Don Telmo. It was in desperation and frustration that the soldiers, who had come to evict several points of Colón and failed, started to fire gunshots. One of such gunshots reached don Telmo, other gunshots have reached others, wounded two other persons – these two others in the contrary, were staying in their homes and not participating in the protest, checking outside once in a while to keep track of what is going on. Of the three wounded, only don Telmo died.

Including after having wounded don Telmo, the soldiers realised another round of gunshots that luckily did not wound anyone else. The reaction of the people was heroic. Instead of being intimidated, they responded with the only thing that unarmed protesters have: stones. The soldiers fled, without having been able to carry out the eviction but this time they left a trail of blood and grief over a whole people. Because of this today more than ever, don Telmo must become a symbol of a struggle against the dictatorship. Not because it would be a low blow to allow that his assassination remain in impunity. It’s more, that he deserves to be reivindicated as a political assassination of JOH. He is an example of the reason that we cannot keep being politically apathetic, and leave the institutions, that cost us so much money, in the hands of morally bankrupt persons who don’t have the minimal respect for other people’s rights, rights including to the life of the person next to us.

….

In Danlí, El Paraíso, protesters against the fraud – Brian Eduardo Rodríguez Sánchez and Héctor Natividad Godoy Ramos were arrested.

In Tegucigalpa, the central park was militarised by a massive contingent randomly there.

In the Cabaña neighbourhood near Hospital Viera, soldiers gassed protests, attacking the breathes of women, children, and council workers there repairing the street.

In El Pedregal neighbourhood near the airport in Tegucigalpa, there was salvage repression with death threats against people barricading.

In Río Lindo in Cortés, hooded soldiers raided homes and in Peña Blanca, Cortés, they arrested Juan Carlos Espinoza (35) and Denis Salazar (42) for holding up placards that say ‘Get out JOH!’ – they additionally arrested for protesting José Rogelio López (25, civil engineering student at UNAH-VS), Luís Alfonso Melgar (34), and Rudy Wiliam (25).

At El Hato Enmedio, the barricade that stretched late into the evening was repressed with police teargases – the gases were heavily felt even in parking lots where no people were around.

In Comayaguela, the protests that went into the evening were met with militarisation in the hours of darkness. At 8pm, military police arrested 17 year old Sadan Josúe Gutiérrez when he was on a mototaxi, carrying tyres for a barricade. He was taken to the 4th police station in Belén market area of Comayaguela. Also, patrol 7032 was repressing there and threatening with firing live gunshots, and a police patrol M1-39 arrived to repress the protest there and arrested Elmer Omar García and two others unidentified persons and held these at the same Belén police station. People tried to intervene and de-arrest but were attacked with gas and chased. Three others were arrested for protesting in the Las Crucitas neighbourhood. Some other known names of political arrestees held at the 4th police station in Belén that night were Julio Cesar Arevalo Rubio, Edgardo Colindres, Anyison Rolando Funez Sosa and Yamir Melgar Ramos.

In Villanueva, Tegucigalpa, in mid morning, the protest there was repressed with a massive amount of teargas bombs. The bombs paused and resumed as Ex president Manuel Zelaya arrived on the scene and international TV – Hispan TV team – began to interview him live, when a teargas bomb was launched directly at Hispan TV journalist Dassaev Aguilar, fracturing his leg and he was taken to hospital. Hispan TV equipment was also damaged and the live transmission interrupted. The photo of Dassaev Aguilar hospitalised was subsequently used against Dassaev in a smear campaign by the regime, putting a caption on the photo that said that he was injured in an accident while throwing molotov bomb at a bus full of people and circulating that in social media. Later the same morning, Danny Josué Flores Rodríguez was arrested in Villanueva, but people went looking for him in all the police stations panicking only to finally find that he was at Manchen police station. On this day, repressive shots fired shots directly at homes and towards protesters in this neighbourhood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Y5NcJNkkk&feature=youtu.be. In the afternoon, in Villanueva, police arrived to raid residential home where uni leader Nery Jeancarlo Cruz was and proceeded to handcuff him by hand and feet. Nery pleaded to to the people around him to not let the police take him, because they were and will be hurting him. So people in the house asked the police to let Nery go, saying the student protests because it is his right and duty. Police responded denying that it had to do with his activism, saying it was for vandalism acts. Nery was taken to CORE 7 police cells, this arbitrary arrest took place amidst a day of very heavy repression against protests. Nery was one of the people who was driving the hunger strike at the uni in June 2017 calling for the resignation of uni director Julieta Castellanos. The next day there was news that he was released and okay.

In Telica, there were arrests against people who barricaded, and when human rights defender Luís Fernando Hernández went to the police station and confronted the police there asking what crimes were committed by the protesters that day, Coronel Gálvez threatened him, pushing him and tried to grab his mobile from him, on top of which, Luís could tell Coronel Gálvez was drunk.

In El Sitio, some youths – Dorian Joel Barahona and Edwin Francisco Valeriano, were arrested. Edwin’s grandfather was especially worried. Edwin was seen by Univision cameraperson getting beaten by police at the barricade.

In San Juan Pueblo, Atlántida, people were doing a 1.5km walk on the roads protesting the JOH regime, and were hit with a brutal repression by police, who chased and gassed people continuously for 40 minutes and from 100 metres away fired live gunshots at people. Arrests were made against Teodoro Santos Carbajal and the youths Maynor Machado and Edgar Henriquez, who were taken away in police patrols. Days later, the charges against them of aggravated damages were dismissed by the judge. Also repressed there were children, old people, and entire families who were part of this walk and struggle.

In San Pedro Sula, at the 33, at about 7pm, the military police of JOH arrested youth and beat them, they also stole mobile phones from a few youngsters near a protest.

