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National strike shows strength of Honduran Resistance

Published Sep 16, 2010 8:18 PM

The U.S. corporate press was silent when thousands of Hondurans poured into the streets of Tegucigalpa on Sept. 7 to join the 12-hour national strike called by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP). It affected all 18 provinces and paralyzed the streets of 11 Honduran cities. Traffic was stopped on roads and bridges. (Rebelión.org, Sept. 11)

Two days before the strike, Honduran armed forces and police invaded and occupied the Autonomous University of Honduras to break up a three-month hunger strike by the union of university workers. Three of the strikers, including a 70-year-old man, were sentenced and incarcerated for “sedition.” Students, teachers and workers called it “indefensible” to attend classes. (resistenciahonduras.net, Sept. 12)

The military laid low on Sept. 7, but the next day 17 workers were massacred in a shoe factory in San Pedro Sula. The government of Porfirio Lobo has not investigated these deaths, nor any of the other suspicious violent deaths that have occurred since the military coup in June 2009.

“The minister of security has, without proof or investigation, immediately called this a case of drug gang rivalries,” said a representative from Women for Human Rights (MDH), which is investigating the killings of Honduran women. “This amounts to a second assassination for the victims and their families, in order to silence the voice of the population.” (Rebelión.org, Sept. 10)

Lucy Pagoada of Honduras Resistencia USA explained: “The purpose of this massacre is to discourage and confuse workers who are supporting the Resistance. The fact that these murders took place inside a shoe factory threatens all workers who are organizing in the Resistance.”

Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere. Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has called for “urgent action to stem the rise in violence.” This includes the murder since the coup of nine members of the media. (speroforum.com, Aug. 31)

These murders and a concerted disinformation campaign are part of a strategy. “Lobo has installed a media blockade,” said Berta Caceres, head of the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. “There is no information, and so the [FNRP] has dispatched commissions of information throughout ... Latin America, Europe and the United States to show the reality of what we are living in this country, especially the violations of human rights.” (Rebelión.org, Sept. 9)

Berta Oliva, president of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, told the media about the discovery of another mass grave containing the bodies of more than 100 people who had been reported missing from June through August last year, right after the coup. (tiwy.com, Aug. 31)

Los Necios, the youth movement allied to the FNRP, says that the U.S. Department of State has been directing the repression out of the office of U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens. “Lobo lacks the intelligence, the ability and the mínimum legitimacy to run the government. The Lobo government can’t be in full control of the situation and needs the CIA to administer the crisis with their special agents. ... For decades our continent has suffered heavy attacks by the sick beast of North American capitalism.” (resistenciahonduras.net, Sept. 12)

Since 1984, U.S. troops and commanders stationed at the U.S. military base in Palmerola have been the power behind the throne in Honduras and much of the rest of Central America. On June 28, 2009, the U.S.-supported coup kidnapped and flew legally elected President Manuel Zelaya to Palmerola.

Juan Barahona, FNRP leader, stated that the U.S. military in Palmerola is deeply involved in the militarization of Honduras. This repression has a purpose, he said, explaining that the coup and the illegitimate election of Lobo were achieved “to advance the neoliberal project for domination and colonization of Honduras.” Berta Caceres added, “Lobo is trying to sell our rivers and natural resources.” (Rebelión.org, Sept. 9)

The Lobo government is desperate, said Barahona. His sham government is negotiating an IMF loan that will, according to Barahona, “saddle future generations of Hondurans with millions of dollars of debt.” (ansalatina.com, Sept. 11)

The resistance is growing daily. Despite the repression, it mounted a petition campaign for a new Constitutional Assembly that has been signed by more than 1.25 million Hondurans. The petition calls for a new constitution that guarantees human rights for all and stands for the return of President Zelaya and more than 200 exiles.

The FNRP is calling for a national mobilization and general strike on Sept. 15, the 189th anniversary of Honduran independence from Spanish colonialism. Students, teachers, peasants and workers who oppose privatization and militarization of their country will be out en masse to protest and present their demands.

Zelaya, who is coordinator general of the FNRP, spoke in support of the Resistance from exile in the Dominican Republic: “Those who believe in democracy and equality, against those who arbitrarily defend the dictatorship and the exploitation of the poor, are definitively the Honduran people, who are struggling heroically against the designs of a bloody oligarchy.” (tercerainformacion.es, Sept. 9)