As elections near, interest in schools fades for some campaigns

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Pat Poblete

Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018

As elections near, interest in schools fades for some campaigns

WASHINGTON - When Arizona teachers walked out of their classrooms in April to demand more funding for schools, it forced the issue of education into the headlines. Three months later, those headlines appear to be a distant memory to some campaigns. "There's a very big disconnect between what voters care about, and what politicians and policymakers are talking about," said Tamara Hiler, the deputy director for education at the Washington think tank Third Way. "People are not talking about Russia, or North Korea or what tweet Donald Trump had," Hiler said. "People are talking about, 'How is my kid going to get a good teacher, how can we make sure my kids gets the skills they need and afford to go to college?'" A Third Way listening tour after the 2016 election found that voters "care about issues that affect them on a daily basis, like education." That mirrored an informal Cronkite News query that found Arizona voters put education up with immigration as the issues most important to them, by far. But in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, education is not even mentioned on the websites of four of the five major party candidates whose names will be on the ballot later this month. Democrat Deedra Abboud has a detailed education statement on her site while the others - Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republicans Martha McSally, Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio - don't post any education policy positions. But that's true of their campaign sites in general, with Abboud posting a robust policy platform and the others listing shorter, and fewer, issues - or in McSally's case, none at all. One expert said that is not surprising considering Abboud is a newcomer and the others have all held, or are holding, office. Peter Loge, an associate professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, said Abboud has to set herself apart. "If you enter any field where you're competitive, and you do the exact same thing as the three other people in front of you in the line, you've either got to be the best, or you've got to figure out a different thing to do, what different thing can you bring to the table," he said. But beyond their web presences, there's not much separating the candidates except party affiliation. McSally, Arpaio and Ward have all made statements in support of school choice and voucher programs while Abboud and Sinema prefer to fund the public schools we have. "Instead of basically doing a brain drain for our local schools, allowing people to go to private schools and use public funds ... we need to focus on the school in your neighborhood needs to be strong and competitive so you want to stay there," Abboud said recently. Sinema, a three-term member of Congress from Phoenix who worked in the Washington Elementary School District for eight years, has no education policy on her campaign website. When asked for her position, Sinema's campaign provided a statement that said the state needs "to attract and retain talented, qualified teachers and make sure students are getting a fair shot at success in every single ZIP code." Sinema also took a swipe at federal standards that force teachers and students to focus preparing for standardized tests. "Students should focus on mastering material, rather than memorizing for a test," her statement said. The GOP candidates were not fans of federal intervention. "We've seen that despite the best of intentions, greater federal involvement in education since the 1960s has not produced better educational outcomes for children," said Zachery Henry, a spokesman for Ward's campaign. "Decisions concerning funding, curriculum, and standards need to move back to local school districts with direct input from parents." -Cronkite News video Henry said Ward, a former state senator, also backs school choice and voucher programs, which divert public school funding directly to low-income families to use at the school of their choosing. Henry said a family's economic status should not determine whether a child has access to a private education. "Today, in many cases only wealthy families have the option to choose their children's school," Henry said. "Dr. Ward wants every family to have that choice - regardless of income." Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, said he would advocate for school choice and support a voucher program that would provide financial assistance from the state for parents who want to send their children to private schools. "Parents want the best for their children. If they like a certain school, then why not?" Arpaio said. Like Ward, he is leery of federal oversight. "What I would like to see is that more of the resources are diverted back to the locals, let them decide, not the federal government," Arpaio said. "Locally, they know their own standards." McSally, a two-term member of Congress from Tucson, does not have any policy positions on her site and her campaign did not respond to repeated requests to provide her position on education. But a look back through previous campaigns showed support for school choice, with a 2014 calling for "the option for a better education that focuses on local control, parent involvement, choice, and competition." Hiler said it's not surprising that education is an overlooked issue in a federal race, even though "an educated society in general is good for the country, for our economy." "This is an issue which affects every single person," she said. "Every single person has gone to school, has had a teacher and sat in a classroom." But that campaign focus could change after the primaries, she said. "As we see a shift into the general election cycle, and as we see candidates wanting to appeal to a broader swath of voters, perhaps even across the aisle, we will see more conversations about education," Hiler said. Read more

Complaints against harassment by the TUSD Desegregation Fisher “Plaintiff” continue

The following open letter to TUSD was posted on this recently posted article’s comment section.

TS and Readers: The following was sent to Board and Supt. today.

August 6, 2018

Dear TUSD Governing Board and Dr. Gabriel Trujillo:

I was very glad to see what the Whistleblowers reported about Gloria Copeland in Three Sonorans. Good and brave of the Whistleblowers! In reaction to the Whistleblowers’ 72nd letter, Dr. Gabriel Trujillo is saying that Gloria Copeland, Fisher plaintiffs’ representative (or whatever her role is) has the same rights to visit schools as any other “citizen.” This immediately shows how oblivious he is about Gloria Copeland’s behavior throughout the District and his lack of power or willingness to protect TUSD employees from Gloria’s out-of-bounds behavior at the schools. Maybe he believes Gloria’s bluff that she has two or three Board members “in-pocket.” (She throws Michael Hick’s name around all of the time and suggests that she speaks to Mark Stegeman regularly and she throws in that when she spoke with Rachael Sedgewick she said this and she said that so that people will know that she is also in contact with her.) It is one of her intimidation tricks. Basically, she is constantly dropping their names. I refuse to believe that any of these three Board members condone what Gloria is doing in the schools or other TUSD offices and I challenge each board member and Dr. Trujillo to condone her conduct or to denounce it. Remaining silent actually condones Gloria’s behavior and it allows her to continue with her awful disrespectful and disruptive behavior. read more

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From MLB to youth sports, baseball sees increased arm injuries in pitchers

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Ben Leibowitz

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018

From MLB to youth sports, baseball sees increased arm injuries in pitchers

PHOENIX -- Back when he played for Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Danny Coulombe dominated on the diamond. A talented left-hander with a devastating curveball, Coulombe averaged more than two strikeouts per inning during his junior and senior seasons. But as his baseball career continued to unfold, setbacks abounded. The southpaw — who is now a pitcher in the Oakland Athletics organization with 152 career pitching appearances in Major League Baseball — is one of many success stories in the sport who was able to overcome major surgery to pitch competitively at the highest level of competition. But the sheer amount of surgeries in recent years and overuse concerns in young baseball players suggest a systemic problem within the sport’s competitive ranks. From MLB all the way down to youth baseball, injuries — especially those sustained by pitchers — are becoming more commonplace. In 2017, an astounding 86.7 percent of regular season MLB games played featured at least one pitcher who had previously undergone Tommy John surgery, according to a Hardball Times piece by Jon Roegele, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. And kids aged 15 to 19 accounted for 57 percent of Tommy John surgeries performed in the United States between 2007 and 2011, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. The advent of year-round baseball and the pressure put on young players to reach the highest level are leading to more injuries than in years past.

