Last week police raided a woman's house in Choloma and found evidence of a traditional Garifuna medicinal drink, Guífiti (El Tiempo, whose reporters went along for the raid, puts "guífiti" in scare quotes), which they confiscated as evidence of witchcraft along with, allegedly, pictures with pins in them. And something that is presumed to be marijuana. They also arrested a suspected witch. For allegedly being a witch.
Over the past week, while I have been immersed in the start of classes, there have been a number of very important stories about Honduras that I have failed to comment on here. Among these is the brave action of a large number of Garifuna people reclaiming land violently and illegally usurped from the by large landholders (including Miguel Facussé) in Vallecito. Two years ago I provided an ethnographic snapshot of the community when I visited it with Luther Castillo.
Click title to see original with photo and links in LA Times:
Human rights in Honduras: State Department looks the other way
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the U.S. State Department says the Honduran government is taking adequate measures to address congressional concerns about human rights.
By Dana Frank
August 24, 2012
Honduras is under siege. Its judicial system is almost completely dysfunctional, and more than 10,000 complaints of human rights abuses by state security forces have been filed in the last three years, according to the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras. At least 23 journalists have been killed since 2009. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have all raised grave concerns about the country's dire situation.
I had dinner in Comayagüela with Ángela, two of her cousins from Ceiba, and a baby. The conversation ranged from national university policies to our various health issues to the drug war. There was a lot of doting over the infant and passing it around. At some point one of the cousins brought up the recent visit of Mario, the second eldest of Ángela's 9 siblings. "Have you called him? He's waiting for you to call him. He has money." "Yeah, he flew in to Tegus from Ceiba, stayed in a nice hotel for three nights, and flew back on an airplane." "He's giving money to everyone.
Rights Action - August 23, 2012
HONDURAS - Urgent Action
CALL THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT/ CANADIAN EMBASSY, AND
DEMAND THEY VERIFY THE CONDITION AND DEMAND THE RELEASE OF CAMPESINOS HELD ILLEGALLY IN HONDURAS
Today, human rights activists and lawyers report that the Honduran police intend to transfer the 27 protesters from the Aguan region in Honduras - detained and beaten yesterday - to the maximum security prison in Tamara, where they would be held without visitation rights.
This is not a pretrial detention center, and there are no charges against the detainees as they were liberated yesterday. The police are acting with extreme violence in a manner rarely seen since the June 2009 military coup, which leads human rights activists to believe that the behavior responds to superior orders.
Urgent Action from Annie Bird:
The group of campesinos from the Aguan is being held in Core 7 police
station, please call if you can. They are not very friendly, often hang
up, but it is worth doing, please call. Many are concerned they may be
Ask for Comisionado Bonilla, who essentially kidnapped the group as they
were being released, without charges from the Belen station, and took them
to Core 7.
CORE 7 - 504-2222-8736
COFADEH Alert, translation from PROAH
August 21, 2012
Broken Anvil: Victims Fight for Justice After DEA Operation Leaves Four Dead in Honduras
Collateral Damage of a Drug War
August 2012, Alexander Main and Annie Bird