Things That Matter

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

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.

READ: Migrants Will No Longer Have Access To English Classes, Ping-Pong, Soccer Or Legal Services Under New Policy

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ICE Continues To Disregard The Warning Signs As Another Migrant Dies Of Covid-19 While In Custody

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ICE Continues To Disregard The Warning Signs As Another Migrant Dies Of Covid-19 While In Custody

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The news out of 2020 continues to devastate and it’s getting harder and harder to be shocked by just how horrible things are looking. However, the level of neglect inside ICE detention centers is so shocking that it’s leading to a record number of deaths. No matter what year it is, that is shocking.

It’s been 14 years, during the presidency of George Bush, since ICE detention centers have recorded the level of deaths that they’re recording this year. Despite warnings from health and immigration experts, ICE has largely refused to release immigrants from overcrowded cells despite an ongoing and out of control global health pandemic. This blatant disregard for life has had a huge impact as at least 19 people have died while in ICE detention centers so far this fiscal year. 

ICE is responsible for the well-being of individuals in its custody and has broad discretion to release people for humanitarian reasons. The government should test everyone in its custody for COVID-19 and increase releases to prevent further deaths.

The recent death of a 5-year-old Honduran man brings the total number of ICE victims to 19 – in 2020 alone.

According to a report by Buzzfeed News, a 50-year-old Honduran man has become the latest victim of ICE’s cruel and inhumane detention policies. The man died at a Texas hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, according to the report.

The man was previously being held detention at the Joe Corley Processing Center in Texas, where, according to agency statistics, at least 50 people have tested positive for the virus. The preliminary cause of death, according to the source, was respiratory failure due to Covid-19.

He becomes the 19th victim of reckless ICE detention policies during the 2020 fiscal year – which ends on September 30. So far this year, there have been at least 19 confirmed deaths of migrants in ICE custody – the highest total since 2006.

And some how, despite a significant drop in the detainee population, the number of deaths this year is more than double that of 2019. Last fall, there were more than 55,000 people in ICE custody per day. As of Aug. 1, that number had dropped to about 21,500 per day.

Many deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 but that’s not the complete picture.

Coronavirus has swept through ICE detention centers like wildfire and this has had a major impact on the health and welfare of detainees, the community, and even ICE employees.

So far this year, more than twice as many people have died in ICE custody over last year. And, unfortunately, there are at least 1,065 active Covid-19 cases in ICE detention centers, meaning more people are likely to get sick and die before the year ends.

The number of deaths is especially alarming considering the average number of people detained has been significantly lower this year than in recent years.

Farmville, an ICE detention center in Virgina, has the largest COVID-19 outbreak in immigration detention. As of August 6, over 97% of people held in this ICE facility had contracted COVID-19. The outbreak began as a super-spreader event caused by a transfer of 74 people from Florida and Arizona.

Advocates have consistently criticized ICE for failing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the people it detains.

For months, several major organizations have called for an orderly, coordinated release of detainees in ICE and CBP detention facilities.

Credit: Gregory Bull / Getty Images

Court challenges in multiple states seek to compel ICE to release detainees in order to reduce the spread of the virus. The Otay Mesa center southeast of San Diego is the subject of such a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The San Diego facility has 132 COVID-19 cases, the most patients by far of the 41 detention centers where the virus has been reported. There have also been 10 employees at the facility who have contracted the virus, according to ICE.

The facility has also been the target of protesters who, on April 11, drove up in vehicles and honked to bring attention to the health conditions.

“Despite unwavering calls to prevent this, Trump’s immigration system took another life,” Paola Luisi, co-director of the immigrant advocacy group Families Belong Together said in a statement Wednesday.

“You cannot cage a virus, and it is impossible to safely physically distance behind bars,” she said. “We fear this tragic death will be the first.”

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Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

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Two Protesters Killed In Streets Protests Over The Police Shooting Of Jacob Blake

Jacob Blake / Facebook

Updated: August 26, 2020.

