Reports from Honduras

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Daily Report #3

Daily Report #4

Daily Report #5


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Canadian members of the CF / Quixote Centre delegation to Honduras


Irene Lanzinger – President of the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) currently on leave from the Vancouver school district where she is a teacher of Math and Physics;


Larry Kuehn – Director of Research at the BCTF and responsible for the BCTF International Solidarity Programme.


Scott Marshall – Executive Officer on the Provincial Executive of the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation (OSSTF) was a Special Education teacher from 1997-2004 with the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board before taking up his union duties;


Domenic Bellissimo – OSSTF Executive Assistant and responsible for the OSSTF Human Rights Committee and for International Programmes;


Jackie McVicar – Breaking The Silence (BTS) Coordinator and a member of the Atlantic Region Solidarity Network (ARSN).


Nov 25 - Dec 2, 2009

Honduras Human Rights Observers Daily Reports

A bi-national delegation of Canadian and US representatives from labour, human rights, and faith-based organizations is in Honduras to conduct human rights accompaniment and observation at the time of the country’s controversial elections on November 29. The bi-national delegation has been co-organized along with the Quixote Centre in the U.S. (that has organized 7 previous delegations since the June 28 military-backed coup). The delegation’s members hope that their presence will mitigate human rights violations by the Honduran military and police, and that they will be able to document any violations that occur. The team is posting regular reports which appear below, with the most recent report on the top. The members of the delegation are listed in the left column.

Daily Report #5 - Irene Lanzinger

Irene's Report
Friday, November 27, 2009

We spent this morning with the president and some other representatives of one of the six teachers’ unions in Honduras Coprumh. They represent 68,000 teachers. The president was Milton Bardales. One of the other representatives there was a fellow named Elgardo. I met Elgardo in Panama at the report on the project we help fund on non-sexist pedagogy in Central America. It was great to see him again.

Teachers and their union leaders have been at the fore front of the resistance movement. Milton began by telling us about the strategies the coup government is using against them including: changing the curriculum to remove education regarding the constitution, a strong media campaign to discredit teacher union leaders, organizing parents of the economic elite to file charges against teachers and the profiling and persecution of teachers. Five teachers have been killed in the resistance.

On Monday, Milton’s house was illegally searched. The police explained they were looking for weapons. Teachers are a threat to the coup government because they are in every community and are respected leaders in those communities.

Since the coup, the government has withheld union dues that are automatically deducted with the intent of starving the union of resources. (Four Canadian unions, including the BCTF, have donated a total of $36,000 to help them with this).
I asked about the teachers strike. When the coup occurred the Honduran teachers went on strike for 2 weeks. Then they continued the strike for three days a week. Schools were due to close for a two month winter break on November 30 but the government decreed that schools would close on October 30. Many teachers ignored the decree and taught until October 15-20.

Like other unions and resistance leaders the teachers union is calling for a boycott of the elections.

At the end of our discussion with Coprumh leaders I did an interview with Radio Globo the only pro-resistance radio station.

In the afternoon we went back to Cofadeh (the human rights organization Larry described on his Day 2 report). They sent us out to accompany a lawyer to a police station and the Honduran equivalent of the FBI office to see whether there was a warrant for the arrest of a leader of a union of college teachers. This union leader has been very active in the resistance. A few members of our group went in with the lawyer to ask about any documentation relating to charges against the leader.

Lawyers for the resistance use this strategy so that if someone is detained or disappears they know there were no charges against them. Also, it sends a message to police that people (including international observers) are watching what is happening to union leaders and others active in the resistance.

Tomorrow I am off to San Pedro to observe what happens in the election there. The mayor of San Pedro supports the resistance and is has withdrawn his name from the ballot. (the election is for president, mayors and local representatives to a national assembly).

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