Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR


Syndicate content

Mass people's resistance in Honduras -- In their own words

Photo by James Rodriguez.

Compiled and introduced by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

July 10, 2009 -- Most of the coverage of the military coup in Honduras from bourgeois and liberal circles, and from many Western foreign ministers, has focused on what various governments are doing to influence or force an outcome to this struggle.

Statements from Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya, his foreign minister Patricia Rodas, and from leaders of other ALBA countries (especially Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Ecuador's Rafael Correa and Bolivia's Evo Morales) have emphasised the role of the mass movement in Honduras. So have the most astute analysts of the rapidly moving events unleashed by the coup.

The great fear, from the point of view of imperialism and of the oligarchic ruling classes in Latin America, is that Zelaya will become embedded and tied to the mass movement and its class interests, unleashing a ``Bolivarian'' upsurge from which they will never recover. That is the objective and subjective source of their demonisation campaign against Chavez, Morales, Ortega and Cuba.

But the US and Latin American ruling classes' great fear can only be our great aspiration -- to unite the mass resistance in Honduras and across the region into an unbeatable force, and to use the attack on the Honduran people's elected government by the military ``gorillas'' to score major advances towards popular, democratic rule in Honduras. To move beyond formal, restrictive "representational" democracy (where we get to vote every five years or so about how long the slave drivers' whips should be) to participatory democracy that takes us out of servitude and towards real self-government and self-determination.

The popular resistance to the coup has formed a resistence front, whose key demand has been the immediate restitution of the government of Manuel Zelaya, and the restoration of democratic and constitutional rights and guarantees.

Zelaya is now in Costa Rica for the talks with President Oscar Arias has arranged, under pressure from US President Barack Obama and US secretary of state Hilary Clinton. He arrived with a delegation that included government ministers and leaders of Honduras' social and trade union movements that are part of the Resistance Front. Coup leader Roberto Micheletti, (known popularly as Pinocheletti and Goriletti) is also in Costa Rica.

At the time of posting this material, we are still waiting for an official announcement of what was discussed and decided. Talks at various levels, it is reported, will continue tomorrow and possibly over the weekend. Zelaya has said that one thing he is not discussing with Arias (or Pinocheletti) is the worldwide demand for his immediate return to govern as president of the country. Or for the immediate release of many political prisoners detained during and after the coup.

Below is a July 6 statement made by the Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado (National Front Against the Coup d'etat). The National Front has since issued a statement addressed to the current "talks" in San Jose. Its key proposal is for the convoking of a constituent assembly to resolve the crisis in favour of genuine democracy and the right of working people, Indigenous people and oppressed sectors to participate in day-to-day government and national development decisions.

Also below are items from Via Campesina, the main farmers' and producers' association, which is part of an international network of campesinos and farmers. Included also is the most recent interview with Rafael Alegria, on of the key leaders of Via Campesina.

Below please find:

1. Statement by the Honduran National Front Against the Coup d'etat in Honduras, July 8, 2009.

2. Statement by the National Front Against the Coup d'etat in Honduras, July 6, 2009.

3. Statement by Mabel Marquez, Via Campesina, July 5, 2009.

4. Testimony of Wendy Cruz of the Honduran Peasant Movement, July 5, 2009

5. Interview with Rafael Alegria, Via Campesina, Honduras, June 30, 2009.

Statement by the Honduran National Front Against the Coup d'etat in Honduras

The following statement was released by the National Front Against the Coup d'etat. It first appeared on the website of Honduras Resists/Honduras Resiste.

* * *

July 8, 2009

9th communiqué of the National Front Against the Coup d'etat

The National Front Against the Coup d'etat in Honduras, made up of the different organised expressions in the country, on our feet in the struggle until the reinstatement of the constitutional order, communicates:

We reiterate that the coup d'etat was conceived by the oligarchy and executed by the armed forces in collusion with the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Congress, the public ministry, the Human Rights Commission, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Liberal, Nationalist Innovation, Social Democratic Unity and Christian Democratic parties, and the Catholic and evangelical churches.

We demand that the meetings planned between President Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti Bain take into account the position of the National Front Against the Coup d'etat, which includes as a main point the installation of a National Constitutional Assembly. We demand pubishment for those responsible for the death of our fallen comrades and the repression of the mobilisations and locations of the popular movement.

We reject the possibility of the legitimation of the de facto authorities and reaffirm that the only acceptable solution is the return of the institutional order. We make known the naming of a commission that represents the National Front Against the Coup d'etat to participate in the meetings in San José, Costa Rica.

We continue to demand the restitution of individual guarantees immediately, as the suspension is a clear violation of people's human rights.

Statement of the National Front Against the Coup d'etat in Honduras

July 6, 2009 -- The National Front Against the Coup d'etat (Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado), composed of the different movements organised in Honduras, considering the situation created by the coup d'etat, aims to inform the rest of the population about the actions undertaken. And, at the same time, it would get a reading of this whole process in accordance with the principles governing the people's movement to transform the Honduran society into a more influential, non-discriminatory one, in solidarity and welfare approached with the country's majorities.

