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Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 40/Updated

Posted by Charles II on September 1, 2009

Update: HondurasOye reports that Channel 36 is back up. On Channel 36, An employee of the Mayor of Tegucigalpa was caught with a high caliber pistol (almost as old as the man) and a card of Elvin Santos. The announcers touted this as a proof of a nexus between the coup and the violence, which is certainly possible.

State Department, Ian Kelly vs. the press:

QUESTION: Does she expect to make the determination [whether the coup was military] at that point [when Hillary meets Zelaya Thursday]?
MR. KELLY: Well, we still haven’t made the determination. I think you know the issues that are being considered here, but I can’t give you an exact time when that determination will be —
QUESTION: I understand the issues that are being considered.
QUESTION: It’s been more than two months now —
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: — since the events transpired —
QUESTION: Right.
QUESTION: — so one would – would think that one would have had enough time to judge whether it was a military coup.
MR. KELLY: Right. Well, we have taken the actions that we would be required to take if that determination is made, and that is that we have suspended assistance that goes directly to support the Government of Honduras. And you know what the issue at hand is a – it’s a provision of the Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2009.
QUESTION: Before you launch into the whole explanation of what exact – we already know what it —
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: — exactly it is. What is the holdup?
MR. KELLY: We – as I said – as I’ve said many times, we have – there are a number of diplomatic activities going on. We are – we have done what we have to do under the law, and that is not to provide assistance to the Government of Honduras if the Secretary decides to make this determination. But she hasn’t made the determination yet.
QUESTION: Can you follow up on that? I mean, one big exception to that, as I understand it, is the grant money from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which would also be – could be implicated in such a decision.
QUESTION: And it’s my understanding that the MCC has so-called notwithstanding authority, so their aid is not automatically cut off? Their board has to make —

MR. KELLY: Right.
QUESTION: — an affirmative decision to do so.
MR. KELLY: I think that’s right, Arshad.
QUESTION: And that’s more than a hundred – I think it’s something like 111 – well, it’s more. But it’s more than $100 million that would have to be scrutinized and that’s much bigger than the 18 – about 18.4, I think, that’s already been suspended. So in a way, there’s a big, big chunk of money out there that’s going to have to be – on which decisions are going to have to be made.
MR. KELLY: Yeah. You’re right. I mean, in the case of the Millennium money and the Challenge Corporation, it is something that will have to be decided by the board. Of course, Secretary Clinton is a member of that board, and so we’ll see about what exactly we have to do with both the USAID – with the USAID programs, military programs, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation programs.

QUESTION: One other thing on this. I mean when, in response to Matt’s question, you said that there are a number of diplomatic activities that are underway, are we to understand it is the case that it is solely a question of the diplomacy, that – in other words, the hope that you can find a diplomatic solution, that is holding off the determination? Or are there other factors, perhaps within the U.S. Government, that are holding it up?
MR. KELLY: As I’ve already suggested, of course, it is a – it’s not just a decision that affects the Department of State and the Agency for International Development. There’s a number of other – another – a number of other avenues that we have to go down, including briefing Congress. We need to – we have to coordinate with the Department of Defense. All along, in this whole conflict that we’ve had around Honduras, we’ve had to, as well, coordinate with the Organization of American States and with our partners in the region. So there is quite a bit of coordination that has to go on.
QUESTION: And regarding the DOD, would this affect Soto Cano Air Base – Soto Cano Air Base, excuse me – would such a cutoff have any effect on that air base and U.S. use of it?
MR. KELLY: Well, obviously, the Department of Defense is best positioned to answer that question. As I understand it, it will – I mean, the military – I shouldn’t say that the determination will affect programs. The suspension has already affected a number of programs that the U.S. military runs. Soto Cano is a – it’s not our base. It’s a Honduran base. Again, you really should – you should get the nitty-gritty details on this from the Department of Defense, but I think that they have suspended their programs except for the kind of activities that you would need to support a base – guarding the perimeter and provisions and activities like that. But please do try and get those kinds of details from DOD.
Yeah.
QUESTION: Can you walk us through what this meeting on Thursday will look like, what kind of access we’ll have to it, what kind of readout there will be?
MR. KELLY: Well, we haven’t determined the arrangements yet for the press. I am – I feel confident that there will be some kind of – that there will be – it will be closed to the press. I mean, there will be some – you will have some kind of engagement with the two principals, but —
QUESTION: But will we be able to —
MR. KELLY: — it hasn’t been determined. In terms of readout, of course we’ll be happy to give you a readout.
QUESTION: Will we be able to actually ask them questions?
MR. KELLY: That hasn’t been determined yet, so I can’t give you an answer to that yet.

