Honduran people are filling the streets in massive demonstrations, outraged over a purported multimillion-dollar theft of social security funds. The scandal involves significant amounts of that money allegedly going to finance the governing political party. The social moments as well as other sectors of civil society have been publicly demanding the resignation of the President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and calling for the creation of an international commission to investigate corruption and impunity.
Through these massive demonstrations, the people are showing their readiness to once and for all change the political system that has been oppressing them for so long. Since the coup in 2009, the Honduran government has prioritized the interests of the wealthy elite, including manipulating the Justice System to defend the interests of corporations that have violated the rights of the Honduran people. The results have been remarkable levels of repression against peasants and against indigenous peoples defending their lands, rivers, and forests against damming, logging, mega -tourist project and mining operations – including death threats and assassinations targeting rural and minority communities such as the indigenous Lenca and Garifuna peoples.
Communities in opposition to the ruling party’s policies have been facing militarization, electoral fraud (during last election were thousands of people went to the streets to protest), the continued violation of LGBT and the women’s rights (including a wave of femicide), and massive migration including the recent migration of hundreds of children. To date communities are also facing major threats that include the planned building of “charter cities,” in which foreign investors form a quasi-government, as well as the expansion of agrofuels plantations and the exploration and exploitation of oil resources.
An earlier wave of demonstrations started in Guatemala where a similar corruption scandal has led to the resignation of multiple government officials, including the Vice President. There hundreds of thousands of people organized by The Social and People’s Assembly took over the streets with a set of sharp demands, and now public outrage at government corruption is expanding throughout Central America.
“The demonstrations are an act of a “Basta Ya” (enough is enough), and reflect a high level of awareness acquired by the Honduran people about the institutionalized corruption [that has been] happening in the country for many years. [That corruption has left] more than 70% of the population submerged in poverty,” said Wendy Cruz from La Vía Campesina Central America. Several member organizations of La Vía Campesina are part of the popular resistance leadership.
This is an important political junction for our partners and allies in Honduras, including the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), La Vía Campesina Honduras, the Council for the Integral Development of the Peasant Woman (CODIMCA), the National Confederation of Rural Workers (CNTC) and the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). They that have been in the forefront of the struggles and developing alternatives to create a more just, plural and democratic country.
¡Adelante compañeras y compañeros!
Photo by Luis Méndez, US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, June 12, 2015