After a week of showing solidarity with the people of Honduras on the streets
and gaining insightful information on what has transpired during the 105 days
since a right-wing coup, the 12 people composing the U.S. Delegation in
Solidarity with the Honduran Resistance returned to the U.S. in the wee hours
of Oct. 12.
WW slideshow photos by LeiLani Dowell
Delegation members met with members of various sectors—teachers, youth
and students, women, human rights organizations, churches, artists and
more—that have come together in a united front against the coup and for
constitutional reform. Representatives expressed pride and determination to
continue in the struggle, while also acknowledging that the situation is
Honduras continues to be in a dangerous crisis—one fueled by the
repressive tactics of the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti, which has used
U.S. arms to attack the daily protests that occur throughout the country. The
resistance movement there is powerful and organized; at the same time, it faces
an increasingly desperate regime that has experienced international
condemnation. The life of the legitimate president, Manuel Zelaya, is at high
The situation demands the attention and solidarity of activists around the
world. The following are excerpts from daily reports to the delegation’s
The U.S. Delegation in Solidarity with the Honduran Resistance had a very
successful first day in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital, culminating in a
confrontation with the police and military at the Brazilian embassy. Our
spirits are high from our ability to solidarize ourselves with the Honduran
Tegucigalpa is one of the many areas where a large resistance movement is
fighting back against an illegal, right-wing, de facto government that
installed itself after kidnapping democratically elected president Manuel
Zelaya on June 28.
Today, 12 activists from the U.S.—including teachers, youth, women, labor
delegates, community leaders, Honduran immigrants and religious
figures—were warmly greeted by members of the National Resistance Front
against the Coup at the airport in Tegucigalpa.
We met with a representative of Cofadeh, an organization formed to support
families of the disappeared in the 1980s. Cofadeh has recently been working to
bring justice against the atrocities being committed by Micheletti’s
We went to the Brazilian embassy, where President Zelaya has been in refuge
since he returned to Honduras on Sept. 21. The area was surrounded by police;
we were told that it would be impossible to get inside the embassy to meet with
A delegation from the Organization of American States had also arrived today,
and the police and military forces had been scaled back in order to put a good
face on the regime, which has been repressing the people. However, at the
hotel, a member of the resistance received a call that heavy repression was
going on at the Brazilian embassy; we were advised not to go there.
We learned that Micheletti had supposedly lifted a ban on individual liberties
that he had imposed the week before. However, when we asked the police why we
were not allowed to exercise our civil liberties, the police laughed and told
us that they didn’t recognize the lifting of the ban.
Holding our banner, which reads, “U.S. Delegation in Solidarity with the
Honduran Resistance—No to the Coup!” we formed a line in front of
the police, facing off with them. When they pushed us almost into the street,
we turned our backs to them and faced the passing traffic, generating massive
honking, thumbs up and fists in the air by drivers passing by. Delegation
members were interviewed by the press, and we got out our message of solidarity
and demands for respect of Honduran self-determination.
Our delegation was joined by a truck and car caravan of resistance fighters,
including a large number of women with two self-identified resistance fighters,
young women aged 8 and 16. Flags waved from the backs of trucks and militant
chants could be heard everywhere.
Members of the resistance saw our banner and came over to offer heartfelt
thanks. The police faced off with us for hours. Many protesters believed that
if a U.S. delegation had not been there, another round of repression would have
ensued—attacks with tear gas, beatings and more. In fact, as the crowd
was dispersing a truck arrived filled with members of the army; they began to
surround protesters, wielding huge batons.
There will be protests all week. The OAS delegation is supposed to be here for
another day; many are wondering whether the repression will increase once they
Urgent: We just heard there is an emergency occurring at the Brazilian
embassy. Tonight two scaffolds were erected with additional police and army
snipers. The repressive forces have set up speakers and are sending out
commands and terrifying the people. The National Resistance Front has sent out
an emergency e-mail notice.
