Son of Honduran Human Rights Activist Murdered
November 2, 2016
In post-coup Honduras, a coup which Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supported, the corpses continue to pile up. Human rights organizations are raising alarm after yet another assassination in Honduras, this time of the son of a prominent human rights defender. The United States -- which helped secure the 2009 coup -- is complicit in the ongoing crisis in Honduras.
Son of Honduran Human Rights and Resistance Activist Murdered
Fernando Aleman Banegas
In post-coup Honduras,
a coup which Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supported,
the corpses continue to pile up.
LA CEIBA, Honduras (October 31, 2016) -- Human rights organizations are raising alarm after yet another assassination in Honduras, this time of the son of a prominent resistance activist, human rights defender, and aspiring progressive candidate for local political office with the left-wing Libre party.
Fernando Aleman Banegas was shot dead in the early hours of Monday morning when we was getting into his car after leaving a club in the northern port city of La Ceiba, according to local reports. The gunmen reportedly fled the scene on a motorcycle.
Aleman will be buried in the nearby city of Tocoa, which borders the Aguan Valley agricultural region, home to a brutally repressive land conflict between campesino communities and large private landowners.
Aleman's mother, Elsy Banegas, has accompanied the campesinos struggle for years as the President of the Coordinator of Popular Organizations of the Aguan, known as COPA, a human rights group focused on labor and campesino issues in the region.
Banegas is also an aspiring mayoral candidate for Tocoa with the Libre party, founded as an offshoot of the popular resistance movement in the wake of the 2009 US-backed coup, in order push for a constituent assembly to rewrite the Honduran constitution at the ballot box, to complement their street resistance.
According to the Honduran human rights organization COFADEH, Banegas' candidacy "threatens the interests of transnational mining companies and large landowners in the region." The prominent activist has long been a vocal critic of systematic grave human rights abuses, impunity and the consequences of militarization in the region, particularly since the coup.
Banegas' organization COPA reported after the murder that the social leader has "on many occasions received death threats for acting against mining companies, privatization and against the violation of human rights."
Aleman's assassination came hours before Libre kicked off its internal elections process to select the party's new leadership leading up to the 2017 general election. Despite the shadow of violence, participation in the process surpassed the party's own goals, according to Libre leader and ousted President Manuel Zelaya, with at least 239,000 people casting votes when estimates expected participation of 150,000 in the country of about 8 million.
Human rights organizations have called for a thorough and impartial investigation into Aleman's murder.
The killing comes just two weeks after two Aguan campesino activists were murdered. Jose Angel Flores, president of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan, one of the most prominent land rights organizations on the forefront of the Honduran resistance movement, and his fellow activists Silmer Dionisio George were both gunned down on Oct. 17. Since 2010, the bloody land conflict in the Aguan has claimed the lives of nearly 150 campesinos, according to human rights groups.
The wave of assassinations also comes months after the high-profile killing of internationally-renowned Indigenous activist Berta Caceres in March. Caceres' case has come to epitomize the grave human rights situation in Honduras and systemic impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of political violence.
Human rights organizations have stressed that the United States -- which under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped secure the 2009 coup -- is complicit in the ongoing crisis in Honduras and must cut all aid funding to the Honduran government and military.
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