2017 Delegations Announcement, Part 1 (+ flyers)

Join Witness for Peace Southwest on two delegations in 2017 to Honduras! Look out soon for additional announcements for delegations to Cuba and other locations across Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Radical Organizing Across Difference: Alternative Spring Break in Honduras

March 17th -26th 2017, Delegation Flyer

The Honduran resistance movement makes up a wide variety of grassroots organizations that are committed to creating alternatives in their country. African descendants, indigenous, women, students, union workers, alternative media outlets and other sectors of Honduran society have taken a courageous stand against the 2009 coup, corruption, impunity and injustice. Their organizing spans generations and their determination to build a more just and equitable society is inspiring.

Across movements and difference, Hondurans have come together to defend their country from state violence and corporate exploitation, their right to life and their right to sovereignty. Join Witness for Peace on an alternative spring break delegation to learn more about grassroots struggles as well as strengthen the links between U.S. organizing and Central American realities.

This delegation will:

● Meet with representatives of grassroots delegations across a variety of organizing sectors.

● Learn about the ways different groups have built coalitions across movements and the country to defend their livelihood and to build their people’s power.

● Develop a better understanding and strategize based on first-hand narratives how our communities can stand in solidarity with the Honduran people in their fight against state repression and corporate exploitation.

Cost: $1000 plus airfare from U.S. (Deposit $150 due by January 15th, 2017) Payment due February 20th, 2017). Delegation fee covers all meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Honduras, along with extensive reading and activist tools. Fundraising support and scholarships may be available.

Contact: WFP Southwest Regional Organizer, Jeanette Charles at jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805-669-VIVA with questions

To apply visit: http://www.witnessforpeace.org/delegations

 

The Fight for Reparations in Honduras

June 25-July 5, 2017, Delegation Flyer

Descendants of the African Diaspora as well as Indigenous peoples across the Caribbean and the continental Americas have historically fought to repair the colonial and imperial wrongs perpetrated against their nations for centuries. In Honduras, the Garifuna, an Afro-indigenous people, have won two unprecedented cases at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in defense of their ancestral rights to land, inherent rights to cultural preservation and their livelihood. These landmark cases have resulted in clear demands for the Honduran state to guarantee the return of all the Garinagu ancestral territories and financial restitution. As Black and Indigenous movements in the US give rise to a new era of organizing, it is a critical time to reflect on shared resistance histories and exchange strategies.

The delegation will:

● Meet with representatives of Honduran Garifuna and Indigenous organizations such as the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)

● Learn about the inspiring organizing and power that Honduran Garifuna and other indigenous movements have generated through their struggles, amidst oppression by state and economic forces

● Develop a better understanding, from first-hand experience on the ground, of how our communities and organizations stateside can be in solidarity with Honduran grassroots movements and build our own campaigns for reparations

Cost: $1000 plus airfare from U.S. (Deposit $150 due by April 30th, 2016). Full payment due May 20th, 2016. Delegation fee covers all meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Honduras, along with extensive reading and activist tools. Fundraising support and scholarships may be available.

Contact: WFP Southwest Regional Organizer, Jeanette Charles at jcharles.wfpsw@gmail.com or 805-669-VIVA with questions

To apply visit: http://www.witnessforpeace.org/delegations

Witness for Peace (WFP) is a politically independent, grassroots organization. We are people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. Our mission is to support peace, justice, and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Eyewitness Reports this week in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Venezuela, Honduras and Cuba

español abajo

Download event flyers: sf event flyer nov 20, 2014LA event flyer nov 22, 2014

Eyewitness Reports this week in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Venezuela, Honduras and Cuba

CHAVEZ-supporters-_2504378k

Thursday Nov 20, 2014 730-930pm
518 Valencia St San Francisco, CA

 

diputadas Honduras-military policeSaturday Nov 22, 2014 330-430pm
220 Glendale Blvd Los Angeles, CA

 

In the past year Witness for Peace Southwest has sent 37 delegates on fact finding solidarity delegations to Venezuela and Honduras. Join us to hear this eyewitness testimony as we build solidarity with resistance movements in Honduras challenging US funded repression and as we stand for sovereignty of the Venezuelan people as they face US sanctions. In addition you will learn about travel opportunities to Cuba, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries similarly affected by US policies, in 2015, as we continue the struggle for an end to the US blockade on Cuba and Freedom for the Cuban Five and the sovereignty of all peoples

Venezuela: Three delegations traveled to Venezuela in May, June and July this 2014 in the aftermath of violent opposition led street protests and one year after the passing of Venezuela’s beloved President Hugo Chavez. Delegates learned about the Afro-Venezuelan movement and identity, met with Venezuelan doctors practicing universal healthcare, mingled with Venezuelan students attending free universities, and conversed with campesinos and urban farmers maintaining their country’s food security.

Honduras: WFPSW sent election monitors to Honduras in November of 2013 for Honduras’ historic elections and another delegation in August of 2014 to accompany communities facing violence at the height of the child migration crisis. Delegates heard first hand testimony of the roots of the migration crisis. Delegates will report on the fraud that took place during the elections and the violent repression of Honduras’ new resistance party in the elections aftermath. We will hear delegate reports from the Afro-Honduran, Indigenous and campesino communities fighting for land rights against international mega-projects, oligarchs and drug traffickers.

