Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts

June 6, 2016

Another Gay Rights Activist Murdered in Honduras


Members of the gay and lesbian community demonstrates in demand of justice for the murder of the human rights advocate and leader of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, Walter Trochez, in 2009, in Tegucigalpa, on May 13, 2011.  AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 200 killed since 2009

A leading gay-rights activist in Honduras was strangled to death this week, adding to the already alarming violence against LGBT people in the Central American country.
 Rene Martínez, 40, went missing on Wednesday after leaving his home in San Pedro- 
(pic from ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)



Sula’s Chamelecón neighborhood.  On Friday, relatives identified his body at the morgue.
The U.S. embassy in Honduras described Martínez as “a leader in the LGBTI community… and a rising political figure in Honduras.” 
“We offer our condolences to his friends and family,” it added, “and expect a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances of his death.”
Martínez was president of Comunidad Gay Sampredrana, and worked to combat the violence that plagues the country’s LGBT community.
Human rights groups estimate more than 215 LGBT Hondurans have been killed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity since the 2009 and 2015. 
 Threats can come from any direction: Shortly after the 2009 coup d’état, activist Walter Trochez (above) was reportedly assassinated by the new regime for organizing dissent. 
In 2012, journalist Erick Alexander Martínez was tortured and strangled to death just a few weeks after being selected as the first openly gay candidate to run for Congress in Honduras. (Prosecutors insisted his murder was a crime of passion by a drug-dealing boyfriend.)
Just this past January, Paola Barraza, a trans woman and human-rights advocate, was shot to death outside her home in Comayagüela. “I’ve been imprisoned on many occasions. I’ve suffered torture and sexual violence because of my activism, and I’ve survived many assassination attempts,” activist Donny Reyes told Index on Censorship.
Editor in Chief of NewNowNext. Comic book enthusiast. Bounder and cad. "I can't promise I'll try, but I'll try to try."

March 12, 2016

Award Winner Environmentalist Joins the Murdered Roles in Honduras




                                                                     

 Oakland, Calif. — It was always a relief to see my aunt Berta, whom we affectionately called Bertita. Not just because of the constant threats to her life, but because she was a “rayo de luna” — a ray of moonlight — in any situation. 

On March 3, shortly after midnight, unidentified gunmen stormed into the house where she was staying in La Esperanza, Honduras, and killed her. Berta Cáceres was a human rights and environmental activist who was playing a leading role in opposing a dam project that would force an indigenous community to abandon its ancestral homes and their livelihoods.

She was just one more victim in the continuing war against activists in Honduras.

The London-based human rights organization Global Witness has reported that at least 109 environmental activists were killed in Honduras between 2010 and 2015. Scores of journalists, human rights defenders, union leaders, L.G.B.T. rights activists, legal professionals and political activists have also been murdered over the last few years. A vast majority of these killings remain unsolved.

For a decade, Bertita and the organization she co-founded, the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, had been fighting against construction of the Agua Zarca Dam across the Gualcarque River. It sits on land considered sacred by the Lenca, an indigenous people, to which Bertita belonged through her father. The Lenca said the project, for which the Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. received a concession and which has been financed by the Dutch development bank FMO, has proceeded even though the Lenca were not consulted, as required by international law.

Rather than provide protection to council members, the Honduran security forces and judicial authorities have been part and parcel of the campaign of attacks and intimidation against the organization. Since 2013, according to Global Witness, three other members of the group have been killed, including one shot by a soldier as he peacefully protested the project. Bertita received frequent death threats, was detained by the police and faced trumped-up charges in court.

The attacks and threats only strengthened her resolve.

But Bertita was also a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and grandmother — she leaves behind four adult children and a grandson. As her children grew, she found it necessary to send three of them abroad for their secondary and college educations, so they could feel safe from the threats she faced.

During my frequent visits as a child to Honduras and our large extended family, Bertita and I — she was only two years my elder — would chase each other and our cousins around the garden playing hide-and-seek, or play soccer in the dirt patches, always being careful not to crush my grandmother’s red roses.

