COFADEH Urgent Alert: Police and military repress peasants in Trujillo and Tocoa

Jan 8, 2010 – A heavy contingent of military and police began to violently remove peasant families occupying land in Trujillo and Tocoa in the department of Colón. This marks an avalanche against this social movement on the part of a justice system that colludes with elite power groups and underscores the need to re-found the country according to Bertha Oliva, Coordinator of the Committee of Families of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, COFADEH.

Since December, the peasant families have occupied over 600 thousand hectares of state land claimed by large landowners Miguel Facussé, René Morales and Reynaldo although they do not possess title to the property.  As of last, the communities were informed that military and police were preparing to launch a surprise operation.
Oliva added that what is happening to the peasants in Colón is another example of how the elite power groups are utilizing the judicial system which they themselves have rigged, with devastating impacts on the human rights of the population.

The removal began this morning at 7am. Seven buses full of military and police forcibly removed families without presenting a legal order against the peasants who are occupying the lands of the large landowner René Morales, also where three peasant cooperatives including San Esteban and Guanchías are located.

Since last night peasant families were on red alert and held vigil through the night according to Adelina Castro, coordinator of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia in Tocoa, Colón.

Acts of repression against peasant leaders includes criminal changes for usurpation of lands to actions that threaten their lives.  Men in civilian clothing took photographs of the leaders with the intention of creating profiles that can later be used to kill them as has happened to others who participate in the resistance movement, according to Castro.

On December 16th, four hooded men kidnapped Osman Alexis Ulloa Flores and Mario René Ayala Hernández of the Unifed Peasant Movement of Aguán, MUCA. Members of the peasant associations live in a constant state of anxiety due to the high level of risk involved in working the land that they depend on to confront the poverty in which they are submerged.
The pressure on these communities is directly related to the power of large landowners in the zone such as Miguel Facussé, a powerful businessman with landholdings throughout Honduras but is unsatiated in his desire to accumulate more territory.
The coordinador del Frente Nacional de Resistencia in Colón reports that shots have been heard in the area and the military has entered lands along the Río Aguán where the cooperatives are located. A potential massacre is feared.
COFADEH makes an urgent call to international human rights organizations to take actions of solidarity with those affected by this action which occurs in the context of the cout de tat and a justice system which is compromised by powerufl elite groups that sponsor and participate in the violation of institutional order in the country.
Committee of Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, COFADEH