(In Spanish) Residents of Hato de Enmedio, Tegucigalpa, take control of their barrio. September 22, 2009.
September 25 — Green Left Weekly — (Updated Sept. 27) "The whole world knows that what we have here in Honduras is a coup regime", Armando Licona, a leader from the Revolutionary University Student Front said. Green Left Weekly spoke with Licona, whose organisation is part of the National Resistance Front Against the Coup (FNRG), on the phone from the Honduran capital, Tegucilgalpa.
Today (September 25), the military attacked the Brazilian embassy with chemical weapons. President Manuel Zelaya is bunkered down in the Brazilian embassy after secretly re-entering the country on September 21.
The Honduran poor have waged a campaign of constant resistance against the coup regime to demand that Zelaya is restored and a constitutional assembly called to create a new constitution to meet the peoples’ needs in one the hemisphere’s poorest nations.
Since Zelaya’s return, both repression by the dictatorship and resistance by the people have significantly increased. An unknown number of peaceful protesters have been killed or disappeared, and the regime rounds up protesters daily. Despite this, protests continue on the streets.
Licona said that, despite the repression, "our dignity will not allow us to give up". "We are a people fighting to ensure that the great changes we have initiated come to fruition. We will not rest until President Zelaya is restored to power and the national constituent assembly is called, which will allow these great changes that we dream of become reality — a country based on social justice that is not in the hands of some eight or 10 rich families who do whatever they want with complete impunity."
Licona explained: "Today, the 91st day of resistance, we held a massive march in Tegucigalpa. But the most serious event was the attacks made against Zelaya … they are using chemical weapons [on the embassy] causing many people inside to vomit blood."
Dirian Pereira, from the FNRG international commission, told GLW that, despite Zelaya denouncing the chemical attack, the International Red Cross, the Human Rights Committee of Honduras and Zelaya’s doctors were denied entry by the military. The soldiers "had orders to not let any one pass". "This is chemical warfare … it seems clear that the order is to get Zelaya out dead or alive — but preferably dead."
Meanwhile, the regime has again imposed a night curfew across most of the country, which resistance activists expect will be enforced with brutal repression, and met with defiant resistance.
Licona said: "The coup regime wants a bloodbath. But the resistance has stood firm on its strategy of peaceful mobilisations, even despite their attempts to infiltrate our marches to carry out acts of vandalism, carrying guns. [The regime is] totally armed, that is why it is hard. What we see is a resistance and a people with dignity, but who are fighting with their hands in the face of bullets, batons and tear gas."
The attack against the embassy comes less than 24 hours after the coup regime said it was willing to start a dialogue with Zelaya, who has continuously repeated his willingness to talk.
Licona told GLW that the supposed dialogue attempt "was a proposal of the coup plotter [Roberto] Mitchelleti [installed by the coup as "president'"]. What they want is a pretext to claim that all possible avenues of dialogue have been exhausted."
Pereira agreed: "We believe that the arrival of the four musketeers of the right, that is, the four presidential candidates of the right-wing parties, that talked to Mel [as Zelaya is popularly known] in the embassy was in order to take a photo with him and immediately circulate it in the media as a way of saying ‘look, these people are hugging each other’. Prior to this meeting, they met with Micheletti. They came, spoke with [Mel] and what they said to him was that he should hand himself in. He simply said that the only way out was with his restitution [as president].
"We believe that they staged this show in order to stop any possible [United Nations] intervention of ‘blue helmets’, because the UN Security Council was meeting. They wanted to stop any possible negotiation in this direction. I think that to a certain extent they achieved this, because the Security Council resolution simply condemns what they are doing to the [Brazilian] embassy."
Pereira explained the position of the FNRG: "We have four well-defined positions: 1) the restoration of President Mel Zelaya; 2) the restoration of constitution order; 3) the withdrawal of the military to its barracks; and 4) the installation of the national constituent assembly. We will not back down on these."
Pereira said the resistance would continue with its street protests on September 26. "There will be a march starting at 8am where we will once again aim to bring together the largest number of people possible. In the afternoon there will be a caravan of vehicles throughout the barrios and colonias [poor neighbourhoods]."