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Interview with "Grandmother of the Resistance"

Q: We are here with the famous grandmother of the resistance. Tell us your name and a little about the struggle of the Honduran people.

A: My name is Dionicia Diaz, grandmother number one. The struggle of the Honduran people is for a constitutional assembly. They carried out a coup d'etat against our president because he was consulting the people, which isn't prohibited here or in China, but it was a consultation of the people to see if the people wanted to have a fourth ballot box in the coming elections. That fourth ballot box would be to see if we wanted a constitutional assembly. Only the constitutional assembly is above our current constitution. They would see if more of us said yes than no, because they were asking both the people who would say yes and those who would say no, it was a popular consultation. But unfortunately they didn't let him consult us because Sunday the 28th of June when they were going to consult us they carried out a coup d'etat, without any justification whatsoever.

The only reason they carried out a coup d'etat is cause that fascist who is there in the president's house is envious because nobody wanted him and nobody voted for him to go to the presidential house because he was a candidate but nobody voted for him the majority of us know him, that he isn't apt to be a president of a republic. Because a president has to be the father of all the Hondurans, but this fascist can't be. He came to power by force and divided the people. For him the only people who exist are the oligarchy, the ten families with money. Look where we poor people are – in the streets. They say we are thieves, or that there's just four of us, but look [points to crowd of people in the protest that day] … it's not that he's mistaken, he knows it, he is shaking because I don't think there's even a million people on his side and there's seven million of us. Ever since that day I've been in the resistance because they carried out a coup d'etat against the people, not the president.

Q: Why do you say they carried out a coup d'etat against the people, not the president?

A: Because it was because of the consultation of the people that the president was going to carry out to obtain a constitutional assembly, to have a fourth ballot box the day of the elections to change the constitution that doesn't serve us at all because it has ancient articles in there that just favor them, not us, and President Manuel Zelaya since he came to the presidency went to the side of the people. The First Lady when from town to town seeing what the people needed. They didn't rob like all the ones before them. Excuse me but they were all thieves, they all pillaged the coffers of the people and now it is them who are saying that Mel Zelaya violated the Constitution. The people who violated the constitution are the coup-makers. The people who divided the people are the coup-makers. Mel Zelaya won his elections and is the President of the Republic. He's not up for a vote, they are in elections, they owe the President of the Republic seven months, and they have to pay them.

Q: And you have been in the resistance every day?

A: Since June 28th, the first day of the coup d'etat.

Q: And you haven't been afraid of the repression?

A: I'm not afraid because we don't owe anything to anybody and we aren't doing any harm this is a peaceful resistance. Nobody is carrying anything here. They say we carry rocks, look through this backpack, we don't have rocks we don't have anything, I just have my megaphone if that is a crime, and they were putting in a decree to make megaphones prohibited. They want to shut our mouths with a decree. They don't want anybody to talk, what we have here is a dictatorship. The people have a dictatorship and can't breath. We don't know what to do, we ask the republics who are friendly, the OAS, the UN, to do something for God's sake, to send parachutes down on the presidential house because this is unbearable. They are killing the people and nobody is paying.

Q: And who are the resistance, who are the people in the streets?

A: The resistance is made up of those of us who have waken up and who know that we don't want to be under the boot of those who have exploited us our whole lives. I'm telling you, when the coup d'etat happened I was in my bed, sick, I could barely get up, but I had gotten up to vote close by at a school where there were boxes to go put your vote in. I was just going to go there, but when they told me that they had carried out a coup against the President, my illness left me. And since that day I've been well here in the resistance. Incredible but I was cured. And I continue forward, I continue here in the rsistance.

Q: And tell me some of the moments that have made an impression on you in this resistance?

A: Well like I tell you, here they have killed brothers and sisters, they have violated sisters, they have thrown teargas bombs that have killed people who got poisoned, and here, according to this coup-maker, nothing is happening. In Honduras everything is fine, there's no problem. And as I say we have a dictatorship that is doing us so much damage you can't imagine. We need to get out of this, we need international support.

Q: And what do you think about the elections coming up?

A: They have them already rigged! The ballot boxes are full already! Some of them will win, whoever is most convenient for them. What they don't know is that Micheletti would just as well not have the elections recognized internationally because then he wouldn't have any successor to give power to and he can stay in power his four years, that's where his sick mind takes him, he's a psychopath, this man will kill us if he stays there, we need to get him out. As they say, only the people can save the people. If we don't find another way out, the people, who they hope have gotten tired from them oppressing us, from them beating us, from them gassing us, the people will get tired. That's what he said! That after the elections in two years the people will have forgotten. In two years the people will have taken him out of there, who knows how, but the people are at the point of exploding.

Q: And what level of support does the resistance have amongst the Honduran population?

A: The Honduran population is united. We help each other out. There's no lack of unity here. They say that people have left us, no way, we are sick of being oppressed, they don't want us to talk, they don't want us to march but the people continue in the resistance and he can't shut us up, he can't hold us back. One thing is people are in their towns, waiting to see if somebody resolves this, but the other is that if it doesn't get resolved we will resolve it. That is the truth.

Q: And tell me a bit about the history of this strugle?

A: I was just in the strike of 1954, because the coups that happened before aren't like this one. You know why? Because before in four days nobody remembered the coup d'etat. Because the people have always been kept busy going to vote, giving their vote, then going to sleep and the problem is over. You voted for the red or for the blue and the problem was over. Now the people aren't with any candidates, we aren't in elections, we are in resistance to achieve a constitutional assembly, to change the current constitution that doesn't help us in any way. They have violated it tons of times to do what they want to do and they don't take the people into account. The only one who took us into account was our president.

The constitution is very old, very violated, these old articles have done too much damage to us and we should change it, they've changed many constitutions here. This one they don't want to change because it has ancient articles that they put there so that it would never be changed. They think the people will never wake up, that they will always be beneath their booths and never say anything. We won't have a way to breath. Look how the military has us surrounded. Before when the indigenous or the teachers came to protest at the congress, when we had our president, there in the presidential house, they would sleep there underneath the congress, where they wouldn't get burnt by the sun or get wet and they would pass the night there. Now look [pointing at line of military arround the congress] You don't think this is a dictatorship? Please! They say that Mel Zelaya violated the Constitution. And what worse violation than taking out the president of the republic and putting in an unjust coup-maker there? How could you come to my house and take me out if it's mine and I'm there? That's how it happened to the president of the republic in that moment, it still is, they have him kidnapped. The resistance wants a constitutional assembly to change the current constitution, we're not kidnapping or killing or robbing anybody.

Q: What is your message for the other peoples of the world?

A: I realize that amongst all the peoples there is resistance in favor of Honduras and I thank very much all the peoples who support our resistance, who are in resistance yourselves. And if you can help us in anyway, please do it, because this is an unbearable dictatorship that we can't tolerate. We will not continue tolerating it. We're at the breaking point of exploding, at the breaking point of violence. If I look patient here, behind be there are those who won't bear it any more. They don't want to because every day they are sending more and more soldiers, more and more decrees to shut our mouths, trying to make us mutes, this is unbearable.