Medios del Pueblo: Desde las Raices

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Saying Goodbye to Honduras

It was time to leave Honduras after seven months of work in the country. One of our motivating factors for spending most of the past year in Honduras was the fact that a presidential election was slated for November 2013. Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE), a political party born out of the resistance movement to the coup in 2009, was in the lead in the polls, unprecedented in Honduras for a party giving voice to the demands of marginalized groups. The country was on the brink of electing its first woman president.

There was real hope in the international solidarity community that this could be a legitimate chance to break the stranglehold that the ten families who control 90% of the wealth in the country and both major political parties exert over the rest of Honduras. Tragically, we were wrong. Widespread fraud handed an election certified as fair and transparent by the US and European Union, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), leading figure of the most authoritarian (some might say fascist) wing of the Honduran right.

Emboldened by international recognition of his election (at least by conservative governments in the region aligned with the US and cynically by Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua), repression since Hernandez was inaugurated in January 2014 has intensified to alarming proportions. Long-time regional human rights observers liken the current wave of murders, death threats, and staged criminal trials to the environment in the 1980’s, when over 200 progressive movement leaders were disappeared and countless more forced to flee the country. During this era, the US used Honduras as its main base of operations for the training of Contras and paramilitaries in tactics aimed at destabilizing revolutionary struggles in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The scale and nature of violence and acts of intimidation directed toward human rights activists since Hernandez’s inauguration is highly disturbing and really hit home for us.

In Rio Blanco, where we conducted one of our first and one of our longest workshops, our friend Maria Dominguez, tireless in her efforts to maintain a road blockade against the imposition of a dam by multinational corporations and the Honduran oligarchy, was ambushed by a group of people wielding machetes. Her son and husband also were hospitalized, one losing an ear and requiring surgery to his skull.

Carlos Mejia Orellana, the director of marketing for Radio Progreso, the Jesuit radio station that took us in as part of the family and connected us with community radio stations all over Honduras, was murdered. He and other members of Radio Progreso had protective measures in place after receiving multiple death threats due to their fearless journalism. Authorities and the commercial media chose to highlight his homosexuality in this deeply conservative county (Did we mention that the new Congress and president are trying to ban all emergency contraceptives?) in an effort to discredit him by implying that the murder was merely a domestic spat. Over a month later, the investigation is stalled and the impunity only encourages more bloodshed.

Longshoreman union leader Victor Crespo from Puerto Cortes received death threats and fled to Portland, Oregon. His family was attacked and in January, his father was killed. Solidarity walkouts have been organized in Portland, Oregon. In Nicaragua, we met other solidarity activists who were harboring a Honduran family that was forced to flee after the election.

Bajo Aguan land recuperation movement (MUCA) member Chabelo Morales was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for murder (on top of the five that he has already served), with absolutely zero evidence linking him to the crime scene beyond his picture appearing in a newspaper article about the confrontation. Despite the presence of numerous international human rights observers and several testimonies disputing the prosecution’s account of the events, appellate judges ruled against him and have upheld his sentence.

In the past month, a series of attacks on movement activists have vindicated the warnings of resistance movement members who contend that the JOH administration is a slickly-marketed, clean-cut facade that masks brutally repressive tactics aimed at consolidating power, regardless of the human rights that are trampled upon in the process. In fact, one of Hernandez’s chilling campaign slogans was “I’m going to do what I have to do to restore peace and tranquility to this country.

On May 3, Rigoberto López Hernández, an activist belonging to a Santa Barbara environmental protection group that we met with in November, was brutally murdered. The circumstances of his murder make it undeniably clear that he was being silenced. Rigoberto was highly vocal in his opposition to the iron oxide mining of the mountain above the community. His murder remains uninvestigated.

Last week, Rafael Barahona, the LIBRE candidate for mayor of Tegucigalpa was ambushed and shot while driving. Fortunately, out of ten bullets fired, only two made it to his left arm. While it has not yet been substantiated, circumstances surrounding the shooting indicate that it was politically motivated.

One of Hernandez’s major initiatives has been the creation of the military police (PM) in Honduras to patrol the streets in an alleged effort to cut down on drug and gang violence. In practice, the military police have been involved in multiple incidents that demonstrate their role as the attack dogs of powerful interests in Honduras who hope to terrorize the resistance movement into submission. Before the election, military police conducted a drug raid on a prominent LIBRE activist’s home without any evidence to warrant the search. No contraband was found but a clear message was sent to rest of the activist community: if you speak out, there will be consequences.

Jose Guadalupe Ruelas, the director of an NGO  in Tegucigalpa that recently published a report on a spike in the murder of children in Honduras, was in a parked car near the presidential palace when two motorcycles driven by military police crashed into him. They accused him of attempting to kill members of the presidential guard, arrested him, then beat and tortured him in prison.

Most recently, LIBRE supporters mobilized at Congress  and were met by military police wielding batons and tear gas. Several Congress members were hospitalized and protesters were chased through the streets of Tegucigalpa and beaten. Other social movements in the country responded to this display of repression with a mass mobilization which ended in an encampment in the Central Park.

