What kinds of things will we be doing on the delegation? Delegation activities will be decided on a daily basis, based largely on the on-the-ground situation and the requests from our Honduran partners. Activities may include:
- Visiting the non-governmental human rights office
- Accompanying lawyers and human rights promoters to detention facilities and hospitals to verify the whereabouts and condition of detainees
- Meeting with the US Human Rights Officer and/or Ambassador
- Being present at some demonstrations as observers (not participants)
- Following up with the work of previous delegations (in communication with Honduran partners, officials and organizations)
- Visiting regions in the aftermath of repression to take personal testimonies
- Holding occasional press conferences, in coordination with Honduran partners
- Writing and sending daily reports to our home countries / constituents
Please see an example of a past delegation schedule here.
- Is it possible for our delegation to schedule a visit to meet with some people I know/used to work with?
It is important to remember that the purpose of these delegations is to provide a witness/observation and accompaniment presence in the current context of political upheaval and violation of human rights. We must be responsive to the reality on the ground as it unfolds during our presence in the country. While we welcome suggestions for activities and visits, we must remain sufficiently flexible and responsive to events on the ground and therefore cannot guarantee the accommodation of all special requests. You can always come early or stay after your delegation, though we suggest you do this in at least groups of two, for your own security.
- Is it dangerous to travel to Honduras right now?
While the US State Department has discouraged all “non-essential” travel to Honduras due to the political crisis, dozens of US and international delegations have come to Honduras, stayed an average of one week, and departed—all with no problems of any kind. Furthermore, we at the Quixote Center feel that the work of first-hand observation and denunciation of human rights violations is absolutely essential in the context of ongoing repression and violence. Our delegation staff has experience working and leading delegations on the ground in post-coup Honduras, as well as experience leading delegations in other Central American countries. Our staff will take all the necessary and foreseeable precautions to ensure the safety of the delegation. However, anyone considering attending a Quixote Center delegation to Honduras at this time should note that the situation on the ground changes daily and while the delegation’s safety is of utmost importance, the work of witness and accompaniment is often unpredictable and unforeseen events occur frequently. To date, we have not had any delegates experience any direct harm beyond exposure to tear gas. However, there have been moments in which a delegate’s ability to be patient, flexible and resilient (especially with respect to mealtimes and access to restrooms) has been an essential aspect of participation. It is for this reason that we encourage anyone considering a delegation to undergo a heartfelt and honest self-reflexion process. Some of the points of self reflection could include:
- How is my physical health? Am I able to walk quickly or run if necessary? Do I have physical limitations or needs which might limit my ability to respond with flexibility to a given situation? What if I do not have agency in over when I am to eat, sit, or use the restroom?
- How do I respond to stress? How do I respond to those around me facing danger or violence?
- What are my motivations for going? Do I understand both the potential and limitations of my role in the Honduran context? Am I going with the expectation of actively intervening to stop violence? Am I willing to follow the direction of the Quixote Center delegation leaders and/or Hondurans in a given situation, even if it goes against my desire for a particular action in a given moment?
Please see our full Tool for Self-Assessment, available on our website. If upon completing a self-assessment, you feel that your skills, gifts and contributions might better be used in other ways, please see our webpage for the many ways that you can support the Honduras Accompaniment Project.
- As internationals, aren’t we supposed to be neutral? Shouldn’t we be meeting with people on “both sides” of the conflict?
The Honduras Accompaniment Project emerged as a direct request from the Honduran People’s Resistance Front to provide presence and accompaniment in the context of the very difficult political, social and economic reality in Honduras right now, including ongoing violation of human, civil and constitutional rights. Currently the focus of the delegation work is to be present to the on-the-ground reality that the ordinary people in Honduras are facing because of the coup and resulting restrictions and repression of their lives. We will take our cues from our Honduran partners on the ground who are actively involved in seeking nonviolent solutions to their conflict. Our work is not to pretend or seek to be “neutral.” We are not neutral; we are on the side of human rights, the rule of law, and the right to self-determination. This will not be your typical fact-finding delegation in which the purpose of the visit is to get a comprehensive picture of a country’s complex political and social history. Access and exposure to such information will be ample given the long history of oppression and exploitation that the Honduran people have faced due to the economic interests, both foreign and domestic, that have ruled the country since colonial times—and the significant extent to which that colonial history of exploitation is an essential factor in the current power struggle. However, our purpose in going to Honduras in this context is not to meet with a diverse set of business, political and social groups or representatives to hear “all sides” of the story. In this context, our delegations take a preferential option for the victims of human rights abuses. As is the case with many of today’s struggles for justice and self-determination, the entrenched elite in Honduras have at their disposal a variety of tools that the grassroots movement does not, principal among them is the unfettered control of national media and international messaging. Therefore, if you wish to hear the perspective of the coup leaders, you need look no further than the Washington Post or the vast majority of Honduran media outlets.
- How can I be reached during the delegation?
Quixote Center staff will have several cell phones which can receive international calls in the case of urgent communication needs. We ask that these numbers be used as emergency contacts only. Additionally, the delegation cell phones may be loaned out during off hours (early morning and late at night) for non-emergency communication needs. As delegates, you will have access to the internet for other communication needs.
- Will I have internet access? Should I bring my laptop?
Your guesthouse has one internet-enabled desktop computer which is available for your use. Furthermore, there is wireless available. If you plan on blogging or otherwise trying to post daily or regular updates from your time in the country—which we encourage as part of the work of witness delegations—then it is a good idea to bring a laptop if you can. However, it is up to your discretion to determine whether or not to bring your laptop. Quixote Center can not be responsible to loss or damage to your computer if you choose to bring it along.
- What if I don’t speak Spanish?
In general, every effort will be made to interpret all essential information into English. The Quixote Center delegation staff are skilled interpreters and will ensure interpretation (spoken translation) of all formal talks when possible. However, there may be informal settings in which consecutive interpretation is not possible. Also know that listening to interpretation can be tiresome and tedious. If you do not speak Spanish, we ask that you come prepared to be especially patient with respect to language issues.
- What does my $700 participation fee cover?
Your participation fee covers ground transportation, lodging and three meals a day, translation/interpretation services, and all program and coordination services, as well as covering some administration/staff costs. The Quixote Center will also make contributions to non-governmental partner organizations who are working in Honduras for justice and nonviolent social transformation. Please remember that the Quixote Center has been among the few organizations to respond quickly, consistently and effectively to the Honduran people’s requests for accompaniment since the very early days of the coup. Such responsiveness implies the commitment of resources, and the Quixote Center is committed to continue to garner the resources necessary to respond in an ongoing way to the Honduran people’s invitation. Your participation in a delegation therefore is an investment in the work of the Quixote Center in Honduras and will continue to bear fruit beyond the duration of your stay. If you have further questions that are not addressed here, please see the Delegation Preparation Manual. After reviewing all the documents available on our website, if you have further questions, please contact Jenny Atlee at the Quixote Center [jennya (at) quixote.org].