Honduran National Resistance Update 10/23
Spokesman, Ian Kelly
October 23, 2009
[I think the questioner should get a Nobel Prize for valiant attempts to harvest information from the notoriously repetitive, highly uninformative State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly.]
Excerpt on Honduras:
QUESTION: Dialogue is again broken. I know the U.S. supports an electoral solution for that, but positions seems to be divided because the rest of the countries – I mean, the rest of the international community is not really very clear if they are going to recognize the results of this election. So where do we stand?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you asked. It is – I don’t know if I would characterize the situation as the talks have broken off, because the latest we heard this morning is that the de facto regime was going to present another proposal this morning to try and address this most contentious issue, which is the return of the democratically elected leaders – first and foremost, of course, President Zelaya to office. And – certainly we are disappointed that the two sides have not been able to reach a solution. But I wouldn’t say that the talks have broken off. There is this proposal that has to be discussed and –
QUESTION: Are you confident that the way out is going to (inaudible) to – for the crisis?
MR. KELLY: Well, I would just say that – again, I would use that word or words “sense of urgency.” I think that there is a real need for the two sides to reach an agreement, and then implement it expeditiously.
MR. KELLY: You have a follow-up?
QUESTION: Yeah. Actually, the main problem seems to be elections and reelections in the region. And you fix yesterday your position regarding Nicaragua. Is it something that you are worried about it, not only Nicaragua, Venezuela, or other countries? And what is – what next?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I —
QUESTION: What can we expect?
MR. KELLY: One reason why I say there’s a sense of urgency is because the clock is ticking. I mean, you’ve got the elections the end of November. And we do want to reach a resolution of this problem between the de facto regime and President Zelaya, and reach a point where Honduras can address these concerns of the international community and have the legitimately elected leaders return to power, and then we can have elections that can enjoy legitimacy. And of course, in order to do that, we would like these elections to be carried out in an open and transparent way, and there needs to be certain mechanisms put in place in advance of these elections, and that’s why we need to do this now. The two sides need to seal this deal now. Time is running out.
QUESTION: Can – in just – I mean, you’re certainly right, I think their time is running out because you have now very, very few weeks —
MR. KELLY: Right.
QUESTION: — until the elections. And it’s even questionable at this point, I think, now whether people like the Carter Center would regard an election – it’s less than five weeks right now —
MR. KELLY: Right.
QUESTION: — so, as legitimate given the – so, here’s the question. I mean, when you – you all issued a statement during the course of the summer in which you said that you could not, at this time, regard elections held under the current circumstances as legitimate.
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Is there any possibility that the Administration will bend or abandon that position? And if you don’t get a deal, just decide that, okay, we’re going to view the elections as legitimate. It’s a way for the people to express themselves despite the current situation.
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, you’re asking me to speculate on what we may or may not do. But what we’re focused on right now is reconciliation and restoration. And we believe that that’s the best way for the two sides to have a government that has international legitimacy, that reflects a process that is constitutional and open and transparent. So that’s what we’re focused on now. We haven’t given up on it. The OAS hasn’t given up on it. And we just hope that they move quickly on it.
QUESTION: But you would acknowledge in your language on that – sorry, last one for me – leaves open the possibility you can change your position at this time?
MR. KELLY: Like I say, we’re focused on these guys sitting down and agreeing.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.
MR. KELLY: Thanks.
Por Raimundo Lopez, Special Correspondant
Tegucigalpa, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) Honduras” Liberal Coordinating Committee against the Coup ratified on Thursday that it will refrain from taking part in elections of November 29 unless democracy is restored in the country.
Secretary General of the Committee Rasel Tome told Prensa Latina that under the de facto regime conditions it is impossible to hold free, transparent polls with full guarantees.
The Committee was created in mid August in a meeting attended by more than 5,000 delegates of the Liberal Party who reject the break in democratic legality by the putschists on June 28.
Tome said that for the elections to be recognized by the people and the international community, an indispensable requisite is the restitution of constitutional order and of legitimate President Manuel Zelaya.
