News Release

Massive Friday “March of the Torches” in Honduras Against “Coup-ism”

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Greg Grandin writes in The Nation: “In both Guatemala and Honduras, credible accusations of corruption are spurring mass mobilization… Washington is reacting in its usual manner to such threats: more militarization.”

Reuters wrote last Friday: “Tens of thousands Hondurans poured onto the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa on Friday to demand the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez in the biggest demonstration yet against the country’s leader over allegations of corruption. An estimated 60,000 demonstrators, many of them holding torches, took part in the… protest that converged on the presidential palace, the sixth Friday evening march in a row.”

In addition, some of the recently released Hillary Clinton emails further implicate the U.S. government in the 2009 Honduras coup. See from Dan Beeton of CEPR: “Newly Released Clinton Emails Reveal State Department’s Celebration Over Honduras’ Flawed Elections Following Military Coup” and from The Intercept: “During Honduras Crisis, Clinton Suggested Back Channel with Lobbyist Lanny Davis.” The Intercept notes: “During that period, Davis was working as a consultant to a group of Honduran businessmen who had supported the coup. In an email chain discussing a meeting between Davis and State Department officials, Clinton [then Secretary of State] asked, ‘Can he help me talk with Micheletti [interim president installed after the coup]?’ Davis rose to prominence as an adviser to the Clintons during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and has since served as a high-powered ‘crisis communications’ adviser to a variety of people and organizations…”

JESSE FREESTON, me at jessefreeston.com
Freeston has covered Honduras extensively as a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He has temporarily released his new feature documentary for free online in recognition of the sixth anniversary of what he calls “the ongoing coup d’état.” “Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley” has been broadcast across Latin America on teleSUR and already received standing ovations at the International Political Cinema Festival in Buenos Aires and the Quebec Film Festival in Montreal. Shot over five years, it begins with the 2009 coup and then picks up the story of the farmers of the Aguan Valley who react to the coup by taking over the plantations of the most powerful man in the country.

“Resistencia” is available for a very limited time in English and Spanish at www.resistenciathefilm.com.

He said today: “The current protests are part of a growing response to an admission by the ruling National Party that more than $200 million was stolen from the coffers of the country’s social security fund under their watch. The National Party took power in the wake of the 2009 coup d’état that overthrew progressive president Manuel Zelaya and ended the process to re-write the constitution of the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. President Juan Orlando Hernández also admitted that some of the stolen money was funnelled into his 2013 election campaign. An election that at the time was denounced as fraudulent by many international observers and the major opposition party.”

Freeston says that today’s movement is directly related to the 2009 coup: “A new tactic of weekly torch marches to the congress has revived a national movement that has been rising and falling in waves for six years now. There’s a word you hear a lot in Honduras, golpismo. In English it would be coup-ism. The word itself is a recognition that a coup is a long-term project, not something that happens on one day. Despite global condemnation in June 2009 nobody was ever punished for overthrowing an elected president and killing hundreds of activists who opposed the putsch, so why would the same coup-plotters fear being punished for pillaging the social security fund?”

EDWIN ESPINAL, [in Tegucigalpa] espinaledwin24 at yahoo.com
Espinal, is an activist with the National People’s Resistance Front (FNRP), the nationwide umbrella organization formed in June 2009 to oppose the coup d’état. His girlfriend Wendy Avila died from excessive tear gas inhalation during anti-coup protests in September 2009. In 2010, Espinal was captured and tortured by police for his participation in the FNRP. In the run-up to the 2013 elections his house was raided by the Military Police, an elite unit that responds directly to President Hernández. This scene is captured in “Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley.” Today he is accompanying a group of students that are entering their third week on hunger strike in front of the Presidential Palace demanding the president resign. Espinal said today: “The movement is getting stronger every day. There are 16 people on hunger strike in front of the Presidential Palace and a group from the Aguan Valley came to join the strike yesterday. We will be in the streets until President Hernández resigns and an International Commission Against Impunity, like the one operating now in Guatemala, is installed.”