Honduran National Resistance Update 10/22
>From Honduras Coup 2009 on Micheletti’s latest proposal, “What Micheletti Wants: Recognition before Restitution”
>Pumping up the volume, literally, at the Brazilian embassy – Tortilla Con Sal has the 411 (in Spanish)
WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Honduran authorities organizing a presidential election in the midst of a political crisis insisted on Thursday they can hold a free and fair vote even if the elected incumbent is a refugee in a foreign embassy.
The three-member Supreme Electoral Tribunal, visiting Washington to tout the neutrality of the Nov. 29 vote, said the ballot box is the best way to resolve the crisis caused by President Manuel Zelaya’s ouster in a June coup.
But the United States, the European Union and Latin American governments have condemned the coup and are demanding that Zelaya be returned to power to finish his term.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has yet to decide whether it will recognize the election as legitimate if Zelaya is not restored before the vote.
Jose Saul Escobar, the electoral body’s president, said he hoped there would be a political settlement between Zelaya and the de facto government that replaced him, but that Honduras needs to elect the next president due to take office in January to preserve democratic rule.
“The majority of Hondurans want the elections to go ahead to resolve the crisis,” he said in Washington.
More than 118,000 poll workers have been trained to staff voting stations with U.S. funding, said David Andres Matamoros, one of the three Honduras electoral officials, who met with State Department officials on Wednesday.
“The government of the United States is following a two-track policy: they support the negotiation of a political deal, but are also backing the election process,” he said.
Zelaya was exiled by soldiers on June 28 after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest. His critics accuse him of violating the constitution by seeking support for re-election, a charge he denies.
Zelaya returned secretly a month ago and is holed up in the Brazilian embassy to avoid arrest. Negotiations have stalled over the de facto government’s refusal to allow him to resume the presidency.
Washington suspended the visas of more senior figures in the de facto government on Wednesday to press for a settlement.
Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank, said a political deal allowing Zelaya to return to office or back to political life in Honduras was the best option.
“But that does not mean this crisis has to go on for ever if there is no agreement,” Hakim said. “Obviously, an election is a way to solve a crisis, though it’s way second best.” (Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Editing by Kieran Murray)”
The National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’ETat in Honduras communicates to the Honduran population and the international community:
1. We denounce the manipulative acts and delay tactics with which the de facto regime tries to buy time and get to the electoral farse of November 29th without having re-established the institutional order and without having returned to his post the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
2. We reiterate that the Honduran people will not recognize the campaign and the results of the electoral process of the 29th of November while the dictatorial regime that the oligarchy sustains through armed force continues.
3. We condemn the disinformation campaign carried out by the media in service of the oligarchy through which they attempt to present the National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat as a violent organization. We reiterate that the methods of peaceful struggle are the only ones that we have used throughout 115 days of resistance.
4. We denounce the economic crisis through which the de facto regime is taking us and which is provoking an increase in the levels of poverty of the population.
5. We express our indignation at the continuation of the repression by the police and military bodies of the State, which is expressed in assassinations of militants of the Resistance, actions of intimidation and surrounding the marches and rallies, the illiegal and immoral juridical processes which persecute and jail our sisters and brothers and, more recently, the actions of harassment and intimidation against teachers throughout the country.
6. We reiterate our unbreakable will to install a democratic and popular National Constitutional Assembly with which we will refound the country and rescue it from a minority economic class that exploits the working class.
“AT 115 DAYS OF STRUGGLE, HERE NOBODY IS GIVING UP”
Tegucigalpa, Honduras October 20th, 2009
>”On Wednesday, Honduran police announced further restrictions on protests, saying they must be authorized by the government 24 hours in advance with a request detailing the people in charge and the time and route the march will take, in an effort to quell near daily rallies in favor of Zelaya.” Full article follows. (See Honduras Coup 2009 for more background on these restrictions.)
By Mica Rosenberg
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduras’ de facto leaders blasted loud music outside the embassy where Manuel Zelaya is sheltering on Wednesday and refused to buckle under increased pressure from Washington for the ousted president’s return.
Talks to resolve the political crisis in Honduras sparked by a June 28 coup are deadlocked over whether leftist Zelaya can be reinstated to power.
“One side of the dialogue has all the privileges and advantages and the other legitimately elected side is totally repressed,” Zelaya told local radio station from inside the Brazilian Embassy where he took refuge last month after returning from exile.
Police said they found two unexploded grenades in a shopping center near the hotel in Tegucigalpa where the crisis talks are being held. The grenades were safely removed and no one was injured.
Overnight, the caretaker government sent the army to play loud rock music, military band tunes, church bells and recordings of pig grunts over loudspeakers outside the embassy, a Reuters photographer inside the embassy said.
Zelaya called it “torture.”
The crisis in Honduras has become a headache for President Barack Obama, who had pledged better relations with Latin America.
Regional governments worry Obama is not doing enough to pressure Honduras’ de facto leader Roberto Micheletti, appointed by Congress after the coup.
The Supreme Court ordered Zelaya’s ouster, saying he violated the constitution by seeking support for re-election. Zelaya denies the charge.
