Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maria Rita Matamoros: "The poor people are putting their lives on the line to save this nation."

Interview with Maria Rita Matamoros

Maria Rita Matamoros explains how the police and the army his them and threw tear gas bombs when the march of the Resistance heads to the Guatemalan embassy to stand in solidarity with the 12 members of COPINH seeking political asylum after having received death threats. Matamoros was fired from her job in the Secretariat of Natural Resources and Environment for being part of the Resistance and for supporting President Manuel Zelaya.

Today they shot at us with tear gas and fired live rounds at us. They began to follow us because we were heading to the Guatemalan embassy to protest because a few friends were there asking for political asylum. So when we started to go there they began to throw tear gas bombs. We began to look for places to hide and they were running behind us shooting at us. One after the other, the people were running in a wave, people were choking. I helped one man. I brought him a bag of water because he was choking. I gave him a towel because he had nothing. He was red. I ran if I had continued going straight toward the bridge, they would have caught me and beat me but thanks to god, I ran from the street and I went to the soccer field. There someone helped me and we hid. There were a few of us and we hid behind a car. There was also and man there who was choking because he had swallowed the gas. A girl opened a door and said "Come here. Come here. Take refuge here." So we entered and we helped the man because he was already choking. There was also a boy who fell off the bridge and broke his leg. There were also people who had been beaten up because the people who made it got beat up by the police. I heard them say that everything was in peace. Here there is no peace because they are repressing us. There's no freedom of expression. There's nothing here for us. Here we are in a tremendous insecurity. We are full of fear because they are entering the neighborhoods in operations to arrest the people who are resisting. You just saw that they are taking our pictures, recording our faces and later they follow us and kill us. So there is a tremendous persecution. People are afraid to put themselves out there because they fear for their lives. They have killed a few people already. They are driving about in motorcycles shooting people. I think the more powerful countries should step in to help us because the poor of the country don`t have anything to defend ourselves with. We don't have anything. We only have water and towels. They are coming to control us and later kill us. People are hurt with bones broken, with their lungs spitting up blood. They are killing us in the roads. They are on motorcycles dressed as civilians. The first thing they do is take their picture and then kill them. They identify them and they kill them. I hope people around the world raise their voices that people do something because we are dying. one by one they are eliminating us. Many people haven't gone out. Many people have been disappeared and the press isn't talking about it. The press doesn't realize what is happening because one by one they are killing us and throwing our bodies on the side of the highway, in the mountains.

They are trying to say that it is unrelated but these are people from the
resistance. The poor people are putting their lives on the line to save this nation. "What's your name?" Mariarita Matamoros "How old are you?" 51 years old "Are you a teacher?" No, I'm a secretary. I just got fired because you know there is so much repression going on now. People have their feelings to defend the country. We see that we are fighting for something just. President Zelaya was someone who was standing up for poor people. The only crime he committed was giving something to the poor. He was popular with the people. He sat down with the poor. He liked to share with the people. This is what has caused so much repudiation because his ideas were popular.The president didn't share in the wealth of those people because all of the other presidents have done what the powerful rich have told them to do,
but this president didn't. He put them in their place. That was his only crime, to put them in their place. And he gave space to the popular power. When the president was in power, he showed up in a market and the people went to see him...

They are repressing us. This is not democracy. Democracy shows itself
with peace, with dialogue, with people listening to each other. I believe here there is no democracy. Here there is only repression. And the "president" that is sitting there, the only way he got to power was by his weapons. The people don't want him. A person like him cannot govern because he is not tolerant. He only surrounds himself with friends.

When a journalist begins to ask him real questions he grows nervous.
Those are the orders he has given to the police, to kill us, to repress us to torture us so that we won't come out on the streets. But we aren't going to stop. We are going to continue. The elections aren't going to stop us because the elections have the same people. We know that if a new president comes it will be the same member of the coup regime. We don't want that. We want the people to have power. They have taken the power away from us. We have to rise up again. We know that the people want to constitutional assembly. You know the misery of Honduras, There are people who live in cans. Some of us are lucky to have houses and places to sleep. Some people don't even have a place to lay.

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