|Resistance and Repression in Honduras|
|Written by Kristin Bricker|
|Sunday, 28 June 2009|
An unknown number of Hondurans have taken to the streets today in an effort to stop the coup that the military, in league with Congress and the Supreme Court, has carried out against democratically elected President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya.
Due to intermitant power outages and heavy rain, independent media within Honduras has had extreme difficulty transmitting news. This means that while there's been plenty of news in the mainstream media about the actions people with a lot of political power have been taking--from Chavez and the ALBA nations to the Organization of American States to the United States--there's been very little reported about what rank-and-file Hondurans have been doing to reverse the coup.
However, it is clear that Hondurans are resisting. People are taking the streets in Honduras despite incredibly hostile conditions created by the military. Radio Es Lo De Menos reports that their colleagues on the ground have been fired at by snipers who are positioned in rooftops around the city. They stress that the gunfire at this point has only been in the form of "warning shots" and no one has been reported injured from gunfire.
The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) wrote in a communique,"We tell everyone that the Honduran people are carrying out large demonstrations, actions in their communities, in the municipalities; there are occupations of bridges, and a protest in front of the presidential residence, among others. From the lands of Lempira, Morazán and Visitación Padilla, we call on the Honduran people in general to demonstrate in defense of their rights and of real and direct democracy for the people, to the fascists we say that they will NOT silence us, that this cowardly act will turn back on them, with great force."
Radio Es Lo De Menos reported that the military has set up roadblocks all over the country in an attempt to prevent Zelaya supporters from reaching the capital. The soldiers are also reportedly attempting to shut down public transportation.
Photos from around the internet show that Hondurans are in the streets resisting.
The pictures above, from Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty, were taken outside the Presidential Palace following the kidnapping of President Zelaya. More photos of outside the Presidential Palace:
(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
photos: REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Zelaya supporters took to the streets in an attempt to prevent military reinforcements from arriving at the Presidential Palace:
There are protests all over Tegucigalpa, trying to impede military movements:
(photos: REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas)
This man holds a banner in support of a referendum for a new Constitution (AP Photo/Esteban Felix). So soldiers punched him:
People cast symbolic votes in today's controversial public opinion polls. While soldiers seized ballot boxes in many locales, in some towns people managed to rescue the seized ballot boxes from the soldiers and cast their votes:
photo: REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Soldiers have been incredibly hostile to the media that is trying to report the story from the ground:
The Washington Post reports: "Soldiers try to prevent journalists from filming as they patrol the area around the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, Sunday June 28, 2009. Soldiers arrested Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya and disarmed his security guards after surrounding his residence before dawn Sunday, his private secretary said. Protesters called it a coup and flocked to the presidential palace as local news media reported that Zelaya was sent into exile." (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) (Esteban Felix - AP). Another angle of the same news crew:
(photo: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido)
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Interview with Father Fausto Mila in Honduras
SOA Watch participated in the International Human Rights Encuentro in Honduras in February 2012. Laura Jung spoke with Father Fausto Milla, a religious leader in the Honduran movement who has been persecuted by the State of Honduras.
H.R. 2989, the Latin America Military Training Review Act of 2013 renews the legislative efforts against the notorious U.S. military training institute, formerly known as the School of the Americas.
By Pablo Ruiz, Equipo Latinoamericano of SOA Watch
SOAW Chile achieved an important victory; to declassify the names of over 760 Chilean soldiers who took courses at the School of the Americas/WHINSEC during the past decade.
School of the Americas Watch Chile, with the participation of other human rights organizations (La Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Políticos, La Comisión Ética Contra la Tortura, La Comunidad Ecuménica Martín Luther King, La Corporación 3 y 4 Álamos and La Juventud Guevarista) used Chile’s “Transparency Law” to achieve a first victory in their home country.
The Defense Ministry, the Chilean Army, Navy, and Air Force handed over lists that include first and last names, dates, and courses attended by Chilean military personnel at SOA/WHINSEC between 2001-2015.
The declassified materials also mention the names of “invited instructors” who assisted the military school in Georgia as well as those of other high-ranking Chilean officials who are part of the WHINSEC leadership. Additionally noteworthy about the response by the military is the mention of WHINSEC personnel that travelled to Chile to instruct the “Personal Development Course for Cadets” at the Chilean Escuela Militar. Nonetheless, what is left out is the “Combined Operations Course 2012,” held at the Academia de Guerra and organized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Estado Mayor Conjunto ) together with the mobile team of WHINSEC.
Although the information is incomplete, the declassification still represents an important step since one of the characteristics of the SOAW movement is to monitor the behavior of the troops that receive training at the military base and for that purpose it is indispensable to know, who its graduates are.
Despite the Army not revealing the identities of Escuela Militar students and of some other officials, using the argument that this is “legally secret information,” it is an important accomplishment in the fight for more transparency and for continuing with the to demand to stop sending Chilean soldiers to the School of the Americas.
SOA graduates participated in the assassination of the singer songwriter Víctor Jara, in the car bomb attack, carried out in the middle of Washington, DC, that killed Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffitt, and in the death of union leader Tucapel Jiménez; among hundreds of other cases that involved soldiers who received training in the US.
The fight for accountability in the US
It is important to remember that the lists with names of Latin American soldiers who trained at the SOA/WHINSEC after 2005 are classified and secret information in the US.
Prior to that year, from 1946-2004, the names had been declassified. This allowed SOA Watch to know that a significant number of soldiers, who committed human rights abuses, had been trained in counterinsurgency methods in the US; including courses that suggested “to use torture, blackmail, extortion and reward payments for murdered enemies.”
In April 2013, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton from the District of Northern California, responded favorably to a Freedom of Information request presented by SOAW activists Theresa Cameranesi and Judith Liteky, demanding the declassification of the names of all Latin American soldiers who received training at the so-called “School of the Assassins.”
Judge Hamilton reminded in her verdict that the Freedom of Information Act is meant to “assure a well-informed citizenry, a fundamental thing for making a democratic society work and necessary to stop acts of corruption as well as to hold the governing body accountable to the governed.” Her verdict was immediately appealed by the lawyers of the US government and the trail continues to this day.
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