Mexico (Sputnik) – A new global survey has named Mexico the second deadliest area in the world after Syria, due to the Central American nation’s violent ongoing drug war. Syria’s six-year war came in first for most dangerous conflict for the fifth consecutive year,…
Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.
In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.
US lawmakers have proposed new legislation meant to pressure the Honduran government into doing more to find and prosecute those behind a slew of assassinations of prominent environmental leaders in the country. Named after an indigenous leader murdered earlier this year, the “Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act” (HR5474) was brought before the US Congress on June 15 by five Democrats.
The proposal has become a growing source of international controversy.
Lawmakers are asking Washington to “suspend US aid to Honduran police and military until human rights violations by security forces cease and those responsible for of such crimes are brought to justice.” The objective of the law is to weaken government security forces and paramilitaries, who have frequently been implicated in the human-rights violations of environmental activists, union leaders, journalists, lawyers, activists, Afro-indigenous community members, farmers, LGBTI activists, and people who criticize the government.
“Lesbia Yaneth lives, the fight continues! Berta lives, the fight continues!”
With those words, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, or COPINH) concluded their statement on their blog about the murder of community leader Lesbia Yaneth Urquía in Honduras on July 7. Her body was found in a garbage dump; she reportedly had suffered injuries to the head.
Her death was nationally and internationally condemned as yet another blow to the environmentalist fight in the region. The news came at a time when the country is still trying to recover from the loss of Berta Cáceres, the co-founder of COPINH who was murdered four months ago.
Deposed Seven Years Ago, Leftist Manuel Zelaya Seeks to Return to Power in 2017
Former president of Honduras and current congressman for the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre), José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, struck controversy on June 30 when he called on his sympathizers “ready you AK-47s” to fight those who wish to push him out of 2017 presidential race.
According to Zelaya, who was ousted from the presidency seven years ago, “this country entered into a process of political dictatorship since the 2009 coup d’état. The government has kept denying the breakdown of constitutional order in Honduras ever since.”
Recent murders are affecting indigenous people’s efforts to protect the environment.
When Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was gunned down in her home last spring the international community and even activists in the notoriously violent country were shocked. Her death followed threats related to her support for indigenous people fighting the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam along the Gualcarque River.
A few days after her death Nelson García, another leader of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (known as COPINH), which Cáceres founded in 1993 to advocate for the native Lenca peoples’ rights, was also murdered.
Have these recent deaths made a difference in indigenous efforts to protect the environment? Though change is slow, there is some indication that they are not going unheeded.
“Berta had such an amazing support network and she had done so much great work in reaching out to other organizations both domestically and internationally that there’s this enormous outrage when she was assassinated,” says Danielle DeLuca, project manager for the Cambridge-based nonprofit Cultural Survival, which advocates for indigenous groups around the world.
Fifteen years ago, scholars and political scientists alike announced the Rise of the New Left in Latin America: with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Lula/Rouseff in Brazil it seemed the tide was turning in Latin America. And while we have all been hopeful that Latin America was on a path to success, it seems that joy is short lived. Even if you are only vaguely familiar with Latin American history, a history ranging from colonialism to outright imperialism, you have some inkling that the US has played a critical role in shaping political leadership within the region; often times unjustly destabilising regimes which were the result of democratically held, free and fair elections (an ideal supposedly supported by the US).
The military coups of the 1970s and the following military dictatorships, ushered in a period of ‘disappearances’, neoliberal economics, privatisation, and socially restrictive policies. And if we look back further we can see a litany of other disasters like the destruction of popular movements, the ousting and defeat of elected leaders, and other horrors overseen by the US. The notion that US directly oversaw such atrocities, once conspiracy, is now widely accepted as truth. Thus, when they ask: why does Latin America have so many problems? We can answer: Imperialism.
Latin America rebounded from the military dictatorships of the 70s in a big way, many countries holding free and fair elections, establishing solidarity between other LA nations in what has been referred to as a ‘pink tide’. For some, this ‘pink tide’ was not ‘leftist’ enough (and this isn’t to say that these regimes were perfect, far from it), however significant economic and social recovery was made under these regimes and many leaders at least attempted to address inequality, inflation, and US interference. More recently, things seem to be slipping into what may seem like a distant memory.
32,952 Unaccompanied Minors Arrested between October and May
The number of unaccompanied immigrant children detained at the southwestern US border continues to increase and has exceeded the figures recorded for 2015, according to data released by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CPB).
With four months remaining in the fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2015, it was revealed that 32,952 unaccompanied children have been detained by border authorities, compared to 39,970 that were recorded throughout the previous fiscal year.
If we compare the data recorded up to April of this fiscal year with those in 2014 when there was a wave of child immigrating from Central America (described as a “humanitarian crisis”), the numbers show a similar situation could be repeated this time around.