Racist coup government: Shut down the Garífuna Community Hospital of Ciriboya.
This report was written by the National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), the largest organization of Afro-Hondurans and an important force within the resistance to the coup d’etat. The Garífuna doctor who spearheaded the creation of the hospital, Dr. Luther Castillo has been faced with ongoing threats to his life and freedom as a result of the coup.
In recent days a threat has been becoming effective to convert the Community Hospital of Ciriboya into a simple health center, disqualifying the enormous labor of support carried out by Garífuna doctors graduated in the Latin American School of Medicine and Cuban medical brigades.
The reasons that motivate the de facto regime when deciding to destroy the work carried out by the Ciriboya Community Hospital, are steeped in the racism of the state functionaries who have been incorporated into the nightmare orchestrated by Micheletti, and the disdain for the social vision of the doctors educated in Cuba, versus the capitalist mentality of the majority of the doctors graduated from local schools.
The labor carried out as much by the Cuban medical brigades as by the Garífuna doctors has served as a paradigm of equal to equal in the construction of community-controlled resources like this model hospital, unique in Honduras and an example for all other indigenous peoples.
Dr. Luther Castillo has been one of the leaders of the struggle against the coup d’etat, a situation that has led him to be persecuted and targeted by its henchman. In the persistent and heroic marches of repudiation of the coup by the Honduran people, Doctor Castillo and Garífuna members of OFRANEH have been at the front of the mobilizations, opening the path with ancestral ceremonies to neutralize the bad faith of the coup-makers.
The Garífuna participation in repudiation of the coup has exacerbated the latent racism in some Hondurans, with the security forces most willing to commit abuses against our sisters and brothers, in particular against those who live or are in Tegucigalpa, as they immediately associated them with resistance to the coup.
The closure of the hospital disguised as a transformation into a health outpost implies the loss of the ambulant Garífuna doctors who have covered the zone, as well as the appropriation by the Ministry of Health of the Garífuna initiative to have a hospital that respects the cultural vision of our people; having as a result the gradual destruction and abandonment of the center, has happens with the majority of health outposts of the country.
The politicians and businesspeople completely reject community initiatives, which they link with an anti-capitalist vision and so they try to destroy them. As an example there is the determined attitude by the last administrations to dilute the communal property titles, which are seen with enormous animosity and which they try to convert into private property.
The project Luágu Hátuadi Wadúheñu, (For the health of our peoples) arose in 2005 and in that short lapse of time has offered not just a health alternative for the Garífuna people but at the same time has achieved the construction of a model hospital. The enormous effort seems to have irritated the junk buses businessman (Thug-eletti) and his flock of servants.
OFRANEH calls for the restitution of the constitutional order at the same time as we demand that the Luágu Hátuadi Wadúheñu project be saved, which for the Garífuna people, and especially for the inhabitants of the Iriona zone, represents a promise of life anf of a better future for our descendants.
La Ceiba, Atlántida August 31st, 2009.
National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH
Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH
Teléfono (504) 4420618, (504) 4500058
Av 14 julio, calle 19, Contiguo Vivero Flor Tropical, Barrio Alvarado, La Ceiba, Honduras
email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org”
Takeover Imminent of Honduras Garifuna Community Hospital
GARIFUNA HOSPITAL IN HONDURAS
In an August 12 post, I passed along an alert from the organization, Medical Cooperation with Cuba or MEDICC, regarding a report that golpistas had notified the only Garifuna community hospital in Honduras that it would be taken over by the Micheletti regime and all current employees would be fired.
The San Francisco Bay View newspaper is reporting that MEDICC has issued another alert suggesting that the takeover of the hospital is imminent, but the alert includes measures you can take now to help stop such an injustice.
Directly after the alert, San Francisco Bayview has published an article by Willie Thompson, a friend of mine from the Haiti solidarity movement, which provides excellent background on the plight of the Garifuna and how this de facto regime is a serious threat to the Garifuna people. I encourage you to check it out.
DR. LUTHER CASTILLO, FOUNDER OF GARIFUNA HOSPITAL, GRADUATE OF THE CUBAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND A PRIMARY TARGET OF THE GOLPISTA REGIME
And, if you are unfamiliar with the San Francisco Bayview newspaper, you should check it out. It features stories you won’t see elsewhere with special emphasis on coverage of the peoples’ struggles
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
(An Alert from MEDICC – Medical Cooperation with Cuba at http://www.medicc.org)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Interview with Fanni Castillo, young Garifuna leader
I am Fanni Eliszabeth Solarzano Castillo and I represent the Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz.
Honduras Resiste: Since when have you participated in the National Resistance Front?
Fanni Eliszabeth Solarzano Castillo: Well it’s been 43 days, since the 29th of June we made outselves present here in Tegucigalpa with the National Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) and representing the different communities nationally.
HR: And why have you decided to come participate in this movement?