The position of this sector of the liberals, one of the two largest parties in Honduras, is shared by Democratic Unification (UD), Innovation and Social Democratic Unity (PINUD-SD) and independent candidate Carlos Humberto Reyes.
It is a position similar to that of the National Front against the Coup grouping these political forces along with popular, union, rural, female and student organizations, among others.
The Front, which has led the people’s resistance for 117 days, announced in August that it will not recognize results of the election unless democratically-elected Zelaya is reinstated.
Tome said that on Saturday the liberals against the coup will hold their third great assembly to coordinate their strategy to restore democratic legality to the nation.
In their previous meeting, they agreed to expel president of the de facto government Roberto Micheletti and members of the Central Board for their participation in the coup against national Liberal Leader Zelaya.
They decided to refuse to recognize the party’s presidential candidate Elvin Santos for his support to constitutional order and betrayal of history and of the organization’s anti-coup principles.
Tome and President of the Committee Carlos Eduardo Reina remain since September 21 in the Brazilian Embassy along with Zelaya, who returned to Honduras unexpectedly that day to call for dialogue.
>(Gag Warning on this one – Voice of America reporting on Gusanos supporting Honduran golpistas)
By Brian Wagner
23 October 2009
The ongoing political crisis in Honduras is drawing attention from Cuban-Americans in Miami, who are concerned about the spread of leftist governments in Latin American. Cuban exiles are backing the de facto government, even as Washington supports the ousted Honduran president.
Collecting food and medical supplies is a common tool for many Cuban-Americans to offer person-to-person assistance to people on the island. Community leaders say donating basic goods like milk powder and aspirin, which can be scarce in Cuba, has a major impact for Cuban families struggling to survive under Communist rule.
A new call for donations, however, is focusing on a different community altogether. Silvia Iriondo is president of the group Mothers and Women against Repression in Cuba.
Iriondo says her group wants to stop Honduras from suffering the same fate as Cuba, and it is seeking to defend democracy in Latin America.
Iriondo and other Cuban-American activists are collecting food, medical supplies and financial donations to aid Hondurans, and show support for the nation’s de facto government. Organizers say many Hondurans are hurting since foreign aid groups have suspended assistance in response to the ouster of leftist President Manuel Zelaya in June. The United States has blocked more than $30 million to Honduras, and says it will withhold up to $200 million unless Mr. Zelaya is returned to office.
Cuban-American leaders agree with supporters of the de facto government, who say Mr. Zelaya was seeking to cling to office and impose a socialist regime. Cuban-American doctor Armando Quirantes is helping to organize donations for Honduras.
Cuban-American doctor Armando Quirantes, Miami, 23 Oct 2009
Cuban-American doctor Armando Quirantes, Miami, 23 Oct 2009
Quirantes says the same thing happened in Venezuela and Ecuador, and people in Nicaragua are fighting to stop a leftist takeover there.
Quirantes cites allegations that Venezuela and other leftist leaders have sent mercenaries to Honduras to undermine the de facto government of President Roberto Micheletti. Mr. Micheletti has made similar claims about foreign and domestic troublemakers to defend his decision to suspend some civil rights.
Some Hondurans say the concerns about foreign intervention started under Mr. Zelaya. Miami-based businessman Gerardo Padilla says many people were taken aback by the ousted leader’s foreign policy goals.
Padilla said there was a fear the country would become socialist especially after Mr. Zelaya made a speech saying Cuban and Venezuelan teachers were coming to the country to teach children what the term “socialism” meant.
To some, the crisis in Honduras recalls memories of Cold War battles pitting the United States and its allies against the spread of leftist groups in Central America. Larry Birns directs the Washington think-tank Council on Hemispheric Affairs.
Honduras’ interim President Roberto Micheletti speaks during press conference at presidential house in Tegucigalpa, 28 Sep 2009
Honduras’ interim President Roberto Micheletti speaks during press conference at presidential house in Tegucigalpa, 28 Sep 2009
“Micheletti really feels he is the sentinel at the gate, and that he is representing Western values,” he said.
Birns says the strategy has failed for Micheletti, however, because liberal and conservative governments across the hemisphere have given unanimous support to ousted President Zelaya.
