Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill Tuesday to pull out security from Honduras in light of the recent murder of Indigenous environmentalist Berta Caceres.
Security training, equipment and loans would be on hold until Honduras fulfills a list of demands, including ending police impunity, withdrawing military from domestic policing and protecting communities most vulnerable to attack.
"The Honduran police are widely established to be deeply corrupt and to commit human rights abuses, including torture, rape, illegal detention, and murder, with impunity," reads the bill, dubbed the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which made it to the House of Representatives Tuesday.
It goes on to cite death squads, military police and corruption by high-up Honduran officials, who conduct extrajudicial killings, manipulate investigations and ensure the impunity of officers who continue to be promoted.
Honduran “trade unionists, journalists, lawyers, Afro-Indigenous activists, Indigenous activists, small-farmer activists, LGBTI activists, human rights defenders, and critics of the government remain at severe risk; and previous human rights abuses against them remain largely unpunished,” reads the bill, which was sponsored by representatives Hank Johnson, Jan Schakowsky, Jose Serrano, John Conyers, Keith Ellison and Marcy Kaptur.
The United States currently sends US$18 million to the Honduran military and police, on top of funding from the National Defense Appropriations Act and requests from President Barack Obama for more. It also approved a US$60 million loan to the police by the Inter-American Development Bank.
An investigation published last month in Counterpunch also revealed that the private Honduran energy company suspected of murdering Indigenous activist Berta Caceres long resisted has signed a funding deal with a USAID partner just months before her high-profile assassination.