Honduran National Resistance Update – 9/29
NOTE: I will be on jury duty tomorrow, but if there are things you would like me to include in a late night update tomorrow nite, just post a comment.
>MILITARY ASKS FOR HONDURANS TO FIND PEACEFUL SOLUTION
By FREDDY CUEVAS (AP) – 2 hours ago
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The general who oversaw the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya implored all sectors of Honduran society to join in resolving the country’s deepening crisis Tuesday, a message that seemed aimed at calming an uproar over a government order suspending civil liberties.
Gen. Romeo Vasquez’s comments on Channel 5 television came hours after interim President Roberto Micheletti said he would accept congressional calls for him to reverse the emergency decree suspending civil liberties that he had announced on Sunday.
But little had changed on Tuesday. Two critical broadcasters remained shuttered and police faced off with about 500 demonstrators who sat in the middle of a street after officers blocked them from marching.
Micheletti also said he would allow an Organization of American States team whose arrival was blocked this weekend. The OAS hopes to persuade the coup leaders to bow to international demands they reinstate Zelaya, who was arrested and expelled from the country on June 28.
Micheletti’s backpedalling reflected the largest public show of dissent within the ranks of his supporters to date. Conservatives expressed fear that Sunday’s decree would endanger the Nov. 29 presidential election, which they consider Honduras’ best hope for regaining international recognition.
The message by Vasquez seemed aimed at easing domestic and international protests that escalated after the government imposed the restrictions in response to Zelaya’s surprise return home.
The decree suspended freedoms of speech and assembly and allowed warrantless arrests. Officials also closed dissident television and radio stations and expelled OAS employees.
“I am sure that Hondurans will find a peaceful solution soon to the crisis we are facing,” Vasquez said, adding that “All sectors of society should put aside their differences to unite the homeland.”
Zelaya, speaking via telephone to a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York said the decree was proof that the interim government “is a fascist dictatorship that has repressed the Honduran people.”
The interim government said the measures were needed to counter calls for an uprising by Zelaya’s supporters ahead of the three-month anniversary of the June 28 coup.
The reversals came in a roller-coaster 24 hours.
Micheletti first gave the Brazilian government a 10-day ultimatum to get rid of Zelaya — who has been holed up at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa since sneaking back into the country Sept. 21 — warning Brazil it would have to take down its flag and remove the embassy crest. Then on Monday, Micheletti said he wanted to send “a big hug” to Brazil’s president and pledged nothing would happen to the diplomatic mission.
Micheletti also announced late Monday that he would soon cancel the measures and that an OAS delegation would be welcome to help mediate talks scheduled for early October. Micheletti said his decision came after talking to congressional leaders, who were concerned about the decree’s effect on the election, in which all the major candidates oppose Zelaya’s policies.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who mediated U.S.-backed talks between the two sides, commended Micheletti for saying he would reverse the decree, but he criticized him for refusing to budge on reinstating Zelaya.
Speaking at a business forum in Miami, Arias said Micheletti “has not moved an inch” in negotiations to return Zelaya to power with limited authority — a plan brokered by Arias. He warned that the results of the November presidential election in Honduras will not be recognized unless the terms of his San Jose Accord are met.
The decree was declared as Zelaya called for a “final offensive” against the government, and Micheletti said pro-Zelaya media outlets were calling for violence. One of the closed broadcasters, Radio Globo, was transmitting on the Internet Tuesday, a day after police raided its offices raided and confiscated equipment.
All the drama belied the fact that throughout three long months, demonstrations by both sides have been largely peaceful. The government says three people have been killed since the coup, while protesters put the number at 10.
On most days, pro-Zelaya marches have been accompanied by mocking “Goriletti” gorilla dolls dancing on poles, while the Jesus Aguilar Paz School band beats out a samba-like “punto” rhythm from Honduras’ Garifuna region, sending protesters into hip-swaying dances.
But in deeply divided Honduras, even the high school band is split: the more conservative horn section quit, while the drums renamed themselves “The Band of the Resistance” and have marched in about five dozen protests to demand Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson in Tegucigalpa contributed to this report.
>Radio Globo reported that two Israelis are instrumental in assisting the golpistas in the application of toxic gases at the Brazilian embassy. Article in Spanish:
>Business people in Honduras came up with an idea to break the current deadlock: continue the coup without the golpistas! Article in Spanish, but check out a separate post I did about this earlier this evening.
>Al Giordano has the 411 down-low on mean mouth US Ambassador to the OAS, Lew Anselem.
This update features UN Speeches and Action Alerts
>UN SPEECHES : Links to summary and video of Honduran Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas’ speech to the UN yesterday and a link to a news article regarding President Zelaya’s phone call to the UN yesterday regarding the situation in Honduras.
>Calls for action regarding Honduras from CISPES and from ALBA Movimientos in coordination with El Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado
GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 64th SESSION (2009) - HONDURAS Statement, September 28, 2009 H.E. Ms. Patricia Isabel Rodas Baca, Minister for Foreign Affairs speech summary - Video: English [RealPlayer, 36 min] (As delivered) Ousted Honduran president calls UN for help by mobile phonePosted : Tue, 29 Sep 2009 04:05:18 GMT >>ACTION ALERTS FROM: CISPES - NATIONAL OFFICE
|Honduras: Call the State Department Today to Demand the New Foreign Policy Obama Promised! U.S. State Department Blames Honduran President Zelaya for Military Coup’s Brutal Violence against Civilians On Sept 21, President Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras, taking refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. The Honduran military, under the command of the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti, immediately began to attack the Embassy with tear gas and other chemicals. Violations of international law have continued, including cutting off electricity, water and food, drawing recent condemnation by the U.N. Security council. Even worse, the military has dramatically increased violence against the civilian population demonstrating in support of the legitimate president Zelaya (watch a video here). Among other deaths, Wendy Elizabeth Avila was killed by tear gas intoxication during the violent displacement of protesters outside the Brazilian embassy on September 22. International human rights groups have documented assassinations, torture and rape of regime opponents since the coup on June 28. On September 26, coup leader Micheletti signed an executive order that suspends all Constitutional guarantees for 45 days, including freedom of the press and freedom to assemble. This decree prohibits meetings and demonstrations that do not have the permission of the military. Following the order, various independent radio and television stations have been shut down, in some cases violently. Rather than denouncing the clear human rights violations by the Honduran military, the Obama administration had remained silent. As Mark Weisbrot, Director Center for Economic and Policy Research stated, "After 90 days and not one word from the Obama administration on the abuses in Honduras, it looks an awful lot like a tacit endorsement of the repression by the U.S. government.” (Read the press release from CEPR here or breaking news from the journalist Laura Carlsen of Americas Policy Program here) Yesterday the State Department broke its silence, but not with the condemnation and swift action the Honduran people have been calling for. Instead, officials from the U.S. State Department blamed Zelaya of for the violence being waged on the Honduran people. Lewis Amselem, interim U.S. representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) stated, “The return was irresponsible… Zelaya and those who facilitated his return are responsible for the actions of their followers.” Please join individuals and organizations across the country in denouncing the State Department's tacit endorsement of the coup regime! This is far from the “new” foreign policy that Obama promised; in fact it is a terrifying throw back to U.S.-supported coups in Latin American and the brutal military violence that has ensued (several top military officials in Honduras were trained by the United States at the School of the Americas). The State Department should take immediate and decisive action against the de facto regime, declare the situation in Honduras a MILITARY coup, and cut all aid to Honduras as required by law. 1. Call the State Department comment line at 202-647-4000 or write President Barack Obama and urge the administration to: A.) Call for a return of Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras and demand that the coup authorities, the army and the police respect the right to assembly and the human rights of the citizens of Honduras. B.) Emphasize that any bloodshed and violence is the responsibility of the coup government and the security forces which they command. 2. Call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Representative and Senators (or send an email to your Senators and Representative) with the same message. Also encourage your Representatives to sign on to the Delahunt-Serrano-McGovern House Resolution 630 condemning the June 28 military coup in Honduras.|
|If you no longer wish to receive our emails, you may unsubscibe here Â© 2009 CISPES - The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador CISPES National Office | ph. 202-521-2510 | 1525 Newton St. NW, Wash. DC 20010| firstname.lastname@example.org|
International Day of Solidarity with the Honduran people: against the State Coup, for the restitution of democracy and the Constituent Assembly Outraged by the State coup in Honduras and the repression of the Honduran people carried out by the de facto dictatorship, we – organizations and social movements, members of regional and global campaigns and networks – are calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the Honduran people, to be held simultaneously on the 2nd October, following on from the actions we have been carrying out since the 28th June. We call on all of you to: 1. Organise actions in front of United Nations (UN) bodies, the United States embassy or consulates as well as representations of the Latin American Business Council in your countries (check names of the board members and national chapter at http://www.ceal-int.org); 2. Carry out demonstrations, concerts, ecumenical celebrations, press conferences, events etc, engaging celebrities, activists, intellectuals, parliamentarians, artists, religious leaders and other people who can attract the attention of the mass media in order to share information and denounce the situation in Honduras; 3. Denounce and boycott the companies related to the coup leaders 4. Send letters to the UN, the European Union, the Organisation of American States, the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) demanding urgent action and strong pressure against the coup government in Honduras and the immediate restitution of democracy and the legitimate president Manuel Zelaya; 5. To take advantage of these initiatives and activities in each country to constitute national, provincial, municipal, local and district solidarity committees with Honduras and contribute with campaigns of information and communication, of political pressure and of fundraising in solidarity with the resistance We also call you to mobilise celebrities, activists, intellectuals, parliamentarians, artists, and religious leaders who can attract the attention of the mass media to follow in solidarity our Honduran brothers and sisters in resistance, making a special effort to participate in the First International Meeting against the State Coup and for the Constituent Assembly, to be held from the 8th to 10th October, in Tegucigalpa (email@example.com, see attached). AGAINST THE STATE COUP AND FOR THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY! HONDURAS IS NOT ALONE! Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and adhesion to this call. For news on the events and initiatives, write email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
>VIDEO: DEMOCRACY NOW INTERVIEW REGARDING HONDURAS WITH DR. LUTHER CASTILLO (from Washington, DC) and Andres Contreris – Americas Program Director with Nonviolence Int’l. (from inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa). Link above takes you directly to the beginning of the interviews (at 9:41 minutes).
