Honduran and Salvadoran Social Movements Join Forces to Fight US Intervention

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Salvadoran and Honduran organizations hold a press conference in San Salvador (Photo: Enfoques SV)

Indigenous and popular movement groups from Honduras and El Salvador are stepping up coordination in their collective resistance to regional megaprojects that threaten to drain natural resources, appropriate indigenous lands, exploit cheap labor, exacerbate human rights abuses against migrants and activists, and militarize regional borders.

In late April, over 20 social movement organizations from both countries attended a two day gathering and strategy session in Arcatao, a town on the El Salvador-Honduras border. Participating groups from Honduras included the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH), the Ecumenical Institute of Community Services (INEHSCO), and the Broad University Movement (MAU). Salvadoran groups in attendance included the October 12th Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12), the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES), and the Agrarian Reform Confederation (CONFRAS). CISPES, Sister Cities, and the SHARE Foundation attended in representation of the US solidarity movement.

At the cross-border gathering, activists shared information and analysis about the social, political and economic situations in their respective countries as well as analysis of current US policy towards Latin America, particularly US efforts to destabilize and oust revolutionary and progressive governments in the region. Then, participating organizations broke into working groups that developed a joint pronouncement, resolutions, and shared plans for communication, accompaniment, and political action.

Much discussion focused on the Alliance for Prosperity, a tri-country plan developed by the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador at the bidding of the Obama administration and with substantial input from the US government and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The plan is ostensibly designed as a long-term solution to the violence and poverty that forces so many to flee Central America; but the Honduran and Salvadoran groups gathered in Arcatao claim it is actually designed to facilitate more privatizations of public services, more extractive industry and commercial infrastructure megaprojects, and the continued militarization of the region.

Following the gathering, representatives held a press conference in San Salvador to denounce all forms of US intervention in the region and condemn US efforts to re-militarize Central America through the Alliance for Prosperity. They also called for an end to the criminalization and persecution of activists and journalists in Honduras and demanded an independent investigation into the intellectual and material authors of the murder of Berta Cáceres and of the 277 activists, journalists, human rights defenders and indigenous leaders that have been assassinated in Honduras since a 2009 US-backed military coup ushered in a climate of repression and impunity.

The organizations scheduled a follow-up gathering for later this year to continue articulating and coordinating their collective struggle to build an alternative in Central America based on social, economic, and environmental justice. They plan on incorporating groups from Guatemala’s popular movement into the coordinating space in the future.

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