Still, some in Washington are reaching out to Mr. Micheletti. The de facto leader has hosted a string of Republican lawmakers, including some of the harshest critics of Cuba and Venezuela. After a recent trip to Tegucigalpa, Miami Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called on U.S. President Barack Obama to review his policy toward the crisis.
There is no surprise that conservatives and President Obama disagree on the Honduran crisis, says Vicki Gass of the non-profit group Washington Office on Latin America. But she fears the Republican stance is driven more by Washington politics than genuine concern for Honduras.
“The issue is Obama and his policy of multilateralism and his foreign policy. They [Republicans] are looking for anything to hit him over the head with,” she said.
Mr. Obama and many European governments are warning they will not recognize November elections in Honduras, if the de facto government remains in power. Ros-Lehtinen has said the U.S. policy is undermining the vote, when it should be doing more to resolve the political crisis.
Negotiators for Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti have been meeting for more than two weeks, but have yet to reach a deal about who will preside over the upcoming vote.
>Golpista interference in consulary services of Honduran embassy in US.
I was informed that Quotha Blog has a good English translation of the embassy notice about interference from the golpistas regarding consulary services that I posted in Spanish at noon today .
>Let’s start off the day with a priceless pic of a sort of embracing Rafael Correa and Alan Garcia — your suggested captions are welcome, other than the obvious one which is that Correa must be drunk to get even this close.
By class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”By “>JUAN CARLOS LLORCA (AP) – 10 hours ago
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Thursday rejected a new settlement proposal from Honduras’ interim government and said the only way to resolve the country’s political standoff is to reinstate him.
Zelaya being returned to power “is our last proposal,” said Victor Meza, one of Zelaya’s negotiators, who added that his delegation had set a midnight deadline to get an answer.
“If we don’t get it, we will consider the dialogue has ended,” he said.
Micheletti’s delegation answered that they would have an answer by Friday morning, further angering Zelaya’s side.
“When we say today, they say tomorrow. When we say tomorrow, they say the day after tomorrow. It’s a game of delay,” Meza said.
The latest plan proposed by representatives of interim President Roberto Micheletti would permit the two factions to consult whichever branch of government they wished to decide if Zelaya should be restored to office. The coup-installed government didn’t explain how they might resolve the dispute.
Negotiations hit an impasse last week after the delegations failed to agree on who should decide whether Zelaya can resume his post and serve out his term, which ends in January.
Micheletti wants the decision to be made by the Supreme Court, the body that initially ordered Zelaya’s arrest before his ouster June 28 over his attempt to hold a referendum on changing the constitution. The court, which had ruled the referendum illegal, has said Zelaya should not be allowed to return to office.
Zelaya says Congress should make the decision, even though he currently enjoys the support of only about a fifth of the legislators.
The interim government previously has said the crisis would best be resolved by the presidential election scheduled for Nov. 29.
Several international governments, including the United States, have indicated they would not accept the results of a ballot held by the interim government.
The ugly scorecard is: 21 assasinated, four of whom are teachers; 4,234 denunciations of violations of human rights, and 114 citizens accused of sedition.
>The diplomatic tug of war begins all over again between golpistas and the constitutional government. This time starting with the Honduran consulate in Washington. With negotiations in Tegucigalpa gone kaput, the golpistas are making their move. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas says not so fast. (in Spanish below)
Also an English translation at Quotha Blog.
October 23, 2009
Posted by hondurasemb in Coup d’etat, Press Freedoms.
PARA DIFUSION INMEDIATA
SECRETARIA DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES DE HONDURAS
La Secretaría de Estado en el Despacho de Relaciones Exteriores en nombre del Gobierno del Presidente José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, al Pueblo hondureño, a la opinión pública nacional e internacional, y en particular a nuestra comunidad migrante comunica lo siguiente.
El servicio consular de Honduras continuará trabajando y apoyando a nuestros conciudadanos, a pesar de las grandes limitaciones que existen debido a las medidas inhumanas que ha tomado el régimen golpista en Honduras de suspender la emisión de pasaportes en los Estados Unidos de América y en otros consulados, anulando servicio electrónico de emisión de pasaportes y exigiendo que los funcionarios golpistas se lleven a Honduras todo el equipo y las libretas.
