by the National Front Against the Coup in Honduras
[Note by Labor Standard: This appeal to workers worldwide shows that the working class organizations of Honduras are playing a leading role in the popular resistance to the military coup, in a solid alliance with the impoverished masses, both urban and rural. Trade union leaders are central to the main organization of the popular resistance, whose Spanish initials are FNCEH. They are openly critical of the role of the Obama administration and the U.S. State Department, headed by Hillary Clinton. Unlike the bourgeois politician Manuel Zelaya, the FNRGH does not accept the State Department–backed recommendations of the “mediator” Oscar Arias—other than that Zelaya should be reinstated.]
[The original text of this appeal “Todos a organizar el boicot contra la dictadura militar-empresarial de Roberto Micheletti: Llamamiento del Frente Nacional contra el Golpe de Estado en Honduras a la Clase Obrera Mundial” was published by the Frente Nacional contra el Golpe de Estado on August 1, 2009. The English translation, provided by Honduras Resists on August 3, 2009, has been edited for Labor Standard.]
On June 28 of this year, when the Honduran population was preparing to participate in a popular opinion poll about the installation of a fourth ballot box in which it would decide whether or not to convoke a Constitutional Assembly, thousands of military soldiers kidnapped the Constitutional President of the Republic, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and they expelled him to the neighboring country of Costa Rica; they occupied the Presidential House, they violently closed all of the independent radio and television stations, they persecuted all the functionaries of the Zelaya administration, and they imposed a state of siege on the whole country.
In that way, a coup d’etat took place, which hours later was “legalized” by the National Congress (legislative assembly), putting in the presidency Roberto Micheletti Bain, leader of President Zelaya’s own political party, through ridiculous arguments that the deposed president had “resigned.” That version was denied by President Zelaya himself, in addition to the fact that the National Congress does not have the constitutional authority to separate him from his role. At the same time, it was argued that there was an order of arrest without the President having faced a judge where he could defend himself from the accusations made against him.
Behind the coup is the business leadership, the four political parties of the bourgeoisie (Liberal Party, National Party, Christian Democratic Party, and Party of Social Democratic Innovation and Unity), the leadership of the Catholic and Evangelical churches, and the main owners of the media. All of them made a counterrevolutionary alliance for fear that the popular poll of June 28 would give power to the people and especially to the working class and poor peasantry to start the construction of a new society, where the privileges of the bourgeois class and the landowners would be eliminated.
It is also necessary to say that behind this coup d’etat is the hand of North American imperialism and the Latin American ultra-right, who see it as an opportunity to stop the advance of the left in the Central American region and the influence of the Venezuelan revolution, after the recent electoral triumphs of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador and the Sandinista Front in Nicaragua.
Nonetheless, the response of the Honduran people was not long in coming. As soon as the coup took place, the popular masses flooded into the streets to take over the public plazas and protest at the Presidential House (the seat of government) against thousands of military troops, armed with tanks, helicopters, planes, and heavy artillery. Ever since then, the popular masses have come out in the streets EVERY DAY for a month, to protest, to exert pressure, to defeat the usurper government, carrying out massive mobilizations, roadblocks, takeovers of public buildings, etc., making use of Article 3 of our Political Constitution that gives the right to Popular Insurrection in the case of the imposition of a government by armed force. Although this struggle has cost the lives of numerous Hondurans, assassinated by the military, the usurper government has not been able to control the situation or defeat the masses, thanks to this resistance, and hence it has not been able to consolidate itself as a government.
The highest organized expression of the popular resistance is the National Front Against the Coup d’Etat, which unites all the social and political expressions of the popular movement, leading the national movement toward the defeat of the dictatorship. This front is made up of workers’ organizations, peasant organizations, and popular organizations in general, as well as the left and center parties and movements who have declared themselves against the coup d’etat.
The international reaction was forceful from a diplomatic point of view. Except for the Zionist regime of Israel, no other country in the world dared to recognize the military-business dictatorship imposed on Honduras. The Organization of American States, the United Nations General Assembly, the Río Group, and the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA), among others, condemned the coup d’etat, because they correctly recognize that it is the first coup against the limited bourgeois democracies that exist in Latin America and that, if the coup gets consolidated, it will set a disastrous precedent to allow the undoing of the social and democratic liberties that have been achieved by the peoples and workers and would probably be imitated by the most reactionary forces in other countries of the region and the world.
Nonetheless, this reaction has not yet gone past the point of diplomatic declarations, which, though useful, are not sufficient to strike a blow against the dictatorship economically or militarily.
The only government that always had an ambiguous policy toward the usurper government was the North American government led by Barack Obama. While it declared its recognition of President Manuel Zelaya as the sole president, it gave visas to the emissaries of the coup leaders so that they could come into North American territory to lobby in favor of the coup; it has not suspended the main programs of economic and military aid to Honduras; it has not imposed a commercial boycott, as it has done against Cuba; and it refuses to declare that this is a coup d’etat. Instead, it has promoted a negotiation between the legitimate President of the Hondurans, Manuel Zelaya, and the dictator Micheletti, through a mediator, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
For the National Front Against the Coup d’Etat, the mediation of President Arias is a strategy of the U.S. State Department to obtain some level of international recognition for the dictator Micheletti, to delay the end of the conflict so that the resistance movement would be worn out, and to subject President Zelaya to unacceptable conditions before his inevitable reinstallation in power, with the goal of making him abandon the political demands that have motivated the popular mobilization, such as the struggle for a Constitutional Assembly and for the punishment of those responsible for the coup. Consequently, the National Front Against the Coup d’Etat accepts only the immediate, secure, and unconditional reinstatement of President Zelaya to his post.
The Honduran working class, which from the beginning actively took part in the popular resistance, organized in the third week a unified mobilization through its own methods of struggle: the general strike and the takeover of workplaces, starting with a 48-hour stoppage by the three central unions of the country (CUTH, CGT, and CTH) on the 23rd and 24th of July, which was repeated on the 30th and 31st of the same month. In solidarity, compañeros from the popular organizations of El Salvador and Nicaragua blocked customs facilities on the borders to stop the entrance or exit of merchandise into or from Honduras. Immediately, the business associations of Honduras and Central America, who are in solidarity with the usurpers, screamed to high heaven because the boycott implied losses of millions for their companies. This shows that the strike and the commercial boycott are more effective weapons to wear out the economic base of the coup leaders than formal declarations.
Because of all this, the National Front Against the Coup d’Etat issues a call to working-class organizations worldwide to organize and act in militant solidarity with the working class and the people of Honduras, carrying out boycott actions of all products that enter or exit Honduran ports, with the goal of economically asphyxiating the dictatorship; hold protests in repudiation of the dictatorship in front of the U.S. and Honduran embassies; take political and cultural actions in solidarity with the struggle of the Honduran people; and in general carry out any actions that strengthen the struggle of the Honduran people and its working class so that we can shake off the yoke of this oppressive regime and arrive at a new society.
ONLY THE WORLDWIDE UNITY OF THE WORKING CLASS WILL DEFEAT THE FASCIST EXPERIMENT IN HONDURAS
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, July 31, 2009