Slain Honduran Teacher’s Sister Writes to Nancy Pelosi: Stop Supporting Porfirio Lobo’s Regime in Honduras!


Zenaida Velasquez is a sister of Ilse Velasquez, a Honduran teacher recently killed by the military-backed regime in Honduras.

Dear Representative Nancy Pelosi:

Right now I am in Honduras, my country of birth. I came here due to an emergency — bad news. . . My youngest sister, Ilse Ivania Velasquez Rodriguez, a dedicated teacher, with a major in ‘Special Education’, who worked for more than 30 years educating hundreds of children, perhaps even thousands of children and adults, was assassinated by the police forces under the regime of Porfirio Lobo Sosa, an illegitimate administration supported by the U.S. Administration under President Obama, and especially by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton has provided support to this criminal regime by sending lobbyists such as Lanny Davis, Otto Reich, and other criminals like them, in the Obama Administration.

My sister was assassinated by the repression that continues happening in Honduras since the Coup d’Etat that happened on June 28, 2009, against the democratically elected President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

The teachers were the first group to oppose the coup in Honduras, and because of this, this horribly repressive regime, supported by the U.S. government, has taken revenge against the Teachers’ Union, and against their conquests of many years, known as the ‘Teachers’ Statute’ [Estatuto del Docente], sort of their Union’s contract.

My sister wanted to retire this year, but when she started the process, she was told that she needed to be on a waiting list as well as more than two thousand other teachers, because there was no money in their National Institute of Teachers’ Retirement Fund. This Fund has been ransacked by the previous and current illegal regimes presided by Roberto Micheletti and now by Porfirio Lobo, who has been militarizing the INPREMA (Acronym in Spanish for the Teachers’ Retirement Fund).

The teachers peacefully demonstrated in front of INPREMA to protest its militarization. There was a siren that went off indicating that the demonstration would be repressed; the teachers lifted their arms to indicate that their demonstration was pacific. The repressive police force and a specialized battalion known as COBRAS ignored the message of peace shown by the teachers and started shooting tear-gas bombs ‘made in USA’ and firing water laced with chemicals from huge tanks and very potent hoses at the demonstrators.

The police shoot the tear-gas bombs with projectiles, and they do it directly at the people’s bodies, or up in the air, which has the same effect, because everything that goes up has to come down. The tear-gas bombs have a warning message indicating they should not be fired directly at people’s bodies.

My sister tried to escape from the area when a tear-gas bomb hit her in the head; she fell unconscious on the ground. A car belonging to a local media company was also trying to escape from the area in which it was difficult to see anything because it was fogged by the gases. This car ran over my sister’s body, on the right side of her body, when she was lying unconscious on the ground, and contributed to my sister’s death, but the original cause of her death was the repression.

The illegal regime of Porfirio Lobo, as well as the Human Rights Representative at the American Embassy, Jeremy D. Spector, has started a campaign of misinformation stating that the death of my sister was due simply to a car accident.

As a U.S. citizen residing in the Bay Area in California, I want to ask you, Representative Nancy Pelosi, to do whatever you can to stop the support of Porfirio Lobo’s regime in Honduras, and to stop the repression, assassination, incarceration, illegal detentions, torture, and killings of the Honduran people.

The teachers are fighting for their legitimate rights! Please do not send more economic and military aid to the illegal regime of Porfirio Lobo who is only continuing a coup d’etat regime.

Thank you very much for your contribution to stop the killings of many innocent people in Honduras.

Respectfully yours,

Zenaida Velasquez
San Jose, California Resident

This letter was circulated by Rights Action on 17 April 2011. See, also, Karen Spring and Annie Bird, “Honduras: Protesters Challenge IDB-funded Privatization of Education, despite Massive Violent Repression” (MRZine, 12 March 2011).