Posted: Jun 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM [Jun 28, 2012]
Human rights activists, journalists, and members of the LGBTQ community have been under constant threat in Honduras since 2009 when the nation’s military staged a coup, ousting democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, more than 22 journalists and 70 LGBTQ people have been murdered without a single case being prosecuted in court. Aside from these murders, numerous journalists and human rights workers have reported death threats through e-mail, phone, and face-to-face interaction. The danger being faced by Hondurans is serious, and many are calling the country the most dangerous place in the world to speak out against the government, especially in the form of journalism.
Just a few months ago, Honduran journalist Alfredo Villatoro was on his way to work when he was kidnapped by six men. Villatoro’s body was found abandoned with two shots in his head only a few days later. This journalist’s death is only one in what Carlos Lauria, the senior program coordinator for the Americas at Committee to Protect Journalists’ calls, "A climate of unrelenting hostility toward Honduran journalists”. Lauria says this hostility “is restricting the flow of news and eroding citizens' right to information". And sadly, the US government is funding it.
According to usaid.gov the official estimated US aid to the Honduran government was nearly $68 million in the FY 2011, with a minimum of $4 million being designated for the construction of two new military bases. With the United States experiencing a recession, the government has made it clear that budget cuts need to be made. The money allocated for Honduran government/ military aid is being sent to a regime that is committing atrocious human rights abuses without investigation; US aid to Honduras needs to be cut.
As a grassroots human rights organization in Ann Arbor, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) is concerned about this issue. The Honduran people are requesting the attention of the international community, and asking that we stand by them in their time of need. Standing with the Honduran people is as easy as contacting your government representative and requesting that cuts be made to Honduran military spending. On behalf of the many Hondurans facing serious threats to their lives, we ask that you take the time to do so.
If you are interested in hearing more about the serious threats to the Honduran people and what you can do to help, join us at our August meeting of ICPJ’s Latin America Task Force where Mary Anne Perrone will give a talk on her July trip to Honduras where she will be accompanying human rights defenders under threat there. The meeting will take place Tuesday, August 14 at 7:00pm at the First Baptist Church in Ann Arbor.
For more information on the tragedies in Honduras, and to send a letter to your senator visit: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5436/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11132