Honduras Coup Repeat Update 26 November 2017 to 14 December 2017
The presidential election in Honduras took place on 26 November 2017, and the counting was supposed to be finished and winner was meant to be announced about 9pm that night. Instead, the last regular announcement updating vote counting results was after midnight when 68.4% of votes were counted; the Electoral Commissioner Marcos Ramiro Lobo Rosales declared to the press that the tendency was irreversible. That last update of who would be the next president was 45.4% to the candidate Salvador Nasralla of the Alliance of Opposition Against Dictatorship, followed by 40.6% the illegal re-election candidate Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) of the National Party, and then 13.77% to Luís Zelaya of the Liberal Party. At this point, Nasralla at 5 points ahead and confirmed irreversible trend, and announced he won. Luís Zelaya recognised that Nasralla won and asked JOH to accept defeat. Somehow, being 5 points behind, instead of insisting he could still win, JOH also announced and celebrated that he had won. A further detail is that JOH should not have been in the running for this election in the first place because of laws against re-election that is not within the power of the congress to change.
Then, people heard that the Electoral Commissioner Lobo Rosales was getting death threats and seeking protection, as well as being threatened with suspension from his position, and from that time people stopped hearing updates of the vote count. So people waited, a large number celebrated Nasralla’s win, to for once break out of the biparty system, and to have someone there whose promises align more – for example to end plans of model cities, to construct a new alternative economic model and revert privatisations. Everything was in slow motion and each hour that passed of silence from the Electoral Commission and authorities not proclaiming who won confirmed more than the last that an electoral fraud was being cooked up.
Demonstrations against the fraud began the next day, on 27 November 2017, and by 30 November 2017 when there was suddenly an official update of the count (saying 94.31% of votes were counted and that JOH was ahead at 42.92% to Nasralla 41.92%), many were outraged by the manipulation and there were spontaneously barricades of highways and bridges all around Honduras. People placed tyres on barricades and set them on fire just about everywhere, and plazas all around were filled with people, screaming ‘Fuera JOH!’ (get out, JOH!).
A brief recap on the election day prior to all the counting
Signs of electoral fraud were already coming in from all the angles. There are many cases where people complained that they turned up to vote only to be turned away being told that they had already voted, that someone had used their name and ID to vote already. There are, like in past years, reports that thousands of dead persons have voted (prior demands to clean up the rolls had been ignored). People reported seeing full ballot boxes being dropped into voting schools (in the case of Alfonzo Guillen Zelaya School near El Pedregal). There were reports in Santa Cruz that there were more vote count documents at the centre than there were boxes so spares could be used to write fake information and swap documents behind closed doors. Nationalists tried to steal ballot boxes in the Torocagua neighbourhood only to be stopped by opposition activists. Voters at El Pericón Tutule were searched by police and soldiers to stop campesinos and indigenous people who have capture orders against them for their environmental activism from voting. There was an instance of 6 heavily armed men going inside the voting centre of Arturo Quezada, Comayaguela, furious about the Alliance winning, and their being there intimidated people who wanted to observe the count. At Instituto España Jesús Milla Selva, the nationalist president of the table took photos of voters and filmed the list of voters, and responded to people protesting this by calling on a shock group, which only calmed down when Organisation of American States international observers turned up. Another mob intimidated the election observing delegation La Voz de los de Abajo with verbal attacks. The delegation La Voz de los de Abajo documented coercion from activist police, things being given away in exchange for votes. There were mobile phones being given away by nationalists in exchange for votes. Journalists of community radio in Zacate Grande were told they were not allowed to be at voting centre; not to report, and not to send food to comrades working at the elections. The community radio had early in the month been intimidated and spied on by the navy. At the José Santos Guardiola school, people saw that Nationalists are voting twice each. The sale of election credentials were spotted in San Antonio Villa Comayagua. There were voting tables without stamps so the votes may not get counted. These were some of the reports. Before the election, the staff at the National Registry of Persons RNP revealed that they saw National Party officials go into the office as the staff finished their work days. They belief that they had gone in these nights to fill out the vote count tables.
27 November 2017
At 7.20pm, there were celebrations of the Alliance of winning the election. Yudy Karina Obando Ponce and her family were driving home with an flag, some Alliance banners, and a photo of Alliance leader Juan Barahona in the car making visible that they were activists of the Alliance. As they were driving through a man stood beside their car, seeing what was inside he tried to stop the car and others with him started surrounding, kicking and bashing the car. They threw a flag pole at her daughter who was filming, hitting her on the left shoulder, and they tried to punch Yudy as well, but she moved quickly to avoid the punch.
28 November 2017
At 3 pm from UNE TV channel building, journalists Jorge Alberto Estrada Baca and Leisy Johana Flores Gáleas saw that at the building site in front of the channel building, there were snipers there pointing their gun towards the channel building and behind them was another individual with a shotgun and some long distance binoculars. The two were just 3 days before followed by two people on a motorcycle, who pulled out and pointed a weapon at them.
29 November 2017
By now protests are building up, especially outside INFOP – the department where votes were being processed inside. On this day at 11.30pm, police began repressing people flooding the area and surrounding suburbs with teargas. Someone was hospitalised with convulsions from the gases. When it was almost midnight, journalists Cesar Silva and Mauricio Rivera who had been there monitoring continuously saw that national and international press and observers were arbitrarily evicted from the votes digitalisation centre. The area was also increasingly militarised, as more military tanks, riot police, police and soldiers appeared.
30 November 2017
This is the date when barricades around Honduras became widespread. It is also when the military began openly killing people in the crowd. In La Ceiba City, at the bridge about Danto River, (1st person killed by the regime in this fraud) José Abilio Soto was part of a group of protesters that blocked vehicles from passing through there, barricading the bridge, when soldiers fired gunshots, which hit and killed José Abilio Soto.
Outside INFOP, at 1pm, a security contingent arrived on the scene attacking protesters outside INFOP and protesters gathered around nearby areas – and repressed using gunshots and teargas and throwing rocks. José Francisco Valladares (28) was gunshot wounded in the right leg and taken to hospital, Mario Reynaldo Betanco (45) was gravely wounded by a rock a soldier threw at his head. A police woman and military officer Sánchez were also injured by stones thrown, and another soldier fainted from the gases their own contingent had covered the area with. A second round of repression came late at night when ex president Manuel Zelaya and president elect Salvador Nasralla came on the scene to accompany the protest and knock on the door of INFOP. Police started firing teargases, which also entered the warehouse where the ballot boxes were, obligating elections observers to leave and leave the ballot boxes unattended. Some infiltrators were identified within the crowds.
Police patrols began randomly picking up and arresting children and youths and accusing them of aggravated robbery out of the blue. They did this to Róger Teruel (28) and at least two other children this night. And others were arrested accused of other things. All taken into custody. Another arrestee was Oslin Josúe Soto Godoy who was taken in for four hours before being released to the international delegation La Voz de los de Abajo.
Around Miraflores in Tegucigalpa, at 3.35pm, repressive forces attacked the place and people with teargases. People reported there were infiltrated persons and some intelligence analysts profiling individuals in the crowd.
Repression was also reported at barricades at La Democracia bridge in El Progreso, in Yoro, and in Lima, Cortés. In Olanchito too, where one person was wounded. There are direct action, major demos and barricades in fourteen of the eighteen provinces in Honduras by this date.
At a protest in another part of Tegucigalpa, in El Pedregal, military police also shot live gunshots that hit and gravely wounded people. At least Arnold Flores (24) and Daniel Isacc Suazo Varela (12) were gunshot wounded, and there seemed to be another who wasn’t identified. Arnold was at the antifraud protest, ‘We were protesting against all the injustices that are seen in our country, for a clean democracy, for a Honduras of peace, free of bloodshed and for all the persons who are at a time when they can’t go out to the street to raise their voice…,’ Arnold explained that the struggle is also for all those people who lives in a similar or worse condition that what he lives in, and for those over 3000 people who died because of the lack of due medical attention because of the IHSS corruption scandal who can’t anymore raise their voices. Arnold described how different military groups were surrounding protesters and coming in from different routes, so protesters tried to split and go in different directions to deflect the repression, as soldiers chased people with batons and shields and weapons and damaged local structures and roofs of local shops and pharmacies. People ran and sought refuge in nearby houses. Arnold was just under three metres from a refuge house when soldiers started shooting at people. Arnold heard the shots and felt cramps in his two legs and the next thing he knew was that he collapsed, so he clambered back to the refuge, where he looked down and felt heat in his legs and saw he was bleeding a massive amount of blood. He panicked and started yelling for help, yelling that he did not want to die, nor for his legs to be cut off, he fainted a few times. Arnold recalled a woman helping him, tying bandages around his legs tightly to control the bleeding. His friends from this house took him and Daniel to hospital. His fears turned out to be very realistic. The gunshot went through his two legs, and broke the biggest artery of his body.
‘Where I live, 3 years ago, a kid was shot there and the kid was only alive for five minutes, and died, he lost too much blood. So the danger with this artery is lethal, the doctors and specialists had seen me, they had said that I am alive by miracle…the doctor when she came to treat me, she says that when she saw me in emergency, the first thing that she said was, ‘ayyy poor thing the kid has lost his legs’ but see, God had the last word and it didn’t end this way.’ Arnold will be seeking justice, for himself and for everyone.
12 year old Daniel was there as he was on his way home from playing soccer.
1 December 2017
A curfew that was for ten nights was announced to start at 11pm until 6am this first night and 6pm-6am for the following nights. They said it is imposed to ‘establish order’. During the curfew, armed forces soldiers and security forces are given absolute power on the streets to commit abuses and with a few official exceptions, nobody is allowed to be out on the streets, where they would be arrested, beaten up or killed. The cities and towns were completely militarised. Banks, shopping centres, and many shops were closed. Tegucigalpa was like a ghost city with drivers filling tanks and police zombies around outside, but there are some resistance groups gathered in places, blocking roads, lighting tyres on fire, being alive in those moment and risking their lives. Before the curfew, at 9am, in San Manuel Cortés, people burnt highway tollbooths that they have always wanted to.
Just as the curfew started this night and the barricade at the bridge above the Danto river, where José Abilio Soto was shot dead the previous night, had not dispersed, soldiers turned up firing shots, hitting (2nd person killed by the regime during this fraud) José Fernando Melgar (16) who fell off the bridge and died as people were taking him to the hospital.
Also just minutes after the curfew started, in the Tegucigalpa neighbourhood Residencial Honduras, 19 years old (3rd person killed by the regime during this fraud) Kimberly Dayana Fonseca Santamaría went out to look for her brother, not knowing he was at his girlfriend´s home, and as she was passing through where people were protesting, soldiers opened fire into the crowd and shot and killed Kimberly. In this same scene and place and time, taxi driver (4th person killed by the regime during this fraud) Denis Mauricio Oseguera was gunshot wounded, and died in hospital.
In Choloma, Cortés, in the López Arellano neighbourhood, military police opened fire against the barricade, (5th person killed by the regime during this fraud) José David Ramos Lambert (22), (6th person killed by the regime during this fraud) Roger Alberto Vásquez Reyes (35), and (7th person killed by the regime during this fraud) Victor Evelio Martínez Alvarez (23), and (8th person killed by the regime during this fraud) one other unidentified person were hit by these gunshots and died. José’s dad said he was not participating in the protest and was just passing through, and added that very close by at the same time at this protest there were some shops being looted which the military police knew about, that but their absolute priority at this time was firing gunshots at protesters who blocked a road.
When Roger Arias Cárcamo (47) was walking through the bridge Puente de Chile in Tegucigalpa at 3pm, police arrested him, beat him in the head with batons and kicked him in the back as they threw him into the police patrol. The names of the police that beat him are Héctor Rivera and Hernández. He had to go to hospital after that.
The regime absolutely did not want journalists reporting on their killing sprees. So, a few things happened.. cameraperson David Matute of Marte TV was filming the protests when he was attacked by a security agent. He screamed that he was a Marte TV cameraperson, and the agent went, well where is your clearly visible journalist badge? And Telesur cameraperson Antonio Torres accompanied his colleague to immigration department to seek an extension to her stay in Honduras, when some people approached them aggressively for being in the office with camera equipment. He explained that they were from international press. Antonio learnt afterwards that the aggressors were retired army officers.
