Honduras: Stagnation and a grandmother

Dionisia Diaz hasn't missed a day of the protests.  Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA
Dionisia Diaz hasn't missed a day of the protests. Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 23 (Rel-UITA / TEGUCIGALPA) – The talks in Honduras are bogged down.  In what has been described as a new delaying tactic, the de facto regime’s negotiating commission is now requesting reports compiled by the Supreme Court and Congress on the case of President Zelaya, purportedly so that the two negotiating teams are familiar with them before reaching an agreement.

In response, President Zelaya’s commission issued a statement calling this new maneuver to block his reinstatement to be “formalistic, absurd and in some cases insulting and even provocative.”   The talks have been suspended until the de facto regime presents a serious proposal, while the political, economic and social crisis deepens more with each passing day.

Despite this difficult situation and its alarming economic repercussions, which for example have compelled the de facto government to reduce the national budget by 60 percent, the men and women of the resistance continue their unflagging demonstrations.  They will ignore the elections and whatever its outcome, clearing the streets of campaign propaganda while preparing the path to a constitutional assembly.

Among the many faces that have resisted the mindless violence of the de facto regime for 117 days is Dionisia Diaz, or “Grandmother,” as she is called by the thousands of people making up the resistance.

Born in the northwestern Honduran town of El Progreso in 1935, she lived through the famous mass uprising of 1954, which arose out of the general strike of banana workers against the deeply resented United Fruit and Standard Fruit companies.  Her husband was hounded into the mountains attempting to escape the repression that came later.  He never returned.

Since the first day of the coup d’état [on June 28], unfailingly armed with her megaphone, Dionisia has been involved in the struggle of the National Front Against the Coup d’état and has not missed one day of demonstrations.

Rel-UITA took advantage of this occasion to speak with her.

You have marched and participated in the activities of the resistance for more than 100 days.  What is it that most motivates you to continue in the struggle?

There’s been a coup d’état, and what we want is the reinstatement of President Zelaya and the withdrawal of these coup mongers, the military. We also want Micheletti to leave because we don’t recognize him as president.  The military and certain economic groups maintain him there as their puppet.

Singing for Zelaya's return to office.  Photo: Delmer Membreño
Singing for Zelaya's return to office. Photo: Delmer Membreño, Flickr

As people continue demonstrating in the streets, it’s necessary to be clear on one thing: Here there are neither Cubans nor Venezuelans marching, as the de facto government claims.  Here, the Honduran people are marching and demonstrating; we are demanding our rights.  The movement that has arisen was not bought, no one pays us.  We won’t allow this constitution to remain, because it’s not good for the people.  We will continue struggling for a constitutional assembly and a new constitution that’s truly for the people.

Aren’t you tired from so much walking, from so many things that have happened over these almost four months of struggle?

No, absolutely not. I’m like I was the first day.  I always tell our comrades that it’s necessary to forget those more than 100 days that have passed and to start every day as if were the first.  We know what we’re marching for, what we need, and we know what we want.  I always ask people to unite, that they overcome fear and return to the streets.

How long do you think the protests will continue?

Until they reinstate President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.  And it’s better that they do it, because things are going to get hot.  Without the reinstatement of President Zelaya there won’t be elections.  The de facto government is fooling no one. The people are not going to vote.  It’s that simple.

Dionisia Díaz - Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA
Dionisia Díaz - Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA

You’re not afraid of all this repression by the police and army?

I’m not afraid because my life has been much more difficult than what I’m seeing these days.  I was born on a small boat in 1935 because the river had overflowed and my mother couldn’t get to the mainland.  I was born there, and my mother threw the placenta in the river.

In 1954, I participated in the general strike, and I lost my husband back then.  He escaped into the mountains fleeing repression, and I never saw him again.  The oppressors chased people into the mountains and killed them, even burning them.  Now we have this Mr. Micheletti, who is not even Honduran.  He orders around the police and soldiers who shoot us and spray us with gas, but we continue forward.

Will you continue being out in the streets?

Always.  Whatever happens, I’ll be there.

Translation by Havana Times of the original article posted at the rel-UITA website.