support-hondurasColombia In The Shadow Of Human Rights Abuses

A Special Report by the Colombia Working Group (CWG)

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May 25, 2016


To the grassroots social movements, organizations and civil society around the world:

BerthaThe death of Berta Cáceres has filled us with indignation. We carry the pain with us, but we also carry the strength of her thought, her work, and the longing for justice. The principles that she fought for are what will save humanity, which is why we call on you to participate in a worldwide protest that will bring all of our voices together to demand justice for Berta Cáceres, justice for Gustavo Castro, justice for COPINH and justice for the people of Honduras.

On June 15th in Honduras social movements and organizations, institutions and people of action will protest to demand the immediate creation of an independent investigative body to transparently, deeply and completely investigate the assassination of our sister and compañera.

On that day we would like our sisters and brothers from other countries in the world to join us by carrying out protest actions in front of the Honduran embassies of your respective countries to demand the following:

The immediate creation of an international, independent investigative body sponsored by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to seek the truth about thise vile crime and assure that all responsible parties are prosecuted.

The immediate and definite cancellation of the concession given to DESA, the company building the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Río Blanco.

The actions carried out by the Honduran state and its organizations are insufficient and are not aimed at achieving justice. On the contrary, they are assuring that this crime will go unpunished.
Let’s join together and put an end to death, impunity and injustice.

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota, Etempica and Iselaca we raise our voices full of justice freedom, dignity and peace!

Justice for Berta is Justice for the World!
Wake up humanity, there’s no time left!

Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras

-view Facebook Event

May 25, 2016

Register Now

Whose rights are we protecting?

When: Tuesday, June 7 from 5:30 – 7:30
Where: Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa
Why: Because your rights are already being affected!

How do trade and investment agreements between countries both directly and indirectly limit developed and developing countries governments' abilities to protect the rights of their citizens and promote a clean environment? And whose rights are protected in their place?

Hear from:

on how core elements of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) risk undermining a sustainable development agenda that works for people and the planet in Canada and overseas.

Moderated by Hill Times Deputy Editor Peter Mazereeuw.

Organized by the Africa-Canada Forum, Americas Policy Group and Asia-Pacific Working Group of CCIC, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Common Frontiers, Council of Canadians, Inter Pares, School of International Development and Global Studies, and the Trade Justice Network.

Register Now

May 24, 2016

From Canada

By Alfredo Molano Bravo
English Translation by Betty Munera

Canada is one of the countries from the cold North that we have established an active economic relationship with, it has been called “a prosperous friendship.”

The Colombian official economists tend to praise the advantages of the Free Trade Agreement signed by Uribe in 2008 and entered into force in 2011. Canada is one of the largest countries in the world and richer: Our country could fit ten times in their territory and Canadians have five times higher income per person. Prior to the FTA , Canadian investment in Colombia was only about 180 million dollars, after signing the agreement it reached 2,500 million dollars.

Before we used to export coffee, sugar and flowers; Today we export, coal , gold and oil to Canada. These are industrial products, fewer and declining products. From Canada we import wheat, barley, lentils , potatoes, machinery, chemicals and paper. For 13 years the trade balance has been in deficit. However, the main beneficiaries of the treaty are Colombian importers to the detriment of our producers. It should be noted that Canadian direct investment in the country have increased significantly, from around 10 million in 2004 to about 300 million in 2012: Most of that money has been invested in mining and oil.

You find buildings of steel and glass and flat wooden houses in Canada, Except for the Gothic cathedrals and ancient universities in the French area, solemn and not very original public buildings in the capital, Ottawa. Canada doesn’t have issues with space or water. Rural areas are monotonous, except perhaps in the fall. People seem gentle and they don’t wear shoes at home. It is a friendly country for Canadians and livable for foreigners, including refugees, many of them Colombians and not a few of them paramilitaries. The rights of all are respected and you don’t see a single paper lying on the street.

It's another picture when human rights are observed in those areas where Canada invests most of their dollars. I am talking about the mining areas and especially before a single penny has been invested.

Paramilitary groups have entered violently and are protected by the police, as occurred in the region of Llanos Orientales (in the South East of Colombia). Before the oil companies started to operate, – but of course, after their technician detected oil pockets - “Martin Llanos” and “Cuchillo”(paramilitary leaders) entered this area with their men and their chainsaws. The slaughter of Mapiripán spread terror and opened the doors to the investors' security. These cases could increase. Social cleansing precedes massacres and slaughters investments in any areas where large oil, mining, palm, sugar and livestock projects are anticipated.

The strategy is not a Canadian issue; it is our government that allows these policies. Colombian and Canadian Human Rights organizations have highlighted the tragic correlation across the country. Although the two countries have signed a trade agreement and another agreement for human rights assessment, the officials make the final reports, therefore the reality is hidden. Nothing has been said about the outrages of Pacific Rubiales in Puerto Gaitán; threats to traditional miners in Marmato; the suppression of protests in La Colosa, Caramanta, Santurbán or Ariari. Also, in the vast majority of Canadian companies located in Colombia it has not been possible to create unions - only two were possible.

There is a huge discrepancy between the work of Canadian human rights organizations, social and environmental policies and investors. It is urgent that the new Liberal government of Canada address this issue with realism for the sake of the Colombian peace negotiations.

This article originally appeared in El Espectador, a national daily newspaper in Colombia.

May 23, 2016

Canadian organizations condemn Parliamentary coup in Brazil

We are gravely concerned with the recent events undertaken by sections of Brazil’s rightwing opposition parties that have led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. We strongly condemn the parliamentary coup which has been orchestrated against a democratically elected head of state that just 18 months ago was elected by 54 million votes in free, open democratic elections.

On May 12th, Senators voted to suspend President Rousseff by 55 votes to 22 votes. She is accused of illegally manipulating finances yet no evidence has been presented to back the allegations.

The politicians who will take over the government represent the business elites who want to dismantle core social programs implemented by President Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, and instead impose neoliberal policies. These polices have already been rejected by the majority of Brazilians at the ballot box over the past 13 years. Many of these elites are corrupt themselves and have even been involved in the Lava Jato corruption scandal that saw money laundering and price fixing at Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

President Rousseff’s replacement Vice President, Michel Temer is himself being investigated for receiving over US$ 1.5 million in funds from a construction company that works with Petrobras. The impeachment process was started by the speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, who has been indicted over corruption charges related to a kickback scheme at Petrobras.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has condemned the move to impeach her as a "coup" and a "farce" against her government. Many organizations nationally and internationally agree.

The political, social and economic instability of this illegal parliamentary coup will have serious implications for all Brazilians and will destabilize the region. Trade unions and social movements in Brazil have denounced violence and physical aggression against them and government supporters.

We call on the international community to condemn the coup.

We call on the Canadian government to not recognize the government of Michel Temer.

ALBA Moviementos Canada
América Latina al Día
BC Government and Service Employees' Union
British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Common Frontiers
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine
Circulo Bolivariano Louis Riel
DeColonize Now
Idle No More
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
Socialist Project
Students united in representation of Latin America
United Steelworkers

-Download the letter    -en español    -en francés

May 18, 2016

Letter to President of Honduras by Amnesty Section heads in countries of the Americas

Sr. Juan Orlando Hernández
Presidente de Honduras
Casa Presidencial, Bulevar Juan Pablo II

16 de mayo de 2016

Señor Presidente,

Reciba un saludo cordial de Amnistía Internacional. Como es de su conocimiento, estamos monitoreando de forma permanente el respeto y garantía del derecho de toda persona a promover los derechos humanos, con el apoyo de nuestra membresía de más de 7 millones de personas alrededor del mundo.

En esta ocasión, nos dirigimos a usted para manifestar nuestra profunda preocupación por la situación que enfrentan las defensoras y los defensores de derechos humanos pertenecientes al Pueblo Lenca de Honduras, y para solicitarle que en su calidad de Presidente de la República impulse acciones de reconocimiento y protección eficaces para que estas personas puedan continuar con su trabajo de defensa y promoción de derechos humanos, particularmente de los pueblos Indígenas.

El pasado 2 de marzo del presente año fue asesinada, en La Esperanza - Intibucá, la defensora lenca de derechos humanos Berta Cáceres, cofundadora del Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras COPINH. El estado hondureño tenía una obligación de protección reforzada de dicha defensora, en cuanto era beneficiaria de medidas cautelares desde 2009. Medidas que fueron adoptadas por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos -CIDH, con el objetivo de proteger su vida e integridad personal.

El 5 de marzo la CIDH otorgó medidas cautelares a las y los familiares de Berta Cáceres, y a los y las integrantes del COPINH, ante varios y graves incidentes de seguridad que estaban ocurriendo con posteridad a la muerte de la defensora. Estos incidentes venían a sumarse a los que durante años han sufrido varios miembros del COPINH.

-Leer toda la carta

May 14, 2016

Honduras, Canada's free trade, and assassinating the opposition

Dan Kellar talks to Raul Burbano of about Honduras, Free Trade, and Berta Caceras

-Link to Podcast Page on

This episode is an interview with Raul Burbano of Common Frontiers on the group's role in researching and exposing Canada's ongoing role in supporting the post-coup governments in Honduras, including the horrific situation faced by Indigenous people and others opposed to the government's environmental, economic, and social policies.

Raul discusses the ongoing resistance of people in Honduras, including many Indigenous communities to the corrupt post-coup governments despite being violently repressed, including the March 2016 targeted assassinations of Berta Cáceras and Nelson Noé García Laínez from the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). More than 100 environmental, labour, and social justice activists have been similarly murdered since the coup.

We also discuss the 2013 free trade agreement between Canada and the Honduran government, and how the "soft coup" has become an increasingly used tactic of the neo-liberal capitalists, as is being witnessed this week in Brazil with the right-wing action to impeach the centre-left president and replace the cabinet with an all-white, all-male conglomeration of conservatives. Raul encourages those in Toronto to join the Sunday May 15th 1pm demo at the Consulate General of Brazil.

-more information and listen to the podcast

May 13, 2016

Rally against the Coup in Brazil - Sunday May 15th @ 1 pm

Sunday, May 15th
77 Bloor St. West, In front of the Consulate General of Brazil
1:00 pm

Join us in front of the Consulate General of Brazil for rally against the Coup in Brazil and in solidarity with popular movements throughout Brazil.

On May 12th, Brazilian Senators voted to back the impeachment trial which has led to the suspension of President Rousseff, while thousands of people gathered throughout Brazil to protest this act. The suspension of President Rousseff is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that goes against the will of 54 million voters. It was orchestrated by the most rightwing and conservative sectors of Brazilian society, particularly the neoliberal business class, subservient to US interests and its companies.

Those who seek take over the government are business elites who want to dismantle core social programs implemented by President Rousseff Workers’ party, and impose neoliberal policies, that have been rejected by the majority of Brazilians over the past 13 years at the ballot box. These elites, many of whom are corrupt themselves with some involved in the Lava Jato scandal into money laundering and price fixing at Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

We call on the international community to condemn the coup. We call on the Canadian government not to recognize the government of Michel Temer.

-For more information see the FaceBook page


May 12, 2016

MST Statement on the withdrawl of President Dilma Rousseff

This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters.

The Landless Workers Movement (MST) publicly expresses its disgust and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Senate, this Thursday (12), in admitting the process of impeachment against President Dilma Roussef and temporarily withdrawing her from the post. We are sure, as stated in the text of the case, that the President did not commit any crime with fiscal peddling. If this is to be considered crime, the vice president, Michel Temer, who now assumes as President, and Senator Anastasia, the rapporteur of the process and former governor of Minas Gerais, should also be accused.

This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespected the will of 54 million voters and was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business, subservient to the interests of US companies. A coup supported by a permanent campaign of mass media - especially Globo - and by a selective action of the sectors of the judiciary.

The coup endorsed by the Senate does not only disrespects the views of the public about who should be the head of state, but, as announced by Temer, intends to apply a recessive and neoliberal program, one that left sad memories for the Brazilian people in the times of the Collor-Cardoso governments . It is anti-popular, and represents a social backlash that was repeatedly rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit to the popular will, the elites withdrawn the President without any evidence of crime, just so their project of social cuts, unemployment and privatization is taken into place.

Michel Temer's "Bridge to the recession" will only lead to accentuation of social and economic crisis and widen the political instability of the country.The new announced government , for its history, does not represents a rupture with the corrupt methods, which we all have denounced in the streets.

