Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Honduras Coup, Act III, day 2/ Update 2

Posted by Charles II on July 24, 2009

(Update 3PM Eastern) Zelaya arrives in Hondoras! (more below)

This is the second day of a two day general strike. Professor Greg Grandin gave a good overview on DemocracyNow. A figure from the Death Batallion 3-16, Billy Joya, was hired as a corporate security officer and is now a security advisor to the regime. [Update: More detail on the deathsquadization of Honduras from WorldWar4 at DKos]

The military is blocking access to the frontier. Around Danli, people were stripped and beaten. Nearer the border, the area was completely militarized. However, Zelaya is not expected to enter Honduras before Saturday.

Militarized Honduran frontier
(Image from Chiapas Indymedia, province of Colon. Photo by tiros)

The police are reportedly on strike. I had heard only 80 policemen had left the job, but there was a report of 200.

RadioGlobo is a place to listen for news. People are calling in with tidbits. The National Police leaders are on TeleSur, saying they follow the orders of the Judicial Power (i.e., the coup). TeleSur is reporting that the resistance has broken the blockade in the province of Paraiso. This is where Danli is. A lot of people are waving a flag with horizontal red stripes bracketing a white stripe– no, not Austria. It’s the Liberal Party emblem. They’re playing upbeat, rollicking music that sounds like a party rally. But they aren’t moving, so it sounds as if the military blockade is still intact. People have walked from Olancho… it’s roughly 30 miles from the Olanco province to the town of Danli.

Connie Mack is leading a delegation of Republicans to Honduras for the purpose of diplomacy. Considering that the US has refused to recognize the coupistas, I wonder whether this is legal.

One of the larger-scale activities that is occurring under the radar, so to speak, is the establishment of huge military bases in Colombia which would presumably compete with Honduras’s Palmerino (Soto Cano). Machetera mentions that Israeli pilots are flying from those bases.

Update, 2PM Eastern: Radio Globo is sounding a lot more apocalyptic than TeleSur. I am running in and out, but caught a report of one dead, that the police struck when they were broadcasting Zelaya over loudspeakers. Later: apparently a young man (Moises Hernandez) was struck with a rubber bullet, which went in his jaw and out by the ear. He is alive, though in critical condition, at the hospital. On the highway, several people including police hurt and vehicles damaged. A pregnant woman is in bad shape and may lose the baby.

TeleSur: The police have approved a plan to capture Zelaya. On the highway in Paraiso, the police have used tear gas to impede the march to the border. They say one person injured. It’s not clear to me why the marchers don’t flank the troops and police. Another group of troops has arrived. Our State Department, in its fog of befuddlement, has asked Zelaya not to enter Honduras; this despite the Arias contingent having said that he should return.

Update 3PM: TeleSur. Zelaya is on the Nicaraguan side of the border at Las Manos. The police have blocked his arrival and people are a dozen kilometers away, held up by the roadblocks. There’s a heavy rain. Shots have been heard at the roadblock. According to a commenter at Narconews, people did flank the roadblock. At the moment, Zelaya is chatting on his cell phone. One can hear the conversation, but it’s not clear who he’s talking to. The signal just went to h–l, so I suspect a lot of people just logged on to Telesur.

Back to Radio Globo. It’s almost impossible to hear through the din. Zelaya says, “I am at the border…. we are going to enter in the next minutes….Someone says there’s a sniper in the tower…” The people are urging him to duck down (because he’s taller than the rest of the crowd). Zelaya says there are 300-400 armed men at customs. TeleSur just went black briefly. A helicopter has overflown. Zelaya says, “We don’t want to provoke violence. We’ll go step by step.” He gets in his car. He gets out. A colonel has invited him to walk to the other side of the line to discuss things. Patricia Rodas asks to go ahead.

This is an act of incredible courage. On the part of the press, too, which is providing a protective screen.

He’s in Honduras!

And TeleSur out, so over to Radio Globo. Parsley44 at DK has a thread.

The Radio Globo interviewer is stating that there’s a report that Micheletti has tendered his resignation. But he wants Zelaya to step down.