In July 2009, I went to Honduras as a producer for an international news network. It was the day after a coup by the Honduran military, business elites and right-wing political opposition removed the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, from office. Army troops whisked him away to Costa Rica in his pajamas.
Bertita had been working with indigenous groups on education and rights issues with Mr. Zelaya’s support. She was already well known throughout the countryside and by international rights organizations in the region. Her opposition to the coup catapulted her into global recognition.

On our first night in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, I decided to profile her, but she warned me: “We need to go to a safe house. Come with us and we’ll talk there.” We set out in a taxi. One of her cellphones rang. After a quick conversation with another organizer, she said, “We need to switch taxis and someone will pick us up.”

This had become her life in Honduras; there were no roses to worry about now.

At our destination, we ducked between houses and walked down a corridor to the back of one. We were welcomed by “compañeros en la lucha” — companions in the struggle. They cooked us a meal while we sat down and began filming.

Over the next few days I saw Bertita at rallies and leading protest marches. She spoke with vigor, clarity and force. She didn’t mince words. It was a side of her I had not seen.

“La lucha” was in Bertita’s blood. There was no other calling for her. We would never have tried to stop her because we all believed in what she was doing. Still, we knew that someday it would come at a cost.

Her work brought her the Goldman Environmental Prize, many other awards, and international recognition, all of which should have shielded her from harm. Perhaps they did for a while. But they also made her an even greater threat to the business and media elite, the military and the corrupt politicians of one of the world’s most dangerous places in which to be an activist.

And so, she was silenced.

Now the Honduran police and government have begun a campaign of information obfuscation. They first claimed the attack on her was a botched robbery, then a “crime of passion.” Then, a lawyer for our family in Honduras told me, they detained a friend of Berta’s who saw the murder as a material witness, and have asked to question leaders of the council, while making an outrageous claim that there might have been a power struggle in the group. The most obvious suspects — the public and private agents who attacked and harassed Berta and the council for years — don’t seem to be on the investigators’ radar.

But this could, at long last, become a turning point for one of Latin America’s poorest and most violent nations. Berta Cáceres touched countless lives, and the outrage in Honduras and around the world is palpable.

Much more international pressure can and should be leveled at the Honduran government — for an independent international investigation to uncover not just the triggermen, but also the highest-ranking authors of this attack and so many other killings of activists.

Silvio Carrillo is a freelance film and news producer based in California whose work has included coverage abroad for CNN, Al Jazeera English and The South China Morning Post.

SILVIO CARRILLO







October 5, 2015

Honduras Gets Help on It’s Violence Problem against Gays



                                                                                 
 Protest against the unprecedented violence against gays in Honduras
  
The Catrachas Network, a Honduran advocacy group, has received a $24,000 grant through the State Department that will allow it to undertake a study coverage of LGBT-specific issues in the country’s media. This funding will also allow the organization to publish a guide for journalists who want to report on these topics. “They’re now a direct partner of ours,” said Nealon, referring to Catrachas. Tim Wolff, director of “The Sons of Tennessee Williams,” a film that highlights New Orleans’ gay Mardi Gras, traveled to Honduras in late May at the invitation of the embassy to meet with university students and local advocates. Gay Long Beach (Calif.) Mayor Robert Garcia has also visited the country through the State Department’s Speaker Program.

 The U.S. Agency for International Development is also working with advocates on how to improve the relationship they have with the Honduran government. Francisco Martínez of the Honduran Secretary of External Affairs and Vice Minister of Human Rights and Justice Karla Cueva on Friday both spoke at the opening of an LGBT rights conference at a Tegucigalpa hotel the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has co-sponsored. Representatives of the Honduran government on Thursday attended a reception with advocates from across Latin America who are attending the conference. Randy Berry, the special U.S. envoy to promote global LGBT rights, and García also took part in the event. Luis Velásquez and José Gaspar, two Honduran LGBT rights advocates, turned their backs to Martínez and Cueva as they spoke at the conference. -