San Francisco Panelists:

Venezuela Delegates
-Jeanette Charles- May delegation leader and Telesur English writer
-Claudia Chaufan- June delegation co-leader and Associate Professor UCSF
-Tanya Cole- May delegation and Witness for Peace Southwest organizer
-Tim Tendick -July delegation and Travel blogger

Honduras Delegates
-Tanya Cole-Election observer, August delegation and Honduras Solidarity Network member

Cuba
-Malia Everette- Cuba travel coordinator for Altruvistas and WFPSW

Los Angeles Panelists:
-Jeanette Charles- Venezuela delegation leader and Writer for Telesur English
-Rachel Bruhnke- Delegate to Cuba Solar Conference Havana, Cuba
-Tanya Cole- Honduras Delegation Leader

Enjoy music, refreshments and good company!

sponsored by Witness for Peace Southwest.

SF event Endorsed by Altruvistas, Taskforce on the Americas, Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC), Honduras Solidarity Network, Alliance for Global Justice.

LA Event Endorsed by the Honduras Solidarity Network and the Alliance for Global Justice.

SF Facebook event

LA Facebook event

More info contact: 805-669-VIVA or southwestwfp@gmail.com. Www.wfpsw.org

http://www.facebook.com/wfpsw


 

Informes de Venezuela, Honduras y Cuba.

Jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014
7:30pm-9:30pm
518 Valencia St San Francisco, CA

sábado, 22 de noviembre de 2014 3:30pm-5:30pm
Multicultural Artists United (MCAU)
220 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Bajen volantes:

español SF evento nov 20, 2014

español LA evento nov 22, 2014

El año pasado Acción Permanente por la Paz Sudoeste ha enviado a 37 delegados en las delegaciones de solidaridad a Venezuela y Honduras. Únase a nosotros para escuchar este testimonio de los delegados como crear solidaridad con los movimientos de resistencia en Honduras y como defendemos la soberanía del pueblo Venezolano. Además usted aprenderá acerca de oportunidades de viajar a Cuba, Venezuela y otros países latinoamericanos, igualmente afectados por las políticas de Estados Unidos.

Venezuela: Tres delegaciones viajaron a Venezuela en mayo, junio y julio este 2014 durante las protestas violentas de la oposicíon y un año después de la muerte de amado presidente Hugo Chávez. Delegados aprendieron acerca del movimiento Afro-venezolano, reunieron con los médicos venezolanos practicando atención médica universal, se mezclaron con los estudiantes venezolanos que asisten a las universidades gratis y conversaron con campesinos y agricultores urbanos que están mantenimiento la seguridad alimentaria de su país.

Honduras: WFPSW envió observadores electorales a Honduras en noviembre de 2013 para que las históricas elecciones de Honduras y una otra delegación en agosto de 2014 para acompañar a las comunidades enfrentando a la violencia del estado y de grandes terratenientes. Delegados escucharon testimonios de las raíces de la crisis de la migración. Los delegados presentará un informe sobre el fraude que llevó a cabo durante las elecciones y la violenta represión de nuevo partido de resistencia Honduras tras las elecciones. Escucharemos delegados con informes de los Afro-Hondureños, las comunidades indígenas y campesinas que luchan por el derecho a la tierra contra la mega-proyectos internacionales, los oligarcas y los traficantes de drogas.

Cuba- informe sobre la protección del medio ambiente y energía en Cuba. También aprendan sobre las oportunidades de viajar a Cuba en 2015.

San Francisco Panelistas:

Delegados de Venezuela
-Jeanette Charles- Líder de la delegación en mayo y escritora de Telesur Inglés
-Claudia Chaufan-co líder de la delegación de junio y profesor asociado de UCSF
-Tanya Cole-delegación en mayo y organizadora de WFPSW
-Tim Tendick-delegación de julio y blogger de viajes

Delegados de Honduras
-Tanya Cole-Observadora electoral en 2013,co-líder de la delegación en agosto y miembro de la Red de solidaridad con Honduras (HSN)

Cuba
-Malia Everette – Directora de Altruvistas y WFPSW y coordinadora de viajes a Cuba y Venezuela

Los Angeles Panelistas confirmadas:
-Jeanette Charles- Líder de delegaciones a Venezuela Y escritora para Telesur Inglés

-Rachel Bruhnke- Delegada a Conferencia de Cuba Solar en Habana

-Tanya Cole- Honduras Delegation Leader

Disfrute de música, refrescos y buena compañía!

SF Facebook evento

LA Facebook evento
Más info contacto: 805-669-VIVA o southwestwfp@gmail.com. http://Www.wfpsw.org, http://www.Facebook.com/ wfpsw

San Francisco Patrocinado por Witness for Peace Southwest/Acción Permanente por la Paz Sudoeste (WFPSW). Apoyado por Altruvistas, Grupo de trabajo sobre las Américas (MITF), BALASC, Red de Solidaridad con Honduras (HSN, Alianza para la Justicia Global (AFGJ).

Los Angeles Patrocinado por Witness for Peace Southwest/Acción Permanente por la Paz Sudoeste (WFPSW). Apoyado por Red de Solidaridad con Honduras (HSN, Alianza para la Justicia Global (AFGJ).

Honduras Today: 5 Years and 5 Actions to Take for Honduras

 

Honduras Today: 5 Years and 5 Actions to Take for Honduras

student protests after elections Honduras

June 28, 2014 (declaración en español abajo)

STATEMENT AGAINST VIOLENCE AND FOR THE DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN HONDURAS

FNRP-Libertad Y Refundación, LIBRE Party Department 19/US-Canada and the Honduras Solidarity Network USA/Canada

 

We Honduran immigrants, residents in USA-CANADA organized in Collectives of the FNRP / LIBRE Party, and we, members of the Honduras Solidarity Network in the US and Canada on this June 28, 2014, the fifth anniversary of the military coup in Honduras, reaffirm our commitment to continue fighting, hand in hand with our brothers and sisters in Honduras who struggle for the fundamental, urgent and necessary changes in Honduran society.

