Honduras: The Fight Continues

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“As a revolutionary I will be today, tomorrow, and forever
in the first ranks of my people, all the while knowing
that I may lose my life.”
—Walter Trochez
Those who are not willing to stay silent in the face of
oppression are painfully aware of the dangers they face.
Harvey Milk knew this when he was murdered in 1978 and
Walter Trochez knew this at the time of his assassination on
the evening of December 13, 2009. In both cases, these
men were killed for holding their society accountable in a
most basic and democratic way—by speaking out.
While individuals have been fighting and dying for
equal rights in Honduras for years, the months since the
coup on June 28, 2009 have seen a frightening spike in
bloodshed. Walter Trochez, a 25 year old LGBTI (Lesbian
Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) activist who had
joined forces with other groups to speak out against the
coup, became one of its many victims. In his writing,
Trochez worked to highlight the sources of support for the
coup and the impact of its success on stifling the rights of
all Hondurans. In one of his final articles, Trochez blasted
a series of powerful individuals and institutions for their
support or involvement in the coup:
LGBTI organizations, networks and movements in
resistance, “condemn the political-military coup against
the Honduran State financed by the Latin American and
U.S. ultra-right wing business sector, promoted by the
national mainstream media, covered up by the mercantilist
Ombudsman of the Honduras Commission of Human
Rights (CONADEH) Ramón Custodio, and with the blessing
of the Catholic and Evangelical churches through their
top representatives… [and] the current President of the
National Anti-Corruption Council.”
Trochez’s work was not limited to critique. He was also
engaged directly in helping get people to take to the streets
when that served the needs of the resistance. Interestingly,
sometimes they worked to keep people at home too, as
was the case when Trochez and other members of the
National Resistance Front Against the Coup organized a
boycott of the recent elections. They argued that the election
was illegitimate at the outset because it was forced by
the coup regime. This same regime refused to put in place
measures to assure transparency. Furthermore, they chose
not to count the votes of the million and a half Hondurans
who cast absentee ballots from the United States. Following
the elections, Trochez wrote a triumphant article in
which he lauded the success of the boycott, reporting an
absenteeism rate of 70 percent. He called upon the populace
to build on that success and, “kick those frauds out of
the electoral masquerade they imposed this past Sunday
November 29 in order to whitewash the coup d’état.”
Though the rewards for the efforts of Trochez and all
those like him are manifest in the continued support for
resistance and human rights, he is no longer here to reap
them. This is an all too common story. Before being assassinated
himself, Trochez reported on at least 16 others.
Only a week after his death, another activist was murdered,
and the killings continue. Human rights advocates
have reported that, “up to 18 gay and transgender men
have been killed nationwide—as many as the five prior
years—in the nearly six months since a political crisis
rocked the nation” (From Joseph Shansky on counterpunch.
org). It seems clear that these murders were motivated
by the hatred these individuals faced for daring to
live their lives with the integrity of being truthful to their
sexual identities. However, they were also persecuted
because of their resistance to the current regime. This is a
reality not lost on the LGBTI communities in Honduras.
As activist Gabriel Mass noted, “the overwhelming majority
of the Honduran queer community is opposed to the
regime installed by the coup… because ‘it is understood
that we have lost all our protections, including the most
basic right—the right to life.’”
All of these murders are tragic examples of attempts to
stifle freedom and repress resistance, whether that resistance
is in response to political regimes or social inequalities.
This is a fight, not just for LGBTI, not just for Hondurans,
but for all people committed to the ideals and
practice of human rights and democracy in the real world.
It is unfortunate that the response from the United States,
a country that prides itself on these very issues, has done
so little to address the ongoing injustices. In fact, as Shansky
points out in his article about the murder, Now that
the world heard from mainstream news outlets such as the
New York Times of a “clean and fair” election,” and “with
the international community given the green light by the
US that democratic order has returned via elections, it’s
open season for violent forces in Honduras working to tear
apart the political unity of the Resistance Front against the

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