We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it judges the merit. And if it does not, the democratic party forces against the coup should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. It is needed a broad debate in society that agglutinates most popular and social forces, to seek to build a new country project to confront the crisis.

Regarding the established political crisis, we defend, along other popular movements, that only a deep political reform that returns to the people its right to choose their legitimate representatives, can be a real way out. The current Congress has no condition or political will to do so. Hence the need for the Senate to approve the holding of the plebiscite that gives the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, to take forward a political reform to conduct general elections in democratic conditions.

The MST will remain mobilized in defense of democracy and social rights, together with Brazil Popular Front and the thousands of workers who will not accept the coup. We will keep our struggle against landlordism and agribusiness, for a popular agrarian reform and for the constitutional right of all rural workers to have land and dignified life in the rural areas.

No to the coup! Temer out!

MST National Coordination
Brasilia, May 12, 2016

May 11, 2016

Open letter to the president of the world bank - Dr. Jim Yong Kim

Common Frontiers along with 313 other organizations from around the world sent a letter to the president of the world bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim rejecting his statements when he suggested the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras is collateral damage in their work... “you cannot do the work were trying to do and not have some of these incidents happen.”

Dr. Jim Yong Kim
World Bank Group

Ref: Statements on April 6th, at the Union Theological Seminary in New York on “the Principle of Mercy"

Dear Dr. Kim,

We, the 313 undersigned organizations and 31 individuals wish to express our rejection of your statements made on April 6th, at the end of your speech at Union Theological Seminary in New York. As seen in a video made public when responding to a question about the impacts of large dam projects as illustrated by the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras, you state, among other things, that “you cannot do the work we‟re trying to do and not have some of these „incidents‟ happen.”

Regarding your unfortunate response, we would like to clarify the following:

As organizations working tirelessly to stop human rights violations and harm to the environment, we reject your assessment of the murder of leader Berta Cáceres and we demand that you correct your statements. Furthermore, we urge you to apologize to Berta Cáceres‟ family and to the community of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, indigenous, afro-descendant, and rural communities, among others, that have been affected by your statements. We thank you beforehand for your attention to this urgent matter and we await your response.

-download the complete letter    -descargar la carta completa

May 11, 2016


by Stewart Vriesinga

How one views the prospects for peace in Colombia depends on how one understands the conflict and how one defines peace. There are many different stakeholders, each with competing and often conflicting interests.

The ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian Government and left-wing FARC guerrilla insurgents in Havana, along with a more recent government commitment to enter into a separate talks with the ELN insurgents in Ecuador, are being celebrated both nationally and internationally as the imminent end to the fifty-year conflict in Colombia. Not everyone in Colombia is ready to break out the champagne and celebrate just yet. There remains a great deal of concern over what may happen in a post conflict Colombia.

FARC demobilization postponed indefinitely: The demobilization of the FARC, which was originally expected to take place on March 23rd, 2016, has been postponed indefinitely. The FARC still agrees to disarm, but insist that a third party, not the Colombian government, take custody of their arms. This implies that they want to retain the option of rearming should they decide the government is not keeping its end of the agreement. More significantly it may also imply the FARC wants the government to first put an end neo-paramilitary groups, which are considered by many to be a far greater on-going threat to human rights than the FARC. Their concern is that these neo-paramilitaries, not the government, would fill the vacuum in territory currently occupied by the FARC and ELN. These concerns are well-founded. In a recent demonstration of power (March 31st, 2016) one such group paralyzed the entire northern part of Colombia; the Urabeños have made it absolutely clear that they, not the state, are the authority in much of Colombia.

The Urabeño paramilitary shut-down is widely held to have been in support of “Marches against Peace” held across the country two days later (Saturday, April 2nd). Hundreds of thousands of supporters of ex-president Uribe, opposing the Santos Government and the Peace Accord and negotiations with the FARC, took to the streets in cities across Colombia. It is noteworthy that former President Alvaro Uribe is himself under suspicion for collaborating with paramilitaries, and accused of playing an active role in Parapolitics, which involved many high-level officials in the military, all levels of government, his own Party and Cabinet, as well as some of his political appointees. Many of of these have been convicted and are now in exile or serving lengthy prison sentences for having collaborated with paramilitaries. The current President, Juan Manuel Santos, denies the existence of paramilitaries. He considers groups like the Urabeños as nothing more than organized criminals involved in drug trafficking and illegal gold mining, not major players in the military conflict, and insists that state will prosecute them as such (see “Failed demobilization of the Paramilitaries in the 2006” below). The Urabeños themselves claim they are politically motivated, and should therefore be included in the clemency being offered to left-wing guerrilla and military combatants under the terms of the transitional justice.

-read the complete post

May 10, 2016

Demonstration at the Trade Committee Hearing on the TPP


On Friday, May 13, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade will hold hearings in Toronto on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that accounts for 40 percent of the global economy, but which was negotiated in secrecy.

Please join Unifor, OpenMedia, the Council of Canadians, Leadnow, Common Frontiers, and the Trade Justice Network outside of the Trade Committee hearing venue as we gather to voice our concerns with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

-See FaceBook page for more details

MAY 13, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Ritz Carleton, Toronto
"Public" Hearings on the TPP!!!

May 9, 2016

The TPP, economic crisis and the context for education

In association with the Tri-national Conference in Defense of Public Education, the BC Teachers’ Federation is hosting a public event related to the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and its economic and social context.


The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) brings new focus to a decades-long use of “trade agreements” to enforce corporate rule over government action on the environment, regulation and social needs. This event brings perspectives from the three NAFTA countries about the impact of trade agreements, globalization and austerity.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
7 pm to 9 pm
BC Teachers’ Federation Office
550 West Sixth, Vancouver
(across from the Olympic Village station on the Canada Line)

The meeting will be available on the BCTF Livestream channel, live and archived after the seminar.

May 2, 2016

CERLAC Upcoming Event:
"Soft Coups?" Comparing recent events in Brazil, Honduras, and Paraguay.

Monday, May 9, 2016
2183 Vari Hall, York University
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

All are welcome!

Brazil is in a state of political crisis which some people are calling a coup. What's going on? How is this related to the sudden changes of government in Honduras in 2009 and Paraguay in 2012? Scholars and activists will debate these complex issues.
-Click on poster below for more information

CERLAC event


May 1, 2016

Land and Social Justice in the Colombian Peace Process
A conversation with Alfredo Molano on the critical elements for an inclusive peace.

Alfredo Molano's current tour in Canada comes at a critical moment as the Colombian Peace talks continue. It is hoped that current negotiations to will lead to an agreement to end the five decades long conflict, which has created more than 6.7 million victims and taken at least 220,000 lives. Molano’s intellectual contributions highlight the importance of addressing longstanding issues including inequality, rural development, land rights, democracy and the rise of paramilitarism in the country.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
5 to 7 p.m.
Human Rights Research and Education Centre
Fauteux Hall – FTX570
(57 Louis Pasteur, uOttawa)

The event will be in English and Spanish.


-More information

April 22, 2016

Aura Minerals accused of exposing Azacualpa residents to cyanide leaching through gold mine

Activists say Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's office should come to the aid of Honduran villagers who are allegedly being exploited by a Canadian mining company. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

By Mike Blanchfield
The Canadian Press

A Canadian human rights delegation urged Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's office Wednesday to come to the aid of Honduran villagers they say are being exploited by a Canadian mining company.

The group — including First Nations women leaders, the organization MiningWatch Canada, lawyers and activists — visited Honduras this past week and want to draw attention to the plight of villagers in Azacualpa.

The group says in a brief presented to Dion's office that the operations of Toronto-based Aura Minerals are affecting the health of villagers by exposing them to cyanide leaching and from its open-pit gold mine.

They also say the company wants to move both the villagers and their community graveyard. They're also calling on the Canadian embassy to stop supporting the company's activities in Honduras.

A request to the company for comment went unanswered Wednesday.

The rights group says it is troubling that the Canadian government has deepened economic relations with Honduras, including signing a free-trade agreement, following the country's 2009 military coup.

"We would like Canada to make a little bit more noise," said Catherine Morris, the research director for Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, a delegation member.

Aura Minerals' open-pit gold mine in Azacualpa is detrimental to the health of local villagers, activists allege. (Courtesy of MiningWatch Canada)

Dion's spokesman Joe Pickerill said in an emailed statement that the government is committed to demonstrating leadership on corporate social responsibility.

"Canadians expect our businesses operating abroad to respect human rights, labour rights, all applicable laws, and to conduct their activities in a socially and environmentally responsible manner," he said.

In 2014, the previous Conservative government announced the creation of a revamped, corporate social responsibility counsellor that would screen foreign community complaints about mining operations and companies. Companies that refused to co-operate with the counsellor would lose government support.

The new counsellor does not have the power to compel mining companies to co-operate, but some non-governmental organizations saw it as a positive step after more than a decade of advocating for tougher scrutiny of Canadian overseas mining operations.

Liberal MP John McKay recently called for stricter oversight of Canadian mining companies because they periodically face accusations that they are violating local laws and human rights, despite overall improvements in the industry.

April 22, 2016

Canada Has Blood On Its Hands; Justice in Honduras Requires a U-Turn in Canadian Foreign Policy

(Ottawa) First Nations women leaders, legal and human rights activists are calling on the Canadian government to take a lead in calling for an independent, international investigation into the murder of world-renowned Indigenous activist, Berta Cáceres, and to investigate Canada’s engagement with the Central American country since a 2009 military-backed coup.

The group returned to Ottawa on Tuesday after a seven day trip to Honduras that was organized in the wake of the brutal murder of Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres on March 2, followed by the murder of Nelson García on March 15. Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder sparked an unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. García was member of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), an organization that Cáceres co-founded.

Delegations from twenty two countries turned out to participate in an international gathering organized by COPINH and others in Honduras last week. Despite the strong international presence, a caravan to commemorate Berta’s life along the Gualcarque river was violently assaulted on April 15.

“We saw first hand how police collude with violent men to protect powerful interests. When members of COPINH led a caravan of Honduran and international activists down to the Gualcarque river to commemorate Berta Cáceres’ life, police stood with their shields facing peaceful protesters while armed men behind them yelled threats at members of COPINH,” described Mary Hannaburg, member of the Mohawk Nation and Québec Native Women.

“When the same armed group threw rocks and threatened peaceful caravan participants with machetes, injuring at least eight people, no one was detained or arrested. Meanwhile, COPINH members have been treated as if they’re criminals and the right of the Lenca Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent over hydroelectric and mining concessions completely disregarded,” said Ms. Hannaburg.

Honduran investigators looking into the murder of Berta Cáceres were quick to go after members of COPINH after her assassination, calling it a crime of passion and trying without success to pin it on internal divisions within her organization. Meanwhile, they were slow to consider possible links with the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project and other megaprojects on Lenca territory, about which Berta was outspoken and had received numerous documented threats, leading to an order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the Honduran state to guarantee her and COPINH’s safety.

The only viable option for an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres is for a team of international, independent investigators to be engaged under the auspices of the IACHR. Canada could take an important lead to urge the Honduran government to enter into such an arrangement,” stated Catherine Morris, delegation member and research director for Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Currently, the Honduran government is promoting involvement in the investigation of an OAS-backed anti-corruption unit in Honduras (MACCIH by its initials in Spanish).

“It would be deeply disturbing if the Canadian government decided to back this option, given that MACCIH neither has the mandate, the independence, nor the trust of Berta’s family and COPINH to properly engage in the investigation,” remarked Ms. Morris.

The delegation also questioned Canada’s role in Honduras during and since the 2009 military-backed coup, since which time over 100 activists fighting for land and a safe environment have been murdered.

The Canadian delegation visited a community in the department of Copán where Toronto-based Aura Minerals operates the San Andrés gold mine. They heard about the prevalence of health problems among children, as well as concerns about broken agreements, and the possible destruction of the community cemetery. Members of the local environmental committee in this area have also received death threats.

“The impacts that communities face around Canadian mining projects in Honduras are not much different from what we confront in Canada. But the situation is much more dire in the region right now for those who dare to speak out about impacts on health, land, sacred spaces and their community fabric,” stated Bev Sellars, Counsellor from Xat’sull/Soda Creek First Nation and Chair of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining.

Nonetheless, since 2009, in the context of widespread repression and impunity, the Canadian government ratified a free trade agreement with Honduras in 2014 and provided technical assistance to a new mining code passed in 2013 that provides little protections for people and the environment, while it favours companies.

