January 13, 2019
January 19, 2019 – First anniversary, illegal detention of Edwin Espinal, Honduran political prisoner
January 19, 2019 marks one year since Edwin Espinal was illegally detained by the Honduran regime and struck in a military jail where he remains, poorly fed, losing weight, in poor health. Edwin was arbitrarily jailed on trumped up charges related to protesting against the regime for the fraudulent and violently stolen elections of November 2017, and for dozens of State killings of protesters.
The U.S. and Canadian governments, staunch supporters of the repressive, corrupt regime in power, have done nothing to secure the release of Edwin and other political prisoners, nothing to demand justice for 100s of government killings of protesters and political opposition members. As 10s of 1000s of Hondurans flee into exile, every year, the U.S. and Canada maintain full economic, military and political relations with the regime.
Community Meeting: January 27, 2018
“A Year in Review Fighting for Release of Honduran Political Prisoner Edwin Espinal”
By Janet Spring (mother-in-law of Edwin Espinal)
The Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor is hosting a community meeting on January 27, 2019 at 2 p.m., in Elmvale, Ontario, at the Elmvale Community Hall. We will update the community and public on our year of advocating for the release of political prisoners in Honduras. Since the beginning of this struggle we have garnered increasing support that has given us some hope to further our cause.
As I write this update, I am in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras where my daughter Karen and Edwin live. They have been together for over 9 years; Karen is coordinator of the Honduras Solidarity Network and Edwin is a human rights leader in his community.
Almost a year ago, Edwin Espinal was arrested during the post-electoral crisis. Since then he has been incarcerated in La Tolva Military Prison.
Edwin is a very important member of our family, he is our son-in-law and spouse of our daughter Karen Spring. Our family, friends, and community members continue to demand his release and will not stop until he is free.
Edwin has a very strong commitment to social justice in his country. He was arrested only because of this. Since the US and Canadian backed coup of 2009, the Honduran people have experienced severe repression under an illegal narco-trafficking government.
In a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world, where the military police harass and suppress the people at the beck and call of the Honduran regime, and drug cartels are closely affiliated with officials in the Hernandez government, I fear for the safety of Karen, Edwin, all the Honduran people, and myself while visiting there.
Yet I travel to Honduras to support Karen as she works with members of the social movement and continues to meet with officials from the United Nations and committees formed since Edwin’s and others’ arrests. Karen is active in promoting further necessary engagement from Canadian and US Embassy officials and representatives from European Embassies.
While I am in Honduras, we will be asking for a meeting with the United Nations facilitator of the “National Dialogue”, Igor Garafulic. I want to understand from Mr. Garafulic why the Dialogue failed and what future steps can be taken to facilitate Edwin’s release. I will also visit Edwin at La Tolva if my special permission requests are granted.
One of the main recommendations of the Dialogue committee which began in August 2018, was amnesty for all political prisoners. Since this recommendation was struck down in late November by the Honduran congress, how can this be overturned? We search for answers and actions we can take.
In Honduras, the Hernandez government operates with total impunity and refuses to not only grant due legal process to its citizens, but refuses to act on the demands of international organizations like the OAS (Organization of American States), Amnesty International and the United Nations when they have violated international law and human rights.
Our Canadian government also refuses to take a stand and demand that human rights be upheld “in Canada and around the world” as stated by Prime Minister Trudeau in September of 2018. However, we are encouraged by the ongoing support we have received from our local MPs and municipal council.
At home in Elmvale, Ontario, the support for Edwin’s and others’ release has been overwhelming and heartwarming. We are so encouraged and motivated by this unity of purpose that gives us the momentum to move forward. The Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor continues to travel to Ottawa to meet with representatives of Minister Freeland’s office, MPs, very supportive Ottawa human rights organizations and government sponsored agencies. Since April 2018, SCHRM has made 7 trips to Ottawa.
We have received remarkable support across Canada from human rights organizations and individuals. Our e-petition sponsored by MP Alex Nuttall, has surpassed the number of required signatures and still moves forward. We encourage anyone to sign and to continue to share the e-petition link: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1868
On January 27 at 2 p.m., we are inviting those who spoke at the last meeting – MPs, members of council, other dignitaries and a guest speaker on Honduras. They will report on their advocacy throughout the year and what next steps need to be pursued. Most importantly we are inviting you, the members of the Springwater and greater Simcoe County community, to come out and find out where things stand. Bring your questions and concerns that you wish to address.
You may recall from our last meeting on April 8, 2018, how Karen was very moved by the large turnout and your dedication and ongoing support toward this struggle. As 2019 is an election year, the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor wishes to impart to Canadian politicians that the Elmvale community stands together for human rights in our neighbourhoods and around the world.
Hope to see you on January 27th, 2 p.m. at the Elmvale Community Hall. Thank you.
Chip away: Hold U.S. and Canadian governments accountable
Keep on sending this information to your elected politicians in the U.S. and Canada holding them to account for their support for the Honduran regime, turning a blind eye to the systematic human rights violations, killings, corruption and impunity … including the illegal detention of political prisoners.
Media silence? Send this information to your media contacts, urging them to start reporting on U.S. and Canadian complicity with the repressive, corrupt regime in Honduras.
- United States: Contact your Senators (https://whoismyrepresentative.com/) and Congress members (https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative).
- Canada: Contact your Member of Parliament and make your demands known to them (https://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members).
- Ambassador James Hill, Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua, James.Hill@international.gc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Minister Chrystia Freeland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, 1-613-992-5234, 1-343-203-1851; email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Honduran Ambassador to Canada, Sofia Cerrato Rodriguez: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-613-233-8900
Demands - short term
The U.S. and Canadian governments must:
- Rescind their “legitimization” of the Nov. 26, 2017 elections;
- Condemn the multiple acts of electoral fraud carried out by the illegitimate regime headed by Juan Orlando Hernandez;
- Condemn government repression, including the killing of over 40 pro-democracy protesters, and the illegal detentions of dozens of political prisoners, including Edwin Espinal;
- Suspend business and military-police-security relations with the government of Honduras, until the political / electoral crisis has been resolved and impartial justice processes are proceeded against the intellectual and material authors of the electoral fraud and stolen elections, and killings and illegal jailings.
Demands - medium term
There must be legislative inquiries in the U.S. and Canada into the causes of Honduras’ now endemic repression and exploitation, corruption and impunity, with specific focus on the role played by the U.S. and Canadian governments:
- In support of the 2009 military coup
- In support and legitimization of fraudulent and violent elections in 2009, 2013 and 2017
- In support (in the case of Canada) of the promoting and signing of the potentially illegitimate “Free Trade Agreement” with the government of Honduras;
- In support of the expansion of corporate investments in Honduras (mining, garment “sweatshop” industry, bananas, hydro-electric dams, tourism, African palm, etc.), while turning a blind eye to and – in effect – benefitting from repression, fraud, corruption and impunity.
Tax-Deductible Donations (Canada & U.S.)
To support the work of our partner groups in Honduras, responding to the permanent human rights and repression crisis, including the political prisoners, 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