Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 24/update 3

Posted by Charles II on August 16, 2009

Update3: Tiempo says the price of fuel is exploding. Seems like a pretty minor explosion. Gas, which was about $3.50 jumped another 7 cents. Still, enough bumps upward, and it starts to bite even the oligarchs.
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Update2: Via BoRev, LAT has an editorial headlined “Washington is scaring our Latin American neighbors,” dealing with the bases in in Colombia. Add to that Plan Merida and an opposition by the State Dept. to a coup that looks remarkably like complicity, and they’ve succeeded in scaring me.

TeleSur reports that Hugo Chavez has stated that the coup was ordered from the Palmerola (Soto Cano) base.

El Heraldo says that five unknown assailants threw Molotov cocktails at their building. Damages were minor.

Radio Globo is back. They are playing excerpts of a meeting. The teachers will be back on the street. They are asking people whether they will vote for the official candidates. They boo everyone except Carlos Reyes, whom they cheer. That would be this fellow:

The president of the STIBYS union is the legendary labor leader Carlos H. Reyes. Two weeks ago he was brutally beaten by the Cobra Command when they broke up a roadblock north of Tegucigalpa. In the act, he had part of his ear pulled off and his arm was broken in two places. He is currently confined to bed rest with his arm in a cast.

There will be mobilization of a different type. The CIDH (Inter-American Commission of Human Rights) is arriving. Bicycles, motorcycles, cars, (and many other kinds). The grandmother of the Frente Contra el Golpe, a Dona Dionisia Diaz, asks people if they are tired. “NO!” they shout. Switches to an interview with a man; Victor Mesa. The reliance on reservists is a sign of weakness. He discounts the importance of the meeting between Insulza and the Honduran delegation. On the CIDH and the chancellors: it’s a great opportunity, and hopefully not the last. If these delegations don’t find the exit door to the crisis, violence will follow. Back to Dona Dionisia. 75 years old, she outmarched the soldiers.

DK seems to have all but forgotten Honduras. Elizabeth Gurley is still on it.

Another key piece of forgotten history from Dick Emanuelsson:

On June 15 President Manuel Zelaya Rosales was the victim of an ambush some 100 meters from the Air Force base in Tegucigalpa. Two shots broke the windshield of the car that carried the president. Zelaya came out of the terrorist attack unharmed. The oligarchy-controlled media that now celebrates the coup mocked the incident, saying that the president had staged the attack by having someone throw rocks at the window.

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Update1: Sandra has two extensive posts on recent human rights violations. The English version of the most recent explains that Choloma is an access point for the port that ships textiles from maquiladoras in the northwestern of the country, and fruit from the Tela Railroad Company, owned by Chiquita. The police agreed to a 2-hour protest[and my understanding was that the agreement was captured on Radio Progreso]– and then came in to break up the protest violently after an hour. Twenty seven people were arrested and most of those were beaten. Five were sent to the ER, one with a bullet wound. The police asked for Marcial Hernandez by name.

The second article is a link to El Libertador. It says that CODEH reports that 100 people have been killed. It gives seven names. I don’t find the report on the CODEH website, and some of those killed might have been the victims of ordinary crimes. It will be important to see the actual report.

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A plea from the Jesuit community of Radio Progreso, via Adrienne. On the day of the coup, they were surrounded by police. More recently, one of their reporters was kicked and hit with rifle butts. Their concerns are shared by the resistance:

Before the world, we give testimony of our defenselessness. We raise our voice, our clamor before the community of international human rights organizations, because here, all those of us who oppose the de facto regime are exposed to barbarities, while the organisms of the state that are responsible for overseeing justice and human rights, instead of protecting us, point their accusing finger so that they can exterminate us. People of the world, don’t leave us alone!

HCVanalysis has films of the violence, showing (a) a policeman firing randomly into the crowd (b) arbitary arrests and beatings and (c) the arrest of a photographer. The second film also shows the use of makeshift detention centers, which is forbidden.

Today’s media lottery has Cholusat up and showing footage of the presidential palace, Radio Globo inaccessible, and Telesur accessible by voice only. In the review of the news, Mrs. Zelaya and her daughter Hortensia are amid a raucous demonstration. Father Tamayo is at the demo near the presidential palace. He says he brough 25,000 people from Olancho. There is discussion of the burning of a bus and an arson against Popeye’s on August 11th. There’s debate about a draft for military service to build up the army against the protestors…. and the stream goes down from network congestion. Back up: march directors will prohibit people wearing bandanas or committing acts of vandalism. A long interview with Sandra Ponce.

Al Giordano has a piece claiming that Tiempo has flipped from pro-coup to anti-coup. A number of people, including myself, think he’s wrong. What I would say is that some event– probably the savage attack on their own reporters–convinced management to take another look at things. Prior to the first attack, their coverage was tepid and waffling– but not pro-coup. Since then, the editorial voice has steadied and become more confident.

Micheletti is, according to Tiempo, saying good riddance to Hugo Llorens. This again suggests that there is a split within the American government, with Llorens on the side of the realists (!) who recognize that as much as they would like to support the oligarchs, they can’t. Tiempo also says that 144 municipal police are on strike, because they have been denied seven semimonthly checks and the fourteenth month of salary (not sure quite what this means)

8 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 24/update 3”

  1. Nell said

    Thanks for your support in my comment section, Charles; the ‘putting a sign on yourself’ response was better than my squelching (I do have a “too stupid and content-less to live” standard for comments).

