Scenes of Resistance: Notes from Tegucigalpa

marchBy Joseph Shansky

I came to Honduras as part of a delegation of concerned activists who went to witness and accompany the daily protests, monitor human rights violations, and report back to the international community on conditions since the June 28th military coup. On that day, democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly removed from office by the Honduran military and expelled from the country.  In the aftermath there has been an immediate popular uprising in his support, with many instances of severe police and military repression which continue today.  The following is a reflection on time spent in and around Tegucigalpa during two critical weeks in August.

Last night as I was packing my bags to go to Honduras, I heard that the military repression was getting worse.  One hundred and fifty arrested, many wounded.  I sit in the airport waiting room and scan CNN.  Not a mention on the world news.

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The People are in the Streets Demanding Liberty

Toncontin airport. (Photo by Neil Brandvold)
Toncontin airport. (Photo by Neil Brandvold)

By Neil Brandvold, who was at Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa awaiting the arrival of President Zelaya’s plane when the Honduran military opened fire on the crowd.

The democratically elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya, is currently making plans for a second attempt to enter Honduras since he was ousted in a military coup just under a month ago. Earlier this week, Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias proposed a plan to return Zelaya to the presidency.  Zelaya agreed to all conditions outlined in the proposal, including establishing a power-sharing government and holding presidential elections on Oct. 28, a month earlier than scheduled. The proposal was immediately rejected by the junta.

Zelaya has arrived at a Nicaraguan town on the border of Honduras with plans to enter the country by land, stating: “I have requested my wife and family accompany me, and have made the military responsible for any damage. I am going unarmed and peacefully so that Honduras can return to peace and tranquility.”  It is a risky move for the president and his supporters, especially considering his first attempt to re-enter the country on July 5th was blocked by the junta.  On that day, the military open fired on a gathering of upwards of 100,000 peaceful demonstrators at the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa and subsequently blocked the runway preventing the plane from landing.

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Zelaya exiled in Honduran military coup, Chávez vows to help ally

A supporter of the exiled president in Honduras

A supporter of the exiled Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, protesting against the coup in the capital, Tegucigalpa. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

Elsewhere dubbed Obama’s First Coup D’Etat, the Guardian’s lead article on the military coup in Honduras that follows here makes scant mention of General Romeo Vásquez’s earlier training at the School of the Americas, and the curious headline ‘Hugo Chávez vows to ‘bring them down’ after seeing Honduran ally ousted in military coup‘ appears to make Chavez’s comment rather than the coup the news. It will be interesting to see if this receives nearly as much attention in western media as Iran has, which is fast becoming the comparison benchmark when we see the blatant double standards and dearth of similar coverage accorded to Palestine and Gaza in particular; have a look also at Johann Hari’s coverage of the important uprising in the Amazon. Venezuelanalysis and Eva Golinger’s blog have extensive updates on the situation in English and for those in New York there will be a gathering in front of the Honduran Mission to the United Nations, 866 UN Plaza, today, Monday 29th between 3 and 6pm.

The army in Honduras has ousted and exiled its leftist president, Manuel Zelaya, in Central America’s first military coup since the cold war, after he upset the army by trying to seek another term in office.

The US president, Barack Obama, and the EU expressed deep concern after troops came at dawn for Zelaya, an ally of the socialist Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, and took him away from his residence.

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