Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras coup, Act III, Day 33/Updated

Posted by Charles II on August 25, 2009

Update2: Radio Globo is doing a very skit called Notinada (“from the nation where nothing is happening”) with helium voices and a very funny impression of Hugo Chavez, who says in sonorous tones that the people of Bolivar and Morazan are going to arise… bit by bit… and flood the US with Honduran fast food. I don’t catch most of the references, but I wish our politics had some of the humor that Honduras has mustered. The theme song of the resistance (“they are afraid of us because we have no fear”) is very touching and an achievement in non-violent resistance. Remember the days when the right in the US was spreading TerrorTerrorTerror and people who called bulls–t were called…terrorists.
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Update: Potentially very good news. Via RAJ at HondurasCoup2009, the State Department may be on the verge of acting. Reuters:

The United States said on Tuesday it will temporarily restrict issuing U.S. visas in Honduras, raising pressure on the government that took power after a June 28 coup to step down.

The State Department, which has repeatedly condemned the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, said that from Wednesday it would only provide visa services to potential immigrants and emergency cases at its embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Human Rights Watch:

The finding by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of widespread abuses in Honduras should compel the international community to take firm action, such as targeted sanctions, to resolve the country’s ongoing crisis, Human Rights Watch said today.

The commission released a report on August 21, 2009, showing a pattern of serious violations under the de facto government, including excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, and attacks on the media, as well as several confirmed deaths and possible “disappearances.” The commission also documented an absence of effective legal protections from abuse.

And according to RAJ, Radio Globo says but without sourcing that the State Department may be considering the following: Refusal to recognize any elections, suspension of all aid, a worldwide freeze on the bank accounts of the coupistas, suspension of remittances from Hondurans in the US (on which Honduras is dependent), stripping preferential trade status from Honduran products. Believe it when you see it, not before.

They shall not pass!

They shall not pass!

(Image from Honduras en Lucha)

On Radio Globo, a speech by Micheletti (at about 1PM, the announcer says afterwards) whining that Honduras is desperately poor and deserves respect from the people and organizations in whose face he has been spitting. His closing: “May God bless America and may God bless Honduras.”

Magbana at Honduras Oye links us to a Alexander Main and Jake Johnstonpiece at the CEPR. The US suspended Millenium Challenge fund within days of coups in Mauritania and Madagascar and in the case of election irregularities in Nicaragua– and has done nothing after 57 days since the kidnapping of President Zelaya.

Al Giordano:

Update II: Radio Globo reporter Eduardo Maldonado is reporting, live, his eye-witness account of members of the Honduran military brass and the top chiefs of the National Police who recently arrived a building near Morazan Boulevard in Tegucigalpa and are meeting inside “on the third floor.” The radio is also reporting that the Catholic Church hierarchy and various Chambers of Commerce have determined to back the San José solution of reinstating Zelaya to the presidency “regardless of the stance of the Micheletti government.” Looks like the visa suspension is peeling away some inner layers of the coup onion rather rapidly. Something’s up. And we’re here monitoring the situation. Developing…

Belen Fernandez:

According to the Padre [Fausto Milla], Zelaya told a story during the meeting about an incident that reportedly occurred in 2006, involving a longstanding deal with Texaco, Shell, and other fuel companies in which the Honduran government paid them an extra three cents for every dollar’s worth of gas imported. In Padre Fausto’s version, Zelaya had asked the companies if they intended to maintain a monopoly on fuel imports or if any old “Juan or Pedro” could import, as well. Texaco and Shell had denied having any problems with Juan and Pedro’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

Slapping his knee, Padre Fausto reenacted the emphatic interjection he made to Zelaya at that point in the exiled president’s story: “¡Allí comenzó el golpe!”—“That’s where the coup began!”

Brother John has a remarkable three dimensional portrait of the Cardinal of Honduras, in which he identifies the Cardinal’s fear of a socialist takeover and an insult from Hugo Chavez as the likely motivators of the Cardinal’s unwillingness to recognize that what has taken place is a coup. Still, that simply exemplifies the problem raised in 1 Tim. 3: small flaws in people in positions of leadership are magnified by the power they hold. Take the power away from the coupistas, and they might well be be-than-average people. Give power to the average person and flaws that seemed minor suddenly become unbearable. But that’s not an excuse for the Cardinal, who I think should have gotten a bit of a clue from seeing that all nations of the world called this a coup. When all the other cars on the highway are traveling the other direction, you might want to check your lane.
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The fifty ninth day of resistance (per Radio Globo).
The Front against the Coup has called for global action.

