Monday, March 2, 2009

WNU #981: Hondurans Protest to Protect Forests

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #981, March 1, 2009

1. Honduras: Protests to Protect Forests
2. Guadeloupe: General Strike Continues
3. Links to alternative sources on: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico

ISSN#: 1084-922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. For a subscription, write to It is archived at

*1. Honduras: Protests to Protect Forests
On Feb. 16 indigenous Hondurans closed off roads in Intibucá department at the beginning of a 12-day mobilization organized by the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) against what they called the destruction of forests in the territories of the indigenous Lenca. COPINH said the protesters succeeded in maintaining "three strategic takeovers...completely paralyzing the exploitation of timber," and that the mobilization also resulted in the temporary suspension of authorizations for cutting trees in San Marcos de Sierra municipality and in Wise community in Intibucá municipality.

The mobilization continued on Feb. 22 with hundreds of people gathering in the city of Esperanza to participate in a Grassroots Assembly for the Defense of the Life of Woods and Water Sources. On Feb. 25 COPINH held a march attended by hundreds of youths and supporters from Esperanza and communities throughout Intibucá department. Concluding the mobilization on Feb. 27, COPINH announced that it was preparing "new and more overwhelming actions."

COPINH is demanding that the forests be exploited for the benefit of the Lenca communities, that the timber be used for local consumption or be exported in finished products, and that the forests be managed in a sustainable manner. Other demands are for decisions on timber and mining concessions to be made with community approval, and for guarantees that water sources will be protected. COPINH rejects US plans to install a military base in Lenca territory in the San Antonio plains, and demands the release of campesino activists Carlos Maradiaga and Isabel Morales. (Adital 2/19/09; COPINH communiqué 2/27/09)

*2. Guadeloupe: General Strike Continues
As of the morning of Mar. 2 a general strike in the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe continued despite a preliminary agreement; Guadeloupe prefect Nicolas Desforges told the strikers that "you have to know to end a strike." The action, which began Jan. 20 [see Update #980], is the longest general strike France has experienced in more than 20 years.

The preliminary agreement meets the strikers' demand for a wage increase of 200 euros ($259) a month for the lowest-paid workers, to be financed with 50 euros from the companies, 50 euros from the local government and 100 euros from the national government. Some employers signed on to the accord, but the local branch of the MEDEF--the Movement of Businesses of France, the most powerful French business association--refused. The Collective Against Extreme Exploitation (LKP), which has led the strike, insisted that MEDEF members need to sign the accord before Guadeloupeans can return to work. LKP spokesperson Elie Domota, secretary general of the General Union of Guadeloupe Workers (UGTG), said the strikers would go "from company to company" with protests to get the accord signed.

Talks were scheduled to resume on Mar. 2 in the nearby department of Martinique, which has been on strike since Feb. 5. Michel Monrose, president of the Feb. 5 Collective, the coalition leading the strike, said that a settlement would require a reduction in prices in addition to a wage increase. With a population of about 400,000, Martinique has an official unemployment rate of 21.2%. As in Guadeloupe, the strike has been generally peaceful, but confrontations between youths and the police broke out on the nights of Feb. 24 and 25. (Le Monde (France) 3/2/09 from Reuters; AFP 3/2/09; Alterpresse (Haiti) 2/27/09 from Ase Plere An nou Lite)

*3. Links to alternative sources on: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico

That Other World

Help the Poor or Learn From Them

Autonomy or New Forms of Domination? The Complex Relationship Between Governments and Movements

Chile: Gov't Unleashes Anti-Terror Law on Mapuche Activist

Colombia: surveillance scandal shakes secret police

Colombian president restricts wiretapping following scandal

Colombia: Uribe disses top prosecutor over drug recrim

Colombia: Why They Kill the Awa

Arms kingpin Monzer al-Kassar sentenced in DEA pseudo-deal with FARC

Radio: Colombia-Walking the Word of the People

Colombia: Why They Kill the Awa

State Department blasts Venezuela on human rights, drugs

Venezuela: another attack on Caracas Jewish center

Venezuela: "The People Won the Vote, Now The People Must Become the Government"

Analysis of the Venezuelan Referendum: Time for Economic Strategy

Call on Congress to reject manipulation of U.S. foreign policy, defend fair elections in El Salvador

Mexico: bomb threats shut Ciudad Juárez airport

Mexico extradites legendary kingpin Miguel Caro Quintero

US claims major hit against Sinaloa Cartel's stateside networks

Mexico: attack on Chihuahua governor's motorcade

The Crisis Slams Mexico

Mexico Unconquered: Reviewing a People's History of Power and Revolt

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