“Canada has blood on its hands and unless things change significantly, a bad situation will only continue to get worse in Honduras and in other parts of Latin America where community activists are regularly criminalized and killed,” concluded Sellars.

For more information or to set up an interview with delegation participants, contact:

Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator,
MiningWatch Canada,
jen(at), (613) 569-3439

April 21, 2016

Media Release

Trans-Pacific Partnership expands migrant worker regime: study

studyOTTAWA—As parliamentary consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) begin, a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) raises questions about the deal’s consequences for Canadian immigration policy and the Canadian labour market.

“The TPP gives employers a new pathway to hire and transfer workers across borders, even where local unemployment is high and domestic workers are available,” says Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, a researcher at the CCPA and author of Migrant Workers and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: A regulatory impact analysis of the TPP’s temporary entry provisions.

According to the study, the TPP will prevent Canada from imposing limits on the number of foreign workers who can be brought into the country, provided they meet the criteria outlined in the deal.
“To make matters worse, workers themselves receive no mobility rights under the TPP,” says Mertins-Kirkwood. “These rules are designed to give employers more labour market flexibility, not to benefit workers in Canada or other TPP countries.”

Key findings from the study include:

“If there are gaps in the Canadian labour market, they should be filled through permanent immigration or through greater education and skills training,” says Mertins-Kirkwood. “Opening the floodgates to more migrant labour fails to address the long-term needs of the domestic labour market and does so with negative knock-on effects for Canadian workers and migrant workers alike.”

The study is the latest in the CCPA’s ongoing research series on the TPP, What’s the Big Deal: Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Migrant Workers and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: A regulatory impact analysis of the TPP’s temporary entry provisions is available on the CCPA website.

For more information contact:
Kerri-Anne Finn,
CCPA Director of Communications
613-563-1341 x306.

April 20, 2016

Favourable decision on Bill 115 Charter Challenge

(Toronto)— In an 84 page decision released today, Justice Thomas R. Lederer ruled in favour of the Charter challenge to Bill 115. In 2012, the Ontario government eliminated free collective bargaining, the right to strike and imposed contracts across the education sector.

OSSTF/FEESO President Paul Elliott noted “that Justice Lederer confirmed what we believed all along.”  The Court found that “considering the overall process undertaken, the actions of the Ontario government substantially interfered with meaningful collective bargaining.”  The Court also found the Ontario government’s approach to bargaining was “ill-conceived.”

“It is unfortunate that the government’s approach created such unnecessary and negative consequences for the education sector,” added Elliott. “And we are pleased that the Court has reconfirmed the importance of free, fair and meaningful collective bargaining,” he concluded.

This Court decision is a result of action taken by unions including OSSTF/FEESO, ETFO, CUPE, OPSEU and Unifor.

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

Contact: Paul Elliott, President
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
416-751-8300 or 1-800-267-7867

April 19, 2016

Media Advisory

Canadian human rights delegation to speak about first-hand experience of violence during fact-finding mission to Honduras

A Canadian human rights delegation just back from a fact-finding visit to Honduras will hold a press conference to make public:

The press conference will take place:
Thursday April 21 at 10 AM
Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa


The delegation went to gather first-hand testimony about the threats community activists face. Since a military-backed coup in 2009, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world to defend Indigenous and human rights. The murder of Berta Cáceres on March 2 has brought international attention to this dire situation. Despite this climate of fear and impunity, the Canadian government struck a free trade agreement with Honduras in recent years and provided technical assistance to a new mining code that provides little protections for people and the environment.

For more information:

-consultatif télécharger des médias en français

April 18, 2016

After Vote to Remove Brazil’s President, Key Opposition Figure Holds Meetings in Washington


By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept

BRAZIL’S LOWER HOUSE of Congress on Sunday voted to impeach the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, sending the removal process to the Senate. In an act of unintended though rich symbolism, the House member who pushed impeachment over the 342-vote threshold was Dep. Bruno Araújo, himself implicated by a document indicating he may have received illegal funds from the construction giant at the heart of the nation’s corruption scandal. Even more significantly, Araújo belongs to the center-right party PSDB, whose nominees have lost four straight national elections to Rousseff’s moderate-left PT party, with the last ballot-box defeat delivered just 18 months ago, when 54 million Brazilians voted to re-elect Dilma as president.

Those two facts about Araújo underscore the unprecedentedly surreal nature of yesterday’s proceedings in Brasília, capital of the world’s fifth-largest country. Politicians and parties that have spent two decades trying, and failing, to defeat PT in democratic elections triumphantly marched forward to effectively overturn the 2014 vote by removing Dilma on grounds that, as today’s New York Times report makes clear, are, at best, dubious in the extreme. Even The Economist, which has long despised the PT and its anti-poverty programs and wants Dilma to resign, has argued that “in the absence of proof of criminality, impeachment is unwarranted” and “looks like a pretext for ousting an unpopular president.”

Sunday’s proceedings, conducted in the name of combating corruption, were presided over by one of the democratic world’s most blatantly corrupt politicians, House speaker Eduardo Cunha (above, center), who was recently discovered to have stashed millions of dollars in secret Swiss bank accounts that have no possible non-corrupt source and who lied under oath when he denied to Congressional investigators that he had foreign bank accounts. Of the 594 members of the House, as the Globe and Mail reported yesterday, “318 are under investigation or face charges” while their target, President Rousseff, “herself faces no allegation of financial impropriety.”

One by one, corruption-stained legislators marched to the microphone to address Cunha, voting “yes” on impeachment by professing to be horrified by corruption. As preambles to their votes, they cited a dizzying array of bizarre motives, from “the fundamentals of Christianity” and “not to be as red as Venezuela and North Korea” to “the evangelical nation” and “the peace of Jerusalem.” The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts captured just some of the farce:

Yes, voted Paulo Maluf, who is on Interpol’s red list for conspiracy. Yes, voted Nilton Capixaba, who is accused of money laundering. “For the love of God, yes!” declared Silas Camara, who is under investigation for forging documents and misappropriating public funds.

It is highly likely that the Senate will agree to hear the charges, which will result in the 180-day suspension of Dilma as president and the installation of the pro-business Vice President Michel Temer from the PMDB party. The vice president himself is, as the New York Times put it, “under scrutiny over claims that he was involved in an illegal ethanol purchasing scheme.” Temer recently made it known that one of the leading candidates to head his economic team would be the chairman of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme.

If, after trial, two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict, Dilma will be permanently removed. Many suspect that one core objective in impeaching Dilma is to provide a cathartic sense for the public that corruption has been addressed, all designed to exploit Temer’s newfound control to prevent further investigations of the dozens upon dozens of actually corrupt politicians populating the leading parties.

-read more on the Intercept site

April 12, 2016

Media Release

Canadian Delegation to Participate in the International Gathering Celebrating the Life of Berta Cáceres in Honduras

(Ottawa/Montreal) Today, the Canada Honduras Delegation for Justice, Land and Life is traveling to Tegucigalpa for the International Peoples Gathering ‘Berta Cáceres Lives’. First Nations women leaders, lawyers, filmmakers and solidarity activists make up the delegation that has been organized in the wake of the murder of Berta Cáceres’ on March 3rd, followed closely by her colleague Nelson Garcia’s murder on March 14th.

Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder has sparked an unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. Berta and the organization that she helped found, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), have been fighting powerful economic and political interests to keep hydroelectric dams and mining concessions off of Indigenous Lenca territory.

“From the get go, the investigation into Berta’s murder and the attempted murder against Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was with her at the time, has been fraught with irregularities. Yet, the Canadian government’s response has been insufficient, failing to question this process. We will be documenting what we hear to bring that back to Ottawa next week,” remarked Catherine Morris from Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Berta’s family and COPINH have denounced Honduran officials as incapable of undertaking a full and impartial investigation, outing one official for close ties to the hydroelectric company that Berta was protesting and citing bias against her, given prior attempts to legally persecute her on baseless charges. They insist that the Honduran government needs to reach an agreement with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to involve a group of independent, international experts in the investigation.

“We know that Berta’s murder is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to Honduras to hear first-hand about the deadly environment that community activists face and how the Canadian government and business have been taking advantage of the repressive context to facilitate economic interests. We need this to change,” remarked Mary Hannaburg, Mohawk Nation Director for Quebec Native Women.

-read the entire release

Contact information:
Delegation in Honduras: Grahame Russell, Rights Action, 011 (504) 9848-4633
Coordination in Ottawa: Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 722-0412
Coordination in Montreal: Marie Eve Marleau, Coordinator, Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), (514) 257-8710 x 334

April 11, 2016

Land and Social Justice in Colombia:
Prospects for the Peace Deal

Click on image for poster view


April 10, 2016

Reel Activism: Challenging the TPP

Tuesday, April 19, 7 - 9 p.m.
Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St., Toronto (1 street west of Bathurst TTC, South of Bloor)
$5-10 suggested donation

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade & corporate rights deal among 12 Pacific Rim countries, including Canada. Signed on February 4 2016, member nations now have 2 years to ratify this deal.

Very little of the TPP involves trade. Most of it encompasses issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can & cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking & taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.

Join us on April 19 to discuss the nature and negative impacts of this mega trade deal agreement. Become engaged in challenging the TPP.

- Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers
- Steven Shrybman, Council of Canadians
- Michael Butler, Council of Canadians, health care campaigner
- Jennifer Chesnut, Council of Canadians London chapter

Hosted by Reel Activism and the Council of Canadians Toronto chapter
Endorsed by Common Frontiers and People's Climate Movement

More info:
Facebook event listing

April 8, 2016

ALBA Canada condemns the murder of campesino activists from the MST in Brazil

The national articulation of social movements towards ALBA in Canada condemns the military police repression against the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) encampment in the state of Paraná, Brazil on April 7, 2016. Reports state that military Police and security guards from the lumber company, Araupel entered the Dom Tomas Balduino encampment where some 2,500 families were living. They proceeded to expel the families off the land and fired on thousands of families killing two MST campesino activists and wounding many more.

The MST reported the community had been receiving threats from security forces prior to the attack. Adding to that, on April 6th in Paraíba, Ivanildo Francisco da Silva, 46 year-old President of the Workers’ Party (PT) in the Mogeiro municipality was also murdered.

These are not isolated events; the police attack is the latest example of territorial conflicts in Brazil where landless rural workers have long been fighting for access to land and land reform.

The military police that undertook the violent repression at the Dom Tomas Balduino encampment is under Governor Carlos Alberto Richa, of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) party, one of the right-wing parties that is promoting a soft coup against President Dilma Rousseff.

We express our solidarity with Brazil’s MST and all land defenders who seek to claim and protect their land against corporate incursion.

We condemn this cowardly act and join our voices with the MST who are demanding immediate justice for the brutal massacre, land for the tillers and popular agrarian reform.


América Latina al Día
Circulo Bolivariano Louis Riel
Common Frontiers
DeColonize Now
Idle No More
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Socialist Project
Students united in representation of Latin. America
The Dawn News – International Newsletter of Popular Struggles

To include your signature in the document, please e-mail Raul Burbano at ALBA Canada: burbano(at)

April 6, 2016

Media Release

IACHR Presents Report on Extractive Industries and Human Rights

reportWashington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presents the report Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Descendent Communities and Natural Resources: Human Rights Protection in the Context of Extraction, Exploitation, and Development Activities. The report seeks to highlight the breadth and complexity of the problems caused by extractive and development activities in the region, and to set forth a comprehensive framework of Inter-American Human Rights standards on the subject.

Extractive, exploitation, and development activities, which are increasing in the hemisphere, are generally implemented in lands and territories historically occupied by indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, which host a great wealth of natural resources. The Commission does not discourage these projects and recognizes the importance of these initiatives for the economic development of countries in the Americas. However, economic development of Member States cannot be undertaken in disregard of their ineluctable obligations to respect and guarantee human rights.

Host States (where the project takes place) and foreign States (where the business has its headquarters) have specific obligations in this context. The report spells out each of these obligations with a view to making sure that the economic development of countries in the hemisphere is not attained at the expense of the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendent communities. Host States must adopt appropriate and positive steps with due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and redress human rights violations that result from the execution of these projects. Additionally, they must comply with international human rights standards through the adoption and implementation of effective policies, legislation, regulations and through measures to ensure adequate access to justice.

