And the Washington-based progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies has honored two Latin American groups and a US labor group with the annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. The Honduran Platform on Human Rights was cited in the international category for its work documenting and investigating abuses since the June 2009 coup that overthrew Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Bertha Oliva de Nativi of the Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras accepted the award on behalf of the five other groups that comprise the Platform.
Bertha Oliva de Nativi: “Nothing is normal in our country since June 28. A coup does not mean more power for the people. It means police and military violence, more repression, and only makes the victim count increase every day. So with this award, I want to ask that we unite and demand that the United States stop financing the police and military forces in our country.”
The Guatemalan National Police Archives also received special recognition for its work unearthing human rights abuses during Guatemala’s thirty-six-year internal conflict. In the domestic category, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network was honored for fighting to improve working conditions for day laborers in the United States. Pablo Alvarado accepted the award.
Pablo Alvarado: “In the face of indignity, exploitation, humiliation, hatred and bigotry, stigma, fear, and in some places, terror, like in Maricopa County, Arizona, there is courage, courage to peacefully resist, courage to defend and protect ourselves and, yes, even courage to love our detractors.”
The Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award is named for the Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were murdered in Washington by agents of the US-backed Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in September 1976.