U.S. Delegation to travel to Honduras in support of human rights. Delegation especially vital with recent assassinations, assassination attempts of candidates for office in primary elections.
November 12, 2012
Dear Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Kubiske:
From November 12 through November 21, 2012, a delegation of persons active on human rights issues and organized with the Honduras Solidarity Network will travel to Honduras. The delegation includes people from communities across the United States from California, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and a multitude of places in between. The participants include people as young as 23 years of age and as old as 79. The group will be joined by representatives from other countries, including Canada, Poland, Costa Rica, Norway, El Salvador and Japan.
What unites this diverse group of people is their commitment to human rights in general and their concern about the ongoing escalation of human rights violations in Honduras in particular. As you know, since the military coup on June 28, 2009 that ousted the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya, there has been a systemic rise in violations of basic human rights in Honduras.
This situation has only worsened recently as Honduras enters into the primary elections that will choose candidates for the 2012 national elections. On November 3, 2012, LIBRE primary candidate for mayor of Morazan, Edgardo Adalid Motiño, was assassinated at LIBRE’s office in Morazan. On November 2, an attempt was made on the life of María Luisa Borjas, a primary candidate for mayor of Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela. These are just two examples of a wave of repression that has included the murders of other LIBRE organizers and candidates; the continuing murder of campesinos and their supporters- including four persons killed since November 5 - and threats made this year against human rights activists such as Bertha Oliva of COFADEH. These and other forms of repression against those viewed as opponents of those who perpetrated the coup have tragically marked the Honduran political scene since June 2009. We also want to note that members of a September 2012 delegation of members of the Honduras Solidarity Network and La Voz de los de Abajo of Chicago were shot at by armed gunmen in the Aguan region.
It is in this context that we travel to Honduras to provide human rights accompaniment to those who feel threatened by these attacks and by the legal impunity that has followed. The irony of Honduras voting in primary elections in the midst of such repression just after the United States completed its general elections on November 6 is worth considering. As U.S. leaders who hold their posts either directly through elections or via appointment by the highest elected official of the United States, the office of the president, we trust you understand the value of all people having the opportunity to express their right to suffrage without fear of intimidation and repression.
Therefore, our delegation is writing to you, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Kubiske to inform you of our trip and to request the following:
· That you communicate to your colleagues in the current Honduran government of Pepe Lobo Sosa the Honduran government’s responsibility to provide a climate free of fear and repression for all Hondurans at all times and particularly throughout the electoral process over the next year.
· That as U.S. officials committed to the principles of democracy and human rights, you express to your Honduran colleagues in the government of Pepe Lobo Sosa that the members of our delegation have the right to travel freely and without fear in Honduras in order to carry out our human rights accompaniment work. If we find that we cannot carry out our work effectively because of acts of intimidation, we will contact you and we expect that you will act quickly and in good faith to protect the rights of all those involved in ensuring Hondurans can freely express themselves.
Finally, we also want to make clear the position of the Honduran Solidarity Network that until human rights and democracy are respected by the government of Honduras, we continue to call for the suspension of all U.S. Military and Police Aid to the Honduran government.
On behalf of the Honduras Solidarity Network delegation and all the member organizations of the Honduras Solidarity Network, we thank you for your attention to this matter.
Member Organizations of the Honduras Solidarity Network
Alliance for Global Justice
Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Comite de Solidaridad Graciela Garcia
Colectivo Honduras USA Resistencia
Comite de Solidaridad Seattle
Friends of Honduras
Friendship Office of the Americas
Hands off Honduras
Hondureños por la Democracia
Interfaith Committee on Latin America
Celeveland InterReligious Task Force on Central America
International Action Center
La Voz de los de Abajo
Latin America Grassroots International
Latin America Solidarity Organization
Marin InterfaithTask Force on the Americas
Milwaukee Latin America Solidarity Committee
National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee
Rhode Island Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation
School of Americas Watch
U.S.- El Salvador Sister Cities
US Peace Council
Witness for Peace