July 28th, 2009
Below is a letter received from one of our Honduran colleagues asking for support to end human rights violations in the country. As she describes, the situation is worsening. Please visit our action page now to send a letter to President Obama. Thank you.
By Wendy Cruz
By Lindsay Shade
July 27th, 2009
Over the weekend, Rafael Alegría, a prominent leader of the Via Campesina Central America and outspoken critic of the recent military coup in Honduras, was arrested along with several others including colleagues from the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Some information alleges that a number of the detainees have been tortured.
Rafael has since been released. But the repression continues!
Via Campesina leader arrested, released
The repression against demonstrations to reinstall Honduran President Manuel Zelaya continues. In the border region with Nicaragua, intense conflicts between the Army and protesters resulted in two wounded and several arrests. On Saturday, our colleague Rafael Alegría, a leader of the Via Campesina, was arrested as he traveled to join protesters in El Paraíso.
The Army sent 3,000 soldiers to El Paraíso, a city near the Honduran border with Nicaragua. Despite Army blockades, thousands of Zelaya supporters from different parts of the country converged on the city to show their support for their elected leader. Many travelled the dirt roads on foot through the mountains to avoid blockades on main roads.
After four years of hard work, peasant organizations and allies in Nicaragua are now celebrating the approval of a new Food Sovereignty, Food Security and Nutrition Law.
Last April my colleague Saulo Araujo (Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica) and I visited Honduras. What impressed us the most was the strength and vibrancy of social movements, like our partners the Via Campesina (Central America) and COCOCH (the Honduran Coordinating Council of Peasant Organizations), and our allies like COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras) and OFRANEH (Honduran Black Fraternal Organization). And especially the strong and resilient women in the forefront of struggle. Afro-Hondurans like Leoncia and Wendy, Lencas like Pasqualita, and Mestizo women like Analina and Berta
At a candidates forum convened by the Via every single presidential candidate attended.
Social movement leaders in Honduras, including members of Grassroots International's partner, La Via Campesina, fear for their lives, as tens of thousands have gathered to protest Sunday's coup d'etat against President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales.
Please call on the Honduran Embassy to demand that the congress and military respect and guarantee the human rights of all Hondurans and reinstate the democratically elected president, Mel Zelaya.
Last month, Grassroots International, along with a few other U.S. food justice organizations, collaborated with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter to organize his U.S. visit. Among his most important stops, de Schutter spoke at the United Nations on May 4, 2009, presenting a report on the right to food in the context of the global food crisis.
"The cascading series of events now known as the world food crisis started in Mexico as the 'tortilla war' in January 2007. It then flared up in Italy as the 'spaghetti strike' nine months later. Later it became an unstoppable avalanche ... La Vía Campesina believes that this crisis is the result of decades of destructive policies: pressure from international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to decrease investment in small-scale food production through structural adjustment programs; increasing the power of transnational corporations; financial speculation; and more recently, governments' support for the frantic escalation in the production of agro-fuels."
Many social movements from across the Americas were in Trinidad for the 4th People’s Summit to articulate their demands for moving the hemisphere towards economic (including trade) and climate justice, food sovereignty, human rights, and an end to militarization. They represented movements of women, peasants, indigenous peoples, labor and those struggling for environmental justice.