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Zelaya Supporters Say It’s Time to Move On

December 4, 2009

Zelaya supporters say it’s time to move on

By FREDDY CUEVAS (AP) – 2 hours ago

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduran activists have ended five months of daily protests demanding the reinstatement of their president since he was ousted in a coup, say they’re moving on now that Congress has voted to keep Manuel Zelaya out of office.

Juan Barahona, who has been leading protests since late June when Zelaya was forced out of the country, said Friday that his supporters are “closing that chapter” of their struggle.

Barahona said it’s time for Hondurans who support policies in favor of the poor and other themes that Zelaya espoused to shift their focus to the 2014 elections.

Hondurans elected conservative, wealthy rancher Porfirio Lobo to be their new president in the Nov. 29 elections. Lobo says that when he takes office in January he will finally end the political crisis that has isolated one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

Some countries, including the U.S., have recognized Lobo’s election. But others, including Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, say they won’t unless Zelaya is restored to office.

In Costa Rica on Friday, President Oscar Arias called Lobo and asked him to consider granting Zelaya amnesty. Arias did not disclose Lobo’s response.

Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, said the administration of President Barack Obama has been “behind the curve” when it comes to Honduran policy.

“Instead of crafting a stance that would prove harmonious with domestic and international goals, Washington’s failed Honduras policy became an embarrassment for its lack of grace and class,” he said Friday.

Washington initially indicated it would not recognize the presidential election unless the coup perpetrators restored Zelaya. But the Obama administration later backed down and recognized Sunday’s vote.

In another sign Friday of the world’s mixed response to Honduras’ current political status, the Latin American Parliament voted to suspend the Central American country’s congress from its ranks as punishment for the coup.

“It saddens us a great deal that it had to come to this,” said parliament representative Maria Augusta Calle, of Ecuador.”

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5 Comments
  1. otra boricua más permalink
    December 5, 2009 3:39 PM

    the interview with Barahona also appears in Telesur:

    http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/afondo/especiales/Golpe_de_estado_honduras/nota.php?ckl=62982&cc=132

    Barahona also noted that in the next elections the Resistance Front is still deciding whether their participation will be in the form of a “(political) party, movement, or broad front.”

    Cuevas erred in writing that the next elections will be in 2014. Honduras holds elections every 4 years, which means that the next elections — assuming that they will be held — will be in 2013. Barahona certainly didn’t make that mistake in his remarks, nor did the Telesur report.

  2. otra boricua más permalink
    December 5, 2009 2:24 PM

    it appears that Cuevas is the source that AP is using, which has already been reported in many English language newspapers. The earliest version that I’ve found in Spanish comes from El Universal (Venezuela), dated Dec 4. here’s the link:
    http://deportes.eluniversal.com/2009/12/04/int_ava_zelayistas-cambian-p_04A3151531.shtml

    Here is my English translation of the relevant direct quotes attributed to Barahona:

    “We are no longer asking for Zelaya’s return because his four year term
    ends on January 27….but our struggle is for the Constitutional (Assembly)”

    …”He warned that “we are preparing to participate in the next electoral
    process with the unity and power of the Resistance Front in order to take
    control and elect a Constitutional Assembly.”

    Again, I haven’t heard or seen Barahona directly mention the 2014 elections. But even here this sounds a bit different from what is being reported in English.

    • December 5, 2009 3:42 PM

      Thanks for checking this out. I will check out the El Universal article. i wonder if the “next electoral process” was translated into the next election scheduled for 2014?

  3. Otra Boricua Más permalink
    December 5, 2009 1:28 PM

    I read quite a few interviews with Juan Barahona, and also listened to radio interviews and saw tv interviews– all in the Spanish original. In none of them did he mention anything about the 2014 elections. What he did say was that the resistance would now focus on the constitutional assembly.

    I notice that the reporter is named Freddy Cuevas. He appears to publish in English for Scottish newspapers. Perhaps his Spanish is not fluent? In any event, for Barahona to mention the hypothetical 2014 elections would be at odds with the Resistance stance on the breaking of constitutionality in Honduras. Unless someone can find a reliable source in Spanish I’m inclined to believe this was an error.

    • December 5, 2009 1:47 PM

      Thank you for writing in about the “2014” election. I, too, thought it odd. I also assumed that the only thing the Resistance would be discussing is putting together a constitutional assembly. I’m going to see if I can get in touch with Cuevas and see what he has to say.

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