Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the ousted president of Honduras, has thanked teachers across the world for their support, during his meeting with the EI Regional Committee for Latin America in the Dominican Republic.
Having been forced from his elected position and homeland by an illegal coup d’état in June 2009, Rosales told leaders of Latin American education unions who had assembled in Santo Domingo, where he lives in exile, that: “The neo-liberal model that perhaps may work in highly developed economies is not at all a suitable model for many low income countries, such as Honduras, which have not even succeeded to meet the most basic social needs, such as education and healthcare. I have refused to abide by the 'Washington consensus' or accept the harsh conditions the international financial institutions were trying to impose on us."
The exiled President also addressed the accusation that his opponents frequently make, that he did not respect the Honduran Constitution. He reiterated his position that this claim held no ground because it was his opponents who violated the Constitution when he was illegally removed from his elected position.
EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said that he strongly condemned the coup d’état last year, and would help to strengthen member organisations in Honduras, which have been mobilised the teaching profession to support the reinstatement of democratic rule in their country.
Since the ousting of Zelaya, repressive measures have been taken against the teachers’ organisations, while serious violations of human rights have been reported, including the killing of eight teachers.
EI’s Regional Committee adopted a statement in support of the struggle for democracy in Honduras, and reaffirmed support for the Honduras resolution adopted by the Latin American Regional Conference in Sao Paulo during September 2009.