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Statement on Honduras from the U.S.-Based Poor Peoples’ Economic Human Rights Campaign


To: PPEHRC Announce <[email protected]>
Subject: [ppehrc-announce] PPEHRC Statement to the Honduran People and to the US Gov’t
July 1, 2009

Sisters and brothers of Honduras:

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign of the U.S. is with you every step of the struggle to restore democratically-elected President Zelaya and move forward with the just demands of the Honduran people’s movement for a constituent assembly. We recognize your struggle and our struggle as deeply linked. Your actions of dignity, resistance and defiance in the face of a brutal military coup profoundly inspire and motivate us to move forward in the struggle for human rights. We know our government was involved in the coup, just as it has been in so many other cowardly coups against any government which dares listen to and take action on the demands of the most oppressed. We are with you every step of the way in this struggle because, as the saying goes, an injury to one is an injury to all. As the current neoliberal economic model continues to pull down the global economy and make the lives of the poor even harder, it is more important than ever to defend alternatives emerging from the dignified struggles of the oppressed. We will pressure our own government to impose sanctions on the brutal and illegitimate government of Micheletti and we will redouble our own efforts to make another world possible through struggle by and for the poor and all oppressed segments of society. 

From the belly of the beast we continue to fight for our own lives. As our economy worsens, millions of us are losing our homes. Millions are dying for lack of health care. Millions are being sent to die in unjust wars around the world.  You have stood with us shoulder to shoulder in these fights and now we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in yours. We are horrified at the brutal repression you are facing. We are disgusted at the cowardly actions of the elite and their military. We are outraged at our own government’s participation. But we are certain that together we will continue to march towards victory to truly make another world possible.

Down with the illegitimate brutal military regime of Micheletti!

Down with U.S. imperialism and manipulation!

 

With infinite respect, solidarity and admiration,

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign  

 

 

and another statement directed to our own government:

 

President Barack Obama,

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

 

We are outraged at the lack of a strong response to the illegal military coup that took place this past Sunday in Honduras. We are poor people of all races from across the U.S.. We are people losing our homes to foreclosure, victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita still waiting for housing, public and subsidized housing residents watching the destruction of our communities, homeless people barely surviving from day to day, mental health patients fighting to save our services, immigrants seeing our families torn apart by raids and deportations, youth of color facing constant harassment from police, families unable to find decent medical care, social workers seeing our offices more and more over-flowing, laid off workers unable to find work, homeless mothers going from shelter to shelter, and homeless families forced to squat in abandoned houses just to put a roof over our heads. 

Why then, you ask, do we care about a military coup thousands of miles away in Honduras? Why does it matter to us what the U.S. State Department said in its meeting with top Honduran military officials shortly before the coup? Why does it matter to us that our embassy in Honduras packed up and left a week before the coup? Why do we care that the people of Honduras standing up for democracy are being beaten, tortured, jailed and murdered as we speak? Why does it matter to us that a democratically-elected President who dared to stand up to the business and political elite and back the demands of the Honduran social movement for a new constituent assembly has been brutally kidnapped and exiled? Why does it matter to us that the leader of this military coup was trained in Georgia at the School of Americas? Why, when we are struggling day-to-day for our own survival, will we be taking to the streets and calling and writing to you and working day-and-night to end the military coup in Honduras, thousands of miles away?

Because the people in the streets resisting the coup in Honduras are us. They are our sisters and brothers. They are part of our global movement to end poverty by giving power to the poor. They have dared to imagine a world free from human rights abuses, free from poverty, free from the destruction that market speculation and greed bring upon our communities every day. The non-binding referendum that is at the center of this entire debate is not the initiative of a power-hungry president, as the U.S. media would have us believe. It is the initiative of a popular social movement with deep roots in indigenous communities, rural villages, unions, women’s movements, environmentalists, Garifuna and other Afro-Hondurans, farmers and the urban poor. It is not an initiative that comes from Venezuela or Bolivia but rather from the people in Honduras who have dared to imagine a different future for a country that has long been dominated by transnational corporations and a handful of local elites. The people have the right to draft a new constitution. They have a right to imagine a different future. They have a right to go to the ballot box to vote on a popular referendum. The Honduran military, business and political elite know this, and so feared the results of this non-binding referendum that they cowardly kidnapped and exiled the President and are now harshly repressing the population that has taken to the streets in his defense.

In case your information is coming from our government’s traditional allies in the Honduran military, business and political elite, or, equally bad, from the major media outlets, let us share some information with you coming directly from our friends in Honduras about the nature of the new, illegitimate regime. They are cracking down brutally on people who have non-violently opposed the coup. Mayors allied with President Zelaya in Olancho have been detained. Six buses on their way to the capital from Olancho had their tires slashed and have been detained by the military. In Colon women’s organizations are denouncing the foreful recruitment of kids as young as 10 years old to replace the thousands of soldiers who have deserted. In Yoro eight people were illegally detained for a peaceful protests and a local radio station was destroyed by the military, who brutally repressed the neighbors that tried to defend it peacefully. In Santa Barbara the military has ordered the capture of six mayors and a congressional candidate. People mobilizing to Tegucigalpa from every department of the country are being stopped and detained by the military. Social movement leaders from all of the major human rights organizations in the country are being pursued by the military. The houses of several of these leaders are completely surrounded by the military. Tanks and soldiers are terrorizing innocent civilians in all the major cities of the country. Despite this, our sisters and brothers are taking to the streets every day bravely facing down this military coup. These are just a few snapshots of what is actually happening.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, while you have denounced the coup, you have yet to call openly for Manuel Zelaya’s reinstatement or to apply sanctions until the democratic process is restored and the democratically-elected President is restored to power. We demand you take these actions immediately and open an investigation into U.S. state department involvement in the coup. You campaigned on a promise of change. Now is the time to make that promise real by breaking with the practice of past Presidents who time and again have supported brutal and illegitimate military regimes either openly or through complacence and inaction in the face of their terror.

Sincerely,

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign  

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