Tag Archives: Micheletti

June 14th: U.S. Congress to Hear from Honduran Military Coup Leader Under False Premises

Rights Action – June 10, 2011

HONDURAS REPRESSION & IMPUNITY WATCH

U.S. CONGRESS TO HEAR FROM HONDURAN MILITARY COUP LEADER UNDER FALSE PREMISES

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs is to hear from the “Honorable Roberto Micheletti Baín (Invited)”, who is, they say, the “Former President of Honduras”.

Micheletti was a key leader of the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, and was a ‘de facto’ leader of the military-backed regime that carried out widespread repression against the Honduran people.

It is false to say Micheletti is a “Former President” of Honduras.  The so-called swearing in process by the pro-coup Honduran Congress, one day after the illegal military coup, was based on a forged resignation letter of President Zelaya.

The ‘dishonorable’ Micheletti should be tried in court in Honduras for his role in the coup, not received by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as “former President” of Honduras.

WHERE & WHEN

 

HEARING NOTICE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515-0128

Connie Mack (R-FL), Chairman

June 7, 2011

You are respectfully requested to attend an OPEN hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building (and available live, via the WEBCAST link on the Committee website at http://www.hcfa.house.gov):

DATE: Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIME: 3:00 p.m.

SUBJECT: Holding Honduras Hostage: Revoked Visas and U.S. Policy

WITNESSES:

The Honorable [sic] Roberto Micheletti Baín (Invited), Former President [sic] of Honduras

Mrs. Sandra Martínez de Midence, President, Central Bank of Honduras

Mr. Leonardo Villeda Bermudez, Former Executive Secretary, National Convergence Forum (FONAC)

*NOTE:  Further witnesses may be added.

By Direction of the Chairman

The Committee on Foreign Affairs seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202/225-5021 at least four business days in advance of the event, whenever practicable.  Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices) may be directed to the Committee.

WHAT TO DO

Write to your own Member of Congress, and other government officials, demanding that Micheletti – a dishonorable military coup plotter and leader – NOT be invited to speak at this hearing.

WHITE HOUSE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/, 202-456-1111, Comment Line: 202-456-1414

CONGRESS: Go to http://www.house.gov/ to get info for your member of Congress, and call:  202-224-3121

SENATE: Go to http://www.senate.gov/ to get contact for your Senator, and call: 202-224-3121

STATE DEPARTMENT: 202 647-8947

STATE DEPARTMENT – Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs: 202 647-0834, WHAAsstSecty@State.Gov

AMBASSADOR CRAIG KELLY, Principal Deputy Asst. Secretary, Western Office of Hemisphere Affairs: KellyC@state.gov

MARIA OTERO, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; c/o Laura Pena, Assistant: PenaL@state.gov

BENJAMIN GEDAN, Honduras Desk Officer, (202) 647-3482

DR. ARTURO VALENZUELA: ValenzuelaAA@state.gov

PAUL MONTEIRO, Office of Public Engagement, Darron_P._Monteiro@who.eop.gov

AMBASSADOR HUGO LLORENS, U.S. Embassy in Honduras, LlorensH@state.gov, 504 2236-9320 ext. 4268, 2236-9037; Silvia Eiriz, Eirizs@state.gov

*****************

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the brutal military-backed regime in Honduras, headed by Roberto Micheletti, contact:

Annie Bird, annie@rightsaction.org, 202-680-3002

Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 860-352-2448

Karen Spring, spring.kj@gmail.com, 011-504-9507-3835 [in Honduras]

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Filed under ENGLISH, international coverage, international solidarity

[en] MISF – Fear and Loathing in Honduras: Elections Under Repression

Fear and Loathing in Honduras: Elections Under Repression

May I Speak Freely Media
November 20, 2009

As Honduras’ Nov. 29 election day quickly approaches, the broader picture of whether the vote can truly be free and fair has so far escaped the attention of the U.S. government and much of the world’s mainstream press. While focusing on the terms of the Tegucigalpa-San José Accords, their compliance or lack thereof, and the seemingly two-dimensional Manuel Zelaya/Roberto Micheletti dispute over the country’s presidency, government and media observers alike have paid scant notice to the ongoing suppression of civil, constitutional and political rights of the dissenters, which seriously undermines any hope for an end to the political crisis, let alone an unfettered electoral process. As Bertha Oliva, director of the Committee for Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared, testified in a Nov. 5 U.S. Congressional briefing, “Dialogue under repression isn’t dialogue … nor is dialogue that doesn’t recognize human rights.”
Free and fair?

International standards of free and fair elections, set out by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1994 and subsequently adopted by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2000 and the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter in 2001, call for basic rights of political expression, movement within the country and an equal basis for campaigning of all parties. In an essay on the topic, Eric Bjornlund of Democracy International wrote, “The political environment should be free of intimidation.” On its face, these conditions don’t seem to be met in Honduras’ current political climate.

