The struggle continues
Zelaya returns to Honduras
Published Jun 9, 2011 10:02 PM
More than 1 million Hondurans welcomed “Mel” Zelaya back to the
land from which he was kidnapped during a U.S.-sanctioned military coup on June
28, 2009. He arrived at Tegucigalpa’s Toncontin airport on May 28.
The return of Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the democratically elected president of
Honduras, was facilitated by the Cartagena Accord, which guaranteed his safety
and legitimized the Front for the National Popular Resistance of Honduras
Zelaya has come home to a very different Honduras. The resistance movement did
not exist two years ago. Now it is an organized force in every department and
city. Honduras is still the poorest country in Central America, and its
population is still predominantly made up of peasants. However, one of the most
sophisticated and fearless resistance movements in the Americas has developed
there. It was this movement that brought Zelaya home.
Hundreds of thousands of Zelaya’s supporters gathered to hear him speak
on May 28 in “Isis Obed Murillo Square,” as the Honduran Resistance
has named it. Zelaya spoke at the spot where soldiers assassinated 19-year-old
Isis Obed Murillo in the first weeks of the fascist coup. Murillo is considered
the first martyr of the resistance movement.
“We must pay homage to those we’ve lost in this struggle, to those
who offered their lives,” said Zelaya. (Real News Network, June 3)
Since the coup nearly two years ago, and during the regime of Honduran
President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, more than 200 Hondurans have been assassinated.
More than 4,000 cases of human rights violations have been documented between
June 2009 and the end of 2010, according to the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights. (Inter Press Service, May 30)
Lobo came to power in an illegal, fraudulent election held under the auspices
of Roberto Micheletti’s government and backed by the U.S. Micheletti had
been named the de facto president after the golpistas (coup plotters) kidnapped
Zelaya and sent him into exile. The Organization of American States cast out
Honduras from the organization six days after the coup.
Why and how Zelaya returned
The plan to repatriate Zelaya was in part an attempt to short-circuit the
Honduran Resistance movement. The United States sought to get Honduras back
into the OAS. Diplomatic efforts among Colombia’s President Juan Manuel
Santos, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez and Lobo resulted in the
Cartagena Accord, which cleared the way for Zelaya’s return.
On June 1, four days after Zelaya returned, Honduras was allowed back into the
OAS, even though the forces that engineered the coup were never tried or held
responsible for their actions — normally a requirement for readmission of
a government into the OAS. (IPS, June 3) Ecuador pointed out the impunity of
the coup plotters when it opposed the reintegration of Honduras into the OAS;
it was the only country to do so.
The Cartagena Accord, said Zelaya, “opens the gates of ALBA [the
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade agreement] for Honduras,” a
reference to his attempt to join ALBA, which both Lobo and Micheletti
Yet Zelaya provided legitimacy for the Lobo government when he said, “If
the government recognizes the rights to the people, President Lobo will be
acknowledging the democratic rights that have been violated, and then the
international community has the obligation to recognize the rights of the
President [Lobo] and his government.” (Infolatam/Efe Tegucigalpa, May
In fact, under the Cartagena Accord, the assassins, torturers and rapists of
the Micheletti and Lobo regimes have immunity from prosecution. As Lobo said on
June 1, after Honduras was readmitted to the OAS, “We have created a
Secretariat of Human Rights and Justice, and in this government we are not
going to persecute anyone. Let’s turn the page and look towards the
future.” (Global Issues, June 3)
The Lobo and U.S. governments seek to steer the Resistance away from
revolutionary struggle, but this will prove difficult.
Bertha Oliva of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in
Honduras welcomed Zelaya’s return, but said, “We do not see any
indications of how and when those responsible for the crimes against humanity
committed during and after the coup will be punished.” (IPS, May 30) She
further commented on June 3, “There is a feeling that the OAS allowed
Honduras to return without taking into account the state of human rights, and
we hope this will not fuel the impunity that surrounds human rights
More than 20 human rights organizations signed a statement opposing the
readmission of Honduras into the OAS. Signers include groups representing
jurists, women, members of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities, and
lesbians, gay, bi, transgender and queer people. (www.cejil.org)
On May 27 the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras
(COPINH), the country’s main Indigenous coalition, pledged to
“deepen all our efforts at denouncing the criminal dictatorship led by
Porfirio Lobo Sosa. We will not forget. We will not forgive, and we will not
reconcile.” (Europa Press, May 19; Honduras Culture and Politics, May 24,
COPINH denounced the Lobo regime’s repression — the killings of
activists and journalists, the massacres of peasants, the disappearances, the
brutal evictions, the militarization of Indigenous communities and the
privatization projects “for the benefit of the oligarchy and
transnational capital.” (Vos el Soberano, June 2)
Zelaya’s return is a great victory for the people. However, the Honduran
Resistance will not stop. The FNRP is organizing a National Constituyente, a
plan to restructure Honduran society and reapportion their national resources.
The people need clean water, jobs, education, health care, decent housing and
justice. They will accept nothing less. They are organized everywhere and they
aren’t going anywhere.
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