Honduran National Resistance Update 10/29
Well, I managed to lose the entire update from my blog. Since I have a pounding headache already, here are the remnants I was able to receive from my word processer.
sorry, and hope to have something more comprehensible tomorrow.
>October 28, 2009 Wednesday
STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR ALEJANDRO WOLFF, U.S. DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS (AS RELEASED BY THE U.S. MISSION TO THE U.N.);
SUBJECT: THE SITUATION IN HONDURAS;
LOCATION: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR ALEJANDRO WOLFF, U.S. DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS (AS RELEASED BY THE U.S. MISSION TO THE U.N.) SUBJECT: THE SITUATION IN HONDURAS LOCATION: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK DATE: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2009
AMB. WOLFF: Mr. President, we thank the Secretariat for the report on the activities of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala and express our strong support for CICIG. We are pleased to be a co-sponsor of the resolution presented today by the delegation of Guatemala.
We would also like to recognize the excellent work of CICIG’s Commissioner Carlos Castresana. Guatemala is indeed well-served to have an official of his caliber leading the efforts of the CICIG.
Mr. President, I would like to address my remarks to the situation in Honduras.
The United States, like most Member States, is firmly committed to the restoration of democratic order in Honduras.
We believe that the situation in Honduras needs to be resolved through peaceful dialogue quickly for the well-being of the people of Honduras and the stability of the Hemisphere. Accordingly, the United States is fully engaged in the ongoing efforts of the Organization of American States (OAS), the competent regional body to resolve this issue.
This is also the reason that senior U.S. government officials are in Honduras this week to continue to urge the parties to resolve the situation in a way that maximizes the ability of the Honduran people to determine their country’s future and advance national reconciliation.
We have clearly and consistently expressed our concern about the situation in Honduras within the OAS, and, as appropriate, in the United Nations, and have worked hard to find a solution that restores democracy and peace to Honduras. Along with other members of the OAS, we supported mediation by President Arias of Costa Rica between representatives of President Jose Manuel Zelaya and the de facto regime. President Arias worked intensively during July and part of August to facilitate a solution and we commend his efforts. The proposal he circulated to both sides, the San Jose Accord, has been used by both sides as the negotiating document during talks earlier this month launched by an OAS Mission of member state Foreign Ministers. The United States also strongly supported this Mission’s work.
Although currently broken off, the talks launched by the OAS Mission achieved significant progress. Representatives of the de facto regime and President Zelaya reached agreement on most of the text of the Guaymuras Accord, the updated version of the San Jose Accord, to resolve the crisis. Unfortunately, both sides have not resolved the most critical issue, namely the restoration of President Zelaya.
Mr. President, the United States remains intensively engaged with representatives for both sides, with OAS mediators and other member states to bring the parties back to the table to resolve the remaining outstanding issues. Our efforts continue to be guided by the General Assembly resolution 63/301 adopted on June 30, 2009.
Mr. President, the Honduran people clearly want a functioning democracy and the opportunity to express their will in free and fair elections. This comes across clearly by the presidential candidates’ actions to support a dialogue to resolve the crisis. These democratic candidates were chosen by their respective political organizations well before the events that led to the June 28 coup; these candidates did not participate in the coup, and have earned their positions thanks to the trust of voters, Honduran voters.
We should continue our efforts to promote a dialogue to solve the crisis so that the November 29 elections can proceed in a calm environment. Free, fair, and transparent, elections reflecting the will of the Honduran people would be a key step in an outcome that the Honduran people and the international community can accept as legitimate
Mr. President, we recognize the troubling situation at the Brazilian Embassy. We want to assure our Brazilian friends that the United States will continue to help in any way possible. Our Embassy in Tegucigalpa has worked closely with the Brazilian Embassy to ensure it has food, water, electricity, and its diplomatic rights respected by the Honduran de facto regime. We were successful in getting the de facto regime to stop the loud noises targeted at the Embassy. We continue to remind the de facto regime that its behavior must be consistent with its obligation under the Vienna Conventions to respect diplomatic premises and personnel, and those under their protection.
Mr. President, the United States will continue to work to expand opportunities for the people in Honduras and a negotiated solution is the best way out of this crisis. In our view, the United Nations should support the efforts of the OAS and others to re-establish democratic life in Honduras and helping ensure its viability.
Thank you, Mr. President.
October 28, 2009
Letter to President Obama by members of Congress October 28, 2009
October 27, 2009
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20502
Dear President Obama,
We are writing to you regarding an urgent situation where lives are at stake and action on your
part may prevent further tragedy.
Since the return to Honduras of President Manuel Zelaya, the de facto regime has taken further
repressive measures, in addition to the previous violations of basic rights and civil liberties
which have been recognized and denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and all of the key Honduran human rights
NGOs, among others.
