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by Sydney With Honduras Wordpress
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 at 8:38 PM
This September in Honduras...we now within two months of this infamous model cities (privatisation of entire cities) actually starting unless miraculous resistance springs up. But uprisings do actually happen, in Miskitia, a long boat ride or helicopter ride from much of Honduras, when pissed cops and soldiers arrested 40 at a party after people refused to give them alcohol or money for alcohol, and these agents of the system fired gunshots,wounding 4 who were locked up, the community didn't take it,the officers ran away, the community set on fire the copshop.
September 2014 Honduras Coup Update
Regime head Lobo uses corruption scandals with social security system to introduce privatise social security, works hard to introduce poverty increase measures and cutting public sector jobs to sign agreement with IMF in November, while using people's desperation for 'jobs' to push model cities ahead. At the same time, and 'green' false solution REDD+ is making inroads.
Mario Zelaya, ex head of IHSS – social security department, was captured for plundering millions, approximately $250 millions to be precise, funds that came from pockets of affiliated workers as well as of private companies and the state. It made big news and was used to boast/do PR that the military police of Honduras captured him when he was actually captured in Nicaragua and handed over to the military police (with weird collaborative relationships between Honduras and Nicaragua like when Sandinista Nicaragua president celebrated the inauguration of ultra right wing fraudulent president Juan Orlando Hernandez). But, since there are lots of state representatives like Mario Zelaya, and he is the only one captured, it is more likely an electoral campaign stunt than a serious effort to capture all high officials responsible for corruption. The new program JOH is pushing through is is called Social Protection System for A Better Life, that capitalises by centralising into one safe retirement and pension funds from different contributors, and managing all health services through' LEASE CLINICAS PRIVADAS' networks, privatising social security and opening more loopholes still for corruption and business by officials and the private sector.
On pleasing the IMF the sign agreement for loans for the next 3 years, JOH was already getting workers to pay more taxes, for security tax, raising fees for public services, adding tax for internet, cable and public services, 15% tax for crossing borders... now JOH decides to reduce the public deficit in state electricity and other services of central administration by cutting 700 staff rather than addressing corruptly signed contracts or large unpaid debts from the private sector, and to reduce poverty reduction measures, swapping a subsidy marginalised families received called bono 10,000 to something like basic cards where people can only use to buy from shopping centres. Cuts have been in stopping students' transport subsidies, in stopping free school fees, and there are negotiations now to stop all transport and petrol subsidies, for debts of Honduras to be paid for by consumers and the poor.
2 November 2014 is really soon. It is the day when model cities – concessioning out of whole cities – in Honduras are anticipated to stop being a plan and start being a stark reality, with the first one to be 'hosted' by General Electric. This is to start in the north in Cortés, and then in the south, and in Atlántida, and near Puerto de Castilla – all locations being near airports or ports or both. JOH wrote to the UN saying that Honduras had overcome the 2009 crisis claiming 'full democracy and complete freedom for people to choose their authorities', and even that there is participative democracy with the path paved for people to participate in rewriting their constitution, but above all that in this 'peace building effort', to create opportunities (jobs) for everyone, more international investment is needed, in the form of model cities. JOH claims that unlike the other 3500 model cities already around the world, the Honduran ones will be 'integral' – submissive to global capital in fuller ways in the legal (eg using international judges), economic (money incentives for business), administrative (governments friendly to business) and political (autonomy for business concessioned to have political autonomy over the region). JOH wants money from all the sources; in the letter as well as model cities, he was indirectly requesting more funds for war-against drugs, and talked of Bill Gates Foundation as a 'socially responsible' business, and also of Hillary Clinton helping found a program to install clean kitchens. In the south, KOICA – International Aid Agency of Korea gave the studies it did for developing the southern region – to include the establishment of a free trade zone in Alianza, to build a port in Amapala, and a centre for investigation and development in Nacaome – the Honduran government and KOICA are seeking finance and complicity from Inter-American Development Bank for this before giving the concession that gives Korean investors control of this strategic region that connects the pacific ocean, assuming the debt, and handing over decision-making and the receiving of profits and taxes and price determination.
