- On October 29, Honduran coup d'etat "president"
Roberto Micheletti announced that:
- "....a few minutes ago I authorized my negotiating
team to sign a final agreement" to let Congress and the Supreme Court
of Justice (CSJ) decide whether or not deposed President Manuel Zelaya
may return to office and complete the remaining weeks of his term, expiring
on January 27. If he does, will it matter?
- Zelaya is a wealthy businessman, a member of the right-wing
Liberal Party (PL), a former National Congress Deputy from 1985 - 1998,
a former PL Minster for Investment, and president from January 27, 2006
to when he was deposed on June 28.
- His 2005 presidential campaign was largely on a law-and-order
platform with pledges that, if elected, he'd address Honduras' crime problem
with more police programs against and reeducation ones for violent international
and local street gang members.
- Zelaya also joined Venezuela's Bolivarian Alternative
of the Americas (ALBA) based on fair, not one-sided "free" trade;
complementarity, not competition; solidarity, not domination; cooperation,
not exploitation; and respect for each nation's sovereign freedom from
- According to supporters like Alejandra Fernandez, a Honduran
student, he also:
- "raised the minimum wage, gave out free school lunches,
provided milk for the babies and pensions for the elderly, distributed
energy-saving light bulbs, decreased the price of public transportation,
(and) made more scholarships available for students." In addition,
he built roads and schools in rural areas. "That's why the elite classes
can't stand him and why we want him back. This is really a class struggle."
One the Resistance is detemined to win and hardliners aim to crush.
- The Coup d' Etat
- On June 28, dozens of Honduran soldiers stormed Zelaya's
residence at night, arrested him in his pajamas at gunpoint, and exiled
him to Costa Rica in violation of the 1982 Constitution that states:
- "No Honduran may be expatriated nor delivered by
the authorities to a foreign state," nor may a democratically elected
leader be deposed.
- On July 3, the Honduran army's top lawyer, Col. Herberth
Bayardo Inestroza, admitted as much in a Miami Herald interview saying:
- "We know there was a crime there. In the moment
that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out,
there is a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime
occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal
that will protect us."
- He meant protection from the Constitution's Article 239
(crafted by a military government to subordinate civilians to repressive
rule) that states:
- "No citizen that has already served as head of the
Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President.
- Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as
well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will
immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public
office for a period of 10 years."
- Also, Article 374 stating:
- "It is not possible to reform, in any case, the
preceding article, the present article, the constitutional articles referring
to the form of government, to the national territory, to the presidential
period, the prohibition to serve again as President of the Republic, the
citizen who has performed under any title in consequence of which she/he
cannot be President of the Republic in the subsequent period."
- Zelaya didn't suggest it or break the law in calling
for a simple non-binding June 28 "yes" or "no" referendum
on one question:
- "Do you think that the November 2009 general elections
should include a fourth ballot box (the other three being for candidates)
in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constituent
Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?"
- The Honduran Congress and military opposed it. The CSJ
illegally ruled it unconstitutional, ordered no distribution of ballot
boxes, and threatened those doing it with 8 - 12 years in prison for "abuse
of authority." The High Court and Congress are stacked with right-wing
ideologues. In addition, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs calls the
CSJ "one of the most corrupt institutions in Latin America."
- So is the military whose officers from captain on up
have been trained for decades at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA),
renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISEC),
where they're taught the latest ways to kill, maim, torture, oppress, exterminate
poor and indigenous people, overthrow democratically elected governments,
assassinate targeted leaders, suppress popular resistance when it erupts,
and work cooperatively with Washington to solidify hard-right rule, intolerant
of progressive change - familiar tactics since June 28.
- The day before, the military set off a chain of events.
Reports said Zelaya fired Joint Chiefs Head General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez
for refusing to distribute ballot boxes. He denied it. Velasquez may have
resigned on his own. So did Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana and several
military commanders. Nonetheless, the CSJ and Congress called Velasquez's
dismissal illegal. Military forces deployed around Tegucigalpa, surrounded
the Presidential Palace, and took over the airport and borders in advance
of the planned coup, made in Washington, of course, like numerous others
- Zelaya, nonetheless, ordered ballot boxes distributed.
Congress recommended removing him. The Federal Prosecutor's Office announced
that anyone setting up polling stations or promoting the referendum would
be prosecuted. Anti-Zelaya forces urged a boycott.