San Francisco de Opalaca workshop
Despite the horrifying surge of violence and terror directed at human rights defenders in Honduras over the past few months, the willingness of social movements to continue mobilizing is incredibly inspirational. Before we left the country, we were able to return to the mountains of western Honduras to conduct a last week of workshops with the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras (COPINH), with whom we had earlier collaborated.

One of these women walked 2 hours to get to and from the workshop and her daily radio show.

One of these women walked 2 hours to get to and from the workshop and her daily radio show.

On very short notice, COPINH was able to organize a workshop in San Francisco de Opalaca, and we took the next bus out for the long journey to a town in the furthest reaches of the department of Intibuca. We arrived at a beautiful region of small coffee plantations mixed with banana trees and surrounded by pine forests on all sides. We were told that white-tail deer still live in the Puca Opalaca mountain range here!

San Francisco de Opalaca is a community that successfully organized with COPINH for the right to be governed by an assembly elected through direct democracy according to indigenous Lenca traditions. Over time, political parties co-opted this process and in the most recent election, fraud by Hernandez’s National Party handed control of the municipality to the previous mayor accused of mismanaging funds and favoritism in government hiring. The mayor from LIBRE and the people of San Francisco Opalaca did not sit idly by when this occurred – instead, they occupied the mayor’s office and have continued in shifts for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the past 4 months.

Underutilized government computer center converted into community radio station.

Underutilized government computer center converted into community radio station.

In early April 2014, a community radio station (Radio Puca Opalaca) got off the ground in the occupied computer center in the center of town. A radio technician from the US brought a small transmitter, mixer, and microphone, connected the equipment to an antenna attached to a long stick, hooked up a basic cell phone as the computer and a radio was born. We were reminded of Radio Venceremos, the mobile rebel radio station during the civil war in El Salvador that used the same antenna technique (in fact, we just visited one of the fabled trees in Perquin). The radio collective has 16 members, almost all new to community media, with a large contingent of women.  Most of the participants are under 25 years old.

Our 3-day workshop was hectic and non-stop, with some participants staying until 1 am two nights in a row. There were seven teams sharing three very old computers (restored to usefulness after hours and hours of formatting and virus cleaning by the tireless, newly-appointed computer coordinator), a laptop and another computer that was lent to the radio by a local Catholic nun for use in editing and live radio programming.

The community center was booked so we took the workshop outside to practce interviewing.

The community center was booked so we took the workshop outside to practce interviewing.

Despite most participants having little to no computer experience, their level of commitment was extraordinary. The long hours didn’t faze them even though some walked two hours in order to get to the radio for their daily program.

The occupation of the mayor's office has being constant for the past 4 months.

The occupation of the mayor’s office has been constant for the past 4 months.

When it was time to debut the programs on the radio, 100 people had gathered at the occupation of the mayor’s office. A boombox was set up and tuned to the station. Each group was interviewed by members from other groups, then all would run to the occupation a block away so that they could listen to their first radio program with everyone else. A conjunto (traditional string instrument folk group) played revolutionary corridos and the LIBRE mayor provided coffee to everyone present. After all programs had been presented and the Medios del Pueblo facilitators interviewed on the air, we had an emotional sendoff from the participants, with each person sharing a heartfelt message, ending with the unity clap and a chant of “El Pueblo Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido” (“The People United, Will Never be Defeated”).

Albertina, veteran Radio Progreso local correspondent, interviews the two newest  community radio hosts.

Albertina, veteran Radio Progreso local correspondent, interviews the two newest community radio hosts.

Equipment Donation and COPINH Video Workshop
COPINH doesn’t have a camcorder despite continual harassment of both the Executive Committee and members by the Honduran government. Their diverse struggles range from opposition to illegal dams and mines on indigenous land, to preservation of Lenca culture and tradition, to land recuperations.


There was even a vintage One Laptop Per Child that we brought to San Antonio, Honduras, 6 years ago. We loaded it with conscious music and radio programs and it will replace a cell phone as a radio computer.

We formulated a plan with COPINH to donate the camcorder (and several other pieces of electronic equipment that included an audio recorder, microphones and laptop) in order to initiate a tool library for use by their network of community radio stations. Radios could “check out” the equipment until they were able to get a replacement. The equipment can be used for a variety of educational and radio programming purposes as well as serving as a way to document during emergencies (which, sadly, occur often). We knew that COPINH could get the materials to people in remote communities who truly need it, including some places where we had conducted workshops over the past nine months.

The internet cafe in La Esperanza tht saved the day with their generator and excellent mochas.

The internet cafe in La Esperanza tht saved the day with their generator and excellent mochas.

A 3-day workshop at the COPINH office was held to teach members of the community radio stations (Radio La Voz Lenca of San Francisco Lempira and Radio Guarajambala of La Esperanza) how to use the camcorder, edit video, and upload it to the internet. Participants would then be ready to pass on the skills to members of their radio stations and to people in other communities. In the video, they answered the question: How does the community radio station serve as a tool to overcome obstacles to autonomy? We defined autonomy and the participants really enjoyed finding images and video that corresponded with their recorded narratives. We collectively worked long hours (over 3 days) due to power outages but were saved by the nearby internet cafe that had a generator. Final products are below – enjoy!

