January 2016 Honduras Coup Update

January 2016 Honduras coup update

Known incidences of political persecution from January 2016

Attacks agains indigenous leaders who oppose the Los Encinos dam continue

Twenty indigenous leaders have died violent deaths for being part of the struggle against the damming of Río Chinacla, in the El Potrero indigenous territory. This afternoon of 29/1/16, unknown persons set on fire the home of indigenous leader Rosalío Væsquez. Rosalío also has against him a capture order of the Marcala Court, having been accused of a crime he did not commit. Rosalío belongs to MILPA, Indigenous Lenca Movement of La Paz. His spouse Ana Romero who, like Rosalío, has Inter American Court of Human Rights protection measures granted, had suffered a beating by police, soldiers and civilians who were sent by the Los Encinos dam company. Los Encinos is headed by congress vicepresident and parliamentarian Gladys Aurora of the National Party.

State and council workers repressed with sackings

Also in La Paz, on 1/1/16, five council workers were told by Mayor Gilma Ondina Castillo that if they wished to keep their jobs, they must leave their union. This repressive attempt to destroy the union is responded to with an indefinite occupation of the council building supported by the Honduran workers federation, FUTH, which came in solidarity on 11/1/16.

In December, twenty workers of SANAA – Honduran Water Service (state body) protested over three days the behind payment of wages – eighteen of these were suspended for 18 days, while the other two were put instead on a to be sacked list, for ‘inciting the occupation protest’ – this was decided on a SANAA meeting on 12/1/16. The meeting was also attended by the union Sitrasanaays, which had expressed opposition to the decision; despite of which, SANAA is pushing ahead to sack the two. One of two in process of being sacked is social activist and member of resistance against the coup Alba López. Regarding the decision to sack her, the comment ‘one must break this communist’ was heard. Alba is strong and keeps smiling despite of everything. This wasn’t the first time she was attacked by the department. In 2009 she had taken from her the chair, computer, pens, voice recorder, – things that she needs to do her work on the communications team. She spent money to supply for herself then everything that she needed to carry out the work to prevent her bosses from being able to accuse her of not doing her work in an excuse to dismiss her. Amongst the reasons why SANAA is behind in paying its workers is that due to neoliberal directions, there is a process of privatisation of water through the municipalisation of water service (‘decentralising’ followed by creating conditions for these to bankrupt).

Journalist threatened for being ‘dissident’

Ronnie Huete gave testimony that because of his voluntary work in which he speaks up and works as human rights defender and journalist, on 5/1/16 in a public place in Tegucigalpa, he was given death threat by a national public figure. This person is an elite in Honduras and has high political influence. Ronnie was approached and warned by him that he was the ‘dissident journalist’ and that ‘all journalists who carried out that type of journalism had fatal destinies’, ‘given what had already been determined for the country. Ronnie asked him why he said that to him when Ronnie is just a simple common citizen, whose contribution to the country in short is writing and speaking up about what goes on in Honduras. To that he responded, ‘I am only warning you of this, be grateful, that I am warning you.’ Ronnie did not disclose the figure’s identity for Ronnie’s only security, but gave testimony publicly of this threat. Ronnie affirmed that he will continue his dissident journalism work always, and is solidarity with others considered dissident journalists.

State violating indigenous rights in muskitia

In what to city folk is ‘remote’ area, Muskitia, Ciudad Blanca had the Honduran state authorise the publicising, excavating and extraction of archaeological pieces with the plan to move such pieces to another province. This is without consultation with the indigenous people in the area who are the traditional owners of the territory historically and ancestrally. This expropriation against the Miskitu people is being carried out with sponsorship of National Geographic. The government has also derogatively had the city referred to in mass media as the ‘city of monkey king’, or as the ‘lost city’, reinforcing racism and colonisation discourse.

11,000 workers left without job also without the promised payments

There was an agreement between the 11,000 redundant workers and the OABI – Administrative office of confiscated goods, to payout the workers in three installments over three months – the workers were made redundant as OABI intervened against Grupo Continental for its implication in money laundering – while the state looks like it is tackling corruption, the ones most affected, the workers, weren’t the ones who decided that the company they worked for would participate in money laundering. The first installment was paid on time, but when the second payment was due and was not paid, workers called the office that for a period avoided the workers by not answering the phones, only to finally admit, when confronted with a workers’ public protest, that it is ‘incapable of complying with the payment plan. The installments were a total of 12 million lempiras each (approx. $0.6 million). The excuse OABI gave for lack of capacity was that OABI only recovered 2 of the 6 million lempiras owed by suppliers to the company and their plan was to use this money to pay the workers.

Factory worker killed by precarious work

In the Acme McCrary factory in Choloma, Honduras, worker Adán García died, in a ‘work accident’, but it is no accident the dangerous work conditions that prolonged.

Update, wounded indigenous now dead

Of the attack back on 28-12-15 by the navy against a group of Garífunas at Barra de Iriona, it was reported that Jostin Palacios Linos was killed and Elvis Armando García was gravely wounded. Elvis is now reported as having died too from having been gravely wounded. Seven soldiers mostly young are charged by state prosecution for ‘simple’ homocide in this case.

Politicians getting threats too

MP Beatriz Valle denounced of persecution and vigilance by state organisations. On 27/1/16 by three vans went to park outside her home and came out to take photos of her home. She was told about this by neighbours and by the young domestic worker at their house that these vans were red, grey and white. Nobody could take photos of this because her neighbours also only had at home at this time their domestic employees who don’t have cameras or phones with cameras. In the past she had once been followed by a van without numberplates after being on a tv debate with Billy Joya, ex member of 3-16 death squad, and that in the last presidential elections in 2013 she received death threats on social media and by text messages and had on a number of times been followed by similar vehicles.

Virgilio Padilla Congress MP of AntiCorruption Party PAC, denounced on 30/1/16 that he has been threatened by regime president JOH with imprisonment with charges of illicit acts in his practice as a lawyer. He said this is for being against the judges election process at the Supreme Court. He said if they send him to prison he will be ‘proudly the first political prison in Honduras’ (though he should recognise that he would not be the first as there are others who have gone before him) and that any charges against him would be ‘political persecution, being which, invokes his right to defend himself politically’. Him and Salvador Nasralla have publicly expressed that they will vote against the decision to elect the remaining 7 judges for the CSJ because the process is wrong and reinforces bipartism within the judicial system, nominating only liberal and national party judges. Other commentators emphasised that many nominated judges had roles in supporting the 2009 coup and are linked with corruption.

News briefs from January 2016

There has already been mass deportations from the US back to Central America. In 2015 alone there were 19,336 sent back by air, and 47,464 deported by land. With the implementation of the Plan of Alliance for Prosperity led by the US starting this year, mass deportations are expected to get a lot worse with bigger numbers of lives affected of those from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Yet another bank is being investigated for money laundering linked with drug trafficking. This time it is Banco Atlæntida, according to a report of the special prosecutor against organised crime via Radio Globo. The prosecution will be seeking to confiscate 53 properties, 28 cars, 3 ship, 4 mercantile societies and 38 bank accounts.

Seven ex directives of IHSS were absolved of all responsibility for the plunderous IHSS scandal in which $350 million were pillaged from a health and social security department and given to the National Party electoral campaign and in the pockets of those who parttook in this scandal.

US intervention do and had come in many forms. Today, the Zika Virus – is referred by some as biological warfare against Latin America. This in the context of many strange illnesses, many being developed in global laboratories and used on countries that aren’t aligned with the world ‘order’.

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