Thursday, 24 September 2009

Honduras: `There is a people’s insurrection'

Via Links...

Residents of Hato de Enmedio, Tegucigalpa, take control of their barrio. September 22, 2009.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

Green Left Weekly -- September 23, 2009 — Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya, overthrown in a military coup on June 28 and currently in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, has told Telesur TV that the coup regime is planning to take over the embassy. He says they plan to assassinate him.

Ricardo Arturo Salgado, an activist in the Honduran anti-coup resistance, told Green Left Weekly over the phone from Tegucigalpa that “the decision we have all taken is to fight with everything we have”. Aturo Salgado said there was an “intense reaction on the part of the resistance in many zones across Tegucigalpa, in what we call barrios and colonias [poor neighbourhoods]. I would say that there are some 15-20 highly populated barrios that frankly find themselves in a situation of total insurrection, fighting against the police, against the army and even against paramilitaries."

The mass resistance to the coup has continued for three months, with daily protests, strikes and road blockades. With Zelaya’s return the Honduras, a desperate coup regime has significantly increased repression. The people are increasingly in open rebellion.

“We have evidence that paramilitaries are participating in the street battles in some of the colonias. The police are trying to retake positions but the people’s insurrection is occurring in places that geographically are very far apart from one another'', Aturo Salgado told Green Left Weekly.

“In general, there is a situation of insurrection, with the advantage that the police helicopter that was being used [during daylight] to fire against the people cannot be used during the night.”

On the situation in Tegucigalpa, he said: “All the shops are closed and there is a shortage of food, of medicine. “At any moment we could see the looting of shops, because the people are entering into desperation mode. Moreover, it seems that, although there is not as much news regarding this, that in the interior of the country there are strong insurrectional mobilisations in very small zones. This has to do with the tactic of protesting close to home.

“The people are spontaneously taking the decision to resist and the line coming from the [National Reistance Front Against the Coup] was, for today, to resist close to one’s home. But tomorrow we are calling on everyone to march [in Tegucigalpa].''

Aturo Salgado confirmed to GLW that the national front has called a march for September 23 that will start at 8am outside the Pedagogical University Francisco Morazon.

He called on all alternative media outlets to join the campaign of informing the world about the truth of what is occurring in Honduras — and in denouncing the murderous plans of the coup regime.

* * *

Al Giordano from Narconews reports:

September 22, 8:03 pm: An interesting development today in the popular barrios and colonias of greater Tegucigalpa: The coup's military curfew -- now extended for a total of 36 hours until 6 am tomorrow morning -- is causing major hardship for the great mass of Honduran citizens who live day to day. Small shop owners, street sellers, mercado workers and so many others generally don't have savings. If they don't work on a given day, they and their families don't have food to eat that night. A great many don't have refrigerators and they shop the same day for the food they will eat. The curfew is causing shortages of food and other basic products of daily life, and preventing many from being able to afford what little they need. And while the general view in the popular (read: poor) barrios have been anti-coup, the curfew has brought forward a rage and a higher level of organisation overnight.

Add to that the fact that the National Police have spent last night and today busting into those neighbourhoods to enforce the curfew -- because many citizens aren't paying it any mind as it interferes with their daily subsistence level survival -- and has overreacted with great violence, shooting tear-gas canisters into homes, invading people's houses, and such. This has caused a generalised phenomenon throughout the metropolitan area: People have come en masse out of their homes, chased the police out of many of those neighbourhoods, and erected barricades to keep them out. They are now organising to maintain those barricades. The coup regime thus, overnight, has lost any semblance of control of considerable tracts of urban Honduras. Tegucigalpa is beginning to look a lot like the city of Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006.

September 22, 8:46 pm: After a bizarre press conference held in English and translated into Spanish, in which a staffer, Carlos Lopez Contreras, represented coup "president" Micheletti (without Micheletti being present -- his handlers have hidden him away for good reason), and in "cadena nacional" (broadcast on all stations by law), the regime has extended the curfew now for 50 hours, until 6 pm September 23.

September 22, 8:54 pm: From, more detailed info on the neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood uprising underway in greater Tegucigalpa:

The de facto government, through its violence and denial of constitutional and human rights, has managed what Zelaya alone had not fully succeeded in doing: uniting the entire country in the struggle for freedom. Today, they resistance underwent an important shift: it went local. The following Tegucigalpa neighborhoods are defying the curfew and protesting against the coup d'etat:

  1. Arturo Quesada
  2. Barrio Morazán
  3. Centroamérica Oeste
  4. Cerro Grande
  5. Ciudad Lempira
  6. Colonia 21 de Febrero
  7. Colonia 21 de Octubre
  8. El Bosque
  9. El Chile
  10. Flor del Campo
  11. Hato de Enmedio
  12. Kennedy
  13. La Fraternidad
  14. Pantanal
  15. Pedregal
  16. Picachito
  17. Reparto
  18. Residencial Girasoles
  19. Residencial Honduras
  20. San José de la Vega
  21. Sinaí
  22. Víctor F. Ardón
  23. Villa Olímpica
  24. Villanueva

In some places people have repelled the police, while in others the terrain is in dispute. The police are using live ammunition. Barricades are everywhere. This list was current at 7pm (September 22) local time in Tegucigalpa.

The latest extension of the curfew just announced -- preventing Hondurans from working or shopping all day tomorrow, too -- will only exacerbate this situation.

* * *

Al Giordano from Narconews reports on September 23, 2009:

In recent days, the Honduran coup of "president" Roberto Micheletti has demonstrated, again, that it is incapable democratic governance. Peaceful Hondurans came to the Brazilian embassy to greet their only elected president, Manuel Zelaya, and they were violently driven away with water cannon, tear gas, billy clubs and rubber bullets. National Police then followed the dispersed crowd into the popular barrios to wound and maim them, and invaded homes that provided them refuge. That led to scenes like in the neighbourhood of Hato de Enmedio [see video above], and in more than 20 heavily populated slums in and around Tegucigalpa yesterday.

Clueless desk editors like those at the New York Times titled these conflicts "Riots in Honduras". But you don't need to be able to understand Spanish to see and hear, in the video above, that, distinct from rioters, the young people of the neighbourhood who came out and violated the military curfew to defend their neighbourhood from this police invasion know and have memorised complicated political slogans and rhymes which they chanted in unison. "Riots" are disorganised explosions. This neighbourhood, and others like it, however, have been forced by the realities of the coup to organise themselves to a greater extent than ever before.

In neighbourhoods like Hato de Enmedio, where a majority of Honduras' citizens live, you can also see in the video see that not even the main street in the barrio is paved. Many of the homes have dirt floors as well. And if a citizen is harmed by a robber or predator, you can call the police, but they won't come. People who live in neighbourhoods like this only see the police when they invade, like they did yesterday, to enforce an unenforceable curfew on people who, if they obeyed the curfew, would starve of hunger. A curfew is unsustainable on a people that live hand to mouth, day to day.

We can also see in that video the revelation that the tear-gas canisters shot by the National Police yesterday were stamped as property of the government of Perú, suggesting strongly that Peruvian President Alan García is a participant in smuggling arms to the Honduran coup regime.

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