WORDS OF ANTIGONE: WOMEN
by Sara Lovera
The coup d’etat in Honduras, which brought the
military to the streets has had a different impact on women, in a
country where polarization has divided opinions, positions and families.
In addition to women being victims of targeted repression, and the
institutional destruction by a de facto and illegitimate government,
women have realized that with one signature the purpose and the programs
of the National Institute of Women (INAM) have disappeared. The
gains which they had fought for over decades have been taken over by
backers of the coup.
It is incredible how even in an
impossible situation the organized feminists have resisted abandoning
their commitment to institutionalism, so they are waiting. After
more than seven weeks since the coup on June 28th, the situation in
Honduras has left them exhausted; they have endured the military and the
new, illegitimate, extreme right wing government.
The group that has moved into the
Presidential House, that has control of the armed forces and the police,
the budget, even in extreme poverty, have managed to dismantle the
Institute of Women.
The lesson is that “laws” are interpreted
to legitimize the changes made by those backing the coup, and they
likewise have the support of economic groups. Every day that passes the
US involvement in the coup becomes clearer, as well as that of the old
In this scenario, the systemic
constructions of women, which we believed were answers to our demands,
and for which we have fought for decades, have ceased to exist. Even
before the coup these institutions such as INAM were controlled by
policies not really belonging to the vision of the democratically
For me this is an opportunity to debate how we understand the
relationship of the feminist and women’s movement with the system. Where
and how do we use our energy and to what extent are we immersed in mixed
social & political movements that when in power, act against women’s
In Honduras, an important group of human
rights defenders came together August 17 - 21 to witness what we already
knew: Women have come out of our houses in all aspects, and because of
this we will be repressed just as men are, and with the use and abuse of
In all military groups and in all repressions, women’s bodies have been
the booty and have been exposed to sexual and psychological abuse. In
Honduras as well as in Atenco, same as the abuse from the Mexican
military in Chiapas or in Castaños, Coahuila.
The question is, why do we believe in
Let me tell you that during the last years, millions and millions of
hours and energy have been invested in the training of clerks, policemen
and military men to understand that as women we are human beings, with
the same rights and we are not sexual objects.
The international cooperation has remained in Honduras, with 90% of
their operation costs, but obviously before and after the coup there has
been no political will to truly transform society so that we no longer
have to speak of femicide, domination and violence against women.
And something else: The difference that I personally observed with the
early years of the Nicaraguan revolution, is that women are resisting
but this time they are constructing organized politics as feminists. We
did not see that in other conflicts, not even in Oaxaca or Chiapas,
México, nor in the Central American peace processes.
However, there is a clear progress from
those in the Cuban revolution and those who years later took power in
Nicaragua in 1979. Women in general were recognized, but later their
course of action was denied.
But today we clearly know that without a profound transformation of the
relationship between men and women everything can be a mere illusion.
Thirty years later Nicaraguan women are persecuted, facing injustice.
They are those who were part of the Sandinista Revolution: in Cuba, 50
years after the revolution, women began to speak about gender and
feminism, in Mexico women united with feminists to push the
decriminalization of abortion. But today they allow their male and
female legislators to vote for the right wing’s initiatives to stop the
interruption of pregnancies and have adopted a traditional discourse.
Something to think about. In Honduras women are defending the
constitutional order; they are in the Resistance Front, in the streets,
pushing for a new constitution, they are waiting for Zelaya’s return to
The thing is, what will the immediate future be
like? If Zelaya’s return is not achieved and the antidemocratic darkness
is prolonged, feminists will face new challenges with few answers. Today
the subject is what will happen if elections are held and what if not.
# # #
is a longtime feminist and investigative journalist in Mexico, who is
currently a corresepondent with SEMLAC (Mexican News Service of Women in
Latin America & the Caribbean), and also works in television and radio,
among numerous other activities.
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