-read the entire media release
-download the full report - PDF

April 5, 2016

OPSEU March to Join the Fight for $15 and Fairness

OPSEU supports the fight for decent work. Join us as we march from OPSEU's annual convention to the Fight for $15 & Fairness Toronto Rally at the Ministry of Labour!

Invite your brothers and sisters, tweet, share, and tag with:
#15andfairness #OntarioWeWant #Fightfor$15&Fairness

Friday, April 15 @ 12 PM
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
255 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2W6

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is currently reviewing all the laws that govern our workplaces. We need better laws to make work decent for all workers, whether they have a union or not. For everyone. The time to act is now!

The Fight for $15 and Fairness is a fight for:


March 27, 2016

The Eagle And The Condor: Justice For Berta Cáceres

By Erica Commanda

Berta Cáceres in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH, and locals maintained a two year protest to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric dam. | Image source:

“They follow me. They threaten to kill me – to kidnap me. They threaten my family. That is what we face,” said Berta Cáceres (Lenca) when talking about the dangers activists face in Honduras. Cáceres was a prolific environmental and Indigenous rights activist who had the courage to continue to defend the land and her community in the face of corporate and government violence. Sadly, Berta was assassinated in her own home in La Esperanza, Honduras on March 3rd, 2016.

Before her death, Cáceres was instrumental in a campaign against the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam, which was to be built in traditional Lenca territory on the Gulcarque River – without the consent of the Lenca people. Protesters often faced violent attacks from unidentifiable armed forces who have never been brought to justice. Since 2013 three of Cáceres’ colleagues have been killed for protesting the dam, while another, Nelson García, was assassinated just days after her murder. Despite the violence and death toll, the campaign was effective enough to cease the project’s construction and have its funding pulled by Dutch and Finnish development finance companies, FMO and FinnFund.

During her lifetime, Cáceres co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to advocate for Indigenous rights; took on militarized security contractors and the Honduran armed forces during protests; and was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, which is the highest recognition environmental activists can receive internationally.

Tori Cress
Tori Cress speaks at a protest condemning the assassination of Berta Cáceres in Toronto, March 11, 2016 | Image source: Fernando Arce

On March 11, 2016, Idle No More Toronto and Common Frontiers Canada united to call on the Canadian government to condemn the assassination of Cáceres in a co-organized protest outside of Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland’s office. “Indigenous land defenders like Berta are often the target of corporations, who are in collusion with governments to usurp the lands for mega development projects,” explained Idle No More organizer, Tori Cress (Anishinaabe). Global Witness released a report stating that 109 activists have been killed in Honduras alone between 2010 and 2015, mostly related to resistance of development projects and land disputes. “It’s so dangerous in South America right now because governments have access to corporate money to subdue the Indigenous voices of resistance, quickly, swiftly and with absolutely no regard for human rights,” said Cress.

During the protest, Cress stressed the importance of Indigenous nations from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere working together. “We can become united and really have an uprising of Indigenous people around the world,” she announced. “The more we gather together, the louder our voices are going to be, the more the Canadian government is going to understand how much we mean business.” Cress has worked to unite the Northern and Southern Indigenous cultures by promoting Indigenous sovereignty and decolonization through social media, the organization of rallies and community outreach.

As the protest came to a close, Cress talked about the significance of The Eagle and Condor Prophecy. In Anishinaabe teachings, the eagle represents love because it flies closest to the Creator giving far reaching sight to the seekers below. Like the eagle, the condor is sacred because of it’s ability to fly high altitudes and is believed to be the messenger between heaven and earth. The prophecy states: when the eagle of the North and the condor of the South fly together, there will be peace upon the Earth. The eagles of the North cannot be free without the condors of the South.

“We need to work together on a global scale,” Cress said. “We need to make sure that we fulfill the Eagle and Condor prophecy. We need to stand together. Then they can’t get through us.”

The eagle and condor prophecy calls for the uniting of Southern and Northern Indigenous nations. | Image source:


March 25, 2016

Statement of Solidarity with BlackLivesMatterTO Coalition

CUPE Ontario adds support to call to Rally on March 26

We Will Win

Anti-Black racism is real. As Ontario’s community union, CUPE Ontario advocates for strong, healthy communities that are safe for everyone. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter – Toronto because CUPE members face anti-Black racism. We support Black Lives Matter because this is about us—about our members, our families, and our communities. But this is also about solidarity against oppression. We are proud to stand with Aboriginal groups, the student movement, and other allies in the fight against anti-Black racism.

We are pleased that the hard work of the Black Lives Matters – Toronto Coalition has led to the restoration of Afrofest to a two-day festival. But we urgently call on Mayor John Tory, Chief Mark Saunders, and Premier Kathleen Wynne to take immediate action to implement BLMTO’s other essential demands:

The labour movement must not stand idly by in anti-racist struggles. CUPE Ontario is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with BLMTO in workplaces and communities in Toronto and beyond to hold our elected politicians to account and demand that, as a starting point, they implement the above changes to address anti-Black racism.

-More information on BLM TO’s Rally on March 26th

March 23, 2016

Overthrowing (Brazilian President) Dilma Rousseff

It’s Class War, and Their Class is Winning

By Alfredo Saad Filho
The Bullet

Supporters of former Brazilian president Lula da Silva confront police officers in front of Lula's apartment in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, 4 March 2016

Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else.

Dilma Rousseff was elected President in 2010, with a 56-44 percent majority against the right-wing neoliberal PSDB (Brazilian Social
Democratic Party) opposition candidate. She was re-elected four years later with a diminished yet convincing majority of 52-48 percent, or a majority of 3.5 million votes.

Dilma's second victory sparked a heated panic among the neoliberal and U.S.-aligned opposition. The fourth consecutive election of a President affiliated to the centre-left PT (Workers’ Party) was bad news for the opposition, because it suggested that PT founder Luís Inácio Lula da Silva could return in 2018. Lula had been President between 2003 and 2010, and when he left office his approval ratings hit 90 percent, making him the most popular leader in Brazil's history. This likely sequence suggested that the opposition could be out of federal office for a generation. The opposition immediately rejected the outcome of the vote. No credible complaints could be made, but no matter; it was resolved that Dilma Rousseff would be overthrown by any means necessary. To understand what happened next, we must return to 2011.

Booming Economy

Dilma inherited from Lula a booming economy. Alongside China and other middle-income countries, Brazil bounced back vigorously after the global crisis. GDP expanded by 7.5 percent in 2010, the fastest rate in decades, and Lula's hybrid neoliberal-neodevelopmental economic policies seemed to have hit the perfect balance: sufficiently orthodox to enjoy the confidence of large sections of the internal bourgeoisie, and heterodox enough to deliver the greatest redistribution of income and privilege in Brazil's recorded history, thereby securing the support of the formal and informal working class. For example, the minimum wage rose by 70 percent and 21 million (mostly low-paid) jobs were created in the 2000s. Social provision increased significantly, including the world-famous Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer programme, and the government supported a dramatic expansion of higher education, including quotas for blacks and state school pupils. For the first time, the poor could access education as well as income and bank loans. They proceeded to study, earn and borrow, and to occupy spaces previously monopolized by the upper middle class: airports, shopping malls, banks, private health facilities and roads, that were clogged up by cheap cars purchased in 72 easy payments. The government coalition enjoyed a comfortable majority in a highly fragmented Congress, and Lula's legendary political skills managed to keep most of the political elite on side.

Then everything started to go wrong. Dilma Rousseff was chosen by Lula as his successor. She was a steady pair of hands and a competent manager and enforcer. She was also the most left-wing President of Brazil since João Goulart, who was overthrown by a military coup in 1964. However, she had no political track record and, it would later become evident, lacked essential qualities for the job.

-read more

March 21, 2016

Indigenous Rights Under Attack: Canadian economic and political interests over human rights

By Jackie Mcvicar
Canadian Dimension

Illustration by LargeMarge

No one defending their land and territory in Honduras is safe. That was the message that rang loud and clear after Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home on March 3. Cáceres, an Indigenous Lenca woman, mother and grandmother was founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and worked tirelessly to protect communities at risk of eviction and relocation because of large scale projects that put their lives and livelihoods at risk. Despite being internationally recognized, most recently after winning the 2015 Goldman Prize, Berta was killed in her home by unknown gunmen. Her Mexican friend and colleague, Gustavo Castro, founder and director of Chiapas-based Otros Mundos (Other Worlds/Friends of the Earth Mexico), was also wounded in the attack. At the time of her murder, Berta was the beneficiary of precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights - an order with which the Honduran State did not comply.

Berta and her colleagues have repeatedly denounced the criminalization, threats and violent repression that Indigenous communities have faced for defending their homes against the transnational extractive industry. Even before the 2009 coup d’état, communities had spoken out against the Agua Zarca Dam along the Gualcarque River in Intibucá, Western Honduras, sacred to the Lenca People who depend on it for their subsistence. Later, communities found out that another hydropower project along the nearby Canjel River was also being built and began a series of protests to denounce the project.

Hydrosys Consultants, with Canadian offices in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Vancouver is a key player in the Canjel Hydropower Project. According to its website, Hydrosys currently has four projects in Honduras and four others in the region. In terms of the Canjel project, the company is responsible for “Detailed engineering, regulatory authorizations and permits approval process, plans and specifications for the construction, supervision and management of the construction and commissioning.”

The problem with the Canjel project and the permit approval process, for which Hydrosys is responsible, is that the Indigenous Lenca People have not been meaningfully consulted about the project, putting the Honduran state in violation of International Labour Organization Convention 169 on the Rights of Indigenous People, of which it is signatory. In addition, Berta and other Indigenous community members have consistently denounced the Honduran State and the companies involved, including Hydrosys, for moving forward with the licenses for this project without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous community.

-read more

March 18, 2016




When: Monday March 21st @ 4:30 pm
Where: Cloud Gardens 14 Temperance Street (Queen Subway station)
Honduran activist Nelson Noe García Lainez was murdered on Tuesday, becoming the second member of the Indigenous group Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to be shot to death in Honduras the last two weeks. He was gunned down upon arriving at his home in the Rio Lindo community in the department of Cortés, less than two weeks after the shooting death of Berta Cáceres.

Berta Cáceres, winner of the prestigious Golman environmental prize, was assassinated in Honduras on Thursday, March 3, 2016. She was an Indigenous Lenca leader, and the coordinator and co-founder of COPINH. Berta was also a leading figure against the 2009 coup that overthrew the democratically elected government in Honduras. Since the coup the human rights situation in Honduras has deteriorated as human rights defenders and social movement leaders are systematically criminalized and routinely killed.

Join us to remember Nelson Garcia and Berta Cáceres and all those murdered for protecting their culture and the environment against corporate power.

See Facebook event for more information

March 18, 2016

Another Indigenous Leader Killed in Honduras, Canadian Organizations say Enough is Enough

(Montreal/Toronto/Ottawa) Today, fifty Canadian organizations and networks sent a letter calling on the Canadian Government to pressure Honduran authorities and review Canadian foreign policy after another member of Berta Cáceres’ organization was murdered this week.

On Tuesday, Nelson Noé García Laínez from the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was murdered in the community of Río Chiquito. The Indigenous leader was on his way home from helping a group of families that government security forces had just violently evicted when he was shot dead in the face by two unknown gunmen.

In the wake of Berta’s murder on March 3rd, which has generated international shock and dismay, organizations from across Canada find it deeply distressing that the people behind these murders unabashedly continue to pursue and kill members of COPINH.

Amnesty International issued an urgent action on Wednesday describing how COPINH leadership, community radio members, people protesting for justice for Berta Cáceres, one of Berta’s daughters and others have been questioned, stalked, photographed and followed during the past week.

European funders of the Agua Zarca dam project, including Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and FinnFund, responded to the violence by suspending all funding activities to Honduras and deciding to send fact-finding missions to the country.

The Mexican Network of Mining Affected Peoples also expressed alarm at Honduran authorities’ inability to protect COPINH and Berta’s family, adding that Gustavo Castro - the key witness to Berta’s murder and also a victim of the attack - faces increasing risk. Gustavo has been prevented from leaving Honduras despite a treaty for mutual cooperation in criminal investigations that would permit him to continue participating in the investigation from Mexico.

In response, Canadian organizations have issued a communiqué calling on the Canadian government to urge Honduran authorities to protect COPINH, Berta’s family and Gustavo Castro; to press Honduras to collaborate with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to involve independent, international experts into the ongoing investigation; to call for Gustavo Castro’s safe and immediate return to Mexico; and that the Lenca people’s right to free, prior and informed consent over mega-projects on their lands be respected.