- Right-wing media hype called the vote illegal, a ploy
to re-elect Zelaya, a way to shift his conservative Liberal Party far-left,
a scheme to solidify his Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)
membership and let Chavez make Honduras socialist. In a pro forma June
29 pronouncement, the CSJ reinstated Velasquez. The Catholic Church backed
the coup government. Months of terror followed, including:
- -- imposing military rule, martial law, and a state of
- -- deploying combat troops on city streets;
- -- suspending civil liberties, including habeas, the
right of assembly, free movement and free expression;
- -- committing thousands of human rights violations;
- -- thousands more illegal arrests;
- -- dozens of killings, beatings, kidnappings, and nationwide
- -- according to the human rights NGO Comite de Familiares
de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared
- COFADEH), torturing and sodomizing men and gang-raping women;
- -- reactivating the infamous Battalion 316, the CIA-created
death squads that disappeared, tortured, and exterminated regime opponents
in the 1980s;
- -- silencing the independent media; and
- -- harassing and arresting Honduran and foreign journalists;
at least one was murdered, Gabriel Fino Noreiga on July 3.
- Barack Obama ignored the worst of state terror in support
of coup d'etat rule - no surprise from a president calling the fraudulent
Afghan election "a step forward...to advance democracy, peace and
justice....in "the interests of the Afghan people (and) a reflection
of a commitment to the rule of law."
- Post-coup on Veneuela's TV Telesur, Zelaya called his
- a "kidnapping. An extortion of the Honduran democratic
system. And I will ask the presidents of the Americas, including the US
president - I want to hear the US Ambassador Hugo Llorens in Tegucigalpa
if they are behind this, and if not, clear it up, because if the US is
not behind this coup, they won't be able to stay there forty-eight hours."
- For over 100 years, Washington repeatedly intervened
in Central and Latin American affairs - by invasions, bombings, occupations,
assassinations, countless episodes of destabilization and election rigging,
and numerous coup d'etats against leaders it wished to depose.
- Zelaya was the latest, confirmed by the Obama administration's
refusal to cut diplomatic ties, halt military aid, impose sanctions as
US law requires, or call the ouster a coup.
- Announced Deal
- On October 30, New York Times writers Ginger Thompson
and Elisabeth Malkin headlined, "Deal Set to Restore Ousted Honduran
President." To what given the agreed on terms. On October 29, AP reported
- "opposing political factions resumed talks (today
in hopes of reaching a deal) to end the power crisis that has paralyzed
the country" since June 28. "The two sides returned to the negotiating
table a day after visiting US diplomats urged both factions to be more
flexible and find a solution (ahead of) scheduled" November 29 presidential,
parliamentary, and municipal elections.
- Terms of the So-Called Agreement/Accord
- Signed on October 30, it's for Congress and the CSJ to
approve it. Titled "Accord for National Reconciliation and the Strengthening
of Democracy in Democracy," it's as Orwellian as "War is peace.
Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
- Post-coup, The Hill.com reported that the far-right Business
Council of Latin America (CEAL) hired former Bill Clinton special counsel,
Lanny Davis' firm, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, to lobby Congress
and conduct a supportive PR campaign for its leaders. Lobbyist Bennett
Ratcliff was enlisted to work with Davis, and according to an unnamed source
in The New York Times, the Micheletti government hasn't made a move without
first consulting him.
- These men, their associates, and legal staff prepared
the Accord, the way business sectors craft all Washington legislation affecting
- It begins saying:
- "We, Honduran citizens, men and women, convinced
of the need to strengthen the rule of law, protect our Constitution and
the laws of our Republic, deepen democracy and ensure a climate of peace
and tranquility for our people, have carried out an intense and frank process
of political dialogue to seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to the
crisis in which our country has been submerged in recent months."
- Terms include:
- 1. Forming a "National Unity and Reconciliation
- Fact Check
- Only hardliners need apply, and if reinstated, Zelaya
will finish his term as an impotent puppet head of state.
- 2. Renouncing "a Call for a National Constituent
Assembly and Amending the Unamendable Articles of the Constitution."
- Fact Check
- According to Article 5 of the 2006 Honduran "Civil
Participation Act," government officials may hold non-binding inquiries
(referenda) to determine popular support for proposed measures. Gauging
sentiment for a National Constituent Assembly for a new Constitution is
legal. Illegally, Washington and Honduran hardliners stopped it.
- 3. The coup regime calls on Hondurans to "peacefully
participate in the coming general election and to avoid any type of demonstrations
that oppose the elections of their results, or promote insurrection, unlawful
conduct, civil disobedience or other acts that could result in violent
confrontations or transgressions of the law."
- Fact Check
- Honduran coup opponents called for an election boycott.
On September 15, so did Zelaya saying:
- "One cannot talk about the elections where there
are no guarantees that the will of the people is going to be respected."
- On October 24, 300 members of the two dominant parties,
the National Party (PL) and Liberal Party (PL), announced they'll refuse
to participate. Will they now after the Accord was signed?
