Exclusive by Rel-UITA
HAVANA TIMES, Nov 16 (Rel-UITA) – At the end of a press conference held at the Honduran embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, the liberal mayor of San Pedro Sula, Rodolfo Padilla Sunseri, announced his decision to drop out of the elections.
Along with him would also be withdrawing more than 50 candidates for the legislature and a hundred candidates for mayoral and vice mayor positions, all from the same party.
At this same time, Rel-UITA had the opportunity to speak with the legitimate foreign minister of Honduras, Patricia Rodas.
With only two weeks before the elections, the delaying tactics of the de facto government and the other institutions of the State continue to block the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya. Why is there this fear of reinstating the president?
The fear on the part of the forces of the oligarchy, of the hardest sectors of the political right wing of the country, of the military and of international sectors that defend their common economic interests, is a fear of the popular leadership that President Zelaya possess.
It is the fear of the Honduran people themselves, of their awakened consciousness, of their capacity to resist and to distrust what is promised by these old sectors, who are the same ones that have subjected the country to poverty and inequality for the last 30 years, and who have infiltrated the political parties and the State.
It is also the fear of their same errors and perversity shown when they wanted to detain, bury and banish the people’s leaders, believing that in this way they’d be able to stop an entire people in struggle. In hoping to again apply the same methods of terror and repression as in the 1980s, this fear is slowly converting into hate, and with the participation of the most retrograde sectors of religious fundamentalism and the manipulation of the media.
Do you believe that part of this fear is also due to the possibility that, once restored, President Zelaya could back some candidate considered to be a non coup supporter?
We must remember that the Supreme Electoral Court is composed of three magistrates who are intimately tied to the coup d’état. They are capable of doing anything to satisfy their interests and those who pay them. So it’s very probably that they’ve already selected the candidate they’ll end up electing; it doesn’t matter what the popular vote is.
Notwithstanding, President Zelaya doesn’t need to be restored to attempt to direct the popular consciousness. That is not the objective; rather, it is reconstructing the constitutional thread broken by the coup. The forces behind the coup are afraid, even of having that day come and looking at him in the eye, because they know they won’t be able to bear his gaze. They are afraid of facing their own shame and misery.
What elections will be held on November 29? Are you in agreement with the call to boycott them?
There is already a significant group of candidates that has withdrawn, and the impression is that these elections will be characterized by mass abstention, though an attempt will be made by the coup forces to legitimize them through deception and lies. However, the people have already turned their back on these political parties and those who are the kingpins of fraud, lies, coups, rifles, repression against the people, and spilled blood.
On November 29 those kingpins will experience isolation by their people, though of course they will commit fraud and continue violating human rights. There will be people who will go to the polls tied from head to foot, deceived and fearful of what happens next, sure of being closely controlled by the military and the police. Terror, disinformation, deception and isolation of the coup forces will be the tone of these elections, which will not end up being legitimized.
How do you assess the position of the international community in the face of this event?
The whole world condemned the coup d’état for all it represented, and everyone knows perfectly well that those same forces that executed the coup are today seeking to legitimize it through the elections.
The international community has maintained firmness in not wanting to recognize these elections; however, we are seeing how the United States -which represents a very small minority in this case- has begun to show signs of contradictions in its own position. In this sense, it’s difficult to understand the last statement by State Department Undersecretary Thomas Shannon.
Here, we are not seeing a dispute between two individuals, as some US sectors believe. The countries of the world know that there was a massive attack by an army, supported by a civilian group with powerful economic interests, against an entire people.
The countries of the American continent that might wind up supporting these elections are those managed by US politics and the interests of the big transnationals; their aim will be to prevent governments on the continent from continuing to pursuing deep social transformations. The rest of the world will reject these farcical elections.
Do you believe that the recognition of the results by the United States would place heavy pressure on other countries of the continent and the world?