A re-cap of what model city concessions could mean: recipients of concession will be autonomous with own legal status, administrative system pass their own laws, have their own jurisdiction, they will have own 'Constitutional Councils', there is no clarity about how international conventions will be applied, they can sign own international trade and aid agreements, they can have their own police and prisons and sign agreements with other countries and regions to receive police aid, and with national and international intelligence services to fight organised crime, they have their own budget and control and collect own taxes, they can ignore labour laws, they can control people coming in and other, they can grant public private alliances contracts, and they will not allow 'undue intervention' by Honduran state authorities for which they obligate the Honduran state to hold responsible any representatives guilty of intervention. Model cities law is proposed to protect foreign investment, not rights of Hondurans, much less of indigenous Hondurans. Those inside opposing model cities laws and policies could be expelled from the territory, and model cities can pass laws to facilitate forced expropriation to landgrab from indigenous communities – they will make much worse an already unacceptable situation.
Receiving the 'gift' of model cities, KOICA expresses its 'gratitude' donating patrols for police training to control people in model cities, as today found parked at prosecutors' offices.
As if indigenous and communities had any say already before within the system, in the process of imposing (introducing) the market-based false climate solution Redd+, the Honduran government is altering laws to diminish the reach of convention 169 of ILO – in relation to indigenous communities' rights to prior, free, and informed consent. Background: REDD is the concession and privatisation of nature; it is putting on market and quantifying the CO2 absorption capacity of forests, and it serves private and transnational sectors interests, expanding possibilities in monopolising and privatising biodiversity. It will attack indigenous and community autonomies, affect people's livelihoods, and manipulate and militarise in the pretext of control. Those who will receive get money from this are big business, finance organisations, multilateral and aid agencies under the name of Technical Interinstitutional Climate Change Committees. The carbon credits under REDD schemes serve to facilitate business as usual for governments and multinational interests instead of addressing climate change.
REDD proponents want to define as forests even monocrop palm plantations, when such cannot be forests. In practice, REDD concession recipients also hand over large areas of wetlands and forests to agroindustrialists for exploitation.
Political persecution in September 2014
Muskitia: drunk soldiers and police jail and wound people at a party, the community stood up and burnt the copshop
On 30/9/14, in remote Wampusirpi, Muskitia, twelve soldiers (headed by Lieutenant Boquín) and four police drunkenly busted into a community party in their uniforms demanding free beer from the business owner. When they were met with refusal, the soldiers and cops began to beat people at the party – they forced a whole 40 people who were partying under arrest, requesting these for money for the security agents to continue drinking, minutes later they forcefully encarcerated Olvin Castillo and 15 of his friends. A mob of community people approached to confront the agents, when soldiers pushed, kicked, and shot three times towards these people, and drunken lieutenant Boquín fired gunshots against the prison attempting against and wounding four people, including against Olvin Trino Castillo Angulo (24), who was left gravely wounded with a bullet wound in the leg that fractured the bones, and another shot grazed his arm, another wounded the back of Nacho Godoy. In this town where drunk uniformed agents firing shots are a frequent occurrence, people did not take this attack with heads down, they wanted to tie up Boquín – the military left running to the mountains and the community uprose burning the copshop together with two cops' motorcycles.
Brus Laguna, Miskitia: imposed state of terror causing heart attacks.
In Brus Laguna where in 2012 there was a massacre air-attack against people on a boat by an operation of the Honduran army and US army, on 6/9/14, the military agents imposed a war zone against the community in the midnight hours from 12.30am till 4.30am, firing shots of high calibre weapons all around the community. In this atmosphere of terror and sleeplessness and panic inside the homes, Devorah Sterbrrok died of hypertensive and heart anxiety, a number of other people's health was affected too, some now receiving medical attention for it. This imposition of terror killing someone is not a first, just on 6/8/14, in the same community, Roberto Sierra caused fear in his neighbourhood by exploding a bomb – he said to make a hole – from this, Mrs Anita Campos was killed with a heart attack.
