Sunday, November 29, 2009

Indigenous leader Salvador Zúñiga: "The electoral farce is a failure. The oligarchy will never be able to hold back the deep desire for justice."

We are here with Liberated Radio live from somewhere in Honduras. We are here talking with one of the brothers from the national leadership of the National Front of Resistance, also a leader of COPINH, the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, Salvador Zúñiga, brother, in this period, in this context of the scenarios of the elections on one hand and on the other hand the repressions of these days in which the police are scaring people with bombs, bombs like those that have gone off in Tegucigalpa, like in Santa Bárbara where there are big explosions but no damage. They generate terror but they don't generate injuries. They aren't just feeding the idea of the fraud but also the idea of terror. Tell us a little about what we are living through these days.

Salvador Zúñiga: Well, we believe that the cards are thrown out on the table. The failure of the electoral farce is imminent. It is imminent as you see by the streets without people despite us being a day away from the farcical process set up by the coup-makers. The population won't attend and we could bet, that the bar of abstention if there was a bar graph with all the votes, we can already say that the highest bar will be the bar of abstention, which will get up to at least 70%, despite the fraud and despite them marking off ballots as they please. The majority of the population isn't participating in this electoral farce set up by the coup-makers.

So what is the environment in which this is developing? It is an environment of political repression. It is an environment of persecutions. It is an environment of terror. And these explosions that the paramilitary groups detonate is exactly in order to later justify why people didn't vote. But the people won't vote because they know that there is no point to voting because when the oligarchy feels affected with even the most minimal social changes, the oligarchy takes out the troops to assault and not allow changes.

Nonetheless, we are optimistic and one indicator of the great possibilities for the emancipation of the Honduran people will be the index of abstention in this process which, as I said, will be the majority.

So then, what will happen? The oligarchy that doesn't want to attend to even the most minimal social demand, that doesn't want to cede even a bit, that wants to continue giving away the national territory, that wants to continue destroying the forrests, that wants to continue selling away mining rights, that wants to continue selling away the rivers, etc., this oligarchy won't be able to hold back the deep desire for justice, for change, the deep desire for a more just and more humane economic model.

So what is the new government or the new regime of the oligarchy? It will administer a brutal economic crisis, a brutal social crisis that can be seen already in the levels of violence unleashed by all the authorities, unleashed in this short time the coup-makers have been governing – the executive branch, that is, because they've governed the whole country for years. They will administer a political crisis because the traditional political institutions are completely decrepit, they don't motivate, they don't convince. The two-party system is in a agonizing situation. So the new regime in the first six months will be confronting a social crisis because the Honduran people will be able in their exercise of sovereignty to push forward their emancipation by battling the regime with the push for a national constitutional assembly.

This National Constitutional Assembly should create a new social contract, a new social pact amongst Hondurans in which there are fundamental principles. For example the principle of pluri-culturalism, the principle of the defense and protection of natural resources, water, land, forests, biodiversity in general. For their preservation and for their development and management to benefit the Honduran people fundamentally. But a sustainable management, a responsible management. The other principle is of the rights of women, their rights to sovereignty over their bodies, the right to live without violence. The principle of the rights of the indigenous peoples, the right to diversity in all of its dimensions. This new social pact should also propose fundamental reform to the media law. That is to say, we can't live under a media dictatorship that lies, lies, lies, lies, lies and whose owners are exactly the gentleman of the oligarchy who have been constantly repressive.

Liberated Radio: So they should be part of the goods of the nation because the radio-electric space is property of the nation.

SZ: Basically, the Honduran people should have the right to objective and impartial information. It won't live under a media dictatorship that only presents the spokespeople for the oligarchy. They should give space to national alternative radio chains, alternative media and they should prohibit the oligarchy from owning the media.

Another important element is the communal right to land. We believe that in the passing of the next six months, the new regime or the continuation of this coup regime, which from what I understand will be Pepe Lobo acting as the new puppet of the oligarchy, this regime will be decrepit and the Honduran people through its resistance movement, through the National Front of Resistance will be better positioned to advance a new political subject for the transformation of the country – not that it has to become one but that it should advance a new political subject for change. And the Honduran people should define in the new constitutional pact the new role of the armed forces. Armed forces that first of all shouldn't absorb the national budget. Second, that should not be trained under the doctrine of the School of the Americas but under a Morazanista [in reference to Central American independence leader Francisco Morazán] doctrine, under a doctrine of fundamental respect for human rights, which should be laid out in the new constitutional framework of justice, they should be...

LR: The army of Morazán is an army that defends the Constitution, not the oligarchy.

SZ: Exactly. And a radical transformation of the justice, which is to say that this country can no longer be a country where the poor are the only ones to go to jail while the rich enjoy impunity. It can't be, as it is now, that the supreme court is at the service of the oligarchy. There should be a correct and proper administration of justice.