• • •
Early on day two, we traveled to the bottlers’ union’s
offices; it has become somewhat of a resistance movement headquarters. This
morning, members of the many varied yet unified sectors of the
resistance—Indigenous, campesinos (farmers), labor unions, women,
religious figures, artists, writers, doctors, engineers, youth and
more—were meeting to be debriefed about the political situation and to
plan next steps.
The level of organization was impressive and exciting. Reports were given on
negotiations with the Organization of American States, where the resistance
movement has a seat at the table; on widespread state-inflicted injuries around
the country; and other pertinent information.
Today’s protest was a march from the pedagogical university to the
Clarion Hotel, where the OAS delegation was staying. The situation quickly
became tense, with trucks of heavily armed, face-masked police and army forces
arriving to surround protesters. We attended the march and carried our banner,
which identified us as being from the U.S. Protestors stopped and clapped for
us as we arrived; one woman directed members of the press to us.
Once again, we saw women on the frontlines of the struggle; one diminutive but
clearly fierce woman was introduced to us as “la abuela de la
resistencia”—the grandmother of the resistance.
With the presence of international media, a U.S. delegation, and the OAS
representatives, the government’s armed forces once again held off from
attacking the crowd. However, whether or not the attacks occur, it is clear
that the resistance has no intention of backing off. One main chant is
“Nos tienen miedos porque no tenemos miedos” (They fear us because
we are not afraid).
We returned to the bottlers’ union for a meeting with anti-coup religious
leaders. The large churches, and particularly the Catholic church, have been
supportive of the illegal Micheletti regime. But smaller churches have taken up
the mantle of liberation theology and dedicated themselves, as one sister said,
not just to theory, but to practice—in the streets with the people.
We met with Carlos H. Reyes, who was an independent presidential candidate
before the coup d’état. He explained the nuances of the street
struggle to us—how the struggle is increasingly a struggle between the
classes and how the masses are rapidly becoming politicized in the midst of
We have decided that tomorrow we will visit the U.S. embassy, even though they
dodged our calls all day.
The resistance here is amazing, and inspiring, and most of all,
We met today with students and youth and the international committee of
the National Resistance Front. We also met with a Los Angeles delegation, and
discussed coordinating future efforts. Some in our delegation got into the U.S.
embassy and met with a representative to present our evidence and demands.
The police and military have resumed their repressive tactics against
protesters. People who demonstrated today showed us the injuries they had
sustained at the hands of these forces. One man had a large bruise across his
upper arm, where he had been hit with a baton. Another had a large rash from an
allergic reaction to the gas. One protester had collected dozens of tear gas
canisters and rubber bullets in just one day.
We learned that there was a kidnapping attempt on a leader of one of the
student organizations today. A friend helped her escape, but the student
leader’s hand was fractured in the process.
Members of our delegation spoke 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. As the repression intensifies, it seems that the movement becomes
more sophisticated and organized. Students and workers are 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.
Tonight, our last night in Honduras, as 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 more scaffolding has been put up around the
embassy tonight, with more snipers.
Today’s news reports another Micheletti regime decree stating, “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, Canal 36 and Radio Globo, were shut down by
the Micheletti regime when President Zelaya returned to the country; this new
decree is yet another attempt to silence the resistance movement.
We had a number of inspiring meetings today: with feminists and other women in
the resistance movement; with young students at a school for revolutionary
theory; and with Juan Barahona, the National Resistance Front representative at
the OAS negotiations.
The day’s highlight was the protest we attended in one of the barrios
just outside of Tegucigalpa. The protest was smaller than those in Tegucigalpa
but no less militant. The police showed up in massive numbers, with their large
shields, gas masks and batons. However, the ultimate form of defiance to the
police occurred when the music was cranked up, and people sang, laughed and
danced in the streets.
When we gave our hugs goodbye, it was with love and sadness that we had to
leave our new comrades in the struggle.
It’s clear that the resistance movement is highly organized, politically
nuanced and united. 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 predicted which way the struggle will go, the feeling of
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 hondureña!
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