Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act IV, Day 15

Posted by Charles II on October 5, 2009


Olga Osiris Ucles

Honduras Laboral reports another death from chemical agents, Olga Osiris Ucles, a 35-year old mother of four (above).

The Quixote Center has a report discussing some of the issues involved in the attack on the embassy.

However, in what now appears to have been a targeted attack on individuals inside the Embassy, on Friday, September 25th several people reported similar symptoms; nasal bleeding, blood in stools, coughing up blood and severe throat irritations. It was first suspected that this may have been the result of a chemical weapon however symptoms did not affect everyone inside the Embassy. Further investigation suggests that these symptoms may have been caused by a sophisticated experimental weapon, called a Maser. Apparently this weapon sends a microwave beam, similar to a laser beam that impacts the cell functioning of those exposed to its effects.

Maybe. The symptoms sounded a lot more like a chemical agent. The truth is that technically-savvy people need to go down there and find out what the regime is using.

Radio Globo is reading the names of resistencia people who have been murdered, threatened, etc. Journalist short to death, professor shot to death, Pedro Magdiel Munoz tortured and stabbed repeatedly, on and on.

Tiempo says that Micheletti is forcing Radio Globo and Channel 36 to request permission from the courts to be allowed to broadcast again. Vos el Soberano reports that Micheletti has promised to punish those who expelled Zelaya.

Via Magbana of HondurasOye, Habla Honduras reports that Professor Fernando Henríquez Conejeros of Venezuela filed a complaint against Micheletti and the coupistas at the Hague.

DemocracyNow had an interview of Zelaya, but the telephones were so thoroughly disrupted that it was difficult to make sense of the verbal exchange. The transcript, with emphases added:

PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I’m concerned that this is starting a process of further coups d’état throughout Latin America.
AMY GOODMAN: President Zelaya, what are you demanding right now?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] We’re calling for dialogue, but the de facto president has responded by just restricting liberties. [inaudible]
ANJALI KAMAT: President Zelaya, if you could talk about whether there are going to be talks between your representatives and representatives of the coup government led by Roberto Micheletti? This is the latest news we’ve heard from the Organization of American States.
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] The OAS is taking an active role to establish the dialogue, and we’ve decided on three points of negotiation to ensure that it is a good-faith negotiation and settlement. First, the Arias proposal needs to be signed onto immediately. Secondly, we need to create follow-up commissions and monitoring commissions for the Arias proposal. And thirdly, international verification commissions must also be able to work with national verifying missions.
AMY GOODMAN: President Zelaya, what does the Arias accord call for? And what is your stance on that, and what is Micheletti’s?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I’m inviting all parties to immediately sign onto the San Jose Accords, with the presence of the chancellors of Latin American countries. I’m also calling for the accord to create and include a verification commission.
ANJALI KAMAT: President Micheletti—I’m so sorry, President Zelaya, if you could respond to the recent visit by four Republican lawmakers? Senator DeMint and three Republican congressmen visited Honduras last week. They met with Micheletti. Have you had any contact with any US lawmakers?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] No. I wasn’t aware of their visit, nor do I have a comment about their position. If they came to support the coup d’état, I think they’re committing a grave mistake.
AMY GOODMAN: And your assessment of the support that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have given you in attempting to return as the democratically elected president of Honduras? Do you think they have done enough?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] Well, I think the US has done a great deal, but I do think that the US could do more.
AMY GOODMAN: What? What could the US do?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I think it could call for a trade embargo. It could take commercial measures in that regard. I think that it could freeze bank accounts of the coup leaders and coup supporters.
I also think that it would be good that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton and the ambassador have made a great effort to make the coup leaders understand that they don’t support this procedure—that is, the coup—to resolve the problems. Nonetheless, I don’t think that they’ve done enough, and clearly, these have not been sufficient measures to undo the coup d’état. The United States needs to show and declare the coup d’état a military coup d’état, call it by that name. With regard to the human rights violations in the last hundred days, those, too, need to be denounced.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to the ousted president Manuel Zelaya. He has made it back into Honduras and has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Honduran troops are outside. At times, they are shooting tear gas. Anjali?
ANJALI KAMAT: Can you describe what it’s been like inside the embassy? Can you describe the scene?
We have been repressed and limited to the embassy. Tear gas has been fired. Our electronic lines, our telephone lines have been cut. We’ve also been under attack from microwaves and the sound cannon, a long-range acoustic device.
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] There are two kinds of unconventional weapons that have been used against us by the regime. There’s a high-frequency pitch that has been used against protesters. And another weapon that has been used against us is an electronic device that issues microwaves, which is very harmful for your health. It causes headaches.
AMY GOODMAN: As president, do you know about this in the Honduran arsenal?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] Yes, of course. We all suffered this. We all witnessed it. There’s photographs and videos of this occurring.
AMY GOODMAN: And who is using this outside—the tear gas, the sound cannon, whatever you call it, the high-frequency machine? Is it Honduran soldiers?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] There are military forces that have surrounded the embassy. The embassy, in fact, has been turned into a concentration camp.
ANJALI KAMAT: President Zelaya, I want to turn back to the question of how the US has responded to your return. The US representative to the Organization for American States described your return to Tegucigalpa as, quote, “foolish and irresponsible.” What’s your response to that?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I think that that statement is an unfortunate personal opinion. I don’t think it recognizes or acknowledges my efforts and the sacrifices I’ve made and the peaceful efforts that I’ve made to reinstall democracy in this country. I think that the Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama’s statements are the ones that I will consider to be the US position.
ANJALI KAMAT: President Zelaya, I want to turn to some of the news reports that came out when you first came into the Brazilian embassy. The Miami Herald on September 24th quoted you as talking about the presence of Israeli mercenaries. And I wanted to ask you about this, because this has now become a big issue, with the Anti-Defamation League and the Wall Street Journal accusing you of being anti-Semitic. Can you respond to these allegations?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] I believe that that is a campaign that is just trying to smear my image as a politician. In my government, I was criticized for including important leaders from the Honduran civil society who practice the Jewish religion. Mr. Jaime Rosenthal and Yani Rosenthal were some of my principal economic advisers and are, in fact, fluent in Hebrew.I don’t believe in racial or religious discrimination at all. I’ve always shown solidarity with the Jewish diaspora and always taken a stand against the crimes against humanity that were committed during the Holocaust. I believe that tolerance has always characterized my time here on earth in the last fifty-seven years, and I think that speaks eloquently and certainly rebuffs any of those accusations.
AMY GOODMAN: President Zelaya, we just have thirty seconds. Your final message as you speak to us from the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa?
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] Thank you to Democracy Now! Thank you for covering our situation. And thank you to Andrés Thomas [Conteris]. I want you to know that our spirit is strong, and we will achieve peace in Honduras, and we will roll back the coup d’état.
Radio Globo says that things are fine if not particularly comfortable in the embassy. Cold water, poor communication, and the noise (presumably of the LRAD). Ariela of Radio Globo complain that the station’s web page is being sabotaged and that there’s a “problem” with the phone lines. According a journalist, Claudia Valladares, Micheletti says that the Executive Decree has been repealed [apparently, not effective till tomorrow]. Ariela says there have been a lot of deaths. Claudia says Hondurans are getting deported at a brisk rate from the US. The Electoral Court has met and seems to be en marche to November elections.

Tiempo: The IMF has said it won’t provide any money until “democratic normality” is restored. What that means is not entirely clear.

State Department bobblehead theater, in which we learn that the US Embassy in Honduras has plenty of time to chauffeur Republican Congressman, but not enough to visit Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy:

QUESTION: Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, is going to meet Micheletti, the de facto president of Honduras. Can we assume that that comes against the wishes of the Administration?

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, it’s not for us to tell members of Congress what to do. I mean, you probably saw over the weekend that Senator DeMint went to Tegucigalpa on – I guess it was on Friday, and along with Representative Roskam – Representatives Roskam, Lamborn, and Shock. They met with members of de facto regime, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Election Tribunal, and also with some members of civil society. Those meetings were arranged directly with the de facto regime. The U.S. Embassy did not set them up.

And I would imagine it would be the same thing for Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen too. We do provide logistical support, as we always do, for visiting members of Congress in terms of transportation and security protection and things like that. But we didn’t have involvement in setting up these meetings.

QUESTION: In general, do you take the dim view of actions that would seem to convey recognition on Micheletti?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know what our policy is. And the policy of the Executive Branch is that we don’t recognize the de facto regime down there. But our focus is on coming to a resolution of this conflict between the duly elected President Zelaya and this de facto regime. So that’s where our focus is. There’s a OAS mission that’s scheduled to arrive there on the 7th. And this is all part of, as I say, where our focus is – trying to find a negotiated solution.

QUESTION: So the Embassy did provide these visiting lawmakers with transport – they picked them up at the airport and —

MR. KELLY: That’s my understanding.

QUESTION: — ferried them around town?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So they drove them to these meetings?

MR. KELLY: (Laughter.) Where are you going with this, Matt?

QUESTION: I’m just curious.

MR. KELLY: I believe so. That’s my understanding.

QUESTION: But on the idea that you’re continuing to call for a negotiated solution, we really don’t hear that much about the call for President Zelaya to return to finish out his term. I mean, is that still your position?

MR. KELLY: Absolutely.

QUESTION: For the remainder of his term? Or isn’t it true that you’re trying to find a way where he can come in for like, five minutes and then get —

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know. The leading role is the OAS here. And our position has been unwavering that we support the return of the democratically elected president.

QUESTION: For the remainder of his full term?

MR. KELLY: You know –

QUESTION: That was your position about a month ago.

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know if it was our position. But we support the OAS effort in this regard. And the O – and there is unanimous opinion among the OAS as well that we need to restore the constitutionally, democratically elected president.

QUESTION: But not for the full term, though.

MR. KELLY: Well, that’s all being worked out. I would assume it’s the full term, but it’s an OAS issue next.


6 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act IV, Day 15”

  1. NPR continued the news blackout on Honduras, but it did find time this morning to broadcast an interview with a handful of hunger strikers protesting far less egregious behavior by Hugo Chavez in Caracas.

    • Charles II said

      The only thing on public radio that was really important to me was DemocracyNow, which can be had over cable or satellite, albeit at less convenient hours. I keep looking at their fundraiser and wondering why I am giving money. Presumably so that people who don’t get cable or satellite can listen to their one useful program.

  2. Ovid said

    Charles, I know you didn’t say otherwise, but it’s probably good to put aside all assumptions in considering what weapon might have been used on the people in the embassy. Military officers, like kids, want to play with their newest toys, and they have the added excuse of wanting to know if they work. The problem in figuring out what was used is that they have so many new toys all the time.

    • Charles II said

      It’s an interesting paper, Ovid, but it doesn’t change my mind. As it discusses, microwaves heat things, so chronic exposure is easily detectable as a fever. They also are not very good at penetrating walls.

      The symptoms reported after the events of the 25th, I think it was, were very notable. Among them were epistaxis, vomiting, diarrhea, and hematuria. Hematuria is particularly troubling, since it suggests involvement of the kidneys, or at least of the clotting system, and probably represents a life-threatening situation. A number of the symptoms are consistent with Adamsite exposure (diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting). Nerve agents like sarin tend to have effects on vision, convulsions, and paralysis, which were not observed.

      Obviously when people are anxious and are suffering from mild tear gas exposure, and in a country where food poisoning is just part of the daily routine, people can think they are feeling symptoms of an attack when there are alternate explanations. But the symptoms go beyond that. So, I think it’s almost certain there was some kind of attack, probably a blended one to make it less obvious. A maser could have been part of that. But the Quixote Center lists no basis for reaching the conclusion it presents and nothing that I have seen suggests that a maser could cause symptoms like epistaxis, hematuria, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  3. Ovid said

    tks charles

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