Working & struggling NOT ‘to get back to normal’
Pre-Covid, during Covid, post-Covid, Guatemala and Honduras are ruled by military-backed, corrupt, open-for-global-business regimes,
“democratic allies” of the US, Canada & “international community”
We apologize for the delay in sending this newsletter. It was not due to a lack of busy-ness.
Thank-you for your donations and grants in 2020 and into 2021. (See updated summary, below) We believe that Rights Action funds sent to community-based partner groups in Guatemala and Honduras have saved lives.
PDF print version ([link removed])
Piled on top of the fact that Central America has long been an oppressed region in our unjust, unequal global human order and nation-state system, 2020 brought the ravages of COVID and then Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November.
Subsistence and survival were the orders of the day, … of the year.
On top of all this, corrupt global companies and investors – backed by the US and Canadian governments and their “democratic allies” in Guatemala and Honduras – pressed forward with forced evictions and illegal land grabs, repression and human rights violations. No rest for the weary.
"The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."
In the archives section of our website ([link removed]), find updated information on a number of the long-term community defense struggles we have been supporting. Over the next months, more archives will be added.
“Democratic allies” infiltrated by organized crime
Even as COVID and Hurricanes Eta and Iota ravaged the lives of a majority of Hondurans and Guatemalans, ever more information was made public about how drug cartels and organized crime gangs operate in the highest offices of the governments of Guatemala and Honduras, including the police, military, judiciary and executive and legislative branches of government.
The degree of drug trafficking and organized crime infiltration into the Honduran and Guatemalan governments and State would be worthy of a Hollywood film, were these regimes not so utterly dependent on and dominated by the US (principally), as well as by Canada and other governments and actors in the “international community”, and a host of North American companies and investors.
‘Juan Orlando Hernandez may be a narco-trafficking son of a bitch,
but he is our narco-trafficking son of a bitch’
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt reportedly said: "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch", referring to the ruthless military dictator of Nicaragua the US government was propping up.
One can imagine US and Canadian leaders saying: ‘Juan Orlando Hernandez is a narco-trafficking son of a bitch, but he is our narco-trafficking son of a bitch’, referring to the military-backed, drug-trafficking President of Honduras, propped up in power by the US, Canada and other actors in the “international community” since (pretty much) the June 28, 2009 military coup ousted Honduras’ last democratically elected government.
"Be nice to America, or we'll bring democracy to your country."
View our Narco States archives ([link removed]) for media coverage and reports, including extensive information about State-sponsored drug trafficking in Honduras overseen by President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
It remains an urgent and long overdue responsibility of the US and Canadian public, and our institutions (courts, political oversight bodies, media), to begin to hold our governments and companies legally accountable for policies and programs that empower, enable and benefit from the endemic violence, harms and suffering in countries like Honduras and Guatemala.
“The history of the underdevelopment of Latin America makes up the history of the development of world capitalism. Our defeat was always implicit in another’s victory; our wealth has always generated our poverty, in order to feed the prosperity of others.”
Forced migrancy and refugee flight
It should not be surprising that there will be no end, in the near future, to the forced migrancy and refugee flight of ever more Hondurans, Guatemalans and, increasingly again, Salvadorans, escaping the violence, corruption and deep impoverishment of their corrupt, exploitative, repressive regimes.
View our Forced Migrancy archives ([link removed]) for media coverage and reports. Note the contrast between mainstream media reports that generally refuses to address underlying causes, and other reporting that analyzes how the policies and programs of the US (and also Canada, multi-national companies, etc.) contribute to the underlying causes of forced migrancy and refugee flight.
Not “failed states”
Even with the infiltration of drug trafficking and organized crime, and the endless forced migrancy and refugee flight, Guatemala and Honduras are not “failed states”, as some media pundits and “experts” claim.
They are corrupt, repressive, open-for-global-business regimes doing what the Honduran and Guatemalan elites, and their partners in the US, Canada and so-called “international community” want them to do.
“If the US invades our countries, and imposes on us corrupt, murderous dictators,
we will migrate to your country and you should stop complaining.”
CInPH - Indigenous Coordinator of Popular Power in Honduras
Thank-you for your on-going trust and support for our work, and the work and struggles of our community defense partner groups. Please send your questions and comments my way.
Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala
In October 2021, Between the Lines will publish Testimonio, that was put together and edited by Catherine Nolin and Grahame Russell, who also have articles included. Testimonio was dropped by its first publisher, Springer Nature, over libel chill threats of lawsuits.
Quill & Quire article ([link removed])
Between the Lines to publish mining book dropped by Springer Nature over libel chill
A book about Canadian mining in Guatemala that was dropped by its European publisher over potential legal concerns last year will be published this fall by Between the Lines.
“Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala” is described as a collection of essays, news reports, and testimonials about the actions of Canadian mining companies in the Central American country. Edited by University of Northern British Columbia professor Catherine Nolin and Rights Action director Grahame Russell, Testimonio had been slated for publication by Switzerland-based Springer Nature.