On this date, some of the documented arrestees were, Roger Osmar Teruel Martinez (28), Angel Velasquez (14), Michael Alexis Lemus (16) .. there were many more though.
2 December 2017
On this second day of curfews, people said, ‘if they stop Honduras from 6pm to 6am, we will do that from 6am to 6pm #GranParoNacionalHn’, with barricades to make sure they can forget ‘business as usual’. The curfews were in place to evict barricades, and people did what they could during curfews – some protested outside during curfew bravely disobeying knowing their lives are on the line, and there was a coordinated effort to make noise protest using casserole dishes (cacerolazo) from inside the homes everyone with screams and beating of pots and pans this night. As well as the noise made collectively, outside, gunshots of repression are heard.
In Comayaguela in the Santa Eduviges neighbourhood, after a day of work delivering bread, high school student Yimi Hernández Mendoza (22) was near a cornershop having some donuts and soft drinks with some relatives, amongst some noise and fire cracker protests, when a group of soldiers and military police opened fire at a group of protesters, and a projectile of the security forces hit Yimi’s face, lodging itself in his left eye causing him to lose vision in that eye. There were also projectiles that lodged into his left waist and right side that had to be surgically removed.
Around the same place and time, 13 year old William Joel Almendárez Cortés was accompanying some chanting of the protests from his front porch, and was also hit and wounded by the security forces’ gunshots in the neck.
After wounding these two, soldiers went to trace their footsteps to pick up any bullets they shot to hide evidence. Relatives of Yimi managed to keep one before they got them though, to use as evidence. The bullet shows that the soldiers and military police were using high calibre weapons that could be R15 or R16. The bullets also hit a home and one was incrusted into the wall.
At the protests near the uni (UNAH) of students, 15 year old Ericson Ariel Pérez Rosales was participating in the students’ mobilisation, when UNAH security guards wounded him by gunshots. As the UNAH private security guards started to shoot, they tried to look like they were shooting in the air and not at people, but Ericson’s left leg was not in the air when it was shot, he was hospitalised in the children’s hospital.
This day there was a total of about 20 who were wounded in the protests. In San Pedro Sula, at night time, 3 were gunshot wounded in a confrontation with military police.
More than 100 were arrested this day in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, many for ‘acts of vandalism’. Jorge Izaguirre and Francisco Duarte were two of the many arrested this day by cops, and people did not know where they were being taken to. Generally there is panic, when friends and family got arrested, where they were being taken to and what would happen to them. In Cortés, people were blocking a highway of Cofradía when the military arrested 29 people including one woman, and were held in a military building of Tercer Batallón de Infantería. In Copán, a highway blockade was evicted at 3am, state repressive forces arrested 17 including 3 minors, for ‘violating the curfew’.
The repression of protests this day were recorded in Miraflroes, El Hato, Yoro, Arena Blanca, Las Minas, La Guacamaya, Balsamo, Agua Blanca, Santa Rita and Santa Cruz de Yojoa. People who protested inside their homes in the coordinated cacerolazo (noise protests hitting pots and pans in the kitchen), were not safe either, military police went around the neighbourhoods Miraflores, San Angel, Kennedy, Pedregal, Los Llanos, Las Vegas, etc, and launched and aimed teargas bombs and peppergas sprays to inside the homes that were participating in this noise protest during the curfew.
3 December 2017
This night, again at 9pm there was a coordinated effort to from homes yell all at once, ‘Get out JOH’. It was yet another date with many assassinations.
