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One Year After Coup, Honduras Repression Continues

StoryJune 28, 2010
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Gerardo Torres

member of the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. A year later, the coup’s repressive legacy continues, with ongoing reports of killings, disappearances, torture and impunity. We speak with Gerardo Torres, a member of the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras. [includes rush transcript]

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Honduras. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, setting off a wave of repression that continues today.

In the early hours of June 28th, 2009, armed soldiers removed Zelaya from the presidential residence and put him on a plane to Costa Rica. Today, the coup’s repressive legacy continues, with ongoing reports of killings, disappearances, torture and impunity. In a statement marking this first anniversary of the coup, Amnesty International says the Lobo government has, quote, "failed to address serious human rights violations that followed the coup." Amnesty also says seven Honduran journalists have been killed in the past three months.

Well, as we look at this anniversary, we’re joined here in New York by Gerardo Torres. He is an independent journalist, member of the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Gerardo. Can you tell us what has happened to your country in this year and the significance of this one-year anniverary?

GERARDO TORRES: Thank you very much, Amy. Thank you very much for Democracy Now!

Well, Honduras, as you said, it had a military coup that was recognized by the whole world, except by the United States. They have never had a position about it. And in the first days of the coup, we were the principal headlines all around the mainstream media in the world. But as time passed by, we — people had started to hear less and less about what’s going on in Honduras. The repression is getting harder. And after the elections of November 29, the last year, the United States has been in charge of telling the world that everything is getting back to normal in Honduras and that we’re trying to get back.

The real thing is that in the first part of the coup — that was the one directed by Roberto Micheletti — there were 270 human rights violations proved to be by political reasons. And Lobo has already 210 recognized by several human rights organizations, even Amnesty International. And we can see that the repression is getting harder, but the news are getting less and less getting to know about Honduras. So we are on our first anniversary. We are remembering what happened on June 28, but also celebrating about what is going now in Honduras, that in one hand we have a hard repression, but in the other hand we have a popular resistance that’s getting stronger all around the country, and we’re starting a new process. So it’s also a celebration for us in Honduras.

AMY GOODMAN: The deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, the victim of the coup, said that the coup was made in the USA.


AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe that?

GERARDO TORRES: Yes, we do. We have proof that John Dimitri Negroponte had meetings three weeks before the coup with —-

AMY GOODMAN: The former ambassador to Honduras, John Negroponte.

GERARDO TORRES: The former ambassador, yeah. And Negroponte had meetings three weeks before the coup with Hugo Llorens, that is the actual US ambassador, with the principal leaders of the military and the businessmen, the rich elite, and also the elite of the religious sectors of the Evangelic and the Catholic Church. And he had a meeting three weeks before, and one of the people that were in the meeting has declared to the press that in that meeting they talked about the coup, that they knew about the coup, and that even Llorens has accepted that he knew about the coup, but he didn’t tell anything to Zelaya, because he didn’t want to interfere in the national affairs.

AMY GOODMAN: Gerardo, Porfirio Lobo, the current president of Honduras -—


AMY GOODMAN: — says that he is the target of a new plot by some of the same wealthy businessmen who supported Zelaya’s removal. He fears a new coup.

GERARDO TORRES: Yeah, because the coup —-

AMY GOODMAN: This is a man who supported the coup.

GERARDO TORRES: Yeah, because the coup was not only against Zelaya. The coup was against a process that had started in Honduras by 2000, 2001. It started against the privatizations of water and other principal sectors of the country and developed. Zelaya became to develop it even more in what was happening in the country, so they tried to stop. They thought that, with stopping Zelaya, they could stop a large project, and now -— but they invest a lot of money, a lot of money that Lobo hasn’t returned that investment to them, because, in the first place, he hasn’t got the international recognition that he was supposed to get at the first month of his government. But he also hasn’t stopped the resistance, because for the military elite and for these businessmen, these wealthy businessmen, he has not been harsh enough with the resistance, even though, as I said, we have already 210 human rights violations proved to be directly by — against people of the resistance.

AMY GOODMAN: The US is pushing for Honduras to be welcomed back into the Organization of American States. What’s your stance?

GERARDO TORRES: Well, it’s like the second part of the plan. It’s — the first plan, it was make a new kind of coup, put some makeup with it, and present it like a democratic government, and now gaining the recognition. It’s a really bad example for Latin America, what happened in Honduras, because if this completes, this process completes, then a new era of coups are going to start going on in the region. And we know that in Latin America once a process starts in one country, it like stands to reproduce in the other ones. So, the United States is playing a very dangerous role for the Honduran people, because he has been the lead spokesman of Lobo and the military regime.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Gerardo, can you talk about what’s being planned today on this first anniversary of the coup, the launch of the True Commission by the resistance? What does that mean?

GERARDO TORRES: Well, the government and the regime has started a truth commission that was supported by OAS, in which it was made from people that were part of the coup. Today, that on the first anniversary, we’re going to have a big march in Honduras that is going to end in one of the teachers’ movement headquarters, where a True Commission is going to be presented. And this is our second step as a resistance to getting the world to know who were behind the coup, who paid for the coup, and, for example, what was the role of the United States and other external sectors that supported. We also have a big concert in Honduras. And here in New York, there is also going to be a demonstration today at 4:00 p.m. And also there’s going to be a presentation of what is a documentary that’s called Quién Dijo Miedo, and it’s going to be presented in several places.
And that means?

GERARDO TORRES: And it’s "Who said we were frightened?" And it’s going to be presented in New York in several places.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will link to the information at Gerardo Torres, thank you so much for being with us, independent journalist, member of the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras.

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