As they occasionally do in order to show that members of the Honduran anti-coup resistance are not the only ones that can walk, coup supporters marched this morning in Tegucigalpa, clad mainly in white shirts or Honduran soccer jerseys. Their chants ranged from the very banal, such as “Elecciones, elecciones, elecciones” and “Honduras, Honduras, Honduras”, to the less banal, such as “Lula, llevate esa mula”, an appeal to the president of Brazil to transfer “that jackass” – i.e. Honduran President Mel Zelaya – from the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa to Brazil proper.
According to a middle-aged marcher named Jorge Antonio in a Honduran flag hat that tied under his chin, Brazil’s adoption of Zelaya was one of two ways to rectify the current crisis; the other was for Brazil to simply hand him over to the coup government of Roberto Micheletti. He expressed his doubt at the latter option, as Lula was rapidly becoming a clone of Hugo Chávez, and – dragging me over to a parked pickup truck on the side of the road – encouraged me to stand in the back such that I might witness the extent of the golpista multitudes, which nonetheless did not appear to consist of 85 percent of the population as Jorge Antonio claimed. (March organizers claimed 60,000 marchers; local media counted the size at 10,000). He sighed when I hesitated to occupy a vehicle whose owner had not been identified and yanked me up, whereupon I asked if he believed in the concept of communal property; laughing: “No, no!”, he drew my attention to the current chant suggesting that people who did harbor such notions could go to Caracas.
The golpista march had begun in front of the United Nations office in Tegucigalpa and made its way toward the US embassy, with an unexpected stop in front of a gated entrance to the Jordanian consulate occurring on the way. Shouting “Fuera Mel!”, a section of the marchers swarmed toward the gate, and some of the more impassioned ones starting pushing buttons on the intercom on the wall. Bewildered, I looked to a young child standing next to me, who suggested that Zelaya was inside.
The swarm was then distracted by a police pickup truck coming down the street with a woman and child in the back, at which sight the crowd cleared the way, cheering and waving. It was unclear whether the woman and child were being detained; lack of clarity did not distract the crowd from its jubilant chant: “Soldado, amigo, el pueblo está contigo!” – Friendly soldier, the people are with you! The bout of ecstasy was later repeated in honor of passing military vehicles and offered a slightly different perspective on public affiliations than the original tune the golpistas had hijacked, “El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!” – which did not mention any outside support from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Public affiliations were further called into question when I asked a man in a white shirt in front of the consulate gate why he had just put a sizable rock in his pocket and was told that the police had given it to him. The man identified himself as an employee of the Jordanian consulate, which he claimed was currently empty – both of staff and of the Honduran president – and that the confusion had stemmed from the landing of the rock outside the gate, which marchers had interpreted as a takeover of the consular grounds by the resistance. Having completed his analysis, the man with the rock disappeared into the crowd.
A security guard in front of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, located near the Jordanian consulate, radioed around for reports of a fallen rock; failing to confirm the incident, he alerted me to the Honduran bourgeoisie’s quest to paint an inaccurate picture of the political situation in Honduras, and to their belief in peace only for certain sectors of the population. Sectors denied such luxuries included the colonia in which the security guard resided, where he and his neighbors had just last night driven away police seeking to disturb the peace.
As for the self-appointed friends of soldiers, the security guard characterized the marchers as a people who preferred to have the international community sweep their house for them. He clarified that he was referring to the international political community and not international housemaids, and that Hondurans needed to sweep their houses themselves – a task rendered more difficult when the president was not in his house but rather the Brazilian embassy.
The golpista march continued from the US embassy down Morazán Boulevard before dispersing, at which point a woman in an oversized T-shirt informed me conspiratorially that Zelaya owned haciendas in the state of Olancho. After some further prodding the woman conceded that Micheletti was also wealthy but that he was better at managing the Honduran economy, a claim that becomes less convincing when large business owners complain about curfews and when golpista marchers ask me for soda money.
First published in Narco News, 24 September 2009