We are defenders of land and water, common and public resources, health, education, sexuality, and the freedom of body and word. We are defenders of a just and dignified life.
We women human rights defenders wish to make it clear that just as some of us are obliged to live behind bars, and must protect our own lives and the lives of others because the State cannot and does not wish to do so, and as others of us experience hunger, we know all too well what is going on.
We know that the current regime is taking advantage of this crisis in an effort to wipe its illegitimate face and hide its history as a human rights violator, covering up its ties to drug trafficking. We know that this regime is taking advantage of the crisis to rake in 80 billion lempiras with false promises of building hospitals and providing consumable goods and food. The few resources that it does invest are for the sake of carrying on political proselytism, robbery and self-enrichment with the skill of those who know how to do it while playing with the hunger and basic necessities of the people, in which women play a prominent role.
We know that this is a State that denies its responsibility to uphold the basic rights of the people of Honduras. Its leaders make demagogic speeches, pretending to be saviors and peacemakers, which is clearly not the case. We women know all about such patriarchal practices because we and our offspring have had to deal with the abandonment of irresponsible fathers.
We know that State leaders are imposing the army and the police as central figures in this emergency. They are known and repudiated by the people for their violence, machismo and service to dictatorial power, yet pretend that people now believe that they are good and brave. All the while, due to their robberies, doctors, nurses and other health care workers put their lives at risk for lack of equipment necessary for biosecurity.
In conclusion, we know that this government and its agents are corrupt scoundrels and liars and that what they do is criminal. On the other hand, the lives of women, men and sexually diverse persons are at stake, having been chosen as victims of their policies of hatred and death.
We demand that the money of the people of Honduras be used to nourish them and save their lives. This should be the high priority of the State and its policies, that humanitarian aid go to all the places where it is needed without questioning the dignity of people for receiving what they deserve and what they earn with their daily work.
We demand that if these thieves are not capable of resolving this health and economic crisis, that they get out of the way and let capable persons do it.
We demand that they supply the hospitals and the health workers with everything they need because these workers are the ones capable of saving lives; imprisonment will never do so.
We demand that they demilitarize our country because repression and speeches that spread fear are not what we need; we need information, human warmth, and conscious work to get through this emergency as soon as possible.
We are women defenders, and in the communities of Honduras, in the countryside as well as the city, we’re the ones who bring life to the country. That’s the way it’s always been, and the crisis of this epidemic lays bare the worthlessness and fatality of the market economy in caring for the people despised by its beneficiaries. But we stand ready to struggle to keep all the work and responsibility from burdening our women’s bodies as it has done historically.
In this context, we have proved once again that the hetero-patriarchal family that has been imposed as the only form of caring, affection and solidarity is all too often not what is promised, and we have other networks of vital care.
We call on all women to continue to think together and share what we have, and to never forget the aggressors and their actions or all the rights that we have gained together, which we will never renounce under any circumstances.
We rekindle the wisdom of the women that from the ancient black and indigenous peoples shows us once again the collective paths in which the life of all beings has a respected place and a feeling of veneration of life with dignity.
In all parts of this country, women in all our dignity rise up to prepare food in communal pots, take over highways, recover seeds and wisdom, develop strategies and spaces for wellness, care for our lives and the lives of others, water orchards, and above all, invent all that is necessary to keep us alive.
We honor all women who work in household services, rural workers, street vendors, maquila workers, and those who risk their lives in hospitals and the streets to make a living by caring for other people.
We repeat, along with other women in the world, that the cause of this pandemic is not a virus, but instead the greed of capital, the cruelty of the patriarchy, and the brutality of the racism of this system that has made life impossible for generations.
We will never return to where we were before as a place of normalcy. The pandemic frightens us, but what we fear most is the violence of this system that we have endured for too long.
Our ancient, valiant, communal, feminist, rebellious, indigenous, black and anti-capitalist paths now have another opportunity on this land.
Honduras, April 2020