 

This June 28 we also pay tribute to the martyrs of the resistance, brave men and women, who have offered their lives to defend the right to be a free, sovereign and socialist county. We are here to tell the bloody oligarchy of Honduras, that Morazán walks with the Honduran people  and that the country will be liberated.

 

Since the brutal military coup of 2009, the suffering of the Honduran people has been exacerbated by the continuing violations of human rights, killings, state repression, mass exodus of migration (including children), theft of public funds and impunity. Honduras tops the list of the most violent countries in the world where 22 Honduran citizens are murdered every 24 hours.

 

Thousands of Hondurans have left the country in search of better opportunities, fleeing violence and inhumane living conditions, even at the risk of being killed or being mutilated by the train known as the Beast in the crossing. According to public statistics, since 2013, Honduras is the Central American country with the highest numbers of migrants and sadly also the country with the largest number of deportees from the United States.

 

This June 28, we condemn the murders of leaders and members of FNRP / LIBRE Party, the social movements and Honduran society in general and the abuses by the army and military police against the Congressmen and Women at the National Congress of Honduras on May 13.

 

We urge the National Resistance conformed by all sectors of Honduran society (unions, peasants, women, youth, students, LGBT Community, indigenous groups, Human Rights Defense organizations, Social groups, Garífuna, political parties, immigrants, intellectuals and media) to close ranks and fight together against the want-to-be dictatorship of Juan Orlando Hernández, puppet of the Honduran assassin oligarchy and international power groups conjoined with the international right.  We hold the current fraudulent regime (a continuation of the military coup) accountable for the widespread violence in the country; we demand an end to the violations of human rights, justice for the victims and punishment for the guilty.  

 

As residents of the United States and Canada we condemn the policies of those governments that have in the past and continue in the present to support dictatorship in Honduras and which, along with corporations from those countries impose their anti-people and anti-environment agendas with violence and corruption. We support the right of the Honduran people to struggle against oppression and abuse and we stand in solidarity with  them and with their organizations. 

We resist and we shall overcome!

 

5 Actions you can take for Honduras.

1. Get Educated
2. Educate Others
3. Become and eyewitness in Honduras
4. Pressure the US Government
5. Take it to the Streets

1. Get Educated- Get yourself informed on the situation in Honduras. Join a live video webinar on Honduras this Sunday June 29th at 5pm EST. Also Email us for our resource list on Honduras including articles, websites, books, films, listserves and recommended Facebook pages.

2. Educate Others- Host an event at your home, school, community center, or faith community. You don’t have to be an expert on Honduras to host an event. Show one of our recommended films or videos on Honduras followed by a discussion or contact us for a list of Honduras speakers available in your area.

3. Become an eyewitness in HondurasJoin a travel delegation to Honduras this August 11-20, 2014. Learn first hand from Hondurans about their struggles and resistance. Click here for the delegation description, application, and a list of FAQs.

4. Pressure the US Government- Just this month an unprecedented 108 members of the House of Representatives signed a Dear Colleague letter on human rights in Honduras. Because of the continuing record of human rights abuses by the Honduras military and police, members of congress have repeatedly called for a cessation of US funding to Honduran security forces.
Contact your Representatives to thank them for their signature on the June Schakowsky Dear Colleague letter or ask them to join the growing movement in congress for an end to US military and police aid to Honduras.

Click here to see the list of signers and to send a message to your representative.

5. Take it to the Streets: You can organize or participate in a public vigil, protest or memorial for the victims of the Honduran coup. Contact us for a list of victims names and photos for a memorial display or funeral procession. Go to the Honduras Solidarity Network’s website for a list of June 28th actions across the country. (www.hondurassolidarity.org).

 

FNRP-Partido Libertad y Refundación, LIBRE
Departamento 19/EE.UU—Canadá y la RED de Solidaridad con Honduras

COMUNICADO CONTRA LA VIOLENCIA Y LA DEFENSA A LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN HONDURAS

28 de junio de 2014

Los inmigrantes hondureños/as residentes en EEUU-CANADA organizados en Colectivos del FNRP/Partido Libre y la RED de Solidaridad con Honduras, este 28 de junio de 2014, quinto aniversario del golpe de Estado en Honduras, reafirmamos nuestro compromiso de seguir luchando de la mano de nuestros/as hermanos/as hondureños/as por los cambios fundamentales, urgentes y necesarios que requiere la sociedad hondureña.

Este 28 de junio también rendimos homenaje a los mártires hombres y mujeres valientes, que han ofrendado su vida por defender el derecho a ser un pueblo libre, soberano y socialista. Estamos aquí para decirle a la oligarquía sanguinaria, que Morazán camina con el pueblo hondureño y que el país será liberado.

Desde el fatídico golpe de Estado del 2009, el sufrimiento del pueblo Hondureño se ha agudizado, por las permanentes violaciones a los derechos humanos, asesinatos, represión estatal, éxodo masivo de migración (incluido niños/as), robo del erario público e impunidad. Honduras encabeza la lista de los países más violentos del mundo en donde 22 ciudadanos/as hondureños/as son asesinados/as cada 24 horas.

Miles de hondureños han abandonado el país en busca de mejores horizontes, huyendo de la violencia y las condiciones inhumanas de vida, aun arriesgándose a morir o quedar mutilados en la travesía por el tren conocido como La Bestia. Según estadísticas públicas, desde el año 2013, Honduras es el país de Centro América con mayor número de migrantes y tristemente también es el país con mayor número de deportados desde los Estados Unidos.

Este 28 de junio, condenamos los asesinatos cometidos contra dirigentes y miembros del FNRP/Partido Libre y la sociedad hondureña en general y los atropellos por parte del ejército y la policía militar contra los Diputados del Congreso Nacional de Honduras el pasado 13 de mayo.

Exhortamos a la Resistencia Nacional conformada por todos los sectores de la sociedad hondureña (sindicatos, campesinos, mujeres, juventud, estudiantes, profesionales, comunidad LGBT, grupos originarios, organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, grupos sociales, garífunas, partidos políticos, inmigrantes, intelectuales y medios de comunicación) a cerrar filas y luchar unidos frente al aprendiz de dictador, Juan Orlando Hernández, títere de la oligarquía asesina hondureña y los grupos de poder confabulados con la derecha internacional. Responsabilizamos al régimen fraudulento actual (continuador del golpe de Estado) por la violencia generalizada, corrupción e impunidad que vive el país, demandamos un alto a la violación de los derechos humanos y exigimos justicia para las víctimas y castigo a los culpables.

Como residentes de los Estados Unidos y Canadá, condenamos las políticas de los gobiernos que en el pasado han apoyado y en el presente continúan apoyando a la dictadura en Honduras y que, junto con las empresas de esos países imponen sus agendas antipopulares y anti-medio ambientales con la violencia y la corrupción.
Apoyamos el derecho del pueblo hondureño a luchar contra la represión y el abuso y nos solidarizamos con sus organizaciones.
¡Resistimos y Venceremos!

 

Honduras Delegation August 11-20, 2014 “Accompanying Communities in Resistance”

 

Honduras Delegation August 11-20, 2014

Accompanying Communities in Resistance”

Caribbean coast

Caribbean coast

Witness for Peace Southwest, US-El Salvador Sister Cities and School of the Americas Watch will be hosting a trip to Honduras, from August 11th to the 20th.

This delegation aims to continue the spirit of international solidarity between Honduras and the United States, and in this case with several Salvadorans that will be on the delegation as well. This triangular model of solidarity allows us all to learn from each other and support each other in the struggle against injustice in Honduras.

Since the 2009 coup d’etat in Honduras that ousted elected President Mel Zelaya, communities and movements seeking democracy and human rights in Honduras have come under attack. Hundreds have been assassinated, received death threats, evicted from their communities and beaten by Honduran military and police. Yet during this time a massive movement of resistance has grown from the Indigenous communities of Intibuca, to students movements in Tegucipalpa, to LBGQT movements in San Pedro Sula and campesinos movements in the Aguan Valley. The resistances movements formed the first ever popular leftist political party in Honduras and in only 2 years managed to gain 28 seats in congress and dozens of local level posts in the November 2013 elections. Since the contested November Presidential elections in 2013, right wing National Party leader Juan Orlando Hernandez has taken up the new Presidency, which has continued to see assassinations of journalists and the May 2014 beatings of opposition congress members inside the National Honduras Congress. Continued international solidarity is critical at this time to maintain pressure on the Honduran state to respect human rights and communities fighting for dignity and the right to live. International observers are needed to document human rights abuses, to accompany communities in resistance and to pressure the US and Honduran governments to respect and adhere to international human rights law.

This delegation program will include:

  • Qualified on the ground trip leaders experienced in leading delegations in Honduras.

  • A visit to the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa to meet with youth resistance organizations, the LBGQT movement, members of the Honduran congress and to advocate with the new US Ambassador to Honduras.

  • Travel to the beautiful mountainous region of Intibuca where the Lenca indigenous peoples have existed for centuries. We will stay 1-2 nights with the Lenca community of Rio Blanco where the community has been actively defending their river from being privatized and sold off to a private hydroelectric damn company.

  • We will visit the Northern cities of San Pedro Sula and El Progreso to learn about the plight of journalists in Honduras, where more journalists have been assassinated than any other country of the world.

  • Witness the beautiful northern Caribbean coast to hear from the Afro-Honduran Garifuna peoples as they fight to keep their lands from international tourism developers.

  • Spend 3-4 nights staying with campesino communities of the Aguan Valley where campesino organizations are fighting for land rights. Hear testimonies of resistance from campesino leaders and families as they go up against multi-million dollar agro-business companies dominating the landscape with African Palm oil production.

Deadline to apply: July 11th

Delegation Price: $950 not including airfare (includes all in-country transport, most meals, lodging, preparation materials and translation services). **Some scholarships available**

Apply online here.

For more information and for applications, please contact Tanya at southwestwfp@gmail.com or Cori at cori.sistercities@gmail.com or brigitte@soaw.org

see our list of Frequently Asked Questions about Travel to Honduras

Aguan Valley documenting testimonies

Aguan Valley documenting testimonies

San Pedro Sula speaking with the media

San Pedro Sula speaking with the media

Rio Blanco

Rio Blanco

 

Honduras: New Congressional Dear Colleague Letter open for signers. Ask your Rep to sign on!

 

Honduras Dear Colleague letter now with 67 signers! Has your Rep. Signed?

Rep. Shakowsky’s Dear Colleague letter on human rights in Honduras now has 67 signers. See the list below to see if your Rep. Has signed on yet. Click here to send a letter thanking your Rep for signing on. If you Rep has not signed click HERE to send a letter asking them to sign on by the letter;s deadline Wed May 21st.

Click HERE to Thank Your Rep or Ask your Rep to sign the Shakowsky Honduras Letter.