Sandra Cuffe reports that the Garifuna hospital in Ciriboya was shuttered by the coupistas.
_______________________________________________________________________

I am very proud to have devoted a number of hours over the last few days to this document. (see here for more)

RAJ does another epic parsing of Honduran law as it relates to the conflict between Zelaya and the other branches of government. However, there are some points that need clarification:
* Consultas are explicitly the business of Congress, not the Executive
* Why did it take so long for the order to change from a consulta to an encuesta to be published?
* Given the election timetable, it might not have been unreasonable for the Court to demand an answer by June 23rd.
I’ve posed these questions to RAJ and will post any answer given.

Also from Adrienne, a translation of a post from Oscar, of which this is an excerpt:

A week has passed since I wrote my last note and although the reality of Honduras remains in constant flux, in fact it seems that little has changed. I am outside the country, and it scares me to see how, if one doesn’t specifically seek out information on Honduras, it seems like nothing is happening. Nothing: not the constant mobilization of the people, not the violation of their fundamental rights, not the deaths, not the disappearances that arise from the most horrifying crevices of the regime.

Amen, Oscar. We are seeing that even with the Internet, information can be strangled. But I think he’s too pessimistic in thinking that the Honduran resistance has been ineffectual. He thinks Zelaya will be unable to regain leadership of the resistance because he lacks the smarts. I think that’s probably incorrect. The oligarchy is not going away. Even if it went away, the problems that it represents (no natural resource base, a low level of education and infrastructure, etc.) would remain. So, there has to be some kind of mediator between the wealthy and the poor.

Adrienne also did a translation of a communique from the Frente, reading in part:

Today, Monday, August 31, 2009, Honduran National Police has issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Hugo Maldonado, Human Rights defender, and founding member of the NATIONAL RESISTANCE FRONT AGAINST THE COUP D’ETAT IN HONDURAS. The arrest warrant comes upon ‘orders’ from Colonel Marlon Mendoza Garay, a well known Partido Nacional militant, who, enraged against the people protesting against the political-electoral acts of the Golpista regime, has promised to ‘sink’ Mr. Hugo Maldonado, in his own words, according to witnesses at the scene. Not content with uttering mortal threats, the Colonel’s bodyguards also threatened the crowd with their assault rifles, though the courageous resistance almost drowned them all in a rain of eggs and water.

Thanks to Nell, the following from Honduras en Lucha (originally on Habla Honduras, from the writers and artists union), a paraphrase:

64th day of resistance.
The Assembly of the Resistance in STIBYS (Bevarage workers) was run by COFADEH (human rights) as the National Day of the Disappeared Prisoner in Honduras with the motto “To Defeat the Past with the Future, the Road to Never Again.” The crowd shouted “We will neither forgive nor forget the murderers.” The meeting behan with “El Gran Golpe,” directed by Tito Ochoa in charge of the Theater of Memories.

a) Berta Oliva de Nativí, a widow of the disappeared Tomás Nativí gave a memorial to the more than 100 disappeared of the 1980s and the those they are investigating, the same as the dead of this struggle. When the names of the 100 were read, the crowd said “Presente” and place a flower.
b) Marvin Palacios read a communication of COFADEH giving data from the Disappeared of Latin America as well as in Honduras. The figures are hair-raising and will continue if we don’t stop it.
c)The Camino Real Theater presented an adaptation of Daniel Laínez’s “Timothy Enjoys Himself”, with the title “Timothy in Resistance”, which was well-received. Rosa María Fortín played brilliantly and Isidro España is like a good wine that gets better with age.
d) Veteran teacher Yolanda Cavaría, despite her physical limitations presented a recollection of the coup of October 3rd against President Ramón Villeda Morales et sequitur until the present.
e) Israel Salinas said “The people of San Pedro Sula have mobilized up to 75,000 and propose a national marathon to assist Cholusat Sur. A brother of Micheletti, Marco Polo was ejected from a fisherman’s meeting in Brazil, where he had gone to represent Honduras.
f) Women are essential in our lives and in this resistance. Sara Elicia Rosales said that brave and intelligent women of the Frente agreed at the meeting of last Saturday:

