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Assailants Abduct, Murder Indigenous Environmental Activist in Honduras

TeleSUR

 July 7, 2016
  • COPINH represents Lenca indigenous people in resistance in the western provinces of Honduras, the traditional territories of the Lenca.

    COPINH represents Lenca indigenous people in resistance in the western provinces of Honduras, the traditional territories of the Lenca. | Photo: COPINH

 

Another Indigenous activist has been murdered in Honduras, with local activists reporting Wednesday night that a woman identified as Yaneth Urquia Urquia was found dead near a garbage dump with severe head trauma.

Urquia was a member of The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, the group founded by Berta Caceres, who was assassinated in March. According to La Voz Lenca, the communications arm of COPINH, Urquia was an active member of the activist group and fought against the building of hydroelectric power plants on Indigenous land.

“The comrade was killed with a knife,” the group said on its Facebook page, adding that she had been “abducted by unknown persons.”

Urquia’s body was found Wednesday near the municipal garbage dump in Marcala, in the western department of La Paz, according to Via Campesina Honduras, a local social movement. Her body has been sent to the Forensic Medical unit of the Public Ministry for an autopsy, it said.

 

The news comes four months after Berta Caceres, the founder of COPINH, was assassinated in her home. Caceres, an environmental activist, had been leading protests against the building of hydroelectric dams on Indigenous land. Four people have been arrested in connection with her murder, including both former and active members of the Honduras military.

Another leader of COPINH, Tomas Garcia, was shot dead at a peaceful protest in 2013.

Honduras has been wracked by violence since the 2009 U.S.-backed coup against its elected center-left government, experiencing one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Murder in Honduras

Intercontinental Cry

November 20, 2015

by Jay Taber

Honduras

March, 2015: “…the International Airport Toncontin, located in the country´s capital is going to close, and that a new international airport is going to be built inside the United States military base of Palmerola. Palmerola is the United States biggest military base in Central America, and permanently has 600 US troops. It is the main headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command. The base was used during the Cold War to plan and execute attacks against Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and many countries in the Caribbean. When former President Zelaya, ousted in a 2010 military coup, proposed taking control of the military base in 2008 and removing the the United States soldiers, he was strongly attacked by the national and international media. In contrast, Juan Orlando Hernandez has presented the same plan, but with the participation of the United State’s Army South Command, and the initiative is presented as a tool for development.” [Source]

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Murder of indigenous activists in Honduras has prompted the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz*, to issue a warning about state-sponsored ethnic cleansing there, where, since 2010, 44 indigenous activists have been killed to facilitate free market development.

Unfortunately, Corpuz fails to mention the US role in this atrocity. Having supported the 2009 coup, President Obama made sure the new Honduran government had the ways and means to terrorize activists and journalists.

REMILITARIZING CENTRAL AMERICA

TIGRES Commandos conduct bounding over watch exercises during training with Green Berets from 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Junglas from the Columbian National Police Tegucigalpa, Honduras., May. 08, 2014. 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Berets and Junglas from the Columbian National conduct daily physical training with TIGRES (Toma Integral Gubermental de Repuesta Especial de Seguridad) commandos to condition their bodies for the physical challenges they may encounter. The TIGRES will be the force of choice for the Honduran government with seeking to capture high value targets such as narcotraffiking and criminal leadership.(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven K. Young/Released)

Honduran commandos conduct unit leapfrogging exercises during training with U.S. soldiers and Colombian national policemen in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 8, 2014. | Source: U.S. Department of Defense

TIGRES Graduation

Honduran commandos demonstrate a river crossing before their graduation ceremony in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 19, 2014. U.S. 7th Special Forces soldiers and Colombian national policemen trained the commandos to be the force of choice for the Honduran Government. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven K. Young

War on the Poor in Honduras by Dawn Paley exposes the U.S. role in remilitarizing Central America. Taking a page from his idol Ronald Reagan, President Obama — who supported the 2009 military coup in Honduras — has established his credentials as a servant of the American Empire. While not yet a full-fledged fascist like his predecessor in the Oval Office, Obama is well on his way to institutionalizing a fascist, neoliberal agenda.

As Paley reports, the war on the poor by armed gangs — often working in collusion with the police, private security and soldiers in politically-motivated attacks on leftist party activists and journalists — has left residents of Honduras terrorized into silence by the Honduran elite. This elite of mafia-like families that control factories, banking and media, also control the government.

All of which has the U.S. military and the Obama White House to thank for ongoing support under the guise of the War on Drugs.

SWEATSHOP STATES

It turns out there was a logic to the U.S. coup in Honduras: maquiladoras in the form of city-states. What better way to advance the U.S. neoliberal agenda in Latin America than militarized sweatshop states exempt from national and international law? Barack and Hillary must be proud of their junior achievers.

EXPORTING VIOLENCE

When the US abandoned any pretense at pursuing democratic values, opting instead for an economy based solely on exporting violence and fraud, the window of opportunity for democratic reform in Latin America rapidly closed. As Upside Down World reports, the 2009 US-backed coup in Honduras has set in motion a replay of President Reagan’s murderous meddling in Central America, while Plan Colombia and the reintroduction of U.S. military bases in Chile and Argentina preclude even neoliberal independence in South America. As President Obama seeks to emulate and maybe even surpass the ruthlessness of his mentor President Reagan, democracies and democratic movements in the Western hemisphere are no more immune to U.S. military aggression and economic subversion than are Central Asia or the Middle East.

NO ONE LISTENING

The American aristocracy has always lived well off the theft of land and labor, but in the 21st Century, the game has changed. Dissatisfied with merely profiting handsomely from investing their inherited wealth in productive enterprise, the aristocracy today uses their publicly-funded privileges to gut American enterprise. Through hostile takeovers using private equity trading firms, they buy profitable corporations, sell off the assets, pocket the cash, and close them down. When that doesn’t work, they get bailouts from the U.S. Treasury.

The growing numbers of unemployed, hungry and homeless in the United States is testimony to the success of the largely unregulated private equity trading in securing the aristocracy’s power and influence into the future. As owners of the media, as well as the financiers of most federal political candidates, the aristocracy pretty much rules unopposed.

As for civil society NGOs and academic institutions, they have mostly succumbed to the aristocratic paternalism of philanthropic foundations, now functioning for the large part as public relations agents for privatization. Some might want to lay all this at the feet of a genuine American aristocrat by the name of George W. Bush, but it was Barack Obama who announced to us eight years ago that his ideological idol was Ronald Reagan, the epitome of American fascism. Was no one listening?

 

 

*Victoria Tauli Corpus is the Executive Director of Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy and Research Education). Corpus is also is a board-member of Conservation International. Both Corpus and the NGO she oversees, that of Tebtebba, work closely with the United Nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) and have been instrumental in pushing the false solution of REDD forward. From Feb 2002 to present Corpus has been a Member of National Selection Committee of the Ford Foundation who has invested heavily in advancing the REDD agenda. As well, Corpus has served as board member of the pre-COP15 corporate creation TckTckTck. TckTckTck was  initiated by the United Nations working with one of the largest marketing agencies in the world (Havas), while partnering with many of the most powerful corporations on the planet, in a united effort to “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” [courtesy Wrong Kind of Green]

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

WATCH: Canadian Aid to Haiti Tied to Mining Interests

 

January 13, 2013

Real News

 

Yves Engler: Strategic objectives of Canadian aid are to strengthen a pro-elite police and advance Canadian commercial interests.

Watch full multipart The Ugly Canadian

THE SLOW AND SILENT GENOCIDE THE US IS CONDUCTING IN HAITI

Posted on July 19, 2012 by

Libya 360

This writing reviews, in two parts, the consequences of US investment in Haiti. It looks at the New York Times investigation into the Caracol industrial park, its anchor tenant, the South Korea’s Sae-A Trading, giving Haiti context with the Bitter Cane documentary on industrial parks in Haiti 40-years ago. The piece illustrates that Washington’s bait and switch use of donation dollars and US taxpayer aid for private profit is a colonial blueprint in Haiti. US intervention is not intended, even when called “Haiti reconstruction” to provide sustainable jobs and infrastructure for Haitians. Caracol itself is window dressing covering the infrastructure the US is building for the mineral and vast oil reserves the US occupies Haiti to exploit.

Ezili Dantò

PART I

July 2012 – A Factory Grows in Haiti
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The showcase project for Haiti’s earthquake reconstruction is being built far outside the disaster zone, in a location that could jeopardize the country’s key conservation effort.
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Haiti: Bitter Cane Documentary

Haiti, 35, 40years ago:
“Notice how long ago it’s been since Haitians knew there was gold in Haiti. It’s the same for Haiti’s vast oil, which the US strategically denies. But now that the one-percenters have de-legitimized elections and lined up their puppet government, perhaps sometime soon the New York Times shall suddenly “discover” Haiti oil reserves and what Ezili HLLN has been pointing out for a decade now. Haiti’s mineral riches and oil in Haiti are the economic reasons the US took down Haiti’s democratically elected government in 2004, installed the US occupation behind UN guns with the humanitarian invasion.”

– Ezili Dantò

The constant US bait and switch in Haiti: A Historical Perspective

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The uninformed, reading the New York times on Haiti two years ago, not the New York Times of Earthquake Relief Where Haiti Wasn’t Broken (July 5, 2012), vilified and marginalized Ezili’s HLLN, said we exaggerated when we pointed out that Western foreign investment in Haiti has mostly meant more Haiti suffering, death, pain and inhuman tribulations. (See, Bitter Cane pt. 6/7.)

The Deborah Sontag’s New York Times investigative report maintains that in the rush to show reconstruction progress the international stakeholders and US State Department building the Caracol industrial park have ignored labor and environmental concerns.

But Haitians who die a thousand deaths for Haiti renewal know there is a hidden war of attrition going on against the Haiti masses. The tyranny is not inadvertent. (US justice for the Haiti cholera victims would be collectively awarding $40million to Paul Farmer pharmaceuticals for cholera vaccines.)

Historically for Haiti, what is called foreign “investment” has always meant the unscrupulous extraction of profits without regards to its consequences on the people or environment and leaving no useful gain in Haiti whatsoever. More malicious, the conditions for US-style (one-percenter) investment requires the Haiti government not to subsidize its own people’s critical public service needs but to leave this to the so-called free market.

Hurting the peasant and poor Haitian to the point of collapse so to force these masses to accept any wage, any pie-in-the sky-promise of jobs and infrastructure, any political condition imposed by the humanitarian invasion is the central focus of US policy in Haiti, not a corrosive side effect, unintended, haphazard, incidental or misguided as the critics of the Caracol industrial project seem to diplomatically say. The failure of US foreign aid in Haiti is structural and ugly. Racism and paranoia inexorably reigns. In the mindless fury the corporatocracy views Haiti as a time bomb which must be defused immediately.

Foreign investment has thus equaled more Haiti suffering – that is, the taking of Haiti peasant lands for building factories, foreign compounds, for mining, other resource extractions and agribusiness that pollutes, contaminates water supplies, crops, and fails to bring sufficient local economic benefits. (More than 15% of Haiti’s territory is under license to North American mining firms and their partners.)

Foreign investment doesn’t ignite ?Haiti development when all capital is flown overseas, the companies pay no taxes and there’s no living wage.

BITTER CANE

Songtag writes:

“the showcase project of the reconstruction effort is this: an industrial park that will create jobs and housing in an area undamaged by the temblor, a venture that risks benefiting foreign companies more than Haiti itself.”

Sontag explains that the Caracol site contains Haiti’s:

“most extensive mangrove reserve and a large strip of coral reef. Before the earthquake, the bay had been picked from 1,100 miles of coastline to become the first marine protected area in Haiti, the only Caribbean country without one. “The fact of having chosen this site, I’d call it heresy,” said Arnaud Dupuy, head of Haiti’s Audubon Society.”

Assembly plant factories caused great damage to Haiti back 40years ago when Papa Doc Duvalier, before his death, allowed their entry. That damage created the slum of Site Soley (although slum hotbeds started with the first US occupation), the primary “unstable” Haiti area given as a pretext for the endless 2004 UN MINUSTAH mission into Haiti. So what troop surge, Blackwater-like private military security or additional military deployment is the US searching a pretext for in the oil and gold-rich North of Haiti?