Schakowsky Honduras Letter Current Signers / May 12, 2014 – 9:00 am EST

1.         Schakowsky (IL)

2.         Johnson (GA )

3.         Farr (CA)

4.         Miller (CA)

5.         Grijalva (AZ)

6.         Kaptur (OH)

7.         McGovern (MA)

8.         Lee (CA)

9.         DeLauro (CT)

10.       Michaud (ME)

11.       Tierney (MA)

12.       Conyers (MI)

13.       DeFazio (OR)

14.       Takano (CA) *

15.       Capuano (MA)

16.       Keating (MA)

17.       Waters (CA)

18.       Welsh (VT)

19.       Moore (WI)

20.       Speier (CA)

21.       Pingree (ME)

22.       McDermott (WA)

23.       Bass (CA)

24.       Polis (CO)

25.       Cicilline (RI)

26.       Huffman (CA) *

27.       Nadler (NY)

28.       Van Hollen (MD)

29.       Slaughter  (NY)

30.       Brady (PA)

31.       McCollum (MN)

32.       Neal (MA)

33.       Honda (CA)

34.       Waxman (CA)

35.       Matusi (CA)

36.       Bera (CA) *

37.       McLeod (CA) *

38.       Pocan (WI) *

39.       Kind (WI)

40.       Ellison (MN)

41.       Tonko (NY)

42.       Lynch (MA)

43.       Hastings (WA)

44.       Castro (TX) *

45.       Blumenauer (OR)

46.       Langevin (RI)

47.       O’Rourke (TX) *

48.       Grayson (FL) *

49.       Cleaver (MO)

50.       Braley (IA)

51.       Jackson-Lee (TX)

52.       Garamendi (CA)

53.       Lewis (GA)

54.       Holt (NJ)

55.       Chu (CA)

56.       Kennedy (MA) *

57.       Brownley (CA) *

58.       Pascrell (NJ)

59.       Clark (MA) *

60.       Beatty (OH) *

61.       Swalwell (CA) *

62.       Gutierrez (IL)

63.       Enyart (IL) *

64.       Bonamici (OR)

65.       Shea-Porter (NH) *

66.       D. Davis (IL)

67.       Wasserman-Schultz

 

 

 

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED!
Contact the Foreign Policy Staffer in Washington DC Office of Your U.S. Rep in Congress!

We need your help! On Monday, April 28, 2014, Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) began circulating a sign-on “Dear Colleague” letter in the U.S. House of Representatives to Secretary of State John Kerry addressing Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Farr and Hank Johnson (D-GA) have joined as initial co-signers. Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have also joined as initial co-signers.

The letter states that “egregious violations of human rights continue” almost 5 years after the coup. It raises concerns about militarization of the police, and the failure to investigate or prosecute human rights abuses, including in the Aguan Valley. The letter also raises concerns about freedom of speech and associations, and questions whether the November 2013 election was not free and fair.

The letter asks State Department to:
Pay close attention to these issues and strictly evaluate U.S. support for Honduran security forces, in accordance with conditions placed on the aid in the 2014 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.
Fully enforce the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. assistance to any individual or unit that has committed gross human rights abuses and is not being brought to justice.

The deadline to sign on is May 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM eastern time.

We need your help in securing the signature of your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on this letter. Only members of the House can sign the letter.

To sign on to the letter (or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the letter), your Rep’s staffer must contact Andrew Goczkowski Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov in Schakowsky’s office. (NOTE: please do not contact Schakowsky’s staff yourself, but ask the staffer to do so).

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give them the name of your Rep, then ask to be connected:
(If you do not know the name of your Rep, please go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter in your zip code at the upper right).

When you call, ask to speak with the aide who handles Foreign Policy. Use the script below in speaking with the aide. If the aide does not recall seeing the letter, ask for the aide’s email address so that you can forward a copy of the letter.

If the foreign policy aide is not is not available, ask to leave a message on his or her voice mail. Be sure to get the name foreign policy staffer so you can follow up.

Script: “My name is _____. I am a constituent from (town / city) in (your state). I am calling to ask Senator _____ to sign the Jan Schakowsky letter on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Honduras. Has Representative­___ seen this letter? Can I count on him/her to sign on? Please call me this week at (_your phone number_) to let me know if you have seen the letter, and if Representative _____ will sign it.”

In your phone conversation, you might highlight why this letter is important to you, especially if you have travelled to Honduras or heard a Honduran speak in your community.

PROMPT FOLLOW-UP:

It’s useful to follow up with an email to the aide. You can ask whoever answers the phone what their email is and/or use this formula if you know how to spell their name correctly (the person who first answer the phone can spell it for you): Firstname.Lastname@mail.house.gov, e.g. Jane.Doe@mail.house.gov
In an email, you can just ask them to sign the letter, and then if you like send some information.

Here are two useful general articles, and the recent statement from Reps. McGovern, Schakowsky, and Farr.

1. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/honduras-the-thugocracy-ext-door-103883.html
2. http://sojo.net/magazine/2014/04/crucible-courage
3. http://mcgovern.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/statement-by-reps-mcgovern-farr-and-schakowsky-on-the-murder-in-honduras

If you learn that your Congressmember has agreed to sign, please notify me, Gary Cozette at cozettelada@ameritech.net, so we can confirm the signature with Rep. Schakowsky. Please contact me if you want to know if your representative has signed on. I will circulate updated lists of signers whenever we receive them from Rep. Schakowsky’s office.

NOTE: Please DO NOT send the letter to the media in either the US or Honduras until the letter has secured all signers and is formally delivered to the State Department with all signers and a press release. Also once again, please do not contact Schakowsky’s staff yourself, but ask your rep’s staffer to do to become a signer.

Gary L. Cozette
Honduras Solidarity Network – Congressional Working Group
Cell: 773.350.3518

Date: 4/28/2014
Join Letter to the State Department Urging Action to Protect Human Rights in Honduras
Current Signers: George Miller, Sam Farr, Henry C “Hank” Johnson, Raul Grijalva

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in signing the attached letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging action on the ongoing human rights situation in Honduras.

