Originally published in Newsweek:

November 23, 2021

Every day more than 200 Honduran families cross the southern border of the United States seeking asylum—more than any other nationality. Fleeing oppression, violence and climate-related disasters, even young, university-educated Hondurans do not see a future for themselves in their home country.

We live under the guise of democracy, but there is no separation of powers. Widespread corruption permeates the governing elite, as evidenced most recently by the sentencing of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s brother earlier this year. President Hernández himself has been identified in U.S. courts as a co-conspirator in a drug conspiracy case. Democratic institutions intended to investigate public officials linked to organized crime have been largely disabled.

Scores of human rights violations have occurred, including assassinations of political candidates, journalists, lawyers and judges. Honduras has been called “the deadliest place to be an environmentalist,” exemplified by the high-profile murder of Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Berta Cáceres in 2015 for organizing Indigenous communities to fight against displacement.

The impacts of the pandemic and two back-to-back hurricanes in 2020 have devastated an already dire economic situation. According to the World Bank, almost half of Honduras’ population lives on less than $5.50 per day, making Honduras the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean.

All of this can change soon, however, in the country’s upcoming election. With a new president and many other officials on the ballot, Nov. 28 is our greatest hope to escape the current authoritarian regime and restore democracy.

Yet, there is concern about recent fear tactics intended to intimidate voters. More than 30 people were murdered this year alone for political reasons, including four political leaders.

Thousands of Hondurans and dozens of international observers are gearing up to monitor this election. But we can’t do it alone. We need the U.S. Department of State to join us in making sure that human rights are not violated, and in speaking out forcefully against any acts of censorship or repression.

Recently, 29 members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging “robust State Department monitoring and public criticism of authoritarian practices to maximize the chance of an inclusive and transparent electoral process” in Honduras. Clearly, the outcome of this election is in the interest of the United States.

After the 2017 election in Honduras, the U.S. State Department looked away when Hernández was declared the winner, despite fraud and a call for a re-do by the Organization of American States. For months, the Honduran military and police shot at protesters, killing dozens of people and detaining more than 1,300 to stop dissent. We urge the U.S. government not to make this mistake again.

Our country has been in crisis ever since the 2009 coup, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Manuel Zelaya Rosales. The co-mingling of oligarchs and drug traffickers with state actors has deepened. Human security has deteriorated, and critical problems like drought, gang violence and extreme poverty have gone unaddressed. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that journalists face targeted killings, arbitrary detentions, the destruction of equipment and other obstacles that have impeded their ability to operate independently.

Despite the difficult situation in Honduras, I am optimistic. For the first time there is broad opposition to the current regime. We even have the support of some in the private sector who are fed up and want to create more opportunities for economic growth. This unprecedented level of organizing and unity in Honduras echoes the momentum that eventually led to the downfall of the brutal Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

Honduras is a country that is largely marginalized and forgotten. This upcoming election is a chance to change that, and start a new chapter. It could solve many of the essential problems we face. A free, fair and peaceful electoral process represents an important opportunity for Honduran citizens to reestablish the rule of law.

It is important that the United States serve as a neutral, credible and impartial observer, while supporting an outcome in Honduras that is genuinely democratic. We need the international community to support a transparent, authentic, clear and peaceful election and an end to 12 years of crisis.

Hondurans want to stay in the country that they love. Right now, migration is not a choice for many, but a means of survival. This election could improve our quality of life, allow everyone to feel safer, have our voices be heard and stop the mass exodus.

We are ready to usher in a new era.

Gustavo Irías is executive director of the Center for Democracy Studies (CESPAD) in Honduras.

On February 23rd, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon introduced the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill will:

  • Suspend U.S. assistance to the Honduran military and police, including U.S. military/police training and equipment, until the Honduran military and police cease committing human rights violations and those responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice.
  • Prohibit exports of U.S. munitions, including semiautomatic firearms, tear gas, tasers, and more, to the Honduran military and police.
  • Direct President Biden to sanction and stop supporting Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who has been named as a co-conspirator by U.S. federal prosecutors in drug trafficking cases (yet is considered a U.S. ally and is still in power due to U.S. backing).
  • Support the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Honduras and the creation of a United Nations anti-corruption mission in Honduras with the ability to prosecute corruption cases against high-ranking government officials (a long-time demand of Honduran civil society).

