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Protests Are Growing Across Honduras As People Ask For President Juan Orlando Hernandez To Step Down

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There is growing violence in Honduras as people have taken to the streets to voice their dismay over President Juan Orlando Hernandez. Public demonstrations started back in April after proposed health and education reforms that doctors and teachers fear would privatize their sectors. The decrees have angered many in the country and have caused other workers from other sectors to joined in on protests. This has all led growing calls for President Hernandez to step down.

What’s really going on in Honduras?

When decrees were issued by President Hernandez in April, the Honduran education and health ministers were given free rein to implement austerity measures. Since then, Honduras has been in turmoil with growing protests putting the president under constant pressure.

Many feel that the current Honduran administration has failed to create opportunities for anyone but the richest in the country. There has also been concerns of corruption and increasingly authoritarian force by the government.

Teachers and medical workers would eventually form the Platform for the Defence of Health and Education in Honduras to demand the government repeal the proposed decrees. But even after the proposals were shut down too late. Since then, massive protests in the streets of Tegucigalpa, the capital, and around the country have formed.

Many feel that there are less job and growth opportunities in Honduras which have led to a surge in people leaving the country.

Hondurans currently represent 30 percent of Central American migrants detained at the U.S. border this year. This up from 13 percent back in 2016, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Advocates say lack of upward mobility nad mass corruption has hurt the economy. This has all been fueled by crime and has prevented the government from creating programs needed to keep people in the country.

“The situation here in Honduras has been bad for years,” Josué, 20, told the BBC back in January. “One tries to make it north, that’s our dream, because here even when you do have work, what you get paid is only just enough to eat.”

Protests have turned dangerous and there have been calls of excessive force by military police.

Images have flooded social media showing protesters in masks calling for the resignation of President Hernandez. Military police were deployed across Honduras last week after protests left three dead, including a 29-year-old man who died from gunshot wounds.

This week, around 40 military police met protesters at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. They fired tear gas on protesters who in return threw rocks at them, injuring at least four people.

Protests are anticipated to continue this week as Honduras marks the 10th anniversary of its 2009 military coup, where left-wing president Manuel Zelaya was ousted just seven months before his term was set to end.

Public demonstrations erupted and lasted for weeks. Elections were held shortly after, which many considered illegitimate. The National Party came to power and has ruled over the government ever since. Hernandez was first elected in 2013.

What’s going to happen moving forward in Honduras?

Credit:@personalescrito/Twitter

It’s hard to see peace being restored anytime soon in Honduras as many are fleeing the country and nearby El Salvador. As the U.S. has backed President Hernandez, there seems to be no sign that his tenure will be coming to an end in the near future.

What most people fear is the continuation of a failing economy and rising prices for health, food and fuel shortages around the country. It seems that only a change in government or a peaceful resolution with leaders will spark new hope in Honduras.

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She Went Viral For Insulting The Food In A Mexican Migrant Shelther, Now Lady Frijoles Is A Celebrity Back In Honduras

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She Went Viral For Insulting The Food In A Mexican Migrant Shelther, Now Lady Frijoles Is A Celebrity Back In Honduras

Qhubo TV / Facebook

On November 2018, Miriam Zelaya became a viral sensation after she criticized the food she was given while waiting for asylum in Mexico. Zelaya was nicknamed Lady Frijoles after making comments about the beans served to her, claiming that it was food for pigs. Embarrassed, she later apologized publicly to the Mexican public for the statements she made. 

The story of Lady Frijoles has taken an interesting turn. 

On March 2019, Zelaya was detained with her sister, Mirna Zelaya, for a violent altercation that occured between them and Alba Escobar, the woman they were living with. The fight took place after Escobar blamed Zelaya and Mirna for the loss of her job. The two sisters were accused of assaulting Escobar with a the butt of a knife and chair; they were detained that same night. 

After being held in jail for almost four months, Zelaya pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in court. As a result, she received four years of probation and was deported to her home country of Honduras. 

While Zelaya was in jail, her daughters were cared for by close friends and family. 

This week, Lady Frijoles was welcomed back in Honduras like a celebrity.

With only three days of being back in Honduras, Zelaya has been greeted by the media with style; she was even invited to appear on television. 

On the Honduran channel, Q’huboTV, Zelaya gives her version of the night she and her sister got arrested. According to most American media outlets, the dispute was only between the Zelaya sisters and Escobar. However, Zelaya tells a very different story that involves Escobar’s husband Mirna’s son. 

In her interview, Zelaya states that the reason the argument became physical was because Escobar pushed Mirna’s son. She affirms that neither she or her sister grabbed a chair to hurt Escobar, as most news publications have reported, saying that “I can lie to you all, but I will never lie to God.” Instead, it was Escobar who threw the chair at Mirna, which bounced back when Mirna lifted her arms to shield herself, causing Escobar to begin to bleed due to the impact. 

Zelaya refutes every word said about her on other sources, saying that there wasn’t a knife involved in the argument. Rather, Escobar gave the police the knife from her cabinet and claimed that she was assaulted with it. Miriam also clarifies that she was not as involved in the physical fight as the media claims she was. The only reason she got wrapped up in the situation was because Escobar was jealous of Miriam.

“I declared myself guilty more so for my daughters. I was scared that the state was going to take them away and I was going to lose them.”

After being able to meet with a judge to discuss her deportation, the judge let Zelaya know that she was able to fight for her stay in the country, if she could provide herself with a lawyer and the money to post bail. Zelaya responded that she did not have the money to cover the costs because of her lack of resources. The judge then offered to waive the cost of bail, but she must still find a lawyer to defend her. In the end, Miriam accepted her deportation because of her insufficient funds. 

