Honduras: campesinos evicted in Aguán Valley

The Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA) reported that during the week of May 10 police and military forcibly removed campesinos from at least four cooperatives in the northern Atlantic region of Honduras. The police evicted campesinos from the San Isidro cooperative on May 10 and left about 100 agents at the site to keep the campesinos from returning. On May 12 security guards working for landowners René Morales and Miguel Facussé, along with some 60 police agents and soldiers, removed campesinos from the El Despertar in the Aguán River Valley, according to one of the campesinos. The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) reported that police and soldiers evacuated the San Esteban and Trinidad cooperatives on May 13.

MUCA and Honduran president Porfirio (“Pepe”) Lobo Sosa signed an agreement on April 18 that was supposed to bring an end to tensions over land in the Aguán Valley. But CODEH predicted on May 15 that “the tension will continue…if the causes which created it remain unchanged, including the complicity of the judicial personnel with the region’s big landowners; the lack of transparency and independence in the judicial system will go on being a bottleneck in finding solutions to conflicts.” (Adital, May 13 with information from Defensoresenlinea.com; Vos el Soberano, Honduras, May 15 from Comunicaciones-SJ, May 15 from CODEH)

On May 13 the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), Honduras’ main coalition of labor and grassroots organizations, sponsored an event at the Hibueras Institute in Tegucigalpa to show support for a hunger strike, then in its 17th day, by laid-off workers of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). University rector Julieta Castellanos has dismissed some 180 workers; the hunger strikers also blame her for the imprisonment of 16 leaders of the UNAH Workers Union (SITRAUNAH) at the end of March.

Castellanos is a member of a Truth Commission that the Lobo government has set up to produce a report on the coup carried out by the military June 28, 2009 and the human rights violations associated with it. “I don’t understand how it is that this lady is on the so-called Truth Commission,” SITRAUNAH general secretary Wilfredo Zelaya Galo said on May 13, “since she’s a human rights violator and is violating the rights and guarantees of each of the laid-off workers.” (Adital, May 13 with information from Defensoresenlinea.com; Vos el Soberano, Honduras, May 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 16.

See our last post on Honduras.