Interview with Juan Barahona, Sub Coordinator of the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP in Spanish) and the Political Party Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE), and current Coordinator of the People Refoundation Force (FRP in Spanish) an internal faction in the new LIBRE Party:
"What has been done to this date has been funded by the poorest of this country that are the Party activists of LIBRE"
"People Refoundation Force (FRP) is the internal faction that brings together all the force of the Resistance that has been against the coup from the beginning"
By: Gerardo Torres Zelaya
Juan Alberto Barahona is one of the most recognized social activists in Honduras.
He is known as the head of the Popular Resistance in the streets and in his hands has been the responsibility of leading the process of structuring the most outstanding political phenomenon in Honduran history.
Along with Manuel Zelaya Rosales, he has coordinated the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) and the newly created Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE Party) that presents the compañera Xiomara Castro as the strongest candidate in Honduras to assume the presidency in the upcoming elections of November 2013.
This interview is for the international community that remains interested in the struggle of the Honduran people and seeks to learn more about the progress that has followed the resistance process that shocked the world almost three years ago and still doesn`t give up.
JUAN BARAHONA: My political struggle is recent; my social struggle began in 1975 as part of the student movement at the Central Institute Vicente Caceres. Then I activate with the campesino (peasant) movement as a social promoter and then I became part of the working class and the labor movement as part of the Workers Union of the National Agrarian Institute (SITRAINA) in which I still participate.
A decade of strong growth in the social struggle
JUAN BARAHONA: In 2000 I became the coordinator of the Bloque Popular and in 2001 I become president of the Unitary Federation of Workers of Honduras (FUTH). With the coup I had the responsibility of leading the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP), which subsequently assumed the coordination former President Zelaya and I remain as Sub Coordinator.
The LIBRE Party was organized as the political arm of the Resistance, which is the Party that allows us to come to Public Power through elections.
The Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE Party)
JUAN BARAHONA (JB): When we first spoke on October 7, 2010 with former President Zelaya and the national coordination of the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) in Managua, Nicaragua we started to talk about organizing the political arm of the resistance and It was there that he built the whole idea of the Party.
Former President Manuel Zelaya returned from exile on May 28 of 2011 and in June 26 of that same year at a National Assembly we decided to build the political instrument of the resistance that at that time was called the Broad Front of People’s Resistance, and then was renamed as Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE Party).
Since then I started in Party politics, because a strong interest to try to warranty the victory of political power through elections.
Now I’m in in this process, organizing the LIBRE Party as its Sub Coordinator. We are confident that this effort has the support the Honduran people, who continue to rely on the Resistance to achieve electoral victory in November 2013.
As a labor leader and social activist for many years, you know very well the problems experienced by the people of Honduras, when the resistance proclaims itself as anti-imperialist and anti-oligarch how are this values expressed?
JB: We know well all the power of the empire and its interference in the internal affairs on all third world countries, we assume a position from the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) and the LIBRE Party against the intervention from other countries, because it is a violating of the independence and self-determination of our countries.
We are anti oligarchs because the oligarchy in our country decides for them what will be of the Honduran people and the society itself. The oligarchs are those who gave and financed the coup, executed through its armed wing that is the Honduran Armed Forces.
So we declare ourselves anti-imperialist and anti Oligarchs as an expression of our true independence, which is that the people for themselves be able to decide their own destiny, their own future.
Some people wonder if there is still the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) and what role does it play?
JB: The Agreement signed in Cartagena by the Government of Colombia, Venezuela, former President Manuel Zelaya and Pepe Lobo to allow the return from exile of Zelaya back to Honduras, said in one of the commitments that the Government of Honduras had to recognize the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) as a political party.
We did not agree that the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) became a Political Party became, instead we decided to organize the political arm of the resistance to keep the FNRP as a massive and popular structure that has the responsibility of developing the social agenda of this country.
So we keep up the FNRP as the structure of social struggle of the masses and the LIBRE Party as a tool to seek power through the ballot box.
The National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) exists and will persist in this country giving the fight for the Honduran people.
You are currently the coordinator of an internal faction in the LIBRE Party called Refoundation Popular Force (FRP), what does this mean?
JB: When we as National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) decided to participate in elections within the LIBRE Party we saw that within the party were other internal factions and we decided that the FNRP we would participate with our own faction called Refoundation Popular Force (FRP).
Popular Refoundation Force (FRP) is the current that brings together all the force of the Resistance that was against the coup from the beginning, all this social force that has struggled in previous years for the social, political and economic changes in this country are now in FRP.
Revolutionary political forces are also in FRP Honduras and all the Social Movement is in FRP.
Popular Refoundation Force (FRP) is declared as anti imperialist, which is one of the current flag, is the struggle of the popular sectors. From here we want to win the first primary elections that are in November 2012 and from there strengthening the candidates of FRP for the general election to ensure the economic, political, social and cultural rights in Honduras.
FRP is the genuine expression of the struggles of Honduran people, and is the genuine expression of all those martyrs who are no longer with us but who gave their lives to see changes in our country.
We are the representation of the National Front of People’s Resistance (FNRP) inside the LIBRE Party; we are the strongest faction inside the Party.
There are other four internal factions inside the LIBRE Party, and recently FRP released a document to keep the spirit of camaraderie between the factions. How the existence of different factions does strengthen the fight against the oligarchy?
JB: LIBRE Party is a composed of different social, economic and political sectors of Honduran society.
There is a political and ideological diversity in the Party that is reflected in different factions. To avoid cracks or splits in the Party in this internal process we have proposed to the other different factions to sign a political pact of nonaggression, non-disqualification, of mutual respect that each stream to do its job without disqualifying others.
This will allow us to maintain unity within the party and face the general election in November 2013 together, because on that date we are on the seizure of power and that will only be achieve if we faced with the parties of the oligarchy as a real unit and organization.
How does the Refoundation of Honduras is explained in concrete terms?
JB: We guarantee and promise as a faction to the Honduran people the refoundation of the State of Honduras through the economic, political, cultural and social changes required in our society.
We started this refoundation with the creation of the National Constituent Assembly to be one of the first decisions made in the LIBRE Party government, and also if we win the election we guarantee to rule this country outside the neoliberal model.
Honduras will rule with another economic model that allows giving value to human beings and not as in the current model is that the value of the currency and not of the people.
We intend to generate all this change starting with the Constituent Assembly and the change of the economic model applied in this country for the interests of the majority if not only for the benefit of the oligarchs and the American empire.
Xiomara Castro de Zelaya has been announced as the presidential candidate by consensus of all the five factions, what could you say about her and why is she the actual leader of this new process of the Resistance?
JB: We have reached a consensus that the five factions will have as presidential candidate Xiomara Castro's who the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya.
From the first day of the coup she joined the streets with the Resistance, she could have gone into exile with former President Zelaya, she may have been taking refuge in an embassy but she did not do so, however, she joined the Resistance and this earned her a great respect and leadership in the Honduran people.
Today she is the most correct person to attract the votes of the different sectors, political and social sectors and win the Presidency of the Republic. This is why all the factions are happy to have as candidate to win: Xiomara Castro.
This means that primary elections will disputed the Municipal Corporations, Congressmen and Party officials, but not for the presidency of the Republic because this already have been decided by consensus.
You have led the resistance from the streets and worked in national structuring of the FNRP and LIBRE Party, now what role will Juan Barahona play in this process to the internal elections and what plans do you have for after 2013?
JB: As the Sub Coordinator of the LIBRE Party and now coordinating the internal faction FRP, my role has been to organize the social sectors in the FNRP first, then in the Party and now organizing the FRP across the country.
That's what we're doing: organizing, informing, and giving guidance and political education to the base to guide this process, so that the base knows that we are fighting for a party that will take us to bring change for the people.
People have understood, and this is one of the positives things of the coup, that the people understood what should be the future of this country and how to achieve that future.
My position within the FNRP and the LIBRE Party is pushing this process of social and political struggle for the people to take power and make possible the changes this country needs.
Some people wonder what will happen with the Resistance in the electoral process, where at this time Xiomara Castro is leading some surveys and outlines strong candidates for municipal councils and congress across the country, but the question is what will happen if the oligarchy doesn`t allow the Honduran people succeed at the polls?
JB: We are fighting to take power, we are the majority in the country, surveys are placing us in the first place with Mrs. Xiomara Castro as our leader, the oligarchs in power cling to keep their position of power but we will win with the most democratic way, through elections.
If they are opposed to hand over power after we've won, they may make a coup, they can kill party leaders or candidates elected for LIBRE, but it will be very difficult because the people are organized nationally organized in municipalities, departments, towns, villages, neighborhoods.
We have a strong structure that shall go to the streets to fight and defend its victory, to defend the future of this country, we will defend that triumph to the end, no matter what, we will not deliver a victory that we have reached freely because of a violent position of the oligarchs.
The international solidarity wonders how they can help and join in this struggle of the people of Honduras.
JB: The first thing to do outside Honduras is to denounce the political persecution, political repression, political assassinations that we are living in Honduras, especially in those places where what happens is not known.
They can work by letting others know what we live in Honduras, but also one of the ways they can help and identify with this process is through economic means because this is a movement of people with no funds to do the job, we lack the financial resources and is a way in which they can support this process that belongs to the people and is not being funded by business men, or oligarchs or anyone.
What has been done to this date has been funded by the poorest of this country that are party activist of LIBRE.
Any other thing you would like to add?
JB: First of all thanks to all those people in other countries that have been in solidarity with the struggle of the Honduran people from the first day of the coup, this movement got where it is today because of this solidarity in different expressions for the people, that we appreciate, what we need and we will continue thanking.