One journey

According to Coulombe’s former pitching coach Steve Ontiveros, mechanical changes to Coulombe’s throwing motion made during his time at the University of Southern California caused arm pain that made the young pitcher a shell of his former self. With his scholarship in jeopardy, he was forced to leave USC and move back home. “I literally, like, forgot how to throw,” Coulombe said. Ontiveros, the head instructor at Players Choice Academy in Scottsdale and a 10-year Major League Baseball veteran who taught Coulombe his curveball in high school, helped his former pupil get his mechanics back. Coulombe’s velocity improved, his curveball returned, and he opted to accept a scholarship offer at Texas Tech to continue a life tied to baseball. “He started just dealing again,” Ontiveros said. “Then that’s when I think his elbow just said, ‘I’m done.’ ” Coulombe tore a ligament in his elbow, ending his season at Texas Tech and requiring Tommy John surgery — a surgery that Ontiveros also underwent during his MLB playing days. “I gave everything I had into that rehab,” Coulombe said.

Tommy John

Dr. Frank Jobe first performed the surgery in 1974 on MLB pitcher Tommy John. Subsequently, John became the first huge success story. He compiled 124 wins and one All-Star selection in 12 seasons before surgery. Afterward, he was able to pitch 14 additional seasons, made the All-Star game three more times and finished second in Cy Young voting twice. But not everyone has the same level of success after undergoing a Tommy John, which involves a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow replaced with a tendon from another part of a patient's body or from a cadaver. According to a 2014 study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, 80 percent of pitchers studied were able to return and pitch in at least one MLB game, while 67 percent of them “returned to the same level of competition postoperatively.” Dr. Anikar Chhabra, the head orthopedic surgeon for Arizona State University who works at Mayo Clinic, said that while Tommy John surgeries have shown to be successful, there’s still that 20-40 percent chunk of patients who don’t return to form. “It has done fairly well, but if you look at the absolute numbers of Tommy Johns, they don’t do as well as people think,” Chhabra said. “The problem is you only hear about the success stories. You don’t hear about the failures and how many people get it and never make it back.” Since the turn of the century, Tommy John surgeries have become more commonplace, but they remain almost exclusively an injury suffered by pitchers. Roegele compiled a comprehensive list of players who’ve undergone the surgery from college and the minor leagues all the way up to MLB. He said 90 percent of players who’ve had it are pitchers. The number of players going under the knife for Tommy John surgery is increasing. A total of 36 MLB players underwent a Tommy John in 2012, and 31 had the surgery in 2014. Those are the two highest single-year totals on record, according to Roegele’s research. There were a total of 28 Tommy John surgeries at the major-league level from 1995 through 1998. It’s important to note that tracking such surgeries has become easier over time, but those aforementioned numbers exclude the total number of Tommy Johns extending to college and the minor leagues. Surgeries at all levels eclipsed 100 each year from 2012 through 2017. It had never reached 100 in a single season for the previous 38 years. Not surprisingly, younger pitchers who undergo the surgery have an easier time returning to prominence when compared to older pitchers. “The reason it’s considered a success is because it gives people a chance. Without it, people don’t have a chance to throw again,” Chhabra said.

