CONFLICT AND MILITARIZATION CONTINUES IN COLON AFTER MASSACRE OF CAMPESINOS
By Karen Spring, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, November 23 at 7:00 am, between 300-400 military officers and a reported seven military commanders occupied the offices of the National Agrarian Institute (INA) in the department of Colon.
The occupation of the INA office occurs just eight days after the murder of five campesinos and the severe injury of four members of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA) by private security guards of large African palm producer, Miguel Facusse in Bajo Aguan, Colon. Facusse's African palm company, Dinant Corporation is the recipient of a $30 million dollar loan from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation. (For more information, see Annie Bird's article below).
Since the massacre a week ago, the region has been heavily militarized by state forces and various check points have been set up along the major roads to 'guarantee the security of the region.' The military and police forces are accused by various campesinos organizations in the region of acting in favour of the large land owners, arriving hours after the conflicts and deaths occur and not carrying out the proper investigations often solely accusing the campesinos as being at fault.
INA, the state office responsible for titling land and working to resolve land disputes, and its director Caesar Ham have been publicly accused by large land owner Miguel Facusse to be assisting the campesinos in the region in the efforts to recuperate land illegally taken from them. It is speculated that today's occupation of the INA office is an attempt to frame the state institute for providing arms and supporting the campesino struggles in the region.
In an outcry against the killings and in an act of solidarity, campesinos from six departments of Honduras (Atlantida, Colon, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Cortez and Choluteca) began land occupations shortly after the November 15th murders. To pressure the government and demonstrate their force, campesinos will be arriving in Tegucigalpa on Thursday for a gathering outside of the National Congress.
"WE ARE JUST POOR CAMPESINOS FIGHTING FOR OUR CHILDREN": IN THE HOSPITAL AWAITING AN OPERATION
Julian from the community of Guadalupe Carney and one of the four MCA campesinos injured was shot in the head during the confrontation with Facusse's security guards. He remains in the hospital where he is awaiting an operation to reconstruct parts of his face.
A bullet entered in the right side of his face just below his cheek bone, passed through his upper lip area and exited on the left side of his face, fracturing his cheek bone. "The upper part of my mouth is destroyed. I can't eat, just liquids but not other types of good." Almost all of Julian's upper teeth and gums have been destroyed.
FUNDS ARE NEEDED:
The Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA) and the families of the nine affected campesinos have many medical expenses and funeral costs.
TO MAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS
Make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:
UNITED STATES: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA: 552 - 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8