While a new Administration has recently been sworn in, grave concerns remain over the human rights situation. Vulnerable groups continue to be targets of intimidation and violence, military forces continue to be utilized for policing, and human rights abusers continue to operate with impunity in the region. The 2013 elections in Honduras were preceded by the assassination of several opposition candidates, and questions remain about discrepancies in the vote.

We hope you will join us in writing to Secretary Kerry to ensure that the State Department continues to urge the Honduran government to protect fundamental human rights in the region, end the use of military forces for law enforcement, investigate and prosecute abuses, and restore the rule of law.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign onto the letter, please contact Andrew Goczkowski in Rep. Schakowsky’s office at 202-225-2111, or by emailing Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Sam Farr
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress

May XX, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write to express concern about the ongoing human rights situation in Honduras. As a new President and Congress have recently taken office, we ask the State Department to use its leverage to urge the Honduran government to protect the fundamental human rights of its citizens, end the use of military forces for law enforcement, investigate and prosecute abuses, and, more broadly, restore the rule of law.

Almost five years after the 2009 coup ousting President Zelaya, egregious violations of human rights continue. The Associated Press has documented ongoing death-squad style killings by Honduran police. Independent media and human rights organizations continue to report that vulnerable groups, including members of the LGBT community and indigenous and campesino activists, are being targeted and killed. Basic labor rights are routinely violated and union leaders have received increased death threats in recent months.

Instead of implementing reforms to address those pervasive problems, the Honduran government adopted policies that threaten to make the human rights situation even worse. The former and current administrations have promoted the militarization of police forces and use their armed forces for domestic law enforcement. In August 2012, a new Military Police was created, with a projected size of at least 5,000. That force has committed human rights abuses while engaged in policing, such as the October 2013 raid on the home of opposition activist Edwin Espinal. Members of the armed forces are also implicated in the killing of Tomás Garcia in July 2013. Because of a continuing record of human rights abuses by the Honduran police and military, Members of Congress have repeatedly called for a cessation of U.S. aid to the country’s security forces.

Those and other human rights abuses have not been effectively investigated or prosecuted in recent years. According to the National Commissioner for Human Rights, during the last administration, dozens of lawyers and journalists were killed and 97 percent of cases regarding these suspected human rights abuses remain unpunished. The non-governmental group Rights Action cites allegations of almost 100 killings of lands rights activists in the area of Bajo Aguán. According to a Human Rights Watch study, there is “virtually complete impunity for crimes” believed to be associated with land conflicts in that region of the country.

We are also concerned about recent developments impeding Hondurans’ freedom of speech and association. In the first two months of 2014, the Honduran government published a new decree revoking the legal status of over ten thousand non-profit organizations, including a wide range of opposition groups. Those groups include women’s and environmental organizations, a prominent group that regularly reports on press freedom issues, and schools.

Finally, we are concerned about reports that last year’s election in Honduras was not free and fair. The human rights group COFADEH reports that at least 18 members of the leading opposition party LIBRE were assassinated in the lead-up to the election, with an additional six LIBRE-affiliated individuals and a well-known progressive journalist killed in the weeks after. Election observers documented widespread vote-buying activities, acts of intimidation, and cases of citizens’ names being eliminated from voting rolls. Challenges by opposition parties regarding discrepancies in the vote were not transparently addressed by the Supreme Electoral Council.

We ask that you pay close attention to those issues, strictly evaluating U.S. support and training for the Honduran police and military in accordance with human rights conditions placed in the 2014 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations law. We also ask that you fully enforce the Leahy Law, which prohibits assistance to individuals or units of any foreign military or police body that commit gross human rights abuses with impunity. The State Department, along with our embassy in Honduras, must take a consistent and public stance supporting those threatened with human rights abuses, and strongly encourage the investigation and prosecution of those perpetuating crimes, including state agents.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Honduras: Carlos Mejia of Radio Progreso assassinated.

radio progreso press conference carlos mejia carlos mejia

Witness for Peace Southwest first met Carlos Mejia of Radio Progreso in 2011 during our delegation’s visit to his radio station in El Progreso, Honduras. We found out that he was coming for trainings at the Los Angeles radio station KPFA in which we greeted him again in Southern California a few months later. Carlos was a kind and gentle person who was dedicated to the Honduran resistance movement fighting for human rights and democracy in his country. We commend his life and condemn his assassination. WFPSW reaffirms its commitment to solidarity, justice and human rights in Honduras.

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Press Statement by Padre Melo on the assassination of Carlos Mejía.

April 12, 2014

Assassination of Carlos Mejia Orellana, Manager of Marketing at Radio Progreso. Carlos enjoyed along with other fellow radio co-workers protectionary measures enacted by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).

The Organization ERIC (Reflection, Research and Communication), held a press conference this Saturday, April 12 condemning the crime. Below the news from the Diario Tiempo:

‘The assassination of the manager of marketing of Radio Progreso, Carlos Mejía Orellano, found lifeless in the interior of his house on Friday night, is a direct blow to the work we do as Radio Progreso’ said the Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno, director of the prestigious station, at a press conference on Saturday.

‘It is a direct blow, not only to the life of our colleague and his family, but also to the work we do as Radio Progreso and (ERIC),’ Moreno said.

Mejía Orellana served as head of marketing and sales of our institutions and was one of our colleagues who the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) had required the protection of his life and integrity, said in a statement read at a press conference for local media.

The protective measures were enacted on the following dates: June 2, 2009, April 26, 2010, May 3 and June 2 the same year and on May 27, 2011.

