Thursday, August 13, 2009

Interview with Fanni Castillo, young Garifuna leader

I am Fanni Eliszabeth Solarzano Castillo and I represent the Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz.

Honduras Resiste: Since when have you participated in the National Resistance Front?

Fanni Eliszabeth Solarzano Castillo: Well it's been 43 days, since the 29th of June we made outselves present here in Tegucigalpa with the National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) and representing the different communities nationally.

HR: And why have you decided to come participate in this movement?

FC: Well I decided to come to support saying no to the coup because it is something that we had never thought we would live through. We have only heard the history, read books of the past, so it seems like a lie that we have to live through this. So I decided to come support because the things that President Manuel Zelaya were doing favored us, the poor people and also if we got the Constitutional Assembly it would have helped the Garifuna as minorities in Honduras and also for the future of out kids, because it's not possible that they can live in a dictatorship that is practically like returning to slavery.

HR: And what benefits could a Constitutional Assembly bring and why so much rejection by the powerful, by the national elites and politicians?

FC: Well the benefits that it could bring would be to change the Constitution of the Republic, to be a change where we could all benefit, so the powerful, the elite as they say, don't support because they think of themselves as owners of the country. They're the ones who have big corporations, businesses and everything and why not, they are those who are considered as owners of our Garifuna communities. So we have to support the Constitutional Assembly, because as I repeat it's a benefit for everyone.

HR: Outside of the capital do you think that there is support for the reinstatement of the elected President Manuel Zelaya?

FC: Well I think that there is support. In almost all 18 departments there is support, although all the bigges protests are here in Tegucigalpa. Almost all the movements of the best people come here because here is the biggest concentration but yes there is support, there are marchs and other actions in support of President Manuel Zelaya.

HR: You have participated in this movement since the 29th of June, can you tell me about what type of action you have done to support the return to democracy in Honduras?

FC: Well, the moral support of all, we were even able to walk to Nicaragua to support President Manuel Zelaya there. I can tell you that everybody supports the way they feel works best. But as Garifuna and as a woman we have supported a lot, we have left our families, out kids, our homes there in our communities to come here and be ready for everything, with our natural medicines, with a lot of things.

HR: In your participation together with the Garifunas and OFRANEH, have you been directly affected by the repression against the resistance movement?

Yes, we have suffered insults, threats, persecutions, in June they even asked us for an "Atlantic Permission" to be able to freely circulate in Tegucigalpa, and we have no idea where that law came from. Well, they have taken away our drums and pursued us when we crossed towards Nicaragua, we walked almost 30 hours through all the valleys and mountains of Danli to get to Nicaragua being pursued by the military. And I can proudly tell you as Garifuna we were the only ones that could laugh at the security of the military and that made them even angrier with us and finally there were some friends that had been behind and they were detained and practically assaulted by them and thanks to national and international contacts we can say that world wide calls started getting made to the police post in Paraiso and Danli. They let these friends go more quickly, but they did suffer racial insults, well they said everything, but than god nothing more happened, but yes we have suffered lots of agression by the military.

HR: And within the Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz, how have they been affected by the Coup d'Etat and what is the level of support for the resistance?

FC: I can say that still, almost 43 we have been feeling consequences, because already everything in the community is getting more expensive, the food that we are used to preparing the supplies that we buy, everything is a little more expensive, so that's why we reject the coup and we want the de facto government to leave there and we want our president to return so that everything goes back to normal because we still haven't had consequences, in the future this will be chaos for us, because we run risks as people, as Garifunas, we could return to slavery and also we have the risk of losing our communities. Although a lot of people don't take that into account now it is something that could happen and that is why we are here supporting, and from my community there are a lot of people here making themselves present to support against the coup.

HR: Thank you Fanni, do you want to share some more words before we finish the interview?

FC: Well, to the world in general we want to tell you to stay in tune to everything, to us, to Honduras, that we are against the coup. We want the return of the President of the Republic, we want the Constitutional Assembly and OUT WITH THE COUP!

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