Thanks to all of you who have kept me in mind, in heart, in prayer, in the light while I have been here in Honduras. I have very much felt and appreciated it all. And I know that your concern for the people here can only have grown stronger, and I’m grateful for that.
Today is my last day here of a very short time — two weeks is such a drop in the bucket, and I am in deep admiration for those who are here accompanying for 3 months, 6 months, one year and more.
I have felt safe and well the whole time I’ve been here. Sometimes I have felt useful, sometimes not so much. The nature of accompaniment is to be ready when there is a need…and in-between, wait…or document what you recently did. To give you a thumbnail sketch of what I personally was able to be involved in here during my short stay:
- accompanied Dina Meza, a journalist who was the target of some horrible death (and sexual violence) threats two months ago, and whose case prompted action by Amnesty International, to the march on the 3rd anniversary of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. She, of course, circulated freely and quickly through the crowd, snapping pictures and interviewing people, including two of the foremost leaders of the resistance movement here. I donned a “human rights worker” vest and did my best to keep up with her!
- accompanied a team from COFADEH (a premier human rights organization here) to the city of San Pedro Sula (toward the north of the country) for a Forum on Human Rights, Non-violence and Peace. Bertha Oliva, the director of COFADEH spoke, along with the now-presidential candidate, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the president deposed in the coup 3 years ago. The car ride alone was about 5 hours each way, so “accompanying” means long hours on the road!
- went on another day-long trip (south this time), accompanying an organizing team from COFADEH who had a meeting with people from the community of Zacate Grande, with university students and with representatives of popular organizations, all working together on a project for a public cultural/artistic/experiential event in the city of Choluteca to raise the consciousness of the citizens there as to the great richness of their area and to the great threat to their land, their way of life and their human rights as the richest families in the country conspire with the govt. to take ancestral lands from the people of Zacate Grande to develop beachfront mansions for the elite — and all along the way, attacking the citizens who try to stop this process.
- And along the way, I have done some translating, some report-writing and had interesting meetings with people in the movement here. Two days ago I was able to attend a workshop of community-based journalists (radio, print, internet, etc.) here in Tegucigalpa, along with 5 journalists from Germany and Austria who have come to spend 3 months in Honduras to do their own accompaniment project with Honduran journalists, especially 3 community radio stations that are struggling to keep their communities informed while under threat and attack by the powers that be. Honduras now is the most dangerous country for journalists with an unbelievable number of assassinations in the last 3 years.
So, dear friends, I am fine. Happy to have had the privilege to be here, happy to be going home to my family tomorrow. And with the hope of being able to continue accompanying from afar the brave souls doing the relentless work of advocating for human rights here in Honduras. Please stay tuned to any mainstream news about Honduras (there is hardly any) and look at it with a very critical eye. More importantly, search out alternative, trusted sites to keep informed and/or sign up for action alerts. Just a few weeks ago a congressional letter was circulated and signed by over 80 congress members — a letter directed at Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, regarding the continuing, relentless persecution of the LGBTI community in Honduras — another favorite target of the police/military/death squads here.
Again, some helpful websites:
With thanks and hope,