Honduran and international human rights groups, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concerns over political repression and recognition of election results. Much of Latin America, including Brazil and Argentina, have announced they will not recognize the election results.

MISF has previously reported widespread media repression since the June 28 coup, including the September closure and seizure of assets of Radio Globo and Canal 36, two of the last independent opposition voices on air. The two stations have since resumed broadcasting, albeit with limited transmission capacity. Just today Reuters reported that Canal 36 news programming was interfered and prempted by cowboy movies.

MISF Associate Producer Oscar Estrada said that the stations are severely self-censoring, fearing a repeat of military reprisals. One Radio Globo journalist, Luis Galdámez, has persisted in criticizing the de facto government on his daily program “Behind the Truth,” and, according to Amnesty International, has been receiving death threats. On Nov. 19 it was reported that Canal 36’s broadcast signal was being interfered with and news programming replaced with cowboy movies.

The Honduran government on Oct. 5 issued a decree authorizing the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) to shut down any medium that calls for abstaining from the elections or that “incites hatred,” which, according to Estrada, is widely taken as code for speaking against the state. While Conatel hasn’t yet enforced the decree, Reina Rivera, director of the Honduran NGO Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights (Ciprodeh), said she expected it will in the immediate run-up to election day.

Privation of civil liberties has also been reported by MISF. A Sept. 27 emergency decree restricting free speech, assembly and movement—all critical aspects of a free electoral cycle—which de facto president Micheletti had promised to annul, wasn’t repealed until Oct. 25, a few days before the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord was reached. That the decree has largely been replaced by more focused decrees issued by individual ministries much to the same effect.

In addition to the Conatel decree, the national police have issued a resolution, a demonstrably illegal act, that any march or protest requires 24 hours’ notice and permission from the police. In practice, however, this policy has only applied to leftist and independent candidates, for whose events the police are the first—and, as a consequence, last—to show up.

Another decree, issued by the Security Ministry, classifies as terrorism any takeover of public space by the resistance and the use of loudspeakers. To date, several leftist political rallies, which by necessity use sound systems, have been charged in this manner.

The dissolution of any agreement on the return to power of the deposed Zelaya—a precondition to election participation given by the Resistance Front Against the Coup and the popular independent candidate, union leader Carlos H. Reyes—has resulted in the effective disenfranchisement of the opposition in the elections. Reyes has officially withdrawn from the race and the Front, as have 102 of the 128 Innovation and Unity Party congressional and mayoral candidates, as well as a faction of Zelaya’s (and Micheletti’s) majority Liberal Party.

Many leftist organizations and Zelaya himself consider the election hopelessly unfair, have called for its boycott and have begun a process to legally contest and postpone voting.

On Nov. 17, Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubí announced that the 530 prosecutors of the Public Ministry will be actively seeking out and cracking down on anyone who commits “electoral crimes,” such as impeding the voting process, urging people to not participate, or destroying political propaganda, all of which will be punishable with a four-year prison sentence. The practical effect of these strictures is to further stifle opposition voices by stripping them of the one recourse they had left.

The international justice organization CEJIL reported to the United Nations and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Nov. 10 about persecution and retaliation against judges and public defenders who have expressed opposition to the coup. “The acts against these officials are an illegal restriction of their rights and an intimidation tactic to silence their voices and those of the thousands of people who oppose the regime,” said Viviana Krsticevic, executive director of CEJIL.

Honduras rights advocate and former independent slate candidate Berta Cáceres, speaking with the Chilean publication El Clarín, noted that the Electoral Tribunal has engaged the military—the same body that has been illegally arresting, beating up and even killing members of the coup opposition—to supervise the balloting. She said whoever is elected on Nov. 29 will represent a “golpista” government.

Explaining an increasingly widely held view within the country, MISF’s Estrada said, “All the parties have begun to sound like one because [the military,] under its doctrine of national security, runs the country, and will continue to run the next government.”

Ciprodeh’s Rivera said reports are already coming in of heavy militarization in certain remote areas known for being armed, and she fears armed conflict. Ulises Sarmiento, a Liberal Party candidate for deputy in Olancho province and a strong resistance advocate, was attacked Nov. 18 by at least eight men armed with heavy weaponry and grenades. Two of his security detail, Delis Noé Hernández, 27, and José Manuel Beltrán, 35, were killed in the attack.

According to both Estrada and Rivera, the election has stoked fears among Hondurans on both the right, who fear unrest in the streets and the implementation of Hugo Chavez-style populism, and the left, who fear massive, possibly armed repression, and the legitimization of the coup through the voting process.
U.S. recognition

The United States has not only not made any acknowledgement of such apparently unjust and illiberal electoral conditions, but is indicating support for the election and recognition of its outcome.