Nuevo documental de TeleSur sobre la lucha de COPINH de defender los recursos naturales y los bienes comunes


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Escuelita Zapatista Reportback

The two members of Medios del Pueblo were able to attend the Escuelita Zapatista in January in Chiapas, Mexico, and finally got around to compiling our video reportback. We got to see autonomy in action in its many forms (radical education, health, agriculture, decision-making) and met some amazing and inspiring compañeros from indigenous communities and from all over the world. We hope you enjoy it!

Los dos miembros de Medios del Pueblo tenían la gran oportunidad de poder asistir a la Escuelita Zapatista en enero en Chiapas, México, y por fin hemos terminado nuestro reporte de vídeo. Vimos la autonomía en acción y puesto en practica en todas sus formas (educación, salud, agricultura y toma de decisiones colectivas) y conocimos a compañeros increíbles y inspiradores de comunidades indígenas y de todo el mundo. ¡Esperamos que lo disfruten!

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Cangrejal Tours and Radio Progreso Reportback / Reportaje sobre Cangrejal Tours y Radio Progreso

Haga clic para la version en espanol

Cangrejal Tours Workshop

the snorkel“You guys, I am so lucky. I just saw FIVE different species of fish” exclaimed snorkel-clad Adolfo Lopez as he emerged from the Cangrejal River. Adolfo Lopez was the first member of Cangrejal Tours that Kyle and I met. He was experimenting with a new potential activity for the youth tour guide cooperative – river snorkeling. After speaking to him (one of the most chatty guides) for about 10 minutes, you’ll probably know a lot more about the species endemic to the Cangrejal area, whether or not it’ll rain in the next hour and the recent toucan activity in the trees shading the soccer field.

Again, we found ourselves in the beautiful Cuenca of the Rio Cangrejal. This time we worked with a group of eight youth that graduated from Guaruma and formed a cooperative called Cangrejal Tours. The tour guide cooperative’s eight members range in age from 19-25 years old. These young men (all of the guides are men) attended photography and environmental conservation classes from before entering double-digit ages until recently when they graduated. Guaruma is an organization that offers computer, English, photography and environmental conservation after-school classes. It is a very unique organization in that is run by youth for youth, does a really incredible job of providing a space to be (hang out, use the internet, study, play basketball) and successfully facilitates students in developing a lasting environmental consciousness. The Cangrejal Tours crew is a testament to the importance of having access to a community space and an interactive, socially conscious education.

In an effort to really make the tour cooperative a viable source of income for all 8 members, they decided to create a website and asked us if we would help them out. Their motivation for creating the cooperative is multi-faceted. They want to be part of educating youth about conservation as well as being a tour alternative. They are community-based and mostly collectively run. They do not have a boss and make decisions as a group.  The oldest guide, Javier, told us that he wants to be able to stay in his community and not be part of the exodus of youth leaving their rural or semi-rural hometowns to work in the city (La Ceiba, El Progreso, San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa) or immigrate to work in other countries. He, along with the other 7 members, created this conservation-based employment option.

cangrejal chambeando

Working hard on editing video and the website in the Cangrejal Tours office

We came down on a Monday and for the next 5 days from 8 am to at least 6 pm, we were all together either huddled in the Cangrejal Tours office editing video, in the Guaruma kitchen editing the website or out on the trails shooting videos and photos for the website. They used our equipment (and some of Guaruma’s cameras) to shoot all of the video/photos, edited all of the video, wrote the text and put the website together themselves. Kyle showed them how to update the website and I helped out with editing the text and translating the site but the rest was them. Here is the site:  They are very excited about the site and have already started updating. We ended our time there with the guides at the river at 6 in the morning. They were trying out snorkel gear in the river to prep for a new tour activity that they might be offering soon…


Camilo, Guaruma coordinator, testing out the new equipment.

Before we left we were able to donate some technology to the Guaruma organization. They now have a Nook tablet with a wireless keyboard. The tablet can be used to expand their internet cafe (really affordable internet connection for the community) or use for editing photos and video. Thank you to everyone who donated to Medios del Pueblo.

Donation of Equipment to Radio Progreso’s Network of Popular, Alternative and Community Radio Stations

Before saying our final goodbyes and thank yous to Radio Progreso, a Jesuit initiative based in El Progreso, Yoro, that is the oldest progressive radio in Honduras and is highly-respected, we were able to contribute some equipment to start building a technology library. This library would be available for all of the radios in the network to check-out and use. The technology can also be used during workshops led by Radio Progreso to provide hands-on practice with the equipment. The equipment that we (and you all) donated were: one Olympus

Equipment provided by our generous donors makes its way into the very capable hands of Radio Progreso.

VN-702PC digital audio recorder, three laptop mics, one large USB mic, and one omnidirectional condenser microphone.

Thank you to everybody who donated – you allowed for many, many community radio stations to have access to equipment that supports them in voicing their reality, struggles, successes within their community and beyond (also thank you internet).


Capacitacion con Cangrejal Tours

the snorkel“Chicos, tengo mucha suerte” exclamo Adolfo Lopez al salir del Rio Cangrejal vistiendo una mascara de snorkeling.

Adolfo López fue el primer miembro de Cangrejal Tours que Kyle y yo nos conocimos. Adolfo estaba experimentando con una nueva actividad que podrian ofrecer la cooperativa de guías jóvenes – hacer snorkel en el río Cangrejal. Después de hablar con él por unos 10 minutos, usted probablemente terminaría sabiendo mucho más acerca de las especies endémicas de la zona de Cangrejal, si lloverá en la próxima hora y la actividad reciente de los tucánes en los árboles que dan sombra al campo de fútbol.

Una vez más, nos encontramos en la hermosa Cuenca del Río Cangrejal . Esta vez trabajando con un grupo de jóvenes que se graduaron de la organización Guaruma , ocho muchachos, de entre 9 a 25 anos, que formaron una cooperativa de turismo comunitario llamada Cangrejal Tours. Estos muchachos (de todos los guías son hombres ) han asistido a las clases de fotografía y conservación del medio ambiente desde antes de entrar en las edades de dos dígitos hasta recientemente cuando se graduaron . Guaruma es una organización enfocada en el desarollo de una verdaders conciencia ambiental en l@s jovenes a traves de clases de computación, Inglés , la fotografía y la conservación del medio ambiente. Estas clases se ofrecen después del horario escolar. La organización Guaruma es única ya que está dirigido por jóvenes para jóvenes , proporciona un espacio para estar (pasar el rato, usar el Internet , estudiar, jugar al baloncesto ) y con éxito facilita a los estudiantes en el desarrollo de una verdadera conciencia ambiental. Los guías de Cangrejal Tours son testimonio de lo importante que es tener acceso a un espacio comunitario y a educación interactiva enfocada en desarrollar una conciencia social.

En esfuerzo para hacer de la cooperativa una solida fuente de ingresos para todos los 8 miembros, ellos decidieron crear un sitio web y nos invitaron para enseñarles los pasos. La motivación para la creación de la cooperativa tiene múltiples facetas: formar parte de la educación de los jóvenes sobre la conservación del medioambiente, además de darse a conocer como una alternativa turística. Ellos estan localizados la comunidad y en su mayoría se dirigen de manera colectiva. Ellos no tienen un jefe y toman decisiones en grupo. El guía mayor, Javier, nos dijo que él desea permanecer en su comunidad y no ser parte del éxodo de los jóvenes que dejan sus lugares de origen rural o semi-rural para trabajar en la ciudad (La Ceiba, El Progreso, San Pedro Sula o Tegucigalpa) o emigrar para trabajar en otros países. Javier, junto con los otros 7 miembros, crearon esta opción de empleo basado en la conservación del medioambiente.

cangrejal chambeando

Trabajando y esfuerzandose en la edicion de video y del sitio web en la oficina de Cangrejal Tours

Llegamos un lunes y para los próximos 5 días desde las 8 a.m hasta, por lo menos, 18:00, estábamos tod@s junt@s, acurrucados en la oficina de Cangrejal Tours editando vídeo  , en la cocina de Guaruma editando el sitio web o en los senderos   tomando fotos para el sitio web. Utilizaron nuestro equipo (y algunas de las cámaras de Guaruma) para tomar todos los vídeos / fotos y editarlos , escribieron el texto y, realmente, construyeron el sitio web ellos mismos. Kyle les mostró la forma de actualizar la página web y Adriana les ayudo en redactar los textos y en traducir el sitio al ingles, pero el resto lo hicieron ellos. Aquí está el sitio. Ellos están muy entusiasmados con el sitio y ya han comenzado a actualizarlo. Terminamos nuestro tiempo allí con los guías en el río a las 6 de la mañana. Ellos estaban probando equipo de buceo en el río para preparar una nueva actividad. Siempre innovando en harmonia con la naturaleza y la comunidad.

Antes de salir, logramos donar algun equipo a la organización Guaruma. Donamos un tablet Nook con un teclado inalambrico. Se podrá utilizar para expandir su café de internet (ofrecen internet a la comunidad a un costo muy cómodo) o para editar audio, fotos o/y vídeos. Gracias a tod@s que donaron a Medios del Pueblo.

Donación de Equipo a la Red de Radios Populares, Alternativas y Comunitarias de Radio Progreso

Antes de despedirnos y dar nuestras profundas agradecimientos a Radio Progreso, una iniciativa Jesuita basado en El Progreso, Yoro, que es la radio progresista más vieja y respetada del pais, pudimos contribuir algún equipo que servirá como la base de una biblioteca de herramientas tecnológicas. El uso de esta biblioteca estara disponible para el uso de todas las emisoras de radio que son parte de la red. La tecnología podrá ser usada por las radios (para realizar entrevistas) o por l@s integrantes de las capacitaciones impartidas por las coordinadoras de la Red de Radios de Radio Progreso. Estas capacitaciones tocan muchos temas: desde de la locución hasta como realizar entrevistas y este equipo podrá brindar la oportunidad de tener experiencia de primer mano con el equipo y su uso. El equipo que donamos (nosotr@s y ustedes): un Olympus VN-702PC grabadora de audio digital, tres micrófonos de computadora portátil, un micrófono grande de USB, y un condensador de micrófono omnidirecional.

Muchas gracias a tod@s quienes donaron, ustedes hicieron posible que muchas, muchas emisoras comunitarias tengan acceso a equipo que les ayuda y facilita en expresarse y difundir sus luchas, logros y realidades a sus comunidades y mas allá (también le agradecemos al internet).

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Reportback on Guaruma and Cangrejal Tours workshop in Atlantida, Honduras

Rapids in the beautiful Rio Cangrejal on the north coast of Honduras.

Rapids in the beautiful Rio Cangrejal on the north coast of Honduras.

The Rio Cangrejal rushes past smooth boulders and shiny pebbles, under bridges and around corners while toucans snack in the trees that shade the soccer field. Little kids refine their aim by hitting cans with their slingshots while the mare’s club (three very pregnant mares) grazes on the overgrown grass in the small cemetery next to the field. Ceiba trees shade, wind rustles leaves and dries sweat and people head to and from on foot, in cars, on horses and in pailas (truckbeds). This is the place that the organizations Guaruma and Cangrejal Tours call home.

Guaruma is an educational organization run by hondureños in order to offer an education más alla de  (in addition to) what they get in school. They provide full and half scholarships for students in the area (communities of Las Mangas and El Pital) to attend public school and provide after-school classes on photography, English, computer skills and environmental conservation. They work with local youth, providing classes and school support (there is a library and a computer lab onsite as well as a live-in volunteer/teacher who does everything he can to make the space available for the community) until the student graduates. As a result of this kind of wrap-around support, many young people come out not just with a quality education but with a desire to support and teach the next generation.  One such group of youth created their own tourism cooperative called Cangrejal Tours. We had the opportunity to work with these two organizations for this semi-accelerated week-long workshop.

We took the surveys/interviews to the fields! Traemos las encuestas a las fincas!

We took the surveys/interviews to the fields! Traemos las encuestas a las fincas!

This round we did something that makes a ridiculous amount of sense and that we will now do in the future: teach the teachers.  We held two classes a day with the future facilitators in the morning and the younger students (age 10-17) in the afternoon. Guaruma actually drove to the neighboring community to pick up and drop off youth everyday so that they could attend the workshop. The future facilitators were a mix of recently graduated Guaruma students and members of Cangrejal Tours. We would plan out the afternoon session with the facilitators and assign responsibilities for each individual (Kyle and myself included). The facilitators ended up teaching most of the sessions while we supported and filled in gaps, if there were any. They were in charge of presenting content, classroom management, assessing understanding and pacing the lessons. It went incredibly well!

Coordinadores facilitando la capacitación. Recently trained coordinators running the workshop!

Coordinadores facilitando la capacitación. Recently trained coordinators running the workshop!

The last day was a whirlwind of last minute audio and video editing before families and curious community members came out to watch the young ones present their topics and programs. The night ended with an award ceremony where each student received a certificate and was recognized publicly. These workshops were so successful. They were successful because of a dedicated group of individuals that transported kids every day, spent ALL day at Guaruma to prepare and teach lessons, and were truly organized.

Marlon, uno de nuestros coordinadores, compartiendo su nuevo conocimiento con los jovenes de Guaruma. Marlon, one of our coordinators, sharing his new knowledge with the Guaruma students.

Marlon, uno de nuestros coordinadores, compartiendo su nuevo conocimiento con los jovenes de Guaruma. Marlon, one of our coordinators, sharing his new knowledge with the Guaruma students.


Students presenting their work and personal growth to family, friends and community members at the Noche de Medios Comunitarios (Community Media Night).

Marcos receiving his certificate of successful completion of the workshop.

Marcos receiving his certificate of successful completion of the workshop.

group shot

Coordinators and students celebrate after working hard to put on the community presentation event.

[vimeo w=500&h=375]

Mas información sobre la defensa del Rio Cangrejal contra la represa hidroelectrica
Socialización de los efectos del proyecto hidroelectrico en la cuenca del Rio Cangrejal, La Ceiba, Atlantida Publicado en No al Saqueo

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El periodista comercial y los medios libres

Reposted from Proyecto AmbulanteFrom a great zine we picked up from Veredas Autonomas at the Escuelita Zapatista:

El periodista comercial busca primicias, las de los medios libres buscan que la información sea compartida oportunamente por la mayor cantidad de medios libres de tal forma que llegue a la mayor cantidad de gente posible.

El periodista comercial se dá de codazos con otros durante las entrevistas, se sabe técnicas para pisar, desplazar y sacar el aire, los de los medios libres colaboran, incluso cuando no se conocen, y se saben técnicas de coordinación, colaboración, consenso y de cómo sumar a otros y otras que quieren sacar la información, para empezar los de las nuevas generaciones.

El periodista comercial considera que debe ser tratado con privilegios, la mediolibrista considera que es un privilegio compartir con otros y otras que luchan, que más gente debe poder sumarse a la lucha y que la comunicación debe dirigirse ante todo a los no convencidos.

