Recent elections in Honduras have led tens of thousands of people, including CUPE’s partner organization CODEMUH, to the streets in protest. They are demanding the immediate resignation of Juan Orlando Hernández following what is widely believed to be fraudulent elections. Despite the public conclusion by the Organization of American States (OAS) that the November 26 elections were fraudulent and required new elections, the Canadian government recognized Hernandez prior to his inauguration.
Eighty-five Canadian academics sent the Trudeau government a joint letter on January 22. It stated: “The fraudulent and repressive re-election of Juan Orlando Hernández must not be legitimized by Canada’s presence at his inauguration. Nor should Canada continue to provide any form of assistance to his discredited regime.”
CUPE, along with several Canadian civil society organizations and working with trade unions, human rights organizations and human rights defenders in the Philippines, expressed shock and deep concern when the Government of Canada announced in February that it was supporting the sale of 16 helicopters to the Philippine Air Force. Given the high profile human rights violations documented in the Philippines by international human rights organizations, we were clear that there was a serious risk that the helicopters would be used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in aerial bombardments that could harm innocent citizens. Unions and civil society groups worked tirelessly to stop the helicopter deal. The contract was cancelled, in part due to these efforts. There is still work to do to ensure adequate human rights safeguards are applied to the sale of all military equipment.
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
The World Social Forum (WSF) is taking place in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, from March 13 to 17. Under the banner, To Resist is to Create, to Resist is to Transform, the WSF will focus on the need for alternatives for a better world. This global gathering is taking place at an important moment in Brazil, on the heels of a “soft coup” by the right wing, and during a time of electoral political turmoil following the widely disputed Brazilian federal appeals court decision to uphold the conviction of former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges.
Brother Denis Bolduc, President SCFP Quebec, will participate in the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) trade union delegation to the World Social Forum this year.