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined Senator Merkley (D-OR) as initial co-sponsors of the bill, which you can read here.

Call and email your Senators today and ask them to join as a co-sponsor on the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021! Unless of course, your Senator(s) is/are the co-sponsors listed above, in which case, you can call to thank them.

1. Call your Senators (to find your Senators and their office phone numbers, click here). Identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak to the foreign policy aide:

“I am calling from (town/city, state) to ask Senator _____ to co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021. The bill would suspend U.S. support for the Honduran government until systemic corruption, impunity, and human rights violations cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice. It is time for the U.S. to stop supporting a regime where environmental and Indigenous defenders, journalists, and demonstrators are murdered regularly. Please co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021 and let me know when you do so.”

2. E-mail your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act by clicking here!

For far too long, the U.S. has been training and equiping the Honduran military and police, who murder and repress with impunity. For far too long, the U.S. has been propping up President Hernandez — who has been named by U.S. federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in drug trafficking cases — while simultaneously sending millions to his government under the guise of stopping drug trafficking. For far too long, the U.S. has been financing and backing a regime that regularly commits human rights violations and plunders the country, causing thousands upon thousands to flee Honduras for the U.S.  It is far past time for the U.S. to stop supporting the Hernandez regime and cease training and equipping its military and police. This bill is a significant step forward because while the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act has been introduced in the House in recent years, this is the first time there is such a bill introduced in the Senate.

Call and e-mail your Senators today to ask them to co-sponsor the Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021.

The impacts of Hurricane Eta have devastated much of Honduras but particularly the northern and eastern areas of the country. Entire communities are flooded and according to government numbers, over 7,000 people have been forced to leave their homes or have had their homes totally destroyed. Thousands are seeking refuge in shelters inside schools, gymnasiums, municipal parks, houses of family and friends, etc.

Images of flooded community of Pimienta, Cortés in northern #Honduras. Photo Credit: Pimienta Informa.

At the time of writing, the heavy rain has stopped in most of the critical areas hit by the climate disaster but massive evacuations have been ordered by the government in low regions as rivers that originate in western Honduras where the storm continues with force, continue to rise and flood. More people are being forced to leave their homes and find shelter or seek higher ground, with the most minimal of their possessions. Many Hondurans in these regions have not seen or lived through a disaster like this since Hurricane Mitch that devastated Honduras in 1998. In many ways, Honduras still hasn’t gotten over or recovered what was lost during Mitch over 20 years ago.

How can you help?

With the devastation caused by Hurricane Eta, the HSN is launching this fundraising campaign to raise money for community-based organizations affected by the storm. All money raised will go to these well established organizations already doing the work, climate disaster relief and organizing that is needed for a sustainable and effective response to the damages and urgent humanitarian crisis caused by the hurricane.

During a break in the storm, Hondurans living along the Río Blanco in San Pedro Sula took time to salvage debris and drain/clean. Photo Credit: Seth Berry.

100% of the proceeds go to Hondurans affected by the hurricane. Money will be sent via bank transfer to community organizations in Honduras when possible. If banks are closed as a result of the damage and flooding in northern Honduras, money will be physically taken when possible in a safe manner, to the groups in order to facilitate their emergency response efforts. Our Honduras-based Coordinator, Karen Spring will be facilitating these efforts from Tegucigalpa along with the Honduran groups the HSN supports and works with.

Why should you help?

On November 4th, the Honduran government declared a national emergency on top of the national emergency declared in March 2020 for the Covid-19 crisis. Before the hurricane and the pandemic hit Honduras, over 60% of Hondurans lived in poverty. Since Covid-19 started, many have lost their livelihood. The hurricane will just add to the poverty, misery, hunger, insecurity, and dire circumstances that so many Hondurans were already living.

Rising rivers like the Ulúa and Aguan river in north and northeastern Honduras have spilled over destroying crops, critical infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and worse, people’s homes and their entire livelihood.

Massive flooding in eastern Honduras between Juticalpa and San Francisco de Becerra, Olancho. The highway has been destroyed and covered by water. Photo Credit: Radio America HN.

Honduras seems to live in endless crises. In 2009, the US and Canada supported a military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. After 2009, Honduras turned into one of the murder capitals of the world and one of the most dangerous places to be a land defender, journalist or lawyer. In 2017, an electoral crisis rooted in widespread electoral fraud saw massive protests around the country as Hondurans attempted to change their government and their difficult reality and living conditions. These courageous efforts were ignored and the US government legitimized fraud and continued supporting the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernandez, now widely named and accused of being a co-conspirator in large-scale drug trafficking to the US.

The Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) has worked for over 11 years supporting grassroots community organizations across the country. We support communities and their organizations  in resistance that address the structural causes of the problems they face.

This is the time for solidarity. Please give generously, every little bit helps!


Act now! Demand authorities an immediate emergency investigation and action to save the lives of Snider and the others:

On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garifuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community where kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests. Snider was the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz and his community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2015. However, the Honduran state has still not respected it.

The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and at least other 3 men is another attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live.

Write and/or call you Congressional reps and Senators; a script for emails with information and demands that can also guide a phone call follows this text.

If you don’t have contact information for your elected officials you can go to : and

If you have trouble with calls to their D.C. offices because no one is there, you can try their home district offices (the information for those should be on their information page).


Dear Representative ___/Senator____:

As your constituent, I am asking you to call the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras about the recent abduction and forced disappearance of four members of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz: Snider Centeno, Aparicio Mejía García, Joel Martínez Álvarez, and Alber Sentana Thomas. We have already alerted Honduran officials about the need to immediately investigate this incident and return these men to their communities unharmed, but it has been several days without result, and we are gravely concerned about their safety.

On the morning of Saturday, July 18 at approximately 6 am, these four men were kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests and believed to be police. The men’s vests had police investigative unit insignia (DPI by its Spanish acronym) on them, although the men arrived in unmarked cars.

Snider Centeno is the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz. He and his community won a case heard in the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in 2015 against the Honduran state for property rights violations and failure to consult the Afro-indigenous community about tourism developments on their land. However, the Honduran state has not respected the ruling and continues to encroach on Garifuna ancestral lands, to which the Garifuna have title, for the purpose of developing beachfront properties for tourists, including the lands belonging to Triunfo de la Cruz. The community has continued to vocally oppose the Honduran state’s illegal allocation of their lands to development corporations without consultation of the community. We are concerned that the disappearance of this Garifuna leader is in retaliation for this opposition.

Snider Centeno, Aparicio Mejía García and Joel Martínez Álvarez are members of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), the Garifuna organization working to protect Garifuna economic, social and cultural rights. OFRANEH has been involved in legal suits and non-violent protests against the Honduran state for its violation of Garifuna rights. We believe they may also have been disappeared because of their membership in OFRANEH.

Since the kidnappings, Honduran police have harassed the communities protesting the disappearances and in Triunfo de la Cruz at least one vehicle with unidentified armed men was seen last night driving circulating in town which is an act of intimidation.

On May 7, 2020, the State Department certified Honduras on its efforts to providing effective and accountable law enforcement and security for its citizens among other human rights-related issues. I have serious doubts about these efforts. This particular incident, one among many other attacks, kidnappings, and assassinations carried out against civilians by Honduran security forces, highlights the continuing insecurity faced by individuals expressing opposition to the government and land defenders in Honduras.

Please communicate with utmost urgency to the State Department and Embassy that they must urge Honduran officials to find these men and return them to their community. Time is of the essence—many of those who “disappear” in Honduras are later found dead.



