SOAW Press Release: Protest as Scandal-Ridden President of Honduras Meets with Members of U.S. Congress

Press Release: Protest as Scandal-Ridden President of Honduras Meets with Members of U.S. Congress PDF Print E-mail
For immediate release
March 21, 2017

Contact: Arturo Viscarra, 617-820-3008 arturo@soaw.org

Family members of the slain Honduran environmentalist and Indigenous leader, Berta Caceres, and other activists confront President of Honduras during meeting with Members of U.S. Congress
In wake of serious controversies, JOH asks U.S. Representatives for continued aid

For more photos and video of the protest in Cannon House Office Building, click here

Washington, DC – Protestors, including a sister and niece of the late Berta Caceres, blocked the door to the room where Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was meeting with members of the House Central America Caucus today. President Hernández’s meeting is at the invitation of Central America Caucus founder and co-chair Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), and follows Rep. Torres response to Caceres’ family members declining their request that she cosponsor the HR 1299, the “Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act.” Caceres’ family members had sent Rep. Torres an open letter urging that she cosponsor HR 1299, citing ongoing murders and threats to social leaders and activists and the flawed investigation into Caceres’ murder. The bill would suspend U.S. support for Honduras’ security forces “until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.” Leaked court documents indicate that at least two of those indicted for Ms. Caceres’s murder received extensive U.S. military and intelligence training, including at the infamous School of the Americas.

“A government that fails to protect its citizens and whose security forces are implicated in attacks and killings of activists should not be receiving security funding and training from the U.S. government,” the family’s letter states.

President Hernandez’s visit to DC to meet with the Caucus also comes amidst controversy in Honduras over his intention to run for re-election. Under the Honduran constitution, presidents are limited to one term, but the Supreme Court is allowing Hernandez’s run in 2017. The Honduran Congress removed several Supreme Court judges in 2012 in a “technical coup,” however, after ruling a police reform law unconstitutional. Hernandez was the president of the Congress at the time.

Another scandal looms impicating Hernandez’s family, party, and cabinet in drug trafficking. A DEA informant and former member of the Cachiros cartel, Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, testified in a New York court last week that he had discussed a bribery scheme with President Hernandez’s brother, Congressman Antonio “Tony” Hernández. The hearing was about former president Porfirio Lobo’s son, Fabio Porfirio Lobo, who plead guilty to trafficking drugs last year. Rivera Maradiaga has also testified that former President Lobo took bribes from the Cachiros, offering protection from authorities, and from extradition, in return. President Hernández is from the same political party, the National Party, as former president Lobo.

Rivera Maradiaga testified that he provided a recording of his meeting with Tony Hernández, in which Hernández requests a bribe, to the DEA. Rivera Maradiaga has also provided courtroom testimony that ties current Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco to the Cachiros cartel.

Ms. Caceres’s niece stated, “One of my questions to the U.S. government is why are we giving secuity aid to a corrupt government, a government that is protecting narco-traffickers?”. She also yelled to President Hernandez as he left the meeting amid heavy security, asking why he refuses to allow an international investigation into the murder of her aunt. She was ignored.

For more information: bertacaceres.org

Sources: The Guardian: Berta Caceres court papers show murder suspects’ links to U.S.-trained elite troops; InSight Crime: Another Day, Another Damning Testimony of Elites by Honduras Trafficker; AFP: Honduras vows fight against drug gangs after narco-chief testimon

Support DJPC in the May 20 Colfax 5K Run/Walk for Peace

Starting-Line Colfax 5 k

Director Rebeca will limp across the finish line in pursuit of $3000 for operating costs at DJPC. Support us with your contributions, come out and run/walk, and cheer.

DATE: Saturday, May 20, 2017

START TIME: 9am

START LOCATION: Denver’s City Park.  South of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

DISTANCE: 5K (or run the distance you like!).

Learn more on how to participate Colfax 5K http://www.runcolfax.org/races/colfax-5k/

To support DJPC go to DONATE and select Colfax Marathon donation category.

You want to do a different race! Go ahead, just keep us posted: djpc@denjustpeace.org

If you are already a runner, you can select us as your charity partner. If  you know someone that already runs the marathon or any of the races, tell them to choose Denver Justice and Peace Committee from the drop down menu of charity partners: http://www.runcolfax.org/charities/our-charity-partners/

Call for sustainers. Any amount counts!

