21 October 2016

Human Rights Workers Killed

(Note: This news may be relevant to the safety of volunteer groups going to Honduras at this time)
Hesperian has wonderful relationships with groups and individuals all over the world, but our connections to Central America are especially broad and deep. Many staff and board members have spent years of their lives working in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, and we are still greatly affected by events there.

We are filled with outrage and sadness about the news of yet another set of murders in Honduras. Jose Angel Flores, president of MUCA (Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan) and Silmer Dionosio George, another MUCA leader, were assassinated on October 18 as they left a meeting in Tocoa. We worked with MUCA in the field-testing of A Community Guide to Environmental Health, and we were moved and inspired by the struggles of those farmers to get and hold land on which their families could survive.

These two murders follow two other attempted killings of leaders of COPINH on October 9, and the assassination of COPINH leader and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Berta Cáceres in March. Despite the inability of the Honduran government to honestly investigate these crimes, much less bring those responsible to justice, the US State Department just certified that Honduras has made great strides in improving human rights, therefore opening channels for $55 million in aid to flow to that corrupt and repressive government.

As we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Flores and George, and express our concern for the safety of other members of MUCA, we urge you to contact your Congressperson and ask them to cosign HR5474. This bill, introduced in June, would cut off US funding and support for the repressive Honduran military and national police, and end US support for funding mega-projects, like the Agua Zarca dam, against the wishes of the local population. As of September, 41 representatives have signed on in support.

For more information, contact the Honduras Solidarity Network in North America:
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