Seven Individuals Accused of Participating in Berta Caceres’ Murder & Attempt Against Gustavo Castro

According to the Honduran press, the first four individual suspected to be involved were arrested on May 2, 2016, two months after Caceres’ was assassinated in her home and Mexican activist, Gustavo Castro survived an attempt against his life. When detained, their homes were also raided.

 FROM EL HERALDO

FROM EL HERALDO

1.     EDILSON ATILIO DUARTE MEZA (25) – Employed as a construction worker (albañil), however the media has reported that Duarte Meza is a former soldier but these allegations have not been proven.

2.     SERGIO RAMON RODRIGUEZ ORELLANA (48) – Employed as the Manager of Social, Environment and Communications for the internationally-financed company constructing the Agua Zarca dam, Desarrollo Energeticos S.A. (DESA)

3.     MARIANO DIAZ CHAVEZ (44) – An active mayor in the Honduran Armed Forces stationed at the Primer Battalion of Special Forces, and an instructor for the Military Police of Public Order (PMOP)

4.     DOUGLAS GEOVANNY BUSTILLO (39)  – Retired lieutenant of the Honduran Armed Forces and former head of security for DESA.  

Then a fifth person was arrested shortly after the initial four. The press reports that the Public Prosecutor’s office issued a warrant on May 6th for Emerson Duarte Meza’s arrest when on May 2 during the raids and detentions of the four accused a revolver caliber .38 was found in his home. It is unclear the exact day he was arrested.

5. EMERSON EUSEBIO DUARTE MEZA (25) – The twin brother of Edilson Atilio Duarte Meza, also arrested for being involved in the assassination.

A sixth person was arrested on September 8, 2016 in the village of El Ocote in the municipality of San Pedro Zacapa, Santa Barbara

6. ELVIN HERIBERTO ORELLANA (21) – Honduran press claim that Orellana was the individual that shot at Gustavo Castro. Very little information has been made public about how he fits into the group, his role, etc.

A seventh person was arrested on January 12, 2017, in a barbershop in the city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

7. HENRY JAVIER HERNANDEZ RODRIGUEZ (25) – A former military soldier. It is believed that Hernandez Rodriguez was one of the individuals that broke into Caceres’ home and participated in the murder.

 

The Honduras Solidarity Network in North America: Declaration on Recent Digital Attacks Against HSN

November 21, 2016

A new blog and Facebook page appeared recently calling itself “Defensores de Honduras” (Defenders of Honduras), which, on November 14th, published distortions and misinformation in an attempt to discredit our network and our coordinator in Honduras, Karen Spring. 

This attack was part of an article published on the blog and FB page about the assassinations of two members of the campesino organization MUCA, including its president Jose Angel Flores, that accuses human rights defenders Berta Oliva and COFADEH and others of protecting drug traffickers in northern Honduras. The article also prominently displays our organization’s logo and a picture of Karen Spring, while denigrating our solidarity work, asserting that the HSN is “totally politicized and aligned with the extremist ideas…”. (1)

The viewpoint and work of the HSN, a network of diverse organizations from the US and Canada, is no secret. The HSNetwork was organized immediately after the 2009 coup in solidarity with the Honduran people’s movement and organizations that opposed the ousting of the legitimately elected president and in defense of human rights. We have organized accompaniment and educational delegations and speaking tours; denounced violence and repression in Honduras including all the assassinations of campesinos and campesinas in the Aguan Valley. We have called for complete investigations of all the assassinations.  We oppose the US State Department’s September 2016 certification of human rights progress in Honduras and lobby the US congress to end US financing of state violence in Honduras, including supporting the recently proposed Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act in the House of Representatives.  We believe that it is this work that is making our organization a target of attacks. (2)

We deplore these attacks and condemn the fact that they are a provocation that increases the risk to persons already at risk for their work in defense of human rights. We consider the attacks from “Defenders of Honduras” to be the latest in an orchestrated campaign of psychological warfare to confuse and destroy the social and political movements opposed to authoritarianism and militarization and to isolate them from international support. We recognize this scenario. It is the same script written by the US State Department and US intelligence agencies and used in the 1954 overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz,  in the Central American conflicts of the 1980’s and in Colombia to the present day. It is a scenario to justify and incite violence and conflict and to create “false positives” and call them extremists. This is about government-backed impunity and an effort to destroy the social fabric of the movements in the Aguan. The very use of the term “extremist ideas” reveals that this is not really about the crimes of narcos  in the Aguan.

Since the 2013 elections and even more since President Hernandez took office, a plethora of social media accounts with similar phrasing and messages and false accusations have appeared attacking Honduran journalists, social movement leaders, and human rights defenders, both national and international. The accusations echo statements made by President Hernández and his administration’s officials, which claim that in defending human, civil and territorial rights, these people are defaming the country, organizing violence, or more recently that they are linked to organized crime. Meanwhile, international solidarity and human rights activists are accused of being “aligned with the extremist ideas” of those Honduran defenders and activists. In fact, it is the Hernández administration and Honduran security forces who organize violence against the social movements and anyone who dares to publicize or advocate for their cause.

The HSN is not neutral, but we are truthful. The truth is that we stand with the Honduran people and with their organized social movements. We defend human and civil rights within the framework of recognized international standards, and we work to end our governments’ support for the violent authoritarianism and neoliberalism that is destroying Honduras.  

(1) https://defensoresdehonduras.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/quien-protege-a-los-sicarios-del-bajo-aguan/

(2) Hondurassolidarity.org

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La Red de Solidaridad con Honduras de Norteamérica:  

Declaración ante los ataques digitales recientes en contra de la HSN

21 de noviembre, 2016

Un blog y página de Facebook recién aparecieron bajo el título “Defensores de Honduras,” lo cual ha publicado distorsiones y desinformación con la intención de desacreditar a nuestra red y nuestra coordinadora en Honduras, Karen Spring. 

Este ataque fue parte de un artículo publicado en el blog y la página de Facebook sobre los asesinatos de dos miembros de la organización campesina MUCA, incluyendo a su presidente José Ángel Flores, en lo cual acusan a la defensora de derechos humanos Berta Oliva y al COFADEH y otras personas de proteger a narcotraficantes en el norte de Honduras. El artículo también incluye en una posición prominente el logotipo de nuestra organización y una imagen de Karen Spring, a la vez menospreciando nuestro trabajo de solidaridad y diciendo que la Red de Solidaridad con Honduras (HSN por siglas en inglés) está “totalmente politizada y alineada con las mismas ideas extremistas…”. (1)

La perspectiva y el trabajo de la HSN, una red de organizaciones diversas de los Estados Unidos y Canadá, no es ningún secreto. La red HSN fue organizada inmediatamente después del golpe de estado del 2009 en solidaridad con el movimiento popular hondureño y las organizaciones que se opusieron al derroque del presidente legítimo y electo y quienes defendieron los derechos humanos. Hemos organizado delegaciones y giras de acompañamiento y educación; hemos denunciado la violencia y la represión en Honduras incluyendo todos los asesinatos de las campesinas y los campesinos del valle del Aguán. Hemos hecho llamados a investigaciones completas de todos los asesinatos. Nos oponemos a la certificación de progreso en materia de derechos humanos emitida por el Departamento de Estado de los EE.UU. en septiembre del 2016 y hacemos cabildeo en el congreso de los Estados Unidos para cortar el financiamiento a la violencia estatal en Honduras, trabajo que abarca nuestro apoyo a la recién propuesta Ley Berta Cáceres por los Derechos Humanos en Honduras en la Cámara de Representantes. Creemos que este es el trabajo que ha convertido nuestra organización en blanco de ataques. (2)

Reprobamos estos ataques y denunciamos que son una provocación que aumenta el riesgo a personas ya bajo riesgo por sus labores en defensa de los derechos humanos. Consideramos que los ataques de “Defensores de Honduras” son la táctica más recién de una campaña orquestada de guerra sicológica para confundir y destruir los movimientos sociales y políticos que se oponen al autoritarismo y la militarización y aislarlos del apoyo internacional. Reconocemos este escenario. Es el mismo escenario utilizado por el Departamento del Estado de los EE.UU y sus agencias de inteligencia para derrocar el gobierno del Presidente Guatemalteco Jacobo Arbenz en 1954, en los conflictos de Centroamérica en la década de los 1980, y en Colombia hasta el día de hoy. Es un escenario utilizado para justificar y provocar violencia y conflicto y para crear “positivos falsos” y llamarlos extremistas. Esto se trata de la impunidad respaldada por el gobierno y de esfuerzos de destruir el tejido social de los movimientos en el Aguán. El uso mismo del término “ideas extremistas” revela que esto realmente no se trata de los crímenes de los narcos en el Aguán.

