- a translation from Stephen Bartlett of Ag Missions of the COPINH communique with the above title
- the original communique in Spanish
Speech by Aureliano:
Speech by Tomasito:
Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras COPINH.
Bo. Las Delicias, Int., Int.; firstname.lastname@example.org; copinhonduras.blogspot.com Tel. (504) 2783-0817; http://copinh.org; FB: Copinh Intibucá; twitter: @copinhhonduras
Decolonization, rivers and emancipation versus racism, arrogance and capitalism. Communique on the Initial Hearing (of Sept 12)Yesterday, after an intense campaign of struggle from the court houses of Intibuca against the criminalization of COPINH, we communicate the following:
- Once again it was clearly demonstrated that the intent of the DESA corporation and the Public Ministry of Intibucá, in obedience to this corporation with its empty and manipulative accusations, is a posture of economic power that seeks to criminalize the historical cause of COPINH and the Lenca People. The demonstration of racism and belittlement of the Lenca People was a false witness of accusations full of lies, contradictions and even absurdity. What was even more clear was the aggression, interventionism and abuse on the part of the institutions of the State against the Lenca People in general.
- The witnesses and defense lawyers, headed by the compañero Víctor Fernández, played a fundamental role, making a declaration of defense that was conscious, bold, firm and demonstrated that the indigenous people of Río Blanco are in struggle, with their conviction of their legitimacy as a First People, defending their collective and individual Rights, and that there is no basis for the accusations against our compañeros for their deeds.
- The Public Ministry and the private accusers, at the moment of presenting their petitions to the First Court of Letters, asked for a sentence of prison with substitute measures for Aureliano Molina and Tomas Gómez, which would consist of a prohibition of being present in the “scene of the crime”, to present themselves to the Justice every 15 days, and that the defense lawyer would be responsible for the behavior of both compañeros; in the case of Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of COPINH, the accusers asked for prison.
- The female Judge in the case, the lawyer Lissien Lisseth Knight Reyes, DID NOT make a judgment yesterday, putting the date for a subsequent hearing to take place next Friday September 20, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. with the First Court of Letters of Intibucá.
- The company threatens to present more accusations against the three defendants, and also against Other members of the Indigenous Council, the Council of Elders, and the Neighborhood Council (Patronato) of Tejera in Río Blanco.
- In the meanwhile, more police forces have been deployed and more militarization and harassment in the communities to the north of Intibucá, including in Rio Blanco. All this is a result of the signature of an Act of Government, the company, and indigenous and council imposters, with the participation of SEDINAFROH, and President Porfirio Lobo Sosa.
- We alert the communities organized by COPINH, to the social movements, to the Honduran resistance, to the progressive political and social forces, to those we call you to the cause of the defense of the goods of nature; to international solidarity and human rights organizations, that what the accusers are proposing and pushing for is the violent eviction (of the blockade) in Rio Blanco, using the repressive forces of the State, an unacceptable and shameful threat, to evict the Lenca People who cannot be removed from their own territory, occupied for thousands of years, and thereby criminalizing their just and noble struggle even more.
- We call for struggle and acts of strong solidarity among all those who undertake actions in the face of the Honduran government. We ratify that COPINH, despite all the circumstances of attack and criminalization, will continue the development of this process of defense of the territories, the culture, the spirituality and the common goods of nature, of the Lenca People and for dignity.
With the ancestral strength of Icelaca, Lempira, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices full of life, freedom, dignity and peace! NO MORE CRIMINALIZATION OF COPINH’S STRUGGLE!
In Honduras, military takes over with US blessing
It’s widely known that the Honduran police are corrupt, thoroughly enmeshed in organized crime, drug trafficking, and extrajudicial killings. But rather than clean them up, the current government of President Porfirio Lobo — itself the product of an illegitimate election after the military coup that deposed President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009 — has now, ominously, sent in the military to take over policing on a massive scale. The United States, meanwhile, is pouring funds into both Honduran security forces, countenancing a militarization of the Honduran police that has long been illegal here at home, while dismissing Congressional pushback about human rights issues in Honduras. The Honduran police are, indeed, corrupt almost beyond belief. According to a top Honduran government commission, only 30 percent of the police are currently “rescuable.” In Octber 2011, police killed the son of the rector of the nation’s largest university, and one of his friends. The national director of police, Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, is an alleged death squad leader from 1998-2002, and the Associated Press has recently documented ongoing death squad-style killings. President Lobo and the Honduran Congress clearly lack the political will to clean up the police, in large part because top political figures, including judges, prosecutors, and congressmembers, are themselves allegedly interlaced with organized crime, drug traffickers, and those accused of extrajudicial killings. Now the government’s answer is to send in the military. In direct violation of the Honduran constitution, which explicitly forbids military participation in policing, over the past three years Lobo has gradually extended “temporary” militarization of law enforcement. Military personnel now routinely and randomly patrol neighborhoods in the large cities, much to residents’ alarm, and control the country’s prisons. Most alarmingly, on August 22, the Congress created a new “hybrid” military police force which will immediately contract 5,000 new officers that it promises to have on the streets by early October. The dangers of this militarization are clear. Soldiers are trained to track and kill a hostile enemy. Successful policing, by contrast, depends on,respect for local communities and citizens’ legal rights, careful handling of evidence, and the use of minimal force. In the United States, military involvement in policing has been banned since 1878. In Honduras, military involvement in law enforcement has already proven deadly. On May 26, 2012, soldiers chased down, shot and killed a 15-year old boy who had passed through a checkpoint, and their officer ordered a high-level coverup. On July 15, the military shot and killed Tomás García, a nonviolent indigenous activist at a peaceful protest. A driving force behind this militarization is Juan Orlando Hernández, the ruling party candidate for president in Honduras’ upcoming presidential election on November 24, who has promised to protect Hondurans with “a soldier on every corner.” Yet he himself voted for the military coup that deposed President Zelaya, and this past December, while he was president of Congress, led the so-called “technical coup,” in which the Congress illegally deposed four members of the Supreme Court and named their replacements the very next day.