El periodista comercial busca premios y distinciones, el mediolibrista sabe que el premio es colectivo, y es poder ver en ésta organización, en aquella mirada, en esas palabras y en aquella comunidad que el mundo nuevo ya está, y que por ese mundo nuevo vale la pena luchar.

El periodista comercial circula la versión de quien paga los contratos publicitarios de su medio, la mediolibrista difunde la versión de quienes son agredidos por quien paga el contrato publicitario de los medios comerciales y que ya se decidieron a resistir y a construir otro mundo.

El periodista comercial difunde información por un pago, el mediolibrista difunde la información por convicción, por que considera que es un deber dar los pasos para que el mundo cambie.

El periodista comercial hace trampas para obtener las respuestas que quiere, la mediolibrista es una facilitadora de que se difunda la versión de la gente.

El periodista comercial se disfraza de corbata y traje, el mediolibrista es un chavo banda, una campesina, un indígena, una punk, y los hay darketas y emos.

El periodista comercial se forma en las universidades, la mediolibrista se forma en los procesos de lucha, en los colectivos y las organizaciones populares, y cuando bien le va en los talleres de medios libres y en las escuelitas de comunicación popular, que ya por ahí andan.

El periodista comercial cree en el copyright, los mediolibristas en el cópialo y rólalo, en el corre-la-voz y en el copyplis.

El periodista comercial jamás comparte un contacto o una fuente, las mediolibristas se comparten toda la agenda.

El periodista comercial no comparte su material, los mediolibristas se comparten hasta los crudos y sus archivos históricos completos.

El periodista comercial jamás cuenta cómo resolvió técnicamente tal trabajo, las mediolibristas no sólo se lo cuentan, sino que dan talleres (gratuitos), incluso cuando no se los piden, pero sobre todo cuando la gente organizada se los pide, pensando que toda la gente debe poder tomar los medios de comunicación y tomar la palabra, no sólo algunos cuantos privilegiados egresados de las universidades que expropian las voces de las colectividades.

El periodista comercial no siente empatía con la gente que entrevista, los mediolibristas sienten solidaridad, ánimo de lucha y ansias de justicia y se les vá la vida en ello: construyendo desde su campo de acción la solidaridad, la lucha y la justicia.

El periodista comercial llega comúnmente a cubrir una lucha cuando ya hay heridos, detenidos, muertos y desaparecidos, reportando para la nota roja. Las de los medios libres por el contrario estuvieron desde el principio, cuando apenas se gestaba esta o aquella lucha ó resistencia, y se quedan hasta que todos y todas quedan libres, aparecen, salen de los hospitales y aún mientras se sigue demandando justicia por los muertos, y no reportan la nota roja de izquierda, sino sobre los avances y retrocesos de la construcción del mundo nuevo. Las de los medios libres de por sí no son algo aparte o afuera de las luchas, nacen desde adentro de las luchas y forman parte de los procesos de lucha.

El periodista comercial se escandaliza cuando la gente bloquea una calle, se toma una plaza o una oficina de gobierno, cuando la gente “afectando a terceros”, se opone al despojo de sus tierras ó casas, a tal megaproyecto o a la denegación de derechos, los mediolibristas celebran el bloqueo, la toma de la plaza o la oficina y saben que los de arriba ya no lo van a tener tan fácil ni llegarán muy lejos.

Cuando hay una verbena popular convocada por la gente de lucha, con baile y música, el periodista comercial se queda en la redacción, en su casa viendo el fut, o se vá de colado a la fiesta de un político, las de los medios libres no sólo van a la verbena, sino que bailan hasta que se acaba, a veces hasta ayudan a recoger el equipo, para luego irse y subir la nota.

El periodista comercial cree que los monstruos de las corporaciones con sus gigantescos rascacielos y sus trailers llenos de equipos no pueden ser derrotados, los de los medios libres de a tiro por viaje derrotan los cercos informativos que gobiernos y corporaciones les ponen enfrente. Las de los medios libres pasan con su grabadora vieja junto a un gigantesco trailer de la televisora del momento y se ríen, sabiendo que con esa grabadora vieja y con mucha comunicación de base será derrotado el cerco informativo erigido por esa televisora. Y saben que la tarea es construir medios libres autogestionarios de abajo: radios libres y comunitarias, teles comunitarias, periódicos y revistas independientes, páginas web, periódicos murales, mantas y murales, radiobocinas, marchas informativas, asambleas informativas, teatro popular, gráfica de lucha, volantes y folletos, etc.

El periodista comercial escribe con aburrimiento mientras intenta que se acabe la jornada burocrática de hoy, las de los medios libres escriben con pasión, ríen, se enojan, conversan accidentadamente, incluyen algunas líneas poéticas en medio de una redacción muy creativa, para rematar llamando a la acción. El trabajo de los medios libres no cesa, es diario.

Las de los medios libres sueñan con el mundo nuevo cuyas raíces, tallos y ramas ya se van viendo por la lucha de muchas generaciones anteriores y de las generaciones presentes, el periodista comercial sueña una pesadilla donde despierta y el mundo viejo no está más.