Desde las elecciones del 2013 y aún más desde que el Presidente Hernandez ascendió a la presidencia, un montón de cuentas en las redes sociales con frases, mensajes y acusaciones falsas muy parecidas han aparecido para atacar a periodistas, líderes y lideresas de los movimientos sociales y defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos, tanto de Honduras como del exterior. Las acusaciones son un eco de las declaraciones hechas por el Presidente Hernández y los oficiales de su administración, las cuales afirman que al defender los derechos humanos, civiles y territoriales esta gente está difamando al país, organizando la violencia, o, más recién, que está vinculada con el crimen organizado. Mientras tanto, se les acusa a las y los activistas internacionales de derechos humanos y solidaridad de ser “alineada con las mismas ideas extremistas” de estos defensores y defensoras y activistas hondureñas. De hecho, es la administración del Presidente Hernández y las fuerzas de seguridad quienes organizan la violencia en contra de los movimientos sociales y cualquier persona que se atreve a amplificar o hacer incidencia por su causa.

La HSN no es neutral, pero sí nos apegamos a la verdad. La verdad es que estamos con el pueblo hondureño y sus movimientos sociales organizados. Defendemos los derecho humanos y civiles dentro del marco de las normas internacionalmente reconocidas y trabajamos para acabar con el apoyo de nuestro gobierno a la combinación de autoritarismo y neoliberalismo violento que está destruyendo a Honduras.  

(1) https://defensoresdehonduras.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/quien-protege-a-los-sicarios-del-bajo-aguan/

(2) Hondurassolidarity.org

Garifuna woman Medeline David charged by CARIVIDA Resort Released

Yesterday after a hearing in the Trujillo court house, the judge released Medeline David Fernandez but with restrictions- she is required to regularly sign before a judge to ensure she doesn't leave the area or go to far; and she's not allowed to leave the country or go near the land reclamation efforts in her community. 

The recent criminalization of Medeline is so telling of the strength of the Honduran judicial system when it wants to criminalize and punish the poor that threat powerful economic interests. OFRANEH is pointing out that it took 3 years for the judges in Trujillo to restrict Canadian developer Randy jorgensen's freedom despite having capture orders against him for various years. Randy (who actually is stealing and in illegal possession of Garifuna land) was never apprehended. Medeline is being accused of the same thing that Randy is (but she's a poor Garifuna woman defending her community's lands) and it took the state 8 days to violently capture her under the request of Canadians. She was held over night whereas Randy has never seen the inside of a jail cell. 

 OFRANEH and the communities of Trujillo Bay outside of the courtroom in Trujillo awaiting the results of Medeline David Fernandez's hearing. Picture by OFRANEH

OFRANEH and the communities of Trujillo Bay outside of the courtroom in Trujillo awaiting the results of Medeline David Fernandez's hearing. Picture by OFRANEH

The Garifuna communities in Trujillo Bay including Guadalupe, Santa Fe, Cristales and Castilla continue recuperating land that has been taken from them by the Honduran government and Canadian/American tourism and energy developers. There will be a strong need for solidarity with these communities as the government and private companies unveil their plans to privatize the port, build an oil refinery, various tourist resorts, and an airport within or part of a model city. To date, all these projects are proposed inside the six ancestral titles that belong to the Garifuna in the Trujillo Bay Area. 

Finally, thanks to everyone that made calls and sent emails to express their concern about Medeline and others with charges.

URGENT ACTION: Canadian Resort Developers Charge Garifuna Woman

This afternoon at approximately 4 pm, Honduran police surrounded a land recuperation effort in the Garifuna community of Guadalupe, municipality of Santa Fe, Colon. The police detained Medeline David, a Garifuna woman between 25 and 28 years old, who has been very active in recuperating Garifuna land that has been stolen by Americans and Canadians, to build large-scale tourism projects including gated communities, resorts, a cruise ship dock. She was also beaten up in the process of being detained.

Medeline is being accused of usurpation by a Canadian company, Carivida owned by Patrick Daniel Forseth, who illegally purchased the land. Not only is the land inside a communally-owned title from the early 1900s but its also a piece of land in the most recently granted (and significantly reduced) Guadalupe land title from 1998.

The land recuperation processes in Trujillo Bay in six Garifuna communities are being led by Garifuna youth, many of which have been DEPORTED from the United States. They arrive back to their communities and find their land being stolen by Canadians and Americans illegally purchasing Garifuna land for their vacation homes. The main "developer" in the region in Canadian Porn King Randy Jorgensen and there are various other Canadian and American developers like CARIVIDA who are flooding to the area to convert it into a Honduran cancun. This has led to repression, criminalization, and the robbery of land from the Garifuna communities in the area.

Please write the Canadian Embassy about Medeline's case and express your concern that Canadian businesses are stealing Garifuna land and criminalizing those that defend it.