Rights Action newsletter
April/May 2018
Central American Punching Bag
The Pathological cycle of U.S. & Canadian policies in Honduras & Guatemala

Your donations at work: Below, a summary of organizations, individuals and projects funded by Rights Action, up to April 10, 2018
Matching donor: Two anonymous supporters will match donations to Rights Action (U.S. and Canada), up to $30,000, made by May 15, 2018. (Originally $20,000, this was raised $10,000 by a second donor after the killing of Hector Choc, nephew of Angelica Choc - see below)

(Thousands of mainly Honduran refugees walking north through Mexico, supported by Pueblos Sin Fronteras. Photo @ BuzzFeed)
In March and April 2018, thousands of Guatemalan and mainly Honduran refugees formed a caravan, coordinated by Pueblos Sin Fronteras, to walk north across Mexico.  All were fleeing violent, corrupt, desperate living conditions in their home countries; some will stay in Mexico – many are trying to get to the U.S.
Then the North American media ramped up with propaganda about an “army of illegals” heading for the U.S.  President Trump tweeted:  “Big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our “Weak Laws” border - Had better be stopped before it gets there” … and ordered more soldiers, guns and money to “protect” the border.
Vicious, deceitful cycle
U.S. and Canadian government -and private sector business and investor interests- are contributing directly to the very conditions forcing tens of thousands to flee annually.
The situation is even more acute today in Honduras than in Guatemala.
In 2009, the U.S. and Canada supported a coup that ousted Honduras’ last democratically elected government.  In 2009, 2013 and 2017, the U.S. and Canada deemed ‘fair and democratic’ elections that were blatantly fraudulent; each time, the government cracked down with deadly force against pro-democracy protesters.
Over these nine years, the U.S. and Canada, the World Bank, and international companies and banks expanded investments with the corrupt, repressive regimes in the sectors of mining, hydro-electric dams, bananas, tourism, African palm, and more.
Over these nine years, indices of government and private sector repression, exploitation and poverty, generalized violence, corruption and impunity have spiked to their highest levels in Honduran history.  The March 2016 assassination of Berta Caceres is the most well-known case of over 500 people killed and assassinated for political reasons since the 2009 coup.
Until the U.S. and Canada – and other “international community” actors – end their political, military and economic support for and empowerment of the corrupt, repressive governments in power, there will be no end to tens of thousands of people desperately fleeing north every year …
Assassination of nephew of Angelica Choc, plaintiff in Hudbay Minerals lawsuits
Rights Action received this horrible news after the print version of this newsletter had gone to press.  Read here a “Statement by Choc and Ich families released through Rights Action, April 11, 2018”:

There are indications the murderers were seeking to kill José Ich, son of Angélica Choc, and witness in Hudbay lawsuits.

Your donations at work
Here, a summary of organizations, individuals and projects that Rights Action has funded and worked with, to date, in 2018.  Rights Action receives our funds mainly from individuals (including anonymous donors), a few institutional donors in the U.S. and Canada, and Donors of Stock.
  • Azacualpa Environmental Committee, resisting harms and violations caused by Aura Minerals gold company, including destruction of 200 year-old cemetery: $800
  • Berta Caceres family, demanding justice for her assassination by Honduran regime: $1,545
  • Family security of victim/eye-witness in Berta Caceres assassination case: $3,000
  • Commemoration, March 3, 2016, assassination of Berta Caceres: $1,845
  • Siria Valley Environmental Committee, denouncing inter-generational health harms caused by Goldcorp Inc.’s mine (2000-2009); resisting illegal plan to build geothermal energy plant in same communities and mountains harmed by Goldcorp’s mining: $1,045
  • Honduras Solidarity Network, support for family members of people jailed as political prisoners after stolen fraudulent elections of November 26, 2017: $1,600

