[Marxism] Honduras - end nears? Coup regime begns talks as resitsance grows

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 05:14:18 MDT 2009


 Honduras: Coup regime starts talks as resistance grows

Federico Fuentes, Caracas

The coup regime in Tegucigalpa is crumbling in the face of growing
resistance from Honduran people and international condemnation.

Having seized power in a military coup June 28, the coup regime headed by
“president” Robert Micheletti has faced sustained resistance in the streets
for three months from the Honduran poor.

However, the situation exploded on September 21 when legitimate President
Manuel Zelaya, who was kidnapped at gun point in the co0up and exiled to Costa
Rica, stunned the world by announcing he had snuck back into Honduras and
was inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

The dictatorship ordered the police and military to violently repress the
thousands who protested outside the Brazilian embassy, as well as the people
on the streets across the country. An unknown number of people have been
killed, including an eight-year-old girl, and hundreds arrested.


The response of the Honduran poor, determined to see “their” president who
had increased the minimum wage by 60% returned to office, was to launch an
insurrection in impoverished neighbourhoods.

With street battles raging, and barricades raised, a number of working class
neighbourhoods declared themselves “liberated zones”.

Tthe international isolation of the coup regime also worsened when United
Nations general-secretary Ban Ki-moon said on September 23 that elections
organised by the Micheletti dictatorship would not be “credible” and the UN
was withdrawing all assistance (worth US$1.3 million) for a coup
regime-organised November 28 poll.

Desperate, the regime has now opened dialogue with Zelaya — something it
refused to do for three months.

The resistance plans once again to take to the streets of
Tegucigalpatomorrow (September 25) to demand Zelaya’s reinstatement
and the calling of
a constituent assembly.

The issue of organising a constituent assembly to redraft the constitution
was the detonator for the June 28 coup. That day, a non-binding referendum
was meant to be held, asking the people whether they were in favor of a
constituent assembly to rewriting the 1982 constitution — put in place by
the military dictatorship at the time.

Gilberto Rios, a leader of the National Resistance Front Against the
Coup,  told
<em>*Green Left Weekly</em>* over the phone from Tegucigalpa: “President
Zelaya has meet [today] with a few people from the right wing to see if they
could start a process of dialogue.

“It possible that the level of tension will briefly come down, although
tomorrow will be a climactic day of mobilisations — boosted by the support
we received in the UN.”

Explaining the course of events that day (September 24), Rios said: “The
National Front had called on the people to not mobilise in the center of
Tegucigalpa. Instead, it was proposed that people should organise protests
in their <em>barrios</em> and <em>colonias</em> [poor neighbourhoods], in
order to avoid any provocations by the march of the <em>*camisas
blancas*</em> [white shirts, supporters of the coup].”

Many feared the pro-coup march could be used as a trigger for street clashes
and further repression. Some had warned of plans to stoke up violent
confrontations near the Brazilian embassy, where Zelaya remains.

Resistance activist Ricardo Salgado told <em>*GLW</em>* that the march was
further evidence that “a section of the armed forces and the coup regime are
still look to carry out extreme measures” to end the anti-coup resistance.

In the end, the pro-coup march was very small and largely consisted of
public servants forced to attend, Rios said.


Both Rios and Salgado confirmed that numerous avenues of dialogue had been
opened up between Zelaya and coup representatives over the last 24 hours.

Salgado said: “Last night a representative of the de facto government
arrived at the Brazilian embassy to explicitly propose to the president that
he resign and that Micheletti would also resign.

“This was considered unacceptable [by Zelaya], as it would basically
legitimise the coup.

“Then, this afternoon, Father Juan Jose Pineda, a bishop in Tegucigalpa who
is very close to Cardinal Rodriguez, one of the coup plotters” also visited
Zelaya, “we suspect to offer some kind of negotiation … on behalf of the de
facto government.”

Salgado added, “later on today [Zelaya] will meet with Father Luis Alfonso
Santos who is decidedly against the coup and who just released a 12 point
declaration [in which he states] his support for the people, constitutional
restoration and the recognition of the legitimate right to insurrection of
the people have in the face of a government imposed by force”.

He said this seemed to confirm that the Catholic Church would play an
important role in any negotiations.

Furthermore, the candidates that stated their intention to run in the
November presidential elections met this afternoon (September 24) with
Michelleti, and will met with Zelaya later tonight.

Rios said the National Resistance Front “is and has always been open to
dialogue, as long as it contemplates the restitution of Zelaya and the
jailing of those responsible for the coup”.

“The [plan to organise a] constituent assembly is also non-negotiable. The
constitutional order was broken as a result of the coup and the constitution
orders that a constitution assembly be held [in such a scenario] so that
cannot be up for discussion on the negotiation table.”

He told <em>GLWM</em> that Zelaya “has spoken with the resistance and that
we have the same position in regards to what is up for discussion and what
is non-negotiable”.

He added that he didn’t think the dialogue would succeed “very easily or

“The coup regime has its own internal contradictions”, Salgado said.
“Although it has attempted to maintain the facade of a strong regime backed
by repression, it is clear that the country is in a very bad state and
groups of business owners have said it is necessary to negotiate with the

“If we take as our starting point the fact that these business owners are
the financiers of the coup, then what we are talking about is sections of
the coup regime recognising the need to negotiate.”

Salgado said: “My personal opinion is that while it is true that the
resistance forces have not matured enough yet to be able to stage an
insurrection capable of overthrowing the coup regime, it has been able to
reach a high level of organisation.”

This means that Zelaya “will need to count on the leadership of the National
Front for any proposed solution to the current situation, because that is
where he finds his social base. His popularity is based on [including] a
large range of people, from popular leaders in the barrios, to teachers to
supporters of his former party.”

<strong>Repression and mobilisation</strong>

Rios said: “There continues to be a strong presence of military and police
helicopters [circling Tegucigalpa] because the National Resistance Front is

“So I think that if the dialogue does not begin today, we will probably face
a night where we will see a repeat of the last few nights — where there has
been a lot of repression in the colonias with many people detained.”

Salgado agreed, saying “the last few nights have been very tense … the
military has been carrying out a campaign of attacking the popular barrios
and poor colonias. They have approached homes without any warnings and
carried out extrajudicial break-ins into — taking the young men out, beating
up the parents.

“The exact toll of deaths and those disappeared is difficult to be

“We are expecting that [the coup regime] will announce another curfew for
tonight. So what we could expect more repression .

“And no doubt the people will once again mobilise tonight, on the streets in
their barrios.”

Boosted by the UN resolution and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s
“educational speech [at the UN General Assembly] which reminded us of why we
are involved in this resistance movement”, Rios said the resistance will be
gathering at 8am tomorrow [September 25] at the Pedagogical University —
“for what will be a very climactic mobilisation”.

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing
at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.
And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country,
sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias." — Oscar Wilde, Soul of
Man Under Socialism

"The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?" — Jarvis Cocker

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