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Priest Miguel D’Escotto is the former chair of the United Nations General Assembly and foreign minister under the Sandinista administration of Nicaragua in the 1980s. He called for urgent solidarity with the peoples of Honduras and Guatemala, as part of an action of solidarity organized by the Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina).
Father D’Escotto Brockmann began his speech by saying that in Central America it is more important to be a palm tree than a peasant or an indigenous person, because in Honduras there is a list of 60 murders unpunished, while peasants are forced out of Honduras and Guatemala to obtain land to plant palm oil.
The priest mentioned there are nearly 10,000 reports of human rights violations by the Honduran Security. Besides, 25 journalists were murdered. The Lawyers’ Bar of Honduras reports that 74 lawyers were killed in the past three years, while Human Rights Watch’s 2011 report says 80 people were killed in Aguan region, in the same period.
The Nicaraguan diplomat and academic was one of the speakers of the act of solidarity with Guatemala and Honduras as the closing event of the Continental Assembly of CLOC-Via Campesina. He pointed with concerned that there is an increasing trend of allocating funds to armed groups in the Central American region.
He mentioned that “the terrorist, murderer and genocidal US regime, through its State Department, certified two months ago that the Honduran government met the human rights standards and that it deserved to receive 50 million dollars in military aid for 2012”.
Antonio Trejos Cabrera, the main lawyer for the Authentic Movement of Valle del Aguan, was murdered in Honduras on September 22. On the same week Rafael Alegria, peasant leader of Honduras, received a death threat for opposing the “model cities” also known as “Special Autonomous Development Zones” that operate outside the law. Two days after Antonio Trejos was murdered, Manuel Diaz Marzariegos, the attorney of the city of Chuloteca, was also murdered.
The Sandinist priest, longtime activist of the Theology of Liberation says that despite the recent events in Honduras and Guatemala, the US chooses to reward these actions by sending the additional 24 million dollars to make their barracks in the Soto Cano Air Base in Palmerola, permanent.
“With the Navy Base in Gunaja, which has high-tech to control the Atlantic, created in 2011, there is a total of five US military bases in Honduras. They have installed four military bases in Guatemala, which poses a serious danger for peacekeeping in Central America”, said Miguel D’Escotto.
The overall police and military aid for Central America since 2007 exceeds 7,500 million US dollars, an amount they aim to increase by one billion more, said D’Escotto.
Finally, he called the Assembly of the Coordination of Countryside Organizations “to come up with something strong, with real coercive force to make the US terrorist, genocidal and murderer empire retreat”. He added that “searching and finding effective methods of struggle is not an option, but an ethical and religious imperative”.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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