(9th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Erick Javier Montoya Cruz (27), was going to the cornershop in his neighbourhood where protests were going on during the curfew – Paseo los Laureles, in Comayaguela, when at 9.20pm, five motorised military police patrols repressed protesters there firing shots. He was hit with two gunshots – one in the side of his body, and another in his abdomen. Erick was taken to hospital but died there. He was a law student at UNAH. His grandma María asked him not to go out saying it was dangerous, but he insisted. He comes from a family of 13 and he was going to not get married and focus on providing for this family. His mother died 4 years ago and his grandma became the mum of the family and she called Erick her son. ‘I didn’t see what happened.. since he went to the corner shop, I sent people to look for him, as it was bedtime, but they didn’t find him, then, they came to tell me that he was down, not sure if beaten or shot, and when I came, to where Eric fell, he was already there face down.. I felt like dying to see my son (dying)…my daughter asked the 2 ambulances because they – the military police – had two with them, and their response was to say – and for what, if this one has already died?’ So a friend took them to hospital but at arrival, Erick died. They live in a gated neighbourhood ‘Francisco Morazán’, on the day of the noise protest, the gate was closed because the protesters felt the presence of military police, but the military police shot at the lock to open it and entered the neighbourhood. María in her 6 decades of life, has never before seen such a violent scenario. Where there are orders to kill whoever is wandering the street. At the entrance, is the writing on the wall ‘get out JOH’ and the image of struggle – Francisco Morazán, with the idea that, ‘if the present is struggle, the future is ours.’
(10th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Raúl Antonio Triminio Sisnado (35) was participating in a noise protest and road block in his neighbourhood – Villanueva Sector 7 – when military police drove in in a police patrol with lights switched off – to drive in without the protesters seeing them coming. On arrival the patrol fired shots at this group of 20 that protested during the curfew. A gunshot hit the head of Raúl, who died in hospital.
(11th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Eduardo Rubén Rivera who is from the same neighbourhood – Villanueva Sector 7 – had been chased. He was outside during the curfew as he was looking for his brother. He had received death threats in for some time now. It has not been identified who had chased him, but his body was very beaten up, and it appeared from the release paperwork he had that he had been in custody. He was a bus driver.
(12th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Mauricio Jonatan Echeverría, aged 29, and (13th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Michael Jair Ponce Sauceda, aged 15, were both killed in the neighbourhood López Arellano in Choloma, Cortés.
Manuel de Jesús Bautista was last seen detained with two comrades by military agents. They were captured after participating in a highway barricade. He is from Naco, Cortés. Manuel is disappeared.
In Río Tinto Catacamas Olancho, 2 cops died on duty during the curfew. Some police and COBRA police (but not all), had organised and participated in a strike – announced 5 December 2017, from carrying out repression against people protesting the electoral fraud as well as demanding better pay, that is why mostly, the military police and soldiers are repressing. For the boycott, some police are being persecuted by elements of the state. And on this topic, an army sergeant appeared to have committed suicide with a gunshot in the head, holding a gun and a beer, around 13.12.17.
4 December 2017
In Agua Blanca Sur, El Progreso, Yoro, 15 years old (13th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Yareth Gonzales was checking out what was happening in the protest – a road blockade against the fraud, when police arrived firing shots against protesters, and a shot hit Yareth in the head killing the teenager.
In Olanchito, the dead body of 32 years old (14th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Arnold Fernando Serrano Moncada was found in La Pradera in Las Vegas neighbourhood. Arnold had participated in various protests of the Alianza de Oposición contra la Dictadura. He received death threats on 2.12.17.
21 years old Raúl Humberto Brizuela Reyes (15th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Colonia López Arellano, Choloma, Cortés
In Azacualpa, Santa Bárbara, when there was a protest at 7pm, a military commando arrived from the Pinalejo Infantry Battalion, and on arrival began to shoot at and chase protesters and fired shots at a car full of people – three people were gunshot wounded inside – Bayron Aguilar Romero aged 23, shot in his right leg, Valeria Cristel Espinoza, aged 19, Bayron’s spouse, shot in the right gluteal, and Josué Castañeda Aguilar, aged 19, shot in the eyelid of his left eye.
In Barrio La Plazuela, in a home where protesters have taken refuge from the repression, six military police forced open the gate and searched the home and stayed inside the house for 5 minutes and 15 minutes on the footpath just outside to terrorise people.
Instead of limiting their stays, the JOH regime had come to refuse entry to and deport international journalists. On this day at the airport, the regime held 3 such journalists for over 24 hours – all freelancers – Reed Lindsay from US, Fahema Abdel Hafiz Sokaika from Great Britain, and Deward Philip Augustin from New Zealand. On 5.12.17, they were officially told that they were being deported by the same airline that they came to Honduras in. The pretext given was that they were being deported because their next destination was Cuba.
