On June 20 the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA) reported that Honduran soldiers from the Cobra Battalion, agents of the Preventive Police and private security guards from the Orión company had entered the Aurora estate in northern Honduras that morning and attacked campesinos who were encamped there. A teenage campesino whose name was given as Oscar Yovani Ramírez or Oscar Geovanny Ramírez died in the operation, and five other campesinos were detained, according to MUCA.
The campesinos in La Aurora are parties to an agreement MUCA and Honduran president Porfirio (“Pepe”) Lobo Sosa signed on Apr. 18 to bring an end to a land dispute between Aguán Valley residents and large landowners Miguel Facussé, René Morales and Reinaldo Canales. The 24 campesino cooperatives that make up MUCA say they withdrew from the 24 farms they’d been occupying and settled in five estates—La Lempira, La Confianza, La Aurora, La Concepción and Camarones—while waiting for the government to turn over the 11,000 hectares promised them in the accord. They blame the government for delays in providing the land and for its refusal to end the heavy military and police presence in the area. (Defensoresenlinea.com, June 20; FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) communiqué, June 20 via Vos el Soberano)
The latest violence in the Aguán Valley came as people in Honduras and elsewhere prepared to mark the first anniversary of a military coup that removed then-president José Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya Rosales (2006-2009) from office on June 28, 2009. In the US, 27 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on June 24 calling on the administration of US president Barack Obama to suspend aid to Honduras and to send a mission there to investigate human rights violations. The letter, signed by House National Security Subcommittee chair John Tierney (D-MA) and Judicial Committee chair John Conyers (D-MI), noted that nine journalists were murdered in Honduras during the last year. (AFP, June 26)
In Honduras, the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), a coalition that grew out of resistance to the coup, was planning a series of events for June 28 and the days leading up to it. The front has collected more than 1.2 million signatures calling for Zelaya’s return from his exile in the Dominican Republic and for the convocation of a constituent assembly to rewrite the 1982 Constitution. The coup halted a nonbinding referendum scheduled for June 28, 2009 that would have asked voters if they wished to vote on a constituent assembly in the national elections to be held on Nov. 29, 2009. (La Jornada, June 27 from AFP, DPA, Reuters)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 27.