Nota al pié: No dejamos de notar que hay periodistas comerciales, que trabajando adentro de las corporaciones de la comunicación se les despertó la consciencia, y van colando la información de la construcción de otra cosa: de la solidaridad, la lucha y la justicia, que luego no duran mucho ahí y los corren, pero el texto era para referirse en general a la diferencia entre el periodista comercial y las y los de los medios libres, no para las excepciones, les saludamos ahí donde estén ellos y ellas a quienes se les despertó la consciencia, luchando cada día a contracorriente de la formación que les dio ésta o aquella universidad.

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Reportback on workshops with community radios in Trujillo, Colon, Honduras


Decapitated Christopher Columbus welcomes visitors to Trujillo.

We arrived in Trujillo, Colon, Honduras at night in the pouring rain. A taxi climbed up a a small river that was previously a road and dropped us off at a house at the top of a little cobblestone hill. Thanks to a very generous person who lent us her apartment for the duration of the workshop (thanks Wendy!), we were able to stay for 3 weeks…and 3 weeks was not enough. There is a lot to say about Trujillo, both positive and negative, but the larger conclusion to which every problem and triumph was related was: migration.  Yes, it is logical to conclude that a community whose members migrate in order to make a living for themselves and their families and who tend to be young (17-30 range) will be more unstable than one that does not. Seeing this reality is a little different, though, than just knowing it to be true. In the face of constant migration and the challenges that it brings for sustainable organizing efforts, the Garifuna community radio station Radio Waruguma is working to find solutions. Hopefully, our workshop was a positive part of that process.

We were there for a while, so we had a bit of time to explore…

Exploration #1: Trujillo Prison

As we were wandering around the cute, colonial town center, we started to hear drums and followed the sound. After making several inquiries with people on the street, the music turned out to be coming from the prison. We asked the guards if we could go in and they let us (at this point, we thought we were special, but we learned about 2 minutes later that it was visiting day and anybody could enter).  On entering through the gate with a guy who was not a guard (to this day, his official role remains unclear), we saw what we had only previously heard about…a little city. The photo below is of the common cooking/living area. There are multiple camping stoves and sacks of veggies along with pool tables and a pulperia (little store) where inmates can buy little snacks. The prison was PACKED. We made it past this common area to the drumming. The weekends are the only days that people are allowed to dance and sing and drum, so it was happening all day. An inmate decided to give us a tour…and we followed him. He took us to the shared sleeping quarters and back to the common area to explain that the little orange box in the corner of the photo below is actually a private room that can be rented out.  There is more to the story, but if you want more details, you’ll have to contact us!

Common area at the town prison.

Common area at the town prison.

Exploration #2: Indio Barbaro

Starting December 1st and lasting throughout the holiday season, the exciting and anxiety-inducing game of Indio Barbaro is a constant presence in the Garifuna neighborhoods of Trujillo. We were coming back from the beach looking for food when we saw a herd of children running and screaming. What was happening? Indio Barbaro had begun. This game is one where anyone on the street is playing (whether they want to or not). Young men put masks on (some are traditional and some are like the Scream mask below), skirts (some grass some not) and cover themselves in a black, oily substance. They have an entourage of little boys pointing out which people to approach and one carries a little, plastic jug full of the black oil so that the Indio Barbaro can freshen up his paint. You give him money or he smears you with paint. They announce their presence with whistles. Toward the middle of December, one of us started getting clammy hands when the whistle blew…It’s especially entertaining to watch older people publicly sass the Indio Barbaro and entourage for including them in the game.

This "indio barbaro" wanted 5 lempiras (25 US cents) or he was going to smear us with the black oil he was covered in.

This “indio barbaro” wanted 5 lempiras (25 US cents) or he was going to smear us with the black oil he was covered in.

Guadalupe Carney

Guadalupe Carney is a land recuperation that lies near the highway about 25 minutes from the outskirts of Trujillo, in the Aguan valley. A former military base that was used by the CIA to train Contra paramilitaries who attempted to destabilize the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, it is now home to campesino families from all over Honduras whose land was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The campesino movements fought to gain the legal land titles from the Honduran government and today the agricultural land is organized into cooperatives. Recently, though, the land recuperation has been under siege by the Honduran oligarchy (principally Miguel Facusse), backed by private security groups and US-trained Honduran police and military, who seek to expand highly-profitable African palm plantations (the dates are pressed and the oil is used for biofuel and to make margarine among other products).

Guadalupe Carney is probably the only city in Honduras that has three community radio stations. We worked primarily with Radio Lider while a couple of the youth members from Radio Orquidea also participated in the 2-day workshop. Programs include a short dramatization of the community issue and an interview with a local “expert” (see below).

Media maker from the education group interviewed on Radio Lider in Guadalupe Carney.

Media maker from the education group interviewed on Radio Lider in Guadalupe Carney.