Eleven years ago, Honduras was turned upside down by a military/political coup against President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

This coup was strongly supported by the US Government led by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Peter Kent. The coup pushed aside many reforms that had been made or begun by President Zelaya in consultation with Honduran social movements such as an increase in minimum wage, land reform, gender equality, increased rights for indigenous communities and efforts to reduce the costs of living for the poor. The goal of the coup was also to crush the hopes for a deeper change in Honduras and the  refoundation of the country through constitutional change and a popular constituent assembly.

The response of the people and their organizations from the Garifuna Caribbean coast, to the Lenca people’s mountains, from campesino communities across the country, to urban youth, trade unions, women’s and LGBTI organizations was to take to the streets in massive numbers starting the day of the coup, June 28, 2009.

Over the last 11 years, Hondurans have returned to the streets over and over again, despite massive migrations, electoral frauds, assassinations, disappearances, repression, and now, in the 11th year of the coup, a narco-dictatorship during a pandemic. Since the coup, some things have been constant from the dictatorship: militarization, criminalization of activists, neoliberal privatizations and the growth of an extraction economy. All this with U.S.-trained police, military police and military on the streets, violently abusing Hondurans for everything from protesting to being on the street without a face mask. There are still 11 political prisoners held in pretrial detention and hundreds who still face serious charges from the 2017 electoral fraud protests in 2017 and 2018. Impunity for the powerful and political elite continues with no justice and virtually no investigations of the hundreds of assassinations/disappearances from 2009 to 2020.

The highest profile assassination since the coup, that of indigenous leader Berta Caceres still has not seen the prosecution of the intellectual authors or financiers of her murder; her organization and COPINH’s communities continue to be threatened and harassed. In 2019-2020 at least 11 Garifuna activists were assassinated in impunity. Journalists are threatened and physically attacked and members of the political opposition are continually harassed and threatened. The military has been given control of significant monies for the agricultural sector while campesinos are killed, arrested and evicted, also in impunity.

In 2020, the criminal nature of Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH)’s dictatorship is now more exposed than ever with high profile prosecutions in New York of his brother and their drug trafficking business associates. But, despite the blatant and documented violations of human rights, of corruption, and of drug trafficking, the US government continues its public, economic and military support for Hernandez. The Canadian government refuses to speak or publicly denounce the abuses committed by JOH. Meanwhile, JOH has taken advantage of the COVID19 epidemic to further militarize the country, giving the army more power and restricting protests, and destroying the livelihood of the poor (more than 60% of the population) while restricting the small amounts of relief funds to those who support his political party.

Still, resistance continues and the people continue to organize. Over the years, new coalitions and movements have formed and joined the resistance in a fight against dictatorship. This fight continues in the streets, the countryside and in the electoral realm.

The Honduras Solidarity Network has been standing with the Honduran people’s resistance since 2009. We continue to fight for the US government and the Canadian government to stop supporting dictatorship and any use of our tax dollars for violence in Honduras. One tool in that fight in the US is our continued support for the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act in the House of Representatives. Our member organizations continue to demand an end to impunity in Honduras and justice for Berta Caceres and for all those assassinated and disappeared or imprisoned and persecuted by the dictatorship. We accompany the struggles against mining, megaprojects and for land rights and all the demands of the Honduran people and their organizations that fight for a new, transformed, and ‘refounded’ Honduras.

For more historical and recent information on Honduran resistance and solidarity see the HSN website and its links to member organization sites and other information.
Twitter: @hondurassol


June 28, 2018, marks 9 years since the US backed coup d’etat in Honduras: 9 years of increasing violence and impunity, poverty and inequity for the Honduran people who made clear once again their rejection of the coup regimen in the elections held on November 26, 2017 — election results that were overturned by fraud and repression.

The US government continues to support the Honduran regime politically and economically including millions of dollars of security/military aid that facilitates human rights violations. The Canadian government continues to support the extraction industry dominated by Canadian mining companies and other Canadian mega projects in tourism and energy industries. These projects  are responsible for environmental and health damage as well as the violent repression and displacement of Indigenous communities.

