By Mike Talavera
What started in April as protests against budget cuts to health and education, has exploded into a mass movement that has threatened the tenure of the current Honduran government and physically attacked institutions of US imperialism in the country.
The administration of widely-hated President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced its plan to offer up the government’s health and education departments on a plate to the forces of finance capital after receiving a mandate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This imperialist directive is described as an “agreement” between Honduras and the IMF by the bourgeois media, passing off the absurd notion that the bureaucratic capitalists of the oppressed Latin American nation could ever deny the interests of monopoly capital, mainly those of US imperialism.
The Platform for the Defense of Health and Education, made up mostly of Honduran public sector doctors and teachers, organized a strike and sustained regular marches against the government in the weeks since the announcement. The mobilization has brought the broad masses out to the streets.
As the doctors and teachers returned to work earlier this month and are now seeking “dialogue” with the government, those who remain in the streets have escalated their fury against Hernandez and his imperialist backers.
On May 31, masked protesters set tires and other objects on fire at the main entrance of the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital, which raged for half the day. Onlookers chanted, “American Trash! American Trash!” as the fire burned. A few days later, the masses ambushed a truck convoy of shipping containers from the US Dole Food Company, seizing and burning the contents.
In the past few weeks, burning barricades have appeared on major roadways around the country, forcing the government to deploy military police and other forces to reclaim transportation networks. The police and military have fired live ammunition at protesters, killing several and injuring dozens. Some officers have not reported for duty, discouraged by the immense size and unruly stance of the masses.
The decree of the recent budget cuts is only the latest transgression against the Honduran people, and Hernandez is not the first leader to sell out the masses to the interests of imperialism. One of the most popular slogans of this year’s mass movement, “Fuera JOH (Out with Juan Orlando Hernandez)!” is not simply a denunciation of the sitting president, but of the vicious cycle of abuse and corruption.
Preserving the current sham democracy is not what has inspired the people of Honduras to ignite tires and dodge police bullets. The masses cry out for a New Democracy that liberates democracy from the tower of the bourgeoisie, making it available to the masses who will wield it to continue on to socialism.