Mission District residents and supporters of exiled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya protested Wednesday at the 24th BART station and called for Zelaya’s return.
Unlike similar protests of the 1970s that established the Mission District as a nexus of Central American solidarity groups in opposition to U.S. foreign policy, this time around, the protesters were in the mainstream. President Barack Obama, the United Nations and The Organization of American States have called for Zelaya’s return.
Those at today’s Mission District protest included Alejandro Murgía, who in his memoir The Medicine of Memory, recalls the neighborhood’s early solidarity with the leftist movements in Central America.
The first demonstrations in the 1970s were against the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua. “There were maybe 30 of us at that march,” he writes. “We carried these beautiful back and red posters of Sandino silk-screened by La Raza Silk Screen Center, and we waved them at passing traffic and stood outside EL Tico-Nica bar exchanging insults with Somoza sympathizers.”
As of 2000 Central Americans make up 53 percent of the Mission District’s Latino Population and Hondurans account for 3 percent of that total according to the Census.
Although absent from the demonstration Mission District Board of Supervisor David Campos authored a city resolution denouncing the coup. The resolution will be voted on next Tuesday and would encourage the U.S government to push for the restoration of democratic rule in Honduras. It has already gained support from the following Supervisor; Avalos, Daly, Mar, Maxwell, and Mikarimi.
Video By AMANDA MARTINEZ, Photos By RIGOBERTO HERNANDEZ
The OAS has threatened to expel Honduras from the OAS if the military refuses to let Zelaya return to finish out his four- year term that ends in January. If suspended from the OAS, Honduras loses access to millions of dollars in foreign aid.
The exiled president, who made much of his admiration for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, had further alienated the military and the conservative business class with a plan for a referendum to permit him to run for a second term.
That vote was scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 28. Instead troops converged on the presidential palace, woke Zelaya, and flew him, still in his pajamas to Costa Rica.