Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act II, Day 7/update3

Posted by Charles II on July 20, 2009

While the process is frozen with a 72-hour halt on dialogue, a lot of news is spilling forth.

Rights Action reports that pro-coup demonstrators are paid:

On a number of occasions, mine workers [from Goldcorp], ex-mine workers and other local young men, have travelled in buses from the Siria Valley to Tegucigalpa to participate in pro-coup marches organized by the pro-coup Movement for Peace and Democracy that is funded by the Honduran private sector (see more info, below) and possibly by the International Republican Institute, USAID and the NED (National Endowment for Democracy)…On the bus, the men and young men are paid 400 Lempiras cash. One young man told us that he, working as a campesino, could earn 100 lempiras ($5) on a typical day of work; thus, it was worth it and he was going to do it again;

RAJ at HondurasCoup2009 has two interesting pieces. The first is the emergence of a fissure in the coupistas. Ex-president Carlos Flores, who is viewed as the ideological force behind the coup, presented a separate counterproposal to the Arias plan. It’s basically a proposal for a cold peace, in which Zelaya returns and serves out his term without any real power, and the Armed Forces is ordered back to its barracks, but there’s no real accountability for the coup. Instead, it envisions a “Truth Commission” to write the official history of what happened. The second article is a suitably derisive explanation of what Micheletti is counterproposing to the Arias plan. As RAJ says, “The only news here is that they admit they made a mistake by denying President Zelaya his right to remain in Honduras. However, by describing him repeatedly as “citizen petitioner” they refuse to acknowledge he remains the consitutional president of the country.” This of course is precisely the debate that occurred on MercuryRising, with one of our commenters focusing on the admission by the coupistas that they made a “mistake” in kidnapping and expelling Zelaya, while the real issue is the illegality of the entire process used to remove Zelaya, probably from its very beginnings. When the latter is recognized, it becomes impossible to defend the coupistas as anything other than a dictatorship which must be put down.

Al Giordano proposes that the real source of the coup was a fear of citizen power. We get the odor of that in the United States, with the media blathering about “bloggers,” the iconization of the “Dean Scream” as supposedly an out-of-control left, and so on. But in Latin America, it’s overlaid with raw racism that’s never faced the moral power of a Martin Luther King and poverty that makes even the horrific suffering one sees in the US seem benign. The fear of “citizen power” in Latin America is akin to the fear of the Old South of “race mixing.”

The Liberator accuses the Cardinal of Honduras of joining the coup because he was p–sed at having terminated his monthly government stipend of $5,300 “for institutional expenses.” In fairness, as one commenter points out, the decree was published in La Gazeta, so it wasn’t a secret payoff. But genuine vicars of Christ should not want payments from the government, since it inherently corrupts the Church. So, if true, this is a disgrace not only to the Cardinal and to Honduras, but to the Catholic Church.

Machetera translates an article from CubaDebate that purports to tie Micheletti to the Cali drug cartel. While CubaDebate clearly has an agenda, this is an interesting assertion that ties to comments by Al Giordano that the coup amounted to a seizure of Honduras by international narcoterrorists. The coup, of course, is trying to tie Zelaya to the drug trade, but that pig won’t fly.

Diana Barahona has reaction from YVKE to Zelaya’s decision to postpone return (I think she meant to link this article). Carlos Salazar F. of Diario Nuestro País-Costa Rica writes that this is a capitulation [because under the Arias plan, Zelaya would have no real power], but also says that it demonstrated his honesty in negotiation and his political savvy regarding the terrain but says that a second capitulation will not be tolerated. I think this is correct, and indeed the Honduran National Coup Resistance Front has rejected the Arias conditions. They point out that it permits the continuation in power of coupistas and their sense of impunity, interferes with citizen participation, and fails to recognize human rights violations, including “4 murders, 1,158 illegal detentions, harassment and persecution of representatives of the social movement” as well as “14 media outlets, 14 journalists and 4 social organizations which have suffered attacks on freedom of expression.” They are absolutely right: the imposition of a solution from the top to reinstate Zelaya ignores the fact that he’s merely the figure at the head of a citizen’s movement, which has been taking the blows while he’s been getting the sympathy.

Update2. A Spanish businessman has disappeared in Comaguaya, a town about 50 miles northwest of Tegucigalpa.

Update 3: The EU has frozen 65M euros of budgeted aid, half the total. Venezuela has shut down oil delivery. Clinton says she will shut down aid if talks fail. IF???

And a late addition. Glenn Greenwald interviewed Ken Silverstein and discussed Honduras. My favorite lines:

GG: And of course The Washington Post editorial page, probably more than any other single outlet anywhere, literally, constantly holds itself out as the beacon of democracy around the world. It wants the US to spread democracy everywhere; it claims to believe in democratic values above all else as the supreme principle, and yet here is a democratic leader being overthrown, and yet again they’re cheering it on because the democratic leader in question is one they dislike.

KS: The Washington Post in this regard is the most hypocritical newspaper in the country. It does not believe in democracy; anyone who believes that is a fool.

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