They also call on the Canadian government to reverse its egregious policy toward Honduras to date. Following the military-backed coup in 2009, Canada helped undermine efforts for the return of the democratically elected government of President Mel Zelaya and was quick to support and do business with repressive post-coup administrations. Since this time, over 100 environmental activists have been murdered with Berta’s assassination becoming the most widely known. Meanwhile, Canadian authorities pushed for a new mining law and signed a free trade agreement with Honduras to benefit Canadian investors.

These organizations insist that parliament should investigate the Canadian government’s role in Honduras during and since the coup, cut off support to the Honduran government and security forces, and ensure that no public support is provided to any infrastructure or mega-project that does not have the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous communities.

A full copy of the letter sent today is available in English and French. Additional organizational or network sign-ons are welcome. Individuals are encouraged to respond to an online urgent action to Canadian and Honduran authorities in English/Spanish and French/Spanish. Also urge the safe and immediate return of Gustavo Castro to Mexico using this online action in Spanish.

For more information:

March 18, 2016

NDP statement on the situation in Honduras

Hélène Laverdière, NDP Foreign Affairs critic, and Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP Member of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights made the following statement:

“New Democrats express their profound concern at the worsening situation in Honduras and the targeting of human rights and environmental defenders.

On March 4, prominent indigenous environmental activist and human rights defender Berta Cáceres was murdered, sparking outrage across the international human rights community. This week, her colleague Nelson García was also murdered.

We call on the Government of Canada to unequivocally condemn the murders of Berta Cáceres and Nelson García. We further call on Canada to urge the Honduran government to support an independent, international investigation into these murders. We support the request made by the victims’ families for the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to create a commission of independent experts, and we urge the Canadian government to help facilitate this request.

We are deeply concerned about the safety of Gustavo Castro, witness to Berta Cáceres’ murder, as reports indicate he is under threat. We urge the Canadian government to call on their Honduran counterparts to ensure Gustavo Castro is protected from reprisals and allowed to testify without threat of violence.

The deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras should be of grave concern to Canada, especially within the context of the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement, which passed despite evidence of widespread human rights abuses in Honduras. Given the presence of Canadian companies operating in Honduras and significant Canadian investment in the country, Canada has a responsibility to ensure that human rights are protected.”

March 13, 2016

Demonstrators demand Canadian government speak up for murdered Indigenous activist

By Fernando Arce
The Dawn

JusticeTORONTO – Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the constituent office of the Ministry of International Trade in Toronto on March 11 to condemn Canada’s commercial involvement with Honduras, where an award-winning Indigenous environmentalist was murdered a week prior.

On March 3, armed men broke in and shot Berta Cáceres to death, a Lenca woman and co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Cáceres, who was 43, had been opposing mega-development projects threatening Indigenous communities for more than 20 years.

The coalition of civil societies leading the demonstration demanded that the Canadian government, which entered into a Free Trade Agreement with Honduras in 2013, condemn the murder. An open letter signed by over 80 organizations from across Canada demanding an independent International investigation involving the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights was also delivered to ministry clerks. NDP members Hélène Laverdière, critic for foreign affairs and Cheryl Hardcastle, part of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights, were two of the signatories.

“Change happens when citizens ban together and demand it,” said Katarina Kahnert-Wolchak, a member of The Delta Now, a grassroots group led by students out of York University working in Solidarity with Honduran Indigenous-Garifuna communities on genocide and land rights issues.

“So we’re demanding Canadian political action. We must hold our political representation accountable for the ramifications of their decisions. That’s why solidarity is so important.”

The group plans to begin a letter- and email-writing campaign targeted at politicians supporting the “oppressive Honduran state.”

Cáceres, who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, had been one of the leading voices of Indigenous resistance in Honduras and Central America.

Since 2006, COPINH and the Rio Blanco community began protesting peacefully against the Agua Zarca hydroelectric generation project on the Gualcarque River, in western Honduras. As of today, the project has been effectively brought to a halt, with stakeholders citing the ongoing resistance and turmoil as the main reasons, including the murder of fellow COPINH leader Tomas Garcia.

Cáceres also led protests against the 2009 parliamentary coup d’état which ousted the democratically-elected government of Manuel Zelaya.

Despite all this, Stephen Harper’s conservatives signed the FTA with a country notoriously known as the “murder capital of the world” and marred by human rights violations. Current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thus far also failed to address any of these issues, while Honduran authorities are asking to be included in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I just want you to realize how negative all these international trade deals are for Indigenous people,” said Tori Cress, an Anishinaabe of the Beausoleil First Nation and Idle No More organizer. “No consultation, no consent in any one of these continents where indigenous people have been colonized. Each one of these Free Trade Agreements directly affect us first. It’s our stolen lands and territories that we’re trying to protect.”

Investigation is a ‘catalogue of failures’

Honduran authorities claim they are working with American law enforcement agencies, including the F.B.I., to investigate the murder, according to a New Yorker article.

But critics are calling for an impartial investigation, citing concerns over the objectivity of the one being led by the Honduran government.

“The investigation undertaken by Honduras, to date, has been a catalogue of failures that seems aimed at criminalizing COPINH and looking everywhere but the source of the threat” said Marilyn McKim, a member of Amnesty International Canada, present at the Toronto rally.

The organization is also demanding that Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican colleague of Cáceres who was shot but survived and is now the only eye witness to the crime, be allowed to return home. Honduran authorities stopped Soto, a sociologist who at the time was with the Mexican ambassador, at the airport after issuing a migratory alert preventing him from leaving the country. Critics, and Soto himself, worry for his safety. Last week, he sent a letter to a local Honduran newspaper stating that he believed investigators had “tampered” with the crime scene.

“Gustavo and Berta have never failed to raise their voices for rights, dignity and justice. Silence was never an option. Silence cannot be an option for us either,” said McKim adding that Soto has collaborated “repeatedly with the investigation and given testimony.”

Cáceres’ legacy

The murder of one of the world’s leading defenders of earth’s natural resources has sparked outrage. It is strengthening Indigenous and civil society movements, and it’s inspiring demonstrators to deepen their struggles.

“Berta’s assassination has left many of us with an important call for action,” said Heryka Miranda, a colleague of both Cáceres and Soto.

“What is it that I, that we, would sacrifice for the planet, for the waters of the earth of humanity? Berta is calling on us as a global family to wake up, because we are running out of time. I am coming out of the shadows … to honour (her), to hold my government accountable using whatever power I may have, using my privilege as a Canadian and United States citizen to continue (her) legacy.”

People who want to take action for Soto are encouraged to send a letter to the Honduras embassy in Canada. For full address details, please go here. They can also contact The Delta Now, one of the grassroots groups at the rally, for more information on their own letter-writing campaign.

March 11, 2016

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Organizations take to streets to denounce brutal assassination of Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres

Toronto – A coalition of civil society organizations is demanding action following the tragic murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras. The group is calling on the Canadian government to unequivocally condemn the murder. To pressure the Honduran government to support the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to name a commission of experts who are independent and trusted by National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to supervise, support and participate in the investigations that the General Attorney's Office is currently undertaking.

On Thursday, March 3rd, Berta Cáceres, a 45 year old Indigenous Lenca women and co-founder of COPINH, was murdered after armed men broke down the door to her home and shot her. A Mexican environmental activist who was with Berta, Gustavo Castro Soto, was also shot but survived. Honduran authorities have issued a migratory alert, preventing him from immediately returning to Mexico, provoking concerns for his safety.

The Canadian government under Stephen Harper signed a free trade deal with Honduras in 2013. The Canada-Honduras FTA provided diplomatic and economic backing for an undemocratic government responsible for widespread human rights abuses and economically-motivated violence. The situation in Honduras has continued to deteriorate as Indigenous leaders and environmental activists are routinely assassinated, according to a recent report by Global Witness, an International NGO.

Today, the Canadian government is pushing to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership a deal that looks very similar to the one Canada signed with Honduras.

The murder of Berta Cáceres has mobilized organizations across North America. United Steelworkers National Director Ken Neumann stated “Berta ́s determination as an indigenous leader and environmental activist is an example to all those who continue to fight for the rights of indigenous people and their right to protect their land.”

Idle No More organizer Tori Cress of the Anishinaabe Beausoleil First Nation said “Indigenous land defenders like Berta are often the target of corporations in collusion with governments to usurp their lands for mega development projects. This is very much in line with accusations against Canadian mining corporations, many of whom are accused of displacing Indigenous communities and polluting the environment all over the world.”

Rally organizers will also deliver an open letter signed by over 80 human rights, ecumenical and labour organizations calling on the Canadian government to unequivocally condemn the murder.

WHAT: Rally demanding Justice for Berta
WHERE: 344 Bloor Street West corner of Spadina Avenue
WHEN: Friday March 11 @ 12:30 PM

For more information contact:
Raul Burbano- Program Director – Common Frontiers 416 522-8615,

March 9, 2016

This Friday, Rally for #JusticeForBerta


-For more details, visit this Facebook page

-Read this urgent action flyer about #JusticeForBerta and #SecurityForGustavo

March 7, 2016

USW logo

Urgent measures necessary to ensure Gustavo Castro's security and safe departure from Honduras

Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado,
President of Honduras

Ms. Dolores Jiménez Hernández,
Mexican Ambassador to Mexico in Honduras

Mr. Héctor Alfredo Rangel Gómez,
Head of Foreign Relations,
Mexican Embassy in Honduras,

RE: Urgent measures necessary to ensure Gustavo Castro's security and safe departure from Honduras

Mr. Presidente Juan Orlando Hernández and Mexican authorities in Honduras:

On behalf of more than 240,000 members of the United Steelworkers in Canada, I am writing to you as the President of Honduras and representatives of Mexico in Honduras out of deep concern for the life and security of Gustavo Castro Soto who is currently in a precarious situation after surviving the brutal attack that killed the internationally-renowned human rights defender, Berta Cáceres. As a result of having survived, Gustavo Castro became a key actor in the investigations into the assassination of Ms. Cáceres, also putting him in serious danger.

I understand that the Mexican Embassy in Honduras is taking steps to help ensure Gustavo's security. However, I also understand that his departure from Honduras is being held up and it is not clear what is taking place.

Concurrently, I further understand that Honduran authorities are starting to criminalize members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) in connection with Berta's brutal assassination. Not only could this put members of COPINH in danger, I fear that it could also be aimed at distorting the investigation, which must be full and impartial and consider both material and intellectual authors.

I am writing to urge the Honduran government to refrain from criminalizing members of COPINH and to clarify why Gustavo is not being allowed to leave the country in a timely manner.

In addition, I urge the Honduran government and the Mexican Embassy in Honduras to fully guarantee Gustavo Castro's security and to ensure that he will be ensured a safe return to Mexico in an expedited manner.


Ken Neumann
National Director for Canada

cc: Honduras Prosecutor General
Honduras National Human Rights Commission in Tegucigalpa and Intibucá

-Leer esta carta en español

March 6, 2016

Honouring the Life of Berta Cáceres


March 5, 2016

#JusticeforBerta and #SecurityforGustavo

The next 24 hours are crucial! In addition to the urgent action that continues to circulate (in Spanish, English and French) we ask you to send personal and/or organizational letters to the embassies in Honduras from your respective countries demanding security for Gustavo Castro Soto, who continues in Honduras, and that the criminalization against COPINH stop.

Every email, call, mention in social networks is important to ensure Gustavo Castro's security and to support the legitimate struggles of COPINH.


Sample letter:

I am writing to you as the President of Honduras and representatives of Mexico in Honduras out of deep concern for the life and security of Gustavo Castro Soto who is currently in a precarious situation after surviving the brutal attack that killed the internationally-renowned human rights defender, Berta Cáceres. As a result of having survived, Gustavo Castro became a key actor in the investigations into the assassination of Ms. Cáceres, also putting him in serious danger.

I understand that the Mexican Embassy in Honduras is taking steps to help ensure Gustavo's security. However, I also understand that his departure from Honduras is being held up and it is not clear what is taking place.

Concurrently, I further understand that Honduran authorities are starting to criminalize members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) in connection with Berta's brutal assassination. Not only could this put members of COPINH in danger, I fear that it could also be aimed at distorting the investigation, which must be full and impartial and consider both material and intellectual authors.

I am writing to urge the Honduran government to refrain from criminalizing members of COPINH and to clarify why Gustavo is not being allowed to leave the country in a timely manner.

In addition, I urge the Honduran government and the Mexican Embassy in Honduras to fully guarantee Gustavo Castro's security and to ensure that he will be ensured a safe return to Mexico in an expedited manner.



March 4, 2016

Assassination of Berta Cáceres sparks outrage

Télécharger la version française
Descargar este artículo en español

We condemn the assassination of Berta Cáceres, general coordinator and co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. Berta was assassinated in La Esperanza, Intibuca after several individuals broke into the house where she was staying and shot and killed her.

An Indigenous Lenca women and community leader, Berta waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam. Just last month, COPINH issued an alert noting that repression and violence against the Rio Blanco community, including Berta Cáceres had escalated as they carried out peaceful actions to protect the River Gualcarque against the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. Due to the violence against her she was granted precautionary measures by the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights.

Berta Cáceres was recognized nationally and internationally as an environmentalist who fought for Indigenous rights. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the highest international recognition for environmental activists. As part of her recognition speech she spoke of the repression she faced, “they follow me, they threaten to kill me and kidnap my family, this is what we face”.

Berta was also instrumental in leading protests against the 2009 coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup the human rights situation in Honduras has deteriorated as human rights defenders and social movement leaders are routinely killed and systematically criminalized.

On October 1, 2014, Canada implemented a Free Trade Agreement with Honduras despite opposition from civil society and labour organizations. The deal provided diplomatic and economic backing to an undemocratic government responsible for widespread human rights abuses, political violence that has generated massive inequality.

We call on the government of Canada to condemn the murder, and to call on the Honduran government to support an independent, international investigation into the murder.

On behalf of the New Democratic Party of Canada, Hélène Laverdière - critic for foreign affairs and Cheryl Hardcastle - member of House of Commons Subcommittee for International Human
ALBA capitulo Canada
Amnesty International Canada
Association de protection de l'environnement des Hautes-Laurentides
Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale
Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network
British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union
British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel
Canada-El Salvador Cooperation for Development
Canadian Jesuits international
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Peace Congress
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Carrefour de solidarité internationale de Sherbooke
Centre international de solidarité ouvrière
Centre de solidarité internationale Corcovado
Centre for Social Justice
Centre justice et foi
Cercle des Premières Nations de l'UQAM
Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean
Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada
Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine
CoDevelopment Canada
Collectif du Mur de femmes contre les oléoducs et les sables bitumineux
Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance
Comité de vigilance de Malartic
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine
Common Frontiers
Confédération des syndicats nationaux
Confederation of Canadian Unions
Conférence religieuse Canadienne
Coordination du Québec de la Marche mondiale des femmes
Council of Canadians
Development and Peace
Entraide Missionnaire
Faculty Association of the University of St. Thomas
Fédération des femmes du Québec
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec
Felician Franciscan Sisters of Canada
Idle No More
Inter Pares
Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice
Jesuits in English Canada
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association
La Coordination du Québec de la Marche mondiale des femmes
Le Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes signe sa solidarité
Ligue des droits et libertés
Maquila Solidarity Network
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
Mer et Monde
MiningWatch Canada
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Movimiento Farabundista
Norbert Piché, Directeur national Service jésuite des réfugiés
Office for Systemic Justice 
OMI Lacombe Canada
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine
Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Presentation Sisters Newfoundland and Labrador
Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire
Regroupement Vigilance Mines Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Rights Action
Solidarité Laurentides Amérique centrale
Science for Peace
Sept - Îles sans uranium 
SEIU Local 2
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Taproot Faith Community - Toronto
Toronto Archdiocesan Council for Development and Peace
Union Paysanne
United Church of Canada
United for Mining Justice
United Steelworkers
Voyages Inter-cultures

For more information or to sign on contact:
Raul Burbano – Program Director - Common Frontiers
Amelia Orellana - Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine - 514 257 8710 poste 334,

March 3, 2016

Idle No More Stands in Solidarity with the People of Honduras

Honduran Indigenous, environmental rights campaigner and co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her La Esperanza home. Telesur correspondent, Gilda Silvestruci confirmed that the Honduran leader was killed at 0100 local central standard time, on Thursday March 3rd.

Idle No More organizers stand in solidarity with the family of Berta Cáceres, the Lenca people, and the people of Honduras. We extend our deepest condolences for the irreplaceable loss that is felt worldwide.
For years Berta and her family have faced threats of brutal violence while hundreds of her comrades have also been murdered in Honduras defending their territory and rights. Honduras is one of the deadliest places for Indigenous and Environmental activists, and they continue to stand up against one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects, in spite the continued threats of violence from US funded police forces and privately hired security guards.

“I've been working on solidarity campaigns with peoples of Central America since I was 17, in other words, for the last 35 years. I joined social movements back then because of the horrific violence, torture, and massacres being rained on the people by those in power. There are many struggles on Earth right now, and in our hemisphere. Let us not forget what has happened in Central America for so long, let us not forget how this is a hemispheric issue, let us honor Berta”. Idle No More Activist, Praba Pilar

We support the call to organize solidarity actions at the embassies of Honduras around the world and we demand:


Mother of All Rivers from Mill Valley Film Group on Vimeo.

The murder of Indigenous peoples across the Americas is at epidemic proportions and it’s time for governments to take action to protect Indigenous lives around the world. It is time for state citizens to rally with us in solidarity around the world to demand justice for the Indigenous People across the globe who are killed just for defending their rights.

Statement and Call to Action in Response to the Assassination of Berta Cáceres: Click Here.

Statement and call to action from La Via Campesina: Click Here.

Photo Credit: The Goldman Environmental Prize

Honduran representation in Canada:

Ottawa — Honduran Embassy - Details and comment forum for the Embassy of Honduras in Ottawa
151 Slater Street, Suite 805-A
Ottawa, ON K1P 5H3
Local: (613) 233-8900
International: +1-613-233-8900

Montreal — Honduran Consulate-General - Details and comment forum for the Consulate-General of Honduras in Montreal
1255 University St., Suite #500
Montreal, QC H3B 3V8
Local: (514) 439-7151
International: +1-514-439-7151

February 24, 2016


Declaración de la II Reunión Mesoamericana de Movimientos Sociales hacia el ALBA

Tegucigalpa, MDC Honduras - 20 y 21 de febrero de 2016

Reunidos en el marco de la II Reunión mesoamericana de articulación de Movimientos Sociales hacia el ALBA, con la participación de dirigentes de los capítulos nacionales de México, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica y Colombia, ante la coyuntura actual, declaramos lo siguiente:

- Expresamos nuestra solidaridad con la compañera Milagros Salas y exigimos su inmediata liberación; Milagros es una luchadora social que ha sido apresada en el marco de una política de criminalización de la protesta en el gobierno de derecha de Mauricio Macri en la hermana República de Argentina.

- Exigimos al gobierno de los Estados Unidos de América, en el marco del restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba, el cese definitivo al Bloqueo Económico, Comercial y Financiero impuesto a este hermano país desde el año de 1959. Asimismo, exigimos el levantamiento de la base naval de Guantánamo y la devolución de este territorio al gobierno y pueblo cubano.

- Enviamos nuestro saludo solidario al Presidente Constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moros y a su pueblo, que se encuentran bajo agresión permanente del imperialismo norteamericano con la complicidad de la oligarquía apátrida, que han declarado la guerra contra los procesos de Unidad Latinoamericana y las luchas de liberación de nuestros pueblos.

- Saludamos el proceso de los Acuerdos de Paz entre el Gobierno colombiano y las FARC-EP que se realizan en la Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba, así como los diálogos con el ELN, que esperamos que pronto pase a la fase pública de estos diálogos. De forma especial nos solidarizamos con los procesos de paz protagonizados por diferentes expresiones del movimiento popular colombiano como la Mesa Social para la Paz. Esperamos que estos procesos garanticen el fin del conflicto armado, la construcción de la paz con justicia social y el desarrollo pleno del pueblo colombiano; a la vez afirmamos que el curso del proceso de paz, es también el anhelo de todos los pueblos de nuestra América.

- Condenamos la represión sistemática a la que están siendo sometidos los hermanos y hermanas indígenas Lencas en la comunidad de San Francisco de Ojuera, Santa Bárbara, Honduras por defender el Rio Gualcarque de las pretensiones de la empresa transnacional DESA. En clara violación al convenio 169 de OIT.

- Condenamos el vil asesinato de William Juan Mengivar, del Movimiento Gregorio Chávez en la Comunidad de Panamá en el Bajo Aguán, Departamento de Colón, Honduras; así mismo condenamos la represión contra sectores populares que luchan por el derecha a la tierra y la defensa del territorio en la región mesoamericana.

- Demandamos el cese de la represión y criminalización en contra de los defensores del territorio y los Derechos Humanos en Guatemala; nos sumamos a las voces que exigen la libertad de los presos políticos y expresamos nuestra solidaridad con Daniel Pascual dirigente del Comité de Unidad Campesino, que enfrenta un proceso judicial por su papel como defensor de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

Esta reunión acuerda también la realización del Foro Mesoamericano de discusión política, ideológica y cultural de cara a impulsar procesos constituyentes, originarios, populares, incluyentes y refundacionales en la región.

Desde este espacio mesoamericano avanzamos en el debate de las ideas de camino a nuestra II

Asamblea Continental de Movimientos Sociales hacia el ALBA.

¡Otro mundo es Posible!

ALBA – Movimientos Sociales
Reunión Mesoamericana

-Descargar la declaración en español     in English

February 23, 2016

No TPP Popular Sector Declaration - Mexico

On January 19, at a meeting in Mexico City, the International Encounter of Social Movements opposed to the TPP, adopted a joint action agenda calling on their respective governments to oppose the Transpacific Partnership Proposal.

Ensuring Human Rights get priority over corporate profits = NO to TPP

1. Negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) behind closed doors violated our human right to be informed and now the governments involved are pressuring their Congresses to ratify the accord. With this in mind, the social organizations from those countries in the Americas involved in the TPP are speaking out in protest against accepting this supranational legislation that has been fashioned behind people’s backs to fulfill the wishes of big capital. We will not stand by and see our human rights violated.

2. Our struggle against the TPP is not only just and legitimate, it is also shared by the United Nations (UN). We declare that the TPP is illegal based on international law and therefore should not be ratified by the legislative powers involved.

3. The international recognition provided to the many different human rights is the product of lengthy struggles by the people leading to an understanding based in International law that these rights must supersede any other type of ‘rights’. For this reason commercial treaties can not be superior to governmental agreements to respect and implement the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other associated agreements and protocols.

4. The Human Rights Commission of the UN has the mandate to build a binding legal instrument governing the obligations of transnational corporations and commercial interests with respect to human rights. The TPP seeks to set a precedent that is contrary to that mandate. While the mechanisms and commitments found in the TPP which favour the transnationals are obligatory, the chapters related to Work (Chapter 19), Environment (Chapter 20), Skills Development and Cooperation (Chapter 21), Development (Chapter 23), Small and Medium size Businesses (Chapter 24), and Transparency and Anti corruption (Chapter 26) are, in contrast, voluntary, not enforceable or subject to sanctions if not complied with.

The juridic anomaly to be found in the structure, the content and the institutionalization of trade treaties such as the TPP, that consecrate Rights, is not compatible with international public order and contrary to bbbcorporate rights while leaving the populations defenceless, is recognized in the July 2015 Report by the UN’s Independent Expert for the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order where it states that the TPP, by putting itself above Human the dispositions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and the observance of respectable (local) custom.

-Read the entire declaration and the joint action agenda

February 12, 2016

Ongoing concerns regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on Canadian workers

Letter from Ken Neumann
Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Canadian Minister of International Trade

Dear Minister Freeland,

Re: Ongoing concerns regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on Canadian workers

As Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America, I write to you on behalf of our over 250,000 active and retired members in Canada to request a personal meeting to discuss our ongoing concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which you signed in Auckland last week.

By way of background, our members work in virtually every tradable sector from mining and metals, glass and rubber, paper and forestry, automotive and aerospace and countless other areas including services, university, healthcare and security. Along with other Canadian workers, USW members have suffered for far too long under the bad trade policies, flawed enforcement mechanisms and misplaced economic priorities of your predecessors.