1.- The will organize in the capital and to appear at a national level.
2.- They will send a letter to the OAS, the UN, and to the United Nations, pointing out the women’s point of view w.r.t. the coup.
3.- They will send a letter to the CIDH (human rights) urging them that the military leave the marches because they will no longer put up with physical and verbal abuse.
4.- They will organize constant vigils in front of the US embassy.
5.- They will formally organize a Finance Committee and a Committee for the Legal Defense of Resistance Women.
Women are an example for us!
g) The president of Honduran Composers, Rubén Salazar, delivered some folksongs to the attendees.
i) Two young men gave a great skit of their creation regarding police brutality.
j) Juan Barahona closed the meeting, saying that
1.- All the chapters formed across the country are well aware of the objectives of the Frente.
2.- A health committee was created within the Frente, comprised of nurses and doctors, to attend to the marchers.
3.- Independent of the signing of the “San Jose Accord” the Frente will not forget its objective of a Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution. To do otherwise would be to renounce the social changes for which people fight daily, and to live in dictatorship and betray Honduras.
4.- He urged the assembly to continue on the route traced, and to arrive at 8AM at UPNFM to begin the Peaceful Marches for the week.

Honoring the brave and valiant women of the Frente, the chapters of the Frente in San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Tela, La Ceiba and everywhere, unions, workers, housewives, farmers, students etc. are clear on the goals of the Frente.

Nell also linked two interesting things. First, to Boz who says in reference to Zelaya’s being transported through Palmerola that unidentified aircraft fly into and out of US bases all the time. Nell appropriately calls that into question. I think it’s theoretically possible that everyone except the base commander might not have known, and that the base commander might have been ordered not to know it. But that all but certainly means that Ambassador Hugo Llorens was directly in on the kidnapping. Second, Boz linked an OpEd by Robert White and Glenn Horowitz that appeared in yesterday’s LAT. Nell commented that Ambassador White & Hurowitz raised a false specter of Hugo Chavez invading Honduras and becoming the white knight of Latin America as we dither. True though it is that the image White & Hurowitz used is laughable (I would be surprised if Venezuela is even capable of long-range amphibious or paratroop operations), they said some important things:

  • “the politicians and industrialists who backed the ouster had confidence that President Obama wouldn’t touch them”
  • The Honduran junta’s intransigence in negotiations …[is]… setting an extremely dangerous precedent for other areas of the world
  • “in response to the administration’s extremely generous concessions, the coup leaders responded with vicious attacks”
  • “they’ve [the coup has] hired well-connected Democratic lobbyists, such as Clinton administration veteran Lanny Davis”
  • “The State Department recently issued a statement on Honduras that undermined the president’s stated commitment”
  • “accommodation of the Honduran junta would … leave the country with an illegitimate and corrupt government”
  • These are ideas that are not within acceptable limits of discussion of most media.

    4 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 40/Updated”

    1. Nell said

      These are ideas that are not within acceptable limits of discussion of most media.

      Guess that’s why they had to ‘balance’ them with the Chavez nonsense. (Far from threatening anything, Chavez is quoted today at an African Union summit as predicting that Zelaya won’t be restored.)

      Thanks and congratulations on the great job you and Doug and Adrienne did on the Zelaya cabinet doc. Wonder if Sec. Clinton could use a copy? ;>

      • Charles II said

        Nell says Wonder if Sec. Clinton could use a copy? ;>

        ::chuckle::

        Only if you can figure a way to move it across the impermeable barrier over her eyes, Nell.

        Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if White’s comment about Chavez wasn’t included mostly to get it published. But maybe he is that obtuse.

    2. Nell said

      wrt Ian Kelly’s fancy footsteps: I commented on this at RAJ’s, the hints that some other agency is holding up the train.

      But I think it’s smoke to cover the Secretary’s exposed rear end. And good for Arshad the reporter.

      Do you have a link to the briefing? When I last checked the State site, they only had them up through August.

      • Charles II said

        Agh. I have added the link.

        One can find the link by clicking on Honduras in the upper right of the entry page, where it lists all the countries. That supposedly has all references to Honduras.

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