Honduran dictatorship oppresses teachers

This video from Honduras says about itself:

Bertha Olivas of Honduran human rights organization COFADEH presents a report detailing the 1161 human rights abuses committed in the first 17 days of the coup: arbitrary arrests, physical attacks, media repression, and four murders. The woman sitting beside Bertha is the mother of one of the murder victims: 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo.

By Bill Van Auken:

Honduran government unleashes violence against striking teachers

30 March 2011

The US-backed government of President Porfirio Lobo has used police and military violence in an attempt to quell a teachers’ strike and protests that have continued to escalate over the last month.

Tens of thousands of teachers and their supporters have taken to the streets of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and cities and towns throughout Honduras in opposition to a new law—called “Encouraging community participation for the improvement of quality in education”—that decentralizes the country’s public education system with the aim of preparing its privatization. The Lobo government has also repealed the Teachers Statute, wiping out rights won over decades.

The teachers are also demanding back pay for thousands of their members who have gone without salaries for months and are protesting the looting of their pension funds by successive governments.

The state violence employed against these protests has already claimed the life of one prominent teacher activist, Ylse Ivania Velázquez Rodríguez, who was killed on March 18 when police fired a tear gas canister at point-blank range into her head. At least 20 teachers have been imprisoned on “sedition” charges.

On Tuesday morning, the imprisoned teachers were arraigned at the Supreme Court of Justice, which resembled a military camp. Large crowds of teachers together with friends and relatives of the prisoners demonstrated outside the courthouse, demanding their freedom.

Lobo escalated the confrontation on Sunday, declaring the strike illegal and vowing to suspend without pay for six months all teachers who failed to return to the classroom the following morning and to permanently fire those who did not come back to work by April 4. He also claimed the power to outlaw the teachers’ unions for backing the strike.

Teachers representatives vowed to defy the order. “We are out in the streets and we will stay there,” said Jaime Rodriguez, president of the middle school teachers’ union.

Poor farmers are taking more and more land from agribusiness that supported the 2009 military coup, and paying with their lives. Jesse Freeston reports for The Real News Network: here.

Mass firings, wholesale privatization, teargas—this is what the Honduran coup has come to: here.

Honduras Feature: The Suppression of the Teachers: here.

Who’s Killing the Journalists of Honduras? Andrew O’Reilly, Latin American News Dispatch: “The case of Franklin Melendez highlights that these attacks on journalists are not isolated incidents and have carried over into 2011. Along with Melendez’s confrontation, five journalists in March were attacked by police officers while covering protests in the country’s on-going teachers strike…. These murders and attacks have shocked and dismayed the journalism community, as Honduras battles to be the focal point of violence in a region of the world normally dominated by bad news from Mexico”: here.

Roberto Sosa, the most prominent poet in Honduras, died on Monday, May 23. Here is the cover story he wrote for The Progressive in November 2009.

4 thoughts on “Honduran dictatorship oppresses teachers

  1. The Latin America-Caribbean Solidarity Committee of the International Action Center & HondurasUSAResistencia urges everyone to read the following statement in solidarity with the people of Honduras. A wave of repression is sweeping the country and the movement in the US must say no. We urge everyone to organize an contingent in solidarity with Latin America & the Caribbean and the historic April 9 anti-war actions in NYC and San Francisco. Si se puede!

    Honduras Solidarity Network

    Urgent Appeal: Day of Action for Honduras – March 30th

    Contact: Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice, 202-544-9355 x1

    Vicki Cervantes, La Voz de los de Abajo 312-259-5042

    Local Action: To be announced by member organizations in each city.

    * “One Teacher Dead – Twenty teachers jailed for “sedition” and ‘illicit protests’. Teachers threatened with mass firings for their national strike against the repression and attacks.”
    * “Journalists attacked by police – Cameraman in hospital after police deliberately fire tear gas bomb at his face”
    * “Massive use of tear gas and beatings send teachers, students, and bystanders, including small children to the hospital”

    This is the news from Honduras after a week of protests against the Lobo regime’s human rights violations, attacks against the unions, and plans to privatize education and public services. The army and police have forcibly occupied the National University and repeatedly assaulted the offices of the teachers’ unions. Peaceful protest marches have been violently attacked; many hundreds of tear gas bombs have been fired; one teacher has been killed in the protests, and many persons detained. At the same time the harassment and paramilitary threats against the peasant and indigenous communities in the countryside continue unchecked and with total impunity.

    U.S. Government spends millions to support repression

    While almost every day Human Rights organizations issue urgent alerts for Honduras, the U.S. government
 is moving forward with its plans to “normalize” Honduras’ position in the international community and is trying to get Honduras reinstated in the Organization of American States (OAS); it was expelled after the military coup in June 2009. Furthermore, the U.S. has scheduled millions of dollars in aid to the illegitimate regime of Porfirio Lobo: $1.7 million dollars in direct aid to the military and an estimated $4.6 million in aid to the police and other security forces.

    Since Lobo took power in January 2010, through elections that were not recognized by most international human rights groups and observers organizations such as the Carter Center, there have been as many as 36 political murders, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, these murders include teachers, peasants, members of anti-coup resistance groups and 8 journalists, and 14 members of the LGBT community.

    Join us on March 30th – SAY NO!

    · To the repression and human rights violations.

    · To U.S. military, economic and political aide to Honduras.

    Stand in solidarity with the March 30th civic strike called by the resistance organizations, unions, and student groups in Honduras.

    * Participate in local actions in your location.
    * Call and email:
    o Congressional Representatives and Senators (202-224-3121)
    o Department of State (Honduras Desk: 202-647-3482)


    o The White House (202-456-1111)


    Tell them of your concern for the human rights crises in Honduras and your demand to cut off aid to the Lobo regime and end efforts to reinstate Honduras in the OAS.

    And SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION – Tell the Obama Administration, Congress, the U.N. and the media you demand an end to the repression in Honduras and that the recognition of the Porfirio Lobo government to be withdrawn, at


    o Share information about Honduras and this call for action with your friends and neighbors.


  2. Gunmen attack newspaper boss

    HONDURAS: Gunmen shot at the manager of a daily newspaper on Monday night as he was driving home in Tegucigalpa.

    Manuel Acosta was hit six times and his car was riddled with over 30 bullet holes.

    He was able to drive home and his family took him to hospital.

    The owner of a Honduras television station was murdered last week.

    He was at least the 13th news media worker killed in Honduras since the coup that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in June 2009.



  3. Pingback: Honduran prison massacre, again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Honduran coup d’etat and the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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