A deep political crisis was triggered by widespread recognition of fraud and irregularities that allowed Juan Orlando Hernandez to declare victory in his re-election, (note: re-election is prohibited by the Honduran Constitution). The Hernandez regime met the post-election protests and rejection of fraud with massive repression, and a declared state of emergency: more than 30 people were killed most of them by the Military Police. Many hundreds were injured by army or police. All of these crimes remain in impunity with no information about any investigations. However, many protesters face ongoing legal actions against them by the government. More than 1300 were arrested during the post-election crisis. 23 people are recognized as political prisoners who are facing extremely severe charges and have been subjected to pretrial imprisonment without bail for months under terrible conditions.

Five of these political prisoners remain detained: Edwin Espinal and Raúl Álvarez in the maximum security prison La Tolva,  Edy Gonzalo Valles in the maximum security prison El Pozo, and Gustavo Adolfo Cáceres Ayala and José Gabriel Godinez Ávelar in the penitentiary in El Progreso. Arrests of activists continue, and there will likely be more prosecutions as the regime continues the repression. We support demands by Honduran organizations to free all the political prisoners and drop the politically motivated charges.

Another consequence of the crisis and US/Canadian support for dictatorship is a new upsurge in migration by Honduran men, women and children fleeing repression. The US government has implemented policies that violate international human rights and refugee standards, detaining thousands of migrants, refusing to accept petitions for asylum, violating due process, and infamously separating children, even infants, from their parents. Border Patrol agents use violence and live ammunition with impunity against the migrants at the border and are arresting members of humanitarian organizations attempting to give life-saving emergency care to the migrants in the desert border region. The crisis will deepen even more with the US withdrawal of temporary protected status (TPS) for Hondurans in January 2020. Some 50, 000 Hondurans who have lived legally in the US for decades, many who have US born children, will be forcibly returned to Honduras.

We demand that the US and Canadian government stop funding and supporting the regime in Honduras and end the mass deportations of refugees from Central America. We echo the Honduran people in demanding  “Freedom for the Political Prisoners” and  “Stop the Political Repression”. 

Take Action in Canada & the US Here to Free the Political Prisoners

Take Action Here Against US Support for Honduran Regime

Take Action Here for the “Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act

Link to Spanish PDF- En Español 


Over the last month President Trump has focused a stream of racists tweets and ugly comments at a “caravan” of refugees and migrants from Central America and Mexico traveling north to seek asylum in the United States.

While ignoring U.S. support for the drug war and repressive government in Honduras that gave rise to the caravan, Trump spewed invective against these asylum seekers, depicting them as a national security threat to rally his nationalist base.

150 families and many unaccompanied children have now arrived at the border. They are requesting asylum and are being processed by border agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. U.S. laws grant asylum seekers a fair audience with a judge after a “credible fear” interview.

We think they should be given a fair hearing, but even before knowing the details of the cases, U.S. authorities, led by President Trump have sought to undermine the credibility of their claims.

Revealing woeful ignorance of the laws he is sworn to uphold, President Trump said they were “trying to take advantage of DACA” and DHS Secretary Nielsen said that they were trying to take advantage of “loopholes” in current immigration law.

Their anti-immigrant messaging is intended to influence the criteria of judges and the general public with false perceptions of “imminent influx of asylum seekers” with “harmful consequences”. The truth is U.S. border crossings along the southern border are at their lowest level since 1971.

These families are fleeing from organized violence in countries where U.S. policy has contributed to unlivable conditions. We owe them their human and legal rights as asylum seekers.

Call Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen

Demand Secretary Nielsen allocate the necessary resources and personnel to ensure an expedited and due process for Central American families seeking asylum in the U.S.


On March 3rd, day #46 of his unjust incarceration, political prisoner Edwin Espinal began a hunger strike to demand that he and other prisoners be taken to see a physician. There is a flu-like virus circulating in the military-run, maximum security “La Tolva” prison. Edwin and other prisoners have been refused medical attention for several days.