Local activists who took part in a conference they organized in Tegucigalpa on Thursday complained that existing laws do little to deter anti-LGBT discrimination. Many of them remain critical of the Honduran government for not doing enough to address discrimination and violence. “They have a conciliatory tone towards the LGBTI community and towards vulnerable groups in general,” Velásquez told the Blade after he and Gaspar protested Martínez and Cueva. “But the state’s actions are rather repressive.” - See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/10/03/u-s-seeks-to-promote-lgbt-rights-in-honduras/#sthash.8OtTWGSS.dpuf

The Honduran constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The country does not have a law that specifically prohibits anti-LGBT hate crimes. Nealon told the Blade that the embassy has not faced any “pushback” from the country’s government over its efforts in support of LGBT-specific issues. He said the country’s influential Roman Catholic Church has also not publicly resisted these efforts.
“It hasn’t come up,” said Nealon.

The embassy’s efforts are taking place against the backdrop of the Obama administration’s decision to make LGBT rights a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

Obama on Monday referenced LGBT rights in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly. The president last month invited retired gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, among others, to a White House ceremony with Pope Francis.
Berry in April officially assumed his post within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He joined six gay men who represent the U.S. in the Dominican Republic, Spain and Andorra, Denmark, Vietnam, Australia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as ambassadors. 

The State Department and USAID coordinate the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership that is designed to promote LGBT rights around the world. The Obama administration nevertheless continues to face criticism from advocates who maintain it has not done enough to challenge countries with anti-LGBT rights records.
Nealon told the Blade he is “very proud” of the White House’s continued focus on global LGBT rights.

“As an ambassador one of your jobs is to deliver difficult messages sometimes or unpleasant messages or messages that you’re not comfortable delivering, but that’s not the case with these issues,” he said. “These are issues that we can all be proud of. We can all be proud of how far our country has come.”


washingtonblade.com 


Legal Civil Rights in Honduras 

Same-sex sexual activity legal
        yes       Since 1899          
 Equal age of consent
          Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only
           No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services
           No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)
           No
Hate crimes laws include sexual orientation and gender identity
           Yes
Same-sex marriages
         No (Constitutional ban since 2005)
Recognition of same-sex couples
           No 
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples
          No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples
          No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military
          No
Right to change legal gender
          No
Access to IVF for lesbians
          No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples
          No
MSMs allowed to donate blood
          No


October 3, 2015

In Honduras You can’t discriminate by law-You Can’t marry Either or Adopt



                                                                     
 Gay pride in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This city is known as the Murder Capital of the World and the Gay population is one of the targets. 
                                                                 

The Honduran constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also prohibits same-sex couples from marrying and adopting children.

Honduras does not have a law that specifically bans hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Advocates continue to urge the country’s lawmakers to support a law that would allow trans Hondurans to legally change their name and gender.

“The state of Honduras must guarantee the protection and the defense of human rights,” reads a statement the organizers of Thursday’s conference released. “[It must] remain independent from all religious influence in accordance to the constitution of the republic.”
Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, a trans advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, the country’s second largest city, has met with local police officers and soldiers to make them more sensitive to LGBT-specific issues.

Rampant gang violence and drug trafficking that frequently contributes to it has prompted many to describe San Pedro Sula as “the murder capital of the world.” Gabriela Redondo, director of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, said during the conference that her group’s work with the authorities has had a positive impact. 

“This has helped us,” said Redondo.
Anti-trans violence remains commonplace in San Pedro Sula, despite the aforementioned efforts.

Six members of Congress earlier this year in a letter that urged the U.S. Agency for International Development to fund LGBT advocacy efforts in Central America noted a Honduran television broadcast a video showing police “brutally” beating a trans woman. Nahomy Otero, a trans woman who lives in the city, told the Irish Times in May that trans Hondurans face “torture” and other abuse from “police officers and other public security agents.”
“Honduras has a bunch of bills and inclusive bills, but they do not translate into practice,” said Romero.