    The attack on Tiempo’s photographer was truly a bone-headed move by the repressors. Support for your more nuanced view on the paper’s stance is provided by the fact that they were there covering the roadblock. Al has updated the post with pointers to the different views by commenters, though; an antidote to straight triumphalism.

    And speaking of triumphalism:
    Father Tamayo is at the demo near the presidential palace. He says he brough 25,000 people from Olancho.

    I’m biting my tongue. Let’s just say that I’ve spent a lot of time with equally, um, optimistic Salvadorans.

    They, like Padre Tamayo, had many fine offsetting qualities, like guts and persistence.

    • Charles II said

      ::chuckle:: re: optimistic crowd estimates, Nell. It’s a grim situation, but there’s a certain lightness to it given Honduras’s evangelical/Pentecostal/charismatic fervor. Everyone, it seems, has Jerusalem syndrome.

      I’m happy to provide support. Providing an open, constructive, and friendly atmosphere at a blog can be hard work unless the community provides support. On the one hand, we want to discuss issues, even with people with whom we disagree, so that the truth can win. On the other hand, some people provide very high overhead with very low wattage output. It’s an art achieving a balance, and humor always helps.

  2. Micheletti is, according to Tiempo, saying good riddance to Hugo Llorens. This again suggests that there is a split within the American government, with Llorens on the side of the realists (!) who recognize that as much as they would like to support the oligarchs, they can’t.

    El Cid over in a comments section of a recent article at The Field noticed the same thing. It is dumb of Micheletti, because it now gives Llorens a reason not to come back. Then again, Llorens, by letting himself be “thrown out” rather than proactively pulling himself out, foregoes the chance to strengthen the US’s official disapproval of the coup (and consequently its image in the eyes of Latin Americans). But of course, Llorens is only doing what his immediate boss wants — and his immediate boss has strong ties to a group that is busily funnelling money to the coup.

    • Charles II said

      Nell had an interesting comment in response. Llorens’s decision to take his vacation now means he won’t be arround for the arrival of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, August 17-21, to discuss human rights violations.

      • Ah. So is this a sort of kabuki? Though I can’t see how it would benefit Micheletti to pretend that Llorens opposes the coup if Llorens really doesn’t.

      • Charles II said

        It’s not yet possible, in my opinion, to read exactly what is going on between Llorens and Micheletti. My guess is that the coup was a Pentagon operation taken without consultation with the State Department (though they knew what was happening). Obama was and probably still is out of the loop, which is why he called the coup “not legal.” That one statement triggered an avalanche of world reaction against the coup, so if Obama was in the loop, he miscalculated very badly.

        So, suppose this scenario of a factionalized US government is true. Micheletti, who thought he had the backing of the whole US government, feels betrayed. And remember, his own fellow-oligarchs are making noises like, “Don’t blame us. Someone else screwed this up.” Llorens, who was run over by the Pentagon, feels insulted and is doing little things here and there to sabotage the coup.

        Hillary’s role is the strangest: this is a former Children’s Defense Fund exec, after all. She could be playing realpolitik, she could be boxed in by the Pentagon, she could be an incredibly stupid person, or she could be a genuinely evil person. At this point, I can’t tell. Maybe she really believes that Oscar Arias can magically produce a solution…hm…that falls into the “incredibly stupid” category.

        Now, there are conditions where it would benefit Micheletti to diss the American ambassador– such as if he wants to make it seem as if he’s entirely independent, a rogue. If the US is afraid of being connected to the coup, that could be role-playing. Llorens is due for vacation, as I understood it, and he regards Honduras as the back side of Hicksville. But it’s possible that he wants to dodge any human rights talk for fear talk might drift to US complicity. After all, their big “suspension of military relations” amounts to pretending that the Honduran military isn’t on Palmerola: can you imagine how bizarre these people’s minds must be? The US is, in a practical sense, keeping the Honduran air force flying missions (buzzing with helicopters and small aircraft) against the Honduran people.

        But my guess is that we’re seeing the reality, not theater. Llorens as a Bush holdover is a perfect scapegoat, as is Micheletti, who is an outsider to Honduran society. They’re expendable and they know it. So they sulk and they spout.

  3. Nell said

    Llorens isn’t so much a Bush holdover as career foreign service — with a specialty in neoliberal, free-trade economics. It pervades both parties. Clinton and Obama aren’t split; they’re both committed to preventing unruly populism.

    The US is, in a practical sense, keeping the Honduran air force flying missions (buzzing with helicopters and small aircraft) against the Honduran people.

    I’d be really interested to learn more about the U.S. role in Honduran military air capabilities. The Hondurans have their own airbase(s), with already trained pilots and crews; to what extent is any U.S. support, other than money, necessary?

    • Charles II said

      The accusation that Zelaya was flown out through Palmerola was reiterated by Deputy FM, Patricia Valle.

      Spare parts is probably the answer, Nell. High performance aircraft are notorious for burning through parts and requiring skilled maintenance [added: which is one reason we are so eager to sell armaments. It makes the recipient dependent on the US].

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