Police have attacked and shot another unarmed Black man. This time the victim is 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who is still alive but fighting for his life in serious condition.

Video of the attack – which has since gone viral on social media – shows Blake attempting to get back into his vehicle when he is grabbed by police and shot at least seven times right in the back. The video tells a damning story and protesters have already taken to the streets demanding the police officers responsible be held accountable for their actions.

To many, the attack is further proof that the American policing system is broken and has no value for the lives of Black Americans.

Outrage is growing as video shows police shoot an unarmed Black man in the back at least seven times.

In Wisconsin, police have shot another unarmed Black man – which is leading to widespread protests. The two officers are on leave as state authorities investigate the shooting.

Video circulating on social media shows the victim – Jacob Blake – being shot multiple times in the back as he entered the driver’s side door of his SUV. Currently, Blake is in serious condition fighting for his life.

Attorney Ben Crump, who now represents the Blake family, posted a video of the Sunday evening shooting in Kenosha. The footage spread across social media, sparking protests and leading county officials to institute a curfew that remained in place until Monday morning.

The attack unfolded on a residential street packed with apartment buildings, a block from a city golf course. In the video clip, Blake walks around the front of a gray SUV with two officers a step or two behind him, one with his weapon trained on the man’s back. As Blake enters the driver side door of his car, the nearest officer grabs the tail of his tank top and seven shots are heard. The man entering the car appears to go limp. A sustained car horn blares. A woman nearby jumps up and down, apparently in anguish.

Jeffery Robinson, a deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, said Blake’s death – along with Floyd’s outside a Minneapolis grocery store, Taylor’s in her own home and Eric Garner’s in front of a New York bodega – demonstrates “the very institution of American policing is rotten at its core.”

Of Blake’s shooting, Robinson said, “With each of the seven shots fired, the police department made their intent clear – they believed they had the right to kill an unarmed Black man for the crime of walking away from them.”

Blake was allegedly trying to break up a domestic dispute between two women when police approached him.

In a tweet, Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, says the man was leaving the scene after “breaking up a fight between two women.”

Officers were called to respond to a domestic disturbance, police said, but it’s unclear who called 911 or what happened before the video recording begins. In a police call, a dispatcher says Blake “isn’t supposed to be there” and that he took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The dispatcher later explains she doesn’t have more details because the caller was “uncooperative.”

Blake’s own children were in the vehicle and watched their father get shot by police.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Blake’s three young sons were in the car.

“They saw a cop shoot their father,” Crump said on Twitter. “They will be traumatised forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”

Protests are beginning to pop up across the country, as others continue to mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – among so many others.

Credit: Guy Smallman / Getty Images

The attack on Jacob Blake comes as demonstrators continue to protest against police violence in American cities, including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

The night before Blake’s shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man – Trayford Pellerin, 31 – outside a convenience store.

In Kenosha, a city of 100,000 located between Chicago and Milwaukee, protesters overnight broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building, according to CNN affiliate WISN. Vehicles at a nearby auto dealership were torched, a fire was started at a county courthouse and officers in tactical gear formed a line to protect a public safety building, the station reported.

Before the sun rose Monday, numerous dump and garbage trucks remained smoldering on the street after being set ablaze. The courthouse and administrative building were closed Monday, and all court hearings for the day are postponed, the county said on Facebook.

Still, unrest continues.

During the third night of protests over the shooting of Blake, two demonstrators were killed after clashes with law enforcement raged outside of an Illinois County Courthouse.

After protesters moved their demonstrations outside of a gas station in Kenosha, Wisconsin shots were fired outside leading to two fatalities, and one person being left with injuries that were not life-threatening. Court documents from Lake County, Ill., reveal that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested on Wednesday morning in relation to the shooting. He has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shooting . According to The New York Times, “Antioch is about 30 minutes southwest of Kenosha, just over the Illinois line. More details were expected during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.”

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