"I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself." ~Philippians 3:10

Aug 13, 2009

a report from yesterday...

I want to share with you a couple reports from yesterday's clash between the protester's and the police/military. Both of these directly contradict the reports in the local papers here and the local television media. I encourage you to read them carefully and with an open mind. If these reports have any truth to them, then I am really concerned about what the crisis here is causing. Human rights violations are serious business and should give us all a great deal of pause. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me personally to find any innocents in the whole mess. Reports like this make it very difficult for someone like me to know the "truth" of what is happening here.

This first one is from a blog named Honduras Resists.

Eyewitness Report - Tegucigalpa - Wednesday, August 12th Brutal repression and intimidation

(Translated from a telephone report filed by Alexy Lanza at 9:35 pm Chicago time - translation by La Voz de los de Abajo).

Tear gas was fired directly into the crowds of protesters, rubber bullets and truncheons were used to disperse the thousands of Hondurans who had marched through the city to the National Congress today to protest against the coup and demand restitution of the constitutional government of Mel Zelaya.

There were many injuries and arrests - The soldiers and police, heavily armed and in full combat gear acting against unarmed men and women of all ages. In an unforgettable moment, I watched as a congressional Deputy from the anti-coup leftist party the Democratic Unification (UD), Marvin Ponce was attacked by at least 12 policemen and brutally beaten. He was seriously injured and was taken to the hospital; witnesses reported that at the hospital the police continued to beat and torment Ponce, interfering with his medical treatment.

As the police increased their violent sweep of the area I joined the rest of the protesters in fleeing the area; trying to avoid arrest or beatings or worse. I made my way to the Francisco Morazan National Autonomous University, which has been held by the students as part of the anti-coup resistance for weeks. The University has also been an organizing center and has provided shelter for people coming in from the rural areas to join in the protest movement. When I got to the University, people were trickling in from the downtown area. I saw one of the leaders from the Garifuna organization (OFRAHNI) who told me almost that a large number of compañeros from their organization were detained in the repression at the Congress.

Suddenly a large number of heavily armed soldiers arrived and attacked with tear gas, and rubber bullets forcing their way into university. They began arresting and beating the students and were able to seize control of at least a large part of the university. As the attack continued, I was forced to run from the troops and got away.

Today’s mobilizations were the second day of massive peaceful marches that began yesterday. Thousands of Hondurans responded to the call for increased mobilization by walking for as many as 5 days from the farthest corners of rural Honduras in order to get to one of the two major cities, Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Zula. Yesterday’s protests were not repressed but today was another story. There have also been increasing attacks of the death-squad type. Today, I spoke with Rafael Alegria from Via Campesina in Honduras who told me that last night (August 11th) after the day of mobilizations, at about 11:30 pm, the Via Campesina center was riddled with bullets fired by men who pulled up in front of the center in a civilian SUV. No one was injured, but the message is clear. Via Campesina is another organization that has offered its offices as an organizing center and shelter and Alegria has been detained and released and now has another threat of detention against him.

The defacto coup government and its military are increasing the violence again to try and do away with the resistance movement of the Honduran people who are the only real obstacle standing in the way of the oligarchy's plans. The National Front for Resistance Against the Coup has called for the mobilizations to continue tomorrow beginning at 8 am.

Everyone from the social organizations to the people in the streets who don’t belong to any organization, are calling for international solidarity to come to their aid in any way possible. They have been in the struggle for more than 40 days and need all of our help to continue.

(Alexy Lanza lives in Chicago and is a member of La Voz de los de Abajo, Casa Morazan and Producciones EN EL OJO-independent media)

The second is from a blog named Honduras Coup 2009. They are excerpts from a bigger article posted at Quixote Center, a social justice organization.

Education is dangerous: Police militarize Tegucigalpa's universities
The excerpts from a chilling first-hand account of the repression of anti-coup rallies really needs little explanation, other than to say it comes from a member of a delegation from the US, from the Quixote Center/Quest for Peace, that went to Honduras to see first-hand what the situation is.

