Killing Activists in Honduras

 
Walter Trochez

By Joseph Shansky

“As a revolutionary I will be today, tomorrow and forever on the front lines of my people, all the while knowing that I may lose my life.” – Walter Trochez, 25, murdered in Tegucigalpa on 12/13/09

The bodies of slain activists are piling up in Honduras. While it’s being kept quiet in most Honduran and international media, the rage is building among a dedicated network of friends spreading the word quickly with the tragic announcement of each compañero/a.

Now that the world heard from mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times of a “clean and fair” election on Nov. 29 (orchestrated by the US-supported junta currently in power), the violence has increased even faster than feared.

The specific targets of these killings have been those perceived as the biggest threats to the coup establishment. The bravest, and thus the most vulnerable: Members of the Popular Resistance against the coup. Their friends and family. People who provide the Resistance with food and shelter. Teachers, students, and ordinary citizens who simply recognize the fallacy of an un-elected regime taking over their country. All associated with the Resistance have faced constant and growing repercussions for their courage in protesting the coup. With the international community given the green light by the US that democratic order has returned via elections, it’s open season for violent forces in Honduras working to tear apart the political unity of the Resistance Front against the coup.

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The Honduran Coup: A Graphic History

Media creativity in the aftermath of the 28 June coup against Honduran President Mel Zelaya has generally been limited to such things as CNN’s classification of the military coup as “military-led,” Honduran media classification of tomorrow’s illegitimate elections as a “fiesta cívica,” and the publication of articles in mainstream Honduran newspapers with titles like “Zelayista Guerrillas Train in Nicaragua.” This particular article, published by El Heraldo on 2 August, is accompanied by a photograph of a ragtag group of joggers—some of them barefoot, one in a cowboy hat, and one in all pink—and bears a caption announcing that “Manuel Zelaya’s followers have begun military exercises in fields in Nicaragua.”

More substantive creative endeavors have been undertaken by Dan Archer and Nikil Saval, who have put together a graphic history of the Honduran coup in two parts thus far. The latter part is based on Joseph Shansky’s piece “Smashing the Silence: Community Defiance in Honduras,” first published on PULSE, and can be viewed below (note: all annotations appear in the original version). The first part of the graphic history can additionally be viewed here, and information on other projects can be found on Archer’s website.

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From Guantanamo to Honduras: Psychological Wars Then and Now

embajada
Honduran military surrounds Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. (Photo: AFP)

By Joseph Shansky

Recently, musicians such as Rage Against the Machine, Steve Earle and Pearl Jam joined the newly-formed National Campaign to Close Guantanamo Bay.  It’s a public effort to protest the past misuse of recordings during “enhanced interrogation techniques” at Guantanamo prison.  An exaggerated volume and incessant repetition of loud music are just a few auditory torture techniques famously used by the American government overseas to disorient prisoners. 

However, the issue of psychological warfare should not only be seen in a past context.  Since these revelations, the question of its continued use in other parts of the world deserves exposure.

One timely example is Honduras.  In June of this year, President Manuel Zelaya was violently removed from power in a military coup d’état and replaced with a non-elected government, led by former National Congress leader Roberto Micheletti.  Since his return to Honduras September 21, President Zelaya has been residing with supporters in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, with Honduran armed forces stationed outside.

Following orders by coup government officials, the army has been frequently directing harsh noises at the embassy occupants.  The most recent example took place early in the morning of October 21, when the broadcast included military anthems, rock music, and animal noises (pig grunts, in an apparent attempt to add insult to injury) at an excessive volume, and on a constant loop from around 1:30 am to 7 am. 

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