Accompaniment Delegation Report from Honduras

How to summarize such a rich, broad deep experience?
Rather than focusing on the legal and economic struggle that were both used and abused as a rationale for the coup, let’s meet some of the very diverse individuals that were involved in the myriad of organizations and coalitions that were part of the Frente – National Front for Popular Resistance (NFRP).
The Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared (COFADEH) was founded in 1980 reached out to youth in 2007 to research the rights of youth.
One of these young women then joined the Coalition of Youth in Resistance. A civil engineer doing potable water projects in the rural areas saw that support stopped after the coup. Though from the elite, having gone to a private university, he and others have even used resources in their family businesses to augment their work (print publications, transport at night, etc.) He was also part of the support group helping Zelaya return. Consequently he has been targeted for arrest and assassination.
A bioscience university student saw the health program she was volunteering with cut short.
Many youth doing what we would consider service learning saw funding end after the coup. This transformed them. They realized that steps toward real help for the poor had ended. Because the 12 wealthy families that run the country that form the oligarchy, with U.S. multinational and U.S. government complicity, felt threatened by the non-binding poll for a National Constituent Assembly (a beginning toward the process to a new Constitution).
The coup galvanized the LGBT community, which began organizing in 2003. Arco Iris represents the other four groups in the Frente. Twenty-six of their members were killed in the coup regime and the repression continues.
The largest group targeted, teachers, are next. They lost 15.
Hector, a young man brought by a teacher to the Real Commission of Truth, saw the film Quien Dijo Miedo? (Who Says We’re Afraid?). Watching mainstream media, he believed all the myths about Zelaya joining ALBA thus threatening Hondurans with expropriation of their homes and businesses and taking their children from their families. The film made him choke back tears when actual footage of military and police brutality was shown. He came to the concert for the Resistance to talk with others and learn more.
Even Margarita, an upper-middle class economist, helped to organize her community of Santa Lucia and its neighbors to stand against local and national corruption. She and others believed the government was even absconding with ALBA funds. Starting with 40 families, they have grown and will soon formalize their organization with a Coordinator and join the Frente.
A broad spectrum of people, including the indigenous COPINH and the Garífuna OFRANEH are included in the Frente but are not included in the current Constitution of 1982.
As Beatrice the Coordinator of the Bloque (not a political organization but founded many years before Zelaya and the coup) explained: some of the Frente are Zelayaistas and some are not, but all are focused on the new Constitution.
Saturday A.M. signature gatherers for the National Constituent Assembly come from all sectors. The group we went out with were all poor and unemployed, knowledgeable and committed. One mother of six and grandmother of 14 has a pulpería, a juice and five-and-ten-cent store that a daughter was watching. Another daughter is a nurse and a third has three courses left to graduate, but she could only take one because the rector gave the other two buildings over to fast food businesses.
An urban farmer said that campesinos were organized, but sleeping. The coup woke them up. He comes from the Nicaraguan border area where people have lived through the Contra war and seen Zelaya’s surreptitious return. They are scared to come out on the street, but in their homes and their hearts they are with the Resistance. They want a new Constitution.
An older cement worker has been out of a job since the coup. He was working on projects funded for poor neighborhoods but the funding was stopped. Whenever we met him during the week, he greeted us like old friends.
The NFRP really does represent diverse groups and they really do want a new Constitution.
Barby Ulmer
Quixote Center Accompaniment Delegation
June, 2010