See-A closed flagship Guatemalan factory against backdrop of antiunion repression, rape, worker abuse, goes to ?Haiti. Having laid the eugenics groundwork, there is no way the United States is not fully aware of the labor and environmental damage projects like the Caracol industrial park will cause. And, combine with the $2obillion worth in gold mining activities also in that area -the tipping point impact, deadly ruptures, further economic and social quakes to come.

Deborah Sontag writes that before “the Haiti deal was sealed, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. urged American and international officials to reconsider.” Her report explains how Sae-A’s labor practices were consistently brought to the attention of officials:

“The A.F.L.-C.I.O. summarized what it called Sae-A’s “worst labor and criminal law violations” in Guatemala, accusing Sae-A of using bribes, death threats and imprisonment to prevent and break up unions and said a local union suspected company officials of involvement in a union leader’s rape never investigated by Guatemalan authorities…labor advocates worry, too, that Caracol will undermine the nearby Codevi industrial park, the only unionized garment operation in the country. Fernando Capellán, the owner of Codevi, said, “They’re going to destroy my jobs to create cheaper jobs in Caracol.”

With this toxic cocktail of conflicts and intentional malice, the only question is: why wouldn’t US officials expect the coming ?bloody showdown and Haiti? battle to clear this Charlemagne Peralte area of foreign dominance?

This Caracol “foreign investment/development” and “opening Haiti for business” US spiel is a REPEAT of the sugar plantation failures and foreign capital promises used to pillage Haiti, exploit, make foreigners rich. Failed sweatshops zones being sold as “development” is too transparent an idiocy for the supporters of the Caracol park to couch and excuse their lack of a moral compass, greed, cluelessness or sheer malevolence with protestations about “a rush to make reconstruction progress!” Wasting millions on ineffective cholera vaccines, instead of  immediately spending the donation dollars on permanent clean water and sanitation infrastructure, was also justified by Washington as “a rush to make progress!”

The damage and death of the old industrial parks are well documented in the Bitter Cane documentary film made clandestinely under the Duvalier dictatorship.

For Ezili’s HLLN, the indigenous revolutionary model and lexicon to end despotism, dependency, the humanitarian invasion and US occupation in Haiti was set long ago by the African Ancestors at the beginning of the Haiti revolution with the Bwa Kayiman call: “stop the imperialist, their Black collaborator and all their evil forces.”

Haitians peasants have no problem with private property ownership, the lakou/konbit and a mix-economy with public controls exercised on critical sectors to the common good, like infrastructure, clean water, sanitation, roads, health care, basic education, food production, adequate housing not being subject to profit as the sole barometer for these  basic needs to sustain life, not luxuries. The documentary uses a Marxist lexicon which may not resonate for this age.  Nevertheless Bitter Cane is a worthy reference point. It provides direct historical context, illustrates the Haiti struggle and how such US industrial parks, racist and neoliberal economic policies in Haiti meant more suffering for Haiti’s masses.

Haïti: Les ONG sont-elles un outil de domination néocoloniale? | Un État faible face à une invasion d’ONG

Colloque international sur le rôle des ONG en Haïti

par Julie Lévesque

Mondialisation.ca, Le 17 juin 2012

Ceci est la première partie d’une série sur le colloque du 15 juin qui s’est tenu à Montréal, Les ONG en Haïti: entre le bien et le mal.

Paternalisme, néocolonialisme, outil de domination de l’ordre mondial, voilà seulement quelques-uns des attributs et concepts accolés aux organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) lors du colloque sur le rôle controversé des ONG en Haïti, lequel a soulevé des passions le 15 juin à Montréal. L’organisatrice Nancy Roc d’Incas Productions, a admis que ce colloque intitulé « Les ONG en Haïti : entre le bien et le mal », est « un colloque qui dérange ». Elle a salué la présence de plusieurs ministres haïtiens : « Ce sont eux qu’on accuse mais ils sont là aujourd’hui, ils nous prennent au sérieux », dit-elle avant de déplorer l’absence d’un grand nombre d’ONG québécoises.


Nancy Roc au colloque « Les ONG en Haïti : entre le bien et le mal » 15 juin 2012.

