Saturday we went to a cultural event in the Central Park of Tegucigalpa, where poets and singers entertained an animated crowd. The event was titled “Youth armed with Culture against Barbarity”. It was a lively and uplifting time.
Part of our group then headed to Sabana Grande, one of the locations where people who are part of the 7-day march are walking into Tegucigalpa. By the time the delegates arrived, people were done walking for the day, and many were already in houses which had offered spaces to sleep. There were at least 2000 people on the walk by then, and about 200 of them were at a school, where they had a spirited encounter. For many on our delegation, this was their most memorable moment. The spirit of resistance bubbled from the crowd, many of whom have walked 10-15 miles a day for almost a week.
Over the week-end, the first delegation returned to the U.S. and at the same time we were receiving people from France, Spain, Guatemala, Canada and the U.S. who will be with us providing accompaniment this week. On Sunday we went to the weekly assembly of the Resistance Front, where we participated in another spirited rally and chatted with people from different parts of the country, including a Garifano group from the Atlantic coast camped out at the Union headquarters.
At the assembly we learned that U.S. Ambassador Llorens had met for the first time with the leadership of the Resistance Front. He told them essentially what he told our delegation on Friday. He said that the U.S. was opposing the coup and had done everything possible to pressure the Micheletti regime to return the country to constitutional order. They were not convinced by his words. They know well the international rejection of the regime, and believe that if the U.S. was not giving support to the regime, the coup would have never had happened in the first place and that it would have been long over. They believe that this is the new way the U.S. is supporting coups, and that Honduras is a testing ground for U.S. future plans for Latin America.
By Sunday evening, we were beginning to sense the rising tension about what the government response might be to the concentration which is coming in the next two days. In the street, there was a heavier police and army presence, checking all passengers on the local buses for identification documents. One thing that people fear is that there could be repression on Monday in order to discourage people from coming out to the concentration on Tuesday.
We are preparing our group with a buddy system, so that we will be prepared as much as possible, in case the police decide to attack the crowds. The news last night that the government had refused to receive a delegation of seven foreign ministers and the Secretary General of the OAS sent a chill through the country. Either the government is so near to falling that they are committing serious diplomatic errors, or they feel confident of hidden support which empowers them to act in such a belligerent manner.
We are asking that all of you be attentive in this moment to possible repression that government forces might begin to carry out in these next two days. In the case that this happens, we ask that you begin calling the White House and the State Department, to demand that the regime here respect basic human rights, and don’t commit another massacre.