Not only are actions carried out to sow fear, the military also break into Miskitus' homes and farms and destroy their crops, plunder and take everything inside like pots and pans and even pants, and animals and car oils and any cash and phones lying around and pinching bananas from the fields. They also impose body searches against people and confiscate without writing these in the registrar. Like in the case of Wampusirpi – also in Miskitia – the money made from this plunder is used by the soldiers for drinking, and they shoot when they are drunk, and after scandals, soldiers are simply moved from one area to another without any justice done. When community leaders complain, the soldiers tell them that 'these are instructions and orders from Mr President Juan Orlando Hernandez and the gringos'. This happened in Kruta community in Villeda Morales there for example, during the first week of September, when police on different occasions confiscated wood from villagers of Auka and Tipi – taking the wood, selling it and spending it on alcohol. On the last occasion when the police confiscated wood from a Auka community family that was transporting some wood to exchange for basic needs, WAITASA territory council leaders intervened without carrying any weapons towards resolving this abuse against the indigenous family, and they were met with gunshots and threats from the soldiers, the ordeal calming down only when higher authorities intervened.
Attempt and burning of homes against indigenous farmers who resist dam, and occupied and worked on land..
On 3/9/14, in Santa Elena where there are continued efforts of resistance against the imposition of a hydroelectricity dam, an indigenous farmers group that have been occupying and working on agrarian reform lands in Caserío El Nazario of El Potrero in Santa Elena, when heavily armed men accompanied by Santa Elena council representatives headed by Santos Victor Ventura of Liberal Party fired gunshots at this indigenous farmers group. The survivors ran for their lives, chased by 12 police and 8 civilians – when they did not catch anyone, these police and civilians proceeded to burn the makeshift homes there, and homes of victims along with the food and belongings inside. No prosecutor accompanied these. This attack appears to be part of the repression against the dam resistance. The dam is pushed by the council, the Los Encinos hydroelectricity business people and owner, and Mrs Gladys Aurora López – current congress vice-president, and president of party-in-government. The indigenous farmers group attacked is called MILPA, Movimiento Indígena Independiente Lenca de La Paz.
Living precariously – indigenous mining resistance
A number of indigneous Tolupanes communities who live in Locomapa, Yoro, continue to live amongst assassins – Selvin Matute and Carlos Matute - who walk around the community freely and to threaten human rights defenders. Back in 25/8/13, María Matute, Armando Funez and Ricardo Soto were killed for their opposition to mining by these hitmen. The Inter-American Human Rights Court had since ordered protection measures for 38 people who live there, but this never means anything in terms of the Honduran state, which is in complicity with the hitmen, doing anything to protect these lives. Increasing threats are reported. The permanent death threat comes from pressures to impose mining, illegal logging and to build hydroelectricity dams there. The threats had been such that Locomapa representatives and the accompanying Movimiento Amplio por la Digndidad y Justicia made a public statement declaring that they will not participate in an assembly to elect a new tribal council with the threats hanging over anyone against corruption and manipulation.
Forced displacement and evictions against Afro-descendent Garífuna communities from their ancestral lands
Following the arrests and home burnings by Juticalpa police against the Garífuna Nueva Armenia community on 8/8/14, in September, about 80 community members are currently being accused in court of 'land usurpation' and a number of these are living with pending capture orders against them, while others have bail measures banning them from being near 'the conflict area'. Carolina Castillo (60) of Nueva Armenia is indignated, 'they are the usurpers, not us, we don't want palm oil, we want to grow our own food on the land that belongs to us,' she said that despite the accusations, they are disposed to face whatever kind of threat to oppose palm oil, since palm oil only brought them destruction, contamination and violence. This community was in the 20th century displaced by the Standard Fruit Company, and when this concession expired, the company returned the land to Juticalpa council instead of to the Garífuna community, that instead gave the land to some supposed small farmers who sowed palm plantations. And with the passing of months, landgrabbing increased, as had palm expansion. Cornered and caged, the Garífuna people began an intense land recovery process, they were visited and accompanied on 9/9/14 by a number of international environmental organisations accompanied by Rel-UITA union and the platform of social and grassroots movements in Honduras, to support their struggle and right to live in the territory.
