honduras: zelaya abandons popular movement’s demands

Four months ago Honduras’ centre-left president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya was deposed and forced into exile by a military coup, sparking a long resistance campaign in which twelve trade unionists have been killed. Now Zelaya is back in the country and negotiating elections with the coup régime of Roberto Micheletti (depicted below).  But as Socialismo o Barbarie argue, this national unity means legitimising the coup and stepping back from democratic reforms.


Mel Zelaya has given fresh “space” for negotiations with those who conducted the military coup. This is Zelaya’s strategy: bending over backwards as far as possible, abandoning each and every one of the demands which the popular resistance has stood up for in the streets every day, since the very day when the coup régime seized power.

Zelaya has now given up the central demand of this struggle: a Constituent Assembly.

Zelaya has also given up on the idea of punishing those who conducted the coup, accepting an amnesty for them.

Zelaya has even accepted a government of “national reconciliation”, that is to say, together with those who conducted the coup: a scandal, governing with those whose hands are stained with the blood of so many comrades.

Given that, we should not be surprised that he has even ended up handing over his own “head”. After days and days of “dialogue”, more dialogue and conciliation with these gangsters, he now accepts not being reinstated: or else simply in a formal capacity, mediating a “tri-partite government” or some other means of wiping the slate clean.

In the middle of all this making-up, what has remained completely out of focus is the resistance’s fight. It has been weeks since the leadership of the resistance – the Frente Nacional de Resistencia – has called a real, mass action!

This is the direct responsibility of the Zelayist leaders of the resistance, like Juan Barahona, who this week put on the media show of leaving the negotiating table. This is nothing but a crude manoeuvre to avoid any fall-out from the fact that his political chief Zelaya has abandoned – before the cock has crowed – the Constituent Assembly.

As for the Socialismo o Barbarie current and our PST comrades, we categorically reject the dead end of “dialogue” with the coup régime as the means of acheiving the struggle’s objectives.

Zelaya’s return awakened the possibility of a general strike to definitively sweep away the whole gangster régime. But Mel Zelaya and his representatives in the popular movement were completely against this outcome. Zelaya, ever since arriving at the Brazilian embassy [i.e. ending his forced exile] has been playing with “reconciliation” but also coming out with much bravura and sloganeering on TV.

The dialogue will continue on Monday. The Zelayists keep looking for a conciliation-route of getting rid of Micheletti. From our standpoint, it is necessary to develop a clear debate within the resistance movement, building on the discontent and arguing for no-confidence in Zelaya’s politics of compromiso.

It must not be that the heroic resistance is completely subordinated to the top leaders’ “wiping the slate clean”, thus giving up its demands and almost totally demobilising the workers’, peasants’ and popular movement.

The independent candidate Carlos H Reyes has announced his unconditional refusal to participate in the elections if they take place under Micheletti. Now the challenge is to assert again each and every one of the slogans Zelaya has left by the wayside: first of all, the clear need for the calling of a Constituent Assembly to get rid of all the coup régime’s institutions and bring these murderous gangsters to justice.