Ivan's Place
In honor of the greatest moralist who never lived
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Becker

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The International March for Peace in Central America
December 10, 1985 — January 24, 1986


Return to Introduction and La Marcha Table of Contents.

Prior to our arrival at the Honduran border on Saturday, December 28th, Katharina Davies and Daniel Mooore were in Honduras trying to negotiate our entry. My rough notes show that Katharina reported the details of their efforts on January 3rd. (As I recall it, Katharina was a physics graduate student who spoke fluent Spanish.)

They tried to contact the Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs, but he said that he would have no more to do with the march. Nor would the U.S. State Department talk with them. Finally they received a written message that the march would not enter Honduras.

They met with the Honduran support group, which arranged for 7 buses to take 200 people to welcome us at the border on the 28th. On the way, the buses were stopped by the Honduran army, everyone was interrogated and their names and I.D.'s were recorded. Finally, two kilometers from the border they were prohibited from going further. That evening most of the Hondurans returned to Tegucigalpa. On the chance that we might be allowed into Honduras after all, the buses stayed until Tuesday, the 31st.

The Honduran newspapers had good coverage of the march, and some of the press was in favor of allowing us in. The Honduran committee asked for a smaller delegation to come, and several of us arranged to "sneak" in by air on Thursday, January 2nd. The Honduran committee prepared informative programs on the situation in Honduras, and Peter Holding, who was there, relates that they had a number of good meetings.

Peter supplied the photos and the information I present below.

In the front row, from left to right are marchista Luc Van Ootgem, Juan Almendarez, and Peter Holding.

Luc was from Belgium, and was also a member of a Belgian-Honduran solidarity organization.

As the convenor of the Honduran Co-ordinating Committee of Popular Organizations, a broad committee of unions, human rights, women's, and religious groups, Juan organized the Honduran march committee.

Juan was also an ex-rector of the University of Honduras and was then the president of an organisation of Central Amercian scientists. He was also on a military "hit list" at the time of the march.

Second from right in the back row is Hector Hernandez, President of the Honduran Federation of Workers (FUTH), one of Honduras's major union organisations at the time. The two unidentified men back left are probably also Honduran unionists. The tall man in the back row is a union official from Denmark, Ole Christensen.

Peter recalls that a member of the Danish Parliament, Eric Smith met with the marchers in Honduras. After the march was over, Peter stayed on in the region for another year, working with the local support groups trying to get the International Network for Peace off the ground. The results were disappointing, but they did succeed in sending a delegation from Panama and Honduras to Europe.

Here Javier Romero, the Commissiones Obreros from Spain, replaces Juan Almedares in the front row. Javier may have been a workplace delegate for a union in a car factory.

If so, his expenses may well have been at least partially underwritten by his union, as was the case for Danish photojournalist Sonja Iskov, and may have been the case for Ole Christiansen.

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