The U.S. State Department suspended the visas of more senior figures that backed the coup on Wednesday. It marked the second time Washington pulled diplomatic and tourist visas over the crisis.
“We just urge the two sides to stick to it. We urge the de facto regime in particular to help open a pathway for international support of the election by concluding the agreement,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
But both sides were far from a deal on Wednesday.
The United States has warned it might not recognize the results of the November 29 elections if Zelaya is not allowed to return to power first, but Micheletti continued to resist.
“We obviously believe that (Zelaya’s return) is not possible. We believe he violated the law,” Arturo Corrales, a lead negotiator for Micheletti, said. The team said they had heard nothing from Zelaya’s camp in 48 hours.
Zelaya angered Honduras’ business leaders by moving the country closer to Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez. Micheletti’s government accused Chavez and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega of fomenting violence in Honduras with inflammatory rhetoric.
On Wednesday, Honduran police announced further restrictions on protests, saying they must be authorized by the government 24 hours in advance with a request detailing the people in charge and the time and route the march will take, in an effort to quell near daily rallies in favor of Zelaya.
(Additional reporting by Deborah Charles and Anthony Boadle in Washington and Adriana Barrera, Ines Guzman and Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa; Writing by Mica Rosenberg)
>CONDEMNATION OF THE ACTS OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN HONDURAS October 22, 2009
Posted by hondurasemb in Coup d’etat.
CP/DEC. 43 (1723/09)
CONDEMNATION OF THE ACTS OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST
THE EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN HONDURAS
(Approved by the Permanent Council at its meeting of October 21, 2009)
The Permanent Council denounces and strongly condemns the hostile action by the de facto regime against the embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa and the harassment of its occupants through deliberate actions that affect them physically and psychologically and violate their human rights.
The Permanent Council calls on the de facto regime to put an immediate end to these actions, to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and international instruments on human rights, and to withdraw forthwith all repressive forces from the areas surrounding the Embassy of Brazil, without neglecting the due security of the Mission.
The Permanent Council appeals for guarantees for the right to life, integrity, and security of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales and of all persons in and around the Embassy of Brazil, as well as for the protection of their dignity, and it urges the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to follow up on this situation.
The Permanent Council issues a strong appeal for continuation of the dialogue already well under way in Honduras, under the terms of the proposal of the San José Agreement, without any attempt to open topics other than those contained in said proposal.
Written by Reed M. Kurtz
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Source: NACLA Report on the Americas
Even more evidence has come to light regarding the desperation and disregard for human rights of the Honduran coup regime and its elite backers. On Friday, October 9 a United Nations human rights panel issued a warning concerning the presence of contracted foreign paramilitary forces operating inside the troubled country. According to the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, an estimated 40 members of the infamous United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) have been hired by wealthy Honduran landowners to defend themselves “from further violence between supporters of the de facto government and those of the deposed President Manuel Zelaya.”
As Zelaya’s Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas notes, it is widely believed that these mercenaries are being used to “do the dirty jobs that the armed forces refuse to do.” In addition, the panel established direct links between President Roberto Micheletti’s coup-installed government and foreign paramilitaries, stating that an additional group of 120 hired soldiers from several countries throughout the region had been created to provide support for the coup regime. This report confirms allegations made by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo back in September.
Noting that Honduras is a signatory to the international convention against the use of mercenaries, the panel, comprised of a diverse array of security and human rights experts, expressed its deep concern and called upon the Honduran golpistas to take action against the use of paramilitaries inside Honduran territory. In response, Micheletti rejected the allegations, denying any recruitment of paramilitaries for protection.
This report represents yet another condemnation from the international community of the de facto Honduran government and offers further evidence of the degree to which Micheletti’s regime and its supporters have undermined democracy and human rights in the region. The AUC, essentially an umbrella organization of various right-wing death squads, many of which also collaborate with Colombian drug traffickers, is one of the region’s most notorious paramilitary organizations and is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. Supposedly “demobilized” in 2006, the AUC has largely continued to carry out its drug-dealing activities and campaign of violence and intimidation against campesinos, indigenous peoples, stigmatized social groups such as homosexuals and prostitutes, labor organizers, critical journalists, and human rights advocates.
The AUC has also been directly and indirectly linked to numerous powerful elites and business interests in Colombia, including many close to President Álvaro Uribe’s administration, and is said to operate “parallel” to the Colombian military. (See “Country Summary: Colombia.” Human Rights Watch. January 2008.) The AUC usually presents itself as an alternative to the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It targets many left-leaning groups, which it generally refers to as “FARC sympathizers,” a characterization often repeated by Uribe himself and by members of his government, in order to discredit those groups and justify the brutal activities of the AUC. Above all, however, most of those targeted by the AUC are chosen precisely because their efforts on behalf of social justice and their resistance to neoliberal policies are in direct opposition to the interests of the AUC’s elite backers.