FC: Well I decided to come to support saying no to the coup because it is something that we had never thought we would live through. We have only heard the history, read books of the past, so it seems like a lie that we have to live through this. So I decided to come support because the things that President Manuel Zelaya were doing favored us, the poor people and also if we got the Constitutional Assembly it would have helped the Garifuna as minorities in Honduras and also for the future of out kids, because it’s not possible that they can live in a dictatorship that is practically like returning to slavery.
HR: And what benefits could a Constitutional Assembly bring and why so much rejection by the powerful, by the national elites and politicians?
FC: Well the benefits that it could bring would be to change the Constitution of the Republic, to be a change where we could all benefit, so the powerful, the elite as they say, don’t support because they think of themselves as owners of the country. They’re the ones who have big corporations, businesses and everything and why not, they are those who are considered as owners of our Garifuna communities. So we have to support the Constitutional Assembly, because as I repeat it’s a benefit for everyone.
HR: Outside of the capital do you think that there is support for the reinstatement of the elected President Manuel Zelaya?
FC: Well I think that there is support. In almost all 18 departments there is support, although all the bigges protests are here in Tegucigalpa. Almost all the movements of the best people come here because here is the biggest concentration but yes there is support, there are marchs and other actions in support of President Manuel Zelaya.
HR: You have participated in this movement since the 29th of June, can you tell me about what type of action you have done to support the return to democracy in Honduras?
FC: Well, the moral support of all, we were even able to walk to Nicaragua to support President Manuel Zelaya there. I can tell you that everybody supports the way they feel works best. But as Garifuna and as a woman we have supported a lot, we have left our families, out kids, our homes there in our communities to come here and be ready for everything, with our natural medicines, with a lot of things.
HR: In your participation together with the Garifunas and OFRANEH, have you been directly affected by the repression against the resistance movement?
Yes, we have suffered insults, threats, persecutions, in June they even asked us for an “Atlantic Permission” to be able to freely circulate in Tegucigalpa, and we have no idea where that law came from. Well, they have taken away our drums and pursued us when we crossed towards Nicaragua, we walked almost 30 hours through all the valleys and mountains of Danli to get to Nicaragua being pursued by the military. And I can proudly tell you as Garifuna we were the only ones that could laugh at the security of the military and that made them even angrier with us and finally there were some friends that had been behind and they were detained and practically assaulted by them and thanks to national and international contacts we can say that world wide calls started getting made to the police post in Paraiso and Danli. They let these friends go more quickly, but they did suffer racial insults, well they said everything, but than god nothing more happened, but yes we have suffered lots of agression by the military.
HR: And within the Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz, how have they been affected by the Coup d’Etat and what is the level of support for the resistance?
FC: I can say that still, almost 43 we have been feeling consequences, because already everything in the community is getting more expensive, the food that we are used to preparing the supplies that we buy, everything is a little more expensive, so that’s why we reject the coup and we want the de facto government to leave there and we want our president to return so that everything goes back to normal because we still haven’t had consequences, in the future this will be chaos for us, because we run risks as people, as Garifunas, we could return to slavery and also we have the risk of losing our communities. Although a lot of people don’t take that into account now it is something that could happen and that is why we are here supporting, and from my community there are a lot of people here making themselves present to support against the coup.
HR: Thank you Fanni, do you want to share some more words before we finish the interview?
FC: Well, to the world in general we want to tell you to stay in tune to everything, to us, to Honduras, that we are against the coup. We want the return of the President of the Republic, we want the Constitutional Assembly and OUT WITH THE COUP!
Posted by mgj at 1:13 AM
Friday, July 10, 2009
Interview with Vice-President of National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras
Interview with Alfredo Lopez, Vice-President of National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)
July 9th, 2009
First, tell me your name and position with the organization and how you have been involved in the national front [of popular resistance].
I am a Garifuna Honduran citizen. My name is Alfredo López, Vice-President of the National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). Well, we are here inTegucigalpa, immersed in the process of re-establishment of the constitutional order of the country.
And how long have you been in Tegucigalpa, Alfredo?
Today is our 12th day in Tegucigalpa. The next day, right after the coup we took up this work. We stepped up to this work because we consider it our historic responsibility, first as citizens, second as members of a culturally distinct people that have our own customs and culture and that is right now threatened by these same powerful groups that have carried out the coup d’etat to the citizen president of the country.
Alfredo, can you tell me what was the level of support for Zelaya before the coup?
Without any doubt president Zelaya has had the support of the popular masses, of the people. Before the coup he already had a huge industrial amount of support from the population, above all from the rural peasant population. In practice he projected himself specifically, above all with the working masses and the peasant masses of the country, by having raised the minimum wage by more than 50% in some places and with some of the laws that they were promoting in the rural areas that without any doubt have benefited the peasantry. And that catapulted the popularity of the President before the coup.
So you say he had a pretty deep level of support amongst the population?
What has been the reaction of the Garifuna communities in the face of this coup d’etat?
