The Media Hype May Be Over, But There Is Still A Crisis In Honduras

Amnesty International issued a report today about the ongoing crisis in Honduras following the coup d’etat which took place June 28. Many press outlets have covered the report and accompanying press release which comes at a crucial time as the crisis in Honduras must be kept in the attention of the mainstream media and general public.

AI’s main concerns with the crisis as cited in the report are:

Two of the ten students who took part in the peaceful march on 30 July 2009. The imprint of the police batons is clearly visible on both students. Amnesty International

Two of the ten students who took part in the peaceful march on 30 July 2009. The imprint of the police batons is clearly visible on both students. Amnesty International

  • Excessive use of force
  • Gender-based violence
  • Use of military in civilian law enforcement
  • Freedom of expression
  • Curfew measures
  • Safety of human rights defenders

I’ll let the words of Hondurans speak for themselves to end this post, as their words are much more powerful than mine:

“We were demonstrating peacefully. Suddenly, the
police came towards us, and I started running. They
grabbed me and shouted “why do you (all) support
Zelaya’s government? Whether it’s by choice or by
force, you have to be with this government”. They
beat me. I have not yet been informed as to why I
am here detained.”

[“Fernando”, 52 year-old teacher, at a police station in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 30 July 2009]

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35 thoughts on “The Media Hype May Be Over, But There Is Still A Crisis In Honduras

  1. Excellent report & headline, Kate Vandermade !

    The corporate media that roared like a lion over Iran, has been mouse – like in response to the actual, undisputed, & far greater violations of the political body & civil society in Honduras !

  2. Excellent report & headline, Kate Vandermade !

    The corporate media that roared like a lion over Iran, has been mouse – like in response to the actual, undisputed, & far greater violations of the political body & civil society in Honduras !

  3. I believe you have a very biased and inaccurate opinion. The reality is the majority of Hondurans support the interim government of Micheletti and recognize that expelling Zelaya was taken as an action against corruption and to support of the democratic laws of Honduras. The majority of Hondurans are marching peacefully in support of the new government and the military is acting to ensure peace. The minority of activists are being paid by Zelaya (from money he stole) to cause trouble and promote violence.
    It needs to be recognized that the long term result of deposing Zelaya is peace, democracy and stability in Honduras.

  4. I believe you have a very biased and inaccurate opinion. The reality is the majority of Hondurans support the interim government of Micheletti and recognize that expelling Zelaya was taken as an action against corruption and to support of the democratic laws of Honduras. The majority of Hondurans are marching peacefully in support of the new government and the military is acting to ensure peace. The minority of activists are being paid by Zelaya (from money he stole) to cause trouble and promote violence.
    It needs to be recognized that the long term result of deposing Zelaya is peace, democracy and stability in Honduras.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Tom. The point of the report is not to take a political side with the coup or Zelaya, but to expose human rights violations in Honduras. Even if you think the protesters are not on the "right" side, they still cannot be beaten and detained without charge. AI's stance is not in support of Zelaya, but in support of ensuring human rights are upheld in this tense time in the country.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Tom. The point of the report is not to take a political side with the coup or Zelaya, but to expose human rights violations in Honduras. Even if you think the protesters are not on the “right” side, they still cannot be beaten and detained without charge. AI’s stance is not in support of Zelaya, but in support of ensuring human rights are upheld in this tense time in the country.

  7. You say it is not about picking sides but how do you justify paid foreigners from Nicaragua, and Venezuela entering Honduras illegally and promoting violence including burning buses and and throwing rocks. How can you not pick sides when the Taliban are cutting off people's fingers for voting. Are soccer hooligans just having fun when they go out to pick fights and beat up people? If you are not picking sides you are part of the problem and innocent people are getting hurt as a result of your lack of action.
    I am not in favour of anyone getting "beat up" but you better pick sides if you want long term peace and democracy in Honduras or you will have the lack of "human rights" there just like Venezuela.

  8. You say it is not about picking sides but how do you justify paid foreigners from Nicaragua, and Venezuela entering Honduras illegally and promoting violence including burning buses and and throwing rocks. How can you not pick sides when the Taliban are cutting off people’s fingers for voting. Are soccer hooligans just having fun when they go out to pick fights and beat up people? If you are not picking sides you are part of the problem and innocent people are getting hurt as a result of your lack of action.
    I am not in favour of anyone getting “beat up” but you better pick sides if you want long term peace and democracy in Honduras or you will have the lack of “human rights” there just like Venezuela.

  9. Here in Honduras the majority of Hondurans don't want Mel Zelaya to come back as their president. They support what the other branches of the government–military, legislative, judicial–have done to counter what a power-hungry president wanted to accomplish: control all areas of the government.

    How can Amnesty International advocate for a puppet of Hugo Chavez?

  10. El Pueblo Hondureño no está con Micheletti. Zelaya no necesariamente es la solución pero era el Presidente electo y se le derrocó con un golpe de estado. Los que apoyan a Micheletti en San Pedro Sula, apoyados por el ejército, son la oligarquía hondureña. El referendum que pretendía Zelaya en Honduras, se va a celebrar en Colombia, con el apoyo de EEUU. Qué significa esto?

  11. I am currently unemployed and do not have any ties with anyone on either side, and I am horrified at the actions and statements of Zelaya´s supporters. Come and see Zelaya supporters "peaceful" demonstrations, insulting people, burning buildings and buses, throwing rocks at people cutting of transport, then we have to demand security from police they would have to wait until it is too bad so they intervene, then the Zelaya supporters show how they got beaten. and I have to explain my children why we have to run away from these supporters, why we find our church with swearing words painted on them. Everyone in this blog KNOW that Chavez is behind this, that egotistical motivation is behind Zelaya. if they really really loved their country and its people they would not be promoting ostrasizing their country Honduras, Zelaya Repeatedly and very consciously violated our most important rules that avoid dictatorship, yes he was elected democratically but he is not above the law, the executive branch is not above legislative and judiciary, STOP THE NONSENSE GET SERIOUS.

  12. Here in Honduras the majority of Hondurans don’t want Mel Zelaya to come back as their president. They support what the other branches of the government–military, legislative, judicial–have done to counter what a power-hungry president wanted to accomplish: control all areas of the government.

    How can Amnesty International advocate for a puppet of Hugo Chavez?

  13. El Pueblo Hondureño no está con Micheletti. Zelaya no necesariamente es la solución pero era el Presidente electo y se le derrocó con un golpe de estado. Los que apoyan a Micheletti en San Pedro Sula, apoyados por el ejército, son la oligarquía hondureña. El referendum que pretendía Zelaya en Honduras, se va a celebrar en Colombia, con el apoyo de EEUU. Qué significa esto?

  14. I am currently unemployed and do not have any ties with anyone on either side, and I am horrified at the actions and statements of Zelaya´s supporters. Come and see Zelaya supporters “peaceful” demonstrations, insulting people, burning buildings and buses, throwing rocks at people cutting of transport, then we have to demand security from police they would have to wait until it is too bad so they intervene, then the Zelaya supporters show how they got beaten. and I have to explain my children why we have to run away from these supporters, why we find our church with swearing words painted on them. Everyone in this blog KNOW that Chavez is behind this, that egotistical motivation is behind Zelaya. if they really really loved their country and its people they would not be promoting ostrasizing their country Honduras, Zelaya Repeatedly and very consciously violated our most important rules that avoid dictatorship, yes he was elected democratically but he is not above the law, the executive branch is not above legislative and judiciary, STOP THE NONSENSE GET SERIOUS.

  15. I was just in Honduras in August. I witnessed one of the big protests in support of Zelaya. The people marched from Tela to San Pedro Sula. I saw no instances of violence from the protesters nor police. In fact, the police were clearing the road and making cars go to the other side, so the protesters could get by. Though I have heard of some violent incidents in Tegucigalpa, I didn't witness or hear of anything anywhere else. No violence against anyone is ever acceptable, but I also feel hyping things up isn't right either. I received an email from Amnesty quoting the BBC news in saying this is the "Biggest political crisis to rock Central America in years." The email also stated, a "de facto government has assumed power" and "mass arrests and police and military-sanctioned beatings against vocal oppositional figures" are happening. From what I know of the situation, Zelaya tried to break the law. The Supreme Court voted down the referendum to increase term limits and then Zelaya tried to have the vote anyway. Then when the head of the military refused to cooperate, he tried to fire him. The Supreme Court then ordered Zelaya's removal and used their power, under Honduran law, to appoint a new president. It seems to me as if the Honduran people were/are actually trying to avoid the "Biggest political crisis to rock Central America in years" by not allowing Zelaya to become a dictator.

  16. @Kate Vandermade – I agree with you that Amnesty probably shouldn't take sides, but should concentrate on protecting the population's civil liberties and human rights regardless of who is in power. But when I read things like this article, and the e-mail that was just sent out, it very much sounds like Amnesty is taking Zelaya's side. There's no mention of the fact that Zelaya was himself trying to subvert democracy by unlawfully extending his term, or that many (most?) in the Honduran congress and judicial system argue that exiling Zelaya was a lawful action taken to prevent him from unlawfully remaining in power.

    If the only thing I'd read about the situation was what Amnesty has written, I'd think that Zelaya was a good leader who was removed by a military leader seeking to become a dictator. I know it was never stated in those terms, but that's the impression that I get.

  17. I was just in Honduras in August. I witnessed one of the big protests in support of Zelaya. The people marched from Tela to San Pedro Sula. I saw no instances of violence from the protesters nor police. In fact, the police were clearing the road and making cars go to the other side, so the protesters could get by. Though I have heard of some violent incidents in Tegucigalpa, I didn’t witness or hear of anything anywhere else. No violence against anyone is ever acceptable, but I also feel hyping things up isn’t right either. I received an email from Amnesty quoting the BBC news in saying this is the “Biggest political crisis to rock Central America in years.” The email also stated, a “de facto government has assumed power” and “mass arrests and police and military-sanctioned beatings against vocal oppositional figures” are happening. From what I know of the situation, Zelaya tried to break the law. The Supreme Court voted down the referendum to increase term limits and then Zelaya tried to have the vote anyway. Then when the head of the military refused to cooperate, he tried to fire him. The Supreme Court then ordered Zelaya’s removal and used their power, under Honduran law, to appoint a new president. It seems to me as if the Honduran people were/are actually trying to avoid the “Biggest political crisis to rock Central America in years” by not allowing Zelaya to become a dictator.

  18. @Kate Vandermade – I agree with you that Amnesty probably shouldn’t take sides, but should concentrate on protecting the population’s civil liberties and human rights regardless of who is in power. But when I read things like this article, and the e-mail that was just sent out, it very much sounds like Amnesty is taking Zelaya’s side. There’s no mention of the fact that Zelaya was himself trying to subvert democracy by unlawfully extending his term, or that many (most?) in the Honduran congress and judicial system argue that exiling Zelaya was a lawful action taken to prevent him from unlawfully remaining in power.

    If the only thing I’d read about the situation was what Amnesty has written, I’d think that Zelaya was a good leader who was removed by a military leader seeking to become a dictator. I know it was never stated in those terms, but that’s the impression that I get.

  19. I was under the impression Amnesty International was a movement that "researched, campaigned, and mobilized to end abuses of human rights". Clearly after reading your article and your document on widespread police beatings the research part was left out. Zelaya´s supporters have been acting violently and causing riots in Tegucigalpa for a while now. I agree they do have a right to protest as long as they do it peacefully, but when private property is trashed and set on fire and creating chaos is their one goal then police must intervene to prevent further havoc. I do condemn repression and abuse but this is without doubt not the case. We do not favor Michelleti or oppose Zelaya we support our rule of law and we want and deserve peace.

  20. I was under the impression Amnesty International was a movement that “researched, campaigned, and mobilized to end abuses of human rights”. Clearly after reading your article and your document on widespread police beatings the research part was left out. Zelaya´s supporters have been acting violently and causing riots in Tegucigalpa for a while now. I agree they do have a right to protest as long as they do it peacefully, but when private property is trashed and set on fire and creating chaos is their one goal then police must intervene to prevent further havoc. I do condemn repression and abuse but this is without doubt not the case. We do not favor Michelleti or oppose Zelaya we support our rule of law and we want and deserve peace.

  21. After reading your report on civil rights violation in Honduras I was absolutely apalled. I am a Honduran citizen who has actually witnessed what has been occurring in my country and I feel deeply insulted that international organizations have not been able to impartially report what has truly been going on. The protests your organization qualifies as "peacful" are the protests led by the groups AGAINST Zelaya. These groups have not been the ones responsible for burning down restaurants, beating the employees of these restaurants, breaking local business windows, burning down buses. The groups who have engaged in these activities have been the ones who follow Zelaya.
    On another count, the teacher's organizations (and I must admit with pure shame, that I do belong to one) have been out on the streets engaging in these same protests, thus leaving the students with out their right to an education. I work at the American School of Tegucigalpa as an English teacher and it sickens me to know that people from my same professional field do not have the commitment to their first cause…the children. How can an organization such as yours support so called "professionals" who leave their calling to educate. Don't children have a right as well? The vast majority of public school childern will be losing thier academic school year for the sole reason that teachers that support Zelaya do not show up for classes. I wish that your organization would think a little deeper before pronouncing yourselves on a subject that goes deeper than your own understanding. You complain about the fact that freedom of speech is lost in Venezuela, and now that Honduras took measures to ensure that we do not become another Venezuela, Amnesty international takes the opposite stance. Think about how you would feel if you would have your business, office, or home vandalized, burned, and the people in it dragged out and beaten….by the very "innocent" people you deem as the "abused". Take a closer look before you write about an issue so that you can give the world a more impartial view of what is going on.

  22. After reading your report on civil rights violation in Honduras I was absolutely apalled. I am a Honduran citizen who has actually witnessed what has been occurring in my country and I feel deeply insulted that international organizations have not been able to impartially report what has truly been going on. The protests your organization qualifies as “peacful” are the protests led by the groups AGAINST Zelaya. These groups have not been the ones responsible for burning down restaurants, beating the employees of these restaurants, breaking local business windows, burning down buses. The groups who have engaged in these activities have been the ones who follow Zelaya.
    On another count, the teacher’s organizations (and I must admit with pure shame, that I do belong to one) have been out on the streets engaging in these same protests, thus leaving the students with out their right to an education. I work at the American School of Tegucigalpa as an English teacher and it sickens me to know that people from my same professional field do not have the commitment to their first cause…the children. How can an organization such as yours support so called “professionals” who leave their calling to educate. Don’t children have a right as well? The vast majority of public school childern will be losing thier academic school year for the sole reason that teachers that support Zelaya do not show up for classes. I wish that your organization would think a little deeper before pronouncing yourselves on a subject that goes deeper than your own understanding. You complain about the fact that freedom of speech is lost in Venezuela, and now that Honduras took measures to ensure that we do not become another Venezuela, Amnesty international takes the opposite stance. Think about how you would feel if you would have your business, office, or home vandalized, burned, and the people in it dragged out and beaten….by the very “innocent” people you deem as the “abused”. Take a closer look before you write about an issue so that you can give the world a more impartial view of what is going on.

  23. As a frequent visitor to Honduras to help colleagues there who are involved full-time in humanitarian aid, I am appalled at the lack of research and understanding displayed by AI on this issue. It reeks of input from cronies of Mr. Zelaya and not of the thoughtful concern for the poor normally reflected by this organization. Do you really KNOW the people who are feeding you the information resulting in your (despite your protests) pro-Zelaya stance?

  24. As a frequent visitor to Honduras to help colleagues there who are involved full-time in humanitarian aid, I am appalled at the lack of research and understanding displayed by AI on this issue. It reeks of input from cronies of Mr. Zelaya and not of the thoughtful concern for the poor normally reflected by this organization. Do you really KNOW the people who are feeding you the information resulting in your (despite your protests) pro-Zelaya stance?

  25. Hello:

    The truth of the matter is that Zelaya, who is, or was, the President (and duly elected) was ousted by a military coup funded clandestinely by Western powers (the good ole USA and fellow Imperialists). The reason is because Zelaya has an honest love for his people and because of his honest love he is able to return greater profits for Honduran resources in the international market. He also wanted to change the constitution to enable himself to be able to run for President an unlimited number of times. If the USA can change their constitution, then the Honduran people can also. The fact is the people of Honduras supports him and any proposed change to their constitution. He is honestly working toward the betterment of his people and is not puppeted by the USA. The people undermining the return of Zelaya are the ones being payed and are also being bussed into the city to cause confusion. I do not know where Tom Stollery gets his info, he has it exactly backwards–that is very disturbing as if he may be trolling websites and writes blogs for the FBI—which actually happens! Please remember there is only ONE truth and everything else is unimportant. Hondurans are poor folk who are undermined by cruel international trading practices, as all third world countries are. This is unmistakable and to see it any other way is wickedness. Based on that fact you can surmise what is going in Honduras—and it is exactly the way I explained it above.

    Richie

  26. Richie,
    Please give us some info to determine your credibility. Do you live in Honduras? How can you be so sure of yourself? What are the sources of your strongly held opinions? Paid demonstrators? The other side makes the same claim about z's supporters.

  27. Hello:

    The truth of the matter is that Zelaya, who is, or was, the President (and duly elected) was ousted by a military coup funded clandestinely by Western powers (the good ole USA and fellow Imperialists). The reason is because Zelaya has an honest love for his people and because of his honest love he is able to return greater profits for Honduran resources in the international market. He also wanted to change the constitution to enable himself to be able to run for President an unlimited number of times. If the USA can change their constitution, then the Honduran people can also. The fact is the people of Honduras supports him and any proposed change to their constitution. He is honestly working toward the betterment of his people and is not puppeted by the USA. The people undermining the return of Zelaya are the ones being payed and are also being bussed into the city to cause confusion. I do not know where Tom Stollery gets his info, he has it exactly backwards–that is very disturbing as if he may be trolling websites and writes blogs for the FBI—which actually happens! Please remember there is only ONE truth and everything else is unimportant. Hondurans are poor folk who are undermined by cruel international trading practices, as all third world countries are. This is unmistakable and to see it any other way is wickedness. Based on that fact you can surmise what is going in Honduras—and it is exactly the way I explained it above.

    Richie

  28. Richie,
    Please give us some info to determine your credibility. Do you live in Honduras? How can you be so sure of yourself? What are the sources of your strongly held opinions? Paid demonstrators? The other side makes the same claim about z’s supporters.

  29. Pingback: Getting (even more) Scary in Honduras | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog