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sábado, 25 de diciembre de 2010


December 21, 2010

Robert W. Boehme                                            
Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20220
Fax: 202.647.8324

Dear Mr. Boehme,

We are very troubled by the expansive and totally unwarranted violence in the Aguán against campesino farmers who have for 20 years worked to successfully secure land rights under the Agrarian Reform Institute (INA).  These lands, and the campesino farmers to whom they belong, are threatened by wealthy private business people, most notably, Miguel Facussé.  Many of us have raised these concerns with the State Department for the last six months, urging that those responsible for the murders of at least seven (7) campesinos this year alone in the Aguán, including those who may have funded such abuses, be arrested. 

We urge the State Department to insist on an immediate and indefinite moratorium on any further police or military actions in Honduras aimed at forcing campesino farmers off their land across the entire Aguán region until long-standing negotiations are concluded, fraudulent titles and intimidation by powerful land owners are investigated, and independent human rights organizations have offered their final assessments.  We also urge the arrest of the armed paramilitaries that terrorize and kill campesino farmers with impunity in the Aguán, along with those who employ these abusers.  

We believe it is not in the interest of the U.S. government, which is supporting a post-coup government that has failed to meet the most minimal standards of respect for human rights, to stand by as entire communities of farming families are forcibly and violently displaced from land to which they have legitimate claims.  Our hope is that the U.S. State Department would be standing in solidarity with these campesinos who have struggled tenaciously for two decades to lift themselves out of poverty rather than with wealthy landowners, private security forces, illegal paramilitaries, and the police and military carrying out violent operations at the behest of powerful, violent economic interests among Honduras’ traditional political elite.  An ongoing U.S. alliance with these violent, unjust actors in Honduras is inconsistent with stated U.S. foreign policy goals of promoting democracy, human rights and poverty reduction in our hemisphere.  Rather, it undermines them. 

Instead of supporting a government that is repressing its own people, the United States should insist that authorities respect the rights of Honduran citizens, civil society organizations and social movements which are massively and non-violently resisting the coup, the illegitimate de facto regime and seeking a Constituent Constitutional Assembly to create a fully inclusive, new Honduran constitution assuring the rights of indigenous, African-descendant, campesinos, LGBT citizens, women and the full expanse of civil society which has traditionally been excluded in the political and economic life of Honduras.

We also want to express our alarm regarding the December 15, 2010 police beating, gassing and detention of campesinos in the community of Zacate Grande. 

In closing, we also request that you share our concerns directly with Assistant Secretary Posner.  Please let us know what steps you and Assistant Secretary Posner are taking to press the Honduran authorities end the police and military actions to dislodge campesinos from their INA authorized land cooperatives in

the Aguán, and what steps you have taken to call upon the Lobo government to arrest the paid security guards and paramilitary assassins, along with those who employ them, for murder and terror in these same communities. 

We look forward to your reply, which we kindly ask that you send to Catalina Nieto catalina@witnessforpeace.org, who staffs the Witness for Peace office in Washington, DC.


Judy Ancel, Director of the Institute for Labor Studies
University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO

Raul Anorve, Executive Director
Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA)

Brother David Andrews, Co-Chair of the Peace & Justice Committee
Brothers of Holy Cross, Eastern Province

Michael Bass, Steering Committee
School of the Americas Watch, San Francisco, CA

Diana Bohn, Co-Coordinator
Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA), Berkeley, CA

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Founder
Hendrik Voss, National Organizer
School of the Americas Watch (SOAW)

Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston, Director
Disciples Justice Action Network

Joe Callahan, Coordinator
Hands Off Honduras Coalition, Minneapolis, MN

Vicki Cervantes, Coordinator
La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago

Stephen Coats, Executive Director
U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP)

Rev. Charles L. Currie, SJ, President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Andrés Thomas Conteris, Director, Program on the Americas
Nonviolence International

Rev. Charles W. Dahm, O.P. Co-Coordinator for Peace and Justice
Dominicans in North America

Rev. Dan Dale, President of the Board
Gary Cozette, Program Director
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)

Marie Dennis, Director,
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Roz Dzelzitis, Executive Director
May I Speak Freely Media

Barbara Gerlach, Colombia Liaison
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

Babette Grunow, Coordinator
Latin America Solidarity Committee - Milwaukee, WI

Katherine Hoyt, National Co-Coordinator
Nicaragua Network

Sharon Hostetler, Executive Director
Witness for Peace

James Jordan, National Coordinator
Campaign for Labor Rights

Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator
Alliance for Global Justice

Alice Kitchen, Leadership Team, Latin American and Caribbean Committee
Sisters of Loretto

Marilyn Lorenz, Program Coordinator
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

Marie Lucey, OSF, Associate Director for Social Mission
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Amanda Martin, Director
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

Julie Merker, President of the Board
Brian Stefan-Szittai, Program Coordinator
InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland, OH

Peter and Gail Mott, Co-Editors

Michael Neuroth, Policy Advocate on International Issues
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Michelle Petrotta, Program Officer
International Labor Rights Forum

Michael Ring, Honduras Coordinator
US-El Salvador Sister Cites

Sharon Simon,O.P.  Agnes Johnson, O.P.  Kathy Slesar, O.P.
Leadership Team of the Racine Dominicans, WI

Judy Somberg, Chair,
National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the Americas

Dale Sorensen, Director
Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, CA

Jean Stokan, Director of the Institute Justice Team
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rick Ufford-Chase, Executive Director
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society
The United Methodist Church

Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Network, CA

Community Action on Latin America (CALA), Madison, WI

Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC)

Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASPO), Olympia, WA

Pax Christi Long Island, NY

Rev. James Barnett, OP
Dominican Friars, Central Province, USA

Rev. Brian J. Pierce, OP
Dominican Friars, Southern Province, USA

Carroll Ann Kemp, SNJM
Sisters of the Holy Names, Silver Spring, MD

Carol L. Ries, SNJM
Sisters of the Holy Names, Silver Spring, MD

Pat Chaffee, OP
Dominican Sisters, Racine, WI

Rev. Sajeev Painunkal, SJ
Gonzaga Jesuit Community, Chicago, IL

Rev. Pamela Shepherd
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Ashland, OR

Dana Frank, Professor of History
University of California at Santa Cruz

James J. Phillips, PhD, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies
Southern Oregon University

Kim Porter, PhD, Retired Instructor
Duke University

Marcia Halligan,
Kickapoo Peace Circle, Viroqua, WI

David A. Davis, Board Member
Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity, Overland Park, KS

Kent Spriggs, Principal
Spriggs Law Firm, Tallahassee, FL
SOA Watch Legal Defense Team

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