As the author notes, the police are now claiming that the National Pedagogical University stored, and the UNAH produced, bombs, producing rows of devices lined up for photo opportunities as "evidence". The highly-respected sociologist, Julieta Castellanos, rector of UNAH, denies this in an article published in La Tribuna. Ironically, her main argument that the charges of bomb-making were inaccurate comes from the fact that the laboratories are unusable, never having been repaired after an explosion during the course of use. As anyone who has visited UNAH knows, it suffers from an entirely unmaintained set of facilities. Now they also have to contend with police rumor-mongering which, in the present atmosphere, could set up conditions for militarization as has already taken place in the Pedagogica, which trains the teachers who work in Honduras' under-funded, challenged schools.

Wednesday in Tegucigalpa

We had breathed a collective sigh of relief that the mass mobilizations of Tuesday had passed without major incident. In the morning on Wednesday, part of our delegation went to join that day’s march which, after an extended assembly at the University headed off towards downtown Tegucigalpa. Three of us who have been coordinating spent the morning writing a framework for an ongoing presence of delegations.

Our group had agreed to meet up in the mid afternoon at the human rights office, COFADEH. We were planning to participate in a press conference which COFADEH was convening, but had been continually delayed because the report they are issuing includes so many cases of human rights violations, they have not been able to get it finished


Suddenly a part of the crowd started moving backwards instead of forward. We ran to a different door, around the corner, closer to where the crowds were turning around, to see why it was happening. Down the side street, we could see a line of police and military advancing. They advanced on the crowd without the slightest provocation. Suddenly tear gas was flying everywhere and we could see that troops were attacking the crowd from other directions as well. Some people in the march responded by throwing rocks to chase the military and police back. What happened was obviously a previously planned assault. Soon the police and military were chasing people from every direction, and the march disintegrated, as people ran to escape being accosted by the repressive actions. What we would later discover is that assaults were happening somewhat simultaneously all over the city. Our view inside the mall afforded us scant perspective as to what was happening all over the city, and in San Pedro Sula as well. Members of our delegation would later recount of being sandwiched between soldiers from many directions, but fortunately they were able to escape without personal injury.


The army conducted an assault on the National University, and has turned it into a virtual military base. They arrested an undetermined number of people inside, some whose whereabouts are still unknown. Ambulances which left full of people who had been beaten, many reportedly with their faces battered apparently never arrived at the hospital that was their supposed destination. The headquarters of the STYBIS union was also surrounded, and remained under control of the army as of last night. There was also a similar kind of assault on the other city where protesters had converged on Tuesday, San Pedro Sula. We got a report that more than 300 people were detained there. [emphasis added]

We went out in a couple of vehicles to accompany COFADEH staff to rescue several young union activists who were in hiding and feared detention and worse. We brought them back to the COFADEH office, where it is presumed that they will be safer. On the way home we stopped by the University, which looked just like a military base. Outside was a group of lawyers who had been working for hours to secure the release of those who had been illegally detained there yesterday. We also passed in front of the STYBIS headquarters, which was still surrounded by the army. [emphasis added]

This morning our delegation, severely impacted emotionally by the events unfolding around them yesterday, will regroup and again head out to cover the mobilization which has been called for today and prepare reports detailing the breadth of abuses which were committed yesterday. Here in Honduras the coup government’s propaganda machine is fully cranked up this morning. The head of the police and a high military official were in full smile on a morning talk show. They are attempting to justify their criminalization of the protest, alleging that they uncovered bomb making activities by the resistance front, which they use as an excuse to justify their wanton attacks on all of the protesters.

As for today.... the marches continued, but as of yet, I have not seen or heard of any further violence.

I fear that if a solution is not reached soon, then this whole crisis could cause irreparable damage to the cause of democracy here and that the divide between the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor, will grow deeper than ever.

Grace & peace


Anonymous Anonymous said...


You seriously need to consider the source when you read about events. I know you live there and are closer to the action and the people, but that doesn't change the fact that leftist news will propagandize everything to paint themselves in a better light and their opponents as poorly as possible. Try to find an unbiased source.

Love you brother,


9:42 AM  

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