Denver, March 1st 2017

Dear DJPC members and financial supporters,

To quote Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,…” In terms of comfort and convenience, those of us living in a fossil fueled techno-utopia, it is the “best” of times. For the poor, the war ravaged, and upcoming generations, it is or will soon be the worst of times. Between the current US administration’s desire to deny immigrants their basic human rights and the extractive industries’ desire to continue polluting Earth’s atmosphere and oceans with CO2, it is clear that we are living in an age of foolishness, Orwellian Doublespeak, and daily transgressions against the poor, the infirm, the very young, the dispossessed of Latin America and beyond.

At our DJPC annual planning meeting on January 28 more than 30 DJPC members reflected on our many achievements of 2016, examined DJPC’s current methods of promoting economic and environmental justice in Latin America, prioritized and named working groups for 2017, and most importantly, discussed the financial health of the organization. Our program director, Rebeca Zuniga, facilitated most of the meeting and everyone had a chance to voice their opinions, hopes, and dreams for the organization.

To make a long story short, in 2015 we raised $32,000 and had expenses of $28,000. However, in 2016 through individual donations, a church grant, Awards Night, and Build for Peace, DJPC only raised $26,000 while the organization had expenses of $28,700. The bottom line is that DJPC must do better in 2017 to right the ship and get our financial affairs back in order.

One line item from the budget stood out above all others: Recurring Donations. Under the category of Recurring Donations for 2016, DJPC could only count on $440 per month from its members. All other donations came in at random times of the year and in random amounts. It is nearly impossible to run an organization that way. There was near unanimous agreement at the Planning Meeting that each of our members be encouraged to set up a recurring donation of at least $30/month ($35 or more suggested) in one of three ways:

  1. If you have a checking or savings account and that you can access online, you can use the “EZ” or “Automatic” bill pay section and set up your monthly recurring donation with DJPC. If you are not computer savvy, go to your bank and ask them to help you set it up. It only takes about 10 minutes. With most banks there is no charge for setting up a recurring donation this way. Once it is set up, money automatically lands in DJPC’s checking account on the day of the month you select, for the amount you have selected. No service charges! All you need is DJPC’s checking account # and the Routing #. Contact Rebeca at djpc@denjustpeace.org for more info.
  1. If you have a credit or debit card and would prefer to set up a recurring donation via the DJPC website, it is even easier than what was described in #1. Just go to www.denjustpeace.org and click on the Donate button near the top right corner of the page. Then click “Monthly Sustainer ” and check the YES box where it asks if you want the donation to recur. Enter the amount you wish to donate monthly. Then confirm that you want your donation to be recurring. After that you’ll click NEXT and fill in the credit or debit card information that is typically required for any online transaction. Finally, click SUBMIT FOR PROCESSING and it’s done! Please be aware that 4% of your donation goes to the company that manages this portion of the DJPC website. Basically, a $1.20 surcharge on a monthly $30 donation goes to Greater Giving instead of DJPC.
  1. Finally, you could go to your bank and set up a monthly “direct deposit” that your bank will help you arrange. As in Option #1, you will need DJPC’s bank info that you can request from Rebeca at djpc@denjustpeace.org

Any amount you are able to pledge will go a long way to making DJPC a viable, long term force for peace and justice in Latin America and here in the US. By educating ourselves about the current realities of oppressed indigenous peoples throughout Central and South America, political and economic immigrants, displaced Latin American farmers, undocumented workers in the US who keep families afloat by wiring money home every month, DJPC becomes a stronger, more informed collective force for mitigating the harm done by the US government with US tax dollars.

Please be aware that DJPC has approximately 60 regular contributors. If each of us were to donate $35/month, those recurring donations would add up to $25,200 a year. When we add in the proceeds from Awards Night, Build for Peace, and the miscellaneous fundraiser, the total revenue generated each year should exceed our expenses. Over time we might even be able to build up reserve funds if we, the core membership, do more outreach and encourage our friends and family to join DJPC or make a one-time donation each year.

Our cause is just and our human rights track record is well established. DJPC is known to many people in Latin America as a force for economic justice. In 2017 we need a more reliable, predictable system of generating revenue so that we can continue to promote human rights, economic and environmental justice for all those struggling south of The Wall.

Hasta la victoria,

 

Rick Clifford, DJPC member of the year 2013

Guatemalan human rights accompanier 2003

GRUFIDES volunteer in Cajamarca, Peru 2013

DJPC Stands in Solidarity with Maxima Acuña. February 2017.

Maxima with Robin and Rebeca LatinoEco Fest 2017At Denver Justice and Peace Committee we learned earlier this week from Grufides, a human rights organization based in Peru, that Máxima Acuña Chaupe, winner of the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, and her husband Jaime Chaupe, were again victimized by personnel at the Yanacocha mine owned by Newmont Mining Corporation. Company’s security forces entered their property illegally on Monday February 13th and destroyed all their crops.

