More and more North Texans are learning about the critical situation in Honduras and demanding action. The Dallas Peace Center's Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Honduras is meeting at 7 PM every Tuesday at the Progressive Center of Texas, 1409 S. Lamar in Dallas.
The September 1 meeting will take up the need to help Dr.Luther Castillo. It will be led by one of his many international admirers and a personal friend, Dr. Margaret M Noguera (pictured with her daughter Jamilla Pipersburg). She explained on August 25 that he has been in hiding since July 7, when the criminal government that took over Honduras issued orders to capture or kill him. More on Dr Luther
The August 25 meeting also committed to take part in an international day demanding democracy in Honduras August 28. They will gather at the Kennedy Memorial on Main Street in Dallas 6-8 PM that Friday. They will demand that the U.S. break all ties, including military ties, with the criminal government of Honduras. For more info in English, contact Ernest McMillan. In Spanish, contact Margarita Alvarez.
Margarita Alvarez is also helping organize a meeting of the Texas Alliance to Reform Immigration to be held at 5 PM Saturday, August 29, at the Rio Grande Room B (2nd Floor), 301 W First Street, Arlington TX 76019. The room is within the UTA campus.
The August 25 meeting heard a report from Amnesty International concerning brutal treatment of the many protesters in Honduras, where street demonstrations and union strikes have been taking place every day since the coup d'etat on June 28. Phyllis Guest brought copies of the extensive report, which includes testimony and photos from people beaten by the police with the encouragement of the army. The report concludes, "Amnesty International strongly urges the international community to intensify efforts to find a solution to the political crisis in order to prevent the spiral into a human rights emergency in Honduras."
The group was encouraged to support House Resolution 630 to increase U.S. government pressure against the military government in Honduras. They are asking all churches, unions, community groups, and individuals to make statements or resolutions demanding democracy in Honduras. Jobs with Justice passed a resolution at our last meeting, and the Dallas AFL-CIO joined unionists across the country with a strong resolution on August 20.
July 7, 2009—The life of Dr. Luther Castillo, indigenous Garifuna physician in Honduras, is in imminent danger. MEDICC has learned that the Honduran army has orders to capture Dr. Castillo, and if he resists, to shoot him. He was already included on a list of persons whose lives and personal integrity were declared “at risk” by a July 3rd communiqué from the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
We have been able to verify that Dr. Castillo’s cellphone communications have been cut. The last conversation with him took place at approximately 2:30pm today, in which he reported on continued demonstrations demanding the return of elected President Manuel Zelaya, despite security forces’ repression.
Just weeks ago, Dr. Castillo was named director of International Cooperation in the Honduran Foreign Ministry. Since 1999, he has directed the Luaga Hatuadi Waduheñu Foundation (“For the Health of our People” in Garifuna), dedicated to bringing vital health services to isolated indigenous coastal communities.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Call the White House and the State Department, urging the US government demand:
· safety for Dr. Castillo, his colleagues, and all persons protesting the coup,
· an end to the repression, and
: the unconditional return of constitutional President Manuel Zelaya.
State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414
After his 2005 graduation from the Latin American Medical School in Havana, Dr. Castillo returned to the Honduran coast, where he led construction of Honduras’ first Garifuna Rural Hospital, now serving some 20,000 in the surrounding communities. The hospital opened in December 2007, just months after Dr. Castillo was named “Honduran Doctor of the Year” by Rotary International’s Tegucigalpa chapter. “Thank you for inspiring me,” said California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, speaking at the hospital’s opening ceremony.
The hospital and its community health outreach are supported by a number of U.S. and other international organizations, including the Sacramento, California Central Labor Council, Global Links, The Birthing Project, and MEDICC. Several US medical schools also have cooperative arrangements with the Garifuna hospital, including Johns Hopkins, Emory, Charles Drew and University of California (SF).
Dr. Castillo is featured in ¡Salud! (www.saludthefilm.net), a documentary film that received the Council on Foundations Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media (USA). MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba), www.medicc.org, is a US non-governmental organization working to enhance cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes.
Whereas….the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was illegally ousted from power in a military coup on June 28, 2009 and has been unable to return to his office and country, despite widespread condemnation of the coup, international pressure and diplomatic efforts to restore him to office.
Whereas…unions, workers, students, church groups, human rights organizations, women’s organizations, and outraged Honduran citizens have organized massive peaceful resistance and non-violent public demonstration that only increase with each day showing that democracy is denied to the people of Honduras.
Whereas… in the wake of the military coup, trade unionists, human rights activists, journalists, community leaders, and ordinary citizens have suffered grave violations of their human and civil rights with at least eight people killed, and hundreds injured or detained during mass protests against the coup and the dissolution of democracy in Honduras.
Whereas…the AFL-CIO joined its sister organizations in Honduras, the CUTH, CTH, and CGT, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas in condemning the coup and calling for the international community, in particular the Organization of American States and the United Nations, to withhold recognition of the current government and to work towards the restoration of democracy and rule of law, and the return of President Zelaya to office.
Whereas…the United States government has suspended military and direct government aid to the current government in Honduras in an effort to shore up its demands that President Zelaya be returned to office, but has refrained from issuing stronger economic sanctions.
Whereas…the militarily-backed de facto government, led by political and economic elites with Roberto Micheletti at the head, has so far resisted international calls for the restitution of constitutional law, refused to honor the San Jose accord on national reconciliation, and continued to repress those who speak against the coup.
It is hereby resolved that…
The below mentioned signatories, AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils and State Federations
Condemn the militarily-backed coup against the popularly-elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the ensuing violent repression waged by the de facto Micheletti government against the Honduran people.
Join the global labor movement and the Honduran trade union organizations along with social organizations, human rights groups, and many governments throughout the Americas and the world in demanding full restoration of democratic order and reinstatement of President Zelaya.
Call on the Government of the United States to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on the de facto Micheletti government by:
* Withdrawing from Honduras, the U.S. Ambassador
* Continuing to withhold state-to-state and military aid to the Micheletti government
* Suspending trade with Honduras under the Central American Free Trade Agreement
Call on our members of the United States Congress to demand and monitor these decisive actions on the part of the Administration until constitutional order is restored and President Zelaya, the democratically-elected president, is returned to office.