From January 24-30, 2018, three members of the MN Conference UCC participated in an Emergency Interfaith Accompaniment Delegation in Honduras. Thom Haines of Mayflower UCC, Minneapolis, Maryjane Westra from Fergus Falls, and Rev. Don Christensen of Macalester Plymouth United Church in St. Paul were part of a 52-person delegation composed of women and men from 14 states, numerous denominations, and 5 nations. We were in Honduras at the invitation of Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno (Fr. Melo) and Radio Progresso to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Honduras who have been protesting in the streets since the election of Nov. 26, 2017. In the government crackdown following the election, more than 30 people have been killed and over 1,000 detained. Countless other peaceful protesters have been injured by the excessive use of military and police force including live ammunition, water cannons with chemicals, and gas bombs thrown into homes. Fr. Melo and other leaders of the resistance movement have been targeted with death threats.
During our week in Honduras, we heard testimony from leaders of the resistance movement and victims of the repression. We accompanied them in marches and demonstrations, including a vigil in front of the U.S. Embassy and an outdoor Stations of the Cross organized by a local parish. One of the stations was the local headquarters of the Honduran National Police. The Honduran people with whom we met told us that the election would not have been “stolen” and the violent repression would not be happening without the approval of the U.S. Government that stands behind the transnational corporations who want their access to minerals, agriculture products and hydroelectric power to continue unabated. On our final day in Honduras, we went to the embassy and met for nearly two hours with the acting U.S. Ambassador and members of her staff to share what we had witnessed and heard, and to amplify the voices of prophetic truth from Fr. Melo and the courageous people of Honduras.
Don Christensen, Maryjane Westra, Thom Haines