By Katerina Anfossi  - Feminist International Radio Endeavour  

Women’s Human Rights Week in Honduras was launched August 17th with a Coalition of National Resistance Forum that included mainly women from the indigenous, campesino, education, health and cultural sectors of society in Honduras, who are involved in the peaceful resistance against the coup.  Organized by Feminists in Resistance, the forum was the first in a series of events for the week, August 17-21.

Bertha Cáceres

The objective of the Forum was to analyze alternatives for the restoration of democracy, as well as possible political scenarios that the resistance could face.

The Forum included participation of well-known figures in the citizen resistance. Among them was the indigenous leader Bertha Cáceres of the Confederation of Indigenous Pueblos of Honduras - COPINH, activist María Elena Méndez, representative from the Democratic Union Silvia Ayala, as well as Xiomara Castro,  First Lady of Honduras of the constitutional government, among others.



 The Forum began with the presentation of Bertha Cáceres, who pointed out that the origin of the military coup is based in the historic Honduran oligarchy, who saw their economic privileges threatened by the policies that Pres. José Manuel Zelaya was developing, such as a 60% increase in the minimum wage, land reform, protection of water resources, and policies to protect biodiversity and the environment.

Breny Mendoza

María Elena Méndez









Xiomara Castro Zelaya, First Lady
& wife of President Zelaya


For researcher Breny Mendoza, part of the responsibility for the coup belongs to the United States, that the government knew that the ultra conservative right wing in Honduras was planning the coup.  Mendoza is Honduran by birth, and now lives in the U.S. and is a professor at the California State University in Northridge.   Mendoza noted that the Obama Administration is backing off from its original condemnation of the coup and the ouster of legally elected President Zelaya.

María Elena Méndez added that evidence for US involvement includes the fact that the plane that carried President Zelaya on June 28th  Costa Rica, first stopped at the US military base of Palmerola, where instructions were given to take Zelaya out of Honduran to Costa Rica.



On August 17th, the privatization of water law was passed.

On August 18th the approval of the mandatory recruitment was discussed in Congress.  

By August 18th 24 people had been fired from the National Institute of Women due to violations of political rights.  

The police offered rewards to those who turn in "terrorists".

The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights is conducting a mission from August 17th to the 21st to verify Human Rights.

The Spanish judge Baltazar Garzón will be in Honduras on Monday, August 24th.  He took action in the case of Gen. Alberto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, to get him arrested on a trip to Britain. 

María Elena Méndez characterized the events as a political, military and patriarchal coup, promoted by the Honduran right wing in coordination with interests of the international ultra right.

For Mendez “it is about the control of power, because the state has guaranteed the privileges of the right wing.”  She denounced the fact that some of those involved in the coup have vented their rage on the bodies of women, incarcerating them and sexually abusing them during the detention process.


For Forum panelist Rodil Rivera, a constitutional lawyer, public involvement is critical to resolve the crisis, in which all sectors of civil society participate because until now the constitution has been changed 14 times to answer to the needs of the oligarchy. 

Victor Fernández, one of the prosecutors who launched the hunger strike against corruption in 2008, noted that the coup is an action against the rights of the State.  He noted that the de facto regime did not follow the legal process required to change presidents under the constitution, nor the separation of powers, the legal status of the executive and judicial powers, and the validity of human rights. According to Fernández, the people of Honduras need to formulate a new legal system rather than reinstituting the elected president.  



The words of the First Lady of the democratic government, Xiomara Castro,  and the presence of Doris García, ex- Minister of the National Institute of Women (INAM) closed the National Coalition Forum.


The wife of Pres. Zelaya, talked about the forms of aggression that she has experienced during the coup as a woman, a wife and mother in her family involving death threats and orders to leave the country. She said she is appalled at the crude and inhumane way in which the population in resistance has been treated, which has motived her to go out into the streets.

 "It has been 51 days of resistance and the same anti-coup resistance force remains,” noted Castro.  “Now is the time, we cannot leave things for later. It is the moment for the return of constitutional order. They pretend to legitimize the facto regime and the candidates talk about politics when all Honduras is suffering. The regime is listening to no one.”


What is the best route to follow? Is it possible to maintain the unity of the resistance? Are elections (in November) the way to return to democracy? How can we create conditions to assume an electoral process that will guarantee the respect for human rights and popular will? All of these are questions that the Feminists in Resistance are asking among themselves and discussing with the international delegation.

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 Translated by Claudia Anfossi.












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