Peacebuilding en Las Americas Founder Val Liveoak went on an Emergency Faith Delegation to Honduras from January 24 to 29 to represent PLA as an act of solidarity. The following is her report.
The delegation of 50 internationals (47 from the US and Canada, one from Argentina, one from Colombia, one from Peru) arrived in Honduras on Jan. 24th and departed on the 30th. For all but one night, we were in the city of El Progreso, Yoro, about 45 minutes from San Pedro Sula. We went to the capital, Tegucigalpa, on the 28th, returing the 29th.
The visit was in support of Padre Melo, a Jesuit who directs Radio Progreso an important alternative source of information. The station takes an active anti-’continuismo’ stance, that is, they reject the results of the re-election of Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), who was inaugurated on Jan. 27th. Their grounds for their resistance are many, and stem from the 2009 coup that brought about a direct line of neoConservative governments. The policies of these governments have emphasized benefits to business, both national and international, at the expense of workers, small farmers and indigenous people. Examples include concessions for lumber, mining and hydroelectric developments, and the creation of “Model Cities”, industry-owned areas where the owners’, not Honduran, laws govern the lives of the residents.
Government and paramilitary persecution—arrests, torture, assassinations—of those protesting these policies have increased and there has been little progress on stopping gang activity, all of which have stimulated huge increases of out-migration, especially to the US.