We believe that the TPP will not resolve the most important challenges that have decimated our manufacturing base in recent years. In the TPP text, we see little to suggest the deal will provide a net benefit to ordinary Canadians. The TPP, if ratified, will further bind our economy to a currently-flawed global economic system that has not only hurt Canadian workers, but one which will also undermine our democracy, environment and national autonomy.

Under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, TPP negotiations were conducted largely behind closed doors, with no real input from civil society. We commend your commitment to consulting the public in advance of making a decision to ratify the treaty. We recognize that you and your staff have already engaged in more public consultations on the TPP than the Conservative government did during years of negotiations. But your government can and should do more, especially considering the broad impact that the TPP will most certainly have on the Canadian economy and on Canadian workers and families.

In the pages below we outline some of our more detailed concerns with several aspects of the deal. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. We hope that you will give these concerns thorough review and we look forward to discussing these issues with you at a future date.

-Read the entire letter

February 12, 2016

Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution Webinar

A Revolution Worth Our Solidarity

photoFeb. 28, 2016
6:00-8:00pm ET / 3:00-5:00pm PT

Organized by the Venezuela Strategy Group

Register now for this educational and motivational webinar. Speakers will describe the current situation on the ground in the wake of January’s electoral take-over of the legislative branch by the US-backed right-wing opposition. They will talk about the social and economic gains made by the people of Venezuela since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, US government efforts to derail the democratic process since then, and why what happens in Venezuela is of vital interest to those of us in the US and Canada who want to change our own countries. A question and answer period will be included.

The Webinar is free but you must be registered to participate. Webinar participation can be by computer or by phone.

-Register by clicking here

February 11, 2016

Jane Kelsey: why the TPP can't enter into effect without US and Japan final approval

Jane Kelsey, law professor at the University of Auckland, has an excellent summary of the legal and political conditions related to the TPP.

It is crucially important to know that without final approval by both the US and Japan, the TPP cannot reach the 85% GDP threshhold and enter into force, because they each comprise more than the 15% of aggregate GDP of TPP signatories. See the summary below.

There are three different ways the TPPA could come into force and bind some or all of the signatories.

1. If all original signatories complete their domestic processes to approve the agreement coming into force and notify the Depositary in writing within two years of signing, the TPPA comes into force 60 days after the last country notifies.

2. If not all original signatories have notified completion of their processes after two years, but at least 6 have done so, and they account for at least 85% of the combined GDP of the original signatories (as of 2013), the TPPA would come into force after 60 days (that means 2 years plus 60 days after signing).

3. If 2 years passes without the second option being met, the agreement comes into force 60 days after the date when 6 or more parties comprising 85% of GDP have notified. That formula means the US and Japan must be originating parties. Just two additional larger countries (Canada, Australia, Mexico) would be enough to meet the threshold of 85% of shared GDP. Poor and small countries are virtually irrelevant.

-Download the entire report  PDF 2.1MB

February 3, 2016

How Will the TPP Affect You?

From the Council of Canadians

On October 5, 2015, Canada, the United States, Mexico and nine other countries – together representing more than 40 per cent of the global economy – announced the conclusion of negotiations on the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership “free trade” deal.

The Council of Canadians opposes this deal because it includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest, it extends the patent length (and profits) of pharmaceutical corporations by delaying the introduction of lower cost generic drugs, it slashes the domestic content requirement for automobiles, putting thousands of autoworker jobs at risks, and it undermines family farmers by opening up the Canadian dairy market to imports without creating new export markets for Canadian farmers.

The TPP could be voted on in the new Parliament early in 2016 and is expected to face a U.S. Congressional vote in the spring of 2016.

-Read about what's at stake with the TPP


February 3, 2016

The TPP and Canadian Health Care

By Scott Sinclair
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This study examines the effects of the TPP on the Canadian public health care system. It finds that the TPP investor protections would make it more difficult and costly for Canadian governments to establish new public health programs, including pharmacare, which is on the agenda of ongoing federal-provincial health talks.

The overarching impacts of the proposed treaty would be to weaken the Canadian public health care system, undermine health regulation, and obstruct efforts to renew and expand public health care in the face of new challenges.

-Download the complete report here

February 2, 2016

Canadian educators join global teacher unions’ call to carve out education from Trans-Pacific Partnership

Ottawa – Canadian organizations representing 268,000 K-12 as well as post-secondary educators across the country are adding their voices to the global teacher unions’ call to their governments to carve out education from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Education International (EI) affiliate organizations in the 12 countries involved - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam - have written their governments demanding to carve education from the deal.

The Canadian letter signed by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to the Minister of International Trade is posted here:

A meeting with federal officials in Canada is expected mid- February.

The CTF and CAUT share EI’s concerns about the potential impacts of the TPP for the education sector as there is no explicit exclusion of education, which exposes the sector to greater risks of privatization and commercialization and threatens free, public, high-quality education.

Teacher trade unions are making a final push to keep education off the table as the wide-reaching trade pact that covers 40 per cent of the global economy is expected to be signed Feb. 4, in Auckland New Zealand,

The CTF is a national alliance of Member organizations representing nearly 200,000 teachers across Canada.

The CAUT is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 100 colleges and universities across the country.

As the largest professional federation, EI represents 400 teacher organisations and unions in 171 countries with more than 32 million members.


Media contacts:
Canadian Association of University Teachers
: Angela Regnier, Communications Officer, 613-726-5186; 613-601-6304 (cell).

Canadian Teachers’ Federation: Francine Filion, Director of Communications , 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell)

Education International: Andrew King, Media and Communications Coordinator at

February 1, 2016

UN expert urges Pacific Rim countries not to sign the TPP without committing to human rights and development

GENEVA (2 February 2016) – United Nations human rights expert Alfred de Zayas called on Governments not to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without reaffirming their human rights treaty obligations and their recent pledges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The TPP is fundamentally flawed and should not be signed or ratified unless provision is made to guarantee the regulatory space of States,” said the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order in a statement* made public today.

Mr. de Zayas called for a new generation of trade agreements for the 21st century, which would incorporate human rights and development into their provisions, stressing that “the TPP is based on an old model of trade agreements that is out of step with today’s international human rights regime.”

The expert’s appeal comes on the eve of the gathering of the trade ministers in Auckland, New Zealand, on 4 February 2016, to sign the TPP, a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries that will strengthen the position of investors, transnational corporations and monopolies at the expense of the public, and will impact negatively on labour standards, food security, health and environmental protection.

Mr. de Zayas reiterated his call on the UN system and Governments across the world “to put an end to free trade and investment agreements that conflict with human rights treaty obligations,” made last year during the presentation of a report on free trade and investment agreements to the UN Human Rights Council.

“Trade is not an end in itself, but must be seen in the context of the international human rights regime, which imposes binding legal obligations on States, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” he said.

“Trade agreements are not ‘stand-alone’ legal regimes, but must conform with fundamental principles of international law, including transparency and accountability,” Mr. de Zayas stressed. “They must not delay, circumvent, undermine or make impossible the fulfilment of human rights treaty obligations.”

In his statement, the Independent Expert expressed concern that, despite “enormous opposition by civil society worldwide, twelve countries are about to sign an agreement, which is the product of secret negotiations without multi-stakeholder democratic consultation.”

“The options are not to sign the TPP as it stands, as civil society demands, or not to ratify it, which is the responsibility of democratically elected parliaments,” the expert noted. “Should the TPP ever enter into force, its compatibility with international law should be challenged before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)”.

“If a public referendum were held in all twelve countries concerned, it will be solidly rejected,” Mr. de Zayas stated.

(*) Check the Independent Expert’s public statement:


Mr. Alfred de Zayas (United States of America) was appointed as the first Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order by the Human Rights Council, effective May 2012. He is currently professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. Learn more, log on to:

Read the Independent Expert’s 2015 report to the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/30/44):

Read the Independent Expert’s 2015 report to the UN General Assembly on the incompatibility of ISDS with human rights norms (A/70/285):

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Karin Hechenleitner (+41 22 917 9636 / or write to

January 29, 2016


Signing TPP: a step back for Canada

Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal – After more than five years of secret negotiations and the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in the middle of the federal election 2015, Ministers from the 12 TPP countries now plan to meet in Auckland New Zealand on February 4th to formally sign the deal. The timing for the signing matters because it allows countries to begin ratification through their legislative processes.

The Liberal government has committed to being “transparent, open and consultative” with Canadians prior to ratification. As part of this commitment, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has embarked in a series of meetings with limited stakeholders while welcoming Canadians to submit suggestions and comments on a government website. The Minister should undertake a rigorous public debate on the impacts of the TPP, including holding public hearings in each province and territory across Canada.

Minister Freeland has said the government has not taken a decision yet, but signing the deal and her reluctance to engage in thorough consultations with some of the largest multisectoral networks in the country does not bode well for the process. These coalitions, the Trade Justice Network (TJN), Common Frontiers and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), are disappointed at Minister Freeland lack of response to repeated invitations from the Mexican Senate to participate in an International Parliamentary dialogue on the TPP along with legislators from United States, Peru, and Chile in Mexico on January 28th. The meeting forms part of a larger international gathering that brings together popular social movements from TPP countries in the Americas who have concerns with the mammoth deal.

By signing this deeply flawed agreement, the Canadian government will take one step closer to increasing restrictions on the ability of governments to regulate in the public interest. These restrictions will cover areas not directly related to trade like quality food production, access to medicines, health care, the internet and digital rights, environment, climate action and labour regulations. The accord will drive down wages and labor conditions; encourage further outsourcing and offshoring, thus contributing to the widening gap of income inequality in Canada and other TPP countries.

The TPP also includes the anti-democratic investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that allows multinational corporations to sue governments over regulations and policies they feel impact their investment. Such suits are not heard in domestic courts but rather are decided by unaccountable commercial arbitrators. The arbitrators can impose enormous fines against elected governments, and there is no right of appeal. The ISDS threatens democracy constitutional rights, sidesteps and threatens our judicial system, and will cost tax payers tens of millions in awards to corporations suing under ISDS. According to the report of United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, ISDS threatens human rights and should be banned.

The TPP would also be a step backward on environment protections. With minimal requirements and no enforcement mechanism, the environment chapter - as in previous trade deals - is unenforceable. The chapter includes vague and toothless language that falls short of requiring countries to adopt sound measures against harmful environmental practices and lacks protections for land, air, water, and wildlife. Worse, the accord creates a serious chill effect on governments who will hesitate to enact new legislation to confront challenges like Climate change.

Civil society organizations in Canada and Quebec are alarmed by the fact that despite widespread civil society opposition to the TPP, all signs point to the Canadian government moving ahead and joining the TPP. A report by researchers at Tufts' Global Development and Environment Institute reveals that the deal will cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality. Similarly, Canada’s largest private sector union, UNIFOR, says the deal threatens more than 26,000 Canadian auto jobs in both assembling and parts-making. The TPP is a bad deal for Canada and puts the public interest at risk.

Because the entire deal must be ratified as agreed, and no modifications are allowed, it will tie the hands of the Canadian government and legislators for decades. Trade and Investment deals like TPP are only superficially about trade – they are mostly about increasing corporate rights. They seek to fundamentally change the power structures in countries by shifting power to the world’s plutocrats and away from elected governments and domestic courts.

More information:

Larry Brown, / Trade Justice Network / cel. 613-228-9800
Pierre-Yves Serinet, / Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale / cel. 438-396-6284
Raul Burbano, / Common Frontiers / cel. 416-522-8615

Download statement as a PDF:  in English   en français   en español

January 21, 2016

Solidarity with Colombians opposed to massive energy privatization On Corporate Globalization, Free Trade and the TPP

Colombians protest the sale of the electric power generation company Isagen in front of the stock exchange in Bogotá. The government sold 57.6% of Isagen for $2 billion to a subsidiary of Canadian investment fund Brookfield Asset Management. (PHOTO: ZUMA PRESS)

The sale by the Colombian government of its majority stake in power generator Isagen to a subsidiary of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management raises serious concerns. Medellin- based Isagen is one of Colombia’s biggest power companies with six hydroelectric plants and generates about 16% of the electricity used in Colombia. The sale puts the electrical sovereignty of the country at risk and into the hands of multinational corporations, according to the countries labour groups who are preparing a national strike to protest the sale. This massive privatization of essential public services further entrenches the neoliberal policies that have wreaked havoc on the country. Policies that will lead to increases in the price of water, long term loss of revenue by the state, cuts in public services and further unemployment.