As a primary broker in the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord, the U.S. State Department initially seemed to be riding to the rescue in a last-ditch effort to reinstate Zelaya to power preceding the elections. However, when it became evident that Honduras’ Congress was not going to make a timely decision on Zelaya’s restitution and when Micheletti unilaterally formed the unity government, the United States insisted that the accord was still in force, indicating at a press conference on Nov. 6—a day after the deadline to reinstate Zelaya—that it would likely still recognize the election.

While this statement seemed to confuse many, it is clearly the official State Department position, since Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, echoed them a couple days earlier on CNN en Español, where he stated, “The future of Honduran democracy is in Hondurans’ [Congressional] hands,” answering affirmatively a question about recognizing the elections, no matter what transpires.

An end to the crisis?

Both Honduras and the United States want to see an end to the crisis, which is unlikely to come with the election. According to Estrada, “This will end one of three ways: by means of a patent campaign of terror that decapitates all the populist organizations; by way of an accord that brings about genuine constitutional reform; or, the third option, war.”

According to Estrada and Rivera, the election has stoked fears among Hondurans on both the right, who fear unrest in the streets and the implementation of Hugo Chavez-style populism, and the left, who fear massive, possibly armed repression, and the legitimization of the coup through the voting process.

For more information

Berta Oliva (COFADEH) Gives Testimony at Congressional Briefing sponsored by Rep. Grijalva D-AZ.” Quixote Center, November 12, 2009.

Bjornlund, Eric. “Free and Fair Elections.” Democracy International.

Casasús, Mario. “Bertha Cáceres: ‘El pueblo busca estrategias para el desconocimiento de las elecciones en Honduras.‘” El Clarin, November 11, 2009.

Con 530 fiscales perseguirán los delitos electorales: Rubi.” El Tiempo, November 17, 2009.

Entrevista Thomas Shannon en CNN 04-Nov.” YouTube.

Honduran channel says de facto govt blocks signal.” Reuters, November 20, 2009.

Honduras: Honduran radio journalist fears for his life: Luis Galdámez.” Amnesty International, Novermber 16, 2009.

IACHR concludes its 137th period of seessions.” Organization of American States, November 13, 2009.

Parks, James. “Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras.” AFL-CIO Now Blog, November 16, 2009.

Poder Judicial persigue a jueces opuestos al golpe.” VosElSoberano, November 14, 2009.

U.S. Department of State. “Daily Press Briefing.” November 6, 2009.

U.S. Department of State. “Daily Press Briefing.” November 18, 2009.

Zelaya Rosales, Manuel. “Carta Presidente Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales al Presidente Obama.” November 14, 2009.

Zelaya to legally contest Honduras elections.” Agence France Presse, November 18, 2009.

Honduran channel says de facto govt blocks signal.” Reuters, November 20, 2009.

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About: Founded in 2001, May I Speak Freely Media (MISF) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting social change through media. Twenty-five years after the Honduran military, with support from the United States, committed brutal human rights abuses against its citizens, MISF Media is working with human rights advocates, international NGOs and grassroots organizations to document rights abuses and justice efforts in Honduras, help victims tell their stories, raise public awareness, and prevent the repetition of past U.S. foreign policy mistakes. Offering journalism, historical records, and other educational material, www.mayispeakfreely.org serves as a resource for policy makers, rights advocates, academics, journalists, activists and the general public. MISF Media is a fiscally sponsored nonprofit project of Media Island International, Olympia, Wash.

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Filed under ENGLISH, human rights & repression, international coverage, news & updates from Honduras

[es] Giorgio Trucchi: Firmado acuerdo para la restitucion del presidente Zelaya

Presidente Manuel Zelaya Rosales. El Ocotal, Nicaragua, 26 julio 2009. Foto: Sandra Cuffe

Firmado acuerdo para la restitución del presidente Zelaya
Asoma solución a la crisis. Y ahora la última palabra pasa al Congreso

por Giorgio Trucchi – Rel-UITA

Las presiones de los últimos días de parte de la comunidad internacional y la presencia en Honduras del subsecretario de Estado norteamericano para el Hemisferio Occidental, Thomas Shannon, y de una nueva delegación de la OEA, parecen haber forzado el presidente de facto, Roberto Micheletti, a aceptar firmar el punto número 6 del Acuerdo de San José, que prevé pedir al Congreso Nacional retrotraer la situación de los poderes del Estado a su estado previo al 28 de junio.

La noticia, que llegó un día después de haberse cumplido cuatro meses del golpe de Estado y a un mes de las elecciones nacionales, desencadenó la euforia de centenares de miles de hondureños que salieron a la calle formando largas caravanas de vehículos, enseñando sus banderas y mantas de la Resistencia en todo el país.

En Tegucigalpa, la gente se dirigió en altas horas de la noche hacia Radio Globo en el céntrico Boulevard Morazán, bloqueando el tráfico y coreando consignas de victoria.

Pese a la evidente satisfacción, el presidente Manuel Zelaya llamó el pueblo hondureño a la calma, explicando que por el momento se trata de un primer importante paso hacia la restitución del orden democrático en el país.

“Llamo al pueblo hondureño a que tenga calma, sin hacer escarnio de nadie. Las comisiones firmaron hoy el punto más difícil y mañana, 30 de octubre, vamos a firmar todo el documento que consta de ocho puntos. Se trata ahora de hacer un plan de trabajo para la ejecución de todos los puntos, incluyendo la restauración del sistema democrático.

Siento satisfacción y soy optimista –continuó Zelaya–, y agradezco a toda la comunidad internacional por haber sostenido esta solución. Restituir a un gobierno con todo lo que ha ocurrido es un hecho histórico para nuestra sociedad y para toda la comunidad latinoamericana. Estamos haciendo escuela, siendo ejemplo de paz y democracia para el mundo.

Sin embargo, se trata de un proceso, de un plan que debe ejecutarse. Primero se va a construir un calendario, después hay que llevarlo al Congreso Nacional y los diputados tomarán las determinaciones que competen en su carácter de independencia de poderes, y finalmente estaremos participando en todo el proceso de la reconstrucción de la democracia a través de la inminente restitución al cargo de Presidente por el cual me eligió el pueblo hasta el 27 de enero de 2010”, explicó el Presidente legítimo de Honduras.

Faltando pocos minutos para finalizar el día 29 de octubre, la comisión negociadora del presidente Manuel Zelaya Rosales brindó una conferencia de prensa para dar a conocer el contenido del acuerdo firmado con la comisión del presidente de facto, Roberto Micheletti.

Víctor Meza, miembro de la comisión negociadora del presidente Zelaya, dio lectura al texto del acuerdo en el que se expresa que “para lograr la reconciliación y fortalecer la democracia, ambas comisiones negociadoras hemos decidido, respetuosamente, solicitar que el Congreso Nacional, como una expresión institucional de la soberanía popular, en uso de su facultades en consulta con las instancias que considere pertinentes, como la Corte Suprema de Justicia y conforme a ley, resuelva en lo procedente a retrotraer la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo a su estado previo al 28 de junio de 2009, hasta la conclusión del actual periodo gubernamental el 27 de enero de 2010.

La decisión que adopte el Congreso Nacional deberá sentar las bases para alcanzar la paz social, la tranquilidad política y la gobernabilidad democrática que la sociedad demanda y el país necesita”.

Meza explicó también que ninguno de los ochos puntos que conforman el acuerdo, por sí solo, tiene valor individual, sino que están relacionados entre sí y forman parte de un todo integral que se llama Acuerdo de San José, con el sólo objetivo de restaurar el orden constitucional en el país.

Último Momento

por Giorgio Trucchi

El día de hoy, 30 de octubre, las dos comisiones negociadoras firmaron el documento de ocho puntos y fuerona entregarlo a la Secretaría del Congreso Nacional, tal como prevé el punto que trata el tema de la restitución del presidente Manuel Zelaya.

Según el presidente del Congreso Nacional de Honduras, Alfredo Saavedra, obligadamente habrá que consultar a la Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) para decidir si se restituye o no al presidente Manuel Zelaya, como acordaron ayer las comisiones de diálogo en la crisis del país.

“Tenemos que escuchar la opinión de la honorable CSJ previo a emitir un dictamen favorable o desfavorable, porque las normas parlamentarias nos obligan a seguir un procedimiento, y este acuerdo tiene realmente relación directa con otros poderes del Estado, que hay que escuchar su opinión porque así lo ordena en este tipo de materia la misma Constitució”, dijo Saavedra.

El presidente del Congreso agregó que en este momento no es posible poner plazos para la resolución y que de inmediato iba a convocar a la junta directiva y a los jefes de bancadas para conocer el contenido del documento y “continuar con lo que procede”

En las próximas horas se sabrá si se trata de una verdadera salida a la crisis o una nueva maniobra dilatoria de los poderes fácticos de Honduras.

Mientras tanto el Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado dio a conocer su posición ante la firma del Acuerdo de Tegucigalpa-San José:

El Frente Nacional de Resistencia contra el Golpe de Estado, ante la inminente firma del acuerdo negociado entre la comisión representante del presidente legítimo Manuel Zelaya Rosales y los representantes del régimen de facto, comunica a la población hondureña y la comunidad internacional:

1.      Celebramos como una victoria popular sobre los intereses mezquinos de la oligarquía golpista, la próxima restitución del presidente Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Esta victoria se ha obtenido con más de 4 meses de lucha y sacrificio del pueblo, que a pesar de la salvaje represión desatada por los cuerpos represivos del estado en manos de la clase dominante, ha sabido resistir y crecer en conciencia y organización hasta convertirse en una fuerza social incontenible.

2.      La firma por parte de la Dictadura del documento donde se establece “retrotraer la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo a su estado previo al 28 de junio”, representa la aceptación explícita de que en Honduras hubo un golpe de estado que debe ser desmontado para volver al orden institucional y garantizar un marco democrático en el que el pueblo pueda hacer valer su derecho de transformar la sociedad.

3.      Exigimos que a los acuerdos que se firmen en la mesa de negociación se les de trámite expedito en el Congreso Nacional. En ese sentido, alertamos a todos nuestros compañeros y compañeras a nivel nacional para que se sumen a las acciones de presión para que se cumpla inmediatamente lo consignado en el documento final que se elabore en la mesa de negociación.

4.      Reiteramos que la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente es una aspiración irrenunciable del pueblo hondureño y un derecho innegociable por el cual seguiremos luchando en las calles, hasta lograr la refundación de la sociedad para convertirla en justa, igualitaria y verdaderamente democrática.

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Filed under cobertura internacional, ESPANOL, noticias desde Honduras

AP: El Salvador analiza bloqueo contra Honduras

El Salvador analiza bloqueo contra Honduras

Los productos afectados por la medida hondureña son pollitos de día,
huevos y algunos derivados de lácteos, como sorbetes.

AP / Redacción

El canciller salvadoreño Hugo Martínez informó que estudian la
posibilidad de restringir el ingreso al país de los productos
hondureños, en reciprocidad a la medida tomada por el gobierno de
Roberto Micheletti.

“Es una situación que la estamos tomando con mucha cautela y
hemos dicho que vamos a analizar, a considerar la posibilidad de
establecer reciprocidad, puesto que no encontramos una justificación
de peso, técnica, para la restricción al ingreso para algunos de
nuestros productos a Honduras”, dijo el canciller en conferencia de
prensa.

Martínez también lamentó que las autoridades hondureñas mezclen
los asuntos comerciales para presionar a El Salvador para que se
legitime al gobierno interino que preside Roberto Micheletti.

“Quieren obligarnos a sentarnos con representantes del gobierno de
facto y ese chantaje no lo podemos aceptar bajo ninguna
circunstancia”, manifestó.

Insistió que se trata de un chantaje porque El Salvador ha garantizado
los controles sanitarios correspondientes y se han hecho esfuerzos a
nivel del sector privado y lo único que han encontrado es una barrera
de parte del gobierno hondureño.

“La única explicación que entendemos es la búsqueda de un
reconocimiento, utilizando y mezclando los asuntos comerciales con
la crisis política que ellos atraviesan en este momento”, agregó.

Explicó que el problema se agrava porque no pueden acudir a los
organismos de resolución de conflictos internacionales que existen en
Centroamérica, por el hecho de que Honduras no es reconocido por
ninguno de los países de región tras la destitución de Manuel Zelaya
el 28 de junio.

Sin embargo, Guatemala, El Salvador y Nicaragua, bloquearon por
espacio de 48 horas las fronteras con Honduras después de la
destitución de Zelaya, bloqueando el comercio en toda la región
centroamericana y provocando pérdidas millonarias a los productores
del área.

Desde julio pasado, el Servicio Nacional de Sanidad de Honduras,
cerró el paso de huevos producidos en El Salvador bajo el argumento
de que las aves son vacunadas contra la influenza aviar, pero los
productores locales no han negado.

Los productos afectados por la medida hondureña son pollitos de día,
huevos y algunos derivados de lácteos, como sorbetes.

Se estima que solo en la exportación de huevos a Honduras, los
productores han perdido unos 1,5 millones de dólares.

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[en] Tom Loudon – Honduras: A Time of No Time

Detail from a painting in the COFADEH office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo: Sandra Cuffe

HONDURAS: A TIME OF NO TIME

By Tom Loudon*

October 19, 2009

For the last week and a half, negotiations between President Zelaya and the coup government have dominated the news in Honduras. Last week, it appeared that a negotiated solution might emerge.  However President Zelaya’s ‘absolute deadline’ of midnight October 15th came and went and absolutely nothing changed.

The ‘negotiations’ have the entire country suspended in a sort of time warp.  Everyone waits for an outcome from the talks, which never emerges. Zelaya’s first extension, which was to have ended on Friday the 16th, has now been extended to today.  However, coup leader Micheletti is now refusing to recognize what had previously been accepted and continues his stalling game.  It is hard to know what could change between now and Monday which would lead to a resolution.

It is beginning to appear as if, in fact, there never has been any interest on the part of the de facto regime in a real resolution.  Rather, negotiations have served to consume time, running the clock in the hope of using the November 29th elections to claim that a legitimate government has been elected.

This weekend, an unidentified person in the State Department is quoted promoting the notion that perhaps the U.S. would recognize the outcome of the elections even if Constitutional order is not restored, provided they are verified free of fraud by international observers.  Although a certain number of countries may eventually go along with this approach, large sectors of people inside Honduras and most Latin American governments will not.  Given the impasse on negotiations and failure to restore Constitutional order, the 13 ALBA countries have announced that they will not recognize the November elections and have resolved to promote that position among other countries.

The broad based national coalition against the coup [‘National Front Against the Coup’] in Honduras has issued a call for citizens to disrupt the elections.  This weekend, Independent Presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes began holding popular assemblies proposing to his supporters that they affirm his decision to withdraw from the race.  Today, the left wing UD party also announced that if there was not a restitution of Manuel Zelaya to the Presidency, they would also withdraw from the elections.

Meanwhile, the repression has been ramped up, posing serious new challenges for the resistance movement.  The first response to the resistance on the part of the coup regime was to launch uncontrolled violence and blanket repression against protesters, and anyone else in the vicinity.   More recent tactics expose the highly sophisticated apparatus which is behind this coup and capitalize on the collective memory of torture, disappearance and terror that were practiced here not very long ago.

POLICE STATE AND THE SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

Executive Decree PCM-M-016-2009 eliminates freedom of speech and association, and allows police to enter private houses at will, without a warrant.   In addition to giving police blanket authorization to attack and arrest anyone without cause, many of those arrested have been charged with sedition.   Although Micheletti claimed to have lifted the decree prior to the negotiations, in actuality, it has remained in effect.  Today there was an announcement that it had been revoked.  Perhaps this time it may actually be more than a promise.

Three snapshots from culled from notes during a recent visit to Honduras, from the offices of COFADEH – Committee of Families of the Disappeared of Honduras – illustrate life under the current police state:

Agustina Caceres, a school teacher from La Esperanza , arrived at COFADEH after 21 days in prison.  Agustina received the “Teacher of the Year” Award last year for excellence in teaching and is known for her community service with youth gangs.  She was sitting on a curb, waiting for transport back to her hometown after the celebration in Tegucigalpa to celebrate Zelaya’s return, when police started beating her.  They continued to beat her face after she was handcuffed.  She was released from prison, after her teachers union posted over $5000 in bail, and is charged with sedition.

Four people arrived who had been arrested on August 12, the day of a large protests and heavy repression. Two had never been involved in political activity and had not attended the protest.  One had attended the protest earlier that day and was then arbitrarily pulled off a bus with his sister and another person while on their way home much later.  The fourth voiced protest from a distance about a young boy who was being beaten by the police which provoked her arrest.  All were arrested and beaten with long night-sticks or metal poles.  They were held in a room laying face down on the floor with arms cuffed behind their backs.  Police came by and deliberately stepped on their exposed toes. They were held for nine days.  All have been charged with sedition though no evidence has been presented. They are awaiting trial.

A woman from a Tegucigalpa barrio arrived with a small son who had been shot in the stomach.  She went to file a police report and was told that the shooting was her own fault because of the state of siege she should not have let him out of the house.

In addition to generalized police repression against the entire population, there is an increase in selective intimidation, threats and assassination.

This week, union leader Jairo Sánchez, president of the SITRAINFOP union, finally died after having been shot in the face on September 24th.  It is said that he was first thrown to the ground, and then fired on a point blank range.  Early this morning (October 19), Elisio Hernandez, director of a rural school in Macuelizo and anti-coup activist, was also murdered.

Because of the increased incidence of violence and intimidation many people who have been involved in the resistance are leaving the country or going into hiding internally.

“OPERATION SILENCE”

The forced and violent closure of independent national radio and TV stations (Radio Globo and Channel 36) has successfully cut off access to accurate information about what is really happening in Honduras.  Three radio shows, which played once a week on a station owned by Ricardo Maduro (known to be sympathetic to the coup), were also suspended this past week.

Indirectly, these news outlets also served a coordination function for the resistance movement; assisting in the effort to conduct simultaneous actions in different parts of the country and notify people where and when repressive actions were being carried out.

In a country with large percentage of rural inhabitants and scarce access to internet, “Operation Silence” has dealt an effective blow to the resistance movement.

Today, the day when a new human rights mission sent by the UN began its work, Radio Globo was allowed to re-open, but with a gag order.  It was also thought that Channel 36 would re-open.

SUDDEN ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN EARLY END TO THE SCHOOL YEAR

Social unrest and strikes since the coup have already resulted in major interruptions for public school students.  This week, the government suddenly announced that the school calendar would be cut by one month.   With less than one week of prior notice, classes were required to end on Friday October 16th and all school activities to end by October 30th – a full month before the school year normally ends.