We strongly believe that the moment of true change is approaching. And it won't be a gift. It won't be easy. It is a product of this crisis which has clarified to the people who is who, which has identified for us, for example that there are coup churches that are havens of vipers and snakes. That has allowed us to identify the true allies of the people, the true Christianity at the service of humanity, at the service of Christ and justice. That has allowed us to identify who are those that are truly committed to the process of transformation of our country, in this sense, because we can see how the people have identified the opportunists who allowed themselves to get caught up in the electoral route and ended up being used to legalize or try to legitimize the fraudulent elections, but I see that the people have been able to see that.

That is why we are optimistic, we believe that we have to strengthen the unity and conviction that sooner or later the historic moment will come in which changes will be structural. Not cosmetic but structural changes that reduce the 80% of our people who live in poverty, and that 60% of them who live in extreme poverty. That allow us to resolve for example the lack of education for millions of kids who don't have any possibility of going to a school. That allow us to reduce the indices of malnutrition, of infant mortality, of illiteracy, that allow us to create a more democratic and tolerant society, a society with inter-cultural democracy, a society where the people always have a say and are listened to.

LR: Salvador, [talk about] the international arena. This process has finally allowed us to see the true face of all of the political sectors. Today in this country we are living through and getting to know the fascists who are taking off their masks and are showing their real faces in the media now with these campaigns calling everyone to vote and talking about the supposed parties which the people are convinced don't exist. Today the United States has taken away the cart and Panama is taking it away, and Costa Rica is taking it away and even the president of Mexico is doubtful if they will recognize or openly be saying that they will recognize the results. But on the other side the ranks have closed, they call to not recognize the elections and have established pacts which great strength. In the international arena there is a depiction of Honduras as continuing to be in the center of the hurricane.

SZ: Well I think that it is important to point out that the United States have always been fascist invaders of the rights of the peoples, exploiters and in this process they were the ones who financed the coup and advised the coup, Charlie Ford, Hugo Llorens, these men came exclusively for this work.

LR: Jon Negroponte.

SZ: Yes. Absolutely. They brought in Otto Reich, they brought in Robert Carmona, but they wanted to show another face. Nonetheless that has ended. It is known that imperialism is always imperialism and that it will be against the processes of emancipation. But it has to be said that this paper tiger is more than ever made of paper, because it has a scary economic crisis that they can't resolve, they are living through a recession, they are in an extremely uncomfortable situation. They are being defeated in Iraq, they are being defeated in Afghanistan, they are being defeated all over the world and they have to use once again brutal domination through war on Latin America. But in this context what we can see is that they will move and have moved their puppets, for example Oscar Árias, a puppet who has always been a puppet, a defender of the Nicaraguan counter-revolution. Alan García a corrupt man who killed tons of indigenous peoples. The Panamanian president who is an ultra-right oligarch. The Colombian president Álvaro Uribe who is also ultra-right. These type of puppet governments we could call them, will obviously always back the actions of their sponsor. The empire is still the empire. Obama is simply a vessel for the U.S. war interests, for the groups from the arms industry, for the secret sects that dominate that country and put forth the plan of governance. In that respect it is important to point out that the peoples of the world are living through an historic moment in which the emancipation of the Honduran people is a fundamental and emblematic struggle which has to be and is being supported by all the peoples of the world.

LR: One last question Salvador, a call out to international civil society who is listening to us. What is the role of international civil society in this moment?

SZ: International civil society should support the justness of the struggle of the Honduran people for the defense of democracy, for the defense of the interests of the Honduran people and of all the peoples of the world. Civil society should be in solidarity, should understand that the men of war, of terror, of illegality have to be isolated and denounced. In this moment any act of solidarity is important, whether it is a protest in front of the Honduran embassy, sit-ins or protests in front of the U.S. embassies. And the message of the struggle of the Honduran people has to be passed on and taken up as a struggle of all the peoples of the world because otherwise, we are talking about coups in Paraguay, they are conspiring in Venezuela, the coup-makers are conspiring in any country where there is a truly democratic process. This is the moment ot support with strength and to stop the coup-makers and fascists of the world in any way possible.

LR: For those listening to us through Radio La Voz Lenca, Radio Zelaca, Radio Tumbela, Cadena Mi Gente, Radio Maíz... those who are listening around Honduras, tomorrow there is a popular curfew.

SZ: Absolutely, a curfew, that is to say that people will stay in their homes reading, taking care of business, watching movies, cleaning the garden and they won't go out in the streets as a show of repudiation of the electoral farce. The streets will be deserted and the only ones moving about them will be the coup-makers, the armed forces, the police, the paramilitaries called in to violate human rights. The Honduran people will be meditating and preparing for the new rounds of struggle for a more just and humane society.

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