Thursday, September 1, 2011

On the murders of campesinos and popular leaders in the Bajo Aguán

The original in Spanish; English translation by Adrienne Pine used by permission.

To the national community, the government of the Republic and the international community

On the murders of campesinos and popular leaders in the Bajo Aguán region and the accelerated deterioration of human rights in the country

This is the moment in which silence becomes a crime. Froylan Turcios
He who witnesses a crime and remains silent, commits it. José Martí
To remain silent is to share in the crime. José Adán Castelar

The regimes that arose from the June 2009 Coup d'État, annointed by the U.S. government, the business lobby that has ransacked the country, and the fundamentalist churches, have brought about a resurgence of the repression that in the decade of the 1980s, plunged Honduras into suffering.

If yesterday it was a fanatical, fascist and brutal militarism that trained and formed groups of assassins to selectively and clandestinely kidnap, kill and disappear popular leaders and politicians, today, that militarism that for many years lay dormant, now enhanced with better equipment and greater antidemocratic enthusiasm, has returned to undertake the task of extermination wherever it is directed.

In the country and city, in the protests of citizens outraged by the crisis and the coup, in the students' and teachers' marches, wherever free people gather to protest, the apparatus of death is brought in with armored cars, rifles, teargas canisters, and pistols under the fallacious argument that it is through the rule of law and silent acquiescence forged by arms that progress, democracy and coexistence flourish.

Just when the situation was supposed to improve based on the Cartagena Accords and when the presidents of Honduras and Colombia had declared that the promise to respect human rights is being kept, the bloody acts of recent days have revealed a regression, in particular because the campesino movement has been criminalized through allegations of ties with guerrilla forces trained and financed by foreign governments.

While the situation is dire throughout the country, in the agricultural sector and particularly in the Bajo Aguán region it is unsustainable. The death count has now surpassed 50.

Sending military forces is an attempt to distract from or blur the responsibility of the Armed Forces for the presence of death squads and in the protection of the repressive forces stationed in the region, known for their particularly provocative and homicidal vocation. Likewise, the manner in which the problem is being addressed allows us to deduce that what is being sought is to exhaust the campesinos' ability to fight in order to impose a predetermined solution privileging the interests of large agribusiness owners in the region.

But the blindness of the government, its commitment to big business and failure to recognize civil rights laws prevents it from seeing that, in the campesino struggle, the ability to fight will not be exhausted and that, in the absence of a just and democratic solution to the agrarian problem in the near future, the Aguán region could open the floodgates for actions of greater magnitude that would threaten the future of the entire country.

The escalation of violence has reached a key stage; a dramatic and bloody moment that obligates us, as academic and intellectuals, artists and creative workers of the most diverse affiliations, to denounce the vile behavior of the forces that attempt to resolve the latent structural conflicts in our society through political crimes, cold-blooded murder and intimidation of grassroots organizations.

Additionally, we are shocked that, despite all the evidence, the majority of the media, identified with the coup d'état and dedicated to repeating the official propaganda line, ignores the symptoms of social and political decay and goes on pretending that nothing is happening. As such, femicides are blamed, in accordance with police claims, on the victims; crimes against leaders of popular movements are unquestioningly attributed to common crime, drug trafficking or internal battles. They have even reached the extreme of brushing aside and distorting the facts behind the murder of an adolescent student who was participating in a peaceful protest at the entrance to his school.

These crimes continue to be met with total impunity and are carried out with greater and greater viciousness and cruelty, within the framework of a strategy to instill fear and neutralize our nation's will to fight.

We do not aim to dictate a political economic or social course of action, but rather to call attention to the savagery being used to stifle fair and just social demands. Violence indicates a State incapable of governing, maintaining order and protecting our coexistence, attributes that are the sine qua non of sovereignty and legitimacy.

In view of the above, we urge the national and international community to take a stand against the permanent bloodshed happening in the Bajo Aguán. Each life cut short for the sake of satisfying the interests of the national oligarchy and its transnational economic and political ties, is one more crime against humanity that distances us further from the possibility of rebuilding our coexistence.

Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, historian
Darío A. Euraque, historian
Teresa de Maria Campos; anthropologist and artist
Helen Umaña, writer
Isadora Paz, sociologist and artist/dancer
Aníbal Delgado Fiallos, sociologist
Mario Gallardo, writer
Mario Ardón Mejía, anthropologist
Adrienne Pine, anthropologist
Armando García, writer and photographer
Geraldina Tercero, anthropologist
Manuel de Jesús Pineda, writer
Roxana Pastor Fasquelle, educator
Guillermo Mejía, journalist
Eduardo Bähr, writer
Débora Ramos, writer
J Antonio Fúnez, writer and diplomat
Dana Frank, historian
Julio Escoto, writer
Patricia Murillo, journalist
Gustavo Larach, historian
María de los Ángeles Mendoza, historian
A. Flores, publicist
Allan Fajardo, sociologist and businessman
Anarella Vélez, historian
Héctor Martínez Mortiño, economist
Emilio Guerrero, writer and businessman
Héctor Castillo, artist
Jorge Martinez, writer
Sergio Raúl Rodríguez, musician
Víctor Manuel Ramos, medical doctor and writer
Mayra J. Mejía del Cid, lawyer
Héctor Valerio, medical doctor and businessman
Marcio Valenzuela, engineer and businessman
Gustavo Zelaya, philosopher and historian
Rosa María Messen Ghidinelli, sociologist
Jorge A. Amaya Banegas, historian
Daniel Reichman, anthropologist
Oscar A. Puerto Posas, economist
Russell Sheptak, historian and computer engineer
Rosemary Joyce, anthropologist
Mauricio de Maria Campos, economist and diplomat
Iris Mecía, poet and journalist
Joaquín Portillo historian
Isbela Orellana, sociologist
Omar Pinto, artist
Edgar Soriano, historian
Tito Estrada, playwright
Natalie Roque, historian
Cesar Lazo, journalist and writer
Fabricio Estrada, poet
Ricardo Salgado, policital scientist
Soledad Altamirano, poet
Rodolfo Pastor Campos, political scientist and diplomat
Lety Elvir, writer

September 1, 2011

No comments: