Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Todos Somos Honduras - Day Two Report

REPORT FROM HONDURAS - DAY 2 of Todos Somos Honduras Delegation
Honduras Resists is published by La Voz de los de Abajo, a group based in Chicago that has been working in solidarity with the Honduran social movement for over ten years. La Voz is currently leading a delegation to accompany the Honduran Resistance as they contest the inauguration of coup-conspirator and illegitimate "president-elect" Pepe Lobo. Below is the second report from the delegation:

The second day of the delegation brought us to Tegucigalpa and we were able to meet with members of the Political Organization the Necios. Included were the Secretary of Communication as well as the Secretary of International Affairs. Both also belong to the
International Commission of the National Front of Popular Resistance (Frente Nacional de Resitencia Popular). They provided a background of the Necios, their participation in the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), and the current crisis in the country.

The Necios were members of the Popular Block, one of the strongest social organizations in the country within the past decade whose focus was working against the neoliberal policies of privatization, free trade agreements, and related policies. Later on, the Coordinadora Nacional
de Resistencia Popular (The National Coordinator of Popular Resistance) was formed of which the Necios also formed part. This movement developed a set of 12 demands that unified the different social movements across the country. Following the coup the Necios as well as the Popular Block and National Coordinatorship became part of the National Front Against the Coup, the previous name of the National Front of Popular Resistance.

The Necios has three main goals; political formation, organization, and the last is propaganda. The Necios has dozens of core members as well as many more aspiring members who take part in 6 months of organizing work as well as classes covering 3 primary modules: 6 months of current issues, 1 year of philosophy, and 2 years of political economy. Necios members also form part of the National Youth in Resistance and has been entrusted by the FNRP to carry out the task of political formation using their long experience in that area working with youth.

For example, for the Resistance's demonstration opposing the inauguration of the illegitimately elected Pepe Lobo on the 27th of January 2010, the Necios has been taking on the tasks of working with the youth sector, the international affairs, and direct participation in the march covering security responsibilities. They've also coordinated the artist in resistance.

The ideology of the organization is that ideology is something to be constructed and they do not adopt one particular model, although the formation is primarily marxist but open to all thoughts. The goal is to create a concept of power that comes from below, from the bases, and that any government should lead by obeying “mandar obedeciendo”.

Honduras, as a country run by a few families, is the latin american country with the least social spending with some of the highest incidents of mortality under the age of 5, HIV, and is the second most poorest country in Latin America. The Necios believes that this is something that absolutely has to be changed.

Since the coup, much like many social activists in Honduras, members of the Necios have
suffered strong repression at the hand of the police and military such as surveillance, threats, and accusations of terrorism. Up to now, four members have had to go into exile for fear of their safety. Attempts have been made to entrap them in actions involving weapons. This has lead to an increase in security related efforts and it continues to the present. However, also since the coup, the Necios has also seen a great increase in applications for membership as well.

The Necios also offered their analysis of the day of the coup itself, highlighting, much like other organizations, the brutal nature of the coup, the accompanying media blockade, and the strong repudiation of the population across all social sectors. They highlighted the many benefits the projects with the ALBA, the Alternativa Bolivariana de las Amercias (Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas) had in the areas of agriculture, education and medicine.

These projects were canceled by the coup, independent media outlets shut down, and activists
attacked. However, with the strong response of the majority of the Honduran population against the coup and with much international support, they've been able to maintain a strong resistance that continues to grow up to the present day.


Red Comal - Siguatepeque January 24, 2010

On November 28th, one day before the scheduled defacto elections Honduras, more than fifty soldiers, national federal police and local police arrived at the facilities of the cooperative organization, Red COMAL - EcoSol in Siguatepeque; they pulled a military truck with a machine gun mounted on it up into the yard in front of the building and pointed it at the building. This is the beginning of the story of what “democracy” looks under a military coup as told to the La Voz delegation by Red Comal staff.

Miguel and Aravey, related the story of th
e military incursion against Red Comal in which the fifty troops kicked in doors, broke into filing cabinets and closets even though they were offered the keys to open them. They confiscated computers, financial records, canceled checks, mailing lists and other documents and terrorized the staff for 3 hours. They left without finding any weapons or contraband. Twenty minutes after the army and police had left the golpista local commissioner showed up and read the search warrant out loud- it had been granted to look for weapons, but Miguel and Aravey say the real reason is obvious, Red Comal’s participation in the peaceful anti-coup resistance.

Red COMAL was founded in 1993 with the goal of assisting the campesino communities in producing marketable products and getting the products to the consumers without going through commercial “middle men”, through the cooperative. They also have a network of small stores and 5 distribution centers to distribute the products.

Red Comal has a center, EcoSol and a restaurant. It has around 40 staff members who work in Siguatepeque and out in the countryside. They have also started using an alternative currency within the network. Campesinos are members of the board of directors and involved in all of the work.

Miguel and Aravey said that from the first minute of the coup on June 28, Red COMAL didn’t
hesitate in taking a public and active position against the coup and to join in the resistance movement. Miguel explained that Red Comal wasn’t created just to distribute goods but to serve the campesino movement and it has always been a part of the social movements. Red Comal participated in the marches from Siguatepeque to Tegucigalpa, and in the local and national protests. It is also a part of the regional National Front Against the Coup and both Miguel and Aravey say it is clear that even though none of their activities are illegal, it is their participation in the resistance that led to the military raid on November 28th.

We asked about their perspective on the future:

“After January 27th, the conflict will not be over, but rather all the repercussions of the last 7 months of economic and social crises will come out. We can’t be confident, as a political and social movement about the declarations about reconciliation that really have no meaning. People are giving up hope in the old electoral
process. There's been a big awakening but there's still more to do. If there is to be a Constituent Assembly for a new constitution it must be highly participative and representative of all of the social sectors. We have heard that the new defacto president, Pepe Lobo, has even called for a constituent assembly but that might be just the same process as usual, with the same politicians and nothing to do with the concerns of the people.”

Red Comal filed legal complaints against the local police, and military for the damage done during the November raid, but have not received any answers to the complaints. None of the seized equipment or papers have been returned to the organization even though nothing that was taken had any relationship to the reason for the search warrant.

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