A Decade of Refounding Honduras*
By Gerardo Torres Zelaya
The beginning of a year always brings with it a series of promises and illusions and of course 2011 is no different. When the boundry of 12 midnight was crossed, Honduras began a new year in the middle of what can become the most important moment in its political history and at the same time left an unforgettable decade.
Humanity has changed much in the last ten years; it has awakened. The nineties were a decade of asphyxiated silence, in that we were only able to contemplate the victory of egoism, capitalism and imperialism. Some movements managed to rise, but neoliberalism managed to stay in the lead as the only possible system and as “the end of history.”
With the new millennium the pressure cooker exploded and the convulsion (so necessary for development) once again fit itself into the everyday life of the planet. In Honduras, May 1, 2000 marked the first alliance in a long time between students, workers, landless peasants, and political forces under the name Popular Bloc.
Little by little the popular organization began to generate other expressions of unity for the whole country. The struggle was always anti-imperialist and anti-system, struggling for the self determination of the people, against the free trade accords, against militarization and we consolidated as a people’s organization against the deepening neoliberal model of the [President Ricardo] Maduro’s government that wanted to privatize everything and thanks to popular pressure was unable to do so in many cases.
At the global level, the perception of the world also changed. The attack of Sept. 11, 2001 against the Twin Towers in New York split the world into two currents: “good” and “bad.” Washington assumed a discourse of “us” against “them” leaving behind the fantasy that after the collapse of Soviet socialism we were all the same.
George Bush will be remembered as having initiated one of the most repudiated wars in all of human history. His war against terrorism concentrated the firepower of North America in the Middle East, leaving a little neglected other regions such as Latin America which has never stopped opposing imperial policies and that exploded into a new process of convulsion.
Not even in the best years of the Hippie Peace Movement at the end of the sixties had so many people mobilized themselves against a war. Millions went out into the streets, each and every one in their own context. A new anti-imperialist movement was consolidated and the arguments of the Department of State were ruined even before the recent Wikileaks scandal demonstrated its true nature, what Che rightly called “man’s brutality.”
In the decade just past we saw the collapse of the neoliberal model and a new stage of wearing down of the capitalist system that for the past three years has seen its worst crisis, seeing its scaffolding collapse in front of the incredulous eyes of the suit and tie theoreticians of Wall Street (and other regional imitators) who realized that history didn’t end and that lies and speculation also have limits.
Latin America has assumed in this decade the task of educating the entire world, debunking obsolete concepts such as [Bourgeois] Democracy and in turn arming them with new popular democratic methods.
For the first time in the history of “Smelly America,” as Neruda called it with affection, we have gained so much in so many irrefutable ways. The consolidation of new governments with a variety of connotations, but in essence anti-imperialist, has demonstrated that the populations want something distinct.
The Chavez government in Venezuela that has been known to confront US policies has given courage to other peoples. Development from within and from small producers and the alliances between workers that Lula started in Brazil has fueled new economic arguments that understand that administration by the State is a more effective form of resource accumulation and that it is therefore ridiculous to privatize it under the control of a small group.
For years it was the government of [Lula] Da Silva that stopped the advance for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and today, the first of January, is the transition to Dilma Rousseff who will assume new commitments, taking office free of coups.
The examples of Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have consolidated a political alternative in South America. For its part, the Cuban Revolution fulfilled 50 years or age and in the last ten years has unfolded the most effective army of all time, wearing white uniforms and bringing health instead of death to the poorest people.
The creation of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), the inauguration of the Bank of the South and the strengthening of structures such as the Non-Aligned Summit and UNASUR make clear that this time the struggle against the Empire is being taken with determination in all the ways that are necessary. This process is taken forward by governments very close to the popular interests that in a time of new constitutions have learned to create States that seek to have justice and solidarity as their foundation.
In Central America we enter the decade with the terrible threat of gangs, crime and drug trafficking. The governments are, as always, submissive in their dedication to sustain an economic model and democratic system incapable of solving the problems of the majority of people. Instead of searching for answers, their only solution is to annihilate a new generation of youth and to turn to drug trafficking so we could at least pretend we are developing.
The armed movements of the ’70s and ’80s converted their belligerency into politics. The Sandinistas returned to power in Nicaragua at the hand of Daniel Ortega with an advancement strategy that proposes a bloc of South America and the Caribbean. The Farabundo Marti of El Salvador developed an impressive campaign led by Cmdte. Schafik Handal taking a new process of participation to Salvadorans achieving four years later the campaign of Mauricio Funes (with a more moderate profile) that would snatch the presidency from the ARENA assassins.
Costa Rica had its most exemplary social movement in the struggle against the Free Trade Agreement, mobilizing and educating all the people that, although it lost at the ballot box, did so with dignity and resistance to the imperialist economic measures. Guatemala, always in turmoil, has for the first time in decades given control of the State to a Center-Left and looks to the figure of Alvaro Colom to reverse the dynamic of exclusion and to create a government that at least guarantees greater interaction between the different social and political expressions in that very diverse State. Panama, for its part, has obtained, after resistance last year to the “Sausage Law” [eliminating environmental protections] a new unity among workers that has not been seen with such force since the US invasion in 1990.
Finally in Honduras, many things have changed for us. Faced with neoliberalism in many forms, in 2006 we created structures like the National Coordinator of Popular Resistance which demonstrated the strength that comes from unity as we as a people stopped believing in bipartisanism and understood that the only possible Democracy is one created by popular struggle.
The case of kidnapping and expulsion of Manuel Zelaya demonstrated that whoever dares to end the excessive rights of the governing economic class and who assumes a position of dignity before the empire, automatically gains the visceral hatred of those who try to enslave us, but also will gain the respect of the majority of people who look for liberation in any corner of the world.
The decade leaves us a coup d’etat that proves what we have been denouncing: that the oligarchy in Honduras never intended to share its benefits, that the State of Honduras was their captive, that the Armed Forces are and will always be traitors of the people, that our Democracy was a lie because the majority were never part of it and the only way to manage Honduras is from the unity of the distinct sectors.
This awakening has caused us to face the repression that has assassinated our brave comrades whose sacrifice is today our greatest motivation to continue to advance until we win.
Now our vocabulary has grown, we speak of Refoundation which we understand as the creation of a State of Justice, Equality and Solidarity that rejects completely and denies the present situation of violence and exclusion.
The Honduran oligarchy finally has an enemy to fear and it is our responsibility that this time the victory will be definitive. This generation, without reference to age, that begins this 2011 in Resistance has made a gigantic promise to the future.
We are initiating a decade that will have to be for refounding, and the Honduran Popular Resistance must walk toward the political proposal that will be always revolutionary in order to escape the reformist traps embraced by the romantics, the opportunists, the prejudiced ones, the comfortable, the undisciplined and those lacking in vision, in the construction of a popular power with the capacity to administer the State, move the economy forward and give solutions to the real day to day problems of the population.
We leave a decade that returned to the battle between those who have everything and the dispossessed who each time organize more. This new decade begins with several confrontations between hope and barbarity.
No one knows what we will have made in ten years, we can only be certain of what we make today.
by Gerardo Torres Zelaya
Secretary General, Los Necios Political Organization (OPLN)
International Committee, National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP)
January 1, 2011
Unofficial translation by Chuck Kaufman from Una década de refundación
*Source: Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (via www.upsidedownworld.org)