Artists Bring a Message of Solidarity to Honduras Print
For Immediate Release, October 20, 2011
Contact: Annie Bird, 202-680-3002

A delegation of 10 artists, musicians, and human rights activists from the United States arrived this week in Honduras to participate in a Festival in San Pedro Sula, El Dia del Arte y Cultura en Resistencia (Day of Art and Culture in Resistance). The group of artist brings a message of solidarity to the broad-based Honduran resistance movement which, since the 2009 military coup d’état ousted democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya, has struggled against repression and for human rights and justice for the Honduran people.

“As a delegation coming from the U.S., we denounce our government’s continued support for and military aid to the repressive Honduran regime,” said Anna Duncan of Son Cosita Seria, a Washington DC-based musical group that is participating in the festival, “and we stand with the Honduran people in their courageous struggle against brutality and for justice and liberation.” Son Cosita Seria is a musical group based in Washington, DC that plays traditional Mexican Son Jarocho music, and uses this to support struggles for social justice.

On October 5, US President Barack Obama met with Honduran President Pepe Lobo, praising Lobo’s leadership for “helping to restore constitutional order and democracy.” Neither official addressed the Central American nation’s deepening human rights crisis. “Hundreds of human rights activists and 15 journalists have been killed since President Lobo took power,” said documentarian Beth Geglia. “We reject President Obama’s failure to acknowledge the political violence. We’re here as artists to support the fight against impunity, and to share, learn, and collaborate.”

In the two years since the coup, artists have played a crucial role in denouncing ongoing repression in the country. Like other human rights defenders in Honduras, they have come under attack. On September 15, 2010 an up and coming rock band, Café Guancasco, was directly targeted by Honduran police and military during a public concert. They were beaten, lost all of their equipment, and one member of the audience was killed. One month later, Cafe Guancasco took to the streets again to stand up against militarization, violence, and repression. They staged the first ever Artists in Resistance Festival that brought together artists of all kinds to defend the right to free expression. This year’s coming festival celebrates another year of continued resistance.

The festival was scheduled to take place at the San Pedro Sula campus of the National Autonomous University of Honduras. However, a few days ago, University authorities told organizers that they were no longer going to allow the festival to take place on campus. A communiqué published by Café Guancasco, one of the primary organizers of the event, states, “we call on the national and international community to condemn this violation of people's fundamental rights. Over the past year, they have tried to shut us up with tear gas and gunshots. This time, they do it through their puppets who today govern the university, driving it toward collapse and privatization.” As a result of being shut out of the University, the Day of Art and Culture in Resistance will now be held at a different location in San Pedro Sula, but all of the activities will continue as planned.