Crisis in Honduras deepens
– violence erupted again in Tegucigalpa yesterday
– Honduras now in a state of brutal dictatorship
– international attention and solidarity needed to restore democracy and human rights in Honduras
Yesterday, Thursday 30th July political violence returned to Tegucigalpa, the capital of the Central American state, Honduras, as police started fire at a peaceful demonstration in support of the deported president of the country, Manuel Zelaya.
In the attack on the demonstration one person, Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano, a 38 years old teacher, was shot in the head from close distance. He undergone immediate surgery but his condition remains critical. Nine more persons were taken to the local hospital for medical treatment, including Carlos H. Reyes, a coordinator of the national front against the coup d’etat and chair person of the trade union STIBYS,
and an official, non-party candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for November this year. Reyes was treated for a fracture of one arm and sown with ten stitches in the head near the left ear. In the afternoon members of the mission met Reyes in the hospital. Reyers seemed to have recovered well and was given interviews from a stretcher there.
Members of the mission could also yesterday visit inside the jail of the fourth police district in Tegucigalpa. At least 80 persons from the demonstration had been detained, many of whom had been beaten with sticks with bad bruises. Some where covered with blood on their head and clothes, others were in a shock. Three women we talked with complained about sexual harassment. At least five children and youngsters were among the detained persons. Juan Barahona, another leading figure of the national front against the coup, was also among the detained.
The demonstration in Tegucigalpa yesterday continued an unbroken series of 33 days of peaceful popular manifestations and resistance against the presidency of Roberto Micheletti that was installed after the coup. During the past month parts of the country have been heavily militarized. The border area of El Paraiso next to Nicaragua, visited by the mission on Monday, is partly under marshal law, with heavy presence of the army and also police forces. According to several civil society sources and individuals other areas of the country, such as Copan, have also been militarized with road blocks under army control, detentions and curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Thursday marked the return of violence to Tegucigalpa, where demonstrations have proceeded peacefully since the clash at the airport when Zelaya tried to return to the country by air.
Interviews and observations in public places made by the members of the mission during the past week show severe limitation and abuses of basic human rights including state violence against innocent people and severe restriction on the freedom of movement and expression, imposed by the Micheletti regime.
According to written documentation and reports from interviews that include, among others, interviews with two parliamentarians from the Liberal Party (the party of both ousted president Zelaya and the president of the coup regime, Micheletti) and two MPs from the opposition party Partido Unificacion Democratica there are major irregularities in the parliamentary procedures. Severe allegations are made against the Supreme Court of the country, but under the current circumstances, when there is no confidence in the capacity of the de facto government to provide credible information, these remain extremely difficult or impossible to verify.
The mission also notes the occurrence of obscure, extreme violence that, as many individuals we have talked with independently interpret it, seems to be the expression of the new strategy of terror imposed by the coup government.
Rodrigo Trochez, an MP from the liberal party testifies that while he was with a delegation to Washington to lobby for US support of the reinstallation of Manuel Zelaya his son, Juan Carlos Tochez was the victim of an armed attack on a petrol station. A car drove up beside the car of Juan Carlos Trochex, shooting 40 bullets, four of which hit ands injured him severely. Juan Carlos Trochez is not criticall wounded but receives medical treatment in a hospital in Santa Barbara.
According to reports from the police in the capital of Tegucigalpa, gathered by the Hondurian human rights organization, CODEH, there were 62 people murdered here during the first 28 days after the coup. According to the director of Codeh, Andres Pavon, many of the victims have been shot dead with bullets of the same caliber as is used by the police and the armed forces. The body of one young man dressed in a t-shirt defending the democratically elected president was found in a garbage bin in the streets says Andres Pavon.
The International mission for Solidarity, Accompaniment, and Observation in Honduras must in the light of the observations made here during the last week conclude that Honduras has entered into a brutal dictatorship.
Despite prolonged peaceful resistance the situation has worsened during the past week. Popular mobilization to restore the democratic government of Manuel Zelaya still continues here, with more manifestations announced at least for today by the popular front of movements, trade unions, indigenous groups, farmers, artists, concerned citizens, student’s movements, and others.
The international mission condemns the repression by the dictatorship and appeals to the international community to take all measures to promote the restoration of democracy and human rights in Honduras.
Members of the International mission for Solidarity, Accompaniment, and Observation in Honduras include:
Nora Cortiñas, Madres de la Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora
/ Jubileo Sur (Argentina)
Thomas Wallgren, member of the city council in Helsink (soc.dem) / Finnish Refugee Council / Coalition for comprehensive
democracy – Vasudhaiva kutumkakam (Finlandia)
Mauricio Valiente, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado-CEAR (España)
El padre Efrén Reyes, from Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de América Latina Oscar Romero -SICSAL (El Salvador)
Claire Chastain, International Relation, Communist Party of France-European Left Party,
Martha Figueroa Mier, World March of Women, (México),
Bernadete Esperança Monteiro, World March of Women, (Brasil), and Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción/Transnational Institute (España).
The International mission for Solidarity, Accompaniment, and Observation in Honduras is an initiative by the network for regional cooperation between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean region, ‘Enlazando Alternativas’.
For more information from Honduras:
+504 – 898 52 607 / +504 – 964 23 566 / +504 – 965 93 265
/ +504 965 91 621
Ecologistas en Acción", firstname.lastname@example.org