A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

February 2012

Upcoming Events

  • February 6: WCPCA February Board Meeting from 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the home of Dorothy Soper
  • February 9: WCPCA Discussion Group from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair
  • February 10: WCPCA February Potluck from 6:00 - 9:00 PM at the home of Tom and Nancy English
  • February 23: WCPCA Discussion Group from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the New Day Bakery, 449 Blair

In This Issue

From The Board

From Members and the Wider World

ReConnections is the monthly newsletter of the West Cascade Peace Corps Association (WCPCA) and can be found online at http://www.westcascadepca.org under the "News" heading. If you have a question about the WCPCA, would no longer like to receive the newsletter or are interested in becoming more involved with the WCPCA, please contact info@westcascadepca.org.

Contributions to ReConnections are always welcome, although the editor and the WCPCA board reserve the right to choose what will and will not be published. Generally, if it relates to the Peace Corps or to the WCPCA's goals (see the bylaws and constitution for more information), we would be happy to publish it. Please send contributions to newsletter@westcascadepca.org.

Editor: Felicia Kenney
Assistant Editor: Keith Beyer

Peace Corps Pulled Volunteers Out Of Honduras

The Peace Corps has pulled volunteers out of Honduras. The following articles and personal responses may add to an understanding of the situation.

1/25, from JOE HINDMAN:

"Here's something that came out a couple days ago in the Miami Herald (the newspaper with the best coverage of the Americas). It also mentions the PC being pulled out."

Peace Corps Pulled Volunteers Out Of Honduras (continued)

Below is an article that I found following Joe Hindman's link. There have been incidents in Honduras that seem to have led to the pull out.

Peace Corps pullout a new blow to Honduras

Associated Press

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- The U.S. government's decision to pull out all its Peace Corps volunteers from Honduras for safety reasons is yet another blow to a nation still battered by a coup and recently labeled the world's most deadly country. Neither U.S. nor Honduran officials have said what specifically prompted them to withdraw the 158 Peace Corps volunteers, which the U.S. State Department said was one of the largest missions in the world last year. It is the first time Peace Corps missions have been withdrawn from Central America since civil wars swept the region in the 1970s and 1980s. The Corps closed operations in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1991 and in El Salvador from 1980 to 1993 for safety and security reasons, but has since returned to both countries.

But the wave of violence and drug cartel-related crime hitting the Central American country had affected volunteers working on HIV prevention, water sanitation and youth projects, President Porfirio Lobo acknowledged. On Wednesday, Lobo met with senior U.S. officials to speak about security. The U.S. agreed to send a team of experts to help the Honduras government with "citizen security issues," said a State Department news statement. The U.S. Embassy in Honduras did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday's pullout also comes less than two months after U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat, asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reconsider sending police and military aid to Honduras as a response to human rights abuses. "It's a welcome step toward the United States recognizing that they have a disastrous situation in Honduras," said Dana Frank, a University of California Santa Cruz history professor who has researched and traveled in Honduras.

The decision to pull out the entire delegation came after a Peace Corps volunteer was shot in the leg during an armed robbery on Dec. 3 aboard a bus in the violence-torn city of San Pedro Sula.

Hugo Velasquez, a spokesman for the country's National Police, said 27-year-old Lauren Robert was wounded along with two other people. One of the three alleged robbers was killed by a bus passenger, Velasquez said. The daily La Prensa said Robert is from Texas.

Most areas of San Pedro Sula, like other specially violent parts of Honduras, had been declared "banned or highly discouraged for volunteers," according to the June 2011 edition of the Corps' "Welcome Book." Also banned were "all beaches at night" and a large part of the country's Atlantic coast.

Also, on Jan. 24, 2011, a Peace Corps volunteer was robbed and raped near the village of Duyure in southern Honduras. Three men were found guilty of rape and robbery in that case, according to an employee of the regional court in the southern city of Choluteca who was not authorized to be quoted by name. Sentencing is scheduled for February; the three men face up to 26 years in prison. The volunteer was apparently assaulted while hiking in a remote area.

The U.S. also announced it had suspended some training for new volunteers in El Salvador and Guatemala, though they kept open the possibility of sending new teams of volunteers once a review of security conditions is finished. El Salvador has 113 volunteers, and there are 215 in Guatemala, where the head of the Peace Corps pledged the program would continue.

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala said in a statement the suspension only applied to the January Peace Corps class. Further reviews will determine future training in that nation.

Read more here

Peace Corps Top Colleges 2012

Peace Corps lists the colleges and universities that produced the most Peace Corps Volunteers in 2011. Read more....

Help For Honduras

The Eugene-based Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (http://www.elaw.org) seeks help bringing a young Honduran scientist, Emilio D'Cuire, to Eugene for a ten-week ELAW Fellowship, starting April 1. Emilio and his organization, the Environmental Law Institute of Honduras (IDAMHO), are doing excelle