This is not the first time that Máxima and her family have been terrorized by Yanacocha security forces. In fact, Máxima and her husband live in constant fear as a result of harassment from these forces that includes intrusion onto the property, beatings of family members, the killing of livestock, destruction done to one of the couple’s buildings, guns being fired near the property, and being followed while coming and going from their home.

Máxima Acuña has been recognized for her diligent and courageous efforts to protect her home and community from environmental contamination and destruction of the local water supply. Having won a landmark court case regarding ownership of the land, her only desire is to peacefully farm this land with her husband.

Every day, environmental activists risk their lives to stand up for a clean environment, and the rights of small farmers and indigenous people. In fact, Latin America has become the most dangerous place in the world for environmental activists.

We are appalled by the blatant brutality of these recurring incidents and call on Newmont to take immediate action to withdraw all security forces and other personnel from the Chaupe’s land and surrounding area. We also call on Newmont to provide every possible assurance to the Chaupe family that these deplorable acts will not happen again.

As we have stated before, we stand with these activists and call on Newmont, the Peruvian government, and all those concerned to do likewise.

In Solidarity

February 17th 2017: Minewatch group: Lynn Holland, Kathryn Rodriguez, Betty Voss, Steve Piper and Rebeca Zuniga.

Boulder International Film Festival: March 2 – 5 2017

Friday, March 3rd at 12pm, Boulder Theater
THE BORNEO CASE
Sweden, Feature Documentary, 2016, 78 min
Ninety The Borneao Casepercent of eastern Borneo’s forest has been sold off and destroyed. But where did all that money go? In this  modern-day thriller, a polyglot group of investigators manages to expose Abdul Taib Mahmud, the chief minister of Sarawak, who, over the last 33 years, has stolen billions of dollars from illegal logging.
He hid the money in secret accounts and funds around the world, including in some of the biggest banks and with  politically connected people in the U.S. (Abdul’s family owns the FBI building in Seattle.) A whistle-blower in Los Angeles (later found dead) gives the team concrete proof of how a major international bank actively helped Mahmud purchase properties in the U.S. The story is filled with intimidation, death threats and murder, before finally ending up at the heart of the financial center of the world. Subtitled
Directed by Erik Pauser and Dylan Williams
U.S. Premiere – Talk Back following the film at the TalkBack Café • Free Snacks + Beverages
Saturday, 12:15pm, First Presbyterian Church

THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES

Scotland/Denmark, Feature Documentary, 2016, 84 min

Winner at Hot Docs and Reykjavik International Film Festival

Nominated for Best Documentary at BAFTA Scotland

The hardy people of the Faroe Islands north of Scotland are fiercely proud of their thousand-year Viking tradition of hunting non-endangered pilot whales. When the hunt is on, director Mike Day’s camera is taking it in from a small motorboat—the chaos, danger, and violence from all angles. When the hunt is over, bells ring and celebrations erupt all over the islands. However, with exposure to rapidly increasing ocean pollution, mercury is rising to dangerous levels in the whale meat. Activists want to end the whale hunts. The Faroese are reluctant. They are only a tiny harbinger of a time when the entire world will face a crisis of mercury in its food supply from the sea. SUBT I T LED

Directed by Mike Day

Colorado Premiere

TalkBack following the film at the First Presbyterian Church
Saturday, 5:15pm, First Presbyterian Church

HOLY (UN) HOLY RIVER
USA, Feature Documentary, 2016, 60 min
Winner at the Banff Mountain Film Festival

What staHoly (un)Holy Riverrts as a traditional expedition film at the source of the Ganges high in the Himalayas becomes something else as Boulder co-directors Pete McBride and Jake Norton journey downriver. Although once celebrated for its purity, the Ganges now carries contaminants from its glacial headwaters where the snow contains zinc from industrial emissions. Downriver, there are sixteen dams built to provide hydroelectric power. Water is diverted for agriculture while the 500 million people in the Ganges basin further pollute the river with bathing the burials. The Hindu faithful believe they can cleanse away their sins in this “holy” water which carries the unfiltered drainage of a population twice the size of the U.S.
Directed by Pete McBride and Jake Norton

Boulder Premiere: Pete McBride in person

Petition to keep Jeanette her in Colorado with her family

To sign the petition go to: https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/jeanette-s-family-needs-her

To: Director Jeffrey Lynch

Jeanette’s Family Needs Her

Why is this important?

Jeanette Vizguerra, a Colorado community leader and mother, is facing deportation. Jeanette has led the fight against her own deportation since 2009, part of her secret to success is her die hard community. She needs it again, today! Share this and spread the word.

