Honduran National Resistance Update 11/3
PLEASE NOTE: There is a change in the start time for the Thursday, Nov. 5 event in Washington DC with Bertha Oliva and Jessica Sanchez. It starts at 8PM. See revised announcement below.
|By Cecilia Barria
BBC News, Tegucigalpa
|Despite tensions, Mr Zelaya remains in good spirits in the Brazilian embassy|
After four months of conflict, the political agreement reached in Honduras can be likened to a circus elephant balancing on a tightrope.
When the pact between ousted President Manuel Zelaya and interim leader, Roberto Micheletti, was signed in the early hours of Friday (under the auspices of the US) it seemed the only real thing missing was the champagne.
But now there seem to be more doubts than certainties.
It is not definite that the “government of unity” will come about this Thursday, nor is it clear when Congress will define the reinstatement of Mr Zelaya.
Neither is it clear what will happen with the presidential elections planned for 29 November.
The politicians don’t know, even less the Honduran people, who say they are fed up with the whole situation.
“There’s very little work here,” says Efrain Alvarez. After finishing his day’s work on a building site, Efrain walks through the centre of Tegucigalpa to the bus that will take him home.
“We need more jobs,” he adds. “We pretty much live in poverty here in Honduras, there are hardly any jobs to be had.”
He considers himself lucky, for in spite of the difficulties he has found ways of carving out a living.
| We will work together to bring about a fruitful conclusion to this agreement Ricardo Lagos,
former President of Chile
Efrain does odd-jobs lasting only two or three days a week, but which allow him to provide something towards the upkeep of a house and his five children.
“At the moment I’m earning $290 (£177) a month, but in the last few months I sometimes only make around $150,” he says.
Efrain would like things to be sorted out and calm to be restored to his country, but he realises it is not easy.
That same feeling of uncertainty and despair is common among the inhabitants of the third poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti and Nicaragua.
A commission of foreign diplomats is about to oversee the implementation of the pact, which includes the former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, and the US labour minister, Hilda Solis.
Honduras de-facto government representative, Arturo Corrales, and representative of ousted President Zelaya, Jorge Reina, are also part of the monitoring panel.
|Many in Honduras say they are fed-up with the ongoing political impasse|
Hours before arriving in Tegucigalpa, Mr Lagos said the commission would not be a political player, rather the Honduran people themselves must reach an agreement in order to strengthen democracy in the country.
“We are going to build bridges between those sectors which have become polarised,” he said.
“We will work together to bring about a fruitful conclusion to this agreement.”
But the “fruitful conclusion” seems to be getting further away as the opposing factions in this conflict seem to be interpreting the pact as they want to see it.
Manuel Zelaya told BBC Mundo that the pact would come to nothing if Congress did not vote to reinstate him before Thursday, when the unity government is due to be formed.
However, the de-facto authorities explained that according to the terms of the agreement, Mr Zelaya is obliged to accept whatever decision parliament makes – even if it votes against his reinstatement.
These are two totally different viewpoints of a “controversial” part of the agreement, which will surely be one of the first issues the verification commission will cover.
A number of sources have talked of the existence of an unwritten pact among the negotiators, so that Congress will vote in favour of Mr Zelaya’s reinstatement.
It is rumoured that this will be in exchange for international recognition of the forthcoming elections. However, high-ranking politicians have denied it.
The US representative, Thomas Shannon, and National Party candidate, Profirio “Pepe” Lobo, both deny anything has been going on behind the scenes.
They insist that only Congress can define the future of the country.
What is clear at the moment is that Manuel Zelaya needs 65 votes in Congress in order to get back into power, and the National Party has 55 MPs who hold the balance of power – which could go either way.
In these last few precarious hours, many politicians are reluctant to declare themselves. And some, like Gen Romeo Vasquez have taken refuge in absolute silence.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The executive council of Congress decided today to ask the Supreme Court about the possibility of restoring Zelaya to the Presidency. The court’s opinion is not binding on Congress, and it has previously said the coup against Zelaya was legal.
José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS, urged Congress to stop the rhetoric and install a government of national unity which restores the legitimate President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. Insulza noted that he has called a general meeting of the OAS to remove sanctions and reincorporate Honduras for November 16, and that they’d like to hold it in Tegucigalpa, but for that to happen, they need to comply with the accord.
Radio Globo reports that the military has denied Jorge Arturo Reina, representative of Manuel Zelaya on the verification commission, permission to enter the Brazilian embassy and talk with Zelaya.
Tuesday, November 3rd 2009 – 12:03 am UTC
The Organization of American States, OAS, is planning an extraordinary general assembly for next week to approve the reincorporation of Honduras in anticipation of the country’s presidential election November 29th, according to Chilean minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariano Fernández.
“Most probably towards the end of next week we should be holding an extraordinary general assembly to reorganize the comeback of Honduras to OAS”, said Fernandez who none the less admitted so far “it has been informal contacts”.
“The idea is that Honduras can return to OAS as soon as possible and that the election of November 29th can evolve with normality and with legitimately” he added anticipating that this would also mean lifting all sanctions against the de facto government.
Last October 30, representatives from ousted president Manuel Zelaya and the head of the de facto government Roberto Micheletti reached an agreement, sponsored by OAS and the US, to end the institutional crisis which includes naming a national reconciliation government and ensuring the November 29th election.
Although both Honduran leaders have continued to exchange accusations, Fernandez said “this was natural and expected when such a difficult situation as that of Honduras finds a course of action forward”.
The crisis was triggered on June 28th when the military following orders from the Supreme Court and Congress arrested President Zelaya at gun point and flew him out of the country. However in September he managed to sneak back and is currently holed in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.
On Tuesday former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis are expected in Tegucigalpa to join the special committee of personalities that will verify the compliance of the agreement, one of several points of the agreement.
Ousted president Zelaya praised the naming of Mr. Lagos to the committee: “I have the best concept of Mr. Lagos. He is a true democrat and comes from a country like Chile which has suffered military coups, and reversing such a situation is a challenge for democracy. I extend the warmest welcome to Mr. Lagos. ”
The International Action Center congratulates the people of Honduras and their vanguard, the National Popular Front of Resistance against the Coup for the signing of the Tegucigalpa-San José accord last Friday, October 30.
Although not ratified yet by the National Congress and not containing all the aspirations that the people want and deserve, it is nevertheless recognition of the power of the struggle that for 125 days that Friday, the people have exercised relentlessly since June 28. Particularly, their struggle to bring back to office their legitimate President, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
Up to now the criminal Micheletti forces had arrogantly refused to sign any treaty that would include the reinstatement of President Zelaya. This signing attests to the awesome work that the Resistance has achieved in making this usurper government an international pariah.
From the United States we will continue our solidarity with you, and will remain vigilant for any attempt by the United States government to revert the gains of the Resistance.
The leadership and the membership of the International Action Center
>Washington event with Bertha Oliva and Jessica Sanchez – Revised announcement
Please note that the event begins at 8:00pm and not 7:00pm as previously advertised. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research, Quixote Center and Just Associates present:
Restoring human rights and democracy in Honduras:
An evening with Bertha Oliva and Jessica Sanchez at Busboys and Poets
Bertha Oliva, founder of the Committee of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras and a key figure in the Latin American human rights movement
Jessica Sanchez, of the National Alliance of Honduran Feminists in Resistance
with an introduction by
Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street, NW (14th and V Streets), Washington, DC
Bertha and Jessica will discuss the dramatic human rights abuses that have taken place in Honduras under the coup regime, the broad-based movement of resistance to the June 28 coup and the implications of the tentative settlement reached on October 29.
About the speakers: