AFL-CIO: Honduras Coup Is ‘Unconscionable’
The AFL-CIO today called on the U.S. government and the international community, particularly the Organization of American States and the United Nations, to “make every effort” to restore constitutional order in Honduras and reinstate democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a military coup Sunday.
In a statement, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called the coup “an unconscionable attack on the fundamental rights and liberties of the Honduran people.” He urged governments to condemn the coup and withhold recognition of the current government. Zelaya was ousted after pushing for a referendum on proposed changes that would allow the president to run for re-election and create new procedures for amending the constitution.
The recent internal conflict relating to the proposed constitutional referendum cannot in any way justify the extra-constitutional measures undertaken by the armed forces. These measures are a flagrant violation of the most basic democratic principles and of the rule of law.
Sweeney said eyewitness reports are coming in that thousands of people, including trade union members, were tear-gassed by the military simply for assembling to demand the return to democratic order and the reinstating of Zelaya.
We call on the United States government to also take all measures within its diplomatic powers to ensure that all Honduran civilians, and particularly trade unionists and social activists denouncing the coup, are safe and secure and will not be victimized by violence and repression.
Sweeney said the federation stands in solidarity with our sister organizations of Honduras, the national trade union centrals—the Unitary Central of Honduran Workers (CUTH), the Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH) and the General Workers Central (CGT)—as well as with the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), representing more than 45 million workers of this hemisphere, in condemning the coup.
Meanwhile, three major public-sector unions in Honduras announced plans for a general strike today in support of Zelaya, according to CNN. “It will be an indefinite strike,” Oscar Garcia, vice president of the Honduran water workers union told CNN.
We don’t recognize this new government imposed by the oligarchy and we will mount our campaign of resistance until President Manuel Zelaya is restored to power.
Garcia estimated that 30,000 public-sector workers, as well as some private-sector workers and peasant farmers, might join the strike.
Finally, a group of five U.S. union members led by Bill Camp, executive secretary of the Sacramento (Calif.) Labor Council, who were visiting Honduras and got caught up in the turmoil of the coup, were able to leave the country yesterday and return home.