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Take Action! End the Brutal Repression of the Honduran Social Movement PDF Print E-mail
Written by Honduras Solidarity Network   
Monday, 30 August 2010 14:40
A coalition of U.S. organizations today denounced the exercise of violent repression by Honduran military and police forces against members of a striking teacher's union at a university in Tegucigalpa. The Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) declared that "the recent brutal attacks by government forces against non-violent protests show that there has been no reconciliation after last year's coup d'etat, and the U.S. government's policy of support for the current government must be changed. We call for an immediate end to the repression and human rights violations against the opposition movement".

The group referred to military and police attacks against members of the teacher's union, COPEMH (Colegio de Profesores de Educación Media de Honduras (Association of Secondary Teachers of Honduras)), and their supporters, which took place at The National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazan in Tegucigalpa on August 26 and 27. The union has been on strike since May, and is generally viewed as opposing the regime of Honduran President Porfirio Lobo. The HSN based its action on reports received from the human rights group COFADEH and the General Workers' Central Federation (CGT) labor organization, and corroborated by local news from Radio Globo and eyewitness accounts that report the following:

On Friday, Aug. 27, police and military troops surrounded the National Pedagogical University, responding to thousands of teachers and members of trade unions, peasant organizations and other organizations supportive of the teachers gathered on the university grounds. The police and military forces sprayed tear gas from trucks and beat protesters with truncheons before firing canisters of tear gas into the University grounds. As people were overcome by the gas and tried to leave, they were beaten and many detained. Among the injured were two well-known reporters from Radio Globo, one of the few independent radio stations in the country. Among those seriously affected by the gas were a number of children and pregnant women.

On Thursday, the police and military attacked the same group at a massive protest near the presidential residency in the capital city. Television stations aired video showing
soldiers firing their rifles during the repressive action and police beating protesters. Four teachers from the teachers' union were seriously injured and, according to human rights organizations in Honduras, they were denied medical care at the main public hospital in Tegucigalpa. The teachers' union then took the men to a private medical facility.

On Aug. 20, four leaders of the teachers' union were badly injured when police attacked them during a union march. The men were detained at a police station for 12 hours during which time they were denied medical care and human rights observers were refused entry to the jail to verify their condition.

Throughout the month of August the level of conflict and the human rights crisis in Honduras has deepened. Non-violent protesters in Choloma were beaten, and three
members of peasant organizations in Aguan were killed. Another journalist, critical of the regime, was murdered bringing to ten the total of journalists murdered since Lobo took over in January.

Vicki Cervantes, a spokesperson for the Honduras Solidarity Network said, "The United States government continues its support for the oligarchy and Lobo in the form of aid and pressure on other governments in the hemisphere to accept the illegitimate Lobo administration."

Meanwhile, on the ground in Honduras the opposition of the majority of Hondurans to the coup and the subsequent regimes, including Lobo's, is growing. For the first time since 1954, Honduran trade union federations have all agreed to prepare for a general strike and nearly a million Honduran eligible voters have signed letters demanding the convocation of a constituent constitutional assembly with the peoples' participation and leadership.

The Honduras Solidarity Network, a nationwide coalition of non-profit, human rights and educational organizations, and the Honduran Front for National Resistance (FRNP) call for:

· an end to police and military repression of the teachers and the protesters at the university;

· resumption of negotiations between the government and the Teacher's Union;

· payment of back wages and an investigation into the violation of the teachers' human rights.
 

 

Call and Write the Obama Administration and Congress to demand that until the brutal repression of social movements in Honduras ends, the United States Government:

· Suspend all aid to the Lobo administration

· Stop the U.S. State Department lobbying for recognition of the undemocratic government of Honduras.

· Recognize the Honduran people's demand for a Constituent Assembly to establish a functioning, participatory democracy.

Contacts:

Click here to contact Senators and Representatives.

To contact the State Department:
Fax: 202-647-8947, Voice: 202 647-8947, or Email:
Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; c/o Laura Pena, Assistant: PenaL@state.gov

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela: ValenzuelaAA@state.gov
Ambassador Craig Kelly, Principal Deputy Asst./ Secretary, Western

Office of Hemisphere Affairs:
KellyC@state.gov (Fax: 202-647-0834)

Dan Restrepo, Special Asst. to the President, Western Hemisphere Affairs, drestreop@nsc.eop.gov

Paul Monteiro, Office of Public Engagement, Darron_P._Monteiro@who.eop.gov

To contact White House:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact and White House Comment
Line 202-456-1414.

Sample Letter
Dear ____________,

Non-violent protests by striking teachers and democracy supporters in Honduras have been attacked in recent days by the military and police causing many injuries and detentions. On Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 the Honduran military and police attacked demonstrators gathered at the National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazan in Tegucigalpa firing many rounds of tear gas and live bullets. When those trapped in the university tried to escape the tear gas, they were beaten, including pregnant women and at least two journalists.

Until the brutal repression of social movements in Honduras ends, I demand that the United States Government:

· Suspend all aid to the Lobo administration

· Stop the U.S. State Department lobbying for recognition of the undemocratic government of Honduras.

· Recognize the Honduran people's demand for a Constituent Assembly to establish a functioning, participatory democracy.

Sincerely,
[name and address] 
 

"If the world is upside down the way it is now, wouldn't we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?" -Eduardo Galeano

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