(On January 19, 2018, Edwin Espinal was illegally detained by the Honduran regime.  Since the fraudulent, stolen elections of November 26, 2017 (deemed ‘fair and democratic’ by the U.S. and Canada), the Honduran regime has killed over 40 pro-democracy protesters and jailed dozens of political prisoners, such as Edwin, on trumped up charges.  More information: Karen Spring, HSN,
  • COFADEH (Comite de Familiares de los Desaparecidos y Detenidos), support for victims of killings and human rights violations, after stolen fraudulent elections of November 26, 2017: $2,545
  • ASOPDEHU (Asociación por la Democracia y los Derechos Humanos), support for victims of killings and human rights violations, after stolen fraudulent elections of November 26, 2017: $2,045
  • Rio Negro village / Pacux refugee community, primary school and scholarships for children of Mayan Achi genocide victims: $6,600
  • San Miguel Ixtahuacan, scholarship, law degree, Mayan Mam woman resisting Goldcorp Inc. mining harms: $800
  • El Estor, scholarships, children of Mayan Q’eqchi’ people seeking justice for mining harms, including by Hudbay Minerals: $6,900
  • Santa Maria Tzeja, Mayan community primary and middle schools, scholarships to high school and university: $7,135
Mining harms ~Versus~ Community Development, Environment & Human Rights
  • “La Puya”, resisting violent, illegal mining of American company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates: $800
  • CALAS (Centro de Acción Legal-Ambiental y Social), legal support for people suffering harms and violence linked to Tahoe Resources: $2,045
  • CODIDENA (Comision Diocesana Defensa de la Naturaleza), resisting harms and violence linked to Tahoe Resources: $800
  • Maya Q’eqchi’ territorial and environmental committee, fisherpeople and campesinos resisting harms and repression by CGN/ProNico nickel mining company (owned formerly by INCO and Hudbay Minerals)
    • Support for Choc and Ich families, after killing of nephew: $2,250
    • Legal team, criminal trial against Mynor Padilla, former Hudbay Minerals head of security: $4,145
    • Investigation, trial against Mynor Padilla, former Hudbay Minerals head of security: $545
    • Mayan Q’eqchi’ women plaintiffs travel to Toronto (November 2017) for depositions: $1,970
    • German Chub, health support, victim of Hudbay Minerals linked shooting: $545
Truth, Memory, Justice
  • Commemoration, February 12, 1982, World Bank/IDB’s Chixoy Dam/Xococ massacre: $1,045
  • Commemoration, March 13, 1982, World Bank/IDB’s Chixoy Dam/Rio Negro massacre: $800
  • Commemoration, May 14, 1982, World Bank/IDB’s Chixoy Dam/Los Encuentros massacre: $1,045

(On April 1, 2018, former General Efrain Rios Montt died.  In May 2013, Rios Montt was found guilty of the crime of genocide (and other crimes against humanity) for his leadership role in planning, ordering and carrying out a US.-backed genocide against the Mayan Ixil people.  Dating back to the 1954 U.S. coup against the last real democratic government Guatemala had, Rios Montt was been a strong ally and beneficiary of the U.S. military and successive Democratic and Republican governments.  In the late 1970s, particularly in 1982-83, Rios Montt was one of the principal intellectual authors and country leaders that planned and carried out U.S.-supported genocides in four Mayan regions of Guatemala.)
Emergency response and various
  • Maria Cuc, illegally detained and “criminalized” for Chaabil Choch, Mayan Q’eqchi’ land recuperation: $5,650
  • Chaabil Choch, Mayan Q’eqchi’ land recuperation: $1,045
North-South Human Rights Accompaniment, Reporting & Activism
  • Human rights accompaniment, investigations and reporting on November 26, 2017 electoral fraud and repression in Honduras: $3,350
  • Doc-film, health harms, Siria Valley, Honduras, linked to Goldcorp Inc’s mine (2000-2009): $400
  • Doc-film, illegal detention and “criminalization” of Maria Cuc: $400
  • Mining Injustice Solidarity Network: Education and activism related to Canadian mining repression and harms: $1,000
Other countries
  • Tropico Seco (Peru), disaster and flood rebuilding: $5,000
Thank-you for your trust, commitment and support for this work.  Please send questions and comments.
Grahame Russell, director Rights Action (Canada & U.S.)

Tax-Deductible Donations (Canada & U.S.)
Matching donor: Anonymous donors will match donations made to Rights Action (U.S. and Canada), up to a total of $30,000, made by May 15, 2018.
To support the development, human rights, environmental defense and emergency relief work of these, and other community groups in Honduras and Guatemala, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:
  • U.S.:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
  • Canada:  (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
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