Hondurans vow to fight on against coup
Published Jul 8, 2009 1:55 PM
July 7—Honduran popular leader Juan Barahona told Workers World today
that the resistance to the illegal June 28 coup that deposed President Manual
Zelaya grows daily despite the fierce repression and constant attacks by the
coup regime and the corporate media. The coup regime is increasingly isolated.
A leader of the Popular National Front of Resistance to the Coup
D’État (FNPRG), Barahona said, “They can only stay alive with
the oxygen from the U.S.”
Opponents of the military coup march to
airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where
President Zelaya’s plane tried to land on
The FNPRG is the leading coalition of three workers’ federations, the six
teachers’ federations, youth and students, Indigenous, political parties
and other sectors of society organizing the resistance. Barahona said they
continue strong and with high spirits.
His voice was full of excitement after nine days of constant demonstrations.
One gathering of hundreds of thousands of people at Toncontín Airport in
Tegucigalpa attempted to welcome their constitutionally elected president as he
flew back from Washington but was unable to land. Barahona said the people are
determined to struggle and thanked the international community for its
The general strike continues, and all public schools are closed. Only the
private sector is operating “normally.”
Rosendo Delgado of Latinos Unidos
at July 1 Detroit protest.
WW photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
The movement in Honduras asks for more pressure on the U.S. government and
requests that condemnations also be sent to the illegitimate coup government in
At the airport
Though this Central American country is about the same size and
population—8 million—as Virginia, hundreds of thousands of
Hondurans from all over the country converged on July 5 outside Toncontín
Airport to welcome Zelaya back. The Honduran military’s coup a week
earlier had forced the constitutionally elected president out of his residence
and flew him to Costa Rica.
Zelaya was returning July 5 from Washington, D.C., where he attended an
emergency meeting of the Organization of American States, which voted
unanimously to eliminate coup-led Honduras from membership.
Live reports of TeleSUR in Honduras showed the airport crowd’s
excitement. The people shouted, “Watch out, the people’s struggle
is spreading throughout Latin America,” “People, join in,”
“The people united will never be defeated” and “We want
Mel,” referring to Zelaya’s middle name. The unarmed crowd faced a
huge deployment of heavily armed police and military, including snipers, which
prevented the demonstrators from approaching the airport.
As the Venezuelan jet flown by two Venezuelan Air Force pilots and carrying
Zelaya and U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto approached,
the enthusiastic crowd had grown so large the police finally stepped back,
allowing the people closer. This turned out to be another criminal action by
the illegal authorities.
People called on soldiers not to fire but to join them, but the military
attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and live ammunition. A shot to the
head killed one 19-year-old, and gunfire wounded dozens of others. Troops
parked two vehicles in the middle of the runway as they threatened the pilot
that the Honduran Air Force would intercept the plane.
After several futile attempts to land, the pilot left, taking Zelaya to
Managua, Nicaragua where he met the presidents of Nicaragua, Argentina, Ecuador
and Paraguay and held a press conference. By July 7 he flew to Washington for
talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Lies and arrogance of the coup regime
Nearly all governments and international bodies have repudiated the coup
regime. The Latin American governments and organizations like the Bolivarian
Alternative for the Americas, the Central American Integration System and the
Rio Group have recalled their ambassadors and have cut trade and cooperation
Despite its isolation, the illegal government of Roberto Micheletti, with the
complicity of the oligarchy-owned media, continues to lash out against Zelaya,
cynically defending the coup as a necessary action to bring “peace and
constitutionality” to the country.
Honduras’ general prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya. Rodolfo
Padilla Sunseri, the mayor of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second largest
city where militant demonstrations have been taking place, was arbitrarily
removed and replaced by William Hall, Micheletti’s nephew.
The country has been militarized. The army has placed roadblocks in the main
highways, particularly the ones leading to Tegucigalpa, in an attempt to stop
demonstrators from reaching the capital. The army has stopped buses and shot at
the tires; yet people have continued on foot to join the resistance.
Miguel Insulza, the president of the OAS, went July 3 to Honduras in a
desperate attempt to try to solve the situation through diplomacy. However,
after 15 representatives of the Supreme Court told him Zelaya’s ousting
is “irreversible,” Insulza concluded that the OAS should eliminate
Honduras as a member and that there were no conditions for a peaceful return of
Zelaya. He also met with the popular movement opposing the coup.
That same day, 1992 Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú
arrived in Honduras with a delegation of human rights advocates to monitor the
conditions. The coup regime had declared a curfew and state of siege forbidding
individual rights and the right of association, resulting in an explosion of
human rights abuses. To date, 800 people are still detained.
Demands on Obama and the USA
The Latin American community is now focusing on the U.S., which has neither
removed its ambassador nor suspended aid and trade, vital to Honduras. U.S.
policy is seen as favoring the coup despite President Barack Obama and
Secretary Clinton’s tepid condemnations, expressed only after Latin
American governments took strong actions in defense of the deposed Honduran
Many voices demand stronger U.S. condemnations and actions. In a letter
circulated on the Internet, 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez
Esquivel of Argentina wrote: “There are no isolated events; this reflects
the politics aimed at protecting the hegemonic political and economic interests
throughout the continent.”
Esquivel criticizes governments that “have expressed themselves very
timidly in the face of the coup, who appear to support the military
coup.” He says that Latin Americans pressured Obama to condemn the
coup—mildly—and then Obama “turns aside, knowing that the
Pentagon and the CIA are promoters and supporters of the Honduran military
coup.” (Granma, July 6)
Pentagon and Honduras
For decades Honduras has been a U.S. military outpost in the region, whose
ruling oligarchy is tightly linked with the imperialist North. From Honduras
the U.S.-backed Contras attacked the Sandinista Revolution in neighboring
Nicaragua during the 1980s. Joint training and exercises demonstrate the
Pentagon’s close association with the Honduran army.
The Pentagon’s Soto Cano Military Base in Honduras is now under the
command of Col. Richard A. Juergens, who was the Director of the Special
Operations Command during the February 2004 kidnapping of Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The leadership of Honduras’ military were all
trained at the infamous “School of Assassins,” the U.S.-run School
of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga.
In addition, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon Jr. and U.S.
Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens were fully aware of the conflicts leading
to the military coup. They met with government officials including Zelaya and
Micheletti before the coup. (New York Times, June 29) They could easily have
threatened to cut aid should a coup be carried out, but they did not.
Who benefits from this coup? Washington is unhappy with progressive
developments in Latin America. The U.S. rulers hate Venezuela’s Hugo
Chávez, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas and the possibility of
losing an important source of wealth that they stole from Latin America a
century ago. The imperialists hate the idea that those in their “own
backyard” begin trading among themselves and with China, Russia and
The big coup backers are from the entrepreneurial and wealthy class in
Honduras, the 13 oligarchy families. They say Zelaya was too close to
Response from U.S. progressives
U.S. organizations and individuals have joined the international progressive
movement to oppose the coup and express solidarity with the Honduran people,
among them Danny Glover, the AFL-CIO and International Action Center founder
In his open letter Glover writes, “It is imperative that citizens across
the United States write and call upon President Barack Obama and Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton to quickly execute every available influence to ensure
that President Zelaya is safely returned to his post.”
The AFL-CIO writes, “We call on the United States Government to also take
all measures within its diplomatic powers to ensure that all Honduran
civilians, and particularly trade unionists and social activists denouncing the
coup, are safe and secure and will not be victimized by violence and
In a July 5 letter to President Obama, cosigners Clark and Bishop Filipe
Teixeira of the Diocese Saint Francis of Assisi in Boston write, “We
conclude that the United States government has responsibility for the coup and
is obligated to demand that the Honduran army return to constitutional order
and avoid criminal actions against the Honduran people.
“We therefore insist, for the benefit of the peace in the region, that
President Barack Obama immediately cut off all aid and relations to the
Honduran army and suspend U.S. relations with the government of Honduras until
the constitutional president is returned to office.”
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE