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News :: International
Reports from the front: The population of Honduras is fighting back
02 Jul 2009
"Jose Antonio Zepeda, President of the Central American Union Movement, says that when a caravan carrying peasants and union members towards Tegucigalpa reached a roadblock near San Pedro Sula, the 105th Infantry used machine guns to shoot out the tires on their busses. Undeterred, the unionists and peasants continued to Tegucigalpa on foot."
"They claim they're fighting for their constitution, but they just ripped it apart.
Gone. All gone. Everything they claim to be defending is gone now, destroyed and in tatters at the hands of the very political class that claimed it was protecting them.
And now, with the Congress' invitation to enter the people's door, the vampires begin to come out... tonight."

"Battalion 316” a notorious death squad element within the Honduran army has been reactivated (last seen in the 1980’s) and is “operating” in that country again now."

Reports from the front: The population of Honduras is fighting back

Anti-Coup Protests Reported Across Honduras

Posted by Kristin Bricker - July 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm
Despite Repression and the Suspension of Constitutional Guarantees, Hondurans Keep Fighting the Coup Government

The anti-coup movement's momentum appears to be building across Honduras, with protests reported across the country. Meanwhile, international pressure builds against the coup government.
Over the past two days, anti-coup protests were reported in Tocoa, Colon; San Pedro Sula; La Ceiba; El Progreso, Yoro; Tegucigapla; Intibuca; El Paraiso; Olancho; Santa Barbara; and all over President Zelaya's native department of Olancho. Moreover, the BBC reports that citizens have blocked major highways in Copan and Tocoa. The BBC's sources on the ground in Honduras say anti-coup protests have occurred in the majority of Honduras' departments.

A leader of the teachers union, Freddy Vega, told TeleSUR that teachers are on strike and classes will not resume until ousted President Manuel Zelaya is back in Honduras.

Via Campesina reports that yesterday morning, social leaders from across the country met to discuss strategy. 

Teachers union leaders report that citizens in Cortés, Choluteca, Comayagua, Santa Bárbara, and Copán are preparing mobilizations and marches to Tegucigalpa to receive President Zelaya when he returns. Zelaya had originally stated that he would return on Thursday. However, as a result of the Organization of American States' (OAS) decision to give the coup government 72 hours to turn power over to Zelaya, the ousted president has decided to postpone his return until after the OAS' 72-hour deadline has passed on Saturday. 

The delay will give Zelaya supporters more time to reach Tegucigalpa. The AFP reports that several Honduran social leaders have told that news agency that soldiers have blocked highways, preventing thousands of people from arriving in Tegucigalpa. 

Jose Antonio Zepeda, President of the Central American Union Movement, says that when a caravan carrying peasants and union members towards Tegucigalpa reached a roadblock near San Pedro Sula, the 105th Infantry used machine guns to shoot out the tires on their busses. Undeterred, the unionists and peasants continued to Tegucigalpa on foot. They arrived in the capital today, where they await President Zelaya's arrival this weekend. 

Pro-Coup Rallies

Pro-coup forces also mobilized yesterday, drawing thousands of protesters to a rally in Tegucigalpa. Coup president Roberto Micheletti and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Romeo Vasquez, spoke during the rally, which was organized by the Democratic Civic Union (UDC). The UDC organized a similar, smaller protest in San Pedro Sula, Honduras' second-largest city. A UDC protest occurred today in Choluteca.

While it is impossible to get accurate crowd estimates on any of the protests, the UDC's Tegucigalpa rally appeared to be larger than any of the anti-coup protests that occurred yesterday. But appearances can be deceiving. 

Rumors are circulating that bosses forced their workers to participate in the pro-coup mobilizations. The Popular Resistance Front of Honduras (which, like the UCD, is an ad-hoc organization formed in response to the current crisis), issued a communique claiming that "fast food, factory, and private security company employees have been forced to participate in the [UCD] event." 

Andrés Pavón of the Honduran Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, echoed that claim: "They took all of the fast food workers in Honduras and private security guards and they dressed them in white. In Honduras there's 30,000 private security guards and they dressed six thousand guards [in white]." 

Likewise, Rafael Alegría, leader of Via Campesina in Honduras, says that factory workers in San Pedro Sula were forced to participate in the march in that city. 

It's important to point out that these claims have not been confirmed. 