‘ His murder is another example of the failure of a security policy by the Honduran State and its lack of political will to adopt effective protection measures established by the IACHR’, criticized the radio announcer.

‘ We demand a serious investigation in where both the material actors and the intellectuals authors of the crime are brought to justice ‘, Moreno said, reporting that this violent act violates the work of journalism, the right to freedom of expression and the lives of the members of the radio.

‘It is highly suspicious that this criminal fact occurred on the eve of Holy week when everyone retires to their respective holidays and especially the entities responsible for justice and when unfortunate acts like these get pushed to the background’, they criticized.

When asked about the context of the assassination of Mejia, the priest revealed that there are no outward signs that the doors of the house have been forced and that’s a question they will make to the relevant authorities, he said.

Meanwhile doctor and specialist in human rights, Joaquín Mejía, said that ‘many of the people in Honduras who opposed the coup d ‘ état (June 2009 ) have received threats as well as institutions, around more than 15 partners of Radio Progreso and ERIC received these same threats during the time of the coup which continued to be repeated in the following years’.

Mejía added that unfortunately the State of Honduras has ignored the requests of the IACHR and ‘the death of Carlos is the example of this lack of political will’.

He said that the Honduran State must comply with the instructions requested by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights at the time they are requested to be able to stop these threats against all media actors.

‘The police believe that someone close to him killed him in the neighborhood Suazo Córdova, that is the information that is being provided by the police.’ said one of the journalists who attended the conference.

‘We have information that the murder was in the neighborhood Suazo Córdova, he was stabbed by a sharp object with motives unknown, we reaffirm the call of this press conference because we do not accept at this time unsustained rumors that are not based on a process of investigation that needs to lead to the identification of the executors of this murder and the motives that led to it’ said Ismael Moreno, also known as ‘Father Melo’.   Español   Conferencia de Prensa con Padre Melo sobre el Asesinato de Carlos Mejía. 12 de abril, 2014   Asesinan a Carlos Mejía Orellana, Gerente de Mercadeo de Radio Progreso, quien gozaba junto a otros de sus compañeros de la radio de Medidas cautelares decretadas por la CIDH. El Equipo de Reflexión Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC), realizó este sábado 12 de abril una conferencia de prensa condenando el crimen. Abajo la noticia en Diario Tiempo: “Asesinato de Mejía es un golpe directo al trabajo que realizamos como Radio Progreso” El asesinato del gerente de mercadeo de Radio Progreso, Carlos Mejía Orellana, encontrado sin vida en el interior de su vivienda la noche del viernes, “es un golpe directo al trabajo que realizamos como Radio Progreso”, señaló este sábado en una conferencia de prensa, el sacerdote jesuita y director del prestigioso medio, Ismael Moreno. “Es un golpe directo, no solamente a la vida de nuestro compañero y de su familia, sino también al trabajo que realizamos como Radio Progreso y como Equipo de Reflexión Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC)”, señaló Moreno. Mejía Orellana se desempeñaba como responsable de mercadeo y venta de nuestras instituciones y era uno de nuestro compañeros para quien la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) había requerido la protección de su vida e integridad, rezaba el comunicado leído en la conferencia a medios locales. Las medidas de protección fueron decretadas en las siguentes fechas: 2 de junio de 2009, 26 de abril de 2010, 3 de mayo y 2 de junio del mismo año y el 27 de mayo de 2011. “Su asesinato es una muestra más del fracaso de la política de seguridad del Estado hondureño y de su falta de voluntad política para adoptar medidas efectivas de protección establecidas por la CIDH, criticó la emisora. “Exigimos una investigación seria donde se juzgue tanto a los responsables materiales como los intelectuales”, dijo Moreno, al tiempo que denunció que este hecho violento vulnera el trabajo de comunicación y el derecho a la libertad de expresión y a la vida de los integrantes de la radio. Es altamente sospechoso que este hecho criminal haya ocurrido en las vísperas de semana santa cuando todo mundo se retira a sus respectivas vacaciones y especialmente los entes responsables de justicia y cuando los hechos lamentables como estos pasan a un segundo y tercer término, criticó. Ante la pregunta acerca del contexto del asesinato de Mejía, el sacerdote reveló que no existen señales externas de que las puertas de la vivienda hayan sido forzadas y que esa es una pregunta que ellos le hacen a las autoridades correspondientes, acotó. Por su parte el Doctor y especialista en derechos humanos, Joaquín Mejía, expresó que “muchas personas en Honduras que nos opusimos al golpe de Estado (junio de 2009) recibimos amenazas e incluso instituciones y, alrededor de más de 15 compañeros de Radio Progerso y el ERIC recibieron estas amenazas en el contexto del golpe mismas que se repitieron en los siguientes años”. Mejía añadió que es el Estado de Honduras lastimosamente ha ignorado las peticiones de la CIDH y “la muerte de Carlos es el ejemplo de esa falta de voluntad política”. Dijo que el Estado debió acatar las medidas solicitadas por la CIDH desde el tiempo en que fueron solicitadas para poder frenar esas amenazas en el marco del ataque de todos los comunicadores sociales. “La policía maneja que fue una persona cercana a él quien lo mató en la colonia Suazo Córdova, esa es la información que está dando el ente policial”, consultó uno de los periositas que asistieron a la conferencia. “Nosotros tenemos la información de que el asesinato fue en la clonia Suazo Córdova, asesinado con arma blanca y los móviles son desconocidos, por eso mismo ratificamos la convocatoria a esta conferencia de prensa porque no aceptamos que en este momento haya un tipo de rumor que no se sustente en un proceso de investigación y que lleve a indentificar a los ejecutores de este asesinato y los móviles que llevaron al cumplimiento del mismo”, concluyó Ismael Moreno, conocido como “Padre Melo”.    

