12 August 2009

Garifunas Against the Coup in Honduras

As the coup regime in Honduras, led by Roberto Micheletti who replaced the democratically elected Miguel Zelaya, completes almost two months in existence, Honduran Garifunas and indigenous peoples have vocally and publicly protested against the coup.

One of the first signs that Honduras' indigenous peoples condemned the coup came in the form of this statement on 01 July 2009:

Honduras National Indigenous Statement On Military Coup
Lenca, Pech, Miskitu, Garifuna, Tawahka, Maya-Chorti, Tolupa, Creole, Nahoa, Chorotega

Indigenous Peoples and Blacks in Honduras, through this document, we want to make our position clear and firm policy against the coup d'état in our country, in the terms we have agreed to express to the national and international public opinion:

a) To declare our strong condemnation and abhorrence at the national and international public opinion, the conspirators of the coup (Micheletti, armed forces and powers) supported by Ramón Custodio (Commissioner for Human Rights), Luis Rubio (Attorney General) , Judges of the Supreme Court of "Justice" and the Members of Congress representatives of the parties, Liberal, National, Pinu-Sd, and the Christian Democrats.

b) We demand the immediate unconditional return of the President of the Republic Don Manuel Zelaya Rosales, whom we recognize as our only president elected by us. Therefore we are unwilling to obey any order issued by Micheletti and his supporters.

c) under Article 3 of the Constitution, which says no one should obey a usurper government or to assume those duties by force of arms, we clarify that we are willing to go to the extreme, to defend dignity of our peoples historically tarnished by groups of economic power, the corrupt political class and the military.

d) We request the urgent presence of Dr. James Anaya (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples), Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpus (Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples of the UN), the International Labor Organization (Geneva office ), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Amnesty International, Armstrong Wiggins of ILCR, among others, to send assessment missions in order to analyze the situation of violation of human rights of indigenous communities, peasant organizations and leaders of the popular movement to the crisis in our country.

e) leave a record that will not participate in any "national dialogue" that the touting putschists. Rather, we alerted the international community on this "circus" where the clowns will be the poor as ever, it is only seeking to gain time to legitimize and consolidate the privileges of the powers (the godfather of the coup) and fooled again the Honduran people, as well as agencies and cooperating countries.

f) our efforts to adhere to the National Front millennial struggle of resistance against the coup, the National Coordination of Popular Resistance, as well as all other sectors of the popular movement that advocated by the transformation of Honduran society a more equitable, more just and more humane.

g) Never abandon our historic struggle for a reform to the constitution of our country, which recognizes the multicultural and multilingual in Honduras, the rights of our peoples, for a participatory and inclusive democracy, to free, prior and informed consent, recognition and self-defense of our territories and natural resources, to self-determination of peoples, among others, as well as in various treaties, international conventions and declarations, notably the ILO Convention 169 and the Declaration of UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"I struggle because I do not want stolen most of our honey combs" Tupac Amaru
Secondly, on Honduras Resists/HONDURAS RESISTE, this interview with Teresa Reyes, Garifuna leader from Triunfo de la Cruz was published on 20 July 2009. Here are some extracts:

Q: What has been the reaction of the Garifuna community to the coup d'etat?
A: What they have wanted is for people to stay calm in their houses because anything can happen in the streets, but we have a movement in the community which has come out because we can't continue to sit in our homes with our arms crossed. We have to do something to participate because we have a right to the participation even if it's limited. We have looked for ways to protest because we can't stay silent about a situation as horrible as what we are living through in this country. We are representing the Garifuna people currently even though there's few of us but we are doing it and we are showing the face of our people because we are also against what is happening.

Q: And what was the level of support for Zelaya in the Garifuna communities before the coup?
A: Before the coup, there was a situation of confusion, because Zelaya had committed to some things with the Garifuna people that we wanted to do but nonetheless those around him were in practice against the agreements he was taking up with the Garifuna People.

It is not as much for Zelaya that we are showing support as for Honduras, because we know that the current situation can't continue like this. Also, they are closing off the constitutional and international rights of peoples, which is why we consider it necessary to support so that we can return our constitutional rights, that's what this is about.

[she also indicates that OFRANEH (National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras), is the only Garifuna organization that is protesting the coup]
Thirdly, we also have some videos of Garifuna protests in Honduras, and interviews with Garifuna elders:

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