Diamondbacks stories

When Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Andrew Chafin was in college at Kent State University, he suffered the injury a growing number of baseball and MLB pitchers have experienced since the turn of the century. “Well, my slider went from being 86 (mph) to about 68 in a matter of one pitch,” Chafin said. “I didn’t personally feel like a pop, a snap or anything like that. All I experienced was, like, tingling in my middle through pinky finger.” Instead of sharp pain, Chafin only felt a numbness in his fingers and had his talent sapped. “I went from having everything in the tank to being bone dry,” Chafin said. Chafin recalled hitting 94 mph with his fastball that day, which he said was the hardest he’d ever thrown to that point in his baseball career. But when his slider’s velocity dropped nearly 20 mph from one pitch to the next, his coaching staff intervened immediately. “They came out, ‘What’s going on?’” Chafin recalled of how the conversation on the mound started. “I can’t feel half my hand, but I’ll get these guys out,” Chafin said. The coach replied, “No, you’re done.” Chafin said that at first everyone thought he had a pinched nerve that caused the tingling sensation in his hand. He rehabbed for a week but knew there was something seriously wrong with his arm when he tried to throw. “I went to play catch again, felt like somebody was taking a hot knife, shoving it in my elbow and twisting when I tried to put effort into it,” Chafin said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, we need an MRI now.’” Chafin said he underwent his Tommy John a month to the day he initially got hurt and didn’t throw in a real game until 17 months post-op. Looking back now, Chafin says the timing couldn’t have been better for him. “Weird to say, but it kind of worked out at the perfect time,” he said. Because Chafin was still a freshman in college, he was able to take his time with the rehab process. He missed and redshirted the 2010 season before making his return to the rubber for Kent State in February 2011. He did appear in an interesting exhibition game in September 2010 prior to making it back for another college season. “I pitched against like a Canadian high school All-Star team of sorts that came down and played my college team in the fall,” Chafin said before pausing and smiling. “It was funny.” Chafin recalled an absolutely dominant performance. “You know how they say the ball was in his mitt before they swung? I think it was quite literal that day,” he said. “I was so amped to get back out there.” Chafin is now in the midst of his fifth season at the big-league level. Through his first 51 appearances during the 2018 season (36 and two-thirds innings), he recorded a stellar 1.47 ERA without allowing a home run. The Diamondbacks have four established pitchers on the roster who’ve undergone Tommy John surgery. Unlike Chafin, however, Patrick Corbin, Shelby Miller and Taijuan Walker all had the surgery after they’d already made it to the majors. Corbin, who made an All-Star team before his Tommy John, made a second trip to the All-Star game in 2018 — his fourth season since returning from rehab. Like Chafin, he’s pitching arguably the best season of his career this year, but his teammates are still on the road back. Walker underwent his Tommy John in late April and will miss the entire 2018 season. Miller made his return to the mound on June 25, 2018 — 13 months after his surgery. He made four starts (15 innings pitched), surrendering 21 runs (19 earned) along with five homers for an ugly 11.40 ERA. He was shut down once again after experiencing tightness and soreness in his arm, and ultimately got moved once again to the 60-day disabled list after the trade deadline acquisition of relief pitcher Brad Ziegler. Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t rule out a return for Miller in mid-September, but noted that the team wants to play it safe with him as he continues his recovery. “Based on the information that I got, there was discomfort in there,” Lovullo said. “I thought the safest bet was just to shut him down to make sure and take our time to get him back to full health. And that’s where we’re at right now.” Asked what the most difficult part of being sidelined is, Miller said simply being away from the sport he loves was most difficult. “I was having to stay back here and didn’t get to travel with the team and stuff. That’s probably the toughest part, and the recovery, obviously.” That recovery from major surgery is a grueling process. Miller said the first couple months are extremely frustrating because you’re required to stay almost totally inactive. “You’re in a splint and you don’t sleep very well,” Miller said. “There’s not much you can do activity-wise, you can’t sweat for like the first month-and-a-half.” What many fans may not realize about the long recovery process, though, is just how draining it can be mentally as well as physically. Miller said he leaned on teammates like Corbin as well as the medical staff to keep him positive as he recovered. “There were some times where your arm hurts a little bit more and it’s sore on different days,” Miller said. “I had guys like Corbin to ask, ‘Is this normal? Does this feel right?’ and they were like, ‘Yeah, that’s normal.’” Chafin said he also checked in on Miller throughout his rehab. Now, Miller will need to focus solely on recovery once again. Sports psychology is an extremely important part of the rehab process but still not something that’s much talked about or accepted, said Dr. Steven Erickson, who specializes in orthopedic sports medicine at Banner University Medical Center. Many setbacks athletes encounter are “perceived setbacks in the athlete’s eyes” because “their expectation is not being met,” he said. Erickson added that one of the most underappreciated aspects of injury rehabilitation is having the right mindset and a hope that triggers more energy and enthusiasm. “Dealing with the psychology is more of the art of medicine than the science now,” Erickson said. At the highest level of competition, the access to great medical care and the most advanced equipment available gives MLB players a great chance at returning to prominence. “We live in a time where the rehab process and the surgical approach, if you’re with the right people, is almost old hat,” Erickson said. The Diamondbacks medical staff was not made available for this story.

Workload for young athletes

Long before they attain their dream of pitching in the major leagues, young baseball players are increasingly competing almost year-round with club and travel teams in addition to playing for their schools. So much so, in fact, that Chafin said the college ranks — coupled with his injury — provided a break. He called it a “good reset going from playing tons of travel ball in high school.” Chafin clarified he doesn’t think the sheer volume of baseball he was playing in his youth was the sole factor responsible for his elbow blowing out. He also experienced what he estimated was a two-inch, 40-pound growth spurt when he got to college and started weight training on a more regimented schedule. He thinks getting so much stronger in a short period of time put added stress on his elbow ligament. Still, there’s growing concern that year-round baseball in young athletes could be bringing about more injuries — especially among pitchers. “Without a doubt,” said Yavapai College pitching coach Jerry Dawson, who was the head baseball coach at Chaparral High School for near four decades and has 48 years of coaching experience. “There’s more injuries for lots of reasons.” Dawson, who coached Coulombe at Chaparral, said that injuries he sees in young baseball players today are much more common due to a variety of factors, including club baseball giving kids the chance to play baseball nearly year-round. “There’s so many different opportunities, which on the surface is wonderful, but when you delve into it, to me, it’s extremely dangerous,” Dawson said. “I’m very alarmed at the trends that I’m seeing. The overuse, especially with pitchers.” Dawson said that the recommendation he’s abided by for pitchers is to shut them down for six-to-eight weeks twice per year, but he added that many players at younger levels of competition aren’t doing that. “Everybody’s in such a hurry to get their pro contract or their scholarship to college … common sense gets lost in the shuffle some place,” Dawson said of overuse in young pitchers. According to a 2012 academic study by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig, “five percent of youth pitchers suffer a serious elbow or shoulder injury (requiring surgery or retirement from baseball) within 10 years.” [caption id="attachment_95376" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Tommy John surgery is commonplace in Major League Baseball. But more and more youth are going under the knife, too. Here John, the former Major League Baseball pitcher, shows his scar. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)[/caption] Nick Steward, who took over as Chaparral’s head baseball coach in 2017, said he’s also seeing the overuse trends and prevalence of club baseball. He tells his players to take the summers off, but kids striving for opportunities beyond high school ball often gravitate toward club baseball and bullpen sessions with pro and college scouts to get added exposure. “Kids feel like they have to go to that,” Steward said. “It puts a bit of a hindrance on high school coaches.” Daulton Perry, 26, who grew up in Mesa playing travel ball nearly year-round, said competing that often is imperative for young athletes if they hope to reach the highest levels of competition. “I think year-round baseball is essential in becoming a good baseball player,” Perry said via email. “It takes years of hard work and dedication to be the best.” Perry also said he “never worried about injuries” because it’s an inevitable factor in sports. He said he was careful about monitoring his pitch mechanics to avoid getting hurt, and that he suffered more injuries playing football in his youth. Both Dawson and Steward said the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s “pitch smart guidelines” for high school pitchers helps provide baselines by age for young pitchers, including pitch counts and required days of rest between starts. But with kids using the “offseason” to continue playing baseball as a means of chasing college and MLB dreams, monitoring a given kid’s workload can prove challenging. “It’s difficult … because you’re away from the kids so much and especially through the times when they’re supposed to be shut down that all you can do is recommend,” Steward said. Dawson said that when Yavapai is out scouting players, he’ll see the same faces appearing in a different program every weekend, a workload he doesn’t feel is sensible. Both coaches also expressed concerns with certain workouts like heavy ball routines — throwing with weighted baseballs in an attempt to improve velocity. “MLB is now taking the guys who throw hard and that’s the culture they want,” Steward said. “I know I’ve seen these guys get on these heavy ball routines and not everyone’s body can take it.” While Steward said the advent of year-round baseball is not going away, he added that he doesn’t have a big problem with players competing in it. He feels, however, that playing games isn’t always as important when compared to individual development through weight training. The pressure young baseball players face, including those from parents and peers, plays a role. It’s a catch-22 because to reach the highest level, kids have to compete as often as possible to improve and get noticed, but that puts them at greater risk of arm injuries from overuse. “Somewhere in there, they’ve got to have time just to be a kid,” Dawson said. “Because being a kid isn’t a bad thing.” Follow us on Twitter. Read more

