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El Tiempo

Honduras  |  November 18, 2003  |  Share

"El Tiempo", Honduras
English Translation

Lydda Ely Gonzales:
I have no regrets.
"I will continue with this and I am not ashamed of anything," she says.

SAN PEDRO SULA — Lydda Ely Gonzalez stated last night that she confirms what is happening in the maquilas, she loves her country and that she is neither terrorist nor a liar.

Lydda Gonzales, 19 years old, is the attractive girl that last October the 28th denounced in New York, United States, the bad treatment at the Southeast Textiles maquila, that operates in the San Miguel industrial park, located in the Lopez Arellano colony in Choloma.

The forementioned factory manufactures the Sean John t-shirts, a label belonging to the rapper Sean P. Diddy Combs, of New York.

Lydda Gonzales agreed to a dialogue with the journalist of Tiempo with the agreement that he would not "take away nor add to" her declarations.

With regard to the controversial denunciation that she made against the Choloma factory, she declared that she was not used by the Unified Confederation of Honduran Workers (CUTH), nor did she receive money from them. "Even if they had offered, I would not have taken money; I am not doing this for me, I am doing it for the thousands and thousands of workers here in Honduras and in all of Central America. And you well know that that there exist innumerable violations".

"Another thing, we were accused of being terrorists of the maquila, liars, traitors, of selling out our country. Listen, how is that to be believed? I am very patriotic, I love my country and I would not exchange Honduras for any other, much less for money; what is more, I do not need to sell myself, I have worked since I was 11 years old, I have earned my money and have maintained myself. I will continue with this and I am not ashamed of anything."

"It is true that I am under age, but I know what I am doing. I worked 13 months for that factory. In New York, it was incredible, I had never seen it, there were a lot of journalists fighting one another to know the information. So I spoke because I had to speak, what could I to do if the media was there."

She explained that she and the other two sewing operators that traveled to New York spoke and had up to three events at day. "My testimony is the same as theirs, nothing more that one is fighting for reinstatement."

The young girl identified one of her companions as Martha, but abstained from saying the name of the other.

Her mother, she asserted, "is not against what I said, simply that she never imagined that this was going to get huge press coverage".

"It is shameful for our country that we have to go to another country to denounce, because here no one listens. How is it possible that upon hearing what I said everyone listens, this will be for a few days, soon it will be forgotten; I think that it would be better to do this more constantly."

"I was not married to any Iraqi, I can imagine who came up with that, I do not know how they found that out. I am single; I had a relationship with a Jew, but I was never married".

"I want to clarify something, Charles Kernaghan is the director of the National Labor Committee of the United States. He is a great person. If there were ten Charles Kernaghans, this world would be different. He is a man that is very committed to the fight, valiant, and these people here have branded him as an international terrorist, how is that possible?"

Lydda reiterated that "I do not regret, because I know what I am doing. I am conscious of what I am doing, and I do it because the violations here are extreme, the low wages are miserable, here it is only enough to survive".

In the moment that the last question was being posed, the operator excused herself, ended the dialogue and got up to go meet two friends.


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