- If some reports are accurate, Zelaya capitulated to coup
d'etat terms by calling the Accord a democratic "triumph" - even
though trade unionist independent candidate and National Resistance Front
member Carlos Reyes and legislative deputy Cesar Ham of the small leftist
Democratic Unification (UD) party dropped out of the presidential race
on September 9. Most of the remaining PN and PL candidates are conservative
hardliners who'll assure no possibility of democratic change.
- The elections will fill 2,896 positions, including the
presidency, all 128 National Congress deputies, 20 others to represent
Honduras in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), 298 mayors and
another 2,000 municipal officials.
- 4. The Honduran military and police will be "placed
at the disposition of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal from one month before
the general elections for the purpose of guaranteeing the free exercise
of suffrage, the custody, transport and surveillance of electoral materials
and other security aspects of the process."
- Fact Check
- Hardline security forces will subvert democratic change.
Hondurans will be disenfranchised if they back the charade. In betraying
his supporters, Zelaya capitulated, meaning he'll support coup d'etat authority.
- 5. The CSJ and Congress will "resolve the issue
regarding 'restoring possession of the Executive Power to its status prior
to June 28 until conclusion (of) the current governmental period on January
- Fact Check
- Two hard-right bodies will decide IF Zelaya is reinstated
and on what terms. He'll be impotent by agreeing to the charade.
- 6. A "Verification Commission" will be created
"to verify commitments made under this Accord and those deriving from
it....composed of two (coup lackey) members of the international community
and two members of the national community, the last two to be chosen, one
each, by" Micheletti and Zelaya.
- Fact Check
- Staunch Washington ally, Ricardo Lagos, former Chilean
president, and Obama's Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, will represent the
international community along with Jorge Eduardo Idiaquez, Zelaya's UN
ambassador, and coup lackey, Arturo Corrales Alvarez. A three to one edge
assures no chance for democratic change.
- 7. The coup regime calls for "Normalization of Relations
between the Republic of Honduras and the International Community"
to restore the status quo.
- Fact Check
- The regime wants international recognition for its illegitimacy,
continued hardline policies, and apparently will get it.
- 8. The Verification Commission will handle "differences
regarding interpretation or application of this Accord..."
- Fact Check
- Hardliners want rubber stamp approval. Commission members
chosen will assure it.
- 9. The Accord is effective on signing. The "following
calender for compliance" was agreed on:
- (1) On October 30, signing the Accord into effect, delivering
it to Congress, and having it rule on Point 5, "Regarding the Executive
- (2) On November 2 or no later than November 5, forming
the Verification Commission and establishing the "National Unity and
- (3) On January 27, "celebrating the transfer of
- The Accord was agreed to by Micheletti and Zelaya representatives,
Thomas Shannon, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western
Hemisphere Affairs and Obama's yet-to-be confirmed ambassador to Brazil.
Ostensibly, it will return Zelaya to office in exchange for international
support for subverting democracy and continuity under far-right officials
taking over in January.
- It also assures his impotence. Hardliners will be empowered.
Constitutional change will be prohibited. Democracy will be subverted.
Zelaya must distance himself from Hugo Chavez. Perhaps other regional center-leftists
as well. Coup plotters will get amnesty, and Zelaya may still be tried
for treason for ordering a legitimate referendum.
- What's Next?
- With elections in a few weeks, hardliners may stall,
obstruct, and from what Micheletti advisor, Marcia Facusse de Villeda,
told Bloomberg News maintain the status quo until new officials take office
- "Zelaya won't be restored," she said. Further,
"just by signing this agreement we already have the recognition of
the international community for the elections." From Washington for
sure according to Thomas Shannon. On November 4, Al Jazeera reported that
- "told CNN en Espanol (on November 3) that the US
will recognise the November 29 elections even if the Honduran congress
votes against Zelaya's return to power before the vote."
- No surprise, and according to Micheletti aide, Arturo
Corrales, Congress isn't in session so approving the Accord will come "after
the elections." Yet, according to hondurasthisweek.com, the congressional
Executive Committee (Junta Directiva) met on November 3 to evaluate the
Accord, but what's next is anyone's guess as Congress president, Jose Alfredo
Saavedra, hasn't convened an extraordinary legislative session to decide
on reinstatement.. Nor has the CSJ ruled, yet the November 5 midnight deadline
came and passed.
- Zelaya Reacts
- Still holed up at the Brazilian embassy under threat
of arrest, Zelaya told Radio Globo: "There's no sense in deceiving
Hondurans." His negotiator, Jorge Reina, said the Accord is dead because
Congress failed to vote by the agreed on date and added:
- "The de facto regime has failed to live up to the
promise that, by this date (November 5), the national (unity) government
would be installed. And by law, it should be presided by the president
of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya." Reina accused Micheletti of arranging
"a great electoral fraud this November. We completely do not recognize
this electoral process. Elections under a dictatorship are a fraud for
- According to AP:
- "Shortly before midnight, Micheletti announced that
a unity government had been created even though Zelaya had not submitted
his own list of members. Micheletti said the new government was composed
of candidates proposed by political parties and civic groups."