In this sense, we want to state that:

We make Mr Micheletti, and the rest of the coup group, responsible of the police and military force's actions that ended with Isis Obed Murillo's death, a sixteen-year-old young man, and with the injuring and beating up of many others. Amongst the injured are Darwin Antonio Lagos, another young lad, and Judge Guillermo Lopez, last evening.

The National Front Against the Coup d'etat wants to transmit its condolences, respect and solidarity with the family of the murdered young man and with the wounded persons. This youngster was from a family from the Olancho Department, who were not an activist of any people's organisation. They simply were people struggling for a welfare state.

The coup government, and its followers, are lost. So much so they have resorted to the heads of churches and the police for support and protection. For the people's movement it is clear that the religious hierarchies have always sided with the oligarchic groups, and for this reason repudiates the attitude of the pseudo-representatives of the different churches.

That we condemn the terrorist attitude of the authorities imposed by Mr Micheletti and the coup state, who represses with guns the different forms of demonstrations of the citizens. Police roadblocks and soldiers everywhere are used for with this aim, especially in the public roads where the army searches, with rifles, all vehicles.

The Honduran people thank the comprehension and solidarity received from the Latin American governments, the Organization of the American States and the whole international community, and for the forcefulness and objectivity which the ... coup d'etat suffered by Hondurans has been dealt with and recognised.

We denounce in front of the Honduran people and in front of the international community, that a section of the overnment of the United States of America, such as the military industry and the intelligence agency, is supporting the coup in Honduras. We believe it is important to recognise this fact

The rally on July 5 in Tegucigalpa was enormous. About 300,000 people took part in it, and it is important to recognise the discipline and fighting spirit that allowed them to remain in place regardless of the strength of the military repression. Furthermore, we want to call every woman and man to struggle for their rights.

Statement by Mabel Marquez, Via Campesina, July 5, 2009

By Mabel Marquez, Vi­a Campesina in Honduras

July 5, 2009 -- The social movements of Honduras, ready to fight to reestablish constitutional order in the country, demand the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya.

Popular and social movements agreed to meet in Tegucigalpa at 8am. There, thousands of people from the different social movements that exist in the country, wearing red and black shirts, hats, caps and neckerchiefs and holding up banners, posters and flags, continue to protest on the streets of Honduras demanding the reinstatement of President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who has been expelled from power since the early hours of June 28, by power groups in the country with the involvement of the army, the police and other state powers who undertook the coup d'etat in Honduras.

The protesters have demonstated their decision to keep fighting and do all that is necessary to suceed in establishing constitutional order in the country. At the same time, a group of people, who claim to defend democracy and want peace in the country, but who in reality are [coup leader Roberto] Micheletti's followers, protested in front of the governmental buildings but these people were highly protected by army elements and the national police. The media were broadcasting their protest live although actually these people had to be brought in from the centre of country and were paid to take part in the protest. However, the people from the social movements are making a lot of sacrifices to continue in this struggle and each person is paying their own expenses.

The slogans that the social movements shout when passing the authorities and media buildings are the following: no somos cinco, no somos cien prensa vendida cuantalos bien (There's not five of us, there's not one hundred of us, the sell-out press should count us properly); traidores (traitors); golpistas, golpistas fuera de Honduras (Coup supporters get out of Honduras); traidores a la patria el pueblo los repudia, pueblo que escuchas únete a la lucha (Traitors to our country, the people condemn you, you can hear the people, unite in the struggle) amongst others.

Juan Barahona leader of the Popular Bloc in Honduras states: ``The popular resistence against the coup d'etat will continue until whenever necessary. Today we have undertaken constant protests for six days now and at the moment we are meeting in front of the teaching university in order to move on towards the centre of Tegucigalpa city, then we'll head towards the headquarters of the Organisation of American States where social and popular leaders will have a meeting with the secretary of this organisation Miguel Insulsa at 3pm. In the meantime, our other supporters will remain outside the OAS buildings to show their backing of the organisation's decision. We will take a letter signed by all social movement representatives that we will hand to Mr Insulsa where we clearly demonstrate our support for President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales and state that we our grateful for the solidarity that the country has shown towards us. In addition, we call for the reinstatement of our President Zelaya.''

The social movement representatives state that this action will continue for the whole day across the whole country and that inicially this was just in Tegucigalpa, but as time has gone by this has spread to other departments in the country such as El Paraso, Choluteca, Cortes, Olancho, Yoro etc. and will continue until constitutional order in Honduras is restored.

Today we've heard from San Pedro Sula that eight of our members who had been seized yesterday while they were protesting were released during the night.

Testimony of Wendy Cruz of the Honduran Peasant Movement, July 5, 2009

Sisters and brothers of the World,

I write this testimony, with my eyes full of tears and a sadden heart after an intensive day of struggle with my sisters and brothers of Honduras.

