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interview with Gerardo torres

Honduran people are building resistance to coup regime

Published Jul 5, 2010 11:19 PM

As this article is being written, the people of Honduras are again in the streets. This time they are celebrating the consolidation of the resistance to the military coup of June 28, 2009 — a coup that removed the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya Rosales from office.

It has been a year of repression from both the regime of coup leader Roberto Micheletti and then the illegally elected Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo administration. Both have had the backing of the U.S. government that, through U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has tried relentlessly to gather international support for this crime.

What is the situation in Honduras one year after the infamous coup d’état? During the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Workers World had the opportunity to interview Gerardo Torres, in charge of International Relations of the National Popular Front of Resistance to the Military Coup in Honduras (FNRP).

WW: What has happened since the coup?

GT: Many people have been killed, jailed, beaten. We are in a military regime. On the other hand we have the biggest political movement in the history of our country. We have overcome difficulties and we are still in the streets.

The big problem for the golpistas [coup leaders] is that there has been an ideological change in the people’s way of thinking. In the first days of the coup we were mainly asking for Zelaya to come back. Then we were asking for a national constitutional assembly. But now the people are demanding the refoundation of Honduras. That is the golpistas’ problem. You can have the biggest army but, when the will of a whole country is against you, it is impossible to stop things. That’s what’s happening right now in Honduras.

The Resistance is a national movement with assemblies all around the country, with political formations, with the creation of alternative media and with the clarity that what we want is not a dialogue with the government, we don’t want little changes, we want the refoundation of the country. We are building the country from bases of Popular Power and everybody is putting in something for the new Honduras that they envision. For example, people who work in the environmental movement say we have to talk about the environment, the campesinos [farm workers] say we have to talk about the rights of campesinos, the sexual diversity movement says we are going to have respect, we are going to live like we are all equal, we have to respect everything. So the golpistas are backed to the wall and every day the pressure is getting bigger. That’s why the repression is also getting bigger. Pepe Lobo has killed more people than Micheletti killed. The problem is that during the first days we were in the top headlines around the world and now nothing is said about Honduras. So our effort in the FNRP is to let the people outside know. We are doing great work inside, but it is necessary for the people outside to know. That is why it is so important to be here.

WW: Tell me about the events planned for June 28.

GT: The commemoration of the coup starts today [June 24] with the presentation of a book, “Tierra del nunca más” [“Land of Nevermore”], coming out of an art exhibition a couple of months ago. Artists from Honduras and other parts got together and showed the things they had captured on the streets. There will be other activities. We have an important march on Sunday, June 27, the first the barrios will do by themselves — a candlelight vigil and march at 8 p.m. All the barrios will start marching and will meet in front of the National Congress in downtown Tegucigalpa. On Monday, the 28th, we start at 7 a.m. We’ll have the “statements of sovereignty” — a document we wrote that people have to read and sign. It says that the people themselves are initiating a new Constitution for Honduras. We are not asking for Pepe Lobo or the National Congress to make a new Constitution. Then we will march to a very popular plaza in Tegucigalpa where we will inaugurate the True Commission. Not the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was prepared by the same people who were in the coup. Our True Commission is the real thing and is very important.

This will start a new chapter in our struggle. We have been a whole year in the streets and now we are going after those who were behind the coup and are asking and demanding justice. We are demanding that the people who planned and made this crime against democracy and against the people of Honduras pay for what they did.

And finally, from 3 p.m. on there will be a concert of all the different groups that call themselves Resistance. We have an enormous variety of groups, from heavy metal and rock bands to rancheras singing about the Resistance. People from all over Honduras will take part and we will celebrate the creation of the Resistance. We are not going to talk about the coup, we are going to talk about what has happened in the country after that and about what we are going to do. This is the first year of the refoundation of Honduras, so that is what we are going to celebrate next Monday.

WW: Can you explain the difference between the call for a constitutional assembly and the refoundation of the country?

GT: The new Constitution is a tool for the refoundation of the country, the first step. We have to take the power from that small group that has controlled Honduras for the last 100 years and the Constitution is the first step. The refoundation is a more long-term process in which we have to change ourselves and the country. That is the main goal. Maybe even if my generation, which is the youngest in the leadership of the FNRP, doesn’t get to see it, we all try to push it to be as soon as possible. This is not a six months plan; it is a lifetime project. That is why the golpistas are in trouble.