Updates: Situation in Honduras

April 6, 2011

Teachers Beat a Strategic Retreat in Honduras

After almost 3 weeks of street protests and strikes during which security forces killed two protesters and beat and imprisoned hundreds more, Honduran teachers announced a “strategic retreat” on Monday April 4th.

The teachers, members of the 6 teachers colleges that make up the Federation of Honduran Teachers Organizations (FOMH), have been protesting the seizure of their pension fund and social security institute by the de facto regime of Porfirio Lobo, the destruction of the Teachers´Statute (the law that governs wages and working conditions for education workers), and the off-loading of responsibility for public education to municipal authorities.

Have you taken action yet? Immediate action on this matter is still relevant and can be taken by visiting the Urgent Action posted on our site.

Following a general strike on March 30th, where workers from other sectors joined teachers in protests throughout the country, the Lobo regime threatened to dismantle the teachers´organizations and fire teachers who did not present themselves to work April 4. In a press conference on Monday, presidents representing four of the six FOMH organizations called on members to return to class to create an atmosphere for dialogue with Lobo and Education minister Alejandro Ventura.

The FOMH leaders warned that their members will return to the streets April 16th if no progress is made in resolving the conflict.

March 31, 2011

News from our partner, the IDEA Network

This is the statement from our partner organization, IDEA, that was sent to the OAS and the CIDH, as one of the solidarity actions of the IDEA Network with the Honduran teacher’s movement.  It represents their call to organizations to mobilize in defense of the educational community in Honduras.

Actions carried out by the IDEA Network include:

  • Argentina, March 29th: event and press conference at the central headquarters of Argentina’s Workers Central (CTA), with all the national board of the CTA, the executive board of CTERA, and 500 teachers from the capital.
  • México, March 5th: protests at the Honduran Embassy in Mexico City, the Mexican Section of the Trinational Coalition in Defense of Public Education.
  • México, March 28th: Statement of solidarity passed by the National Assembly of the National Committee of Mexican Education Workers.
  • Panamá, Brasil, Costa Rica: Solidarity with the Honduran population, especially the Honduran teachers who are being detained illegally, on behalf of FREP-PANAMÁ, CNTE-Brasil, and SEC-Costa Rica.
  • El Salvador: Demonstration at the Honduran Embassy, press conference by the Executive Committee of ANDES (see attached for some photos of the demonstration). They warned the de facto regime’s ambassador that they would close the borders if the continued to repress the Honduran Teachers.

Teachers from ANDES in El Salvador protest in solidarity with Honduran teachers.

March 24, 2011

In the past few months, the de facto Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and his Education Minister Jose Ventura have launched an escalating offensive against public education and the teachers´movement in Honduras.

In the past week the conflict has reached frightening proportions with day after day of unbridled violence by the army and riot police against protesting teachers, parents and students, that on Friday resulted in the murder by security forces of 59 year old teacher and human rights activist Ilse Ivania Velásquez.

On Wednesday, March 23, military and police forces attempted to seize control of the National Autonomous University of Honduras. They were met by hundreds of students armed with rocks and backpacks who fought with the security forces and pushed them off the campus.

Today (Thursday, March 24) , security forces again attacked a street protest of thousands of teachers, parents and students who were protesting the abolition of the teachers´collective contract, the seizure of their pension funds and the elimination of state funding for education. At the same time, security forces surrounded the headquarters of the main teachers organizations. CoDev´s partners at the Honduran teachers´college, COLPROSUMAH were trying to prevent the attacking security forces from reaching and arresting their executive committee who were taking refuge on the top floor of their offices.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government continues to push forward a Free Trade agreement with Honduras despite clear evidence of human rights violations, as demonstrated during these events and increasing impunity.

Martha Alicia Rodriguez, an executive committee member of the high school teachers organization COPEMH wrote: “The budget they are using on this repression is enormous while hospitals have no medicine and schools have no desks nor adequate conditions to function! A right that is not defended is a right that will be lost. We will not give up.”