Tuesday, October 27, 6 p.m.
777 U.N. Plaza
44th St. & 1st Ave., Manhattan
Take 4, 5, 6 to 42nd St.
October 28 marks the four-month anniversary of the military coup in Honduras. The illegal and criminal coup on June 28th deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, installed Roberto Micheletti as de facto president and ushered in a wave of repression against the Honduran people.
With each passing day, the political situation in Honduras becomes ever more critical. Despite international condemnation, the Organization of American States discussions with the illegal golpistas are going nowhere. The U.S. government has done nothing to resolve the crisis, inadvertently aiding the fraud government. The golpistas are desperately buying time for elections in November.
It is urgent that the solidarity and anti-war movement escalate its opposition to the coup in order to help prevent more bloodshed. Already hundreds of Hondurans have been jailed, beaten and killed. News outlets that report on the resistance and oppose the coup have been shut down.
A national solidarity movement is urgently needed to support the Honduran people, the National Front in Resistance Against the Coup, and to support their demands of the restoration of President Zelaya and a Constitutional Assembly.
Much is at stake in Honduras today. A defeat of the people’s movement in Honduras would be a setback for the entire continent. It would have ramifications for the progressive and revolutionary movements in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. It would mean a victory for the U.S. neoliberal policies that have brought extreme hardship for millions.
From October 7 to October 11, the U.S. Labor, Community and Religious Fact-Finding Delegation traveled to Honduras. The delegation met with students and youth, women, religious and labor representatives as well as with the National Front in Resistance Against the Coup. Representatives of the delegation spoke numerous times with President Zelaya. It participated in street protests, including one in front of the Brazilian Embassy in which, as military troops amassed, it was forced to run with the Honduran people.
SPEAKERS WILL INCLUDE:
- Hon. Jorge Arturo Reina–Ambassador of Honduras to the United Nations
- Ramsey Clark–former U.S. Attorney General
- Lucy Pagoada–Honduras U.S.A. Resistencia and member of the fact finding delegation
- Roberto Quesada–noted Honduran journalist & author; Director of Honduras U.S.A. Resistencia
- Teresa Gutierrez–lead organizer of the fact-finding delegation
- Berta Joubert-Ceci–videographer & Director of Philadelphia International Action Center
- Danilo LaChapel–Director Community Relations, Evangelical Church of the Bronx
$5.00 Donation (no one turned away for lack of funds)
The U.N. forum will include eyewitness accounts from the delegation. The delegation included:
- Michael Gimbel–AFSCME Local 375, Delegate NYC Central Labor Council
- Heather Cottin–Freeport Workplace Project, Professor, LaGuardia Community College
- LeiLani Dowell–Nat’l Co-Coordinator, FIST youth group; Managing Editor, Workers World Newspaper
- Michael Kramer–Veterans for Peace
- Dave Welsh–Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council
- Rev. Rigoberto Avila–Episcopal Church, NYC
VIDEO PREMIER ‘Honduras: A People in Resistance’
A video report from the delegation which includes interviews with National Front leader Juan Barahona; Berta Oliva from COFADEH; Carlos Reyes, frmr. Pres. Candidate for Nat’l Front, and most importantly, from the common people who are in the struggle, on the streets.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 212-633-6646
Tonight, our last night in Honduras, a World Cup qualifying game is taking place here between Honduras and the U.S. Another alert has been raised; we’ve received reports that while the eyes of a large part of the country are focused on the game, more scaffolding has been put up around the embassy tonight, with more snipers.
In the news today, the Micheletti regime has imposed a decree stating that “the frequencies of radio or television stations may be canceled if they transmit messages that incite national hate and the destruction of public property.” It allows officials to monitor and control broadcasts that “attack national security.” (Associated Press, Oct. 10)
The two main resistance stations, Channel 36 and Radio Globo, were shut down by the Micheletti regime when President Zelaya returned to the country on Sept. 21; this new decree is yet another attempt to silence the resistance movement.
We had a number of informative and inspiring meetings today with feminists and other women in the resistance movement; young students at a school for revolutionary theory; and Juan Barahona, the representative from the National Resistance Front at the OAS negotiations.
But by far the highlight of the day was the protest we attended in one of the barrios, a community just outside of Tegucigalpa. The protest was smaller than the ones we’ve attended in Tegucigalpa but no less militant. Once again, the police showed up in massive numbers, lining the sides of the streets with their large shields, gas masks and batons. At this protest, however, the ultimate form of defiance to the police occurred when the music was cranked up and, singing and laughing, people started dancing in the streets. When we gave our hugs goodbye this time, it was with love and sadness that we had to leave our new comrades in the struggle.
There’s so much more to tell about this fact-finding solidarity mission that hasn’t been said in these late-night, exhausted posts. We plan to give report-backs and hope that everyone can attend to get the bigger picture about the situation in Honduras, and provide their solidarity to the struggle there.
What seems clearer than clear is that the resistance movement is highly organized, politically nuanced and united. We have been told time and time again that the struggle in Honduras is for more than the restitution of President Zelaya; it’s for a new society, one that provides for all and not just the few.
While nobody was willing to predict which way the struggle will go, the confidence that they would succeed was overwhelming. In a situation that many described as a laboratory, a practice ground for the U.S. and the corporations to commit coups against other left-leaning Latin America governments, the price of failure is far too great.
The Honduran people need and deserve the support of people in the U.S. and around the world. ¡Viva la resistencia hondurena!
We’re back at the hotel after a very long day of meetings. We met today with students and youth and the international committee of the National Resistance Front. We also had the opportunity to connect with a delegation that is here from Los Angeles, and discussed coordinating future efforts. While some of us were busy sending out the emergency email this morning, others were able to get into the U.S. embassy and meet with a representative to present our evidence and demands.
The police and military have resumed their repressive tactics against protesters. People returning to the bottler’s union today from the demonstrations showed us the injuries they had sustained at the hands of these forces—one man with a large bruise across his upper arm, where he had been hit with a baton; another who suffered an allergic reaction from the gas, with a rash all over his back. A member of our delegation was shown dozens of tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that one protester had collected just that day.
Meeting with the youth and students, we learned that there was a kidnapping attempt on a leader of one of the student organizations today. The kidnapper attempted to drag the young woman into a car; with the help of a friend she was able to escape but fractured her hand in the process.
We have not heard any further reports about shooting at the Brazilian embassy, or of any injuries. On an exciting note, members of our delegation were able to speak by phone to Xiomara Zelaya, spouse of President Manuel Zelaya who is also seeking refuge at the Brazilian embassy.
Things remain tense; however the movement remains strong, organized and dedicated. In fact, as the repression intensifies, it even seems that the movement becomes more sophisticated and organized. Students and workers are all talking about how to take the struggle forward. Everybody talks about how class consciousness has been raised since the day Zelaya was kidnapped—a qualitative shift in the minds of the people. Something big is happening in Honduras.