In El Progreso, at the barricades, Gladys Menjivar was arrested. People identified infiltrated police in the marches attempting to profile people, and protesters took these to the police station.

In Sector Tres, police and military tried to arrest youths on the barricade but people resisted and defended each other from the arrests. Police and military then tried to confiscate tyres from a workshop there. They also didn’t manage to do that, people stopped them, holding their ground.

In Villanueva, at the protest, 16 year old Kelvin Ernesto García Martínez was arrested and taken into custody handcuffed in a police pick up truck.

In Guadalupe Carney of Bajo Aguán, the hills were surrounded by military, militarised.

In Ajagual San Ramón in Copán, there was repression against protests and plain clothes police were identified.

In cyberworld on facebook, Allan Torres – member of Redehsur human rights organisation received threats for their human rights work by someone using the facebook name Marlón Mejía. Allan belongs to Adepza and to the community radio La Voz de Zacate Grande in Amapala Valle.

Somewhere in Honduras, Libre parliamentarian Jari Dixon was participating in a protest when someone tried to burn his parked car – a security guard saw this and put out the fire but couldn’t identify the attackers.

In the sea, the brave navy force of neighbouring Nicaragua highjacked the Honduran navy boat in solidarity.

In Siguatepeque, the Libre back-up parliamentarian Ronald Panchame who had for 3 days been watched and followed by people on motorcycle had his home raided this morning. The attackers broke in and suspiciously stole 2 computers and searched papers. In Siguatepeque it is documented that there is a squad dedicated to intelligence against activists and opposition.

This day in Tegucigalpa, military police also invaded building of Banco Central de Honduras – the staff was worried. Who knows what went on.

21 January 2018

Repression in the neighbourhood Valle de Sula, 27 calle by the intersection, about from 9.30 at night military has been shooting teargas inside the houses and has fired live gunshots against protesters. neighbours say 15 had been detained, including minors.

In Pooler, the turnoff to 36 Guaymas, the anti-JOH barricades have been surrounded by hundreds of police and soldiers since the early hours. Police were firing shots everywhere and chasing people.

In Tegucigalpa near the congress building, Alejandro Josué Corea González was captured by military police on this second day of general strike, initially people did not know where he was taken. He was held for some hours but was later released and home with his family.

Also in Tegucigalpa, human rights defender Pedro Amador of OEIDH organisation, was accompanying protests when he was wounded in the leg by the state forces and taken to Hospital Escuela.

In La Laguna, Comayaguela, José Francisco Matamoros Maldonado was at 9pm arrested and taken in patrol 6662.

In San Juan Pueblo, Atlántida, the police and military unleashed a heavy repression against people in protest and people fled to refuge inside theirs and others´ houses. As MADJ leader Martín Fernández and others with him fled to his house, a soldier pointed a gun to his head and to inside the house where other defenders were refuged. Police and military surrounded his home in intimidation, and armed men broke the windows of Martín’s car. Martín and his brother Victor had been under attack in social media, and the buildings of MADJ and Radio Dignidad had also been raided.

22 January 2018

This second day of the general strike started with relatives and friends of arrestee Edwin Espinal, journalists and human rights defenders gathering outside the gates of General Cabañas cuartel some way out from Tegucigalpa – the military cuartel building was cordoned off by soldiers so people couldn’t get past the 1km mark towards the building. Inside the building the hearing all these people were blocked out from was held. No bail granted still, the guarantee Cofadeh offered to pay was rejected. The prosecution tried to put against him a charge of attempt of assassination against some almost hundred people but this had to be dropped because it was ridiculous. What remains are accusations of damages to private property (Hotel Marriott) – and there are threats to charge him with terrorism and with illicit association. Amongst the people not allowed in was an Amnesty International representative who came as an observer. The family, friends, journalists and observers stuck waiting outside were additionally subject to having their lives endangered, because death squad vehicles constantly moved in and out of the cuartel and some people inside some of these anti-human vehicles have taken photos of the people there for Edwin and took to profiling them. At La Tolva maximum security prison he has very limited rights to visitors and only one hour of sunlight a day. They ultimately attack him in this way because he is a known relentless social activist who constantly supports grassroots struggles, known first and foremost as someone who lost his partner Wendy Avila to teargases of the coup regime in September 2009. With many attacks against MADJ and activists in the region, MADJ leader Martín Fernández and others are now in hiding because they have no choice.

ramon 22 jan 2018

In Arizona, Atlántida, people from Arizona and Pajuiles communities barricaded the CA-13 highway since 8.30pm, and it was about 10.30pm when a military and police commando arrived to ruthlessly repress firing gunshots, launching 5 to 8 teargas bombs and chasing people for a long 2 km stretch. The military police bullets hit (35th person killed by the JOH fraud regime) Ramón Fiallos (65), who was taken to hospital in San Juan Pueblo gravely wounded, and died there at 11.30pm. Ramón’s friends called him Moncho. Moncho was someone very actively as a leader of MADJ in the El Retiro community, in defending common and natural resources, and was someone very humble about this. Moncho also accompanied the camp in defence of the Jilmaito river in Tela. In this military police shooting against the barricade, two youths were also wounded and hospitalised.

wounded 21 jan 2018

In San Pedro Sula, Cortés, in the neighbourhood Valle de Sula, a 17 year old youth was taken by the military from a house he was taking refuge in. They broke the door to break in. They beat him with guns and with helmets. His wounds – that are in the eye, head and other parts of body, look bloody, gruesome and painful.

In Panamá community in Trujillo, Colón, military arrived at the protests and brutally attacked the community chasing people, they captured Eric Roberto Ventura as part of this attack against protesters.

23 January 2018

At midnight, the Arizona barricade continued firm where Moncho was just assassinated, it was until 3am that people dispersed. Sometimes between 3.30am and 4am, the military and police arrived at the home of (36th person killed by the JOH fraud regime) Geovany Díaz Cárcamo (aged 35) in the Pajuiles community and took him by force from his home, having identified as him as a youth who participated actively in the community camp and protests against the dam that started back on 22 March 2017. His body, having been killed, appeared the next day. Geovany was someone who participated in the struggle with a great deal of conviction – first defending the local river and mountain ranges, and on these dates against the JOH dictatorship regime.

jose armando 23 jan 2018.jpg

This day, in San Pedro Sula, in the neighbourhood Sandoval Sorto, (37th person killed by the JOH fraud regime) José Armando Mariona (aged 21, known affectionately as Titi) died instantly in a shooting by unidentified persons, a month ago he was taken by force by police and soldiers as well from his home – this was confirmed by his family – who contacted human rights organisations that pressured for his release and he was released the day after. He was arrested participating in activism. And days before his subsequent assassination, him and his family saw army and police vehicles going past their homes suspiciously and made notes of these. Right-wing news try to frame the assassination as conflict between gang members, or as attack against an lgbti person, but his family is certain the state is behind this, that they targeted him for protesting. He had a lot of conviction to change Honduras.

In the Colón region, about 1000 hooded and heavily armed soldiers marched through the area in two very long lines. It was in this context that at 5.30am this morning a heavily armed military and police contingent at the command of Coronel Hugo Coca and Juan Adolfo Zapata invaded the La Lempira settlement lived in by 120 farming families since 2009 which is organised through the MUCA farmers movement, with a list of 12 farmer leaders on their hands ready to raid homes and capture people. Later that day in Sabá a violent eviction was carried out and agents arrested three protesters. Just minutes after the Sabá eviction, the barricade in Cayo Campo was invaded by hooded and heavily armed soldiers. It was reported without further details that there were wounded people and even several deaths from the brutal repression using gunshots, teargas and batons there that day, and that once evicted, protesters were chased and followed and had homes raided and at least five people who were very dedicated to demolishing the dictatorship were arrested there including Jairo Messen and Yoni Elvir.

Inside a congress session in Tegucigalpa, when some politicians protested the swearing in of the directive committee of the congress headed by Mauricio Oliva, Libre parliamentarian Juan Ramón Flores who was protested had his mobile stolen from him then and there. Similarly, journalist of UNETV, Cesar Silva arrived at the congress with his journalist credentials and he was told be soldiers and security guards that they had orders from above to not let him enter. He was similarly refused entry to cover the last session of congress of the 2014-2018 period

24 January 2018

In Villanueva, Cortés, military police arrested leaders of the Alianza party, whose names are Norman Gamal, Zuriel Oviedo, and Javier Rubi (councillor).

Also, same place, from police and army raids of homes this day, they captured the youths Cristian Abel Amador Hernández, Wilfredo Antonio López Padilla, José Carlos Cruz Rosales, Maynor Orlando Sorto Palma, José Manuel Palma Suazo and Josué Antonio Pineda Beltrán – these together with Javier Rubí were accused of burning down a police station, and aggravated damages, use of explosive material and vandalism acts during protests against the JOH dictatorship and fraud. They were held as political prisons in ‘El Pozo’ maximum security prison in Santa Bárbara, and only on 31 January, a week later, were released as the court dismissed all charges against these protest participants, because of lack of evidence against them. Their family and friends were in joy that they were being released and anguished at the same time for what they had to go through. To date, Cofadeh human rights organisation counts approximately a thousand people who have been arrested in these protests against the fraud, and adds that the arrest also represents risk of further prosecution because they would have been profiled in the arrest process.

25 January 2018

In Bajo Aguán, a member of the Aguan Human Rights Observatory, Pedro Ulloa, was arrested when he was accompanying the march of Honduran Women’s Day. He is facing charges for several crimes. Hearing was to start on 31 January 2018.

In the central park of Tegucigalpa, council permission was denied to women artists wanting to perform there on the Honduran Women’s day. The whole city area was militarised and cordoned off presumably to stop women marching through. It was overheard that on military radio there are orders to arrested youths with faces covered at the La Olla neighbourhood. In El Hato de Enmedio in Tegucigalpa, there was heavy repression.

In San Pedro Sula, journalist Ely Vallejo was sitting at a bench on the central park near activities of the council’s taking of possession and women’s day protests – when he was suddenly harassed verbally and physically by a cop who threw food at the journalist, kicked his feet, and held his gun in a threatening way. Ely has been threatened in the past and has had to seek asylum. He is a correspondent of Radio Globo and Canal 36 and JBT Noticias.

26 January 2018

As the illegal taking of procession ceremony was to be held the next day, people massively took to the streets, concentrated especially in the cities including to blockade the ceremony of the dictatorship regime from happening. It was originally to be held in the football stadium so the multitude of people focussed their presence in the areas surrounding it, in response to which, the ceremony was moved to the Central Bank of Honduras with the stadium open for people to watch it on the big screen – something that might explain why days before the military police went to occupy this bank. So this dictatorship regime went to celebrate their imposition of power over everyone inside a bank building and broadcasted it.

In San Pedro Sula, (38th person killed by the JOH fraud regime) a youth in struggle against the fraud and dictatorship, Felipe Zelaya was fatally hit by at least one gunshot of military police during a brutal repression against a barricade this night.

There is a video on this article of Felipe when he had just been killed: http://www.lechuguinos.com/policia-honduras-asesina-joven/

In Tela, one political assassination was reported, no further information found. In Pajuiles community nearby, at 9.30pm, soldiers came and without trying to explain themselves began chasing youths on the streets and launching teargas bombs, forcing some people to flee their own homes to take refuge from the gases.

In Tegucigalpa, just as people are barricading everywhere and had caravans of cars to protest and impede the taking of possession ceremony that was to be held the next day there, military police militarised just about the whole capital city, and shuffed in with the caravans a death squad vehicle with five men inside – a white Hilux with dark windows and no numberplate. In Oriente, hundreds of young ones were in confrontation with soldiers and police. The security forces attacked people with gases. One youth was wounded in the face. Several wounded by rocks or bombs. In the Villanueva neighbourhood that has a road to Oriente, a police-military contingent attacked protests with teargas bombs, and soldiers fired gunshots and wounded a young person protesting. There was also one youth wounded in the protests in the Morazán neighbourhood. In the Kennedy neighbourhood, people including women and children were taken into police custody. In El Pedregal neighbourhood, military police also attacked people there. In the Morada neighbourhood, people were protesting on the footpaths and even then military police came and heavily repressed people – they wounded Mardin Renán Iglesias, beating him with a baton in the head – leaving him a wound that needed four stitches. The military then threatened to beat Mardin’s pregnant sister-in-law, and with coming back at 9pm. They bashed Juan Angel García Castejón, and tried to bash 18 year old 7 months pregnant Dayana Figueroa in the face – luckily she escaped the blow. Juan García aged 63 was beaten in his arms when he was going to the corner shop. People in protest were cornered in a deadend street there and surrounded by military police.

In El Progreso, ten people were reported disappeared this day. At night, journalists Dunia and Bartolo Fuentes had their home raided by motorised police. The police entered abruptly. They didn’t say why they were there, they didn’t even make up a pretext. They threatened to kidnap Dunia’s brother and threatened her children and mum pointing their weapons. One of the police there this night was Carlos Alberto Arzú, who on 1 September 2015, in another act of repression, physically abused Dunia and Dunia placed charges against him for that.

In Cayo Campo, Tocoa, army and police ambushed the CA13 highway barricade from both directions against the people of Lempira settlement in protest. People had to flee to the farms, there are two comrades captured and tortured.

People heard words that the cuartels were going to unleash the soldiers against them at 3am

In Ocotepeque, 14 people were arrested, 2 were minors.

27 January 2018

On this last day of general strike, this day of the imposition of the taking of possession of the fraudulent dictator president, and this day when Hondurans declare themselves in moving onto the next stage of struggle of insurrection.. check out this Real News video The Real News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asOb7iErcAQ that takes us to this day.

barric

In Ocotepeque, the whole of Ocotepeque, the place was converted into a war zone. All the neighbourhoods there were gased. There were confrontations between youngsters and police and soldiers – the latter firing more than 500 gunshots in total all around the city. In Sinuapa one youth was killed in these confrontations, a police had been as well. Military police attacked people’s houses directly. They arrested a number of people in protest including Denis Eduardo Enamorado Ríos, a youth Juan José Reyes Figueroa (taken by military police patrol 6318 at Plaza Miraflores), Selvin Emigdio Osorio (a minor), Jesús Isidro Lopez and Yefrin Enrique Gamoneda Ramos – Yefrin for filming the repression there. People could hear screaming that come from the inside of the police station where people were in custody.

In Ocotepeque, mass arrest of people protesting for ‘bad manners’ – 3 minors Manuel Josue Fajardo (aged 17), Edy Estuardo García (aged 17), Juan Antonio Vásquez (aged 17), Juan José Miguel Portillo (aged 22), Josue Ramirez Ramirez (aged 23), Nixon Avelardo López (23), José Carlos Herrera (20), José María Peña Trigueros (29), Fredy Ramirez (28), Edgardo Ramirez (26), Francisco Antonio López (24), Jose Luis Quintanilla (23), Julio Cesar Mejia Cribas (28), and Daniel Maldonado (19), those who are underage were released that night to their families, and others were released 8am the next day

In Tegucigalpa, thousands were in protest on the streets, distraught with the taking of possession ceremony taking place in that day, but determined to struggle. The city airs were filled with smoke, clouds of toxic gases, tyres, broken glass, blood trails, eyes reacted to the substances in the air. The gases completely filled a tunnel of the city that protesters were going through, which made it hard for them to breathe. Military police attacks all over those mobilised in opposition to the dictatorship, as they attacked people with masses of teargas, people responded with throwing stones – not only were the stones thrown back at people, but military police fired gunshots. An AFP photojournalist, Orlando Sierra, who was covering the mobilisations in Tegucigalpa, was gunshot wounded in the head through the military-police repression against the protests against the JOH dictatorship, his scalp was bleeding from the wound. Also some people got arrested by police.

In San Pedro Sula, in the Guillén neighbourhood on the 33rd street, three compañeros were captured including Henry Quinanilla, the arrestees of protest were finally released through pressure from human rights organisations.

In Danlí, Paraíso, military police arrested Raylin René Isaula Castellanos aged 17 and Duner Aviles Alonzo, accusing them of damages to public property (charges made by 101 infantry brigade.

In Bajo Aguán, farmers organised in the farmers movement MARCA began to recover possession of lands that they were dispossessed of violently by the state and private guards in 2014, as an act of rebellion against this dictatorship regime. Also in Bajo Aguan, the case against Pedro Ulloa went to court, the police prosecutors and police lied and kept changing their testimony and were using fake evidence.

28 January 2018

bryan fabricio robledo 27 jan

At night, in Hato de enmedio neighbourhood, Brayan Fabricio Robledo was participating in a protest against the JOH dictatorship when he approached the military police to say something to them and they savagely bashed him. Brayan was gravely wounded, he was taken by friends and relatives to hospital, who were terrified that he was losing his life. Luckily he did survive and began to recover.

