Honduran Repression Threatens What’s Left of Democracy

In: community organizing|human rights|Latin America|politics|violence

19 Feb 2010

While much of the hullabaloo about Honduras has died down since the United States shifted its policy with regard to the government (first condemning the coup but then accepting the current, convenient status quo), there is still a fight going on.  You might not know this given the lack of coverage in the mainstream media.  A fellow blogger wrote an interesting post about the continued resistance of Hondurans who believe that there was a bona fide coup d’etat and therefore don’t recognize the legitimacy of the current President of Honduras.  He linked a great story by Kari Lydersen highlighting the violent repression that is taking place, her article was first printed in In These Times.

Now, before you get lost in the somewhat abstract arguments about constitutional law and general principles of due process, let me clarify that whether or not there was a true coup is irrelevant to the issue of ongoing repression.  Democracy isn’t merely about form, that is, ok, the new guy, Porfirio Lobo, won an election so everything that happened to cause the need for that election is water under the bridge.  Further, even for those who view the election as legitimate, how can one justify the repression of opposing views and of political organizing?  Isn’t democracy precisely about that sort of liberty?  If the U.S. were Honduras right now, we’d be locking up Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell for attacking President Obama–the legitimately elected President–with practically every breath.  heck we would have already sent in someone to disappear most of the staff of Fox News.  But that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

It’s deeply troubling to hear reports of censorship and about ghastly murders of high profile community and union leaders.  A democracy, can’t hold onto power this way.  In fact, a democratic government that holds onto power this way ceases to be a Democracy.

Please forward and link stories that expose the repression going on in Honduras.  Just a few days ago, another activist was murdered, Julio Fúnez Benítez.  According to COFADEH Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (Committee of Family Members of the Disappeared in Honduras) , Benitez was “an active member of the resistance and union worker with SANAA, Workers Union of Aqueducts and Sewer Systems, was assassinated with three shots in the Brisas de Olancho neighborhood, by two hit men who were wearing baseball hats and were driving a motorcycle, around 6:00 pm, Monday, February 15.”  This murder comes not long after the brutal murder of Vanessa Zepeda that was detailed in Lydersen’s article and discussed in the blog link above.  People need to know about these atrocities.

Again, whether or not Lobo’s Presidency was the result of a coup,  he and the rest of the Honduran government must respect the right of the people to dissent.  This is fundamental and not negotiable if they wish to be viewed as a real Democracy.

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4 Responses to Honduran Repression Threatens What’s Left of Democracy


Bryan J.

February 19th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Good post, Rey. The murder of Vanessa Zepeda, considering the high-profile mainstream coverage of the original Coup, should be NYT front cover material. Alas, our considerably lower profile outlets, I fear, will not get the word out to enough people.


Bryan J.

February 23rd, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Speaking of death of opposition members, Orlando Zapata Tamayo died today after an 82 day Hunger Strike. It particularly angers me, that while many of the same people that condemn what is going on in Honduras are , for sure, going to ignore the sad passing of Tamayo.




March 17th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I didn’t catch this on your blog, but I agree w/ you. The human rights abuses in this country must be noted regardless of who is in charge. And I feel the same about similar issues in Cuba.


Bryan J.

August 13th, 2010 at 10:03 am

Here’s a new little bit of investigation I did on the situation in Honduras:


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While some people look at cockroaches as disgusting pests, We view them as resilient organisms that predate humans and will likely outlive us as well. People of color, the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, much like cockroaches, are often despised, feared and in some cases have been the objects of extermination.

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