The reaction of the Garifuna communities has not been suitable for the simple reason that the coup-makers, the de facto government, has very well calculated and mesaured its actions and after the coup have shut down all types of communication. The cable signal in the communities has been shut down and only the local TV stations are left which are normally part of the coup-makers system, which is why only the population only has access to the official information and this has created an environment of fear and terror by the communities to be able to participate in the protests, above all in the central district. And ever since in the regions there has been fear of participation due to the repression that is taking place in our country.
And outside the capital, what actions have been
carried out by the Popular Front?
There are highway takeovers, there are sit-ins. For example tomorrow we are planning the complete paralization of the country because the workers central since the beginning of the coup has declared an indefinite strike. There are no classes in the public schools, just in the private ones and today traffic was paralized in the South Highway. The country is practically shut down. So these are the concrete actions that there are in this moment.
Nonetheless there are conversations that are happening at the highest level in San José, Costa Rica. There is a meeting between the coup president and a commision of president Zelaya in San José, Costa Rica.
And what are the expectations of the meetings between Zelaya and Micheletti?
The expectations… up till now the positions are very conflicting because the fascist government of Micheletti says that it only accepts the return of President Zelaya to face judicial charges. And President Zelaya’s position is that they won’t negotiate but that first he should return to his position to finish the last 6 months of governing that is left. So as you can see, they are very diametrical positions. But since the negotiations are just starting we think that it will have to keep advancing with the themes on which the comissions agree and leave the harder themes till the end of the negotiations. Because of that, up till now there are no advances.
Nonetheless the pressures continue. Today there was a sit-in in the North American embassy by a group of North American Jesuit priests, demanding that the abassador leave the country, demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Honduras, demanding the closing of the School of the Americas where all the military coup-makers come out of… where they train all of the Latin American coup-makers
. And yeah, there are different situations taking place, meanwhile the support for the marches in Tegucigalpa is more massive each time and we don’t know what will end up happening, but the rejection of the fascist government of Micheletti is growing here in Tegucigalpa and we have been a part of the resistence here.
And what has been the reaction of the authorities in the face of this movement to re-establish democracy?
Well, the authorities were pretty agressive, but after the airport journey, where 2 people died and 6 people were wounded, now we have seen the police less hostile. They just make themselves present at the protests. There not as… well the pressure is having an effect. They are making a presence at the protests but they aren’t as agressive with the population. That implies that apparently there is a lack of willingness by the authorities to keep repressing the population. The more they repress the more the people come out to the marches. Nonetheless, there haven’t been concrete advances.
We don’t see advances that could be quantified, and that coul indicate to us when we will be able to stop the resistance and when we’ll be able to leave Tegucigalpa. Because of that we are still in an environment of uncertainty. Apparently the authorities are deconcentrated and don’t know what to do with the problem that they themselves have created.
As a final point Alfredo, can you tell me what is the purpose of the Constitutional Assembly? Why is it so rejected by the authorities?
First we as popular resistance here in Tegucigalpa have been the Constitutional Assembly. After it was rejected so much by the powerful, now it is part of our highest aspiration as a people because this implies that there will be the opportunity for the changes that the people have yearned for in this country, which is why there won’t be any solution to this conflict without instaling the Constitutional Assembly.
Why? Because we believe that as peoples we have rights that require more equity in the country, and that necessarily implies that they respect our property, that they recognize the pluri-cultural and multilingual character of our country, the differences among peoples, languages and other situations like the autonomy of the people that is implicit in that new constitution we are dreaming of. There is also the aspect of radio and electronic communication. We as the poor and as the people have the right to have our own radio and television frequencies, why not?
It shouldn’t just be the rule of law for the rich, just for commercial communication. It isn’t possible in the middle of the 21st century! We should have equal rights, or even if they’re not equal, at least the rights should be thought about by all Hondurans. Not just for the minority that has taken power, that has kidnapped everything for itself. So we believe that we have to create this opening so that the blood spilled by our comrades is not in vain.
And we also want to inform that today the father of the young University student who was taken down by bullets of the Honduran army was detained. So the escalation of repression continues. That is why we aren’t willing to retire without being able to achieve the objective, which is the installation of the Constitutional Assembly that doubtless won’t resolve the problems of the country but that will at least create an opening so we can start the path to development.
Thank you very much, Alfredo. Do you want to share something else before the interview is over?
No, that’s it, just want to tahnk you and the international community that will see this note. Tell you that we as a Third World country also deserve the right to aspire and demand that they respect our dignity as an autoctonous people in our country that is being tremendously pressured and that these same group of powerful people who have orquestrated the coup d’etat in our country are the same groups that have tried and continue trying to put down our demands and roll over us dis-respecting our rights that belong to us as people. That is why it is important that they realize what is happening in this country and that the struggle is not in vain, that the people are perfectly within our rights as article 3 of the constitution says: Nobody owes obedience to an illegal coup government. Because of that we need to complain today so that we can make our rights as a people prevail.
Posted by mgj at 5:40 PM
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(An Alert from MEDICC – Medical Cooperation with Cuba at http://www.medicc.org)