ALERT! Community member kidnapped by National Police. Sep 5th 3am
More threats against the Lenca people of Rio Blanco!
The police have kidnapped our compañero Desiderio Méndez,
a Lenca member of COPINH!
At 3 am this morning, firing shots, the police broke into a home in Rio Blanco and kidnapped Desiderio Mendez, threatening to torture him. He has yet to be released. When Tomas Garcia was murdered by the military on July 15th, Desiderio was very close to him and one of the bullets fired by the military grazed Desiderio's neck, making him a witness in the case against the soldier who murdered Tomas.
Calls are requested to demand the release and physical safety of Desiderio:
NOTE: to exit the US dial 011 first
-Comisario de la Policía de Intibucá: (504) 9711-8034 (cell) y (504) 2783-1006
- Policía de Intibuca: (504) 9822 1625 or 9494 9713
-Juzgados del Departamento de Intibucá:(504) 2783-0358 and (504) 2783-4171
-Secretaría de Justicia y Derechos Humanos: Abogada Ana Pineda: Tel: (504) 9982-6801 and (504) 2235-6119
(if you do not speak spanish, translate you message and read it or read meassage below)
tips on sounds: vowels in spanish A=ah E=A I=E O=oh U=uhh
hi I am a US citizen and i am horrified witht he behavoir of the National Police in Honduras. The Rio Blanco community deserves respect and safetly. this morning Desiderio Mendez, from the RIo Blanco community was kidnapped from his home. I demand the safe return of Desiderrio Mendez imediatly. The international community is watching and taking action!
Hola, estoy llamando de los Estados Unidos y estoy extremamente preocupado por el secuestro de Desiderio Mendez de su casa hoy a las tres de la mañana por la policía nacional de Honduras. La comunidad de Río Blanco merece respeto y seguridad. Les insto liberar a Desiderio Mendez inmediatamente y asegurar su integridad física. La comunidad internacional está observando y pendiente!
We denounce that today at 3 am members of the National Police burst into the community of La Tejera, Rio Blanco, imposing terror and firing shots, and broke into the house of compañero Encarnación Méndez, threatening the 14 members of the family, including 6 children. The police proceeded to very aggressively search the house, stealing belongings such as cell phones, flashlights, and other objects. Then, without any judicial order, they kidnapped the compañero Desiderio Méndez, who they threatened to torture so that "he would talk," and did not say where they were taking him. It is important to mention that Desiderio was shot in the repression against COPINH on July 15 and is one of the witnesses to what occurred.
¡¡WE DEMAND THE FREEDOM OF OUR COMPAÑERO DESIDERIO AND RESPECT FOR HIS PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL INTEGRITY!!
This repression is in the context of new maneouvers by DESA, the hydroelectric dam company, and the Honduran government via different state agencies, including the Secretary of State for Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples (SEDINAFROH)- an institution that has bent to the will of DESA in a humiliating way, acting against the just and historic demands of the Rio Blanco Lenca People organized in COPINH -- and the Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock (SAG). From these government offices, together with DESA, they have deployed people and resources with the goal of breaking the will of the Rio Blanco communities who reject the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Dam. The Honduran military remains installed in the zone, making the installations of the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Dam into a military base. At the same time, the National Agrarian Institute, currently led by Mr. Neptali Medina, never has been so diligent as now in sending people, resources, and technical capacities to push for the individualization of land titles in northern Intibuca, which includes Rio Blanco.
We alert the social movements, human rights organizations, and the media that SEDINAFROH is using supposed "Indigenous representation," by repeating maneuvers known to divide communities. It has mobilized a group in favor of the hydroelectric project -- which is illegal and illegitimate -- with people who have threatened to kill members of COPINH, right-wing political activists, and people with a history of corruption, in a supposed negotiation table with the federal government, led by President Pepe Lobo, where they have agreed to actions against COPINH to continue the criminalization. They have the support of the Mayor of Intibucá Martiniano Domínguez Meza, who has known commitments to DESA and is responsible for multiple aggressions against the territorial, cultural, and spiritual rights of the Lenca people of Rio Blanco. This group, which the government has brought to these meetings in Tegucigalpa, lends itself to the smear campaign and the twisted and prefabricated accusations against COPINH.
These negotiations have generated "agreements" that violate ILO Convention 169 about the rights of Indigenous Peoples and they have given orders to repress the Lenca people and COPINH, written up in outrageous and cynical minutes from this September 3, which guarantees the displacement, paramilitarization, and heightening of the conflict in Rio Blanco.
We clearly inform:
- That COPINH has not made committments with SEDINAFROH's proposals that aim to guarantee the interests of the companies and which attack the demands and rights of the Lenca people. We have repeatedly rejected the perverse pressures of this institution to participate in this negotiation.
- That SEDINAFROH, SAG, and the rest of the government, and DESA, ordered by President Lobo Sosa, have created a phantom red of supposed community councils, called the "Regional Council for the Management and Development of the Communities of the North of Intibuca and the South of Santa Barbara," which has as its President José Héctor García Mejía, all of which is in complete disrespect for the communities with the goal of creating division and militarization, including using this group of sell outs as paramillitaries and spies who give "security" to the investments, machinery, and employees of DESA and other companies.
- That in the meetings referred to on September 3 our organization HAS NOT BEEN A PARTICIPANT.
- That the position of the Rio Blanco communities and of COPINH in general is to continue rejecting the imposition of the illegal Agua Zarca Project.
- We demand that the repressive forces leave the zone, respect for ILO Convention 169, and an end to impunity of the military in the case of the murder of Tomas Garcia.
¡Freedom for our compañero Desiderio Méndez!
There needs to be immediate investigation into this new repressive act.
COPINH repeats its commitment to respect the assemblies of the Lenca communities of the zone and its disposition to continue struggling against all forms of domination and exploitation.
We call for militant solidarity and strengthening of the territorial and dignified struggles of people in search of a just life, with autonomy and respect for the individual and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.