Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) expresses its deep sorrow and condemnation of the murders of Honduran comrades José Angel Flores and Silmer Dionisio George. José was the president of the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán (MUCA) and Silmer the leader of the La Confianza cooperative, in the Tocoa municipality, in the city of Colón. Both comrades undertook their struggle as heroic human rights defenders, despite the huge risks and threats they faced.
The murders are potentially attributed to hired assassins. This is not to ignore the warlike and psychological operations that are taking place in this highly militarised zone with the involvement of the army, the police, private security guards and the international police. Here, people suffer terror and persecution on a daily basis in a context that could be described as a state of emergency. Even though the death penalty is not legal in Honduras, peasants, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders are murdered with impunity.
Honduras is considered the most violent country in the world and yet the structural causes of this violence are rarely discussed. These include: detrimental economic treaties with more powerful countries; a 90% impunity rate; extreme militarization of all State institutions; biodiversity destruction; agrofuel monocultures, banana and sugar cane plantations that are part of international trade agreements; and World Bank policies favouring large corporations that violate the life and the safety of people. These economic policies are centered on capital accumulation at the cost of all else, and have resulted in the criminalization of protest, territorial invasions and the exploitation of people – especially peasant, indigenous people and human rights defenders – in the form of trauma, torture and murder.
As an environmental justice organization struggling to defend life and the dignity of people, we condemn these violations and demand justice for this violence perpetrated by national oligarchies and transnational capital. We invite all environmental and human rights organizations around the world to stand in solidarity with MUCA and with the Honduran Plataforma Agraria .
More on Honduras human rights:
Interview with recent assassination attempt survivors in Honduras – Real World Radio
Image © Orlando Sierra