Jeanette has lived in Colorado for twenty years, has 3 small children who are US citizens and has given selflessly as a community activist. She worked for SEIU as a labor organizer and volunteered with her children’s schools, the Aurora Neighborhood Watch Program, Rights for All People, the American Friends Service Committee and contributes to the Romero Troupe. She founded Dreamers Mothers in Action-Colorado.

Jeanette has worked hard to build her community in Colorado and has inspired many with her courage and passion. Jeanette’s story exemplifies the brutality of our immigration system that is unjustly separating families and denying many the ability to live with dignity. Although this immigration system has tried to destroy Jeanette’s dignity, she is still fighting to be with her children and she needs our support!!

History:
Jeanette Vizguerra (A# 089-826-036), came to the US in 1997 with her husband and daughter. They fled after her husband, a bus driver, had been threatened at gun point for the third time. Jeanette worked cleaning office buildings and became a key member of her SEIU local, 105. Eventually she became an organizer, leading the fight for better pay and benefits for all janitors. She also joined a local advocacy group called Rights for All People as one of its founding members. She worked to establish trust and relationship between the immigrant community and the police. She and her husband started a moving and cleaning company and eventually had three more children, all US citizens.

Jeanette’s case began in 2009 when she was pulled over for an expired license plate and then arrested for driving without a license (at that time Coloradans couldn’t get a license if they couldn’t prove status). That traffic stop led to a police officer discovering documents she was going to use to apply for a third job this discovery resulted in a misdemeanor. The economic downturn had impacted the moving company and her husband had taken ill so she was the only breadwinner for her family.

In 2013, as she was awaiting an appeal in her case, she received a call from Mexico that her mother was dying. Despite 17 years in the US and thousands of miles, Jeanette and her mother spoke weekly. There are no humanitarian visas or programs available for those circumstances and Jeanette decided she had to be at her mother’s side before she died. She flew to Mexico the next day and, as she was in the air, her mother died. After 7 months of trying to build a life and send for her children, it became clear to Jeanette that at 40 she was too old to get good paying work in Mexico and decided to return to the US. She was detained at the border, and with the help of community, released back to Denver, where she has continued to pick up the threads of her life.

This is why Jeanette needs your support. Sign and share this petition widely.

Journey to Chiapas: Accompaniment, Community, and Resistance

Journey to Chiapas: Accompaniment, Community, and Resistance

Chiapas 1030 presentationJim Chaney, DJPC member of the year 1986 and University of Denver Students Victoria Watson-Nava and Amy Czulada will share their experiences during our Delegation to Chiapas.

Sunday, February 12, 2017
12:30 p.m. after 11:00 a.m. mass
Ten-Thirty Catholic Community
1100 Fillmore St Denver

 

 

Social Systems at Risk: Victoria Watson-Nava is a graduate student at the University of Denver studying International and Intercultural Communication.  She is a board member and the director of student affairs for the Association of Latino Professionals for America. Victoria is a member and organizer for the American Association of University Women and the Philanthropic Education Organization’s 2016 scholar of the year. She is an advocate and activist for social justice and works with several organizations that focus on women’s rights and immigration reform legislation. She has a passion for helping others and making a difference in the world.

Environmental & Health Justice: Amy Czulada is a current International Studies master’s student at the University of Denver, focusing on the intersection of  migration and human rights. She is involved with the community responding to the issue of wage theft in Denver–working both on the Just Wages Project at the University of Denver and the Wage Theft Direct Action Team at Centro Humanitario. She is very interested in continuing to work with immigrant and refugee communities after graduation in June.

Liberation Theology? Jim Chaney is an active member of the 1030 Community since 1984. He is a proud father and and grandfather. He has a keen interest in theology, Jungian psychology and meditation. He serves and works for social and environmental justice locally and abroad. Since retiring in 2013 he served in Kenya with SCOPE, Intl consulting on rainwater harvesting, rammed-earth brick building, composting latrines and hands free hand washing stations using solely local materials. He is a member of DJPC since 1983 and has served on the Board. Jim earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue Univ and a BA in Speech & Theater from Metro State.

THE COLORADO IMMIGRANT RIGHTS COALITION CONDEMNS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS AGAINST THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Contact: Oscar Juarez-Luna, oscar@coloradoimmigrant.org; 720-203-6836

 

THE COLORADO IMMIGRANT RIGHTS COALITION CONDEMNS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS AGAINST THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY

DENVER – Today, President Trump has made two executive orders attacking Colorado’s immigrant communities. The first focused on the construction of his “great wall,” militarizing and increasing border security, and putting an end to catch and release policies placing the United States of America on the dishonorable list of the most inhumane, cruel, and xenophobic nations in the world. The second executive order was on interior enforcement order restoring the Secure Communities program and  threatening to strip away federal funding from cities that have declared themselves as sanctuary cities.

