Saturday, December 23, 2017

No to US support for electoral fraud and repression by Honduran dictator!


Friday, December 22, 2017

Open Letter to the People of the U.S. from Opposition Alliance Coordinator and Ex-President Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Open Letter to the People of the United States
People of the United States:
 
For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country "Banana Republic" and characterized our politicians as "cheaper than a mule" (as in the infamous Rolston letter).
 
Thousands of Hondurans protest at U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa

Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty.
We have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor--spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people. Certain sectors of Honduran private industry have also suffered greatly from punitive taxes and persecution.

You, the people of the United States, have been sold the idea that your government defends democracy, transparency, freedom and human rights in Honduras. But the State Department and Heide Fulton, the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires who is serving as de facto Ambassador to Honduras, are supporting blatant electoral fraud favoring Mr. Hernández, who has repeatedly violated the Honduran Constitution and (as noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) basic human rights. He is responsible for the scandalous looting of USD $350 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute and while he lies to you shamelessly that he is fighting drug cartels, he has destroyed the rule of law by stacking the Supreme Court with justices loyal to him.

The people of the United States have the right to know that in Honduras your taxes are used to finance, train and run institutions that oppress the people, such as the armed forces and the police, both of which are well known to run death squads (like those that grew out of Plan Colombia) and which are also deeply integrated with drug cartels.

People of the United States: the immoral support of your government has been so two-faced that for eight consecutive years the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation has determined that the Hernandez regime does not qualify for aid because of the government’s corruption, failing in all measures of transparency. With this record, the Honduran people ask: Why is the U.S. Government willing to recognize as president a man who the Honduran people voted against, and who they wish to see leave office immediately?

People of the United States: We ask you to spread the word, to stand up to your government’s lies about supporting democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and to demand that your elected representatives immediately end U.S. support for the scandalous electoral fraud against the people of Honduras, who have taken to the streets to demand recognition of the victory of the Alliance Against the Dictatorship and of President-Elect Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla Salúm.

We can tolerate difference and conflict, seeking peaceful solutions as a sovereign people, but your government’s intervention in favor of the dictatorship only exacerbates our differences.

The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.

We stand in solidarity with the North American people; we share much more with you than the fact that the one percent has bought off the political leaders of both our nations.

As descendants of the Independence hero Morazán, we want to live in peace, with justice and in democracy.

The Honduran people want to have good relations with the United States, but with respect and reciprocity.

Tegucigalpa, December 21, 2017

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Constitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras 2005-2010
Chief Coordinator, Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"This is an insurrection" - Honduran journalist Sandra Maribel Sánchez

This is an insurrection
Interview with Sandra Maribel Sánchez
Introduction and interview: Melissa Cardoza
Translation: Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle
Photo: Chris Jeske during La Voz de los de Abajo human rights delegation
For those who don’t know her, Sandra is a journalist who has worked political beats for decades and for very challenging outlets for someone of her profession. Her columns and opinions question and influence. They share characteristics that are scarce in Honduran media: responsibility, ethics, veracity and tenacity.

What is going on today, December 19th, 2107 in Honduras?
What is happening is that the formal institutional framework is a hollow shell, which recognizes Juan Orlando Hernández as President of Honduras at the same time there is a majority expression by the people in the streets resisting that statement and the possibility of this man staying in power. This is because people feel violated, abused, robbed by the Honduran authorities and also by those organizations that send observation missions. The people know who they voted for and that’s what they talk about in their barrios, their communities, in the public spaces.

With all of the evidence that has come to light about the process it is evident that Nasralla won the elections, and even people who didn’t believe in him, in this moment they are defending the will of the people who voted for him and their struggle against the fraud. Here they have stolen everything from us, education, healthcare, highways, but the people feel that this is their limit, this has them mobilized and it has the businessmen afraid. Those who supported Juan Orlando threw gas on the fire and now they ask for everything to be resovled with dialogue. They are the ones who created the conditions for this to happen.

I have hope that out of this the possiblity of dialogue will arise, but not the one they call for, but rather a National Constitutional Assembly where all actors can be on a level playing field and where we reach a true social pact. Because the 1982 constitution was a pact between political and military elites, the people had no voice in it. Now the people like never before have the level of consciousness needed to pursue that end and they are willing to do anything. I cannot help but be a little afraid, but insurrection is a right that the constitution guarantees, and that is where there is an opening for people not to have to live under governments imposed through force, and that is what is happening in the country. The electoral tribunal can prounounce him President, but he is being imposed through force, he is imposing himself through force, through the military police and the army. They build that police force to act as a political police exactly as it is behaving, and they gave the military a lot of rewards in exchange for their loyalty.

