Honduras: Desperate dictatorship steps up reign of terror, resistance pushes on

October 2, 2009

For a series of reports and interviews since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's dramatic return to Honduras on September 21, follow this coverage.

To send letter to Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and add your name to an open letter, demanding Australia join the governments all over the world in denouncing and isolating the coup regime, visit this page.

After this article are two eyewitness accounts from inside Honduras on the rising repression. They have been translated from Spanish by Linda Seaborn.

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October 1 — The dictatorship in Honduras, which overthrew the elected government of Manuel Zelaya in a military coup on June 28, has stepped up its reign of terror.

A state of siege remains in place. The most recent targets of the repression have Radio Globo and Channel 36 — the two main media outlets opposing the coup and giving the mass resistance movement in the Central American nation a voice.

The continual repression has affected the size of anti-coup protests.

However, the ongoing resistance has caused further cracks to open within the pro-coup forces as support for the resistance spreads

"They have just attacked our comrades from the resistance who had been protesting at the offices of Radio Globo", Dirian Pereira from the National Front Against the Coup in Honduras (FNRG) told Green Left Weekly over the phone from the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

"They were brutally attacked, the police fired tear gases and a number of people were beaten up."

"Right now, there is no media outlet that is speaking about the resistance", said Pereira about the shutdown of Radio Globo and Channel 36.

Having shut down critical media, "they are carrying out heavy acts of repression. This morning there kicked out some peasant comrades who had been occupying the office of the National Agrarian Institute."

Gilberto Rios, an FNRG leader, told GLW: "This is the 10th time that they have taken [Radio Globo] of the air and left us without any possibility to communicate.

"They are violating an elementary right, which is the right to information and free speech. They are hitting us hard, and the balancesheet we have drawn up is that this is not positive.

"Nevertheless, the majority of the population is against the most repressive measures the government is carrying out. This has meant that more sectors are joining the resistance against the coup.

"We are converting ourselves into a force that, if we can unite, will defeat this coup."

On September 28, coup leader Roberto Micheletti declared a state of siege, suspending all civil liberties. A day later, under pressure, he promised to lift it.

However, Pereira said: "The only thing they have said is that they will study the decree because the Congress asked them to … but they have not annulled it.

"Micheletti said that maybe next week they will annul it, but the repression continues. They are trying to undermine the motivation of the resistance to fight."

Rios added: "Their attitude is one of strength that, according to our reading of the situation, does not correspond with the strength they have. Rather, it comes from the strength of the forces supporting them — the transnational companies such as Exxon Mobil and other powerful financial forces that are behind this coup.

"In that sense, there is not only a Honduran coup.

"We have already defeated the Honduran coup. What we are fighting to defeat now is the coup by the transnationals."

A proposal to end the conflict between the coup regime, backed by the oligarchy, and the poor majority supporting Zelaya has emerged from a group of Honduran business leaders. The proposal would result in both Micheletti and Zelaya resigning. Power would be handed over to a United Nations mission that would oversee elections.

Rios said: "The proposal reflects a decision taken by the oligarchy in the face of the elections scheduled for November 29. The siege decree would exclude any possibility of the presidential candidates being able to carry out a political campaign during the next 45 days — leaving only a week or two for campaigning.

"Many saw this as an attempt by the Micheletti government to prolong their stay in power beyond the date of the elections.

"This reflects a lack of confidence among [those that support the coup]. There is a process of fracturing within the oligarchy that is in power as a result of the coup. That is why the resistance is standing firm on its proposals

"The resistance is continuing to make the same demands as always: the reinstatement of Zelaya and a national constituent assembly."

On the possibility of a UN intervention, Rios said: "The resistance is not in favor a such an intervention."

The mass protests continue. The resistance has called for a mobilisation tomorrow, Friday October 2, outside the US embassy in the morning and protests in the poor neighbourhoods throughout the afternoon and night.

The FNRG has called a meeting of the neighbourhood-based resistance groups in Tegucigalpa for Sunday, October 4.

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Two comments from Honduras sent to Frente Internacional Contra El Golpe De Estad De Honduras on October 2:

We have just been notified that the electricity will be cut off for 48 hours starting at seven in the night across the country. We cannot go out to buy food, or anything, we are under siege.

Reports from San Pedro Sula are that the military are breaking into homes and taking the people who went to the protest. My sister who is the Director of the National Education Department has been assaulted, but managed to get home.

The army is in the barrios and entering the houses, we are waiting and we are ready for this. In San Pedro Sula they have detained people and locked them up in the Olympic Stadium, here in Tegicugalpa in the Chochi Sosa Stadium (in the same style as Pinochet).

The army is going into the hospitals, and taking people.

We need to be connected, please spread this message, spread that we are in danger and are being detained, the military are going in to the hospitals and detaining the people. If we can't communicate in this way because we don't know what's coming, try to use mobile phones.

An embrace, with love, fear and resistance.


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I am in a builidng near the Brazillian embassy with a group of 30 comrades, nostly members of the Artists of the National Front Against the Coup d'etat. We were there to rest, but aware that at any moment the army and the police could break the perimeter where 5000 people are gathered to protect the President Manuel Zelaya. We were attacked at 5.45 am with guns and tear gas. They killed an indertermined number of companeros from the first barricade at the end of Guancaste bridge. They surrounded and attacked the barricade at La Reforma bridge.

By approximate calculations, there were 1000 police and military involved in the operation.

They rounded up and attacked 18 seriously injured people from the School hospital. They pursued the brave students who organised the barricades last night, into Morazan Barrio and Guadalupe Barrio.

The time is now 8.00am. There are speakers in front of the Brazillian embassy playing the national anthem at full volume while they search the houses around the embassy. They have launched tear gas bombs into the Embassy. The President continues to be threatened by the coup leaders who have argued through the media their "legal" right to proceed with the raids.

Thousands of people heading to Tegucigalpa have been held around the city. The town is completely empty, ghostly. The curfew was extended to all day.

The repression against unarmed protestors was brutal. On several occasions, Radio Globo and Channel 36 have been taken off the air.

Hundreds of prisoners.

We are isolated.

Here are the core of the organizers of the major cultural events in resistance: poets, songwriters, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, painters and painting ... humans.

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