Exiled Honduran Teacher Thanks Canadian Supporters

Exiled Honduran teacher leader Jaime Atilio Rodriguez

In late October 2019, Honduran teacher activist Jaime Rodriguez was abducted, tortured, thrown off a bridge and left for dead. He survived, and when well enough to travel, went into exile in Mexico just before the Covid 19 pandemic began. CoDevelopment Canada called on supporters to help Jaime through these difficult months of exile. As organizations and as individuals you responded with an outpouring of solidarity. On November 26 2020, Jaime will take his chances and return to his country. This is his message to you:

Message of Thanks
On my first day of pedagogy class when I began my primary school teacher studies at the Western Normal School in La Esperanza, Intibucá, my teacher Marco Tulio, congratulated us all for choosing a profession that involves so much social commitment. At the time I did not grasp the significance of his statement, but little by little this noble profession taught me the realities of our children and youth, and they become a reflection of my own reality. This makes it easier to understand the commitment of teachers all over the world to defending the rights of the people; the right to health, water, land, the rights of women and, of course, the right to education.

There are consequences for struggling for a better future for our peoples and against policies of privatization and the looting of public resources. Various colleagues have given their lives for this in Honduras, and in almost every country of the Americas.  In my case, it brought exile. But with exile came a wonderful experience of great learning.

Today I want to thank my fellow teachers, and others, in the republic of Canada, the teachers of Mexico, and educators from many countries of the Americas who supported and sheltered me with their solidarity. You, compañeros and compañeras, have shown me the true value of that word.

I want to give special thanks to CoDevelopment and the IDEA Network, to the BC Teachers’ Federation and the Surrey Teachers’ Association, to Steve, Maria Ramos and the teacher Dilcia Díaz – and to so many compañeros and compañeras who I have never met, and to whom I beg forgiveness for not naming, because that list would be very long.

I am returning to my country.

My commitment to free my homeland is today even stronger than before. I return bringing more experiences and the knowledge that, with your solidarity compañeros and compañeras, they will never break us.

But the repression will surely continue in Honduras, so I ask of you to simply follow the song of our resistance that says, “Promise me you will continue to fight.”

Gracias maestras y maestros

Jaime Rodríguez
México City, November 25, 2020


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