I am a woman from a humble family. I am a peasant. I have gained my militancy and class consciousness along with the peasants who work every day under the hot sun, and who see no future for their sons and daughters who have to migrate to other countries seeking better living conditions because in our country, Honduras, the bipartisan political system (Liberals and Nationalists have shared the power for more than 100 years) neglects the majority who live in extreme poverty, without access to health, to a dignified home, without access to a piece of land because the national oligarchy owns the whole country and has pushed 90 per cent of the population into extreme poverty and social exclusion.

Today, Sunday, July 5, we have completed eight days of peaceful resistance.

Today we marched, more than 500,000 persons in the city of Tegucigalpa, towards the airport of Tonconto­n, with the expectation of welcoming president Manuel Zelaya Rosales. While we where waiting the arrival of our president, the army started to shoot us with tear gas and real bullets. Three Hondurans were killed only because they were demanding peace and the right to live in a country with real civic participation, and not the false democracy we have been living for 100 years. The dead persons included 21-years-old, Isis Oveth, from the village of Alde de Santa Cruz, Guayape, municipality of Olancho and another young man, Alexis Zavala is among the many persons who were badly injured by the army's repression.

After the violent attack I was afraid of being arrested by the police because we have a curfew and by the time we escaped the repression it was already night, past the curfew hours. But despite the repression, my spirit is stronger, because I have the dream that one day my son (15 years old) and my daughter (10 years old) and all the future generations will enjoy a country with equality, equity and more than that, a day when all of us will be the actors of our destiny.

I like to tell all the men and women of the world who have expressed solidarity with our struggle, that all of us in Honduras are decided to achieve VICTORY and to restore the legitimate government of our president Manuel Zelaya in the memory of the martyrs of this Sunday, July 5, 2009.

Long live the martyrs for the defense of our rights to be actors of our own destiny!

Long live ISIS OVETH and all the brothers killed today!



Interview with Honduran agrarian leader Rafael Alegria:`We are preparing a massive reception for Zelaya'

Honduras, June 30 2009.- Exclusive interview with Rafael Alegria, leader of the National Field Worker's Center (CNTC by its Spanish initials), founder member of the Democratic Union and the farmers' organisation VÃia Campesina; adviser to President Zelaya on agrarian issues.

Comrade, President Zelaya announced today that he will return to Honduras on Thursday (July 5), are you preparing anything in response?

We are preparing to give President Zelaya a massive reception, the Honduran people are preparing for it and without a doubt we hope that Zelaya will take control of the state and the government as the legitimate president. This will enable us to bring an end to the efforts we are making, and the confrontation and mobilisations can give way to peace and tranquility and to continue to govern for the good of the majority, trying to reorder the democratic state that we hope for in Honduras.

Today we witnessed violent situations in the areas around the presidential residence, do you have any information about this?

In terms of the violence around the Presidential Palace, we saw how a peaceful march that brought more than 25,000 people together, met with tremendous repression from the police and the army of Honduras with teargas containing extremely toxic substances, that were fired from helicopters and special guns. The people resisted but the gas has seriously affected the health of our people, and, according to a statement from the Red Cross in Honduras, more than 50 people were injured.

What is the current situation with the curfew?

Social movement leaders are being constantly threatened, because we categorically reject Roberto Micheletti as president. With regard to the curfew, almost no one has respected it in the country, more than 2000 people have stayed in the streets, day and night, in front of the presidential palace. Today they said that they curfew will start at 6pm, but nobody complied with it, and we are still here, resisting. I would like to denounce that this evening the police attacked eight buses that were under the coordination of Father Camayo. The tyres were destroyed by gunshots. The repression is terrible and we fiercely reject it.

There has been unanimous support from countries in the hemisphere in support of President Zelaya's constitutional government, the countries of the ALBA have withdrawn their ambassadors and have announced economic sanctions and the isolation of the de facto regime. How do the social movements view this?

We have been very aware of the international actions, deliberations and agreements, and this support gives us infinite pleasure, particularly the actions of the ALBA, that have been followed by the Rio Group and the Organization of American States (OAS), including the declaration from the President of the United States Barack Obama. These actions reflect a general consensus in the Americas and also in the European Union to rejects the coup and recognise and support Mr Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales as the only president elected by the Honduran people.

All these actions have helped to keep morale up and maintain the resistance that is taking place throughout the entire country. There has been fierce repression, but this has not demoralised the masses [in its attempts to depose] Micheletti's fascist regime and return President Zelaya to power.

There has also been news of military risings. Do you know anything about this?

The comrades responsible for taking the Tela Road said that the soldiers were encouraging people to keep up their peaceful occupation and saying that they would not repress the people because they were opposed to the coup d'etat. This gives us faith in those in charge of the Atlantic region and there are rumours that the military base in Olancho may follow the same instructions. We also believe that there are soldiers who do not support the decision of the Joint Chief of Staff. This coup d'etat is promoted by retired military men who come from a past where they were involved in the violation of human rights in the 1980s.

Anything more to add?

I would like to call on the whole world, from Honduras, and ask them to maintain their solidarity together with our people and with the Zelaya government, as there is no doubt that the international support for defending our rights gives us hope that we will soon recover our government.


Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet