Thursday, July 2, 2009
DAY 5: MASS PROTESTS IN HONDURAS AGAINST COUP; TENS OF THOUSANDS MARCHING ON THE CAPITAL TO AWAIT PRESIDENT ZELAYA’S RETURN
Despite the suspension of constitutional rights in place as of yesterday, per a decree by the Honduran congress in support of the coup government, tens of thousands of Hondurans are mobilizing throughout the country and participating in nationwide marches in route to the capital, Tegucigalpa. Demonstrators are protesting the illegal coup d’etat that ousted the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, on Sunday, after kidnapping him from his bedroom and forcing him into exile. Hondurans in support of President Zelaya are marching on the capital to await President Zelaya’s return, scheduled as of now for Saturday, July 4th, after the Organization of American States (OAS) 72-hour ultimatum, that was issued to the coup government on Wednesday, calling on them to step down or face severe sanctions, has expired.
Hondurans are still denouncing the media blackout in place in their country, preventing the majority of people in the country from receiving news from independent and international sources. The only media permitted to broadcast or publish since Sunday’s coup are those supporting the illegal takeover of the state.
Hondurans are also reporting food and medicine shortages in the country, resulting from the border closings imposed by neighboring nations Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, in reaction to the coup. Central American nations have adamantly condemned the coup and refused to recognize the illegal government in place, led by Roberto Micheletti, former head of congress. Nations around the world have expressed they only recognize Manuel Zelaya as the legitimate and constitutional president of Honduras.
It is still unsure how things will play out over the next few days, since the coup government is defiantly holding its power in Tegucigalpa and still has the military on its side. If they refuse to step down by Saturday, further sanctions could be imposed that would severely harm the already third poorest nation in Latin America’s economy and infrastructure. As it stands today, the coup government appears ready to bear the consequences of months of isolation from the world community. The US may determine next Monday that sanctions should be in place against Honduras, resulting from the military coup, but it is unlikely that substantial aid will be cut, which will allow the illegal government to ride out the next 6 months until elections are held in November.
Governments in Latin America have stated they will not recognize any government elected during the November elections if the coup government remains in place until then, since such a process would not be considered legitimate or constitutional.
Friday, July 3, 2009
DAY 6: OAS SECRETARY GENERAL HEADS TO HONDURAS TODAY TO PERSONALLY GIVE ULTIMATUM TO COUP GOVERNMENT
Today the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, is traveling to Tegucigalpa to personally inform the coup government, in place since Sunday’s military coup d’etat, that if they don’t step down by Saturday and allow for President Manuel Zelaya’s return to power, then Honduras will be suspended from the most important multilateral organization in the region. The suspension will not just be symbolic, it also includes ceasing all economic aid from the Inter-American Development Bank, which provides millions of dollars in support to the Central American nation, and the imposition of sanctions for human rights violations through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
The coup government, led by Roberto Micheletti, has said it will remain in power “with or without” the OAS. We’ll see how things develop today.
Meanwhile, the United States is the only remaining country in the Americas still maintaining diplomatic relations with Honduras after Sunday’s coup. The US Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, remains in Tegucigalpa, apparently “negotiating” with the coup government to find a solution. However, President Zelaya, the constitutional and democratically elected president of Honduras since 2005, has stated he will not “negotiate” his return to power. It’s ridiculous to request a president overthrown in an illegal coup negotiate with the criminals who overthrew him in order to reestablish constitutional order.
There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that the US government is, unfortunately, involved in that will soon be exposed.
Check out how the State Department is finding ways to get out of sanctioning Honduras and pressuring the coup government to step down by now legally classifying what took place as a “military coup d’etat” under US law. Note how instead of referring to the coup in English, the State Dept official does it in Spanish, as though that somehow makes it mean something else (yeah, since it’s said in Spanish, it doesn’t mean the same under US law):
Excerpt from Wednesday’s State Department press briefing:
QUESTION: And so this is properly classified as a military coup?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I mean, it’s a golpe de estado. The military moved against the president; they removed him from his home and they expelled him from a country, so the military participated in a coup. However, the transfer of leadership was not a military action. The transfer of leadership was done by the Honduran congress, and therefore the coup, while it had a military component, it has a larger — it is a larger event.
The Obama administration is trying desperately to save its image before the world, but not break ranks with its allies in Honduras. It’s very pleased with the outcome of the coup, just not the method used to get there. So now they’re saying, it was a “golpe de estado,” and even though the armed military guards in ski masks kidnapped President Zelaya from his bed at gunpoint in the middle of the night and forced him into exile, since it was a leader of Congress, a civilian, and not a military general, who subsequently named himself the de facto president, then it’s not a “military coup.”
Way to go State!