« Les Québécois ont été les plus généreux donateurs et ils sont en droit de se demander où sont les fonds. J’ai contacté toutes les ONG, l’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), et la plupart n’ont même pas pris la peine de me répondre. J’ai appris la semaine dernière que l’AQOCI tenait son assemblée générale aujourd’hui même. J’étais prête à payer pour que le programme du colloque soit affiché sur le site de l’AQOCI. On m’a répondu que ce n’était pas possible pour le technicien web…

 « Lorsqu’une étude a été menée auprès des ONG par le Disaster Accountability Project (États-Unis), 80% des ONG ont refusé de rendre des comptes. On accuse souvent le gouvernement haïtien mais seulement 1% de l’aide s’est rendue au gouvernement. Pour chaque dollar canadien donné à Haïti, 6 sous seulement sont allés aux Haïtiens. Voici la vérité qu’on ne vous dit pas.

 « La plupart des rôles de l’État ont été refilés aux ONG, les fonds sont dirigés vers d’autres gouvernements, vers des compagnies privées étrangères. Comment s’étonner que l’on qualifie Haïti de Far West des ONG! Il s’est développé en Haïti une forme de colonialisme humanitaire. Depuis 1986, Haïti est le pays qui a reçu le plus d’aide mais s’est appauvri. Et on accuse les victimes! Par ailleurs, les ONG haïtiennes ne reçoivent pas d’aide et pourtant ce sont elles qui connaissent le pays et les besoins de la situation. »

Mme Roc se défend de vouloir faire le procès des ONG. Le but de ce colloque est de « chercher des solutions et mettre en œuvre une coordination entre les acteurs, d’amorcer un dialogue, un nouveau virage ».

La faiblesse de l’État haïtien et la propagande voulant qu’il soit trop corrompu pour se voir allouer des fonds profite grandement aux ONG étrangères qui récoltent l’aide financière qui autrement irait à l’État. Ce dernier est davantage affaibli par cette pratique et les intervenants ont dans une grande majorité mis l’accent sur la nécessité du renforcement de l’État. S’il faut avoir les moyens de ses ambitions, le renforcement de l’État haïtien passe d’abord et avant tout par les moyens financiers.

« Est-ce la faiblesse de l’État qui a causé cette invasion d’ONG dans les compétences gouvernementales ou l’invasion d’ONG qui a contribué à affaiblir l’État? » Sans amener de réponse à la question que plusieurs se posent, le directeur exécutif de l’Observatoire canadien sur les crises et l’aide humanitaire, François Audet, conclut qu’il « faut revoir les paradigmes de l’intervention en Haïti ».

Daniel Supplice, ministre des Haïtiens vivant à l’étranger accuse plutôt l’instabilité politique d’être responsable de la faiblesse de l’État. Il n’a toutefois pas mentionné le rôle prépondérant des pays donateurs dans l’instabilité politique haïtienne.

Ce rôle antidémocratique des grandes puissances est également passé sous silence dans les grands médias qui n’osent même pas parler du coup d’État concocté par le Canada, les États-Unis et la France contre Jean-Bertrand Aristide en 2004 et préfèrent le qualifier de « départ » du président. Ce dernier, élu démocratiquement avec un pourcentage des suffrages à faire rougir n’importe quel dirigeant des pays qui l’ont chassé du pouvoir, faisait face à une insurrection armée et financée entre autres par le CIA. Quant à l’opposition politique, le gouvernement canadien a largement contribué à son financement :

Le gouvernement canadien a été fortement impliqué sur tous les plans dans le coup d’État. Le Canada, l’Union européenne et les États-Unis avaient supprimé toute aide au gouvernement Fanmi Lavalas tout en finançant ses opposants. Pire, le Canada a participé à la planification et à l’exécution du renversement du gouvernement et au kidnapping d’Aristide. La nuit du coup, 125 troupes canadiennes étaient sur le terrain à Port-au-Prince, assurant la sécurité de l’aéroport à partir duquel les soldats étasuniens forceraient Aristide à prendre un avion pour l’exil. Le Canada a aidé à installer le nouveau régime non élu et lui a fourni des millions de dollars d’aide. L’aspect probablement le plus honteux est que les troupes canadiennes et les policiers envoyés en Haïti ont activement appuyé la répression. (Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Dru Oja Jay, Paved with Good Intentions, 2012, p. xi. Traduction libre.)

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