Cobra forces ready to attack
Arbitrary detention of a motto taxi driver in Santa Rita after police illegally shot gas into people’s homes following a road black that was violently evicted. – Jackie
About two hundred people gathered for a mass this afternoon outside of the San Ignacio parish in the Quebrada Seca neighborhood of El Progreso. The people gathered in the street near a busy highway intersection in town. Though not a typical place for a Mass a woman of the community explained; “The struggle is here. We always come here.” The stretch of highway near the church is known for being a site where mobilizations and protest actions happen. As the priest opened the mass, he invited people to join him in celebrating Eucharist for peace in the country.
One of the parish priests explained that they have a parishioner that was recently arrested without cause. He anticipates that the man will likely be in prison for up to two years while the case is worked out. The man was arrested without cause and for simply being out in the street. The priest noted that the arrest was one of the reasons for the organization of the mass—to support and uplift a struggling community.
In attendance at the Mass was part of an emergency international accompaniment delegation that arrived Wednesday, January 24th. The delegation is made of 50 people representing the United States, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti and Argentina, many with ties to churches or faith communities. Ten clergy and religious women were invited to share in celebrating the mass with Padre Melo and Padre Jesus who minister in the city.
The Mass concluded with an invitation to accompany the community in a march to Parque La Mercedes. The walk grew by hundreds as it processed behind Padre Melo and some of the women of the San Ignacio parish led with a banner “In All Things Love and Serve.” After arriving at La Mercedes, the group was met by Radio Progreso staff. Those marching, including the U.S. delegation, joined hands and formed a circle in the intersection. The worship continued with songs and a responsive prayer. A few delegates also shared words of encouragement and solidarity with the Honduran people demanding justice. Rev. Don Christensen of Minnesota greeted all present and noted, “I am from Minnesota where it is currently very cold but you all have warmed me up tonight with your wonderful spirit.”
On January 24, 2018, a delegation of 50 interfaith and social justice leaders from the United States and other countries arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to begin a week-long observation, aligning their efforts with the national strike led by the opposition leaders of Honduras. Upon arrival, the delegates that arrived early were transported to Radio Progreso, a Jesuit radio station that has had many threats of being shut down for their role in the resistance of denouncing the repression in Honduras.
As members were on their way for a press conference at the Ramón Villeda Morales airport and to meet the rest of the delegation, they were stopped by military police for approximately an hour. During this checkpoint, the military police asked everyone to get off the bus and line up to be searched. All men and women were patted down from head to toe; this is just a small sample of the active military presence that is visible on every corner in Honduras during these critical political times.
The staff of Radio Progreso along with the interfaith leaders led a press conference where they denounced the violence and death threats against community leaders. The leaders also stated their demands that the United States government: withdraw their recognition of the controversial election of Juan Orlando Hernandez’ presidency, cut all economic aid to military forces, and stop all deportations. Father Melo, a spiritual leader of the resistance in Honduras, whose life has been under threat, led prayers to honor the fallen victims of the repression in Honduras since the November elections. Father Melo has a long history of leading the resistance and informing the community of harsh realities Hondurans endure that usually are not reported through the mass media in Honduras and internationally.
The delegation will participate in various activities throughout the week-long convening in Honduras, seeking peace and justice for the Honduran people. The group will be staying in El Progreso, a town full known for its history of resistance. Stay tuned to for updates live from Honduras covering the political crisis in the country.
See more photos from Day 1 by Mark Coplan here