Honduras, one year after the coup
repression are rising - and journalists are in the crosshairs.
By Joseph Huff-Hannon
Guardian.UK.: 28 June, 2010
"Right now there are a bunch of military trucks driving around the city,
full of soldiers, surrounding most of the important buildings downtown,"
Karla Lara tells me over the phone from the capital of Honduras, on the eve
of the one-year anniversary of last year's coup d'etat. "It's pretty clear
they're trying to scare people."
The renowned singer and human rights activist was speaking to me from her
recording studio in Tegucigalpa, where she was rehearsing for a big public
concert, organised by the National Front of Popular Resistance, to mark the
anniversary. "The 28th [June] isn't about commemorating the coup, it's about
repudiating it. We want to celebrate the day as a year of being in
resistance. I have the coverage of being a public person, but it's been
very, very intense. You get physically exhausted, but also emotionally
The National Front of Popular Resistance, a coalition of hundreds of diverse
civil society groups, was born out of last year's coup d'etat - when the
military kidnapped then president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and forcibly
exiled him and his family from the country. The rupture of the
constitutional order in Honduras, Latin America's first and only 21st
century coup, unleashed a violent campaign of repression across the country
under the coup government of Roberto Micheletti. That wave of violence and
generalised impunity, largely directed against opponents of the coup regime,
continues to this day under the government of president Porfirio Lobo,
elected last November while the country was under a state of siege, in an
election to which the UN and the OAS didn't even bother to send observers,
and which a plurality of Latin American governments have refused to
"In Honduras right now there is a military-business regime, with a little
bit of democratic makeup," Gerardo Torres, a Honduran activist visiting the
United States Social Forum last week, told me. "But what people need to know
is that more assassinations are happening now during the 'democratic' rule
of President Lobo than during the era of Micheletti. When Micheletti ran the
coup government, killings of students or resistance members were at least
controversial, they made the international news. But the international news
media has moved on - which is sad since now they're killing journalists."
Indeed, in 2010 at least eight journalists have been killed in mysterious
circumstances in Honduras, all of them critics of the coup and/or of
powerful business interests in the country. None of those murders have been
solved, and Reporters Without Borders has called Honduras the world's most
dangerous country for journalists in the first half of 2010. Dozens of
anti-coup activists, members of the National Resistance Front, and union
activists have also been murdered in the last year, often in broad daylight
by men wearing masks or dressed in fatigues. The era of the death squad,
that ignominious feature of Latin American state terrorism of the 70s and
the 80s, appears to have made a come back in Honduras.
And sadly, but predictably, the US appears to have sided with the death
squads. "Now it's time for the hemisphere as a whole to move forward and
welcome Honduras back into the inter-American community," the US secretary
of state, Hillary Clinton, said earlier this month, imploring other members
of the Organisation of American States to re-admit Honduras to the
organisation. A majority bloc of Latin American nations, led by Argentina,
Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador, disagreed, citing the horrendous human rights
record in the country, and a lack of accountability for those behind the
coup. And while hypocrisy in foreign policy is hardly news, it's worth
noting here that the US state department released a harshly worded statement
earlier this month chastising the Venezuelan government's "continuing
assault on the freedom of the press" following that country's issuance of an
arrest warrant for a media tycoon. A week later, with no fanfare and not a
word about press freedoms, the US resumed military aid to the pariah
government of Honduras.
A year after the coup the polarising figure of deposed president Zelaya, who
elicited the ire of the Honduran ruling class by, among other things,
raising the minimum wage, still dominates much of the media coverage. But
the broad-based democracy movement born in the bloody aftermath of the coup
continues to organise inside and outside of the country, at great personal
risk, and makes great pains to express that the long-term fight in Honduras
is much bigger than who sits in the presidential palace.
"A lot of people can't quite understand a movement that doesn't revolve
around a caudillo," Gerardo tells me. "This resistance movement is wide and
complex. We have feminists working with Christian activists, who are working
with labour activists. Zelaya is important, but the popular movement more
so. And we think the repression has built up because those who have always
run the country are scared, and this is their desperate response. Them with
their arms, us with our ideas."
Margaret Prescod to Interview Oliver Stone tomorrow morning (Thursday) between 7:00 & 8:00 AM on KPFK 90.7 FM Radio ~
SOUTH of the BORDER
Coming to Los Angeles on Friday, July 2nd
There's a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn't know it. In South of the Border, Oliver Stone sets out on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media's misperception of South America while interviewing seven of its elected presidents. In casual conversations with Presidents Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Néstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba), Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region.
Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica
Friday, July 2nd
Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood
"...a VALUABLE and INTERESTING CORRECTIVE to the mainstream media's often-atrocious coverage of Latin America, and a fascinating account of the rise of a new generation of political leaders." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
"LOVED THE MOVIE! Great perspective that people here in the US should see and hopefully it (will) make them understand what is going on in South America and with US foreign policy." -Jason Smith, IMPACTO Latin News
From: National Latino Congreso
As you may have heard, Oliver Stone's powerful new film, South of the Border, the first documentary by a major American director to explore the social transformation underway in South America, will be released in US theaters nationwide starting June 25. The film will also be shown at the Silverdocs FIlm Festival on June 23rd in Silver Spring, MD, and at the US Social Forum on June 24.
The film, co-written by CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot, is the product of Oliver Stone's 2009 road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements taking place in those countries and the mis-perceptions most people have about Hugo Chavez and other leaders in South America, mostly due to a skewed portrayal by major US media.
In casual conversations with seven sitting presidents, Stone gains unprecedented access to and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region. Mr. Stone was most struck by the extent to which the presidents are committed to determining the future of their own nations without undue outside influence and control.
South of the Border will be released in US theatres by Cinema Libre Studio starting June 25 in NYC, followed by Los Angeles, Pasadena and Washington, D.C./Arlington, VA (7/2), Chicago (7/9), San Francisco and Berkeley (7/16), Dallas and Houston (7/23), Minneapolis and Seattle (7/30) with more to come! Internationally, the film is currently playing in Venezuela (both in regular theaters and via the Gran Cine Movil mobile screening network), and in Argentina. It opens in Ecuador on July 9th in the "Multicines" theaters and the Ochoymedio theater, and opens in London on July 30.
Please help spread the word - will you consider helping with any of the following:
1) "Like" the official theatrical trailer @ http://www.youtube.com/southoftheborderdoc#p/u/0/76IxxapAHQo . (Sign up may be required.)
2) Embed the trailer into your blog or website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76IxxapAHQo&feature=related
3) Make mention of the film coming to your community by including it in a newsletter, radio program, community calendar listing or posting details to a high-traffic discussion board or blog. Details can be found at www.southoftheborderdoc.com
4) If you able to help in a more impactful way, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributed by Cinema Libre Studios: www.cinemalibrestudio.com