Here is the background that was provided on Democracy Now’s website:
Internal Pressure Forces Honduran Coup Regime to Reverse Civil Liberties Crackdown, But Repression Continues
The Honduran coup regime has been forced to reverse a harsh crackdown on civil liberties amidst growing protests for the restoration of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya. But Honduran forces still blocked a large protest march and shut down two media outlets that have criticized the coup regime.
Meanwhile a top US diplomat criticized the coup regime’s decision but then turned around to issue a harsh condemnation of ousted Zelaya. We go to Honduras to speak with Andres Contreras from inside the embassy where Zelaya is hiding and speak to Luther Castillo, a Honduran doctor who is in Washington to speak with U.S. lawmakers.
The coup regime in Honduras appears to be backing off its attempt to shut down protests and limit free speech amidst growing protests for the restoration of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya. ?On Sunday, the coup government of Roberto Micheletti announced a 45-day decree that imposed sweeping restrictions on civil liberties, including banning unauthorized public meetings, allowing the government to shut down broadcasters and giving police the authority to make arrests without warrants.
After congressional leaders warned they would not approve the decree, Micheletti gave a televised news conference Monday evening asking for “forgiveness from the Honduran people” and said he would lift the decree “as quickly as possible.” ?Earlier that day, masked police officers and soldiers shut down two media outlets that have criticized the coup regime. Government forces also cordoned off a street to prevent a march of several hundred supporters of ousted president Zelaya.
Zelaya has remained in the Brazilian embassy since defiantly returning to Honduras one week ago. The Micheletti government has now given Brazil a ten-day deadline to hand over Zelaya or face the embassy’s closure. The coup regime issued the threat as its soldiers continued to surround the embassy and limit the delivery of supplies. Brazil has rejected the ultimatum and says Zelaya will stay as long as he needs. Brazil’s representative to the Organization of American States, Ruy De Lima Casaes E Silva, warned of the severity of the crisis.
The coup regime on Monday refused entry to a delegation from the Organization of American States that had come to seek a negotiated solution to the crisis. Speaking in Washington, the US ambassador to the OAS, Lewis Amselem, criticized the coup regime’s decision but then turned around to issue a harsh condemnation of ousted Zelaya.?
On Monday night, Zelaya addressed the United Nations General Assembly via a mobile phone that his foreign minister held up at the podium.
Andres Conteris, Program on the Americas director for Nonviolence International. He worked as a human rights advocate in Honduras from 1994 to 1999 and is a co-producer of Hidden in Plain Sight, a documentary film about US policy in Latin America and the School of the Americas. He also works at Democracy Now! en Español.
Dr. Luther Castillo, indigenous physician from the Atlantic Coast of Honduras. He founded the first hospital and health center in that region–the Garifuna Rural Hospital–after studying at the Latin American Medical School in Havana, Cuba. He is also secretary of communications for the National Resistance Front Against the Coup in Honduras. Shortly before the coup he had been named director of International Cooperation in the Honduran Foreign Ministry.
>THE NEW YORK TIMES
September 29, 2009
Honduras Shuts Down Media Outlets, Then Relents
By ELISABETH MALKIN and GINGER THOMPSON
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras The de facto government backed off Monday from its attempt to shut down protests and limit free speech after congressional leaders warned that they would not support the measure.
The revolt by Congress, the first public fracture in the coalition that ousted President Manuel Zelaya three months ago, showed that the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, faces limits on his power to crack down on dissent.
In an extraordinary televised news conference Monday evening, Mr. Micheletti asked for “forgiveness from the Honduran people” and said he would ask the Supreme Court to lift the decree “as quickly as possible.”
But the government’s reversal came on the same day that the United States sent mixed messages about the crisis, comments that critics said could embolden the coup-imposed government.
The Micheletti government announced the decree Sunday night, imposing sweeping restrictions on civil liberties. The decree allowed the government to shut down broadcasters and ban unauthorized public meetings, and let the police detain suspects without warrants.
Early Monday, masked police officers took over a television station and soldiers formed a barricade around a radio station, shutting down two media outlets that had been the principal voices of opposition to the June 28 coup that ousted Mr. Zelaya.
Later, hundreds of police officers cordoned off either side of a street where several hundred protesters had gathered for a march that Mr. Zelaya, who secretly slipped back into the country last week, had billed as a final offensive. His supporters appeared to have been scared off, and the march was prevented.
But by midafternoon, the congressional leadership arrived at the presidential palace to tell Mr. Micheletti that Congress would not approve the decree, which Honduran law requires it to do.
“We need to lower the pressure, and all begin to calm down so that we can have a dialogue,” said José Alfredo Saavedra, the president of Congress and a member of the delegation that met with Mr. Micheletti.
The American response to the decree on Monday was somewhat equivocal. The State Department condemned the government’s actions. “I think it’s time for the de facto regime to put down the shovel,” said a spokesman, Philip J. Crowley. “With every action, they keep on making the hole deeper.”
But at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, where diplomats met in an emergency session to discuss the Micheletti government’s expulsion of four of its diplomats on Sunday, the American envoy reserved his strongest condemnation for Mr. Zelaya.
W. Lewis Amselem, the acting American representative, called Mr. Zelaya “irresponsible and foolish” for returning to Honduras before a negotiated settlement was reached.
“The president should stop acting as though he were starring in an old movie,” Mr. Amselem said.
Chris Sabatini, an analyst at the Council of the Americas, said that the United States was embarrassed at being linked to Mr. Zelaya, “a dangerously capricious leader.” But he said the mixed messages, which he said have characterized the American response since the coup, could also be an attempt “to soften Micheletti’s position by showing that they are even-handed.”
“The effect is, however, that the United States looks a little weak-kneed before the de facto government,” he said.
José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch said that if the United States was trying to spread the blame, the strategy was not working. “It has the effect of defusing the pressure,” he said. “Micheletti is the one who is taking away freedoms to an outrageous degree and the United States needs to be focusing all its attention on him.”
Despite international condemnation and an aid cutoff, the Micheletti government has gambled that it can hold out until scheduled elections go ahead on Nov. 29 and a new president takes office in January.
But Mr. Zelaya’s return to Honduras, where he has taken refuge in the Brazilian Embassy, seems to have forced Mr. Micheletti’s hand, drawing him into taking ever more severe and self-isolating measures.
On Saturday, the de facto government told diplomats from Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela to turn in their credentials if their nations did not recognize the Micheletti government.
On Sunday, the government turned back four diplomats from the O.A.S. who had arrived to begin setting up a visit of foreign ministers from O.A.S. countries. It threatened to shut down Brazil’s embassy within 10 days if Brazil did not either turn over Mr. Zelaya for trial or grant him asylum, a threat Brazil rebuffed.
The congressional response to the decree appears to reflect differences in strategy within the governing coalition, if not in the final goal. While the government seemed willing to disregard international opprobrium in its efforts to muzzle the opposition, the main parties in Congress have a strong interest in finding a political way out of the crisis.
The leaders who confronted Mr. Micheletti on Monday appeared to be concerned that the decree went too far and would undercut the legitimacy of the election and jeopardize the reinstatement of foreign aid, which had accounted for 20 percent of the country’s budget.
The United States and other countries have suggested that they will not recognize a new president elected under the existing political conditions. The emergency decree, which was to have expired just two weeks before the elections, made it much less likely that the elections would be seen as free and fair.
Over the past week, a few tentative steps at negotiations have begun. Four presidential candidates met with Mr. Zelaya at the Brazilian Embassy and the auxiliary archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda, has been meeting with both sides.
On Monday evening, the Micheletti government also announced that it would welcome another O.A.S. visit next week.
Elisabeth Malkin reported from Tegucigalpa, and Ginger Thompson from Washington.