- In other words, mostly hardliners to solidify coup d'etat
rule even though earlier hondurasthisweek.com cited a November 1 Spanish
newspaper La Vanguardia report saying Tegucigalpa diplomatic sources told
the paper that Thomas Shannon forced Zelaya's compliance or risk his son,
Hector's, prosecution on drugs trafficking. He lives in America. Zelaya
complied, but as of November 6 no longer. Nonetheless, events are fast
moving with likely new developments in the hours and days ahead.
- At issue is how the international community will react
if a fake national unity government is established and elections precede
a vote on Zelaya's reinstatement.
- The Organization of American States' (OAS) Secretary-General,
Jose Miguel Insulza, said he's creating a "mission" to assure
compliance, meaning Zelaya must be reinstated once Congress and the CSJ
agree. However, no deadlines are set, so hardliners may run out the clock
and declare victory. They've already won even though The New York Times
- "As news of the agreement spread, residents poured
from their homes and workplaces across Tegucigalpa, the capital, to celebrate.
Jubilation broke out in streets," with more likely if Zelaya's reinstated.
It's not assured. Neither is what's next if it comes. What if delay and
obstruction follow, and what if Venezuelan lawyer, author, and close Chavez
confidant, Eva Golinger, is right about more Washington-instigated "coups
in Paraguay, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Venezuela, where subversion, counterinsurgency
and destabilization increase daily."
- Latin America is being more militarized, the result of
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe giving the Pentagon access to seven new
military bases with US forces currently on nine others, supplemented by
the April 2008's Fourth Fleet's reactivation after a 60 year hiatus. Now
the Honduran coup suggests other regimes outside the US orbit or not enough
in it may be targeted. Add Bolivia to Golinger's list and still more if
center-left regimes take over.
- The Honduran Resistance Reacts
- In an October 1 interview, National Resistance Front
leader, Juan Barahona, said:
- "We will not stop. We will continue to be against
the coup until the last day they are in power. After the June coup, the
level of consciousness has greatly risen. There has been a parting of waters.
This is a struggle between classes: on one side the exploited people, and
on the other the capitalists, the large capitalists that dominate this
country. (It's a) struggle of the poor against the rich...." Overwhelming
public sentiment wants a referendum calling for a National Constituent
Assembly to draft a new Constitution.
- Will popular resistance demand it? On November 5, two
of its leaders appeared in Washington at an event to restore democracy
and human rights in Honduras - Bertha Oliva, COFADEH founder, and Jessica
Sanchez of the National Alliance of Honduran Feminists in Resistance.
- On November 4, a London protest was held at the US Embassy
for the same purpose. It also stressed "end(ing) all US economic,
political and military support to" the Honduran dictatorship. Speakers
included trade unionist leader Tony Burke, other activists, and Jeremy
- The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), "the voice of
Britain at work (with) 58 affiliated unions representing nearly seven million
working people," called on MP David Miliband, Secretary of State Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, "to increase pressure" on hardliners
"to restore democracy and to strongly condemn the series of human
rights violations" post-coup.
- The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), representing
170 million workers in 158 countries, unanimously passed a resolution at
its recent Berlin General Council meeting calling for:
- -- suspending Honduran trade preferences and financial
aid and cooperation until democracy is fully restored; and
- -- not cooperating with the bogus November elections
by sending observers.
- On October 31, the National Resistance Front told Hondurans:
- -- "We celebrate the upcoming restoration of President
Manuel Zelaya Rosales as a popular victory over the narrow interests of
the coup oligarchy;"
- -- the Accord mandates "returning the holder of
executive power to its pre-June 28 state (and assuring) a democratic framework
in which the people can exercise their right to transform society;"
- -- the Accord must "be processed in an expedited
fashion by the National Congress; we alert all our comrades....to pressure
for the immediate compliance;"
- -- "We reiterate that a National Constituent Assembly
is an unrenounceable aspiration of the Honduran people and a non-negotiable
right for which we will continue struggling in the streets, until we achieve
the re-founding of our society to convert it into one that is just, egalitarian
and truly democratic....(After over four months) of struggle, nobody here
- One of its leaders, Rafeal Alegria, told Prensa Latina:
"The people will not approve the electoral farce the putschists are
preparing. The only solution to the conflict is the restitution of democratic
legality and the president elected by the people."
- Key now is follow-through, persistence, and staying mobilized
for the long haul. Popular victories come only at great cost after years
of struggle the way noted journalist IF Stone explained:
- "The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those
you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and
lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins...."
- It's for Hondurans and oppressed people everywhere to
understand, persevere, and endure, no matter what.
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday
- Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished
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