There is an extreme water shortage inside the La Tolva prison where two political prisoners – Edwin Espinal and Raul Eduardo Alvarez – are imprisoned. On March 4th, all prisoners throughout the jail had access to water for FIVE minutes. This means that 1000 prisoners had to flush and use toilets, get and store drinking water, and shower in the five minutes that the water was available. Outside of the time that water is available, prisoners are forced to limit bathroom use because toilets are located inside the shared, enclosed cells. Plastic bottles are not permitted inside the jail making it impossible for prisoners to adequately save drinking water for their consumption throughout the day.

After the water was turned off after five minutes this morning, throughout the prison, in unison inmates began to bang on the walls and make noise in any way possible. In some areas of the prison, prison guards shot tear gas into the common areas that are shared by approximately 200 people.

The horrific and dire conditions inside Honduran prisons is of no secret to the Honduran and foreign governments. The construction of military-run maximum security prison have only worsened these conditions particularly since its so difficult for national and international human rights organizations to enter the jail. These conditions can only be described as torture.

Take action: ask the International Committee of the Red Cross to go immediately go and enter La Tolva jail to speak with the prisoners and get first-hand information about the health and living conditions.

Update: February 5, 2018, by Karen Spring
See original Urgent Action & Demands here

On January 22, Honduran judge Claudio Elvir, ordered pre-trial detention for two Honduran political prisoners, Edwin Espinal and Raul Eduardo Alvarez. Since then, Edwin and Raul are being held in a US-style maximum security prison, La Tolva in southern Honduras. Since then family members and various national and international human rights delegations have been unable to verify the conditions of their detention. Visits by family members are extremely restrictive and often have to wait several months to get permission to enter.

International Human Rights Observers Denied Entry Into Honduran Prison
On Wednesday, five international human rights defenders and accompaniers (three from the US faith-based delegation) along with the Committee of the Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) attempted to enter the prison. The purpose of the visit to the prison was to enter and see Edwin and verify the conditions of his detention and his physical and emotional health.

After waiting over 5 hours, the five international defenders finally spoke to military coronel Najera who oversees the prison and who refused to allow the observers to enter. Coronel Najera made several arguments against the international defenders entering to see Edwin despite their insistence that they had come specifically to accompany COFADEH to talk to Edwin.

Citing several laws of Honduras, Coronel Najera ridiculed the international defenders and specifically, Karol Cardenas of COFADEH (Edwin’s legal representation), for not explaining Honduran laws to the delegation. Drawing on the façade of institutionality and the so-called rule of law, the Coronel would not budge. The international human rights delegation spend the entire day trying to enter the prison and despite their efforts, were turned away. The US Embassy, who met with the members of the faith-based delegation, was notified.

Attorney Karol Cardenas from COFADEH was able to enter to see Edwin for one hour. She met briefly with Edwin but was not taken to his cell to inspect or verify the conditions. She was unable to take in food or reading material. According to what Edwin told Karol, he is being held in a very small cell basically in isolation. He is allowed outside for two hours a day and spends the rest of the time by himself. There is a small window inside his cell that looks out to a cement wall.

Honduran Institutions Not Responding to Urgent Requests by Human Rights Groups
Since Edwin’s detention, representatives of COFADEH have requested a meeting with the Honduran institution that oversees the prison system – the National Penitentiary Institute (INP). The purpose of speaking to the INP is to ensure they are taking all necessarily measures to guarantee Edwin’s integrity and life while in prison (as per the state’s obligations since Edwin was granted protective measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) as a result of state persecution against him). The other reasons for meeting with the INP are to request for Edwin to be transferred to another detention center; and authorize the entrance of human rights representatives and Edwin’s family members into the prison.

In 10 days, the INP did not respond. COFADEH followed up with several phone calls. Finally, on the 10th day, the INP requested a meeting with COFADEH for Thursday (yesterday) at 2 pm in the INP offices in Tegucigalpa. Upon arrival at the office, COFADEH’s General Coordinator Bertha Oliva and three other human rights defenders waited 1.5 hours to be received by the sub-Director who never showed up.