Accordingly, the linkages connecting the Honduran military regime, powerful members of the country’s landed elite, and right-wing Colombian paramilitaries are extremely troubling but not altogether surprising. Back on July 4, before any evidence of direct collaboration with Colombian narco-terrorists had emerged, journalist Al Giordano noted that the Honduran regime was in the process of making itself into a “rogue narco-state,” shutting itself off from the international community while allying with the most shadowy and reactionary sectors of the Latin American right. Among its prominent supporters have been Rafael Hernández Nodarse, a millionaire arms trafficker with ties to Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, and Otto Reich, a Washington super-hawk who played a prominent role in Iran-Contra affair. All these parties share an agenda of preserving unjust wealth and resource distributions while waging total war against social democracy using any means necessary. Honduras merely represents the most recent arena in which this war is being waged.
The right’s problem with Zelaya has never been that he tried to reform his country’s deeply flawed constitution (“the worst in the world,” according to Costa Rican President Óscar Arias), but because, according to Micheletti himself, he “became friends with Daniel Ortega, Chávez, Correa, Evo Morales. … He went to the left.” In other words, Micheletti is using the same tactics of “guilt by association” that his AUC allies use to justify their violence, only this time the “guilt” consists of association with other popular, democratically elected heads of state in the region. Nevertheless, the message and the effect are still the same: If you oppose us, and what we stand for, we will take you down with force.
But whereas the reactionary elites in the region are disposed to using violence, intimidation, and the contracting of paramilitaries to impose their will, those on the Latin American left, the people for whom Morales, Chávez, and Zelaya are merely elected representatives, have increasingly turned to strategies of nonviolence, popular organization, and civil resistance in their struggles for justice and democracy. The degree to which the popular left—and its leaders—continue to adhere to the values of peace, justice, and solidarity will ultimately decide whether or not the popular movement achieves its goals, not only here and now in Honduras, but in all of Latin America.
Reed M. Kurtz is a NACLA Research Associate.
Oh the irony of it all:
>Honduras to protest against Venezuela due to planes allegedly carrying illicit drugs – Daily News – EL UNIVERSAL
As reported by Chief of Staff Rafael Pineda, President Ricardo Micheletti ordered his Foreign Minister Carlos López to “make a protest before the governments and disclose to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) these actions which mean an attack and disrespect for our country”
The interim government of Honduras reported on Wednesday that it will make a protest before Venezuela for the frequent landing of Venezuela-flagged aircraft carrying illicit drugs and complained about the lack of US cooperation with Honduras authorities in drug interdiction.
As reported by Chief of Staff Rafael Pineda, President Ricardo Micheletti ordered his Foreign Minister Carlos López to “make a protest before the governments and disclose to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) these actions which mean an attack and disrespect for our country.”
Pineda talked to reporters after a small cargo plane Antonov 14 holding a Venezuelan license plate YV-1769 landed on Tuesday on an impromptu airstrip in a sector of the eastern department of Olancho, presumably carrying cocaine, Efe reported.
Last week also two Venezuelan planes landed on the departments of Colón (Caribbean) and Yoro (north), both of them allegedly carrying illicit drugs, according to the authorities. However, no cargo was seized.
Radio Globo and Canal 36 television, two stations that have been the main media opponents of the 28 June coup d’état, were allowed to resume broadcasting on 19 October, three and a half weeks after the de facto government used a decree suspending civil liberties to close them down and confiscate their equipment.
Sources at Radio Globo, which had managed to keep operating as a clandestine web radio, nonetheless said the station has had to censor itself since it resumed broadcasting. At the same time, Radio Cadena Voces (RCV), a station owned by a coup supporter, has dropped three programmes hosted by women’s groups that allowed government opponents to speak on the air.
“Neither the official lifting of the 28 September state of siege nor the resumption of broadcasting by Radio Globo and Canal 36 means that the rule of law has been restored in Honduras,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Decree 124-2009, a measure published in the official gazette on 7 October, allows the authorities to suspend any programme or media ‘fomenting social anarchy’ and, without saying so openly, is targeted at those that oppose the coup.”
The press freedom organisation added: “This provision constitutes a real threat to pluralism, an incentive to self-censorship and an additional mechanism for polarising the media and public opinion. The situation is all the more disturbing now that the dialogue attempt between deposed President Manuel Zelaya’s emissaries and the de facto government has collapsed.”
The day that Radio Globo and Canal 36 resumed broadcasting, a Honduran freelance journalist told Reporters Without Borders that IVOSA, the company that operates RCV, had decided on 16 October to drop three RCV programmes that were presented by feminist organisations.
They were “Tiempo de hablar,” presented by the Women’s Rights Centre (CDM), “La Burallanga,” presented by the Women’s Study Centre-Honduras (CEM-H) and “Entre Chonas,” presented by the “Visitación Padilla” Women’s Committee.
Reporters Without Borders has obtained copies of INVOSA documents that endorse the withdrawal of the first two of these programmes on the basis of Decree 124-2009 provisions combating “attacks on constitutional order.” INVOSA is owned by former President Ricardo Maduro Joest, whose conservative National Party backed Zelaya’s ouster in June.