WHEREAS, on June 28th, 2009, the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was forced under military escort to leave the country in a swiftly executed coup*;
WHEREAS, since that time, thousands of Hondurans have publicly protested the deterioration of their civil liberties, and their political and economic rights;
WHEREAS, international human rights organizations, labor unions, and the worldwide press have reported that the current government has freely used police and military to target public school teachers, students, healthcare workers, public sector employees, journalists, human rights defenders, and other brave Honduran men and women who have dared to stand up peacefully for their rights as citizens; dozens have been killed, hundreds wounded, and thousands subjected to arbitrary detention or arrest;
WHEREAS, the current regime has failed to address Honduras’ critical social and economic problems, such as poverty and enduring inequality; this failure has disproportionally affected the nation’s politically marginalized, including its poor, its rural populations, indigenous people, and women and children across the country;
WHEREAS, Honduras’ teachers—still remaining dedicated to their profession and committed to their communities’ schools, students and families—have yet to fully receive their long-promised improvements in wages, working conditions, and the restoration of their robbed pension funds;
WHEREAS, the United States, after briefly suspending military aid following the coup, renewed military aid to Honduras in 2009 and continues to provide the government of Porfirio Lobos with substantial funding for military and police, allocating $6.64 million in 2011; and
WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers, consistent with its longstanding history of supporting human rights and social justice worldwide, stands in solidarity with its labor brothers and sisters in the labor federations of Honduras, the AFL-CIO, and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA);
RESOLVED, that the AFT call on the U.S. government to cease all military aid to Honduras and suspend all efforts to gain inclusion for Honduras in the Organization of American States** until the Lobo government agrees to end the repression and murder of teachers, unionists, campesinos and other workers; to return teachers’ stolen pensions; to drop charges of sedition against teachers who had been on strike against the destruction of public education; and to restore labor rights to all Honduran workers.
* In May 2011, under a negotiated political agreement brokered by Colombia and Venezuela, Mr. Zelaya returned to Honduras and to politics.
** Honduras has now been readmitted to the Organization of American States, effective June 1, 2011.