The Vermont Workers' Center joins our brothers and sisters in trade unions and grassroots organizations in the US and throughout the world in strongly condemning the illegal coup carried out by the Honduran military on June 28, 2009, in which the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was kidnapped and forcibly taken to Costa Rica. We completely reject the claim, widely circulated in the corporate media, that this coup was somehow justified by President Zelaya's plans to consult the Honduran people about constitutional reform.
The coup was carried out by generals who had been trained at the School of the Americas, an institution run by the U.S. government which trains Latin American military personnel in "counter-insurgency" techniques and whose graduates have a bloody record of torturing and killing trade unionists and grassroots movement leaders throughout our hemisphere.
We stand with the trade union, indigenous, student and other popular organizations in Honduras who are resisting the coup despite severe repression, which has resulted in the deaths of several protesters and the detainment of many more.
The coup has been denounced by the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union, and the United Nations. While President Obama has criticized the coup, he can and should be doing far more. The U.S. should join the many other countries that have withdrawn their ambassadors from Honduras pending restoration of Zelaya to the presidency, immediately suspend aid to the government of Honduras as required by U.S. law, and cease all military activities and funding for Honduras.
As we struggle for workers' rights in Vermont — for the human right to health care, for livable wages, for the freedom to organize — we recognize that the Honduran people's aspirations for dignity, justice and democracy are kindred to ours. The coup in Honduras was led on behalf of a corporate and financial elite who do not want to see the social progress, such as raising the minimum wage, that has been achieved by Zelaya's administration. They are deathly opposed to Zelaya's proposal that the Honduran people enshrine social rights into their constitution through a constituent assembly, as many other nations in Latin America have done in recent years.
The Honduran people's struggle is our struggle, and we demand that our government do everything within its power to ensure the unconditional return of President Zelaya to Honduras and to see that the perpetrators of this coup are brought to justice.