Letter to Rep. Norma Torres co-chair of the Congressional Central America Caucus

Ask Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) to Support the Berta Cáceres Act

Dear Rep. Torres

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NOTE: We created two petitions to accommodate both languages. You can view the total signatures for the Spanish language version by clicking here.

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1 Tom O. Alexandria , VA 22302 Apr 01, 2017

Dear Rep. Torres,

I am writing to you today because as your constituent I am concerned about your refusal to support the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 1299). Over the years we have watched as you have spoken out strongly in support of Latinos in our district and of the issues that matter to us such as immigration and the economy to name a few. I could not be more proud of having a Guatemalan-born woman representing us in Congress. You have been nothing less than a hero to our children and our community.

However, your refusal to support H.R. 1299 is perplexing. The bill would, “suspend United States security assistance with Honduras until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice.” I understand that the family of Berta Cáceres here in the U.S. has also directly appealed for your support. Yet you still refused to support the bill.

Ms. Cáceres — a 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner — was working to improve the lives of the Lenca indigenous people by helping them stand up for their rights. The government of Juan Orlando Hernandez and his business allies has aggressively and illegally appropriated lands without consultation from local indigenous groups as stated in ILO 169 to which Honduras is a signatory. There is also clear evidence of vast corruption by the Hernandez government and ties to drug trafficking by several associates. In addition, numerous human rights groups have catalogued a vast array of extrajudicial killings and abuses at the hands of security forces and subsequent lack of investigation by the country’s police and judiciary.

In recent years, the U.S. government has channeled tens of millions of dollars of security assistance to Honduras, and yet the situation on the ground for activists only grows worse. Clearly U.S. security assistance is failing to make a positive difference and, instead, is shoring up Honduras’ security forces and extraordinarily corrupt government.

Your unfailing support for the government of Honduras brings your leadership in the Central American Caucus and as a representative of the Latino community into question. I believe you to be a person who stands with Central Americans, a person who understands the immigrant plight, and person who defends Latinos from unjust policy here in the United States and abroad.

This is why I am asking that you reconsider and stand up for Latinos, for Central America, and make us proud to stand with you.

Sincerely yours,

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