Repression Continues in Honduras
By Carlos Quintanilla
Social organizations condemn the recent wave of repression against demonstrators protesting the privatization of education and the high cost of living in Honduras.
La Federación de Organizaciones de la Enseñanza (Federation of Teaching Organization) in Honduras, has stated that police have been firing tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators in several cities and detaining dozens of educators for demanding that the government pay what’s owed them.
According to educators quoted by El Heraldo newspaper, a Honduran teacher, “Ilda Rodriguez, 59, died after she was hospitalized due to a traumatic brain injury,” sustained during a police crack down on thousands of teachers, March 19.
Radio Progreso, a community radio station which has been covering the teacher demonstrations, also confirms the use of brutal force by anti-riot police and military troops to disperse thousands of demonstrators in main cities.
The educators have received the support of other sectors, including transportation workers, who have been protesting a rise in fuel prices, and many who oppose the rising costs in family food baskets.
Despite these actions, the Honduran Government announced that it will not negotiate with the teachers, and will discount the wages and suspend the jobs of teachers participating in the protests.
A mission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council of the UN, visited Honduras in 2010, and reported that a total of 19 Honduran peasants had been killed in Bajo Aguan between January and mid March, last year. All the crimes remain unpunished.
Between February 25 and March 4, these investigators found numerous human rights violations, including kidnaping, torture, injuries, and arbitrary detentions of peasants. Many of the victims were members of the resistance or their family.
Human rights violation have worsened in Honduras since the US-supported coup nearly two years ago during which President Manuel Zeleyas was ousted, followed by the questionable election of Porfirio Lobo.
Carlos Quintanilla produces and hosts KPFK’s Spanish Language News Program “Noticiero Pacífica”, which is broadcast over 90.7 FM on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM. Noticiero Pacífica is the only independent news program in the Los Angeles area focusing on Latin American issues. P. O. Box 761475, Los Angeles, CA 90076. E-mail: <mailto:email@example.com>.
Call for action by Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) in support of 26 people including 6 minors detained after the repression of 2011-03-24. All are being held at the police station Core 7 Metropolitana. (1) Spanish speakers please call 011-504-2237-6830 and express your concern for their safety and that their human rights be respected – including freedom of expression. (2) English speakers, please express your concern for the safety of Honduran Human Rights Defenders who have been in Washington DC this week – speaking with members of Congress and testifying before the Inter American Commission for Human Rights. These human rights defenders have documented and given testimony regarding intense repression in Honduras, impunity and the lack of rule of law. Please express your concern for their physical safety on their return to Honduras. Please call on the Government of the United States to strongly uphold the rights of Honduran human rights defenders to defend human rights. US Embassy in Honduras: 011-504-2236-9320 or 2238-5114. State Department: 202-647-3482 – Ben Gedan, Honduras desk officer. 202-647-2126