HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 30 – Early Wednesday morning, hundreds of Honduran soldiers and police vacated that country’s National Agrarian Institute (INA), arresting more than 50 people belonging to confederations of small farmers. Those organizations, along with the National Agrarian Institute Workers Union (SITRAINA), had occupied this institution for three months in their demand for the restoration of order and democracy in the country.
The on the scene report came from the Sirel-UITA (Regional Latin American Secretariat of the International Union of Food, Agriculture and Hotel Workers World Wide) website.
“It’s a very critical situation,” one of the campesinos arrested told Sirel, as the police escorted him to the vehicle that would take him to the Criminal Investigation Center.
Police forces entered the facility by force at 5:30 a.m., breaking down the gate in a veritable assault. “In my case, at least they allowed me to grab my backpack. But they still hit me in the back and took out me out.”
“We’ve been here three months taking care of these facilities where all of the files on rural plots of thousands of small farmers are kept. First they cut off the water and electricity, and then we were suppressed by this illegitimate government.
“We are appealing to the international community, which has supported and backed us, because what’s happening now will unleash protests among the rural sector. This coup-supporting government does not want peace,” the campesino concluded.
Dr. Francisco Cruz Reyes, who arrived at the facility to verify the situation of those detained, said the eviction was another act of the de facto government’s brutality.
“People were not hit, but we cannot speak of a peaceful eviction because the excessive presence of police and military troops has created a number of emotional problems among individuals,” said Cruz Reyes.
Sirel also spoke with Luis Santos Madrid, the general secretary of the SITRAINA union. “What we are experiencing in Honduras is a strategy to sow fear among people, violating their basic rights,” he asserted.
“We object to the application of an executive ordinance that is completely unconstitutional, which has resulted in our campesino comrades being evicted. We support them and will continue struggling so that the work done over all these years is not destroyed. We ask for international support so that what is being done in Honduras by this dictatorial government is reported on,” said the union official.
Human rights organizations and lawyers for the Pro-Zelaya forces have now been mobilized to challenge any action by the district attorney’s office against those arrested, which is seen by many as another maneuver to halt the struggle against the coup d’état and to criminalize the opposition.