Even if the rumors and claims that workers were forced to participate in the pro-coup rallies aren't true, one fact is undeniable: the UDC's protests enjoy the full support of the coup government. As such, the government has made no attempt to repress the marches. 

That is not the case for the anti-coup protests. At an anti-coup protest in Tegucigalpa yesterday, an unidentified speaker told the crowd, "Our protests would be bigger, but you are all aware of the repression that we are experiencing." Police have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, billy clubs, live ammunition, and water cannons against anti-coup protesters. 

The following video from inside a Tegucigalpa hospital shows some of the injuries inflicted by police and soldiers. Even if you don't speak Spanish, you should be able to understand the injured people. At one point, the police shoot tear gas at the hospital.

Some of the most severe repression has been reported in President Zelaya's native department of Olancho. The Committee of Family Members of Disappeared Detained People in Honduras reports that the military is going house-to-house in communities all over the department and arresting young men. Young men have fled into the mountains, but the commuities report that military patrols are persuing them there as well.
Anti-coup protesters must also deal with limited communications. When the military kidnapped President Zelaya, it carried out simultaneous operations against pro-Zelaya media. Raids on radio stations continue, and international reporters have been detained (and later released) by the military. The pro-coup media, however, has operated without interruption. They publish calls to attend rallies in support of the coup as if it were news. 

Despite the repression, Hondurans all over the country take to the streets every day to protest the coup--and that is a victory the coup supporters can't claim. A speaker told an anti-coup rally in Tegucigalpa, "Today, there are protests all over the country. That [pro-coup] protest in Central Park is small compared with the protests all over the country."

More Repression to Come

Now that pro-coup forces have held their obligatory one-day rallies in Honduras' largest cities, Congress has suspended certain constitutional guarantees beginning at 10pm tonight. The suspension of guarantees is scheduled to last 72 hours, but it should be noted that the curfew imposed by the coup government, originally supposed to last only 48 hours, has been extended until Friday.

According to Honduras' El Tiempo, the following constitutional guarantees have been suspended:
0. Article 69, which guarantees the personal freedom.
0. Article 71, which states that no one can be detained or held incommunicado for more than 24 hours without an arrest warrant.
0. Article 78, which guarantees freedom of association and freedom of assembly.
0. Article 81, which states, "Everyone has the right to free movement, to leave, enter and remain in national territory."
El Tiempo reports that with the aforementioned guarantees suspended, "no one can hold meetings, neither public nor private, be it in the streets, in churches, in their own homes, or in union or guild halls."