According to reports from the media and rights organizations, the coup regime violently
dispersed a gathering of Hondurans in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa with tear
gas, clubs and rubber bullets, resulting in numerous casualties, including several reported
While the siege of the Embassy is a serious violation of the Vienna Convention, more disturbing
is the broad assault against the Honduran people unleashed by the coup regime.
On September 22, the Americas director at Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, stated
that “given the reports we have received, and the poor track record of the security forces since
the coup, we fear that conditions could deteriorate drastically in the coming days.” That same
day, the Americas Director for the London-based rights organization Amnesty International,
Susan Lee, has stated that “the attacks against human rights defenders, suspension of news
outlets, beating of demonstrators by the police and ever increasing reports of mass arrests
indicate that human rights and the rule of law in Honduras are at grave risk.”
The international community has also spoken out regarding the worsening human rights situation
in Honduras. On September 22nd, Mexico released a statement in the name of 23-member Rio
Group demanding that the de facto government stop carrying out “acts of repression and
violation of human rights of all Hondurans.” The following day, the Presidency of the European
Union seconded the Rio Group statement.
Mr. President, we were glad to hear State Department spokesman Ian Kelly on September 22
reaffirm the position of the Administration that Manuel Zelaya is the “democratically elected and
constitutional leader of Honduras.” But unfortunately, the mixed messages that have
characterized the Administration’s response persist.
The head of the US delegation to the Organization of American States Lewis Amselem
represented our nation in that body by saying “Zelaya’s return to Honduras is irresponsible and
foolish and it doesn’t serve to the interest of the people nor those who seek the restoration of
democratic order in Honduras […] Everything will be better if all parties refrain from provoking
and inciting violence.” Not content to place equal blame on both the victims of the violence and
the perpetrators, he then chose to personally insult Mr. Zelaya, saying “The president should stop
acting as though he were starring in an old Woody Allen movie.” State Department
spokespersons have declined numerous opportunities to distance your administration from
Amselem’ s words.
We note that, unlike the coup leaders, President Zelaya has indicated his openness to dialogue
and has accepted the San Jose agreement that emerged from the US-backed mediation process
led by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica.
The suspension of rights announced by the junta on September 27 in Executive Decree PCM-M
016-2009 was used to shut down independent media outlets like Radio Globo and Canal 36,
which have only recently been able to resume broadcasting.
The decree was denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as “a violation
of international law,” containing “provisions [that] arbitrarily restrict fundamental human rights.”
ED PCM-M-0 16-2009 remained legally in effect and was enforced by the junta until Monday,
October 19, when the rescission was finally published, only to be replaced by a decree from the
junta’s Security Minister in which all planned public gatherings, rallies or marches, must be
made known to the national police 24 hours in advance, including names of event organizers,
start and end times, and any march routes.
Another, similar decree allowing authorities to suspend any media considered to be “fomenting
social anarchy”, had already been issued on October 7. According to the organization Reporters
Without Borders, the October 7 decree is “targeted at those that oppose the coup” and
“constitutes a real threat to pluralism, an incentive to self-censorship and an additional
mechanism for polarizing the media and public opinion.”
Free and fair elections cannot take place under these conditions.
Though we commend the administration for having strongly stated their support for the
restoration of democracy in Honduras, we are concerned that neither you nor the Secretary of
State has denounced these serious human rights abuses in a country where US influence could be
It is now more urgent than ever to break this silence. It is critical that your Administration
immediately clearly and unequivocally reject and denounce the repression by this illegitimate
regime. We can say sincerely and without hyperbole that this action on your part will save lives.
Furthermore, the vast majority of our neighbors in the region, including Brazil and Mexico, have
clearly indicated that they will not recognize the results of elections held under the coup regime.
On September 29, Costa Rican President and US-appointed mediator Oscar Arias noted the
regime’s continued rejection of the San Jose accords, and warned that Honduran elections cannot
be recognized by the international community without a restoration of constitutional order. Arias
said, “the cost of failure of leaving a coup d’etat unpunished is setting up a bad precedent for the
region. […] You could have remembrances of a bad Latin American past, insisting on elections
under these circumstances and overlooking items in the San Jose Accord.”
It is time for the administration to join this growing hemispheric and international consensus and
unambiguously state that elections organized by an undemocratic government that has denied
critics of the regime the right to free speech, assembly, and movement, cannot and will not be
considered free and fair by our government.
We feel it is imperative that the administration step up its efforts to bring about a prompt
restoration of democracy in Honduras, together with other regional leaders.
