The swearing in of new President Porfirio Lobo hasn’t brought the peace that the people of Honduras are seeking. Unfinished business post the ousting of Manuel Zelaya is particularly impacting local labor organizers, especially women.
The body of 29-year-old Vanessa Yamileth Zepeda, still dressed in her nurse’s scrubs and killed by a bullet, turned up in the Loarque neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on February 4. Zepeda had young children and was a leader of the SITRAIHSS labor union (Workers Union for the Honduran Social Security Institute). She had been abducted that afternoon while leaving a union meeting.
The fact that Zepeda’s death is being dismissed as an act of “common criminality” is disturbing enough, as if the murder of a mujer should be somewhat acceptable. Since Lobo’s inauguration there have been 10 to 15 assassinations of resistance members and leaders according to activists. Were those also acts of common criminals or the work of the common criminals of government?
This is all happening while the Honduran government tries to reestablish itself in the good graces of the U.S. government. The Honduran Foreign Minister, Mario Canahuati is trying to pave the way for a meeting between Lobo and Obama. Will the U.S. accept the invitation and if so, will Obama question the terror that continues for many in Honduras?
Trade unionists and gay and lesbian groups, who have become increasingly visible and organized as part of the resistance, have been the main focus of recent attacks and intimidation. Campesino communities, especially those involved in contested land takeovers, have also suffered recent increases in violence and repression from police and landowners…here have reportedly been beheadings and a man’s tongue was cut out. Cervantes said Honduran officials known for paramilitary activity in the 1980s have also resurfaced as part of the coup and/or in Lobo’s conservative party.
Via / In These Times