Thursday, July 16, 2009

Indigenous view of Honduras coup

An interesting take on the Honduran coup situation from an indigenous Honduras viewpoint.

"The largest indigenous organizations in Honduras are calling for the immediate return of deposed President Manuel Zelaya, and they assert that the new administration is trying to hide the real reason for the coup, which was that the opposition feared a new constitution that could provide more rights and protections to indigenous and other Hondurans.

The groups also said the coup leadership was preventing indigenous people from protesting, forcing the military recruitment of children, active persecution of leaders and creating a “black list” of resistance leaders (including protest against the recently enacted suspension of the rights of free speech, free assembly, and protection against illegal search and torture.)"

"Many press accounts emphasized the idea that the chief executive was interested in creating a new law to allow him to run again, and that he was a puppet of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But Zelaya’s indigenous supporters are saying they were in favor of the referendum because it could give Native peoples a chance at re-writing the constitution to give them more rights and protections of their territories; and when the president was deposed, indigenous peoples reacted quickly.

From June 28 to July 5, indigenous groups like the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the Indigenous Coordinating Body of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean (CIMCA) and MASTA or Moskitia United, issued press releases outlining a list of demands and concerns, all connected to Zelaya’s forcible removal by the military."

"Edgardo Benitez Maclin, a Tawahka leader and Regional Coordinator for CIMCA (the Indigenous Coordinating Body of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean), responded to requests for comment by sending a series of press statements outlining the issues for Native peoples in Honduras. According to Benitez, the Lenca, Miskitu, Tawahka, Pech, Maya-Chorti, Tolupan, Garifuna, Creole, Nahoa and Chorotega peoples contributed jointly to each of the press releases.

The “Political Position of the Peoples” statement included a section about the groups’ desire for a new constitution. “We will never give up our historic struggle for reform of the political constitution of our country, in which it recognizes the multicultural and multilingual Honduras; the particular rights of our peoples; for a participative and inclusive democracy; the right to the free, prior and informed consent of our peoples. … as is established in the Treaty 169 of the UN and the UN Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”"

"The CIMCA statement pointed out that what was happening recently was a throwback to a darker time in Honduran history.

“The military during the ’80s lead abominable operations against the civil populations, as is being done now by coup President Micheletti who is calling on these same men to be his advisors. This means that there is a latent and serious danger to the lives of all indigenous leaders and those of others in the social movements.”"

Nice to see an indigenous viewpoint. For more information on what has happened in Honduras go to Kiwipolitico blog. (read the comments too)

No comments: