Honduran Attorneys Ignore Death Threats, Fight for Justice & Democracy

Hear Attorneys Alex Navas Alvarez and Alejandro Mairena, who will visit Milwaukee after giving testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. about gross human rights violations in Honduras. Their lives are in constant risk due to their work in support of democracy in Honduras. We feel very privileged to be able to hear their voices despite what is essentially a mainstream media blackout on the ongoing crisis in Honduras, a close ally of the U.S. government.

Background information:
On June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was awakened by gunfire. A coup was carried out by US-trained military officers, and Pres. Zelaya was illegally taken to Costa Rica. Democracy in Honduras ended as a de facto government of the rich and powerful seized control. The regime held a sham election, backed by the U.S., in hopes of legitimizing the leadership of the coup powers.

Forces of democracy have been subjected to police killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings, rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls, torture and harassment of journalists, judges and activists. Prominent LGBTQ activists, labor organizers, campesinos and youth working with the resistance have been assassinated. Leaders have been driven into exile. Four judges were fired in May 2010 for criticizing the illegality of the coup, leading two of them to go on a widely-supported hunger strike in the nation’s capital. In 2010 alone, at least seven journalists have been murdered, and death threats against others continue, causing Reporters without Borders to declare Honduras the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. As it stands now, the biggest ally of the Honduran regime is the U.S. government, which maintains an important military base in Soto Cano housing over 500 U.S. troops.

About the speakers:
Atty. Alex Navas Alvarez is the coordinator for the Lawyers for Justice Collective (CAJ) and a member of the Lawyers Against the Coup. He is directly involved in the legal defense of recent victims of illegal arrests and torture of those taking action for democracy. He is currently directing the investigation on the situation in the Aguan region, where the Honduran military has been widely accused of violently repressing poor campesinos.

Atty. Alejandro Mairena is also a member of CAJ and is working on the defense of cases related to public educators who have been targeted by theHonduran regime as it looks to implement severe cuts and privatization. He is a leading member of Honduras Law School’s “Demand Democracy Front” as well as Lawyers Against the Coup.

Sponsored by Hands Off Honduras Coalition, Co-sponsored by the Minnesota National Lawyers Guild.  FFI:  handsoffhonduras@gmail.com, ph 612-659-9019