The tribunal declaring him winner is irrelevant to everybody. What the people are afraid of is the participation of the military, because they aren’t just going after those they think commit crimes when they protest, they are going to people’s homes, launching tear gas, attacking little boys and girls, the elderly, without any regard, that is what they were trained for. We are at that moment. The people who had taken no position to this point are now raising their heads and joining the expressions of the majority that are taking place in the country.

What is the most striking thing that you see in the streets, in these times?
Photo/  foto: Chris Jeske
The people say that if they haven’t killed you through hunger, they will still kill you after the dictator is installed, that they have no doubt that if he consolidates his power he will have them killed. Terrible- one young man said it just like that, that what might change is the moment he dies, but that this government will kill him, because its military targets are the poorest barrios. That is where they are most vicious,  because that is where the people from whom this government has stolen everything live. That’s the dimension of people’s determination.

And women?


Photo/foto: Chris Jeske
On the front line. Everywhere I have gone they have been there. The cameras go to places to take pictures where there are fires or striking images, but women’s attitude is incredible. They have tremendous strength confronting tear gas, and they go right up to where the police are, even though they have their helmets and sheilds, their gas masks, they don’t care. The women go with their children because they have to watch out for them, and they go out with them. It isn’t because they are irresponsible like some say. They are in ther barrios, their homes. The women go out with them to save them. In my whole professional life, in my personal life, I have never seen people so willing to be in the street, any government with the least amount of sense would have to see what is happening and act based on that criteria.

What is sustaining the dictator for this to be able to happen?
The true rulers of this country. Although they are wavering because they are losing a lot. We’ve been told that in Trujillo the ships that get to the port to pick up bananas go back empty because on the roads between Colón and Atlántida there around 320 banana shipments that have not been able to get through. This is happening in many places. Look, yesm there are people that commit crimes, that are looting and breaking windows, but that is part of the fury in people. The media try to conflate the gang members with the people who are in the streets, but even the gang members are the product of the system. They are the product of the deprivation that the system subjects them to. They are Hondurans, and they live here. You and I have may have been able to go to school, pay for a house, go out to get food and take care of things, but there are people here who have none of that. It is impossible to wrap your mind around how a family of six could survive on a salary of $340 / month [Honduras’s minimum wage].

And the embassy?
That’s another major actor, not just the U.S. one that always holds us down, but all of them because the European Union is playing a role, which at the beginning seemed separate from that of the U.S.. But it was an illusion, the chief of the mission who supposedly is a progressive woman said some strong things at one moment that generated certain confidence and expectations, but then since that they have not questioned the status quo. There is a level of collusion between those embassies, they see the country on fire and people killed and don’t even really care.

With regard to the latest from the OAS secretary, who we have no reason to trust, at least they offer a proposal for a way out. But these guys are dead set on staying in power. There is known scientific evidence that there was fraud, but in the face of scientific evidence they close their eyes and deny the political reality. I think that Almagro in the short term wants to justify intervention in Venezuela and he needs to clean up his image, and the gringos themselves may have given him the go-ahead, but we have seen statements from the State Department that say that the Opposition Alliance has five days to submit objections to a tribunal that lacks legitimacy. In this country neither the healthcare system nor the educational system are functioning, the police exist to attack the population not protect it, here a minority makes the political and economic decisions and they want us to believe in that set of institutions, to rely on them to take our objections to these processes. That can’t be.

I have faith that the people who took to the streets in 2009, who spent over 150 days in the streets resisting the coup and due to bad decisions by some politicians did not end up with a constitutional assembly, may now be able to get one. I think of that as just a tool to build a social pact, it isn’t the final objective, but I hope that the pressure on this man achieves at least that. Despite the millions that have been spent on tear gas they have not been able to defeat the population, yesterday in Villanueva they ran out of tear gas, of the barrels full of tear gas bombs they were carrying. The smoke was rising from in between houses, the white gas of their bombs. What kind of government is that?
This is an insurrection, and which way it goes I am convinced is influenced by the Alliance leadership, because some saw in them a path towards some light, but it goes beyond that; it is in the communities where orgaznied people amongst themselves are discussing what they are going to do and testing leadership, observing it and monitoring it.


That is wonderful.
Photo: Chris Jeske during La Voz de los de Abajo human rights delegation


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Social Movement Platform of Honduras: "The people’s victory is close and depends solely on the decisive, courageous and heroic struggle of the people in resistance"

COMMUNIQUE IN RESPONSE TO DECLARATION OF JUAN ORLANDO HERNANDEZ’S AS WINNER
The Platform of the Social and Popular Movement of Honduras communicates to the Honduran people, in this moment of grave national crisis, where again they seek to impose a coup d’état, this time in the form of a fraudulent presidential re-election, the following:

  1. We repudiate the resolution of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that declared Juan Orlando Hernandez the president-elect and, therefore, we reject the widespread fraud orchestrated by the National Party, the national oligarchy and the government of the United States through their chargé d'affaires in Honduras.
  2. We demand the immediate resignation of Juan Orlando Hernández and all the members of his cabinet, who make up a spurious, illegal regime and are the face of an oligarchic dictatorship that seeks to impose itself through brute force against the interests of our people.
  3. We reject the ambiguous and complicit attitude of international organizations that have tried to protect and prolong a criminal dictatorship responsible for the murder of hundreds of our sisters and brothers, and the repression and torture of thousands of people throughout the whole country.

Through this means, we call on local organizations and the people of Honduras to:

  1. To take the streets, roads and public plazas. In the strategic areas, establish checkpoints that are set up with sufficient distances to wear down the military or police repression, until the fall of this spurious regime.
  2. Maintain control over our territories, guaranteeing respect and safety for our brothers and sisters in cities and communities throughout the country. Fight smartly, with determination and without unnecessary risks to the lives of all those in the popular struggle.
  3. To guarantee the sustainability of the struggle, by planning the distribution of food and all the necessary resources that will permit us to maintain what will likely be a prolonged resistance.
  4. To create teames in each community in resistance to document, make videos and denounce all the human rights violations committed by the dictatorship.
  5. To break the media siege by all possible means, using social media and especially our community radios throughout the national territory. We ask that when publishing notes or reports about th estruggles that we avoid giving names and filming the faces of comrades in the shots.
  6. To hold with dignity and bravery every takeover site or popular checkpoint. The people’s victory is close and depends solely on the decisive, courageous and heroic struggle of the people in resistance

Only the people can save the people!
Down with the dictatorship!


December 17th, 2017

COORDINACIÓN NACIONAL
Plataforma del Movimiento Social y Popular de Honduras





Monday, December 18, 2017

COPINH: For the blood spilled by Berta Cáceres and all of our ancestors, we demand the downfall of the murderous regime!

COPINH DOES NOT recognize the decision of the electoral tribunal, calls for grassroots mobilization

[Original en español]

The Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) DOES NOT recognize the statement made yesterday by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) which claims  Juan Orlando Hernández as the winner. This decision represents the final consummation of the electoral fraud through which they seek to make a mockery of the Honduran people’s will expressed on November 26th, which is to expel the dictatorship and its corrupt cabal from the presidency. The fraud carried out throughout the process is clear and evident, starting with the illegality of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH)’s candidacy itself and especially in the hours following the closure of the polls when the opposition’s victory became apparent. With their timid statements the OAS and EU have corroborated what the people have already declared in the streets - all of the irregularities of the corrupt electoral process and Honduran state make clear that this is the imposition of a dictatorship. The statement by the TSE is yet another affront to the Honduran people and we denounce that all of its members who were involved should be prosecuted.

*COPINH calls for the permanent mobilization and organization in the streets of the Lenca and Honduran people as a whole to make the legitimate demand that JOH immediately step down, or, short of that, for there to be a new electoral process with guarantees and transparency, supervised by the international community, beyond the OAS and also including representation of the Honduran grassroots social movements.

*COPINH demands that the armed forces and Honduran police immediately cease their repression against the Honduran people who are exercising their constitutional right to protest a government based on imposition!

*COPINH calls on the international community to denounce the violent and murderous actions by agents of the state’s repressive forces, which have already taken 22 Honduran lives, and to push for the governments of the world to refuse recognition of the criminal declaration by Honduras’s TSE.

*COPINH and the Lenca people are rising up, not in defense of a party or a candidate, but rather in defense of dignity itself.

For the blood spilled by Berta Cáceres and all of our ancestors, we demand justice! We demand the downfall of the murderous regime!

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Iselaca, Etempica and Mota we raise our voices full of life, justice, dignity and peace.

December 18th, 2017
La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras
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