Arizona maintains thousands of water catchments to ensure healthy wildlife populations

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Nick Serpa

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018

Arizona maintains thousands of water catchments to ensure healthy wildlife populations

PHOENIX – As the scorching desert heat weighs down on him, Jed Nitso walks over to a small, man-made trough filled with green water that’s swarming with bees. A yardstick measurement confirms what he already knew: The water level is low. With the twist of a lever, hundreds of gallons of water gush out of Nitso’s truck, flow down a 96-foot sheet of metal and fill a series of underground tanks. Twenty minutes later, the above-ground reservoir is full. Nitso, a wildlife habitat heavy equipment operator for the Arizona Game & Fish Department, spent about half an hour checking on and refilling the catchment near Lake Pleasant. Some days, he helps repair roads or Game & Fish facilities. On others, he hauls equipment to project sites. But when the state suffers from long stretches without rain, Nitso spends much of his time transporting truckloads of water to some of the most remote places in Arizona – the 3,000 Game & Fish-maintained water catchments that help keep Arizona’s wildlife hydrated. The department has been building, expanding and maintaining these catchments since the 1940s, now spending thousands each year to ensure healthy wildlife populations – part of the department’s mission – even in the toughest Arizona’s conditions. “It’s not an easy job,” Nitso said.

Catchments run dry

They go by several names: trick tanks, guzzlers, drinkers. The term Game & Fish officials use most frequently is catchment. Their purpose is simple – collect rainwater and deliver it to a trough so wild animals can drink. People who spend a lot of time in Arizona’s wilderness may have stumbled across one. They typically consist of a few key elements: a trough to allow the animals to drink, a gutterlike ramp to collect rainwater and underground tanks to store the water. Some smaller catchments hold about 2,500 gallons of water. Others can hold nearly 10,000. The catchments were designed to be self-sufficient, and they operate without any mechanical parts or electricity, using physics to ensure consistent water delivery. In theory, rain keeps the storage tanks full, so other than occasional maintenance, the catchments would rarely need to be touched by human hands. But with Arizona in the grip of a decades-long drought, catchments run dry. That means Nitso and other Game & Fish employees have to haul thousands of gallons of water into deserts, through forests and up mountainsides. Game & Fish works with some nonprofits, such as the Arizona Elk Society, to maintain the catchments. The department only owns about a third of that number – various federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, own the rest. [2up_image source1="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Catchment-Enterprise_2_800.jpg" caption1="Arizona has water catchments throughout the state, many in extremely remote areas. While they're designed to catch and store rainwater for wild animals to use, Arizona Game & Fish Department has to haul water to them during dry years. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)" source2="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Catchment-Enterprise_3_800.jpg" caption2="Jed Nitso, a heavy equipment operator with Arizona Game & Fish Department, empties a truckload of water into a catchment near Lake Pleasant. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)"] Joseph Currie manages the catchments for the state, and he used to build and haul water to them for years before moving into the administrative side of wildlife management. His budget for the current fiscal year is about $690,000, which he has to stretch to cover everything from the cost of the water to truck maintenance. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including grants, firearm tax revenue and some proceeds from hunting permits. Currie said it’s nearly impossible to predict how much water Game & Fish will need to haul each year, or how much it will cost. “It all depends on the rains,” he said. In the first six months this year, before monsoon storms swept the state, Arizona Game & Fish transported more than 650,000 gallons of water to catchments, he said. The cost ranges from hundreds to thousands per delivery, depending on the destination, amount and water source. The Arizona Game & Fish Department accepts donations via text message to help fund the initiative. It also allows volunteers to “Adopt-a-Catchment,” helping to monitor water levels and complete light maintenance. “It's kind of funny,” Currie said. “We're trying to get out of the water-hauling business by building these (catchments) bigger and more efficient, but with years like this, it's inevitable. You're going to be hauling a lot of water.”

