INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
PRESSURE THE HONDURAN GOVERNMENT TO DROP CRIMINAL CHARGES & CEASE VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIGENOUS DEFENDERS OF LAND AND WATER
Tomás Gomez, Berta Caceres,and Aureliano Molina
*Please see below for info on direct actions planned in San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, and Chicago; consider planning an action in your city; or respond to the request for phone calls and emails below.*
On September 12, three leaders of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must appear in court to face charges by the Honduran government and a hydroelectric dam company. They are Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, and Aureliano Molina. The highly politicized case is aimed at criminalizing COPINH and breaking the strong Lenca indigenous resistance to illegal damming, logging, and mining in their territories.
Beyond the plunder of their lands, forests, and waters, the physical, legal, and political attacks on COPINH members and other indigenous peoples have been increasing rapidly. Assassinations, kidnapping, machete slashing, arrests, and threats are weekly events in the communities which are resisting.
Please join allies throughout the Americas for a day of action to pressure the Honduran government to:
- Drop all judicial charges against Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, Aureliano Molina, and all others peaceably defending their lands;
- Cancel the damming concession on the Rio Gualcarque and stop the project;
- Respect Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization requiring free, prior, and informed consent by indigenous peoples before development projects may proceed on their lands, and the Honduran constitution requiring protection of the lands and rights of indigenous communities. Respect all ancestral territories;
- Stop the violence against indigenous communities.
Involve yourself and your organization by:
* Co-sponsoring an ad in a prominent Honduran newspaper, to run on September 10, with the demands above (click here for text). Write firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 9 to add your organization’s name;
* Joining people throughout the hemisphere in actions in front of Honduran embassies and consulates on September 10, if you live in one of the following cities:
- San Francisco: Tuesday, September 10th, 11am-1pm. Rally at Honduran Consulate, 870 Market St #875, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact: email@example.com
- New York City: Tuesday, September 10th, letter drop at Honduran Consulate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- New Orleans: Tuesday, September 10th, 8:30-9:30 am. Letter drop and rally at Honduran Consulate 365 Canal Street, Suite 1580, New Orleans, LA. Contact: email@example.com
- Chicago: TBA. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to stay in the loop.
- Plan a letter drop, rally, or other action in your own city and email email@example.com to get the details up on this site
* Sending an e-mail to the Honduran government urging them to stop the judicial persecution of COPINH and to US officials urging them to end military aid to the Battalion stationed in Rio Blanco.
* Calling the Honduran authorities on September 10 and urging them to stop the criminalization of COPINH.
WE ARE ALL BERTA, TOMAS, AND AURELIANO!
Background: For over 5 months, the Lenca community of Rio Blanco has been blocking the illegal construction of a hydroelectric dam, part of a larger mega-dam complex, on their territory. The concession for this dam was illegally granted without the constitutionally protected consent of the Lenca people who live in the area and who depend on the river to grow the beans, corn, yucca, plantains, and other crops to survive. The Honduran military, funded by many millions of dollars in US aid, has been deployed to Rio Blanco since May 17, where it serves as de facto private security guards for the company. Soldiers murdered one community member and shot two others, while dam employees hacked the face and arms of another, and yet another community member and key witness to the murder by the military was kidnapped by the police on September 5. All over Honduras, soldiers, police, goons hired by corporations, and those claiming to be landowners are committing similar violence, and similar theft of indigenous land and the riches of nature upon them.
For more information, here are some recent articles about COPINH:
Juzgados del Departamento de Intibucá: 011 (504) 2783-0358 or 011 (504) 2783-4171
Sr. Antonio Calix Hernandez, Magistrado Coordinador de la Sala Penal, Corte Suprema de Justicia de Honduras: Oficina personal: 011 (504) 2202-5305
Ministerio Publico: 011 (504) 2221-5670 and 011 (504) 2221-5672
Ministro de las Etnias: Sr. Luis Green. Tel móvil: 011 (504) 3345 7446