Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Perspective

by the Witness for Peace Staff in Honduras

As the demonstrations in Tegucigalpa have continued to diminish, protesters from other parts of Honduras began to return home late this week. Our contacts in northern Honduras invited us to see another side of this country, and hear from people outside the capital.

San Pedro Sula San Pedro Sula

We took the four hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula, the industrial heart of the country. Located only miles from the Carribbean coast, the city of over 1.6 million people, is surrounded by rain-forest covered mountains. It is also home to the maquilas that produce the majority of Honduras's non-agricultural exports. The economic impact of the coup has hit this town, stalling or cancelling new contracts for businesses already downsizing due to the global crisis.

We were welcomed to a reflective weekend for union organizers, workers, activists and people of faith here. Throughout the week, they have held demonstrations and marches in different neighborhoods, and kept a constant presence in the central park, Liberty Plaza. While the police and military are not visible in the same way that they are in the capital, the stories of repression and police violence have been the same. But, the international media has not been here to capture it.

As we arrive, they all seem to be asking "What next?"

Protesters chant in San Pedro Sula's central park

Protesters chant in San Pedro Sula's central park

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