“The reconstruction of history shows that women have only made social conquests when and where there have been conscious women struggling and taking the lead in these conquests.”
On Wednesday, January 29, the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras (RNDDH), developed its first Seminar for the Analysis of the National Situation, a space for reflection and political discussion for women who recognize the country’s structural problems and take an interest in generating strategies of political, social, economic and cultural transformation from a feminist perspective.
The session was moderated by the journalist Sandra Maribel Sánchez, who opened the discussion by questioning herself and all who were present about the role of women in the current sociopolitical context and about possibilities for building and spearheading a different country in a context of violence, citizen insecurity, impunity and corruption.
To open up the discussion, Sandra Maribel stressed the fact that the pillar sustaining the current national situation is the undeniable fact that we live under a dictatorship, one that, unlike other dictatorships, hasn’t needed to dissolve the other branches of government in order to establish itself as such. It found in the legislative and judicial branches and generally speaking, in the country’s public institutionalism, fully functioning niches for entrenching itself. On this foundation, other circumstantial elements arise that were mentioned in the seminar.
Among them are the following:
- The privileged relation of private business commercially linked to the State, which has made itself invisible under cover of the privileges of the informal sector of the economy even though these generate 70.7% of the country’s employment opportunities.
- A general State Budget nefariously distributed, which is close to 282 million lempiras, of which 42,500 million (almost a third) have been allocated for payment of the foreign debt.
- The exemption of payment of taxes to a few privileged companies, which amounts to about 40,060 million lempiras, a figure that ironically is proportional to the amount destined for the payment of the foreign debt.
- A floating debt that makes the country’s general public debt ascend to 15 million dollars, and an internal debt near 6,500 million dollars, which has mainly been contracted to pay bureaucracies and business contracts with energy generating companies.
- 15,285 million lempiras for national security and defense, which represent more than half of the budget allocated to education, and the figure becomes even more chilling when compared to the 15,765 million allocated to the national health system.
- The annual loss of more than 50 billion lempiras in acts of corruption, which is equivalent to the budget allocated annually to education and health combined.
- A growing application of neoliberal measures that is accompanied by the progressive dismantling of all public institutions, taking away institutions such as Hondutel, the National Agricultural Development Bank and the Honduran Institute of Social Security.
- In addition, in the capture of institutionalism for specific purposes, the appropriation by the State of entities such as the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Operators; this is highly convenient for government purposes, since there is no accessible entity that reflects the violation and persecution in figures, and that provides true protection to those who need it.
- Simultaneously to these realities, the increasingly active role of the Armed Forces and their increasingly closer interaction with the population, which has become a dominant repressive element during public demonstrations.
- Likewise, the assignment to the Armed Forces of an agricultural development program of 4 billion lempiras, without the questioning of any public entity or authority, thereby naturalizing community militarization.
- The departure of MACCIH with the non-renewal of its agreement, which encourages the climate of impunity in the country and negatively impacts international transparency measures.
- The presentation before the National Congress of the “Law of Free, Prior and Informed Consultation,” which is harmful to the right of self-determination of the peoples and to respect for territorial sovereignty.
- The migratory phenomenon and the main expelling factors, which consequently account for more than 40 thousand people deported as of 2019, dozens of residents and communities of resistance expelled from the country, and hundreds of missing persons.
- The rise in cases of violence against women and the alarming number of 29 femicides reported during the first 29 days of the year 2020.
- And the displacement of the agendas of social organizations due to the premature launch of the electoral campaign and its impact on the climate of violence against women.
These and other contextual country issues were addressed through a collective perspective and the participation and debate of women who move within different spaces, movements and organizations, but who share the same approach: the search for the reclamation of the shared word of women for conscious decision making.
To contribute to this collective purpose, the Seminar for Analysis of the National Situation will continue to be an initiative of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras on the last Wednesday of each month, calling on women interested in strengthening their discourses and sharing spaces for reflection and constructive political discussion.