During the programming, Q’huboTV opened up the line for calls directed to Lady Frijoles. Miriam received a lot of mixed reactions. For instance, one caller asked why Miriam would put the lives of her daughters at risk during the long journey from Honduras to the United States. Others tried to debunk all the statements Miriam had said about her case against Escobar. However, many welcomed Miriam back to Honduras and wished her good luck on her journey moving forward. 

On Q’huboTV, Miriam received plenty of support from the network.

For example, the opportunity to provide her daughter with glasses at no cost. Moreover, on live television the general manager of QhuboTV, Mario “Chano” Rivera, officially announced Miriam as a new host of show called “Las Doñas.”

To end the show, Miriam expressed how her fame helped her, but also impacted her negatively, “I never expected to have a job or help for my daughter.”

During a later episode, many viewers were upset about the fact that Miriam received a job offer with Q’huboTV due to her lack of experience and education in the field of media and communications. Both Alicia and Alejandra, Q’huboTV announcers, came to the defense of Miriam and stated that people should not be envious of Miriam or try to not tear her down. They invited Miriam because she is a star due to her fame. 

Either way, Miriam is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be part of the QhuboTV family.

Indigenous Women Of Brazil Are Refusing To Keep Quiet Over The Country’s President’s Policies

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Indigenous Women Of Brazil Are Refusing To Keep Quiet Over The Country’s President’s Policies

Last week, hundreds of Indigenous women took to the streets to protest against the policies of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. According to BBC, indigenous women occupied the building of Brazil’s health ministry in the capital of Brasília and demanded better healthcare for the Indigenous people of the country and called for an end to the destruction of the Amazon. 

It has been reported that about 300 Indigenous women condemned the proposed changes to women’s healthcare and deforestation in Brazil in a peaceful demonstration that lasted over 10 hours. 

The Indigenous women of the country were protesting, according to a tweet by AJ+,  “rollbacks on Indigenous rights and efforts to open up Indigenous lands to minding and agriculture.” AJ+ shared powerful images of Indigenous women coming together to fight for their rights and to “cry out for help.” 

Under the far-right president Bolsonaro, Brazil has backtracked on rights and protections for the Indigenous community. For example, Brazil has let “agriculture ministry make decisions about Indigenous land, blocked any new reservations, [and] proposed to close specialized Indigenous health care offices.” 

“We’ve been left abandoned,” 43-year-old Teresa Cristina Kezonazokere told Correio Braziliense newspaper (in Portuguese, according to BBC). “They treat Indigenous people like animals.”

According to The Associated Press, Bolsonaro’s administration—since taking office in January—has continuously “clashed with environmentalists and others over possibly opening up the Amazon rainforest to development and agribusiness.”

The president wants to open their lands to agriculture and mining. The Globe Post also reports that President Bolsonaro has been warned by experts and activists about such policies that will have “devastating environmental impacts, particularly in worsening climate change.”

However, Bolsonaro continues to dismiss the facts and data showing that the effects of his policies will affect Indigenous land. “Bolsonaro has dismissed the data as lies and sacked the head of the government agency tasked with tracking tree clearing,” The Globe Post reports. 

Further, Brazil’s government wants to make towns and cities responsible for providing medical services to its Indigenous people—putting the pressure on community leaders and local officials. But community leaders fear that their communities lack the “infrastructure” to do this. According to BBC, the federal government is currently in charge of these responsibilities.

Tamikua Faustino of the Pataxó tribe told the AP that “if we don’t stick together, in the near future we’ll be eliminated.”

This surge in deforestation that occurs on Indigenous reserves would essentially eliminate Indigenous folks from the places they inhabit.

In an AJ+ video shared on Twitter, articulation of the Indigenous people of Brazil Sonia Guajajara said: “We will resist because we’ve been here for five centuries and we have a good experience in resisting.” The Indigenous community is being backed by thousands of community members and supports in fighting back against President Bolsonaro’s government.

When Indigenous folks took the streets of Brazil to protest, they didn’t hold back. Many did so carrying bows, arrows, and spears, and the Indigenous women advanced on Congress in Brasilia carrying a large banner that read: “Resist to exist.” Women leading the frontlines are demanding the protection of their land. 

A couple of days after the initial demonstration took place, about 1,500 indigenous women from 110 ethnic groups were expected to join a protest to defend their rights that are under threat under the Bolsonaro administration.

According to BBC, the president has “promised to integrate Indigenous people into the rest of the population and repeatedly questioned the existence of their protected reserves, which are rights guaranteed in the country’s constitution.” The president who favors development over conservation of Indigenous land and reservations has also said that the Indigenous territories are “too big in relation to the number of people who live there,” therefore making it okay to open land that does not belong to him, to agriculture, minding, and essentially destruction. 

Earlier this month, The Globe Post published an opinion piece highlighting the ways in which Bolsonaro and his presidency were destroying the Brazilian Amazon.   

According to data, deforestation in the Amazon region has skyrocketed and there’s no turning back. In June 2019, deforestation showed to be 88 percent higher than the levels of deforestation seen in June 2018. And in the first half of July 2019, it was 68 percent higher than the entire month of the previous year. 

It’s important to note that more than 800,000 Indigenous people live in 450 Indigenous territories across Brazil and most are located in the Amazon region and some communities live totally isolated. 

But the Indigenous women of Brazil are not backing down. In a video posted by AJ+ on Twitter, one of the women can be seen saying that they’re going to defend nature and defend the forest. “We are defending our children’s lives, but also the lives of the people on the other side of the world,” she adds. “Because the air we breathe is the air you breathe.”