by Lauren Carasik, Jurist
Honduras is plagued by the world's highest homicide rate. This has been widely reported for the past two years, yet the number of deaths has continued to climb. The UN put the number of homicides in 2011 at 91 per 100,000. The rate has spiked since the illegal coup d'état that ousted the country's democratically elected president in 2009 and the subsequent breakdown of Honduras' institutions; in 2008 the homicide rate was 61 per 100,000.
A climate of impunity solidified as the generals and others who carried out the coup were rewarded with appointments in the post-coup government rather than prosecuted for their role in the overthrow.
Contrary to what is often suggested in the press, the violence is not just random or drug- or gang-related; some of the most vulnerable sectors in society are frequent targets — those whose rights the US Department of State tells us it considers to be a high priority—women, the LGBT community, journalists, opposition party politicians and Hondurans who opposed the coup. Twenty-five journalists have been murdered in Honduras since the 2009 coup; all but one of them since the current post-coup president, Pepe Lobo, took office in January 2010. At least 53 lawyers were killed between 2010 and 2012.
Lakota Elders Tour to Raise Awareness About Struggle
by Victoria Law, Truthout
NEW YORK — On April 9, Lakota elders, activists and nonindigenous supporters marched through the streets of Manhattan to the United Nations, where they attempted to present a petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Entitled the Official Lakota Oyate Complaint of Genocide Based on the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the petition listed the numerous injustices faced by the Lakota people. (Oyate is a Sioux word for "people" or "nation.")
At the UN, security officers informed them that they would not be able to enter the building and present the complaint to the Secretary General. Instead, the security officers offered to take it to Ban's office, but refused to give the Lakota documentation verifying that their complaint had been received.
Outside the UN, Charmaine White Face, a Lakota grandmother and great-grandmother, addressed the 60 people who had marched with her. "We come here as a nation. If they won't let us take our message to them, how disrespectful is that to a nation?"
An interview with Theresa Shoatz and Matt Meyer
by Angola 3 News
This month, a 30-day action campaign was launched demanding the release of Russell "Maroon" Shoatz from solitary confinement, where he has been held for over 23 consecutive years—and 28 of the last 30 years in Pennsylvania prisons. On April 8, when the campaign began, Maroon’s legal team sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DoC), demanding his release from solitary confinement and promising litigation against the PA DoC if he is not transferred to general population by May 8.
The action campaign describes Maroon as "a former leader of the Black Panthers and the Black freedom movement, born in Philadelphia in 1943 and originally imprisoned in January 1972 for actions relating to his political involvement. With an extraordinary thirty-plus years spent in solitary confinement… Maroon's case is one of the most shocking examples of US torture of political prisoners, and one of the most egregious examples of human rights violations regarding prison conditions anywhere in the world. His 'Maroon' nickname is, in part, due to his continued resistance—which twice led him to escape confinement; it is also based on his continued clear analysis, including recent writings on ecology and matriarchy."
Writing that Maroon "has not had a serious rule violation for more than two decades," the campaign argues that he has actually been "targeted because of his work as an educator and because of his political ideas; his time in solitary began just after he was elected president of an officially-sanctioned prison-based support group. This targeting is in violation of his basic human and constitutional rights."
by Jens Erik Gould, Waging Nonviolence
New president, new ministers, new strategies. Same bloodshed. It has never been more obvious that the current approach to reducing Mexico's drug-related violence does not work.
Many of the Mexicans who voted for President Enrique Peña Nieto last year hoped he would fulfill his campaign promise to slow the carnage that has killed tens of thousands of people over the past six years. Not long after he took power, though, gunmen gang-raped six female tourists from Spain, more than a dozen members of a popular band were found dead and a police chief in a border city disappeared. Last month, a shooting killed seven people at a Cancún bar and two federal police officers were fatally shot on the border in Ciudad Juárez.
Colombian Communities Reclaim Land and Life
from the Paramilitary-Business Alliance
by James Bargent, Toward Freedom
The first of the displaced people to return to their homes in Curvarado, north Colombia found the forests they had known cut down, the rivers and streams diverted and the native wildlife long gone. It was a desert, they say—not of sand but of African-palm and cattle ranches.
Standing in the shadows behind the palm businesses and ranchers that had taken over the region were the same paramilitaries that had forced them from their homes several years before.
But still the people came. They built new communities known as "Humanitarian Zones," which are now legally recognized as neutral zones where all armed actors, legal and illegal are prohibited from entering. They also began the process of reclaiming the land exhausted by the agri-business onslaught, dividing recovered territory into "Biodiversity Zones."
Lessons from the Fight against Fascism
by Talal Alyan, +972 Magazine
The lapse of support for the Syrian revolution amongst some segments of the Arab left will in retrospect be regarded as another failure to stray from party vanguards. Palestinians have once again found themselves being used as props for political causes they neither endorse nor hold any sympathy for. The latest instance being the pro-Assad camp that has worked tirelessly to link the Palestinian issue with the Assad regime.
What the Boliviarian Revolution Owes the Yukpa and Bari
by Sybila Tabra and Jorge Agurto, Servindi
Amid the homages that pay tribute to the late Hugo Chávez, we cannot forget the historical debt that the Venezuelan state has to the territorial claims of the Yukpa and Bari peoples, whose leader, Sabino Romero, was brutally assassinated March 3 by sicarios (hired killers) that respresent the interests of various sectors that occupy their ancestral territories.
Duplicates Secretive Trans-Pacific Trade Pact
by Pete Dolack, Systemic Disorder
Neoliberalism knows no borders, so perhaps it should not come as a bolt out of the blue that the United States and European Union are set to negotiate a "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."
It might be thought that the Obama administration would have its hands full with the ongoing, top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, but it seems that much can be done in the absence of any pesky oversight. It might be thought that European Union officials would have their hands full with their series of financial crises, but it appears this is an irresistible opportunity to safeguard austerity.