It’s difficult to foresee, but we hope the international community maintains its rationality. However, happens what happens, in Honduras we first have to recover the constitutional thread, and we will not endorse processes consisting of lies and crimes.
The US State Department should ask: “What are the guarantees of transparency that these gentlemen, who have committed crimes and who continue committing them, have provided to the government of the United States and its partners on the continent?” If they don’t have an answer, I’ll assume that they’re also part of the fraud.
Are you disappointed with President Obama’s administration?
Humanity is beginning to doubt its own illusions, and I’m the part of humanity. I respect President Obama, because there is still time for history to judge him, but it will be necessary to grade the outcome, and that is yet to be seen.
The dispossessed of the world saw themselves reflected in a man who assumed power in the greatest power on the planet. A nation that has the power to make war but also peace, though up to now it has seemed to prefer war, perhaps because the arms industry is economic support for a government that is a gendarme and takes care of the interests of its transnationals around the world.
However, President Obama is trying to be the president of all Americans and has left other sectors of his government in the hands of imperial politics. This empire is not the people of the United States but the transnationals, which are all over the world and possess a government, an army and diplomacy that defend their interests.
Honduras has been his first experience and, at the same time, his first disappointment on the continent when discovering that his good intentions were not enough to brake the politics of the empire. So, we continue believing that it’s possible that some day this president, who wants to be fair with his people, will also rise in rebellion against the empire that is destroying the continent through its local flunkies, and that he too will unite with the exploited people of the world.
Do you agree with those who say that there was direct involvement on the part of the United States in the coup, and that this country had the objective of stopping the advance of ALBA in the region and to shift the position being taken in this part of the continent?
It seems like a perfect crime, but all crimes have their errors, and in this case they chose the wrong country, president, people and historical moment. We cannot speak of the involvement of the United States in the coup, but of a sector of its government, because in Honduras not a leaf moves without the accompaniment or knowledge of these traditional sectors of US politics, who are those that defend the interests of the empire of the transnationals.
What we have to do is identify who are the criminals in our country and denounce them before the world. Those who are outside of Honduras will have to be judged by all peoples of the world for their intervention and interference, which historically has brought us coup d’états, foreign military bases, and the terror and horror of war.
With regard to ALBA, it’s evident that on the continent it was looked at as an initiative where it suited only the left. But suddenly President Zelaya, a traditional-style liberal, decided along with his people to join this initiative. This generated tremendous fear. The poor example of Honduras had to be extirpated, because it had also been born in a country whose economy depends on the United States, and where there’s one of its largest military bases.
Intolerance reemerged from the ashes when Honduras accepted the ALBA. At the national level there were too many interests to defend on the part of the coup forces. There was no pre-written script, but rather a structure that was prepared to act at any moment, with a great capacity for reaction, and that was made up of the army, the media, the heads of the church and political forces infiltrated within the State and economic powers capable of maintaining it.
However, they weren’t able to anticipate the people’s response. They’ve not been able to stabilize their power and won’t be able to legitimize even taking a bath in holy water, because they’ll always be criminals, and this is generating great panic among them.
What role has the resistance played in this whole process?
It’s had a fundamental role. The resistance is an enormous part of the Honduran society that stood up; it struggles and marches, telling to history and the world what it is to feel and think, and the yearnings of an entire people. The resistance is the conscience of the Honduran people and the opposition to the groups in power, those same powers that have plundered, crushed and humiliated them. But they are now standing up, with dignity.
On January 27, 2010 ends the mandate of President Zelaya and that of his cabinet. What will you do after that date and after having spent four months outside of your country?
I don’t have any proceedings pending against me in Honduras that would prevent me from returning. The constitutional government ends when the reinstated president gives it up as ended. When he stops being a servant of our people from public office, I will return to my people, as I have always done – like the two years during which I experienced my first coup d’état, my first confinement and exile. I will return to continue struggling beside my people. I will return to where my people love me. That’s where I’ll be.