Thursday’s meeting took place a day before more than 200 LGBT rights advocates from throughout the Western Hemisphere will gather in Tegucigalpa for a regional conference the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund co-organized.
                    God or Hell, Homosexuality Made or Born?
                                                            
Learning about HOMOSEXUALITY Answer the great question: 1[Born or made] 2[God or Homosexuality] “God or Hell. Where would you like to spend eternity?

Honduras is a good but rare example of the politicians being ahead of the populace. The reason for this, is education. In the United States and most countries in the West people have learn about the LGBT community by learning it from their families, friends, neighbors and coworkers. They showed others they were just people like them. Nothing specially good nor bad, just people like everyone else. The only difference being something that is not uncommon in other species, something sexual and something that affects no one except themselves. Once that education took place it was gay community organizations who pushed the politicians to try to protect them by passing laws against bigotry and abuses against them.The laws are there but they really haven’t work and the government on hand hand recognizes the LGBT community and in the other hand discriminates against them.

What’s going on in Honduras ?

The key words are coming out and education. This is what is missing in Honduras. You have many LGBT people and their close ones being anti gay before they realized their orientation. The interesting thing is, they didn’t quiet change their minds about gays when they realized what they were gay. They came out but their opinions of ‘gays’  did not change. They just became tolerant. Those that are gays sometimes see themselves as an aberration, a sin, something not quiet right but something that they have to tolerate because they have no choice or they don’t want to change. They believe and their families believe this is something “Malo, Un Pecado” [bad, a sin!]but What can they do if they can’t change? This is not just in Honduras but it is common in those less developed countries in Central and South America as it is in Africa and the Baltic’s and in a very small percentage even in the U.S.

The Catholic church doctrine and the new comers since the 60’s the pentecostals, the Scientology and their missionaries being sent particularly from the United States. Even small churches are sending people and paying for them to travel and live there for a few moths or a few years at the time. Living among them and teaching about salvation and not being able to improve this world for them but guaranteeing a good world after they die.

I know this first hand as I grew up in a couple of small Pentecostal Churches. Whatever church I belonged to I found they were asking for extra money to keep their own missionaries or the missionaries of sister churches in different parts of central America. Central America because you find countries that are very poor, little education and governments that don’t care if foreigners want to come in and set up their own schools. Sometimes there are no government schools at all. It is these teachings that have spread and ingrained a sense of guilt on the parents, friends and the LGBT people themselves. They will tell you “ He is my son or daughter and I have to love him but I don’t agree.” “This is my friend and I know he is but I don’t  care but at the same time I pray for him/her to change.” It is very common to hear these words where you have homophobia continuing to grow just like a bad poisonous seed.

The answer is, coming and out and education. Educating people that being gay has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus himself never mentioned it, so how important can it be for Christianity? One has to learn the roots of homosexuality and learn this is something that is been around since the first families were formed. Gay peoples’ history. Who was gay and important? Athletes that are gay but continue to play wonderful great roles in the world.
This is what is missing from Honduras and this is the answer for Honduras and other countries like it. In the age of the computer and global information exchange, those that are LGBT most learn not just to defend themselves but to educate themselves and then to educate others. The battle is half way won with people in government in many places which now only needs the education to LGBT people and their circles. 

At the same time pressure out to go on the politicians to learn about us and to educate, just like the President of the United States and many people in commerce i.e.  The CEO of Apple and famous athletes that are out to the world. The president of the U.S. wether you politically like him or not, he has been great in explaining why we need human rights or gay rights or what ever you call it but they are rights that everyone should have and that no human deserves to be put down or abuse because of who they are. 

The LGBT population has been accused of many crazy things from inventing AIDS to causing calamities. You still hear this in the U.S. by preachers of another century.  It is not enough to wish them to go away and with them these crazy teachings but one most be able to appeal to the common sense of others now. I still hear gay people on TV on shows or the news describing themselves as having a choice in being gay not an orientation. 

The drug trade has brought a lot of violence to Honduras and the gay population is been a target of all people the police! You would think that it would be the drug cartel but instead the violence against gays is centered on the people paid to protect the community. This is a tough place to be gay. Still gays in the U.S. have been targets of the police also. What worked here was the community not just protesting at Pride and other places but becoming  visible where it counts: At home at school with people that know you. Those are the places where the acceptance most begin. No tolerance but understanding of who we are. The community there have their work cut out for them.

Adam GonzalezPublisher, blogger

July 16, 2014

US Deports Children, Women to Hondurans


                                                                            

The U.S. government's deportation on Monday of a group of Honduran women and children should be seen by Central America as a message that President Barack Obama is serious when he says illegal migrants will be sent home, the White House said.
The charter flight from New Mexico to San Pedro Sula, the city with the highest murder rate in the world, transported 17 Honduran women, as well as 12 girls and nine boys aged between 18 months and 15 years.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the return of the Hondurans should be a clear signal to those thinking about crossing the border that "they're entitled to due process but they will not be welcome to this country with open arms."
The return of the Hondurans was the most high-profile example of Obama's struggle to gain control of a chaotic border crisis that is overwhelming immigration resources and leading to scattered protests from people angry at the government for housing some border crossers in communities around the country.
Organizations working with illegal migrants and Honduran youths said the U.S. flight was largely symbolic and would have little impact on Honduran children looking to escape a country racked by gang violence and the world's highest murder rate.
"This is a problem about the country, about the conditions in the country," said Gerardo Rivera, a researcher for Casa Alianza, a youth organization in Honduras. "What they're looking for is to flee from dangerous situations, flee from poverty, flee from a lack of opportunities."
Honduran President Juan Hernandez on Monday blamed U.S. drug policy for sparking violence in Central American countries and driving a surge of migration to the United States.
Obama is attempting to balance competing interests: Reassure Americans that the migrants, many of them unaccompanied children who have streamed into Texas across Mexico's border by the thousands, will be sent home, while making clear to immigration advocates that they will be given due process of law.
Arizona protest
The White House's Earnest said Obama did not personally approve the return of the Hondurans on Monday. It was a decision made by the Homeland Security Department, implementing a policy  the president had set out, he said.
The tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrants entering the United States have added a toxic mix to a raging debate over whether to approve comprehensive immigration reform to cover some 11 million undocumented people in the country. Reform is a priority of Obama's, but it is dead until after November congressional elections.
Waving U.S. flags and playing patriotic music, dozens of protesters demonstrated in southern Arizona on Tuesday against the arrival of undocumented immigrants for processing at a center near the border before being returned to their homelands.
In a scene reminiscent of similar protests in California, about 65 demonstrators gathered at a fork in the road near the small town of Oracle to complain that the federal government's response to a surge of new arrivals from Central America was putting their communities at risk.
The government's return of the Hondurans could help reassure Republicans that Obama is serious about controlling the border as he tries to persuade Congress to approve an emergency request for $3.7 billion to bolster border security and speed deportation of the recent crossers.
The proposal has gotten a cool reception on Capitol Hill thus far, with Republicans blaming Obama for the crisis and wanting more emphasis on border enforcement before they give him any money.
Republicans want Obama to make good on his promise to propose a change to a 2008 anti-trafficking law to make it easier to deport the children. Under the law, children from Central America cannot be turned away at the border but must be given a hearing to determine if they qualify for humanitarian relief.
Many of Obama's Democratic allies oppose changing the law, fearing it would deny them the right to have their cases heard by an immigration judge and if sent home, could put them in danger from the criminal gangs that they had fled.
"This is not the middle ground, this is the deportation-only agenda dressed up in sheep's clothing," said Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.
"The backbone and commitment to justice of the strongest and most generous nation in the world is trembling at the presence of 50,000 children and responding by taking away legal rights from vulnerable children. It is shameful," Gutierrez said.
But Representative Matt Salmon, a member of the Republican border security working group that visited Honduras and Guatemala over the weekend, said the best way to end the border crisis was to accelerate the return of unaccompanied minors.
“If we don't send that message through our actions not our rhetoric we will continue to have wave after wave after wave" of illegal immigrant children, Salmon said.

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