Another Garífuna community in Tela, Barra Vieja, was living on eviction alert all during September. They are being pushed out by ENP – a state port company, and Indura Beach Resort – a new development the community lives next to. The 450 people who live there are seen as obstacles to a tourism project that will destroy wetlands of the Micos Lake. They already suffered an attack on 6/8/14 when police raided the community and looted their homes and threatened to come back with a larger contingent to 'finish the job´. Politicians also kept blurting out words charged with intimidation and threat. On 29/9/14, police came in the morning to evict, suspended the eviction, and then in the afternoon a police contingent of about 80 returned in five patrol vehicles and armed with weapons, ignoring the court processes in the Supreme Court placed on 26/9/14 that are supposed to prevent such evictions; they came with soldiers and with Abimael Toinoco, a judge executor of the local court. They then warned the community that they had one night to leave, or be prepared for a violent eviction on 30/9/14. On 30/9/14, at 5.50am, the contingent came again, this time the police and army went ahead to destroy the community's humble homes and to force out the people who live there. Security forces actually forcefully transported in Dorado community farmers in a truck demanding these to remove villagers of Barra Vieja, but they refused to comply, including after they were offered payment. The Nueva Armenia community has ancestrally lived there, with a history of displacement – in 1941 with the building of an US military base, in 1978 when death squad leader and military Alvarez Martinez forced Cristales and Rio Negro communities to hand over the old Castilla to the state port company ENP. The land continues under dispute, as Indura tourism company (previously Laguna de Micos & Beach Resort) – belonging to elite Hondurans implicated in the 2009 coup – came into this picture and are now heading this state-backed-attack against the community, they had already taken lands of Tornabe and Miami for their profit project. Indura is a Garífuna word that business people are using for marketing an image of a 5 stars hotel appropriating Honduran carribean language. Indura employees have been seen feeding state security agents, showing they are paying them to evict the Garífuna community. This is happening in a context in which over 20 Garífuna communities are tainted to become model cities ready to auction off to international business.
Community radio pressured to close
On 26/9/14, National Telecommunications Commission of Honduras CONATEL was acting as if it owns the radio, summoning for Garífuna organisation Ofraneh to to close SUGUA Garífuna community radio belonging to the Garífuna community of Sambo Creek. This community drives the program and facilitates this social and discussion space. Sugua began in November 2009, after the coup, strengthening Garífuna language and culture. CONATEL is persecuting Ofraneh for the work it does defending territorial struggles and political and cultural rights of Garífuna people.
On 24/9/14, journalists who were invited by the authority Tribunal Superior de Cuentas's public relations to cover the signing of an agreement between TSC and Inter American Development Bank, but as they were entering, the receptionist told them they were not on the authorised list and cannot enter. The journalists insisted that it was a public event so the receptionist made some phone calls, after which she told them, 'regretably, because of instruction from superiors, there is no authorisation for entry of journalists from Globo.' Globo has a history of asking questions and criticising TSC, like about why TSC's latest reports only carry recommendations instead of responsibilities, about abuses related to purchases of ambulances and medicines, and of not making public the audit results of the two periods of the mayor Ricardo Alvarez's administration linked to his being TSC judge Ancheta's church buddy.
On 26/9/14, La Paz councillor Mélida Isis Velásquez threatened to sue journalist Gilberto Gálvez, unless he made a public apology to mayor Gilmma Ondina Castillo of National Party, for having reported on the council minutes on 3/9/14 on the council resolution to not work Saturdays from that day. She insisted that he said sorry to avoid problems, 'as Juan Orlando (regime president) would say'. Gilberto is a Channel 10 and HRN correspondent, director of info space 'Construyendo Sociedad' that transmits on Channel 33, member of RAPCOS – network of alerts and protection to journalists there.