In an open letter to Springer Nature last November, Nolin and Russell described how they had entered into a publishing agreement in 2017 and submitted their final manuscript in February 2020. After positive initial feedback, Nolin and Russell say in their open letter that they didn’t hear from anyone at Springer Nature until July, when the publishing editor told them in an email that the book contained “unsubstantiated defamatory content” and said Springer Nature would be unable to publish it.
Nolin and Russell say the publisher didn’t reply to their emails asking for clarification, although eventually their editor told them that the publisher could be sued for defamation by “the third party” if the book were to be published.
BTL managing editor Amanda Crocker said in an email that the Toronto-based publisher reached out to Nolin and Russell after reading a news story about their book being dropped. After a conversation with BTL over Zoom, Nolin and Russell decided to submit their manuscript to BTL’s editorial committee, which “felt strongly that the book should be published,” Crocker said.
“It’s concerning when authors do years of research to produce well-documented accounts of the actions of powerful corporations (mining and otherwise) and then have difficulty finding a publisher to make this work available to readers,” Crocker said.
“Part of what this book’s editors demonstrate in the book is that violating human rights, using repression, and acting with corruption and impunity is how the Canadian-dominated mining industry has operated in Guatemala.”
“Part of what this book’s editors demonstrate in the book is that violating human rights, using repression, and acting with corruption and impunity is how the Canadian-dominated mining industry has operated in Guatemala. If no publisher will publish the book then this has just compounded the problem of getting at the truth.”
Publication date: October 25, 2021 ([link removed])
Your funds at work
In 2021, we continue to fund emergency relief work for on-going COVID hardships and rebuilding after Hurricanes ETA & IOTA, and we keep on supporting community-led land and environment, human rights and justice struggles:
* For 2020 funding summary, see December 2020 newsletter ([link removed])
Community defense struggles
* Parlamento Xinka & CODIDENA, resisting harmful mining & manipulated consultation process, Pan American Silver (formerly Tahoe Resource)
* ‘Gremial’ of Q’eqchi’ fisherpeople, resisting harmful mining & manipulated consultation process, Solway Investment Group
* Criminal trial, Mynor Padilla, Hudbay Minerals head of security
* Landmark Hudbay Minerals lawsuits, Canada
* Legal defense, community defenders, victims of ‘criminalizations’
* Legal defense, harms by now closed Goldcorp Inc. mine, and Pan American Silver harms in La Cuchilla village
* Legal defense, Maria Cuc Choc, criminalization May 6 hearing
* Council of Q'eqchi' Peoples, challenging manipulated consultation process
* German Chub, health support, paralysis victim of Hudbay Minerals shooting
* Chaabil Choch village land defense, Constitutional Court hearing
* El Estor, children of Q’eqchi’ community defenders
* Rio Negro/Pacux refugee community, children of Achi genocide victims
* Rio Negro, law studies, Achi justice defender
* San Miguel Ixtahuacan, law studies, Mam community defender
* ACPC Achi community organization, Xesiguan village, organic self-sufficiency agriculture
* Rio Negro Achi community, potable water system
COVID / Hurricanes ETA & IOTA
* Campur community, Alta Verapaz
* ACDIP popular organization, Peten
* El Estor land defenders, Izabal
* Patulul community, Suchitepequez
* Refugee support, forced migrants, Achi people, Baja Verapaz
Truth, Memory, Justice
* Commemoration, Feb.2, 1982, World Bank/IDB’s Chixoy dam Xococ massacre
* Commemoration, Mar.13, 1982, World Bank/IDB’s Chixoy dam Rio Negro massacre
* COCAHICH, Chixoy Dam reparations campaign
* CIRMA, Center for Mesoamerican Research
* Carlos Ernesto, Prensa Comunitaria, reporting: Impacts of natural disasters; mining resistance, Solway Investment Group
* Azacualpa Environmental Committee, resisting cemetery & community destruction, Aura Minerals
* Berta Caceres family, security & justice struggle
* Commemoration, Mar.2, 2016 assassination, Berta Caceres
* Guapinol community resisting harmful mining; freedom for political prisoners
* OFRANEH Garifuna land & rights defender organization, resisting harms, tourism operators, African palm producers; SUNLA investigation into Honduran State forced disappearance of 5 community defenders
* PROHN-Net, reporting, drug-trafficking trials against Honduran regime leaders
* Refugee support, victims of repression, asylum in Canada
* Refugee support, forced migrants, asylum in USA
COVID / Hurricanes ETA & IOTA
* Siria Valley Committee, Francisco Morazan
* Mujeres Ambientalistas Progresenas, El Progreso
* Chiapas, health support, Gustavo Castro, victim of attempted killing during assassination of Berta Caceres
* El Salvador, Jocoaitique ex-combatants committee, COVID relief
* El Salvador, Herbert Anaya Sanabria Collective, January 16 ‘Acto de Desagravio’, El Mozote, Morazan
North-South education, investigations, activism
* “Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala” book formatting
* GHRC, Guatemala Human Rights Commission, human rights defenders program
means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
Tax-Deductible Donations (Canada & U.S.)
To support land, human rights and environmental defender groups in Honduras and Guatemala, and their emergency response work, make check to "Rights Action" and mail to:
* U.S.: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
* Canada: (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
Our mailing address is:
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