This measure is understood as a move to demobilize teachers – an important sector of the resistance movement with a long history of struggle.  Ending the school year early interrupts efforts which might emerge on the part of teachers to disrupt elections, as many of the polls are located inside of the schools.  It also gives the army sufficient time to occupy the schools.

Previously the government has threatened reprisals against teachers who were participating in resistance activities.  Teachers who are insisting on continuing the school year past the government cutoff are now being threatened for wanting to teach.

Although the regime may be enjoying short term success in suppressing the demand for restoration of Constitutional order, in the long term police state repression will not contain the huge numbers of people who will continue to struggle for economic and political justice.

Media hype to the contrary, the growing number of left wing governments being elected in Latin America is not the result of anything Hugo Chavez is doing, rather the efforts of people who are tired of poverty and social movement demanding change.

This week, for example, despite Micheletti’s iron clad crack down, the resistance scored a major goal.  The Honduran Soccer team qualified for the World Cup.  Soccer in Honduras is like baseball and football combined in the U.S.

Micheletti, anxious to take full advantage of this event, declared a national holiday and held a ceremony to honor the winning players with special medals.  However, the captain of the team, Amado Guevara, refused to accept a medal from the illegitimate government and had his jersey smuggled inside the Brazilian Embassy to President Zelaya.  Despite the media blackout, news of this open defiance of the dictator spread throughout the country.  Later Amado Guevara denied that he had been involved in sending his jersey to the Embassy.  Certainly the coup government found an effective way to threaten him, because his family is known to be vehemently anti-coup.

It is hard to predict where things are headed in Honduras.  Unfortunately, the second deadline extension given by President Zelaya had not produced a negotiated settlement, rather another long weekend of suspended animation.

By late tonight, there was still no news of any agreement, just references by the coup government of the need to avoid placing a deadline on the negotiations.  If Constitutional order is not restored quickly, a massive boycott of the elections is likely. Any candidate who chooses to remain in the race will be judged as illegitimate, leading to a further breakdown of order.

In this time of no time – the clock is running out.

* Tom Loudon is currently in Honduras, working with the Quixote Center, www.quixote.org, toml@quixote.org

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[es] Entrevista a Dionisia Diaz, la abuela de la Resistencia

Dionisia Diaz, abuela de la Resistencia. Foto: Sandra Cuffe

Entrevista a Dionisia Díaz, con 75 años se ha convertido en la abuela de la Resistencia
“En Honduras se acostumbra que al Presidente lo elige el pueblo”
El Clarín de Chile

Doña Dionisia Díaz (1934), se ha convertido en la abuela de Honduras, durante 115 días no ha dejado de caminar con la Resistencia, no claudica al corear las consignas con su viejo citófono y comparte su experiencia en la lucha desde la Huelga de 1954 con las nuevas generaciones. Accedió conversar con Clarín.cl durante el reinicio de las marchas, una vez que se derogó el Decreto de Suspensión de Garantías Individuales de la dictadura de Micheletti.

MC.- Querida abuela, ¿cómo está?, ¿entre qué emociones vive después de 115 días en Resistencia?

DD.- Siento alegría, tristeza, todo lo tenemos revuelto porque este goriletti es un fascista, juega con nosotros, da plazos y da plazos , y a nosotros eso no nos cae bien y él no es quién para ordenar. Aquí en Honduras se acostumbra que al Presidente lo elige el pueblo, nosotros nunca hemos llevado al poder a ese goriletti, lo hemos rechazado cuando se ha lanzado en las elecciones porque es una persona enferma un sicópata.

MC.- ¿Había visto semejante número de manifestantes en Resistencia a un golpe de Estado?

DD.- El pueblo después de 1980 estaba dormido, pero usted sabe que los pueblos cambian y nosotros aquí en esta Resistencia no andamos sólo por el Presidente Mel Zelaya, sino por la Asamblea Constituyente; Mel iba a consultarnos para saber si nosotros queríamos una Constituyente, en la consulta iba un Sí o un No, la derecha iban a decir que No, nosotros que Sí; pero hicieron el golpe de Estado basándose en que La Cuarta Urna era prohibida, lo que es una mentira aquí y en China, eso fue algo de lo que se agarraron para dar el golpe de Estado porque la consulta no puede ser prohibida. Necesitamos cambiar esos artículos pétreos que tiene la Constitución de Honduras y que no sirven para nada, los golpistas han violado la Constitución las veces que han querido, todos los países cambian, antes fuimos esclavos y ahora ya no lo somos, pues esos artículos pétreos nos hacen mucho daño, queremos una Constitución que tome en cuenta al pueblo; no es que vamos a correr a los golpistas, no es que vamos a dañar a la Constitución, vamos a guardar la vieja Constitución en una cajita, empaquetada por inútil. Necesitamos la restitución de nuestro Presidente Mel Zelaya para ir a la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente.

MC.- ¿Qué ha sido lo peor de estos 115 días?

DD.- Tenemos 24 compañeros asesinados por los golpistas, los gases lacrimógenos que nos tiran los militares, tienen a este pueblo tan reprimido que no podíamos salir a las calles por el Decreto de Suspensión de Garantías Individuales, es un artículo desgraciado.

MC.- ¿Escucha el doble discurso electoral de los golpistas?

DD.- Micheletti dice que entrega la presidencia hasta el 27 de enero, pero el Presidente es Manuel Zelaya y tienen que restituirlo les guste o no; de lo contrario no habría elecciones, en primer lugar: internacionalmente no se las van a reconocer y en segundo lugar el pueblo hondureño no vamos a dejar que vayan a elecciones con un régimen de facto, goriletti dice que somos “4 gatos”, pero no se da cuenta que no tiene ni a medio millón de hondureños apoyándolo ; todos estamos en la Resistencia, algunos no pueden andar en la calle porque trabajan, tienen niños pequeños o carencias económicas, pero están en Resistencia, toda esa gente no iría a elecciones, y si los golpistas llenan las urnas sería un fraude. Micheletti no es hondureño, creció aquí, pero su sangre italiana es de fascista sanguinario.

MC.- ¿Cabe la comparación entre la Huelga de 1954 y la Resistencia al golpe de Estado?

DD.- Nosotros participamos en la Huelga de 1954 muy tranquilos, cantando, comiendo, durmiendo, esperando que transcurriera el tiempo para que se aprobara lo que pedíamos, y conseguimos los derechos laborales porque en ese tiempo valía más una mula que un obrero, si moría una mula se la descontaban del sueldo a los trabajadores, pero si usted se caía nadie lo levantaba; entonces el pueblo abrió los ojos y dijo: vamos a pedir esto y aquello, pues lo mismo ahora, los artículos pétreos no los necesitamos en la Constitución, y aquí está la Resistencia para lograr la Asamblea Constituyente.

MC.- Usted acompañó al profesor Jairo Sánchez en el último adiós, ¿lo conoció durante los días de la Resistencia?

DD.- Aquí lo conocimos, junto a sus familiares; al profesor Jairo Sánchez le pegaron un tiro en la cabeza, la bala se alojó en su cerebro y no pudo recuperarse. Y Micheletti dice que aquí no está pasando nada, insiste en que las elecciones son el remedio para recuperar la paz y la democracia (sic). Será un fraude de parte de los golpistas y un boicot de parte de la Resistencia; la única paz que podemos conseguir es restituyendo a Mel Zelaya.

MC.- En la Argentina son varias las Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo, usted es la abuelita de todos los hondureños en Resistencia , ¿le causa orgullo?

DD.- Me siento muy feliz, bien acompañada, no puedo vivir sin la resistencia, un día no puedo estar en la casa, tengo que venir a la Resistencia para sentirme tranquila, son un montón de nietos los que tengo, da felicidad, todo mundo me quiere, me abraza, me dan besos y si no me miran preguntan: “¿y la abuela?”, por muy triste que ande por dentro por los compañeros que han muerto, y al ver a goriletti que está ahí asaltando me da asco. A nosotros no nos detiene nadie, ¿quién le debe respeto a Micheletti?.

MC.- En la Constitución de Honduras dice que “Nadie debe obediencia a un gobierno usurpador”, ¿usted sigue al pie de la letra ese artículo?

DD.- Sabemos lo que andamos haciendo, sabemos que no le debemos respeto ni obediencia a goriletti, no lo tomamos en cuenta porque es una persona enferma y abusiva, es un fascista, un asesino, un pegoste; mire todos los muertos, mire los toques de queda, el pueblo no tiene comida ni medicinas.

MC.- Los jóvenes hondureños se comunican a través de Internet, ¿cómo se informaba usted con la salida del aire de Radio Globo y Canal 36?

DD.- Yo tengo un vecino que tiene Internet y cuando quiero leer las noticias voy a visitarlo, y en mi radio escucho Radio Gualcho y ahora a Radio Globo, pero eso no es suficiente, nosotros nos informamos aquí entre los compañeros, el coordinador nos da los informes de lo que pasa en el Frente Nacional de Resistencia Contra el Golpe de Estado.

MC.- Finalmente, ¿usted avala la postura del Presidente Zelaya en el sentido de que sea el Congreso el responsable de dirimir su restitución y no la Corte Suprema?

DD.- No puede ser en la Corte Suprema porque este es un asunto político, la Corte Suprema es de los golpistas, nosotros no confiamos en ellos; si Mel Zelaya dice que vamos a discutirlo en el Congreso Nacional debe tener razón, pero yo no confiaría ni en los diputados (risas).

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