>U. S. State Department
Statement on Honduras, Ian Kelly – Department Spokesman, Washington, DC, September 28, 2009
The United States views with grave concern the decree issued by the de facto regime in Honduras suspending fundamental civil and political rights. In response to strong popular opposition, the regime has indicated that it is considering rescinding the decree. We call on the de facto regime to do so immediately.
The freedoms inherent in the suspended rights are inalienable and cannot be limited or restricted without seriously damaging the democratic aspirations of the Honduran people.
At this important moment in Honduran history, we urge all political leaders to commit themselves to a process of dialogue that will produce an enduring and peaceful resolution of the current crisis.
We also urge the de facto regime and President Zelaya to make use of the good will and solidarity extended by President Arias of Costa Rica, the Organization of American States, and other members of the international community to help facilitate, within the framework of the San Jose talks, such a resolution.
In this regard, we remind the de facto regime of its obligations under the Vienna Conventions to respect diplomatic premises and personnel, and those under their protection. Abiding by these obligations is a necessary component of the dialogue between and among nations, and builds the practices of engagement, tolerance, and understanding necessary for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
>OAS Meeting on Honduras – September 28, 2009
If you want to see an international body do everything but deal with international issues, these videos are for you. First, is the OAS full Council meeting. Second video is Sec.-Gen., Jose Miguel Insulza giving a press conference. In Spanish and English, depending on who’s speaking.
>Monday, September 28, 2009
The use of chemical, electromagnetic and sonic weapons by the security forces of the de facto regime, specifically those used in the Brazilian Embassy, are prohibited by the Geneva Convention of 1997.
The parabolic dish the coup “security” forces directed against the resistance is apparently known as HSS (Hyper Sonic Sound). This has been used by the U.S. Army in Iraq since 2004, and the Israeli Zionist army in 2005 in the Gaza Strip.
The HSS and VMAD (Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System) form part of the new arsenal of the United States Army and are considered “nonlethal” weapons, however, these weapons can be lethal depending on the effect intended by its operator. The HSS can make targeted people feel they are hearing voices, in addition to induce vomiting and fainting. The VMADS produce a burning sensation on the skin, while under the electromagnetic wave emanating from such a weapon.
Of course, the Geneva Convention has been violated systematically by the United States during the last decades. The HSS was put into use with prisoners at Guantanamo, before its use in Irak.
The HSS is produced by the American Technology Corp, of San Diego California (http://www.atcsd.com/site/). It is necessary to ask when it was acquired by the Honduran “security” forces, and if the acquisition was recent, we must also ask on what grounds the United States exported these instruments of torture. .
The fourth generation war (asymmetrical war) being launched against the Honduran people will bring to light the loss of vision in the enjoyment of human rights and the ambiguous position of the Clinton-Obama administration, which to date, after promoting the coup have avoided taking the necessary steps to return democratic rule to the country.
Of course Obama will avoid the topic, now that the U.S. Justice Department is in the hands of the lawyer Erick Holder (the only afro-descendant person on his cabinet), recent defender of Chiquita (Tela Rail Road) in the case of the multi-million dollar payment the company made to Colombian paramilitaries and the use of the company pier to unload the weapons used in the massacres perpetrated by the AUC. As Secretary of Justice, Holder has avoided the closing of Guantanamo and eluded the prosecution of CIA agents that institutionalized waterboarding as a method of prisoner interrogation.
Rumors are circulating in the City of Tegucigalpa of the presence of Zionist Israel B. Ziv, who was contracted as the adviser for Plan Colombia, Georgia and recently who has worked on counterinsurgency in Peru. Ziv is an owner of the company Global CST, with headquarters in Petaj Tikva, Israel, and offers services on national security strategies, reconstruction of public forces, and the development of intelligence systems and training of elite commandos.
It is important to document the effects of the so-called “non-lethal” arms utilized against the Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya Rosales and the people who are accompanying him within the Brazilian Embassy, including members of the resistance. After Irak and Gaza, Honduras has become a laboratory of war and social annihilation by the U.S. and its puppet Israel
Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans, OFRANEH
Teléfono (504) 4420618, (504) 4500058
Av 14 julio, calle 19, Contiguo Vivero Flor Tropical, Barrio Alvarado, La Ceiba, Honduras
>About two hours ago, Radio Globo called for the people of Honduras to demonstrate in front of its offices.http://contraelgolpedeestadohn.blogspot.com
>Carlos Reyes, independent candidate, withdraws from presidential race saying that conditions for holding election are not good. (“Carlos H. Reyes está considerando retiro,” Políticas 29 Septiembre, 2009” ttp://www.latribuna.hn/web2.0/?p=45923)