ITUC OnLine – June 28, 2009

Brussels, 28 June 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC and its regional organisation, the Trade Union Organisation for the Americas (TUCA), have strongly and resoundingly condemned the military coup carried out in Honduras on 28 June with the aim of overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya and expelling him from the country. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas was also detained. 
The ITUC and TUCA have called for the immediate return of President Zelaya as the country’s highest executive authority, together with full respect for the will of the people in the Republic de Honduras.
The military coup is the latest chapter in a conflict between the country’s political forces over President Zelaya’s decision to hold a non-binding poll to gauge public opinion on possible constitutional reforms to permit the renewal of Honduras’ political structures. The poll, due to be held on Sunday 28 June, had been denounced as illegal by the legislative and judicial authorities, which urged the military to intervene to prevent the consultation from going ahead. The concerted action taken by traditional parties, business interests and the mass media to press the armed forces to intervene, under the pretext of protecting the country’s institutions, has given way to this dangerous collapse of democracy.
The ITUC and TUCA have called on the international community, particularly the Organisation of America States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN), to take immediate action in the face of this serious institutional crisis in Honduras. The ITUC and TUCA have also urged all the governments of the Americas to isolate this attack on democracy and against the will of the people, calling on them to take every measure at their disposal to stop the military from using repression and violence to contain popular discontent.
The international trade union movement has expressed its solidarity with the people of Honduras, its labour and social movement, in their call for a return to democracy. The CGT, CUT and CTH have expressed their commitment to the poll and their support for the democratically elected president. The leadership of the Honduran trade union movement has also denounced that, aside from the military coup, lists are being drawn up of the social and political leaders to be detained over their support for the poll. Such a move could result in serious repression with unpredictable consequences. The Honduran trade union movement has called an indefinite general strike.  
“A total and immediate return to democracy and respect for fundamental rights in Honduras is essential,” said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC. “The ITUC fully supports its affiliates and the Honduran people in their actions to mark their rejection and condemnation of this overthrow of constitutional order, and calls for its immediate restoration.”
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