In Comayagua, arrested in protest were Lenín Guevara, Lowing Cruz, Hector Ríos and Luís Enrique Bonilla. Police confiscated their phones and bottles with petrol. They accuse them of belonging to a delinquent gang. People gathered outside the court in solidarity with the four. There is a heavily armed military cordon in the area surrounding the court to intimidate people demanding the release of those arrested protesting.

In Jacaleapa, Danlí, Jasnery Guzman was participating in the protests, when they suffered a ‘car accident’ and was hospitalised but is recovering to continue in struggle with everyone.

In Bella Vista, there was repression against the barricade facing the 4th police station.

Arrested and released, were, Miguel Angel Gomez, Amilcar Josue Torres and Nelson Josur Zavala.

In Intibucá, National party activists arrived with police to evict people who have barricaded the La Esperanza highway.

There was a vigil held outside US embassy against the JOH dictatorship and its accomplices – there is a cordon of police and military around the US embassy threatening people.

January 29 2018

In Siguatepeque, a report was made of suspicious cars profiling and following people involved in protests, and of infiltrators in the protests, not just on this day but backdating.. the security forces are trying to terrorise people to break down this insurrectional force around the country.

30 January 2018

In Reitoca, Francisco Morazán, the Lenca indigenous people there were defending their territory and the Petacon river, in opposition to the building of the PROGRESAR hydroelectricity dam of Jack Arevalo. People were there trying to stop the company machine to protect the river. When police arrived to evict people, they came firing gunshots and teargas bombs – people were left gunshot wounded, beaten, bruised, gassed, and an out of control fire. Amongst those wounded were Mirian Osorto and Andres Gutierrez who were hospitalised and being examined.

31 January 2018

In Arizona, people defending the Jilamito river against a hydroelectricity dam company are constantly offered bribes, but people in the community never accepted such bribes as they value their waterways. The bribes are such that they are offering a back-to-school kit for every child who starts years four, five and six – locals refused it, the school principal rejected the bribe too, but they went up to the District Director of Education which accepted the bribes against the community’s will.

News leaked about the military taking orders directly from JOH dictator president

Ex-captain of Armed Forces of honduras Santos Orellano Rodríguez, told the press that right now the intelligence and counterintelligence units are being activated, that they receive direct orders from JOH. He explained that it is unofficial and nobody inside would admit it, but that the president can call anyone to give orders – from the head of intelligence, a commander, a lieutenant, to a soldier. Santos Orellano Rodríguez was himself fired for informing the press that the brother of JOH was being investigated by US DEA for drug trafficking. He exposed that all the vandalism acts and all acts of repression would have been planned by the army. Head of Army intelligence is Coronel Germán Alfaro, who has been investigated for human rights violations and for drug trafficking. He explained that the army is a hierachical organisations, and because the commanders of today are serving the president, the president becomes head of armed forces. His knowledge of what goes on inside indicates that everything has been planned – eg the sabotage against Marriot hotel – to try to create the image that it is the opposition and not the government that is damaging the country. He explained that there is a group within army that does the ‘dirty work’, which is managed by head of intelligence that gives the orders. Leaders of barricades and organisations, etc, are chosen as targets and orders are given to kill these. Smear campaign also comes from army. He has been in army 23 years, to know that the military studies points of sabotage against people – eg identify medias to attack such as Radio Progreso. He told that the Honduran army has support from the Colombian and US armies and intelligence.

 

 

 

Part 4: Honduras Coup Repeat Update 1-15 January 2018

Some backdated news that appeared later first:

Back on 1 December 2017, at the López Arellano neighbourhood barricade in Choloma Cortés where several people were assassinated in the state repression, Escarleth Potter (23) was inside her home when she heard the gunshots, in response to which she and her dad ran to the gate to close it. They had not imagined that the military police was at their gate already pointing the gun at them. A military police rudely asked her, ‘is it true that you were at the protest, daughter of a bitch?’ and without more words the military police fired four shots at the body of Escarleth. She was taken to the plundered IHSS hospital, where even six days later she had not received any medical attention. She has several bones destroyed by the gunshots.

On 13 December 2017, Movimiento Independiente Lenca de la Paz Honduras Subcoordinator Martín Gómez Vásque had only just returned to Honduras the day before after him and another comrade having been invited to Europe by Amnesty International to receive an award in recognition for their human rights defence work, when his brother Enrique Gómez Vásquez (42) and niece Reina de la Paz (4) suddenly vomited and died an hour after eating chicken and tortilla. They must have been poisoned, but the authorities have not investigated or given any statements. Martín is traumatised as is the family. He knows it is probably because he spoke up in Europe against Honduran politicians, mayors, parliamentarians, police and nationalist activists and JOH that someone must have done that, while still completely shocked and traumatised that somebody could have done that. Enrique, known as Quique was a dad to five children including Reina de la Paz. The partner is now left to care for the remaining four (aged between 2 and 10) by herself. The family lives in extreme poverty, and they are kept in the dark as to what had happened.

On 16 December 2017, Diego Daniel Aguilar of Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y Justicia (MADJ) was present as a human rights defender at a barricade at the height of Agua Tibia in la Masica when he was brutally beaten and tortured by repressive security forces. Also, during December, the homes and shops of MADJ members Silvia Flores Chacón and Oscar Alexi Guillen were raided illegally in Arizona, Atlántida.

On 20 December 2017, lawyer Priscila Alvarado who defends people arrested for protesting the fraud regime had her office raided.

On 27 December 2017, singer songwriter Nilo Espinal put on facebook that their concerts are being cancelled on them because they protest against the JOH regime.

On 28 December 2017. JOH rejected Organisation of American States’ request to send a human rights representative to investigate the human rights situation and generally rejected other such requests.

