July 1, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, highlighted the role of Honduran people’s resistance after the US-backed coup against then President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.
“Today we are commemorating the struggle of the Honduran people against the fateful coup d’état that disgraced this country,” said President Castro on Tuesday, June 28, which marked 13 years of the coup. “The Honduran people know that there is a historical debt owed to the victims of the coup.”
La presidenta @XiomaraCastroZ con el acompañamiento de la resistencia y el pueblo hondureño, rescatará al país de los vestigios de 13 años de golpismo.#AsíConstruimosLaVictoria pic.twitter.com/mVc2h6o5GU
— Secretaría de Prensa de Honduras (@gobprensaHN) June 29, 2022
“We will be paying homage, today and always, to the Honduran resistance that for more than a decade has fought head-on against a model of dependence and colonial exploitation, against the coup and the cruel dictatorship,” stated Castro in her speech during the commemoration event at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa.
Honduras – 13 years apart
On June 28, 2009, the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was removed from his post by a violent military coup. On that very day, a nationwide popular consultation was scheduled to take place, called by the president, in which people were to vote on whether they wanted a referendum to convene a constituent assembly.
Zelaya, whose presidential term started in 2006 and was to end in 2010, was a popular leader for his various progressive reforms and laws. He had also joined Honduras to Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program, and to the ALBA-TCP alliance. The call for a referendum on a constituent assembly, in addition to all these actions, brought upon him the fury of the national elite and the US rulers, as a constituent assembly was likely to annul the concessions and tax exemptions that powerful agricultural, energy and mining corporations had enjoyed for decades in Honduras. In the early hours of June 28, the Honduran military stormed the presidential residence, kidnapped Zelaya, and took him to the US military base in Palmerola and then expelled him to Costa Rica.
Thousands of people rose in protest all over Honduras, and were met with brutal repression from police and army. Although the resistance was not able to defeat the coup immediately, and suffered a narco-dictatorship, violence, forced displacement and migration, it ultimately triumphed more than 12 years later, when in November 2021 Hondurans voted massively to elect Xiomara Castro as president.
The president, in her June 28 speech, mentioned some of the new policies and achievements of the first 152 days of her administration, the principal among them being repealing “the laws with which the dictatorship governed,” as well as instituting policies of social welfare and labor rights and new laws for “restoration of the state institutions.”
“We are in the process of dismantling the dictatorship and reverting the coup d’état,” she asserted.
However, the new president received a bankrupt country, with a debt amounting to over $20 billion. The economic, political and judicial structures of the narco-dictatorship are still in place, “left by the dictatorship as inheritance for the next generation” in the words of the president.
In addition, the United States, that backed the coup and then installed a dictatorship, and supported narco-president Juan Orlando Hernández for eight years while US and Canadian corporations earned enormous profits by sacking the country, is trying to pressure the new government so that it cannot change policies too much or even dismantle the inherited narco-government structures. “It is like walking along a mined road” is how President Castro herself has described the challenges that her administration faces.
Resistance and solidarity honored
President Xiomara Castro thanked former presidents and leaders of several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean who had condemned the coup and supported Honduras’ struggle for democracy. She called it “a duty and a historical responsibility” to remember the solidarity that Zelaya and the Honduran people had received from people and movements all over the American continent. She especially mentioned Venezuela and late Hugo Chávez, then president of Venezuela, who had given asylum to the deposed Honduran president. As a token of recognition, President Castro, on behalf of the Honduran government, presented a plaque to Venezuelan Minister for Communes Jorge Arreaza, who was at the event as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s special envoy.
Gobierno de Honduras da reconocimiento a presidente Nicolás Maduro y mención honorífica a comandante eterno Hugo Chávez . Recibe homenaje el ministro del Poder Popular, Jorge Arreaza.#28junio pic.twitter.com/W6yTAB5Uxp
— Gilda Silvestrucci (@GildateleSUR) June 29, 2022
Earlier, on Sunday, June 26, the Plaza Isy Obed Murillo was inaugurated in the city of Comayagüela, in memory of the martyrs of the resistance. The place is named after 17-year-old Isy Obed Murillo, “the first martyr of the resistance,” who was shot dead by the police just outside the airport in Comayagüela, while he was protesting against the coup, on July 5, 2009.
FORO Fuerzas Progresistas e Integración Latinoamericana por primera vez en Casa Presidencial.
Cómo un símbolo de la Victoria Popular, transmitido a toda Honduras por @Canal8_hn y RNH. @XiomaraCastroZ @GobiernoHN @manuelzr @MonederoJC @EnriqueReinaHN @CancilleriaHN @Vero_Mendoza_F pic.twitter.com/FGbTxQHEc0
— Gerardo Torres Zelaya (@gtorreszelaya1) June 27, 2022
On Monday, June 27, President Castro welcomed to the presidential palace the representatives of progressive social movements and political organizations from different countries of the American continent, who held a forum on Latin American integration as part of the commemoration event.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by Saheli Chowdhury
Saheli Chowdhury is from West Bengal, India, studying physics for a profession, but with a passion for writing. She is interested in history and popular movements around the world, especially in the Global South. She is a contributor and works for Orinoco Tribune.