La Cancillería decidió cancelar a la persona a cargo de la Sección Consular de esa Embajada, ya que se habían puesto a la orden del régimen golpista, realizando “>irregularmente procedimientos para un proceso electoral espurio, ilegítimo y fraudulento que pretende realizarse con el voto en el exterior sin la restitución del Presidente Zelaya, y que por lo tanto se prestará a falsear la verdadera voluntad de los hondureños en el exterior, y alertando negativamente el viaje de la Misión de la OEA, para que el régimen golpista, no le permitiera su ingreso a Honduras, atrasando el proceso de diálogo.
La Sección Consular de la Embajada de Honduras en Washington continuará funcionando, ya que el Gobierno del Presidente Zelaya es el reconocido por la comunidad internacional y por el Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos.
Lamentamos los grandes inconvenientes que el Golpe de Estado perpetuado por los militares y políticos traidores a la patria han perpetrado en Honduras y que provocan todas estas molestias tanto al Pueblo hondureño como a la comunidad migrante hondureña que tanto se esfuerza en el exterior, y que evidentemente no le interesa a los golpistas en Honduras y ni a los que apoyan el Golpe.
Hacemos un llamado de alerta a todos los hondureños y hondureñas en el exterior y en particular a los migrantes en Estados Unidos, de que no pueden confiar en un proceso electoral sin vigilancia real ni observación electoral, que será presa de un fraude para legitimar el Golpe de Estado, sin restituir debidamente al Gobernante electo por el Pueblo Hondureño, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Elecciones que cual se pretenden realizar sin reconocimiento de la Comunidad Internacional y desconocido por la mayor parte del Pueblo.
La verdadera democracia se construye con la participación libre, espontánea, transparente, y respetando los Derechos Humanos de todos y todas los hondureños.
Oficina de Prensa.
Jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009.
>Mex Files on Porking Honduras
23 October 2009
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.
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.
While I might disagree with Mica Rosenberg of Reuters in her assessment that there is any particular new pressure from Washington “to resolve the political crisis” (a rather novel way of saying “wiggle out of initial support for a “coup d’etat”), it is all to the good that Reuters has a person inside the Brazilian Embassy to balance out the media over-reliance on “official” sources in a country where “protests… must be authorized by the government…”. And, based on Ms. Rosenberg’s generally accurate reporting from Mexico (her usual beat), she’s a good reporter, who is unlikely to be mislead by spin.
What she cannot report… or what her editors are leaving out… is calling the claim that there are serious negotiations what they are: total bullshit. Continual harassment of the legitimate government (annoying an embassy being a technique pioneered by the United States when they started disturbing the Papal Nuncio’s peace in Panama when Manuel Noriega took refuge there), and stalling this long (the elections… which will be recognized by absolutely no one… are scheduled for 29 November there is absolutely no time for anything resembling a free and fair campaign. As has been pointed out before, Mel Zelaya is not that important. His tenure ends (and would have ended without the coup) on 27 January 2010… or not, depending on how the pig oinks.
What matters, in a country where the Cardinal told David Agren of Catholic News Service, even “the Church is poor” (His Eminence was complaining about having to pay the new minimum wage.. the raising of which many feel was the real reason for the 28 July coup), is that “There are people here starving to death because of the political crisis.”
“The electoral process for a new president doesn’t magically just resolve these problems,” [Mauricio Díaz Burdett, coordinator of the Honduras Social Forum on Foreign Debt and Development] said. “Many other things are required that have to do with the social and economic policies that the country needs.”
Friday, October 23rd 2009 – 4:58 am UTC
Former Secretary General from the Organization of American States, (OAS), Cesar Gaviria said it was “impossible” for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to be reinstated since he lacks the support from the Supreme Court, Congress and the military
Former OAS Secretary General Gaviria is not sure about Zelaya return to office Former OAS Secretary General Gaviria is not sure about Zelaya return to office
Gaviria favours a transition government and a close monitoring process of the coming presidential elections as a pragmatic way out of the ongoing institutional crisis.
“It’s impossible to bring Zelaya back to the presidency, since the Supreme Court, Congress and the military do not support him” said Gaviria during his participation at the “Brazil summit” seminar organized by The Economist in Sao Paulo.
“I don’t like to talk about OAS issues, it’s very difficult, but what we must try and achieve is a transition government and an international process to monitor and check on the elections”, said Gaviria.
“Obviously it’s up to the Foreign offices and the different countries help find a solution to the Honduran crisis, but at this stage what is viable is a transition government that manages a credible electoral process”.
Gaviria who was OAS Secretary General from 1994 to 2004 also made comments on the OAS resolution on Honduras and the international mediation that followed the ousting of president Zelaya last June 28th and his return to Tegucigalpa on September 21st where he has remained holed in at the Brazilian embassy.
“I believe that there should have been some criticisms to some of the excesses committed by Zelaya while he was president and which triggered problems with the Supreme Court, with Congress and with the Armed Forces”, he underlined.
The Judiciary has decided to open a file on Zelaya for his alleged violation of the Constitution on trying to call a popular vote with the purpose of reforming the chart which specifically bans any attempts to favour or impose a presidential re-election.
According to Gaviria the OAS resolution “should have been more balanced; this would have given the inter-American system more authority to mediate in the Honduras crisis”.
From Honduras, Zelaya said that the OAS should establish a “timetable” for dialogue between him and the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.
“The OAS position is correct, but it must give a more determined, specific time” for the conclusion of the current dialogue. Negotiations are currently stalled and OAS has called on both sides for an effort to keep advancing with the talks.
According to the Honduras political calendar presidential elections should be held at the end of November.
Meanwhile United States warned it will increase pressure on the de facto regime for the dialogue to advance, according to US Ambassador before OAS Lewis Amselem.
“The time has come for both sides to leave aside their egos and put the interests of the Honduran people top of the agenda”, said Amselem in Washington.
“Negotiations are not to make time; the US will continue to put pressure on the main officials from the Honduras regime”, if Micheletti does not act more seriously.
“The de facto regime has not shown to be as flexible or favourable to a compromise as President Zelaya”, underlined the US ambassador.
The US has cancelled the visas of most top officials from the de facto government and cut off several aid programs.
October 21, 2009
BRASILIA – The top foreign affairs adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that Barack Obama’s administration “should put more pressure” on the de facto regime in Honduras to agree to the reinstatement of ousted President Mel Zelaya.
A month after Zelaya, who was sent into exile after the coup, slipped back into Honduras and took up residence at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Marco Aurelio Garcia said that Lula’s government still hopes for “firmer” action from the United States.
“The ideal would be that President Obama takes a more active position in the search for a political accord” in Honduras, Garcia told TV Brasil.
“I believe the United States could put more pressure on the putschists,” Lula’s aide said, though adding that “Latin America is not a priority for the United States now, because it’s a region at peace.”
Obama condemns Zelaya’s ouster and calls for his reinstatement, but is so far unwilling to exercise the enormous leverage that Washington has over Honduras, a nation whose economy is almost entirely dependent – through trade, aid and remittances – on the United States.
Garcia also insisted Wednesday that the Brazilian government has “acted correctly” and in defense of democracy and the rule of law by giving Zelaya sanctuary at the embassy.
After acknowledging that some members of Brazil’s foreign service were initially uncomfortable with the decision, Garcia said: “The diplomats know an embassy is not just for political gatherings and receptions.”
The Honduran de facto regime contends Zelaya’s ouster was not a coup, insisting that the soldiers who dragged him from the presidential palace and put him on a plane to Costa Rica were simply enforcing a Supreme Court ban on the president’s planned non-binding plebiscite on the idea of revising the constitution.
Though the coup leaders accuse Zelaya of seeking to extend his stay in office, any potential constitutional change to allow presidential re-election would not have taken place until well after the his term ends in January.
Time is running out to settle the conflict before Honduras’ Nov. 29 presidential elections, as both the European Union and Washington have said they will not recognize the winner of that balloting unless Zelaya is restored to office beforehand.
Though Zelaya has accepted the conditions suggested by mediators, the coup regime is balking at restoring the elected president.