By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 9 — Since the June 28th military coup took place in Honduras, the Cuban media has dedicated continuous TV coverage and front page newspaper space to the crisis. The government of Raul Castro and numerous official Cuban organizations have expressed their outrage at the squashing of the constitutional order in the Central American nation.
Starting Thursday, a Cuban civic movement called the Observatorio Critico, a research, reflection and social network, is circulating a call in support of the Honduran social movements that have defied the state of siege and continue to demand the return of President Manuel Zelaya and the continuation of the agenda of reforms that they have promoted.
The social movement states: “We cannot continue to be witnesses from a distance; the times demand our active involvement.”
In defining the situation the Observatorio Critico notes that “the state institutions have been kidnapped by the coup leaders — oligarchs and the military. The situation recalls the past of many countries of the continent… and a return to practices that many thought were overcome.”
They movement further points out: “The coup leaders have no diplomatic recognition, however, to date the actions taken have been insufficient to reverse the situation…”
“The Observatorio Critico, together with all women and men who want to adhere to this Letter of Solidarity, reject the military coup in Honduras, and we express our willingness to support its people, especially its social movements, in line with their demands and needs, by all possible honorable means within our reach,” maintains the statement.
The following is a Havana Times translation of the full pronouncement:
Letter of Solidarity from the Observatorio Critico* (Cuba) with the social movements of Honduras
We have been witnesses from a distance to actions attempting to quash the democratic institutionalization and citizen activism in a country of “Our America.”
We have been witnesses from a distance to actions that seek to destroy the autonomy of social movements: autonomy built with difficulty and “from below.”
We have been witnesses from a distance to the death of exemplary citizens.
We do not want and cannot continue being witnesses from afar; the times demand of our active involvement.
Therefore, in keeping with the times, we demand action.
The Observatorio Critico of Cuba, together with all women and men who want to adhere to this Letter of Solidarity, REJECTS the military coup in Honduras, and we EXPRESS OUR WILLINGNESS to support its people, especially its social movements, in line with their demands and needs, by all possible honorable means within our reach.
We also express our CONCERN for the evolution of the situation in Honduras and the other countries of Our America, especially regarding the future of CITIZEN ACTIVISM on our continent.
Historically, governments have assumed the leading role in the international arena. All of the most important international institutions, and especially the means to the solutions of political and legal conflicts, have originated from the leadership of governments.
In the case of Honduras, the constitutional president has been expelled from the country, and the state institutions have been kidnapped by the coup leaders — the oligarchs and the military. This is a situation that – as has been verified – brings to mind the past in many countries of the continent. Its permanency would indeed mark the return of practices that many had believed had been overcome.
Respectable intergovernmental organizations and numerous governments of other countries have spoken loudly and clearly against the military coup in Honduras, against the break in democratic authenticity and constitutional continuity in that sister country; the band of usurpers does not enjoy diplomatic recognition.
However, the actions to date have been insufficient to reverse the situation, even when intergovernmental organizations and governments desiring to show their good will have acted with a series of measures within their reach to induce change.
The facts point to a long standstill, which would be fatal for President Zelaya, whose constitutional term in office as head of government expires within a few months.
We have already learned through the example of the presidency of Aristide, in Haiti: another leader who assumed his office through the decisive participation of social movements, and who was definitively obliged under similar “circumstances” to change his program.
The president of the Republic of Honduras could not land in the capital of his country, but we have ALREADY seen that citizen activism of the Honduran people has very deep roots in its millennial fertile earth.
The social movements, ordinary Hondurans, have been the true and principal characters in this fight against the coup forces.
They have not given in to accommodation and have demonstrated their abundance of courage. To them, we offer our embrace in solidarity. But hugs are no longer enough; just as the efforts of the politicians have obviously proven insufficient.
WE MUST RESTORE AND, IF NECESSARY, INVENT WAYS AND METHODS CHARACTERISTIC OF ACTION FROM BELOW AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL. It is a revolutionary duty; it is our directive for today.
We are told about the efforts by the OAS, the UN, Nobel Prize winners, and friendly governments. But for the moment, those who have lost lives have not been the noted diplomats, academics, intellectuals or political leaders; they have not been military forces of the UN or the OAS, but the people of Honduras, especially those of social movements – as almost always occurs. Against that civilized barbarism we have every right to say: “ENOUGH!”
This is because the “international community” is not made up of governments; more than ever it is the community of people of the planet, all citizens of this world.
This position must cease being an eloquent theoretical thesis. Honduras is more than an argument confirming that need. Honduras is a proclamation that summons us to take part, it calls us to concrete praxis, it calls us to action.
For this, it is fundamental now to guarantee the horizontal nexuses between all of the people’s participants from the Americas, and to create the mechanisms so that they can provide their solidarity at the international level.
The future of social movements and their leading role in Honduras is also our future.
Honduras is no longer in the distance, it is here and now.
For the freedom of Honduras and ourselves,
EVER ONWARD TOWARD VICTORY!
Observatorio Critico (Cuba)
*The Observatorio Critico is a movement for research, reflection and social activism that brings together various individuals, collectives and socio-cultural initiatives in Cuba.
For a copy of the original statement in Spanish or to sign on to this letter of solidarity with the Honduran people and their social movements write: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com