Cofadeh human rights organisation tallied that between 30 November 2017 and 4 December 2017, on top of the assassinations – many of which had many witnesses that they were killed by gunshots of the Honduran military, military police or police, there were 51 wounded – 7 gravely wounded, and 844 arrestees – many accused of breaking the curfew, 148 of ‘aggravated robbery’, 3 of terrorism.
5 December 2017
Many ignored the curfew this day, asserting that it was unconstitutional. Some police (1000 of Cobra forces, 12000 of police) have announced their strike. JOH announced more bonuses and benefits to try to talk some of those police out of the strike. There were however this day, two killed and two wounded.
(16th person killed by this regime during this fraud) 43 years old Jesús de María Sánchez Euceda was going out to buy things at the supermarket for her family In Satélite, San Pedro Sula, when there were gunshots fired that hit her at a protest where police had pulled out their guns.
(17th person killed by this regime during this fraud) 37 years old Set Jonathan Araujo Andino’s body was found, dumped, hands and feet tied together, he had been strangled and tortured and killed. Set participated in some major protests on 3 and 5 December in the Flor del Campo neighbourhood. He seems to have been kidnapped on his way home after the protest and tortured and assassinated.
At 7pm, as Juan Carlos Perdomo Reyes (45), was gathered with others in the street prior to the cacerolazo noise protest that was at 9pm, police, having been persecuting him, came out of nowhere, and fired shots against him. Juan Carlos was shot in the back, and has been operated on in the hospital.
At 9pm, in the Guadalupe neighbourhood, a youth, Andrés Contreras, was going home after participating in a noise protest / cacerolazo, when he was ambushed by three hooded military police agents. He tried to escaped but they pointed weapons and captured him and in this time drove him from one place to another and kept hitting him with weapons. The patrol was reinforced with three more agents as they continued to bash him and threatened him with killing him if they saw him again in the street. Andrés noticed the helicopters that have been flying in the sky in Tegucigalpa since before the election that have been flying even lower in the last nights that the police must be using to watch people and identify targets.
In the Panamá community in Bajo Aguán where campesinxs are camped, at 3.30pm, a military contingent approached the group that keeps watch at the campesino camp and began throwing rocks at whoever was at the camp. Only minutes later, the contingent – about 60 soldiers and Dinant security guards, began to shoot live gunshots at whoever was there, announcing that they had an order to kill. While shooting at people they burnt people’s things – clothes, pantry goods, pots and pans, homes, etc. They chased anyone there firing gunshots and teargas bombs against the community, leaving no air for people to breathe, affecting children and an old woman, and wounding three youths in their attack. Hours later, 100 soldiers came surrounding the community searching for the leaders of the campesino settlements and captured two campesinos, the soldiers tortured them, but hours later the pair managed to escape.
6 December 2017
In Tegucigalpa, in a number of different neighbourhoods, at least 28 had been wounded – some by stabbing, some by fire arms, others by batons) by police during protests on this day. The 28 include 4 minors who have been gunshot wounded and were taken into the children’s hospital.
In Barrio Morazán, at 5am, military police beat up and terrorised people who lived there. They, with hoods over their faces, captured a number of youths and took them to unidentified places where they kicked them and beat them with rifles.
In Atlántida, in Arizona and San Juan Masica, protests were repressed in the morning.
7 December 2017
This day, curfew had been lifted for 9 of 18 provinces decreed with a state of siege, amongst those that continue to have curfews every night are Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
At 4am, a group of people barricaded the highway that goes from Tegucigalpa to Olancho to protest the fraud. As they were setting up and had the first tyres set on fire, a white 3.0 and a grey frontier vehicle arrived carrying 3 and 4 people arrived. One of those people looked for Guadalupe Avila particularly and tried to kill her, but fell over a tyre and broke a foot. Then someone else from one of the cars shot at her and a bullet hit her right arm. Guadalupe was taken to hospital, ‘look at the situation we are living in this country. Its dangerous but we keep fighting, against the injustice, against the neoliberal model… we visited the provinces and municipalities in the country, we see that it is grave, the situation we live in, we are against this, so of course we have to protest, because this is the only solution, it’s now or never.’
