Down with the coup in Honduras!
For the broadest mobilization throughout Latin America to defeat the coup plotters
The morning of June 28 witnessed a new military coup in Central America, this time in Honduras, where the ultra-rightists, backed up by the armed forces, but in coordination with the Electoral Court, the Courts of Justice and the Parliament, removed the constitutional President Manuel Zelaya, from office, by force. After a little more than 200 soldiers surrounded Zelaya’s personal residence, a confrontation took place between army squadrons and the President’s personal guard, and he was kidnapped and expelled from the country.
It is a coup that up to now has the support of the main factions of the bourgeoisie, the opposition in Parliament, the Supreme Court and the armed forces, with the complicity also of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and the evangelical churches, that participated in the opposition to the consultation, in a similar way that the Venezuelan reactionaries attempted in 2002. A coup d’état that up to the moment when we are writing this declaration has been repudiated by the majority of Latin American governments. Obama’s US administration condemned the action against Zelaya, but is calling for “peaceful dialogue” with the coup plotters and avoids mentioning that there was a coup d’état in Honduras.
After the strong military operation, Zelaya was taken away to an airbase on the outskirts of the city and immediately moved by the participants in the coup to Costa Rica, the country where he is, and from which he has called for international condemnation of his abduction and the coup d’état. After the military coup, a large part of his Cabinet was arrested, like the Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, who is being held, in addition to arrests and blows against diplomats from Venezuela and Cuba, and the coup participants decreed a curfew, an openly reactionary and repressive measure. At the same time, they suspended the broadcasts of the government channels from early morning, and radio station broadcasts were interrupted, while the opposition television stations broadcast cartoons.
The situation is very tense and becomes more complicated with every minute in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, and in other cities of the country’s interior, where, according to the most recent information, the armed forces have been mobilized to suspend electricity and public transportation, as well as radio and television communications, at the same time that they are surrounding the presidential palace with tanks and weapons for war against thousands of demonstrators that went to the place to express solidarity with Manuel Zelaya and repudiate the coup d’état.
A harsh reactionary coup by the Honduran ultra-rightists
Frictions between the different groups of the Honduran ruling class have increased in recent months, and last week they definitely took a qualitative leap. First was the incorporation of Honduras into ALBA and PETROCARIBE at Manuel Zelaya’s initiative, which bothered the most reactionary and pro-imperialist groups of the Honduran bourgeoisie, then came the wage increase decree that the President ordered, and that exhausted the patience of the manufacturers (especially the owners of workshops), and finally the President’s intention to hold a popular consultation this Sunday, June 28, where the people would be asked about their willingness to put up a “fourth ballot box” in the national elections on Sunday, November 29, with the aim of reforming various articles of the Political Constitution, like the one that has to do with presidential reelection. This last initiative, which was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” displeased several groups of Honduran employers, who went out to state that the initiative was “illegal, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic.” They also deployed an entire national movement repudiating the President’s initiative, since, according to the groups that oppose the consultation and the reforms, they threaten the principle of “different people holding public offices” and “democracy.” This group of employers, protected behind the facade of “alternation in offices,” without any doubt, led a reactionary military coup, that reminds one of the different regimes that governed Honduras in blood and fire between 1956 and 1982, the year when the return to “democracy” occurred in this country.
Since last Thursday, June 25, the first rehearsals of a military coup against Zelaya’s government were taking place. From that day, the main streets of Tegucigalpa woke up crammed with troops from the armed forces, after the President dismissed the military chief Romeo Vázquez Velázquez Wednesday night and accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana, both of them fired from their positions after having refused to safeguard the ballots for the popular consultation planned, called and organized by the President for this Sunday.
The military operation for the arest of President Zelaya, as well as his open expulsion from the country, constitute the corollary of the events that unfolded in the country in the last two weeks, when intense mobilizations both for and against the consultative initiative for the “fourth ballot box” were provoked. The political climate became tense to the maximum degree, to the point that, not only did the supporters of the President seize the streets, but businessmen mobilized together with the reservists from the armed forces.
Honduran ultra-rightists, taking advantage of the increasingly close approach of Zelaya’s government to PETROCARIBE and ALBA, as well as to the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua, had stirred up the campaign over Chávez’ interference in Honduran affairs. In a certain way, this was the cover that the sector grouped together behind Roberto Micheletti and the bourgeois opposition to the government, used in order to pass to the offensive, but this time, around the armed bands of the state.
For the defense of the democratic liberties won by the Honduran people!
Down with the coup d’état!
Although Congress announced after the military coup that the President of the Congress, Robert Micheletti, is the one who takes on the presidency of the Republic, and a group of the employing class talks about “alternation in offices” and “representation,” we must not forget that the event that has developed in recent weeks, consists precisely of a coup supported by the might of the army, that is, an essentially military coup, beyond the fact that they have not yet provoked crushing physical attacks on the workers’ and popular movement. Micheletti assumes the presidency, which he does under the umbrella of the armed forces, that, in order to protect the capitalist regime and private ownership of the means of production, will use force of arms to crush any political opposition mobilized in the streets, and are almost mathematically proceeding to cut out the most basic democratic guarantees. Exactly that has already happened with the blocking of public transportation, communications, or electricity, which of course affects the basic right to have a meeting, that the workers and the poor people of Honduras have.
The military coup against Manuel Zelaya and the new, imposed, de facto government, will not hesitate for an instant to use the armed forces to repress the mobilization of opposition groups. This facilitates the conditions for the emergence of a bloody dictatorship, that will have only the workers and the oppressed as central targets, as has happened in other Latin American countries, like the case of Argentina or Chile, when the ruling classes felt the need to opt for counterrevolutionary regimes to protect their business.
For national repudiation of the coup d’état and international mobilization to stop the coup participants
We revolutionary socialists of the Fracción Trotskista por la Cuarta Internacional (FT-CI) characterize Manuel Zelaya’s government as a bourgeois government that represents the interests of a group of the Honduran business class. This group of the business class had unquestionably benefited more and more preponderantly from the agreements in the framework of ALBA and PETROCARIBE — promoted in turn by some factions of the Latin American bourgeoisies — that, amid the worst world capitalist crisis in 80 years, became a break for their businesses. This situation bothered a different sector of the employing class, that, in spite of having their “right” to private ownership and exploitation guaranteed — but more than ever tied to the US economy — sees their possibility of returning to the presidency of the Republic in danger, if the constitutional reforms of reelection put forward by Zelaya, on the other hand, ever closer to Chávez, Ortega and Morales, are applied.
We from the FT-CI do not share Zelaya’s political project, that consists of lukewarm and small reforms within the framework of capitalism. Beyond the demagogy of the right wing, that talks about alternation in office and representation, we declare ourselves categorically against the coup d’état. For that reason, we call on the different workers’, socialist, and human rights organizations at the international level to organize marches and meetings in front of the embassies of Honduras, and we call for defending the rights of the workers’ and the poor people to gather, to demonstrate, to organize themselves, and to spread their ideas freely, by any means necessary.
Only the workers, with their own methods of struggle, can defend democratic guarantees
The military coup provoked in Honduras, with the devastating powerlessness of the Executive as witness, only confirms that democracy can only be protected by the working class, its methods and actions of struggle. Manuel Zelaya, with his politics, a program of capitalist reform, only gave all the time needed to the right wing to get organized and pass over to the offensive. The army itself, on which he leaned during his entire administration, has knocked him down and overthrown him.
In view of the new setting, the democratic guarantees won by the workers and people of Honduras are more endangered than ever. These democratic freedoms must be defended by the workers through their own methods of struggle: strikes, picket lines, occupation and workers’ control of the enterprises of the capitalists, and the general strike. So the workers must also be vigilant, since, in order to confront the eventual armed repression, it is necessary to organize self-defense committees, with the perspective of building powerful workers’ and campesinos’ militias to prepare the general arming of the population to prevent future slaughters.
It is necessary openly to condemn the coup attempt going on and call for the broadest mobilization in Honduras and throughout Latin America to avert it, by promoting solidarity with the workers and the Honduran people, who are beginning to come out to the streets, in opposition to all the repression against them. It is necessary to demand of the governments of the region that they repudiate the coup and refuse to recognize the government of Micheletti or any other puppet they want to put up from the coup and break off relations with the coup participants. It is especially necessary to resort to direct action through the general strike and the widespread mobilization of the working class and the popular Honduran masses, to defeat this coup d’état utterly and guarantee real democratic freedoms and defeat all the attempts of the reactionaries. We are setting forth this solution at the same time that we call on the workers to struggle for a solution from their own class, independent of both the bourgeois opposition and Zelaya’s reformist project, that only prepares big defeats and bloody, crushing attacks for the working masses. All this, in the context of the struggle for a government of the workers and poor people in Honduras, the only way capable of guaranteeing a truly democratic and representative regime that directly reflects the will of millions of workers.
Monday, June 29, 2009