On 26/9/14, journalist Julio Ernesto Alvarado is now suspended from journalism for 1 year and 4 months with the latest order from Francisco Morazan Court of Appeals following a long court battle that began in 2006 with uni lecturer Belinda Flores charging him for defamation and injuries for speaking up about irregularities she committed as an official for which she was found guilty. Julio was ruled guilty of defamation on 28/4/14 – given a fine of 50 cents for each day of jail sentenced, which added up to $250, which he paid instead of appealing knowing that the system is biased against him – he was also banned from journalism, but placed an appeal, but this appeal is now knocked down.
Resistance activist and ex parliamentarian's car shot at by police
On 19/9/14, at 2pm in San Pedro Sula, a man in national police uniform pulled out a weapon and fired two gunshots against the car of ex congress parliamentarian and FNRP activist, Silvia Ayala, when she was driving with her underage daughter. Her daughter had a panic attack as the shots hit the passengers side. They identified that it was someone in police uniform in a white minibus without numberplates. Silvia called Interpretando la Noticia – Radio Globo program to speak up about what happened.
Police linked to death squads
An ex police agent revealed to Radio Globo director David Romero how death squads work with the police organisation. They had documents showing complicity of high ranking police, with declaration from this ex-police who worked in the analysis department for several years and said he knew about the executions because he was present in each operation. He told of five cases of kidnapping and murder implicating high ranking police that include Juan Carlos 'Tigre' Bonilla, commissioner Zavala Vásquez, officer Turcios Andrade, ex police head Héctor Iván Mejía, another commander Zavala, commissioner Heberto Arias Aguila, López Flores, Arias Aguilar, Mejía, López Flores, and others.
Military and police break in 'stuff up' staged against activist doctor / Libre party member
On 1/9/14, in the morning, military and police jumped the walls and broke into the home of Samuel Francisco Santos – a doctor at Hospital Mario Catarino Rivas and member of Libre party, making his family suffer and worry. The police and military afterwards gave as an explanation for breaking in that supposably they broke into the wrong house. Samuel is critically outspoken about the national health system and of this hospital – was likely a deliberate action. Samuel is head of Neonatology of this hospital. Samuel speaks up about irregularities and corruption in the hospital and believes this was an act of intimidation to silence that.
Military and police firing shots at bus for not stopping
On 30/9/14, four people were wounded including a woman hospitalised by a gunshot in the head, gunshots 'courtesy of' the soldiers and police at a traffic checkpoint operation around the Los Laureles dam of Comayaguela. The fired the shots against the urban bus, saying because the driver did not stop when signalled to stop.
Miners tortured with heads shoved into dirty water by military police who collect fees illegally
On 30/9/14, as appeared on news, in the San Juan de Arriba El Corpus artisanal mine, where recently 11 miners were trapped inside, 3 were rescued and the rescue mission was called off by the Honduran government before the other 8 were found – dead or alive – the mine was militarised and closed in the name of safety; yet, four young miners found working there in the tunnels one day in September 2014 were tortured by military police, living an ordeal of terror and anguish. They were forced to the ground physically abused by soldiers assigned to Regimientode Caballería Blindada who laughed as they tortured. The survivors gave testimonies of that their faces were covered by their own t-shirts, that their hands were tied, and their faces, mouths and noses were forced under dirty water to the point of suffocation – 'we told them soldiers to let us go because we were choking on the water and couldn't take it anymore', and at least one had his stomach kneed. Evis Arkelano Rueda Muñoz, who turned 18 on 28/9/14, was underage when he survived this torture. There was also a 15 year old and another underage and the one who turned 18 shortly after amongst the 4 tortured. The soldiers told them not to go back to the mine unless they paid 'entry' – the soldiers illegally charge between $5 and $50 entrance fees for miners who want to come dig for gold. They were threatened not to speak up. This torture was not a one-off, this team of 8 soldiers that include someone named 'Tesón' has regularly illegally charged miners, - they did not torture miners who paid them, whereas they had used teargas bombs to prevent miners from going into the mine and tortured and even fired shots, 'this day we were 4 who were tortured, but many days ago they were doing this with other miners.'
Dam drying river
In the Chiquila community in the northern valleys of Santa Barbara, the imposed dams have dried the river, forcing villagers to fetch water from further away.
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