Canadian Government
We received this response from the Canadian Government:
“As promised, we have shared the information provided with our colleagues in Ottawa for their awareness and also to seek guidance on the points you raised.  Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide definitive responses at this time. We will let you know as soon as we can offer you more information.” 

US Government 
Despite receiving several letters of concern about Edwin and other political prisoners, there has been no official or unofficial response from the US Government about Edwin’s case, political prisoners or the human rights situation in the country in the context of the post-electoral crisis.

More information
Karen Spring, HSN (Honduras Solidarity Network); + (504) 9584-8572
Facebook: Free EDWIN ESPINAL Libertad
Twitter: #FreeEdwinEspinal #LibertadEdwinEspinal

27 January, Honduras Solidarity Network protest in San Francisco

Protesters continue taking to the streets in Honduras in opposition to the inauguration of Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) where they are met by state-sponsored repression at the hands of a U.S. trained and financed Honduran military-elite. Over 30 people have been killed, and counting. Hundreds more have been arrested, arbitrarily detained and injured, including long-time Honduran activist, Edwin Espinal

U.S. tax dollars are supporting the repression.

Not only did the State Department legitimize Honduras’ fraudulent election by recognizing Juan Orlando at the same time that the Organization of American States (OAS) reported the process to be “characterized by irregularities and deficiencies, with very low technical quality and lacking integrity.” It also supports the Honduran security apparatus with millions of dollars worth of equipment, training, and technical assistance despite continuous reporting that the institution is plagued by endemic corruption and impunity. The long-standing overlap between high-level officials, police, and drug traffickers was once again corroborated by recent reports that Honduras’ newly appointed police chief is implicated in illicit cocaine transit.

Assistance to Honduran military and police doesn’t end with State Department funds. The Pentagon has its own channels through which it can provide security assistance to the country. These channels authorize several hundred U.S. troops— including elite military units like Green Berets and Navy SEALs— to train their Honduran counterparts. In 2015, over a thousand Honduran military police received training from the U.S. military, up from 191 Hondurans in 2010. These trainings have been on the increase in recent years as the Department of Defense has outmuscled State for control over U.S. foreign military aid. Special Operation force deployments, alone, nearly tripled in Central America from 2007 to 2014.

The foreign aid is justified in the name of U.S. national security — to protect U.S citizens from drugs in transit through Central American corridors and from Honduran migrants seeking asylum.  Key components of the policy include fighting a regional war on drugs and reducing the in-country factors causing Hondurans to flee, like poverty and violence. The irony is cringeworthy: our Honduran partners in counternarcotics are in on the trade; the security institutions being trained to keep Hondurans safe are systematically repressing them; and the regime being propped up has intensified unregulated, “free market” capitalism, making life unworkable for many. 

U.S. intervention in Honduras isn’t new. Military ties between the countries span decades, even leading many in the 80s to refer to Honduras as a Pentagon Republic. The nickname was fitting for a country used as the regional foothold for U.S covert operations against leftist movement. A more equitable allocation of the means of production (like land) threatened the geopolitical and economic interests of U.S. elite (like the United Fruit Company).  And so the U.S poured millions of taxpayer dollars into installing regimes disposed to “roll-back the pink-tide,” no matter the cost to foreign publics.

Global Exchange standing in solidarity with Honduras

In rejection of this imperialist legacy, we have joined over 30 organizations across Canada and the United States in solidarity with the people of Honduras who do not accept the illegitimate and repressive imposition of Juan Orlando Hernandez. Last week, many of you took action with us by contacting your congress member, tweeting, posting selfies in solidarity, and participating in solidarity protests around the country. It’s not time to let up!

Here are two ways to take action:

Co-sponsor the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1299. The bill asks that the United States suspend all “…security assistance to Honduran military and police until such time as human rights violations by Honduran state security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.

Demand the immediate release of EDWIN ESPINAL, and of all political prisoners in Honduras.