Solidarity with the people of Honduras

July 4, 2009

The news of a military coup in Honduras reached most Resistance activists as on the morning of June 29. There was much sadness, anger and frustration but also determination not to allow yet another coup to happen against a democratically elected leader in the Americas.

Resistance rejects the coup and believes the government it installed is illegitimate and has no mandate. We agree with the Organisation of American States (OAS), that this was "an unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order" in Honduras. There is only one president of Honduras, the democratically elected Manuel Zelaya.

Those in the military-installed government, and the military itself, have constantly sought to deny the Honduran people their most basic democratic rights.

This coup was carried out because the Honduran people were to be consulted in a referendum about whether a constitutional assembly should be convened to reform the constitution.

The current constitution was written in 1982, at the end of two decades of military rule, during the time when the Reagan administration was funding death squads throughout Central America. It is an outdated and undemocratic constitution that entrenches the rule of a powerful elite.

The Supreme Court ruled the referendum illegal, after pressure was applied by right-wing parties, so the ballot was to be non-binding.

The military refused to distribute the electoral material for the referendum. So, the head of the high military command, General Romeo Vasquez, was fired. In Honduras, as in the US, the president has the final say on military matters. In spite of this, the Honduran Supreme Court reinstated Vasquez to his position.

All throughout this period the people of Honduras were mobilising in big numbers to defend their president and their right to have a say in the direction of their country.
The right-wing parties have formed an alliance with the military to ensure that the popular will of the people is not heard.

The actions of the military after the coup are quite telling. Reports have emerged that the military junta detained the Cuban ambassador and soldiers abducted and beat the Venezuelan ambassador before dumping him beside a road.

Along with Cuba and Venezuela, Honduras is a member of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), an organisation for social, political and economic integration, based on the principles of cooperation and solidarity.

This type of coup is not unprecedented; in fact Latin America has been plagued by them, most of which have had the support of the US. In April 2002, the progressive government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela was overthrown with the support of the US. But this coup was short-lived, due to the massive mobilisations of the poor and oppressed in Venezuela, which helped reinstall Chavez as president.

Certainly, the Honduran people are mobilising against the coup. Zelaya has said: "There should be demonstrations everywhere." Some workers' organisations within Honduras have called a general strike against the coup.

The coup government, led by Roberto Micheletti, had grave fears of this happening, which is why one of its first moves was to impose an overnight curfew.

Resistance expresses complete support and solidarity with the people of Honduras in their struggle. This solidarity will not just happen in words, we will seek and call on others to put as much pressure as possible on the Australian government not to recognise the coup government.

As of writing, the Australian government had not a word to say about the situation in Honduras. We believe this must immediately change. The Australian government must follow the lead of the OAS and many other nations and say it will not recognise any government but that of President Manuel Zelaya.

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