Since 29 December 2017, Carlos Díaz Avila Zelaya, better known as Ingrid, aged 52, has been disappeared. Ingrid was last seen in an action against the dictatorship in the city centre near the Finlay park. She is a stallholder with 2 stall spots in the market near the Carias bridge. She lives in Tegucigalpa, and is from Sabanagrande. Her friends have looked for her in hospitals, morgues, detention centres, and have gone to different organisations, and have not found any signs of her.

1-15 January 2018

1 January 2018

wilmer paredes

Sometimes between 8am and 8.30am this new year’s day, (32nd person killed by the JOH regime) Wilmer Paredes was riding to his mum’s home on motorcycle when he was intercepted just one block from arriving. Wilmer was shot at 13 times by killers in a grey van. Wilmer was a local youth who thoroughly impressed everyone at the local barricade with his bravery. This remarkable strength of his was unfortunately not unnoticed by nationalists who were at barricades taking photos of people and profiling them for targeting. It is known that the state had a list of the youths who are leaders in the barricades in San Juan Pueblo. Others who know they are on this list fear for their lives – more so now that Wilmer had been killed. Wilmer ended up afraid too, but there had been times like a recent time at a barricade, which had people telling a story about him over and over again about his strength.What happened was, Wilmer and others confronted a police who was trying illegally to make someone pay him, and they ended up dispossessing the police of his rifle and handcuffs, handcuffing this police and taking him to the police station handcuffed. Before Wilmer’s assassination, Wilmer and others have been persecuted and attacked for their protests against the JOH dictatorship regime – on 7 December 2017 Wilmer and others were captured and attacked by military police during an eviction against a barricade at San Pedro Sula – they were brutally beaten. Again, on 16 December 2017, Wilmer was barricading with 200 others, mostly young ones but all ages, when he was repressed together with 9 other youths. In front of everyone, they were yelled at, beaten, given tazer shocks, and pointed at with guns. They were yelled at, ‘where is your united people? Get them together fast, to make tortillas, they’d be super chilled out in their homes. Here we don’t want any trouble, slackers.’ As the agents yelled they filmed with their mobile phones. This beating, kicking, spitting, throwing sand in their eyes hair and body went for about one and a half hours. From this violence, Wilmer was bedridden for 3 days. After this, Wilmer expressed publicly that he was in fear for his life, and had stopped showing up at protests. He was constantly followed by death squad vehicles. On 29 December 2017 Wilmer sought out support from MADJ coordinator Martín Fernández to help reach out to institutions for protection. They contacted the police contact of the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) that MADJ was given for negotiating their protection measures. The police was dismissive and denied that police was involved in persecuting protesters and said he would take down reports but offered no support. They contacted the National Protection Mechanism lawyer Laura Rivera who said there is no order from IACHR to protect Wilmer Paredes so refused to help prevent Wilmer’s subsequent assassination. When Wilmer’s mum Adriana heard the gunshots outside, she wondered who was killed that new year’s day. It destroyed her to hear people scream it was her son. She touched his body still warm, but he had died.

Some of the first political prisoners for protesting this electoral fraud and dictatorship began on this day – eleven have been arrested accused of stripping naked and beating up three police agents in Pimienta, Cortés, who participated in repressing people. The authorities arbitrarily had the arrestees’ heads’ shaved against their will under custody. There is no evidence that justified their capture for this crime. They are mostly youths and had been in custody for days and were forced to go without food for days. They are charged with aggravated damages, setting on fire, other ravages and aggravated attempt against police agents. The media headlines smear them. Their names are: José Orlando Santos Ordóñez, Daniel Eduardo Santos Ordóñez, Roque Jacinto Alvarenga Corea, Lourdes Johana Gómez Núñez, Wilfredo Cáceres Sagastume, Jonathan Ricardo Perla López, Maynor Ariel Reyes Mejía, Santos Ramón Paredes Quiroz, Francisco Miguel Gómez Martínez, Melvin Mauricio Chávez Pérez and Edwin Nahún Amaya Sánchez.

3 January 2018

In the neighbourhoods El Hato, Villanueva, and El Pedregal, military police went out at night to intimidate people carrying lists of protesters.

4 January 2018

In the El Hato neighbourhood, in the earliest of hours, several military trucks have been on the highway next to the neighbourhood. In the night the soldiers abused the neighbours there, out of frustration, because El Hato has one of the strongest protest bases in the city. The soldiers invaded the homes and intimidated youths – and they also did the same in El Pedregal and Oscar Castro. People did not know if there were arrests this night.

In Choluteca, from early in the day, dozens of military police have been threatening protesters and have been repressing people at barricades, to the extent of using live gunshots against protesters and ignoring people’s screams to not to fire shots at them. The military police was under the command of Héctor Espinal, who ordered the agents to use gunshots against people. They chased and arrested people throughout the day. Five people including one minor have been arrested and charged with ‘attempt’. They included Obeth Isai Tercero Santos, Jesús Fernando Portillo Osorto, Ramón Alexis Amaya Aguirre, and Carlos Alfredo Trejo Ordoñez. All were covered in bruises and wounds. One arrestee had a forearm fractured from state violence. He asked to be taken to hospital but was ignored – so he was detained without medical attention. They were later released on bail under the pressure of lawyers. The cameraperson Kevin Castillo of Televida tried to cover the repression and arrests, but soldiers beat him in the hands with batons and in the back and stomach, forcing him to lose hold of the camera, which they threw to the ground and broke it like they hated it. If his head wasn’t covered by a motorcycle helmet, he was sure they would nave beaten him in the head too. Two of his colleagues were also beaten. The barricades and repression continued into the early hours of the next day.