Former Bogotá mayor and past presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro referred to the privatization of ISAGEN as equivalent to privatizing water. An unwise move at a critical time when the country is suffering water shortages in over 238 municipalities and experiencing the impacts of climate change and El Niño. The sale would considerably weaken Colombia’s capacity to develop future energy infrastructure and its control over the energy market and gas self-sufficiency.

With the high level of corruption in Colombia, opponents fear President Santos will use the money to plug a fiscal hole in a country that has seen oil investment stall and the peso fall about 35% in a year.

The move also goes against the spirit of what is being discussed at the negotiation table in Havana and civil society’s call for peace with social justice and the need for state assets to benefit the majority of Colombians, not just multinational corporations.

In Canada we understand the consequences of privatization. The Province of Ontario plans to sell part of its wholly owned electricity transmission and distribution company, Hydro One. Ontario’s independent budget watchdog confirmed the plan is a terrible financial deal for the government and for the people of Ontario. Like Colombians, a large majority of Ontarians oppose the privatization of Hydro One. Hundreds of municipalities across the province and over 40 Chambers of Commerce have passed resolutions opposing the provincial governments plan.

We stand in solidarity with Colombian labour, the Comptroller General, the sixty four Senators, and many in civil society who oppose the deal. Protest grows as thousands have taken to the streets across the country or picketed the Colombian stock exchange in Bogotá.

British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
The Canadian Union of Public Employees
Colombia Working Group
Common Frontiers
La Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
United Steelworkers

For more information contact:
Ani Jubinville – Coordinator - Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie, 514 966 8421,

Raul Burbano – Program Director - Common Frontiers, 416 522 8615,

Download statement as a PDF:  in English   en français   en español

January 8, 2016

Power Point Presentation On Corporate Globalization, Free Trade and the TPP

TPPby Janet M Eaton, PhD

This educational power point presentation with photos, quotes, and references was created to provide historical and contextual knowledge on Corporate Globalization, free trade agreements, and the mega-trade agreements like TPP, TTIP, and CETA as well as information on the nature and specific impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

Clickable links to video clips provide current audiovisual analysis of subjects covered in the presentation as well. The power point concludes with information on the government’s promises to consult citizens and groups before signing the TPP and makes recommendations for influencing government and becoming engaged in government consultations on the TPP.

View the presentation as a PDF

January 7, 2016

WikiLeaks Reveal What the US Really Thinks of Henry Ramos Allup

By Eva Golinger
Original published at Telesur

Henry Ramos Allup is described as "rude," "repellent" and always "asking for money" in a secret U.S. document.

placeholderIn a document* classified as secret by the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, Ambassador William Brownfield had strong words about the newly elected president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup. “Accion Democratica’s main problem has a name: Henry Ramos Allup," the document reads. Brownfield, who was ambassador to Venezuela from 2004-2007 called Ramos Allup "crude, abrasive, arrogant and thin-skinned“.

The secret embassy cable was sent on April 17, 2006, eight months before the presidential elections in Venezuela that resulted in the reelection of Hugo Chavez. During the previous year, Ramos Allup had led opposition calls for abstention in the parliamentary elections that took place in December 2005. Brownfield stressed in his text that "Ramos Allup has become perhaps the most vocal advocate of electoral abstention ... Ramos Allup said those who advocated participation in the December 2006 presidential elections would be voting 'with their pants around their ankles. " He has disparaged those who have declared themselves as candidates.”

It’s ironic that the same electoral process Ramos Allup boycotted and denigrated in 2005 has today enabled him to lead parliament.

Accion Democratica, one of the traditional political parties in Venezuela known for corruption, clientelism and neoliberalism has been a major recipient of international financing, violating Venezuelan law that prohibits foreign financing of political parties in the country. Ambassador Brownfield criticized Ramos Allup's reliance on international support. In a section of the secret document entitled "Solve Our Problems For Us," Brownfield wrote, “Rather than court Venezuelan voters, Ramos Allup’s principal political strategy has been to seek help from the international community." Brownfield also revealed that representatives of Accion Democratica (AD) "have explicitly and repeatedly sought funds and favors from the Embassy. When refused by one Embassy official, they ask another."

In his text, Brownfield cites a specific example:

“AD first vice president, Victor Bolivar, who solicited funding from political officer (poloff) organized a meeting in December 2005 with the political counselor (PolCouns) to make the same pitch. When PolCouns changed the subject, Bolivar and his fellow AD officials made the same long, detailed request in English, in case poloff did not understand."

Ambassador Brownfield then recalled more examples of AD’s constant requests for money and favors from the US government: "Former AD National Assembly deputy Pedro Pablo Alcantara calls and visits the Embassy regularly with requests for visas, scholarships for friends, etc. He calls different sections of the embassy if he does not receive what he requests."

Although Henry Ramos Allup has only been the new president of the National Assembly of Venezuela for two days, his authoritarian tendencies are clear. Ramos Allup already flagrantly violated a decision by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) regarding the election of three legislators from Amazonas state, swearing them into office while the election results are still under review. The opposition leader has also abruptly shut off the microphones of socialist legislators, removed the paintings of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez from the National Assembly grounds and has indicated that his main objective is ousting President Maduro within the next six months.

His dictatorial propensity is well known by the US government. Ambassador Brownfield underlined that Ramos Allup "does not support alternative views ... Not only is AD extremely vertically organized, it is also dictatorial."

Finally, Brownfield referred to Ramos Allup in his secret cable, which was sent to the US Secretary of State, the US Southern Command and over a dozen US Embassies in Latin America and the United Nations, as "delusional" and "a relic of the past".

Unfortunately for Venezuela, it’s a past that has returned to haunt the present.

Despite full knowledge of Henry Ramos Allup’s dictatorial and anti-democratic intentions, the State Department congratulated the new “democratic” National Assembly of Venezuela and its "important role advancing and promoting a national dialogue." Far from promoting dialogue, what Ambassador Brownfield described in his cable indicates that Henry Ramos Allup's National Assembly will further divide and destabilize Venezuela.

It’s not new for Washington to support dictatorships and authoritarian governments and leaders in Latin America, so long as they serve US interests and are subordinate to US agenda. Through USAID and NED, the US government has invested millions of dollars in Henry Ramos Allup’s party and his opposition coalition. Never mind if he’s a "delusional", "repellent" and "crude" dictator, because he’s Washington’s delusional, repellent and crude dictator.

* The secret document published by Wikileaks can be found here.

December 21, 2015

International Communiqué in Solidarity with People Affected by the Mining Disaster in Minas Gerais, Brazil

The below-signed organizations express our deep anger and solidarity with the people affected by the socio-environmental crime that took place on November 5, 2015 in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. This tragedy was provoked by the rupture of a tailing dam administered by the company Samarco, jointly owned by the Brazilian company Vale and the British-Australian firm BHP Billiton.

This accident, one of the biggest environmental disasters to have occurred in the country, is responsible for the death of an uncountable number of lives, including a number of human lives. The socio-environmental impacts continue to be felt and the full extent of this catastrophe is as of yet unknown, having completely altered the local ecosystem, destroying lives that depended on the Doce river and its surroundings.

We are angered by the death and disappearance of a number of people, including children, and by the social and environmental impacts that are affecting a large part of the population. While compensation for such harms is needed, much of the damage will be irreparable and will have lasting impacts for future generations.

Similarly, this tragedy was not simply an accident, but rather the result of a development model based on the logic of extractivist capitalism that is common in Latin America and in other parts of the world. This model frequently gives rise to serious human rights violations and irreversible environmental impacts from the mining industry. What took place in Minas Gerais is the result of a means of mineral extraction that produce riches for a few, while the lives of thousands of people are negatively impacted from the socio- environmental impacts of these activities.

read more by clicking on one of the links below:

read the entire statement in English   em português   em espanhol   em francês

Original document signed by Common Frontiers and 34 other organizations.

December 10, 2015

USW Leadership Statement Urges Rejection of TPP

Executive Board Resolution applies to U.S. & Canada action

Pittsburgh (Dec. 10) – The International Executive Board of the United Steelworkers (USW) today adopted a formal resolution urging rejection of the proposed 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal by both the U.S. Congress and the Canadian federal government.

USW President Leo W. Gerard said the resolution is intended for wide distribution to the union membership in both the U.S. and Canada, setting forth the basis of a fully-engaged TPP rejection campaign in each country.

“The USW is the largest industrial union in North America representing 1.2 million active and retired members who would all be impacted by TPP,” Gerard said. “These workers with family-supportive jobs are employed in virtually every tradable sector: mining, metals, glass, rubber, paper and forestry, automotive and aerospace products.”

Upon release of the USW policy statement, he said it exposes the TPP as bad trade policy with no real enforcement, misplaced priorities and that working families had already suffered far too long from previous free trade deals.

The USW resolution highlighted the union had an earnest expectation workers’ needs in any trade deal would be met. “When negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership began, our union engaged with the negotiators and policymakers with the hope of forging a new approach.”

The statement said the USW sought a trade agreement for the U.S. and Canada “that would lift wages up, rather than pushing them down, one that would reduce our nations’ accumulated trade deficits that continue to mount, one that would promote domestic manufacturing and employment rather than more outsourcing and offshoring, one that would begin to reverse the widening gap of income inequality.”

-read more on the USW resolution

December 4, 2015

Venezuela: December 6 Parliamentary Elections, the Bolivarian Revolution’s most difficult challenge

ChavezVenezuelans will go to the polls on December 6 to elect deputies to the National Assembly. A combination of factors have made this one of the most difficult challenges the Bolivarian Revolution has faced in the 17 years since President Chávez was first elected in 1998. In addition to the usual challenges of a profoundly undemocratic opposition and belligerent imperialist provocations we have to add a combination of national and international economic factors which have put Venezuela in a very tight spot and which lead to one conclusion: either the revolution is completed, or it will be defeated.

The collapse in the price of oil, the failure of the attempt to regulate the capitalist market, and open sabotage by the capitalist class have put an end to a situation in which the government was able to implement wide-ranging social reforms without fundamentally taking on the capitalist ownership of the means of production. Those in the Bolivarian leadership who refuse to move in the direction of abolishing capitalism are preparing the movement’s defeat.

The last three years have seen a sharp deterioration of the economic situation in Venezuela. The price of Venezuelan oil in the world market has collapsed. It hovered around $100 a barrel in 2013, went down to $88 in 2014, and has averaged $47 during 2015 so far. In the second week of November it further decreased to $37 a barrel. This has severely constrained the ability of the government to invest money in social programs as well as that of importing food and other products from the world market.

-read the rest of this post on Hoy Venezuela

December 4, 2015

Assassination Attempt In Honduras Linked to Canadian Tourism Businesses

From los despojados - the war on peasants in Central America

Click on the photo to see the details.

On Friday, November 27th, Garifuna community leader Vidal Leiva was shot three times in Trujillo, Honduras. Leiva survived and is in stable condition but has nevertheless sustained serious injuries to his liver and one of his lungs. Canada-US solidarity organisation Rights Action is collecting emergency funds to support Leiva’s treatement and recovery (click here to donate, a long-time donor will match all donations in December).

Vidal Leiva is the president of the Land Defense Committee of the Garifuna Community of Río Negro y Cristales, which is located in the municipality of Trujillo on Honduras’ Caribbean coast. The community’s ancenstral lands, in theory protected by both Honduran and international law, have been grabbed by various investors over the years, most notably Canadian tourism developers, one of whom - Randy Jorgensen - recently had to appear in court to face charges of illegal land purchases and land usurpation.

OFRANEH, the Black Fraternal Organisation of Honduras, which is helping organise Grifuna communities like Río Negro y Cristales, links Leiva’s shooting to Jorgensen (see full statement here, in Spanish). Joel Ruiz, aka “Cayo”, known by locals to be Jorgensen’s “henchman”, was seen taking pictures of people and leaders who had gathered outside the courthouse to protest during Jorgensen’s court appearance. Jorgensen has also been very friendly with politicians linked to the regime brought to power by the military coup in 2009. Since the trial, members of the Land Defense Committee have recieved anonymous death threats and Leiva’s shooting was carried out one block away from a military outpost.

Despite the climate of fear created by threats and now this shooting, the communities vow to keep on fighting in defense of their ancestral territory, whether the threats are coming from Randy Jorgensen or others like him.

More information:

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