Big job for employees

Maintaining the catchments is a challenging job that requires a certain kind of worker, Currie said. “There's people that live for this,” he said. “There's other people that have no clue that it even happens.” Jed Nitso of Payson is the kind that lives for this kind of work. Since he was a kid, Nitso said, he’d always wanted to work for a wildlife agency. He’s passionate about hunting, wildlife and spending time in nature, and he has worked with Game & Fish for more than 14 years. Nitso travels across the state, from the Arizona Strip north of the Grand Canyon to the border with Mexico. Some catchments can be difficult to find because they don’t have coordinates listed or their locations were never properly recorded. Wildlife management workers and rangers will stop by the catchments a few times a year and measure their water levels. Game & Fish also monitors rainfall to get a sense of which catchments might run dry. Currie and Nitso recently hauled water to a catchment about 5 miles west of Lake Pleasant, off a network of bumpy dirt roads. But Currie emphasized that not all water deliveries are as easy to access as that one. “This road might as well be on I-17, for me,” Currie said. “There are catchments that are on God-awful roads,” Currie said. Some catchments can be accessed only by driving north into Utah and returning to Arizona, often a two-day journey. Many catchments aren’t near any sort of road. Others are in locations so remote – such as bighorn sheep habitat – that water can only be delivered by helicopter. That’s done slowly, 150 gallons at a time, and it costs thousands of dollars an hour. Despite the challenges, Nitso said he enjoys the job. [2up_image source1="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Catchment-Enterprise_7_800.jpg" caption1="Jed Nitso frequently hauls truckloads of reclaimed water to catchments across the state. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)" source2="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Catchment-Enterprise_8_800.jpg" caption2="The catchments are simply constructed and rely on gravity to operate. Jed Nitso uses a yardstick to measure a catchment's water level. Most of Arizona's catchments depend on patrolling Arizona Game & Fish rangers and wildlife managers to monitor them. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)"] “On a weekly basis, I get to go into a lot of places where other people just go when they're hunting,” Nitso said. “If I were to just say, ‘I'm going to go here on my own time,’ it might be one trip a year.” When it’s hot, Game & Fish will often book Nitso a motel room or maybe he’ll sleep in an RV trailer or bunkhouse. But when the weather cools down, Nitso will set up a cot or tent and spend the night under the stars. He said he looks forward to the inevitable encounters with wildlife, especially in northern Arizona. “You never know when you're going to come around the corner, and there's going to be something standing in the road,” he said.

Human intervention

Arizona’s network of catchments has played a crucial role in maintaining healthy, stable populations of local wildlife for decades, Currie said. Before large numbers of people had settled in Arizona, wildlife populations would fluctuate wildly with the rainfall, and in drier years, certain populations would experience huge die-offs. This realization was a big part of what led to the construction of catchments in the 1940s, Currie said. The initial goal was to stabilize quail and dove populations, which were popular game at the time. The initial batch of concrete catchments were built primarily near Phoenix and were relatively small, only holding about 700 gallons of water. But it didn’t take long, Currie said, for bigger species to discover the troves of water. “They soon found after building a bunch of those that once the deer found them and the coyotes and everything else found them, they were drinking out of them, too.” The small size of the first catchments, in addition to dry weather and frequent visits by larger animals, led to the need for water hauling. In the 1960s, workers built bigger catchments that could hold 6,000 gallons. Some of today’s catchments can hold close to 10,000 gallons and are built out of modern materials, such as fiberglass. Catchments still are being built, but it’s not just to shore up water deficits because of dry weather: Some wildlife has been cut off from natural water sources by human incursion into their habitat. [caption id="attachment_95361" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Water collected by catchments is stored in cisterns to ensure that local wldlife can survive drought. Some newer catchments can store up to 10,000 gallons. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)[/caption] This happened in the 1970s with the Central Arizona Project Canal, which planners knew would cut through wildlife habitats. The project’s budget included money for catchments adjacent to it. The canal also poses a risk to animals that may fall in and get stuck, either by accident or when trying to access water, Currie said. That’s a big reason why Game & Fish maintains catchments on both sides of the waterway, which brings Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson. Highways are another barrier for wildlife seeking food and water. “When they straighten out a highway or widen it, it tends to become more of a barrier,” Currie said. “It's like playing Frogger, if you're the deer. ... You've got to try and keep from getting run over, so a lot of animals opt to not cross those roads.” The catchments also reduce the chance of human encounters with wild animals. With a dependable water source, animals don’t need to venture into neighborhoods to survive. "Sometimes when humans are blaming wildlife for ruining their flower pots or whatever, it's because they moved into the animals' backyard,” Currie said. “The animal is just trying to survive." There have been some unintended consequences of building the catchments; notably, attracting unexpected visitors. The catchments were designed to be “wildlife exclusive,” Currie said, but they often attract domestic cattle and other large animals that ranchers let roam. These animals, particularly the cows, tend to camp out at catchments and quickly deplete the water, as well as risk damaging the structure. [caption id="attachment_95367" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] (Graphic by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)[/caption] To prevent this, Game & Fish often fences off catchments using steel fences designed to let in the animals the catchments are meant to attract – most wildlife can either pass through the fence or hop over it – while shutting out unwanted animals. The department also strikes deals with ranchers to create secondary troughs that shoot off from the main catchment, so livestock can stay hydrated without affecting the water source for wild animals. Even humans will use the catchments in dire circumstances because they are often the only reliable water source for miles. Currie said illegal immigrants often use the catchments when crossing into Arizona from Mexico. “They have maps to our catchments leading all the way into town,” he said. At times, he said, his crews have pulled up at catchments and found traces of recent human activity, including bags and plastic jugs. “It’s saved people’s lives before,” Currie said. “It's not the most fantastic water, but if it's that or death, you might as well take the chance.”

Long-term impact

The catchments haven’t been entirely without controversy. Some researchers have questioned their impact on wildlife, arguing that a lack of quantifiable data makes measuring this difficult. One 2007 report attempted to test whether draining water catchments would have an effect on bighorn sheep in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Range, but researchers found “the removal of water sources” had no noticeable impact on mortality rates during their experiment. The report notes that the scope of the study was limited, and there’s a need for additional research. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/03/22/the-arizona-desert-bighorn-sheep-are-thriving-with-the-help-of-conservationists-and-hunters/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/BighornSheep-34-800.jpg" headline="Arizona desert bighorn sheep thrive with help of conservationists – and hunters"] “Until long-term studies are completed ... the question of whether or not (catchments) should be constructed or maintained will continue to be controversial and largely a political matter,” the report said. Despite the questions, Nitso said he’s witnessed the catchments’ impact firsthand on multiple occasions. Several weeks ago, he was hauling water to a catchment near Quartzsite and encountered wild sheep drinking from it. By the time he got there, the catchment was almost dry. Nitso said he hauled nearly 5,000 gallons of water to the catchment that day. “I felt pretty good knowing that those sheep will have plenty of water to drink for the next several weeks,” he said. Another time, Nitso said he encountered nearly 100 elk drinking from a catchment near Tusayan. Rainwater couldn’t keep that catchment full, so Game & Fish connected it to a nearby wastewater treatment plant. Ultimately, Currie said he thinks the catchments have had an impact. "The whole world can come here and enjoy desert wildlife because we do this,” Currie said. “To me, that's really meaningful." Follow us on Twitter. Read more

Transgender sex workers vulnerable to violence, but when is it a hate crime?

Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

Emmanuel Morgan

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018

Transgender sex workers vulnerable to violence, but when is it a hate crime?

SAN FRANCISCO – In March, a Philadelphia jury convicted Charles Sargent of the 2013 murder of Diamond Williams, whose skull was punctured with a screwdriver, her body dismembered with an ax and her severed body parts thrown into a field. In January, Los Angeles authorities charged Kevyn Ramirez in the stabbing death of “Viccky” Gutierrez. Prosecutors accused Ramirez of burning the victim’s home, charring her remains so badly authorities couldn’t immediately identify her. Both of these cases involved transgender sex workers. And neither case was initially charged as a hate crime. LGBTQ advocates say society shuns transgender people from corporate jobs because of their gender identity, forcing them into the sex trade and other sectors of the underground economy. But that places them in a dangerous business. According to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, 62 percent of the 2,609 transgender people killed worldwide from January 2008 through September 2017 were sex workers. Sex work can be defined as prostitution, pornography, services arranged online and other forms. In the United States, a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality said one in five transgender adults surveyed said they participated in sex work, with higher rates among minority women. Of the 53 transgender people killed from 2013 through 2015, 34 percent were in the sex trade at the time of their deaths, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Of the 14 transgender murders tracked by the Human Rights Campaign this year, at least two victims were sex workers. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/06/13/lgbtq-survey-teens-feel-unsafe-in-community/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/juno1-800.jpg" headline="Human rights survey: LGBTQ teens in Arizona feel unsafe in their communities"] “It’s a nationwide problem that is happening all across the country, and it is a direct result of transphobia and hate crimes, as well as the reasons that lead trans people to be in vulnerable situations,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, who works for the National LGBTQ Task Force and serves as director of the trans and gender non-conforming justice project. When transgender people feel they have no other avenue for income, they often sell their bodies, Rodríguez-Roldán said. Experts say prejudice in the workplace and the housing market lead transgender people to this point. Arizona is one of 28 states that lack explicit laws prohibiting employment and housing discrimination regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project. In fact, the analysis gave the state negative marks for its gender identity policies. In 2015, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found nearly 50 percent of transgender sex-worker respondents experienced homelessness. Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported losing a job or being denied a promotion because of their identity. “When you combine those factors (lack of housing and employment), you get an amplified violence that these people experience at the intersection of that area of work and the trans identity,” said Kory Mansen, racial and economic-justice policy advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality. Danielle Castro knows those factors too well; she’s lived that life. The 43-year-old transgender Latina now lives in a house in Oakland, California, with her two dogs. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at John F. Kennedy University, which is in the Bay Area. She’s also project director at the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health. But she was a sex worker for years before and after her transition into a female. When she hears stories of transgender sex workers being murdered, it resonates because “it could have been me,” she said. “The reasons so many of us are engaging in sex work is because we don’t have other options to survive,” she said. “When you have a power to survive, that’s what you’re going to do. And when you get positive reinforcement from people that want to have sex with you and pay you, I’m not going to lie, it feels good. “The sad part about it, though, is that people think we’re disposable because of it.” Experts and data suggest transgender sex workers generally distrust law enforcement. Eighty-six percent of transgender sex worker respondents reported being harassed, attacked, sexually assaulted or mistreated in some way by police, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. In addition, prostitution and other more lucrative sex acts are illegal, which deters transgender sex workers from approaching police to report violence. “What often happens is sex workers are disproportionately subject to crimes, but they’re less likely to report them because they’re afraid of retaliation on the part of police officers,” said Sheryl Evans Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. “And we’ve heard anecdotally that, ‘I was robbed and I went to report it to a police officer and the police officer asked me, ‘Oh, were you doing sex work?’ So there was this victimizing the victim dynamic that was happening.” When reported crimes happen, though, it’s harder to convict perpetrators of a hate crime, experts say. A hate crime charge automatically increases a typical punishment for states with applicable laws. In the brutal death of Williams, hate-crime charges weren’t brought because police couldn’t definitively prove motivation, according to news reports. Gutierrez’s death, though still under investigation, was not immediately charged as a hate crime. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/11/03/i-just-couldnt-breathe-a-transgender-mans-journey/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/staassmiling800x500new.jpg" headline="‘I just couldn’t breathe’: A transgender man’s journey"] For transgender sex workers, other issues complicate proving a hate crime, and each case is unique. It is hard to prove victims were explicitly targeted for their gender, Mansen said, or if other circumstances, such as domestic violence, led to their deaths or mistreatment. “It is so difficult to get things tried as a hate crime because there are a lot of factors into proving the intent, so more often than not law enforcement doesn’t feel equipped to make the determination of whether something is or is not a hate crime,” Mansen said. Of the four transgender sex worker deaths tracked by the Human Rights Campaign in 2015, none was charged as a hate crime. When authorities don’t classify hate crimes, the transgender community often considers it a failure. Davis, whose advocacy group works closely with the LGBTQ community and police, sees both sides. “It’s a really tough and emotional debate,” Davis said. “With most crimes, you have to prove the intent. But with hate crimes, you have to prove the intent, the act and then the motivation to do it.” Rodríguez-Roldán, of the National LGBTQ Task Force, agreed, saying the intricacies of each situation make it difficult to label a case hate-related. “I think it’s a mix of many things that makes this so complex, often because they’re trans, often because they’re vulnerable in engaging in criminalized form of making a living,” she said. “But I’m not sure it matters. What matters is transgender people are being murdered.” In recent years, LGBTQ advocacy groups publicly called for decriminalization of sex work. However, a new federal law cracks down on online services that facilitate prostitution. Advocates say while national policy battles continue, local communities can take action. And two cities are leading the charge. Sophie Cadle, 23, a youth liaison at the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, said her organization now works more with police agencies to build relationships and help officers understand the societal factors involved with sex work. As a black transgender woman who was a sex worker, she said it’s important to be proactive. “The violence toward the community is visible,” she said. “It’s there, and it’s a continuous issue that’s affecting us.” In San Francisco, sex workers who report experiencing or seeing violence won’t face prostitution charges because of a policy adopted in January by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and the San Francisco Police Department. The Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers is the first of its kind in the nation – a collaborative effort to encourage reporting of violent crimes. Corinne Greene, policy coordinator for the Transgender Law Center, said this should build trust. Proving intent regarding hate crimes will always be tough. But if sex workers can courageously approach police, she said, it will help reduce deaths and abuses. “A big factor in how law enforcement can improve is learning about trans people, gaining cultural competence on trans people, learning about sex workers, investigating and trying to eliminate inherent bias most people have against trans people and sex workers not engaging in profiling,” she said. “Really focusing on improving community relations would be huge in terms of helping sex workers feel more comfortable accessing police.” Danielle Castro has advice for those in the sex business. “I hope people are safe and learn to protect themselves before they come into this trade that can be potentially deadly,” she said. “And if you’re doing it for survival, then God bless you.” This story was produced by the Walter Cronkite School-based Carnegie-Knight News21 “Hate in America” national reporting project. Follow the project’s blog here. The full report will be released in August. Follow us on Twitter. Read more