A broadcast tower of Channel 11 came under attack by (according to La Jornada eight) armed, masked men. They arrived by pickup, grabbed a guard and threw him to the floor. They took the janitor’s cell phone, damaged a radio with which he communicated with the studio and pointed weapons at his head. They also damaged transmitters for Radio Globo and Channel 36. Channel 36 still appears to be down, but I’m getting a stream from Radio Globo as well as Radio Progreso.

Friday, from 4-7PM, there will be marches for Honduras in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Hudson County NJ, Los Angeles, and Raleigh NC. Contact information here.

Also, see Rosemary Joyce’s translation of the statement by the anti-coup deputies. From the standpoint of effective writing, I especially admire the colorful description of the crisis as “clawing at the entrails” of Honduran society.

Via Richard Grabman’s Mex Files, Honduras has officially become an issue, having arrived in an article by Michael Shifter in Foreign Affairs. Now Foreign Affairs is an extremely serious magazine, in which some of the authors are heads of state or senior foreign policy advisors, and most are at least an Ivy League professor. This issue has Zbigniew Brzezinski, for example.

Shifter adopts the fiction that the pretend-government of Honduras is resisting US pressure as a result of the “confrontational approach” of the OAS. The US left its ambassador in Tegucigalpa “out of concern” for the harm that would be done to the wretchedly poor of Honduras by sanctions if the United States were to actually obey its own laws and declare a coup to be a coup. Obama chose Oscar Arias, who everyone knows to be a brilliant diplomat because he won a Nobel for helping to mop up the last mess we made in Central America, to negotiate a settlement despite any evidence that the coup government accorded him any more respect than they did the janitor at Channel 11’s broadcast tower. Meanwhile, the resistance to accepting Zelaya back is coming from the benevolent ::ahem:: Influential sectors who “are profoundly mistrustful of Zelaya, whom they fear had plans to model their country after Chávez’s political project in Venezuela.” Shifter states the Republican allegation of “Zelaya’s dubious democratic credentials” as if it were fact, as if the Republicans were not attempting at this very moment to undermine Obama’s democratic credentials by pretending that he’s not a citizen. Skipping over the parts about Zelaya being flown out through the US airbase, the participation of figures from the death squads in the pretend-government, the attacks on independent media, a growing pile of bodies, the pleas of human rights groups, and abundant evidence that interests in the US are funding and sustaining the coup, Shifter concludes:

It is still conceivable that Zelaya could return to power under a heavily conditioned agreement and with perhaps impossibly exquisite orchestration. But it seems likely that Honduras will proceed with elections in November and look ahead to the next government that will take over in January 2010. Washington would then confront the dilemma of whether to support an election process overseen by a government it deems illegitimate. Refusing to do so could prolong the crisis and would inflict greater pain in the form of diplomatic isolation and reduced aid flows. In the end, policies based on realism are likely to prevail, and the United States will recognize the new government, provided the elections are credible. Whatever happens in Honduras, the costs of the ongoing crisis to the Obama administration could turn out to be far from negligible.

proving what a very serious person he is and how perfectly serious the commitment of the United States to democracy and non-intervention is.

There were dueling demos to catch the eye and ear of the OAS. From 2-4PM in front of the presidential palace, there was a “peace demonstration,” perfectly in tune with Teabagger logic: participants demanded “no more foreign interference,” especially from Chavez, and no to the “dictatorship” of Mel Zelaya. In their mythology, I understand, all of the anti-coup protestors are Venezuelan and Nicaraguan. Meanwhile there was a sit-in near John Paul II Boulevard: the police blockade prevented them from from arriving there. Which was probably a good thing, because the pro-coup demonstrators exited on that street. Still, it seems to me that one side was favored. Both demonstrations were well-attended.

And, according to Tiempo, there was a pro-coup and an anti-coup demonstration by taxi drivers. The pro-coup drivers set up at the airport to meet the OAS delegation, while the anti-coup drivers attempted to stall traffic.

Honduras Oye has some nice pictures of the anti-coup demo.

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