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US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, congratulated last week the Honduran government for ensuring the respect for human rights. Far from it, Honduran people are experiencing oppression by economic, political and military powers and the permanent violation of their rights. Juan Almendarez, of the Madre Tierra Movement – Friends of the Earth Honduras, said that Tillerson´s statements are “a big lie” and called for Latin American unity.
Tillerson made these statements on June 16, at the Conference on Prosperity and Security that took place in Miami, US. Honduras earned its congratulations for having created a human rights secretariat. Real World Radio interviewed Juan Almendarez, who criticized the Alliance for Prosperity Plan implemented by the US government in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, aiming to reduce the arrival of immigrants to the Donald Trump-led country. Almendarez blamed US policy for the critical situation experienced in Honduras and demanded the Organization of American States (OAS) to categorically reject human rights violations caused by capitalist interests.
“Those who need to talk about human rights are not US officials, but Honduran officials and human rights organizations. The murders and killings of human rights and environmental defenders continue unpunished, and investigations have not been thorough”, regretted Almendarez, remembering, among others, the murder of Berta Cáceres.
The Madre Tierra leader said that “unbalanced economic treaties and US military occupation in Honduras have turned this country into a strategic military base” and that the security plan implemented “has caused killings to rise; the highest homicide rates in the world and the violation of economic and social rights”. He also said that the people are living in extreme poverty and that the imposition of military policies has caused to invest more money in weapons than in health or education. He also rejected the prison policy and accused the Honduran state of being “punitive and persecutory”. Even universities are persecuting students, he said.
Almendarez added that human rights organizations that depend on the OAS “should be categorical in the violation of economic and social rights perpetrated by transnational corporations”. He stated that “nobody ever talks about this”, and regretted the interest by OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, in the military intervention of Venezuela. Almendarez said that “Venezuela is a country sought after by capitalist interests because it holds the largest oil reserve in the world” and he also made reference to the solidarity it has shown to Latin American peoples.
In a problematic political and social context, Almendarez expressed Madre Tierra´s solidarity with the struggles being faced by the peoples of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
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