Telesur. The colonel said they aren’t going to arrest Zelaya. There are thousands of people who managed to get to Las Manos around him. His wife is apparently across. Zelaya says that after 27 days, the coupistas have understood that they cannot govern the country.

On the road, a soldier with a weapon menaced people, ordering them away from a truck.

Someone, apparently a military, wanted to harm Zelaya, but people blocked him from reaching Zelaya. Shots and tear gas at the roadblock up the road in Paraiso. Miguel D’Escoto did not accompany Zelaya as planned. (time for a break)

Al Jazeera reports that Zelaya will overnight on the Nicaraguan side of the border.

Update2: And Secretary Clinton? She just pronounced Zelaya’s epic confrontation of the coupistas, a moment that gave me the same sense of history as listening to Martin Luther King speak, to be “imprudent.” Dana Carvey, where are you now? I am sooooo glad she wasn’t the nominee. [Added: my error. She said “reckless.” I can’t believe how bad our State Department leadership is.]

Final note: Patricia Rodas, Finance Minister, has replied: “You can’t put people who take out rifles on the same plane with people who peacefully demonstrate.” If she can’t see the difference, said Rodas, “we don’t mean the same thing by ‘democracy’, we aren’t talking about the same conflict.”

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8 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, day 2/ Update 2”

  1. Nell said

    Thanks for the excellent roundup of coverage, Charles. Much appreciated.

    Small correction: Palmerola, not Palmerino, air base.

  2. Charles II said

    agh. Thanks for the correction, Nell.

  3. Nell said

    Still time for Clinton and Obama to do the right thing and send Amb. Llorens to meet and accompany Pres. Zelaya across the border tomorrow.

  4. Charles II said

    Na ga ha pen, Nell.

    Clinton just declared Zelaya’s brave gesture “imprudent,” thereby joining George HW Bush in the annals of weaselry.

    Besides, Llorens is pro-coup. If the report that Zelaya was spirited out through Palmerola is correct, Llorens would have arranged that.

  5. “Imprudent”? Makes me think of the folks criticizing Professor Henry Louis Gates, a fifty-nine-year-old man who walks with a cane, for being so “imprudent” as to get vocally angry with the cop who questioned his right to be in his own home.

  6. Charles II said

    Yeah, I just saw the complaint. It accuses him of disorderly conduct in a public place.

    I never did think my porch was a public place. Much less my home.

    Well, anyone who wants to can leave a comment on the blog of Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley. Mine are probably not printable.

  7. Nell said

    Llorens might be pro-coup, but in public he has to do his job. On the afternoon of the coup he issued the clearest anti-coup statement then available from the U.S. government: “Manuel Zelaya is the only legitimate president of Honduras.”

    He would not be shot at by the Honduran military. He would be perfectly capable of accompanying Zelaya to the presidential house. Of course, this Secretary of State’s unlikely to instruct him to do so.

    This administration’s response to the coup has a lot in common with the Democratic leadership’s approach to Iraq war funding in 2007: making all the gestures of being seen to stop or condition it, but being very careful not to actually succeed.

    • Charles II said

      Nell says, “Of course, this Secretary of State’s unlikely to instruct him [Llorens] to do so [to accompany Zelaya].”

      Then we agree. This is how Golinger describes Llorens:

      Per Allard, Hugo Llorens, a Cuban national from birth who arrived in the United States as part of Operation Peter Pan, is “a specialist in terrorism…In 2002, George W. Bush’s White House strategically placed the astute Llorens as Director of Andean Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., which converted him into the principle advisor to the President on Venezuela. The coup d’etat in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez occurred during Llorens’ tenure, who was working together with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Otto Reich, and the very controversial Elliot Abrams. In July 2008, Llorens was named Ambassador to Honduras.”

      Heck, if I were Zelaya and Llorens was accompanying me, I’d worry less about being shot by the army than knifed in the back by Llorens.

      Nell says, “This administration’s response to the coup has a lot in common with the Democratic leadership’s approach to Iraq war funding in 2007: making all the gestures of being seen to stop or condition it, but being very careful not to actually succeed.”

      Yeah, they seem to be doing much the same on healthcare, withdrawal from Iraq, and closing Guantanamo.

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