5 January 2018

People in many different barricades around the country report that there are lists going around of leaders who participate in the protests. Also, police walk around with paper and pen in hand, writing down numberplates of motorcycles and cars parked at protest actions.

From 8pm hooded military police that arrived in a black pick up truck went onto repressing the neighbourhoods El Sitio and Santa Maria. They arrived to each block arresting people, searching them and barking like dogs. They forced people to get out of their cars. They held a checkpoint until almost midnight.

6 January 2018

At least 3 buses of people from Santa Bárbara going to protest in San Pedro Sula were stopped by a military police checkpoint on their way. They were stopped for a tense while.

At 10.15pm, some youths protesting at the highway that encircles Tegucigalpa were arrested.

8 January 2018

santos alvarados 9.1.18

In Montefresco neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula, (33rd person killed by the JOH fraud regime) teacher Santos Edelmiro Alvarado Córdova (53) had two armed people break into his home by force, go inside the room and shoot and kill him. Santos was an active member of the resistance, of the Libre party, and of the Copemh teachers union. His 33 year old son said he used to spend all his time with his dad, that he was such a good dad, and was there lots giving advice always. He was also a very well liked teacher by students and colleagues. Police is trying to say that while it may be related to his political involvement that it may also be related to a custody battle. Of course police and media would try to make everything look like its not political persecution.

desaparecido nery velasquez

Since this date, of the Lean community, Nery Velásquez, aged 31, has been disappeared. People saw them taken by police and went to look for them in all the police station and haven’t found Nery in any of them.

At 11pm, a heavy contingent of military police – some in cars and some standing around, surrounded the home of another teacher Geovany Martínez in intimidation. Geovany was for this election a parliamentarian candidate for Alianza.

In Lomas de Occidente and El Hospital neighbourhoods in Choluteca, uniformed national police in patrol 6314 went around brutalising at night. They carried automatic weapons and fired gunshots at unarmed people, wounded, followed, beat up and arrested people, without any judicial order. There were wounded arrestees who were denied assistance of Red Cross paramedics.

9 January 2018

For having published information about a meeting between Nationalist parliamentarian Oscar Nájera and members of Alianza party in Tocoa city, journalist Cesar Obando Flores received death threats. Cesar works as a correspondent of Radio Progreso and a TV co-presenter of the program ‘The Owners of the Hearing’ of Canal 37. He was called from the number 98518886 by someone who self-identified as Francisco Díaz, saying he wanted to talk urgently with a journalist, but then said, ‘I tell you in good faith – don’t go around publishing photos of our party or you will very see quickly what happens’. Only minutes after the call, at the park, someone came out of a car threatening him – they took a photo of him and said, ‘don’t you dare publish the photo and video, you won’t live to tell the tale’ in a threatening tone.

10 January 2017.

A number of homes have been raided in a number of neighbourhoods in Teguicgalpa. In these targeted neighbourhoods which are also strongholds with barricades and protests, people often hear between 11.30pm and 2am the sounds of dogs barking desperately, of sirens, and screams of, ‘let them go! Let them go!’.

Cesar Vindel of Alianza party was grabbed at the market, his attackers bashed him, and kidnapped him in a red toyotal Hilux.

At night, motorcyclists protested in the Centro América boulevarde, against the congress trying to impose a curfew on motorcyclists. The protest was repressed, there might have been arrests.

In Choluteca, journalist Jairo López was granted protection measures of National Mechanism of Protection, but police refused to implement these. He is a victim of threats from National Party groups, people linked with congress president Mauricio Oliva, and certain coronels of the Honduran army, and smear campaigns too.

Priest Ismael Moreno is being attacked with smear campaigns on social media that associate him with violent actions.

There was an alert in Colón, as people protested in Tocoa city and also barricaded the highway by the Guadalupe Carney community as part of the national protest actions against the JOH dictatorship regime. It was concerning that as soon as the barricade began, the security institutions had issued a report saying that ‘a group of about 100 people headed by Adolfo Cruz blocked the highway protesting in favour of ALIANZA. There were fears for the safety of the mentioned campesino leader and of all people involved in the barricade.

11 January 2017

On the second day of the above barricade of the Guadalupe Carney community, at 4am, heavy military contingents of at least 400 military agents with batons and shields closed in onto the barricade from both directions. The protest was evicted and dispersed, during which people heard soldiers mutter that human rights are trouble makers.

There are 10 environmental defenders of the Pajuiles community in Tela who have been waiting since August for the hearing. It was postponed in August, and was set for 15 January 2018, but another postponement was announced this 11 January 2018. The justification they gave was that the ombudsman had not been notified of the hearing. Dragging out the hearing process not only prolongs anxiety, but extends the vulnerability of the Mezapa river and Nombre de Diós mountain ranges that the community seeks to defend from the Hidrocep hydroelectricity company. The company is supposed to hold off building as agreed, but there are two machines up there that have been up there for three months now. The community’s clean water to bathe in and drink is very much on the line.