Transgender sex workers vulnerable to violence, but when is it a hate crime?

Read more of this story here from Cronkite News RSS Feed by Cronkite News RSS Feed.

Emmanuel Morgan

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018

Transgender sex workers vulnerable to violence, but when is it a hate crime?

SAN FRANCISCO – In March, a Philadelphia jury convicted Charles Sargent of the 2013 murder of Diamond Williams, whose skull was punctured with a screwdriver, her body dismembered with an ax and her severed body parts thrown into a field. In January, Los Angeles authorities charged Kevyn Ramirez in the stabbing death of “Viccky” Gutierrez. Prosecutors accused Ramirez of burning the victim’s home, charring her remains so badly authorities couldn’t immediately identify her. Both of these cases involved transgender sex workers. And neither case was initially charged as a hate crime. LGBTQ advocates say society shuns transgender people from corporate jobs because of their gender identity, forcing them into the sex trade and other sectors of the underground economy. But that places them in a dangerous business. According to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, 62 percent of the 2,609 transgender people killed worldwide from January 2008 through September 2017 were sex workers. Sex work can be defined as prostitution, pornography, services arranged online and other forms. In the United States, a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality said one in five transgender adults surveyed said they participated in sex work, with higher rates among minority women. Of the 53 transgender people killed from 2013 through 2015, 34 percent were in the sex trade at the time of their deaths, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Of the 14 transgender murders tracked by the Human Rights Campaign this year, at least two victims were sex workers. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2018/06/13/lgbtq-survey-teens-feel-unsafe-in-community/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/juno1-800.jpg" headline="Human rights survey: LGBTQ teens in Arizona feel unsafe in their communities"] “It’s a nationwide problem that is happening all across the country, and it is a direct result of transphobia and hate crimes, as well as the reasons that lead trans people to be in vulnerable situations,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, who works for the National LGBTQ Task Force and serves as director of the trans and gender non-conforming justice project. When transgender people feel they have no other avenue for income, they often sell their bodies, Rodríguez-Roldán said. Experts say prejudice in the workplace and the housing market lead transgender people to this point. Arizona is one of 28 states that lack explicit laws prohibiting employment and housing discrimination regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project. In fact, the analysis gave the state negative marks for its gender identity policies. In 2015, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found nearly 50 percent of transgender sex-worker respondents experienced homelessness. Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported losing a job or being denied a promotion because of their identity. “When you combine those factors (lack of housing and employment), you get an amplified violence that these people experience at the intersection of that area of work and the trans identity,” said Kory Mansen, racial and economic-justice policy advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality. Danielle Castro knows those factors too well; she’s lived that life. The 43-year-old transgender Latina now lives in a house in Oakland, California, with her two dogs. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at John F. Kennedy University, which is in the Bay Area. She’s also project director at the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health. But she was a sex worker for years before and after her transition into a female. When she hears stories of transgender sex workers being murdered, it resonates because “it could have been me,” she said. “The reasons so many of us are engaging in sex work is because we don’t have other options to survive,” she said. “When you have a power to survive, that’s what you’re going to do. And when you get positive reinforcement from people that want to have sex with you and pay you, I’m not going to lie, it feels good. “The sad part about it, though, is that people think we’re disposable because of it.” Experts and data suggest transgender sex workers generally distrust law enforcement. Eighty-six percent of transgender sex worker respondents reported being harassed, attacked, sexually assaulted or mistreated in some way by police, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. In addition, prostitution and other more lucrative sex acts are illegal, which deters transgender sex workers from approaching police to report violence. “What often happens is sex workers are disproportionately subject to crimes, but they’re less likely to report them because they’re afraid of retaliation on the part of police officers,” said Sheryl Evans Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. “And we’ve heard anecdotally that, ‘I was robbed and I went to report it to a police officer and the police officer asked me, ‘Oh, were you doing sex work?’ So there was this victimizing the victim dynamic that was happening.” When reported crimes happen, though, it’s harder to convict perpetrators of a hate crime, experts say. A hate crime charge automatically increases a typical punishment for states with applicable laws. In the brutal death of Williams, hate-crime charges weren’t brought because police couldn’t definitively prove motivation, according to news reports. Gutierrez’s death, though still under investigation, was not immediately charged as a hate crime. [related-story-right box-title="Related story" link="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/11/03/i-just-couldnt-breathe-a-transgender-mans-journey/" image="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/staassmiling800x500new.jpg" headline="‘I just couldn’t breathe’: A transgender man’s journey"] For transgender sex workers, other issues complicate proving a hate crime, and each case is unique. It is hard to prove victims were explicitly targeted for their gender, Mansen said, or if other circumstances, such as domestic violence, led to their deaths or mistreatment. “It is so difficult to get things tried as a hate crime because there are a lot of factors into proving the intent, so more often than not law enforcement doesn’t feel equipped to make the determination of whether something is or is not a hate crime,” Mansen said. Of the four transgender sex worker deaths tracked by the Human Rights Campaign in 2015, none was charged as a hate crime. When authorities don’t classify hate crimes, the transgender community often considers it a failure. Davis, whose advocacy group works closely with the LGBTQ community and police, sees both sides. “It’s a really tough and emotional debate,” Davis said. “With most crimes, you have to prove the intent. But with hate crimes, you have to prove the intent, the act and then the motivation to do it.” Rodríguez-Roldán, of the National LGBTQ Task Force, agreed, saying the intricacies of each situation make it difficult to label a case hate-related. “I think it’s a mix of many things that makes this so complex, often because they’re trans, often because they’re vulnerable in engaging in criminalized form of making a living,” she said. “But I’m not sure it matters. What matters is transgender people are being murdered.” In recent years, LGBTQ advocacy groups publicly called for decriminalization of sex work. However, a new federal law cracks down on online services that facilitate prostitution. Advocates say while national policy battles continue, local communities can take action. And two cities are leading the charge. Sophie Cadle, 23, a youth liaison at the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, said her organization now works more with police agencies to build relationships and help officers understand the societal factors involved with sex work. As a black transgender woman who was a sex worker, she said it’s important to be proactive. “The violence toward the community is visible,” she said. “It’s there, and it’s a continuous issue that’s affecting us.” In San Francisco, sex workers who report experiencing or seeing violence won’t face prostitution charges because of a policy adopted in January by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and the San Francisco Police Department. The Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers is the first of its kind in the nation – a collaborative effort to encourage reporting of violent crimes. Corinne Greene, policy coordinator for the Transgender Law Center, said this should build trust. Proving intent regarding hate crimes will always be tough. But if sex workers can courageously approach police, she said, it will help reduce deaths and abuses. “A big factor in how law enforcement can improve is learning about trans people, gaining cultural competence on trans people, learning about sex workers, investigating and trying to eliminate inherent bias most people have against trans people and sex workers not engaging in profiling,” she said. “Really focusing on improving community relations would be huge in terms of helping sex workers feel more comfortable accessing police.” Danielle Castro has advice for those in the sex business. “I hope people are safe and learn to protect themselves before they come into this trade that can be potentially deadly,” she said. “And if you’re doing it for survival, then God bless you.” This story was produced by the Walter Cronkite School-based Carnegie-Knight News21 “Hate in America” national reporting project. Follow the project’s blog here. The full report will be released in August. Follow us on Twitter. Read more

Honduras: Public Ministry perpetuates impunity in the assassination of Berta Cáceres

Read more of this story here from Comités de Defensa del Barrio by chantlaca.


The COPINH, the family of Berta Cáceres and the team of lawyers of the MADJ, present ourselves before the public to warn about the future of the judicial process for the assassination of our colleague and general coordinator, Berta Cáceres and the assassination attempt of our companion Gustavo Castro.

In a few days we are to present to a hearing for the purpose of the submission of evidence in the case without having the possibility of accessing all the evidence collected for more than 2 years in judicial and investigative raids and proceedings carried out by the Public Ministry and the ATIC. On at least 35 occasions the prosecution of the case has refused to deliver information or has done so in a partial, segmented or irregular manner.



We have submitted specific requests for the information necessary to participate effectively in the trial of the assassination of Berta Caceres with due guarantees and the Public Ministry has ignored them, as well as repeated court orders by the Court of Judgment to deliver the information, such as the one that expired last Friday, after the expiration of the term of 5 days.

Since the day of the assassination, the Public Ministry and the State of Honduras have systematically denied us access to the truth. We have been denied access to basic information about what actually occurred. They have denied the Lenca People and the Honduran people in general the truth about what happened with our compañera Berta Cáceres, this despite the intermediations of the IACHR, and letters of concern from the United Nationsagencies and the European Parliament.

We must denounce that this attitude of the Honduran authorities only benefits those responsible for the assassination of Berta Cáceres, and the intellectual authors of the crime who have still not yet been prosecuted.

The trial we face today is against the people who were paid to murder Berta Cáceres: the paid assassins and the mediators. These are individuals who are the basic links to those who actually gave the order to assassinate our COPINH leader. However, from the perspective of the authorities, the prosecution of the case tries to limit access to only these links instead of pursuing prosecution of the intellectual authors of the crime.


The absence of persecution of those who, from managerial posts, ordered the murder of our compañera Berta Cáceres is the direct responsibility of Attorney General Óscar Chinchilla, who from his official position has been complacent about the irregularities in the case and the lack of investigation of the obvious intellectual authors of the crime.

It must be known that David Castillo Mejía, general manager of DESA, known persecutor and stalker of Berta Cáceres was captured not by the will nor investigation of the Public Ministry but by a complaint made by our legal team. This particular complaint was not presented solely for David Castillo Mejía but for a number of other people from the company DESA, and for which there has been no further action or response.



In this court case, the reality of the indigenous territories and campesino communities of Honduras that organize to confront the corporate cartels is emulated. In this trial we are not facing the defense of the individual Sergio Rodríguez but the defense of the corporation DESA, its managers and owners. We also face the reality of complacency of state authorities complicit in impunity, such as the ongoing violations of the human rights of our communities.

With the consent of the State, we face an economic regime that seeks to put an end to the opposition of our Popular Organizations and Indigenous Peoples to a national project of development that brings hunger, destruction, tears and blood to the communities historically most marginalized by the same State. With this official consent, even the condition of victim is denied to the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).

We reiterate and warn that we are facing at the greatest disadvantage, a judicial process with enormous irregularities and violations of the rights of the victims.

Given in Tegucigalpa on the 7th day of August 2018








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