National news coverage in recent weeks has focused on migrants at the southern border. Many are asylum seekers fleeing Honduras. A group of Honduran activists and their allies in Colorado have formed a group called Lucha para Honduras Libre or “Fight for a Free Honduras” to advocate for policies that address the root causes fueling the current wave of migration.
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The group is calling on Congress to pass two bills:
- The Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act would suspend U.S. funding for police and military operations and prohibit the disbursement of international loans providing security assistance unless the Honduran government investigates and prosecutes human rights violations by their police and military forces.
- The Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act (S388 in the Senate) would suspend U.S. assistance to the Honduran military and police, and prohibit exports of munitions and arms to Honduras. It also directs President Joe Biden to sanction and cease assisting the Honduran president and accused drug trafficker Juan Orlando Hernandez. The government Hernandez leads has also been widely implicated in high-level corruption and human rights abuses.
Ramon Medina, organizer of Lucha por Honduras Libre, explains the historical complexity of the situation.
“One of the biggest problems there was in 2009 when the coup happened, the United States supported the coup. People are leaving the country because it’s getting harder and harder every time to protest. If they decide to fight to defend water, the mountains, and their families, it sets a precedent for those activists to get killed. People need to know that all the economic help the United States gives to the president of Honduras, to Hernandez, just to make him strong, that he uses to take away from our people, to take away their freedom to speak up.“
Unaccompanied minors are now coming into the United States in large numbers, crossing through Mexico. Here in Colorado, officials are discussing opening a facility in Colorado Springs to house unaccompanied migrant children. The United States is currently trying to find locations nationwide to house unaccompanied kids until their asylum request is processed. Thus far, corporate media reporting has primarily focused on the large number of youth coming into the United States. We never hear about why they do it, leaving behind parents, their language, and their land out of desperation.
It is difficult to understand the level of corruption in a government that has recently shown ties to drugs, cartels and human rights violations. Local activists explain that instead of supporting the communities by providing food safety and equality, the financial aid that the U.S. provides Honduras is instead used for more and more policing of the community.
Lucha para Honduras Libre is hosting an information session Wednesday evening with Dr. Dana Frank, professor at UC Santa Cruz and expert in Honduras and US relations. Frank will explain the historical context and current situation, the reasons why people are fleeing, and the legislative proposals that would cut support to Honduran security forces.
The session is scheduled for April 7 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. Details can be found on the Lucha Para Honduras Libre Facebook page.
Lucha Para Honduras Libre Facebook page
Lucha Para Honduras Libre webinar page