We eagerly await your reply.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Raúl M. Grijalva
Fortney “Pete” Stark
Janice D. Schakowsky
Luis V. Gutierrez
Michael M. Honda
James L. Oberstar
José E. Serrano
Danny K. Davies
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
James P. Moran
Eddie Bernice Johnson
>US Envoys Extend Stay in Honduras in Bid to Help End Crisis
By David Gollust
29 October 2009
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya attends a meeting with his representatives at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, 16 Oct 2009
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya attends a meeting with his representatives at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, 16 Oct 2009
A team of senior U.S. diplomats has extended a stay in Honduras aimed at helping end the political crisis spawned by the ouster of elected President Manuel Zelaya in June. A resolution is seen as essential for the success of elections to be held there at the end of next month.
The team headed by the top Latin America experts at the State Department and White House National Security Council had originally intended to leave Tegucigalpa Thursday.
But they say they now intend to stay on to try to help prod the parties to complete a deal that will restore political peace to Honduras.
The Central American state has been in turmoil since June 28 when troops detained leftist President Manuel Zelaya and deported him to Costa Rica.
Backers of the move say the interim president Roberto Michelleti, installed by the country’s congress, is now the lawful head of state.
But Mr. Zelaya and his supporters, backed by the Organization of American States, say the ouster amounted to a coup d’etat and demand his return to office.
The two sides have been trying to reach a negotiated settlement of the crisis but talks are stalled over the future status of Mr. Zelaya, who has been sheltered at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since slipping back into the country in September.
At a news briefing with Washington-based reporters from the Honduran capital, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon said the parties have asked him and his colleagues including White House Latin America policy chief Dan Restrepo to stay on to try to assist the process.
Shannon said without a deal to end the crisis, it will be difficult for the rest of the hemisphere to support elections November 29 for a new Honduran president to take office in January. He said he believes a solution may be close at hand but that time is short. “When we say time is running out, of course today is October 29th and there’s only 30 days until the elections on November 29th. And from our point of view, this really isn’t a complicated question of negotiation as much as it is a question of expressing political will. And that’s why we came, to underscore our interest in ensuring that the political will is there to do a deal,” he said.
The U.S. team has met separately with the rival Zelaya and Micheletti camps and also with the Honduran presidential candidates – all of whom, Shannon said, agree that a political agreement is absolutely essential for the election to be peaceful and productive.
Pressed by reporters if the United States would accept an agreement that did not include Mr. Zelaya’s return to office, Shannon said the issue was for the Honduran negotiators to decide, while noting that there could be no deal that did not have the ousted leader’s approval. “I would say that the question is restitution has been a central question, not just for the United States but for the entire international community. And OAS resolutions and UN resolutions have clearly indicated that President Zelaya should be returned to office. But we recognize that we are operating under an environment in which, at the end of the day, Hondurans have to make that decision,” he said.
The Obama administration has supported settlement efforts by the OAS and its Honduras mediator – Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to step-up the U.S. role and send the Shannon team to Honduras after Mr. Zelaya said last week the process had broken down.”
>Zelaya, de facto camp to resume talks in Honduras | Reuters
TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Negotiators for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and de facto rulers in power since a June coup will resume talks on Thursday, after a U.S. delegation arrived to push for a solution to the crisis.
A team led by Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon and Dan Restrepo, the White House’s special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs, flew into Tegucigalpa on Wednesday for a last-ditch effort to broker a resolution to the impasse.
“Due to instructions from President Zelaya, today we are going to sit at the table with them,” Rodil Rivera, a member of Zelaya’s team, told HRN radio on Thursday.
The coffee-producing Central American country has been diplomatically isolated since Zelaya was toppled by soldiers in a dawn coup on June 28 and flown to exile on a military plane.
Attempts at reaching a deal have floundered so far over the issue of whether Zelaya can be returned to power ahead of a presidential election scheduled for Nov. 29.
Zelaya has been holed up at the heavily guarded Brazilian embassy in the capital under heavy surveillance since sneaking back in to the country last month. His camp pulled out of the last round of talks with de facto leader Roberto Micheletti’s team earlier this month.
Vilma Morales, a representative for Micheletti, appointed by Congress after the coup, invited Zelaya’s camp back to the negotiating table on Wednesday, but did not say what new proposals could be discussed.
Micheletti’s de facto government, which is not recognized internationally, lodged legal proceedings against Brazil at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Wednesday for interfering in Honduras’ internal affairs by sheltering Zelaya. It wants the court to order Brazil to stop providing refuge. [nLT370606] (Reporting by Sean Mattson, Editing by Sandra Maler)”
>Honduras takes Brazil to world court over Zelaya
By MIKE CORDER (AP) – 1 hour ago”