-----


Despite the best efforts of what I call "the Oligarch Diaspora" to flood the Internet with near identical messages that the Honduran coup "is not a coup" and that was a "constitutional succession" (cough, cough) dressed in the blue-and-white flag of Honduran democracy, the coup regime bared its fangs today. And like any vampire, it's coming out at nightfall.
The same Congress that, after the military had kidnapped, beaten and dumped President Manuel Zelaya in Costa Rica had declared one of its own, Roberto Micheletti as the coup "president" today passed an emergency law stripping Hondurans of the following rights from the country's constitution:
1. The right to protest.
2. Freedom in one's home from unwarranted search, seizure and arrest.
3. Freedom of association.
4. Guarantees of rights of due process while under arrest.
5. Freedom of transit in the country.
Tomorrow morning's papers are already out across the ocean in Europe, and correspondent Pablo Ordaz of the Madrid daily El Pais has reported from Tegucigalpa about the Coup Congress' decree:
"Minute by minute, step by step, Honduras moves farther from its freedoms..."
Read the defenders of the coup and they are united by one powerful feeling: fear. They're afraid of the growing demonstrations in the streets, like the in the capital city this afternoon captured in the video above, where despite the brutal repressions against the people, each day the opposition crowds grow larger, more emboldened, and better organized. In the defiant but smiling faces of the Hondurans opposing the coup you can see the palpable difference between their passion and the lack of it from the passive bumps on a log that attended yesterday's pro coup rally.
The Congressional decree specified that only at night may those five freedoms be disappeared. And so tonight, a new reign of terror begins.
The coup defenders are afraid, they say, of Honduras becoming another another Cuba, or Venezuela, or Nicaragua, of losing their "freedoms" and their "democracy." But today, in one fell swoop their leaders erased those very freedoms, atop all the other ones they've already burned alive - freedom of the press, freedom to elect their own president, among them - and buried democracy with it.
For democracy is not possible unless a people has freedom to protest, freedom from unwarranted invasion of their homes, freedom of association, rights of due process under law, and freedom of travel in its own country.
That's over now, and will be as long as the coup regime remains in power.
The Oligarch Diaspora will not likely blink, comforting themselves with the Kool-Aid that this attack on civil rights and freedoms is not (well, not yet) aimed at them, but, rather, at "those people," the workers, the poor, the farmers, the indigenous, the rebel students and youth, their social organizations, organizer priests, defense attorneys, human rights observers and authentic journalists, the ones that want their democracy back so much that they risk life and limb now each time they say it.
The Oligarch Diaspora will continue spamming the Internet with their hysterical claims that the rest of the world "just doesn't understand," that the coup was "legal" (attorney Alberto Valiente Thorensen made mincemeat of that claim today), that they represent a majority (unsaid is that they are afraid to let that majority vote on a non-binding referendum, revealing that even they know they are not), that "Honduras wants the coup." But if the opposition were so small would the Coup Congress really have needed to enact the State of Siege and its repeal of those five basic freedoms?
The Oligarch Diaspora - and hey, Larry Birns (yes, you to whom I sent that memo on Sunday) didn't you and your organization COHA find out the hard way this week how they swarm and leech upon NGOs and media organizations to spread their falsehoods, causing your organization to have to issue another embarrassed "clarification"? - will continue to deceive the gullible into thinking they're really of democratic and freedom-loving tendencies.
But what they don't tell you is that they don't want those freedoms for all Hondurans, just for the ones with money and property and political power and privilege: themselves. The rest must be subordinated to them and controlled, by force if necessary.
And so today, Honduras said goodbye to the following articles of its Constitution:
Article 69: "A persons liberty is inviolable and can only be restricted or suspended temporarily through process of law."
Article 71: "No person can be arrested nor kept incommunicado for more than 24 hours without being placed before a competent authority to be judged. Judicial detention during an investigation must not exceed six consecutive days from the moment that the same is ordered."
Article 78: "Freedoms of association and meeting are always guaranteed when they are not contrary to public order and good customs.
Article 79: "All persons have the right to meet with others, peacefully and without weapons, in public demonstration or transitory assembly, in relation to their common interests of any type, without necessity of notice or special permission."
Article 81: "All persons have the right to circulate freely, leave, enter, and remain in national territory. No one can be obligated to change home or residence except in special cases and with those requirements that the Law establishes."
The Oligarch Diaspora says that the democratically elected president was removed by force because he supposedly "violated the Constitution" by proposing a nonbinding referendum to ask all Hondurans if they wanted the chance to vote about whether they wanted to rewrite it through a Constitutional Convention.
But the coup leaders the Oligarch Diaspora defends just rewrote that same constitution today without any formal process of consulting the people at all.
They claim they're fighting for their constitution, but they just ripped it apart.
Gone. All gone. Everything they claim to be defending is gone now, destroyed and in tatters at the hands of the very political class that claimed it was protecting them.
And now, with the Congress' invitation to enter the people's door, the vampires begin to come out... tonight.
-----

Honduras' Coup Congress Cancels Five Basic Liberties

Freedom of Association, Assembly, Transit, Due Process and from Search, Seizure and Invasion of One's Home, Erased on a Single Afternoon

Despite the best efforts of what I call "the Oligarch Diaspora" to flood the Internet with near identical messages that the Honduran coup "is not a coup" and that was a "constitutional succession" (cough, cough) dressed in the blue-and-white flag of Honduran democracy, the coup regime bared its fangs today. And like any vampire, it's coming out at nightfall.
The same Congress that, after the military had kidnapped, beaten and dumped President Manuel Zelaya in Costa Rica had declared one of its own, Roberto Micheletti as the coup "president" today passed an emergency law stripping Hondurans of the following rights from the country's constitution:
1. The right to protest.
2. Freedom in one's home from unwarranted search, seizure and arrest.
3. Freedom of association.
4. Guarantees of rights of due process while under arrest.
5. Freedom of transit in the country.
Tomorrow morning's papers are already out across the ocean in Europe, and correspondent Pablo Ordaz of the Madrid daily El Pais has reported from Tegucigalpa about the Coup Congress' decree:
"Minute by minute, step by step, Honduras moves farther from its freedoms..."
Read the defenders of the coup and they are united by one powerful feeling: fear. They're afraid of the growing demonstrations in the streets, like the in the capital city this afternoon captured in the video above, where despite the brutal repressions against the people, each day the opposition crowds grow larger, more emboldened, and better organized. In the defiant but smiling faces of the Hondurans opposing the coup you can see the palpable difference between their passion and the lack of it from the passive bumps on a log that attended yesterday's pro coup rally.
The Congressional decree specified that only at night may those five freedoms be disappeared. And so tonight, a new reign of terror begins.
The coup defenders are afraid, they say, of Honduras becoming another another Cuba, or Venezuela, or Nicaragua, of losing their "freedoms" and their "democracy." But today, in one fell swoop their leaders erased those very freedoms, atop all the other ones they've already burned alive - freedom of the press, freedom to elect their own president, among them - and buried democracy with it.
For democracy is not possible unless a people has freedom to protest, freedom from unwarranted invasion of their homes, freedom of association, rights of due process under law, and freedom of travel in its own country.
That's over now, and will be as long as the coup regime remains in power.
The Oligarch Diaspora will not likely blink, comforting themselves with the Kool-Aid that this attack on civil rights and freedoms is not (well, not yet) aimed at them, but, rather, at "those people," the workers, the poor, the farmers, the indigenous, the rebel students and youth, their social organizations, organizer priests, defense attorneys, human rights observers and authentic journalists, the ones that want their democracy back so much that they risk life and limb now each time they say it.
The Oligarch Diaspora will continue spamming the Internet with their hysterical claims that the rest of the world "just doesn't understand," that the coup was "legal" (attorney Alberto Valiente Thorensen made mincemeat of that claim today), that they represent a majority (unsaid is that they are afraid to let that majority vote on a non-binding referendum, revealing that even they know they are not), that "Honduras wants the coup." But if the opposition were so small would the Coup Congress really have needed to enact the State of Siege and its repeal of those five basic freedoms?
The Oligarch Diaspora - and hey, Larry Birns (yes, you to whom I sent that memo on Sunday) didn't you and your organization COHA find out the hard way this week how they swarm and leech upon NGOs and media organizations to spread their falsehoods, causing your organization to have to issue another embarrassed "clarification"? - will continue to deceive the gullible into thinking they're really of democratic and freedom-loving tendencies.
But what they don't tell you is that they don't want those freedoms for all Hondurans, just for the ones with money and property and political power and privilege: themselves. The rest must be subordinated to them and controlled, by force if necessary.
And so today, Honduras said goodbye to the following articles of its Constitution:
Article 69: "A persons liberty is inviolable and can only be restricted or suspended temporarily through process of law."
Article 71: "No person can be arrested nor kept incommunicado for more than 24 hours without being placed before a competent authority to be judged. Judicial detention during an investigation must not exceed six consecutive days from the moment that the same is ordered."
Article 78: "Freedoms of association and meeting are always guaranteed when they are not contrary to public order and good customs.
Article 79: "All persons have the right to meet with others, peacefully and without weapons, in public demonstration or transitory assembly, in relation to their common interests of any type, without necessity of notice or special permission."
Article 81: "All persons have the right to circulate freely, leave, enter, and remain in national territory. No one can be obligated to change home or residence except in special cases and with those requirements that the Law establishes."
The Oligarch Diaspora says that the democratically elected president was removed by force because he supposedly "violated the Constitution" by proposing a nonbinding referendum to ask all Hondurans if they wanted the chance to vote about whether they wanted to rewrite it through a Constitutional Convention.
But the coup leaders the Oligarch Diaspora defends just rewrote that same constitution today without any formal process of consulting the people at all.
They claim they're fighting for their constitution, but they just ripped it apart.
Gone. All gone. Everything they claim to be defending is gone now, destroyed and in tatters at the hands of the very political class that claimed it was protecting them.
And now, with the Congress' invitation to enter the people's door, the vampires begin to come out... tonight.

-----

Please spread widely by all means necessary. General Joe

-----

A troubling news item just in from www.Democracynow.org

“Battalion 316” a notorious death squad element within the Honduran army has been reactivated (last seen in the 1980’s) and is “operating” in that country again now.





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