CIRC Statement on the Border Wall –

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition firmly opposes Trump’s plans to build a border wall along the nation’s southwest border with Mexico. President Trump’s executive order is not only an act of racism but it divides two countries by a wall built through hate. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition calls on its communities to stand together in unity and on the right side of history. America has a long and proud history of providing humanitarian relief, safety, and opportunity for people to find refuge not only from physical danger, but basic human rights that are granted by our constitution.

CIRC Statement on Sanctuary Cities –

CIRC questions Trumps legal authority to withhold federal funding from Colorado cities and counties that are defending the constitution by refusing to detain both citizens and noncitizens without probable cause. 4th amendment cities and counties that are not cooperating with ICE to detain people in violation of the constitution are standing up for the 4th amendment rights of all Colorado Residents. Colorado has seen the devastating effects of forcing local law enforcement to do the work of ICE with our history with Colorado’s show me your papers law, SB-90. This law, passed in 2006 and repealed in 2013 with the support of the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, undermined the community trust that is needed for effective community policing and cost our state 13 million dollars annually according to a Colorado Fiscal Institute report. The Trump administration should not force Colorado law enforcement to choose between receiving federal funding and defending the constitution that they have sworn to uphold. We will stand with and defend cities and counties that are protecting the rights of Colorado residents and creating a welcoming environment for all Colorado communities.

The following quote is from Victor Galvan, Campaign Manager of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition – “It’s really clear to me that President Trump is using divisive measures to scapegoat Mexican immigrants for American problems. He is making excuses to use taxpayer money, a fund he doesn’t seem to contribute to, to build a useless southern border wall. We will not stand for the misuse of taxpayer money nor will we  blame immigrants for American problems. We call on President Trump to stop the use of divisive political moves, like criminalizing immigrants through his executive order on sanctuary cities, which only work to divide the American people and create hatred towards immigrants. We want to be united and want the focus of President Trump to be on creating a better economy in the U.S.”

Stop Pruitt: Keep Climate Deniers Out of the EPA!

Monday, January 23rd at Noon: Join us as we rally outside Senator Bennet’s office. 1127 Sherman Street. Denver. Colorado.

Food and Water WatchTrump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA. His nomination, if approved by the Senate, will prove to be a disaster for the health of our environment, and the future of our climate.

Pruitt has a long history of denying climate change, playing puppet to the fossil fuel industry, and has spent his career attacking and suing the very agency he is being asked to run.

Join us as we rally outside Senator Bennet’s office to tell him: “Don’t hire a climate change denier!” and to reject the Pruitt nomination.

During the rally, we will hand out mock copies of the Pruitt nomination letter that Trump sent to Congress with a giant red “REJECTED” stamp on it. Individuals will have the opportunity to go into Bennet’s office to deliver the rejection letter and tell staff why they feel Bennet should reject this disastrous nomination and how it will impact them, their family and/or community. Rally will also include guest speakers from several organizations. Speakers to be announced soon! #StopPruitt.

This event is co-sponsored by 350 Colorado, Be the Change, Colorado People’s Alliance,Communication Workers of America, Denver Justice & Peace Committee, Mi Familia Vota – Colorado, SaveEPA!, United For A New Economy – UNE, What the Frack, Arapahoe?!

MARADE: MLK March and Parade: January 16th at 10:30am

mlk-peace“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” MLK

Join the movement celebrating the legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience of Martin Luther King Jr.

March with DJPC in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MARADE. The March and Parade will take place on Monday January 16th. We will march from City Park to the Denver Civic Center Center.

DJPC folks will meet on the southeast corner of 16th and Esplanade at 12-16-marade-pic-9-300x2250:30 AM.

The event program starts at 10am, and the march begins right after that. We’ll be going down Esplanade St. to Colfax Ave., and ending at Civic Center Park.

Get dressed for the weather, bring water and snacks.

 

Featured Post

Support DJPC in the May 20 Colfax 5K Run/Walk for Peace

Starting-Line Colfax 5 k

Director Rebeca will limp across the finish line in pursuit of $3000 for operating costs at DJPC. Support us with your contributions, come out and run/walk, and cheer. DATE: Saturday, May 20, 2017 START TIME: 9am START LOCATION: Denver’s City Park.  South of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science DISTANCE: 5K (or run the distance… »

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