Ousted Honduran president's supporters losing steam

The Miami HeraldOctober 18, 2009 

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Wendy Elizabeth Avila died from complications of asthma after being doused with tear gas at a rally supporting ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Her husband, Edwin Espinal, said during her wake that maybe her death would help mobilize the masses that had so far failed to bring their elected leader back to office.

"To the streets!" university activist Guillermo Amador roared, demanding payback. A few dozen mourners shuffled past, but none answered Amador's rally cry.

More than three months after Zelaya was toppled in a military-backed coup, his supporters have yet to mobilize in the kind of numbers required to force change. As teachers, taxi drivers, union members and peasants hold frequent rallies and caravans around the capital, de facto President Roberto Micheletti has succeeded in quashing their movement and staying in power. He has said that he plans to leave office after the Nov. 29 presidential elections.

"The Resistance" -- as Zelaya supporters are called -- acknowledge that they never managed to paralyze the nation, despite claims that most workers are on their side. Its leaders say the months that dragged underscore a new urgency for their mission and say Zelaya followers are poised to start fighting dirty, including calling for a general strike or taking up arms.

"This is a peaceful struggle, which forces us to wonder: How many people have to die for there to be international reaction?" Amador said during the wake. "That's the point we are at. If they are not afraid of us unarmed, then do we have to be armed? The bloodshed cannot be all ours."

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com

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