12 January 2017

In Tegucigalpa, thousands protested marching from the teachers’ university to the Presidential house – they felt surprised by the lack of police and military for most of the way, but when they arrived at the Presidential House and people headed for the entrance, there was a heavily armed contingent of military, military police and police who brutally and suddenly attacked people immediately ruthlessly firing gunshots with long rifles and shotguns and launching teargas. In this attack, wounded were José Luís Hernández, Victor Benítez, Ever Sierra, Alberto Alvarenga, Víctor González González (aged 17), Carlos López Ortiz (visitor), and a girl carrying a placard that said ‘Get out JOH’ – she was ambushed, held, and beaten with batons on her chin and sprayed twice by pepper gas tanks. Many were arrested – the whereabouts of some who have been held were unknown. Also attacked were the journalists César Silva and Rony Martínez of UNE TV, who despite being surrounded and cornered by soldiers who were beating them, did not stop the filming for a second, until the soldiers gravely wounded their cameraperson Pedro Amador and destroyed the camera. Soldiers also attacked journalists of TV Azteca and HCH tv channel. And Claudia Mendoza, correspondent of Primer Impacto of Univisión, was beaten by soldiers who tried to snatch from her the phone she was recording with – she was sure that the soldiers were drugged up, with the way they acted. Also attacked were journalists of TV Azteca and HCH TV. Libre parliamentarian Jari Dixon tried to intervene to stop the brutal beating by soldiers against a protester, the military responded by brutally beating him and throwing him to the ground. Ex President Zelaya also tried to get the military to calm down – they then shot teargas at him and proceeded to remove him by force. It was following this shocking repression that the nearby Marriott Hotel was then strangely unsurrounded by public nor private security and had its windows and foyer physically attacked – could be furious protesters, but could be orchestrated and carried out by state agents to then accuse protesters.

Meanwhile in Bajo Aguán, an army contingent of about 25 Xatruch heavily armed agents under the command of Hugo Coca, proceeded to arrest campesino leaders Santos Torres and Selvin Alvarado of the Gregorio Chavez farmers cooperative

While UNAH CURLA campus director Gioconda Lee and head of security Manuel de Jesús Antúnez are not facing hearings for the disappearance of university worker Donatilo Jiménez Euceda who has been disappeared since 8 April 2015, instead, Donatilo’s sister Jacqueline Jimenez and his spouse Sonia Martínez faced initial hearing this day charged with defamation for having accused Gioconda Lee and Manuel de Jesús Antúnez of the disappearance of Donatilo. The hearing continues on 31 May and 1 June 2018.

13 January 2018

In Choluteca, people in barricades were chased by repressive forces with live gunshots.

On the web live news broadcast space that journalist Cesar Silva was transmitting protests on, someone using the name of Hugo Cancino made in the commentary a death threat against Cesar.

Ever Vilmer Varela (US based Honduran) became missing – he was last seen in protest in Tegucigalpa on 12 January 2018.

14 January 2018

Military police were seen trying to appear as labourers on ladders in midnight hours, when they were still being military police, trying to get rid of evidence of gunshots on city walls to try to complement the lies FUSINA is putting out in the media saying they don’t fire gunshots at protesters.

The brothers Martín Fernández and Víctor Fernández, leaders of MADJ, and lawyers for many in social struggle, who fight for environmental and human rights would have been horrified when they saw the pictures going around in social media (including Whatsapp) that pointed to them as having contracted hitmen to murder the activist Wilmer Paredes for refusing to comply with an order to kill – not only would they never do something like that, Wilmer turned to Martín three days before he was murdered seeking his help to obtain protection through state authorities. Martín accompanied Wilmer to make the phonecalls but it was the state authorities that were unwilling to help. Martín wanted to organise somewhere safe for Wilmer to stay too, we are not sure what happened with that. Wilmer’s life was lost. Now Víctor and Martín’s are further at risk because the regime has historically followed such smear campaigns with either murder or attempts at political imprisonment. The brothers did only just meet Wilmer since the post electoral protests and recognised his leadership straight away and were very impressed by him. People of MADJ rushed to arrive on the scene when they heard something happened to Wilmer, hoping to take him to hospital, but as they arrived, realised he had died immediately after being shot. The state being complicit is very clear. Prosecutors did not come to collect evidence on the crime scene.

It is notable that Atlántida had been very heavily repressed because important highways for the economy get blocked there. A number of the murders of this dictatorship regime have been in this province.

Another journalist Ariel de Vicente is also smeared in social media, accused of generating acts of violence.

So many broken lives with the assassinations, threats, wounds, bodies imprisoned, people tortured in this regime with the imposition of power of JOH, but, of course, the media and people who don’t care about people is a lot more concerned about the broken glass windows of Hotel Marriott.

Some other news..

There was an action outside US embassy for their complicity with the JOH regime, in which people gathered a lot of rubbish and threw it all outside the US Embassy, gathering there, expressing their anger.

Another ex-police blew the whistle – Aldo Oliva, who was General Police Commissioner, spoke up about how orders of assassination of identified important persons in Honduras had come directly from the Presidential House, he said he has all the documents to prove it. Investigative journalists at the same time have been investigating the current use of death squads, and have found that today, compared to the eighties, the death squads are supplied with more sophisticated technologies and vehicles to have the capacity of carrying out killings without leaving evidence as to who did it. They also observed that people who get killed tend to have their bodies dumped in four main points of the city for all to see and be terrorised. Also that they tend to be dumped near police and military stations showing that they are either part of a police or military operation, or at least know they won’t get into trouble. A while ago another ex police Alfredo Landaverde, before being assassinated, gave declarations to the press about the death squads system. He declared that targets have included politicians, journalists, lawyers, officials, drivers, police and military with information, those who protest and organise, people with information, witnesses, etc. He said death squads can be made up of hitmen, soldiers, and police.

People have been suffering from inflation of prices, especially of eggs, and held a boycott for a week, 8-12 January, of not buying eggs to bring the price down.

27 January 2018 is the swearing in date of the dictator JOH. The week 20-27 January 2018 has been declared a general strike. To barricade everywhere. There are messages to boycott coke and pepsi, to give refuge to those seeking protection escaping persecution, to not go to church, to not pay tolls, to not do banking, not buy this or that. To participate, talk to neighbours, speak up and share about human rights violations. To not use public transport. To prepare for all the food and water each home needs for 15 days in preparation. The determination – no to dialogue with JOH, free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at any costs, mobilisation, and general strike.