Past Highlights and Pictures

Highlights and Accomplishments

Southwest Region Witness for Peace

Moving Congress: In theSouthwest region secured 6 of 87 congressional signers on a Dear Colleague letter condemning human rights abuses in Honduras. On the Colombia Free Trade Agreement 4 congresspersons were swayed to vote NO through Southwest region efforts in October. WFPSW rallies were held at 3 Southern California undecided congressional offices a day before the free trade votes. 2 of the 3 reps voted against the free trade agreements the next day. Through grassroots pressure, this December Rep. Berman CA-28, ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Relations committee sent a public letter to Secretary Clinton questioning US funding of state sponsored repression in Honduras. This next year we will be bird-dogging congress during election campaigns to make sure they address the failed Drug War, Honduras human rights violations, the Cuban Embargo and immigration reform. (pictured WFPSW members at Rep. Henry Waxman’s office)

Honduras– The Southwest Region joined protests at the Honduran Consulate in the spring when there was a brutal military/police crack down on teacher/students protests that lead to the death of elementary school teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez. In March the Southwest region hosted Gerardo Torres, leader of the Honduran Resistance Front, for several speaking events in Southern California. In September the Southwest region sent a nine-person delegation to Honduras that visited the campesino movements of the Aguan Valley, 4 political prisoners, served as international observers for the Sept 15 Resistance marches and met with the brand new US Ambassador to Honduras. The Southwest hosted Afro-Honduran Garifuna Doctor Luther Castillo for a workshop on Honduras at the School of the Americas vigil in Ft. Benning, Georgia. The Southwest continues to be an active member of the Honduras Solidarity Network. In 2012 we plan to send more protective accompaniment delegations to Honduras, push for more cuts in US funding and get a Dear Colleague letter circulating in the Senate.(pictured: delegate Sara Kohgadai with former Honduran President Mel Zelaya.)

Trade- Three free trade agreements came to a vote  for Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Southwest held face to face meetings with several congressional offices in the spring in which reps committed to vote against the FTAs. During the final votes many reps spoke out strongly against the FTAs on the floor of the Senate and House. In the end 80% of House Democrats voted against the Colombia FTA and most significantly against a specific ask by President Obama to pass the trade agreements. In 2012 election season we will be holding reps accountable for their votes on the FTAs and will push for more congressional co-sponsors for the Trade Act, a bill that will stop any new FTAs and renegotiate all current FTAs. (pictured: rally at Rep. Karen Bass’ office. She voted against all 3 FTAs)

Colombia- In the Spring the Southwest hosted events for the Days and Prayer and Action on Colombia, in July we sent an accompaniment delegation to the humanitarian peace communities of Uraba, Colombia and in the fall we lobbied against the Colombia FTA and hosted Jani Silva, campesina leader from Putumayo, Colombia on a speaking tour that reached over 1000 people. In 2012 we will send protective accompaniment delegations to Uraba, Colombia and continue to raise awareness in the US of the failed drug war model. (pictured Southwest delegates in Uraba, Colombia)

Migrant Rights- In January we hosted the first domestic delegation on immigration and migrant rights in Ventura County, California. We co-sponsored multiple migrant rights forums and participated in campaigns to stop ICE’s Secure Communities Program. In the summer the Southwest sent volunteers to deliver water and humanitarian aid at the Arizona/Mexico border with the human rights group No More Deaths. In 2012 we will return to volunteer on the border, flight for an end to ICE’s S-COMM program and participate in migrant rights forums and Know Your Rights Trainings. (pictured: volunteers with No More Deaths take a break in the Arizona/Mexico desert.)

Cuba– the Southwest has participated in the efforts to protect Cuban family travel. Hardline Cuban Americans in congress twice this year have tried to roll back travel for Cuban Americans to Bush era policy. In December the Southwest sent 28 delegates to Cuba ranging from ages 24-76 and representing 18 states. This coming year we will support the campaign to Free the Cuban Five, organize delegations to Cuba and lobby to end the travel ban and embargo on Cuba. (pictured: International Workers Day march in Havana, Cuba)

Delegations– The Southwest sponsored 4 delegations to Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and Ventura County, CA. A total of 55

delegates participated and the Southwest Region awarded $3,175 in delegation scholarship assistance. In 2012 we have delegations planned for Honduras, Colombia, Cuba and domestic California and Arizona delegations on migrant rights. We also will be facilitating more short term and long term volunteer accompaniment teams in Uraba, Colombia and the Aguan Valley of Honduras. (pictured: Southwest region’s first domestic delegation focused on farmworkers and migrant rights in California.)

Dear Colleague Letter on LBGT Murders in Honduras

Help Address Violent Crimes Committed Against the LGBT Community in Honduras

From: The Honorable Jared Polis
Date: 6/11/2012

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in sending the letter below to the State Department calling on them to urge the government of Honduras to take immediate steps to investigate and resolve cases of violent crime against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in that country.

Since 2009, more than 70 LGBT individuals have been murdered, and many of these cases remain unresolved. The State Department’s 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices found that the Honduran law enforcement has been complicit in human rights abuses, and that police officers had targeted vulnerable persons, including LGBT people. Given the level of U.S. support and assistance for the Honduran government, it is vital that we ensure they protect the human rights of all their citizens, especially vulnerable populations like the LGBT community.

The deadline for signing onto the letter is close of business Wednesday, June 20th.  To sign onto the letter, please contact Rafael Reyneri at Rafael.Reyneri@mail.house.gov or 225-2161 in the office of Rep. Polis

Sincerely,
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