13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance (Book Review)

13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance  by Honduran feminist writer Melissa Cardoza follows the stories of 13 women in the resistance following the 2009 coup. The book, originally written in Spanish, is translated to English by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle. If you are able, read the book in the original Spanish, though the translation is very good.

The book is dedicated to Berta Caceres, the leader of the Honduran intersectional indigenous, feminist, environmentalist organization COPINH who was assassinated last Spring for her activism.

Cardoza writes that Caceres “hated all oppressive powers and always denounced the U.S. regime for its historical affinity for dominating peoples, assassinating cultures, massacring life. But she always loved the rebellions…”

This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the international feminist movements of the world today. Cardoza speaks frankly about modern day imperialism and the violence caused by U.S. neoliberal policies in Honduras.

“Thoughout Central America we grow up fighting over rich white men’s ideas of nation, though we are all poor, colonized nations full of crooks in government offices instead of jail cells. They pit our peoples against each other while they eat at the same table and vacation at the same exotic beaches without any worries about the country on their passports,” Cardoza writes.

Throughout the book, Cardoza places the voice of the people of Honduras above the politics. In the book there are Afro-Indigenous voices, LGBT voices, feminist voices, strong camaraderie between women, religious people and atheists, communists and peasants, domestic violence survivors and mothers, and youth attacked in their homes by the Honduran regime. Through all of these stories, there is a pull toward the resistance. Specifically, the intersectional resistance, attacking the root of all inequality itself.

“…the struggle against the oligarchy [is] also against the patriarchy and domination within the movement itself and the men and women who haven’t realized that you have to struggle against all oppressions at once.”

We hear the voices of those women who are being pushed aside, being told to wait for their time to resist.

“Nobody pays for the work that makes life possible, the only ones paid well are those who destroy, those of the armies and the assassins,” Cardoza explains.

We hear the women saying that now is their time for revolution, just as much as anyone else’s. They are rising up, and they are going to change the game.

“A country cannot refound itself if it does not materially and symbolically value the work of women, if the gendered division of labor does not change. A country doesn’t reinvent itself just by thinking about social classes and their conflict, if it doesn’t also think of working women and peasant women,” Cardoza emphasizes.

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