Overcoming many obstacles, the Radio Waruguma group in Trujillo group produced 4 different radio programs (see below) and one group was able to debut their program on another local radio station Estereo Islas. The man with the headphones is Marvin Bobadilla, a radio, TV and print journalist that invited the participants to present on his daily radio news program. The man with the closely-cropped hair is the director of Radio Waruguma and the young woman with the mic joined the workshop during the last week. She came when she was sick, made coffee for everyone twice, put men in their place when they weren’t working AND always arrived on time or early. Thank you Fany (our hero). They were interviewed on the air and filmed for a TV spot that aired later in the day.

Participants presented programs during the news hour of Marvin Bombadilla on Estero Islas in Trujillo.

Participants presented programs during the news hour of Marvin Bobadilla on Estero Islas in Trujillo.

Programs created by participants from Radio Lider and Radio Orquidea in Guadalupe Carney, Aguan

Radio Waruguma programs

More information on the fight to defend land rights in Trujillo, Honduras and the Bajo Aguan
Snowbirds Gone Wild! Canadian retirees and locals clash in Honduras by Dawn Paley,
Honduras’ Banana Coast: Ripe for Development? by Kaelyn Forde, The Real News Network
North Coast Housing Developments and Cruise Ship Tourism: Safe for Foreigners? by Wendy Griffin, Honduras Weekly
Honduras: Mega-Tourism and Garifuna Communities Collide by Jack Eidt, Wilder Utopia
Tierra Fertil (the documentary formerly-known as Resistencia), trailer for Jesse Freeston’s upcoming film
Human Rights Violations Attributed to Military Forces in the Bajo Aguan Valley in Honduras by Rights Action

Mas información
Comunidad Garifuna de Trujillo Demanda al Rey Porno Canadiense por Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH)
El Banana Coast y la expulsión de los garífunas de la bahía de Trujillo video hecho por OFRANEH

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Manifestación de la UNAH para exigir el reconteo de votos, 26 de noviembre, 2013

DSCN1044English below
El aire en la Universidad Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH) estuvo acre con gas lacrimógena hoy después de un enfrentamiento entre estudiantes universitarios y antimotines. Estudiantes se juntaron hoy en el campus de Tegucigalpa alrededor de las 12 p.m para exigir un reconteo de votos para las elecciones que se llevaron a cabo este domingo, 25 de noviembre. La manifestación se convirtió en una situación violenta cuando los antimotines y su vehículo (equipada con una manguera de alta poder y aparatos para lanzar latas de gas lacrimógeno) comenzaron a lanzar gas hacia la multitud. El vehículo avanzaba hacia los manifestantes para lanzarles un torrente fuerte de agua y luego se retiraba varias veces. L@s manifestantes se defendieron en la única manera en que podían: tirar piedras y pedazos de cemento hacia los antimotines. Hubo un momento en donde los manifestantes lograron hacer que los antimotines se retiraran momentáneamente. La policía detuvo 12 personas y hasta este momento no se sabe a donde l@s llevaron. Fueron heridos 26 personas y dos fueron hospitalizados.

Los alegados resultados de la elección nombran a Juan Orlando Hernandez, candidato presidencial para el Partido Nacional, como presidente de la República de Honduras. Mientras que Daniel Ortega de Nicaragua y Laura Chincilla Miranda de Costa Rica felicitan públicamente a Juan Orlando Hernandez por ganarse la presidencia, muchos Hondurenos en el pais estan dudando seriamente la validez del proceso electoral y rechazando a los resultados. Delegaciones de observadores internacionales de las elecciones (6 específicamente) también han expresado preocupación intensa tanto para la validez de los resultados como para la seguridad de individuos y organizaciones que estan denunciando el fraude en el proceso electoral.
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Más información
Unos cinco detenidos durante represión contra protestas estudiantiles en Honduras TeleSur
#Tegucigalpa: Estudiantes protestan contra fraude electoral Revolución 3.0

The air around the Universidad Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), Tegucigalpa is acrid with tear gas after a confrontation today between university students and riot police. Students gathered at the entrance to the campus around 12 pm to demand a recount of the votes cast in the presidential election that took place this past Sunday, November 24. The protest turned violent when riot police and their vehicle (complete with tear gas launchers and power hoses) began to fire at the crowd. The vehicle sporadically charged in the direction of the protest and retreated several times. Each advance also yielded a spray from power hoses and, in between advances, would fire 3-4 canisters of tear gas at a time. Protestors began defending themselves by throwing rocks and chunks of concrete in the direction of the riot police. At one point, the protesters successfully drove back the force of approximately 25 riot police for a short period of time. 26 students were injured in the protest, two hospitalized and 12 were detained by police. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

The Supreme Electional Tribunal named Juan Orlando Hernandez, presidential candidate from the the National Party (Partido Nacional), as president-elect of the Republic of Honduras before most of the votes had been counted. While the presidents of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Daniel Ortega and Laura Chincilla Miranda respectively, have already publicly extended their congratulations to Juan Orlando Hernandez for winning the presidency, many within Honduras are seriously questioning the legitimacy of the electoral process and are rejecting the results. Hondurans as well as delegations of international election observers have also expressed their extreme concern about both the validity of the election as well as the safety of individuals and organizations speaking out against the election fraud.

More information
Violent Repression in Post-Election Honduras Rebel Reporting