In Olancho, protests were attacked massively with teargas and gunshots. A newborn was endangered by the teargas, and a pregnant woman was gunshot wounded in her belly by soldiers.
In San Juan Pueblo and Lean, state security agents raided the homes of villagers and members of MADJ – Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y Justicia – and in these raids, they destroyed belongings. Their pretext for the raids was that they were ‘searching for weapons that people would be using in the barricades and public protests against the fraud. Since 30.11.17, there had been brutal repressions against protests in the region with military and police shooting live gunshots against people.
Many were arrested this day, many taken to military installations. Attacking the looting had been the excuse used for the repression against the protests.
In the midst of such obvious attacks against human rights, the US Trump administration made a preliminary announcement that it wishes to certify Honduras’ progress in human rights – if this is approved by US congress committees, this certification would ensure Honduras receives millions of US dollars of funds that are conditional on progress in human rights and corruption. It sounds ridiculous that this certification could be considered, but such is global politics. Human rights certificates become simple creative writing exercises with no references to the lived reality.
8 December 2017
Military police and cobras police force raided the Torogoces finca in San Juan Pueblo in Atlántida – the finca is a place used by MADJ (Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y Justicia) for its members’ workshops and meetings. As the repressive forces raided, they searched for MADJ general coordinator Martín Fernández. Neighbours in the area said that in the days before, there had been military police around asking people about Martín’s whereabouts. There is a long history of persecution against Martín; in 2013 he was arrested by police for his environmental defence work, the agents who arrested him were later found guilty of illegal arrest against him. In 2016 army had raided the same finca and made death threats against him calling in live on community radio Radio Dignidad (run by MADJ). Martín has Inter American Commission of Human Rights ordered protection measures like many other leaders in the area. He had this August been beaten and had his nose injured by people paid by hydroelectricity dam company Hidrocep, for his involvement in organising against the damming of the Mezapa river.
10 December 2017
At midnight, Radio Progreso in Tegucigalpa abruptly went off air while broadcasting about the protests going on there. Two days before, two Conatel (Honduran Commission of Telecommunications) came to the building, claiming that they had to have a look at the radio’s frequency. When they were asked to sign the visitors’ book, they refused. The radio’s technical team investigated why it went off air and saw that their tower and transmission antenna had collapsed, and can only conclude that it was a planned sabotage linked to Conatel which would have made cuts. It’s worth adding that when the curfew was announced, it was also announced that Conatel is empowered by the police and army to suspend any media, that do not ‘adjust their programming according to the present dispositions.’
11 December 2017
(18th person killed by this regime during this fraud) Lesman Anibal Cárcamo Bonilla, aged 18, in Morazán, Yoro
Ocotepeque residents blockaded the Panamericana highway, which connects Honduras with El Salvador and Guatemala. Police arrived to ‘recover order’. Police subcommissioner gave orders to teargas people and threatened human rights defenders there of organisation DEOCODERH. He threatened Néstor Zelaya, saying, ‘much of this shit is yours, i don’t know what you are doing with human rights, since here nothing has anything to do with human rights.’ Others who have received threats were Dr Luz Mata, Pedro Pinto, Marcos Chacón, Oscar Cáceres and Gerardo who had his flags snatched from his car by the police.
In Choluteca, people self-organised a highway barricade on the exit of San Marcos de Colón in Choluteca. Police responded opening fire at people and capturing arbitrarily and loaded onto the police vehicle Melvin Alexander Rodríguez Alvarez and Javier Eduardo Laínez López. People protested the pair being arrested yelling for the two not to be taken, and throwing things. The police brutally beat up the pair, and then from patrol 3397, police fired shots against the multitude. Their gunshots hit a number of cars, including the cars of the journalists Juan Gabriel Mendoza and Nilda Sosa, who are correspondents for Canal 11, who were present covering the protests.
In Nacaome, Valle, people barricaded a highway towards the border going to El Salvador. The military responded evicting these aggressively, wounding Efraín Domínguez fracturing his arm, and arrested him and ten others including three minors: Wilmer Adán Meléndez (16), Oscar Adonis Flores (17), Oscar Alvares (17), Óscar Mejía (18), Wilmer Manuel Meza (23), Jair Peralta (26), David Antonio Velázquez (26), Juan Flores (27), Noe Alexander Flores (29) y Hermes Roney Valdez (33). All were retained for about 24 hours. While in custody, Efraín was refused medical attention.
