International Delegation Averts Possible Assault and Arrests of Honduran Students

As we have reported student actions and protests can be fatal in Honduras.  An international delegation organized by the group Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) might have prevented such a fate.

At least twice a year the social and economic justice group AFGJ organizes a delegation to one of the hotbeds of Central America, Honduras, to observe the human rights abuses that have permeated the country since the 2009 military coup.  This time delegates were offered the opportunity for a comparison between bordering neighbors Nicaragua and Honduras.  Both countries suffer from an extreme poverty conditions, yet one country is experiencing virtually no emigration out of the country, little violence, little militarization, and a low crime rate.  Nicaragua enjoys the status as one of the most peaceful countries in the hemisphere.  Yet just to the north, Honduras suffers the polar opposite political and social climate.

In Honduras the group met with a local chapter of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) in the department of El Paraiso followed by the opportunity to hear from locals in the Gulf of Fonseca who are resisting corporate shrimp farming, tourism, and the ZEDE or Charter Cities initiative that many indigenous groups are resisting.  Mining resisters, teachers, and healthcare unions voiced updates on their movements and the struggle against the IMF’s Structural Adjustment programs.  The delegation personally witnessed and documented what human rights organizations shared about their own experience with insecurity and state violence.

In Nicaragua the group met representatives of the Agriculture, Environment, and the Family and Associative Economy Ministries and also with expectant mothers, students, teachers, healthcare workers.

The opportunity to compare the political and social atmosphere proved blatant when the group reported on the differences in military occupation between the two countries.  Chuck Kaufman, a co-coordinator with the group AFGJ reported, “In Nicaragua we counted 2 military personnel in the streets and when we crossed over to Honduras, we lost count after just a few minutes of crossing the border.”

The high moment of tension though was at the National Autonomous University of Honduras when students were blocked by police and prevented from leaving the campus grounds.

Karen Spring, Latin American Coordinator for the Honduras Solidarity Network, and Chuck Kaufman told KGNU what happened next: