RADIO INTERNACIONAL FEMINISTA-FIRE
“The media (in Honduras) are manipulating our minds, because we see (in the streets) what is really happening” and they are not reporting the reality of the violent repression by the military and police, declared Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the first lady of Honduras and wife of Pres. Zelaya, who spoke to a Forum by Feminists in Resistance of Honduras today. Most of the mainstream media are owned by supporters of the military coup, so their reports reflect efforts by the defacto regime to create an image of “normality,” that all is well, that there was in fact no military coup, they merely ousted an ex-president who violated the constitution, according to Castro de Zelaya.
first lady spoke to an audience of about 120 mainly women, including an
international delegation from Central America, Mexico, Canada, Spain and
the United States participating in a Feminist Transgressional Watch .
The group is visiting
popular resistance to the military coup continues with massive daily
street marches, military and police officials are becoming more aggressive
with both female and male demonstrators, beating them with clubs, shooting
into crowds with (rubber or real) bullets, conducting large scale arrests
or detentions, torture, and assassinations, little of which is covered in
many media reports, said Indira Mendoza of Catrachas.
and human rights groups are receiving reports of escalating sexual
aggression against women both in the demonstrations and in detentions,
ranging from verbal obscenities and threats, to women being grabbed or
beaten with batons on their buttocks, to
torture and rape in detentions, noted Adela Coria of the Center for
Women’s Studies (CEM). In
today’s Forum in
in the United States, the diminishing number of media reports on Honduras
reflect how Pres. Obama led by Secretary State Hillary Clinton is backing
away from his originally strong condemnation of the coup which ousted the
legally elected President Zelaya, according to Breny Mendoza, a Honduran
living in the US, and professor at California State University in
the growing sexual aggression against women in
years of national and global campaigns about domestic violence, complaints
filed by women had been increasing in recent years, says Rosales, also a
member of Feminists in Resistance in
There were 12,000 complaints filed with police in Honduras denouncing violence against women in 2007, and 20,000 reports last year, noted Rosales. But since the coup there have been very few complaints filed, which clearly demonstrates the connection between domestic violence and violence against women in armed conflict, both of which have increased in recent weeks.
Also, feminists and women’s activists are very disheartened that the defacto coup government kicked out the Minister of Women under Pres. Zelaya, Selma Estrada de Uclés in late June with the coup, and installed María Martha Díaz, a member of the ultra conservative Catholic group Opus Dei. Díaz has refused to process any complaints filed regarding violations of women’s human rights since the coup.
When feminists rallied outside the Institute of Women (INAM) to protest the policies of Díaz as defacto minister, she called in the military, who beat the protestors with batons.
are well aware of the irony of this assault.
Years of struggle by feminists and other women is now lost, said
Rosales. “It all changed in
one day,” noted Breny Mendoza, a professor at
feminists and investigators have received a vast number of complaints
about violations of women’s human rights by the current coup regime in
the past six weeks, and have conducted interviews for testimonies of 18
women. As part of the feminist
observatory, human rights lawyers and activists are working with Honduran
feminists to prepare a report on these 18 cases, which were presented to
the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, which is also visiting
the meantime, women including Feminists in Resistance are continuing to be
front and center in the marches. “No
more coups (golpes), and no more golpes
(beatings) of women!” shout
the women as they take to the streets.
“Quien somos? Somos