During this week a massive wave of repression has been unleashed against workers and youth from the military of Honduras. The goal of the repression is to crush the movement that took to the streets after the military coup during the end of June.
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The military coup was organised of the rich elite and its allies in the military commando after the former president José Manuel Zelaya had suggested a popular vote in favour of constitutional assembly, whose purpose would have been to work aout a new constitution for the country. The coup resulted from the fear from the rich and powerful as they suspected that such an assembly would lead to demands for reforms in demands from the poor and oppressed – demands for reforms in the majority’s interests. 44 percent of the people of Honduras live on less than 2 dollars a day while, in the meantime, the richest 10 percent control 42 percent of the country’s natural wealth. Almost 40 percent are unemployed or underemployed. During the coup, Zelaya was kidnapped and exiled to Costa Rica.
Since then, a movement has grown rapidly that demands the reinstatement of Zelaya, and an end to the dictatorship. The teachers union, which organises some 60 000 members, has been on strike since the coup and other groups of workers have also increasingly been drawn in to protests. In what is called “The National Front Against the Coup”, trade unions, peasant organisations, student organisations and groups protecting human rights have gathered and taken out common action in form of road blockades and mass demonstrations against the coup plotters. Street demonstrations and a number of bigger collisions between the oppressed and the new dictatorship has characterised the situation in Honduras in the last period.
Struggle by the embassy
What is new in the latest development is that the former president has returned to Honduras. Since Monday, he sits at the Brasilian embassy, which is protected groun (at least for now, the regime is apparently investigating weather it would be possible to eradicate this law). He directly received support from tens of thousands that started to gather immediately in the surrounding area to prevent a military attack. During the same day thousands of cars and vehicles tried to get to the area in order to block it against the military. They where stopped however by effective road blocks set up by the military.
The attack didn’t wait for long. This week’s Tuesday morning, some 3 000 army soldiers and so called Cobra commandos from the police force attacked the protesters. It is reported that at least 3 people where killed in the clashes, among them an 8-year old boy who died from breathing problems after being tear gassed. Hundreds are to have been wounded by gunfire shots. By the very moment it is reported that one baseball stadium is being packed with hundreds of protesters that have been arrested by the military. The similarities with Pinochets coup in Chile in 1973 are striking. Reports are now frequently arriving of suspected torture and murder.
Repression and resistance
A boy interviewed by Radio Globo, the only channel which reports of the protests being constantly terrorised by the new regime, said that military personal use wood boards with nails in tearing the backs of civilian protesters that have been captured.
There is now reports of clashes and protests from everywhere in the country between the police and military and those who want to see Zelaya reinstated. In the capital of Tegucigalpa, whole working class communities are now finding themselves in street struggles with the military, who attempt to go into these areas to prevent any resistance from being organised.
The role of the USA
The methods of the coup plotters, including the use of torture and murder, are nothing to be surprised about. These are methods that continues the Latin American tradition fostered by US imperialism through the systematic training of reactionary officers in the training camps of the CIA. On the ground in the very symbol of liberal democracy, they’ve learned how to murder, torture and carry out terroristic war against uprising oppressed people. The role of the US in the coup in Honduras is only slightly different to how it acted earlier in for example Chile in 1973, one the CIA was directly involved in the planning of the coup.
After the failure in the coup against Chavez in 2003, in which the US took a direct part, the imperialist power has apparently decided to be a bit more cautious. President Obama did not want to be associated with the reactionary coup so soon after his election, and initially he and foreign minister Hillary Clinton took a verbal position against the coup.
The role of the US since then however has shown athat this is little more than a populist strategy for a imperialism which, when it really comes to it, only cares for its own interests. The leaders of the biggest imperialist power have, consciously aware of the risk that the mass protests against the plotters, if victorious, could easily go through a deepened radicalisation, tried to negotiate a compromise between Zelaya and the regime. The suggested compromise exposes US imperialisms lack of respect for democratic rights. It would be founded on Zelaya, against receiving the right to return to his contry, would be forced to step back from the project with a new constitution. Such a compromise between those men who now drenches their hands in blood to crush the protestes of the oppressed masses and the president would of course be nothing else but a terrible setback for the Honduran masses.
Revolutionary struggle can defeat the coup plotters!
The Honduran workers and youths struggle against the dictatorship deserves full solidarity from all progressive anti-imperialists. The working class masses now must throw their full weight into the struggle in order to beat back the repressious wave. The army must be splitted from within through massive pressure from the outside, the soldiers must be won for an uprising against the caste of officers and generals supporting the coup regime. Only a deep going social revolution and a smashing up of the oppressor state of the rich elite will in the end provide the real basis for social progress in the interest of the Honduran masses. Only revolutionary socialism can provide a programme for such a struggle. Regardsless of the support for such a perspective, which would enable the organising of the struggle of the Honduran working class, the peasants and students in a way which pushed their interest into the foreground, it now comes to anti-imperialist, socialist and progressive forces everywhere to show solidarity with this struggle.
– Gunnar Westin