Thursday, July 16, 2009

Molly has blogged on this subject before. It is now becoming "old news", the resistance of the lower classes in the country of Honduras to the recent military coup in that country. Sullied as the subject may have become by the international reaction the reality is that the president of the country had very mild social democratic policies that the country's elite couldn't abide. The Honduran people, and particularily the Honduran labour movement, have continued to resist the coup, as the following from the Sweat Free Communities details.
Honduran labor movement protests military coup:
Trade unionists in Honduras – a country that despite its small size is the fourth largest exporter of garments to the United States – have been vociferously rallying in support of democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, who was violently ousted from power by a military coup June 28. SweatFree Communities supports workers in Honduras, including Elizabeth Gutierrez, a former garment worker and leader in FESITRADEH, the Honduran garment workers' union, who toured the U.S. this spring with SweatFree Communities to educate the public about conditions in the Honduran garment industry.

While the Honduran National Business Council (COHEP) - whose members include the apparel industry trade group Asociación Hondureña de Maquiladores (whose members in turn include U.S. companies Dickies, Cintas, Russell, and Hanes) - has come out publicly in favor of the de facto government, trade unionists have been victimized in the weeks since the coup. The Spanish daily newspaper El Pais reports that freedom of association among other civil liberties have been suspended. According to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, “Roger Ulises Peña, a union member, was allegedly attacked by a military command on June 29, 2009, and his current health situation is very critical.” And on July 4, one week after the coup d'etat, the offices of the Central General de Trabajadores (CGT), the national trade union center, was broken into and ransacked, with important documents stolen. CGT staff report that police have not responded adequately, and many believe the crime was political in nature.

Honduras Laboral, a media organization, reports that on July 8, approximately 1000 members of the Bloque Popular (Popular Block) – peasants, labor unionists, students and teachers – stopped traffic on the Pan-American Highway for five hours in the town of Comayagua, as a form of pressure to restore a constitutional government. This “paro” took place as anti-coup marches continued in the larger cities of San Pedro Sula, El Progreso and Tegucigalpa. The National Labor Committee also reports that the Honduras Teachers Union has called on its members to join a national strike.

“The take-over [of the road] was done peacefully, and the police did not suppress it because the majority of the anti-riot forces are concentrated in Tegucigalpa,” said Víctor Petic, director of the Honduran Cement Industry Workers' Union (SITRAINCEHSA). “In addition to the marches and take-overs that have been expanding since last Sunday, more people have joined in and this is a sign that the people are aware that what has happened is a Coup d'Etat that needs to be disavowed by everyone.”

Here are a few additional resources for more information on popular protest of the unelected Honduran regime:
Democracy Nowwith Amy Goodman
Monthly Review zine
Anti-sweatshop movement´s joint blog
Commentator Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian

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