In Intibucá, protests were attacked with gunshots by state forces.
In San Lorenzo city, community journalist Neptalí Rubí (28), who was covering the protests for Telesur Canal 33, was filming when soldiers captured and arrested him and charged him with ‘disorderly conduct’ arbitrarily. This was the second time he had been arrested – the first was during the curfews of the 2009 military coup, when he was going home from school where he worked as a teacher.
12 December 2017
In Guaymas, where people from the villages Buena Vista, El Negrito and Yoro barricaded a highway that connects El Progreso with Tela, a contingent of 300 police and military evicted these attacking with an exaggerated amount of teargas bombs, live gunshots, tanks and batons against people who live in the area. One person was bullet wounded but luckily the wound was skin deep. A number of people were beaten. Fourteen people were arrested including minors and three women. The contingent shot teargas bombs into the interior of the homes and invaded homes to beat the people inside and arrest them. In at least one case they dragged out a whole family from inside their home. There was a arrested youth who had a baby a few months old that is only breastfed who was not allowed to take the baby with her when she was taken into custody. Human rights defenders and doctors who came asking to see the arrestees were not let in. Dr Francisco was forced to delete photos that he took of police brutality on his phone. All arrestees were released that night through pressure from lawyers. During the repression, some people were about to take off the police a teargas bomb launcher.
A group of Copinh indigenous organisation (whose coordinator was the now assassinated Berta Caceres) were travelling in a bus and car to join in the antifraud protests, when they were stopped by the military. They stopped the bus and retained the car of Berta Caceres’ daughter, Berta Zúniga Caceres, who was told that they can go to the protest on foot, but that they won’t get the car back. Against the people on the Copinh bus, they were all forced to show their Ids and the police took photos of the Ids.
Burning and looting?
The regime and the media that props up the regime say that it is because of all the burning (tyres at blockades) and looting (eg of big shops) that it has to impose the curfew and the repression that involves gunshot, while they had obviously prioritised their repression using gunshots and brutality for those at barricades and those holding protests during hours of curfews. In the systematic way, it is the JOH regime that has been burning and looting Honduras and people have had enough. There are also people pointing out that some of the actions taken of vandalism against structures of the army and regime and Honduran elites’ businesses were actually carried out not by people in struggle but by the regime themselves to justify to the public their repressive actions – but the regime’s concept is ridiculous either ways, that because there are people taking things out of shops, or even managing to burn a military vehicle, that gunshots killing people in barricades are then justified. The real reason why they are shooting people is that so many groups of people all over Honduras are taking direct action and barricading roads and highways that have been effective in stopping business as usual in Honduras, and they are trying to terrorise people into submission but people are connected and the grief only builds on the rage.
Some of the local commentators said:
‘Almost a spontaneous general strike around the country. Highway blocks. Not from the party that just gets votes but doesn’t defend them, it is the people… every hour more towns neighbourhoods, etc.. more bridges and highways paralysed. There’s knowledge that this is the only way. Can’t trust international observers nor OAS nor UN nor US. OAS even threatened Nasralla with charges when he criticised OAS. OAS had never for one moment denounced fraude.’
‘Don’t be mistaken. All this (resistance) is not because Salvador is the best candidate that Honduras has had, or because we all adore him and are in agreement with everything that he does or says, nor because he is our elected president . This is happening through Honduras and through us, the honduran people that is sick of being downtrodden. This happens because the assassinations of innocent people, because of the femicides, because of the environment defenders, for our indigenous people, for our lands, because of the IHSS embezzlement, because of the privatisation of public services, because of the model cities, and mainly, because of that over 60% of our population lives in poverty ‘
To be continued…
15 December was a National Stop Day, and it won’t be the end of this either. A summary for this day is: 95 barricades in different points of this little country Honduras, 7 barricades were repressed with live gunshots, 9 wounded by these gunshots – 2 were assassinated, 10 were arrested
Part 3 is next.