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Monthly Archives: October 2009

LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Interview with Zelaya

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Zelaya with Andrés Thomas Conteris, Founder of Democracy Now! en Español, at the Brazilian embassy. (Photo: Milton Benitez)

This is the write-up of an interview I conducted with Mel Zelaya, first published in The Brunei Times, 29 October 2009.

In an October 26 interview via Skype instant messenger, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya assured The Brunei Times that there was still hope for a resolution of the Honduran political crisis despite the fact that the dialogue intended to resolve the crisis had been suspended. Zelaya was currently on his 36th day of confinement to the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, following 86 days of exile from the country that had begun when the Honduran military removed him from his home in his pajamas and deposited him in Costa Rica on June 28.

When a decisive international reaction to the coup proved less than forthcoming, Zelaya repatriated himself in the trunk of a vehicle on September 21 with the aim of initiating a process of dialogue.

The current suspension of negotiations between his representatives and those of coup president Roberto Micheletti is thus presumably favourable to the party to the dialogue that is not interested in talking.

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LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Golpistas set sights on El Libertador director after one of his staff is kidnapped and burned with cigarettes

July 2009 edition of El Libertador.

July 2009 edition of El Libertador.

On the morning of October 21, Jhonny Lagos – founder and director of El Libertador, the sole anti-coup newspaper in Honduras’ capital city – received a phone call from a military acquaintance sympathetic to the Resistance. The official reported a meeting between coup president Roberto Micheletti and assistant foreign minister Martha Lorena Alvarado in which the two had begun preparations for Lagos’ demise and Alvarado – evidently irked by her appearance on the list of golpista Opus Dei members in the paper’s October edition – had stipulated that El Libertador be made to pay dearly. Other forms of paying dearly had been proposed in the aftermath of the June 28 coup against President Mel Zelaya, when Lagos had been offered 10 million lempiras (over half a million dollars) in exchange for an alteration of Libertador principles.

The proposal had also called for Lagos to author two articles, one on the subject of national reconciliation and the other in support of the November elections. Lagos had joked to the golpista intermediary who had presented the scheme to him that El Libertador would gladly start featuring advertisements for fast food chains but that the ads would consist of a picture of a hamburger with the label: “Beware, this product is golpista.” (more…)

LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Claudia Rosett fails to detect Obama conspiracy to keep Nobel Peace Prize out of Micheletti’s hands

Asked in a recent meeting in the press room at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa about the accuracy of the New York Times claim that the coup government has spent at least $400,000 USD thus far on a “high-profile lobbying campaign” in the US, coup president Roberto Micheletti is reported in La Tribuna as responding that “the calculations have already been made and we know perfectly well how much is being charged,” before confirming that the estimated sum sounds fairly accurate. Not explained is whether Micheletti believes that the fact that he knows how much he is paying justifies the undertaking, or why there has been incessant golpista complaining about Honduran President Mel Zelaya’s past allocation of funds for domestic projects.

According to Micheletti, the hiring of Washington firms like the Cormac Group and Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates is completely consistent with “what the law says we can do” and is not so much a campaign as a presentation of information his government thinks the US should know. As for domestic projects currently being pursued in Honduras, these include a promise made by Micheletti to improve press room conditions at the presidential palace and a Forbes.com article by Claudia Rosett reproduced on page 10 of the October 10 edition of La Tribuna along with the specification “Paid political advertisement” in the top right corner.

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LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Micheletti declares revenge on US in World Cup qualifying match

A few weeks prior to the October 10 World Cup qualifying match between Honduras and the United States, the appointed Costa Rican referee was replaced with a Panamanian one. The substitution of nationalities was explained in Saturday’s La Tribuna as being due to the fact that Panama was not also a World Cup contender; my newspaper vendor had a slightly different take on the situation, which was that Costa Rica intended to skew not only the internal politics of Honduras but also its athletic legacy in favor of the United States.

Regarding US manipulation of Latin American destinies, Honduran political analyst and former Congress member Matías Funes – speaking over coffee the other morning – noted inconsistencies in the evolution of the golpista position vis-à-vis the regional superpower, such as that coup government functionaries who had previously maintained a policy of obsequiousness had now discovered the principle of autodeterminación. According to Funes, the evolutionary trajectory was particularly visible in the career of golpista Foreign Minister Carlos López Contreras, who had been assigned the nickname “Carlos López Contras” in the 1980s despite his insistence that there were no armed Nicaraguan groups in Honduras.

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US, Venezuela find selves on same side of resurrected Cold War

Attendees dance at function in favor of educational reform in the Venezuelan state of Anzoátegui. (Photo by Amelia Opalinska)

Attendees dance at function in favor of educational reform in the Venezuelan state of Anzoátegui. (Photo by Amelia Opalinska)

Following a one-and-a-half year hiatus from the United States and a 15-year hiatus from my mother’s family in Florida, I paid them a visit last month. I arrived to north Florida from Honduras, where the pro-coup population remains convinced that Honduran teachers are propagating socialist ideology via opposition to military coups; I was unaware that the educational system of the US had also been infiltrated by socialist ideologues but was brought up to speed by my grandfather, who informed me that my mother’s sister was partially to blame for the infiltration as she had voted for Barack Obama.

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LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Esdras Amado López Explains Increasing Lack of Chemistry between Channel 36 and Roberto Micheletti; Coup President Fails to Confiscate Award He Signed to Journalist and Station Owner in 2006

Channel 36 TV, Tegucigalpa

Channel 36 TV, Tegucigalpa

According to Amado López, Micheletti’s appreciation for technological innovation had declined in accordance with Channel 36 news reports of his alleged involvement in premeditated financial mismanagement and the nonfatal shooting of an attorney who had participated in the 2008 hunger strike at the Congress by public prosecutors protesting corruption in Honduras. Micheletti meanwhile explained the lack of chemistry between Channel 36 and himself by accusing Honduran President Mel Zelaya of funding the news outlet, an accusation challenged by Amado López, who pointed out that TV stations “sell advertising, not rocks,” that Zelaya’s government had paid for their ads just like people presumably paid other stations for ads comparing Zelaya to Hugo Chávez, and that golpista Rafael Ferrari owned far more media outlets than he himself did.

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LIVE FROM HONDURAS: Ros-Lehtinen Discovers Antidote to Honduran Tourism Crisis in Visiting US Congress Members; Coup Leader Admits that Lifting of Emergency Decree Does Not Apply to All Media Outlets

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

Two days prior to the scheduled visit to Honduras of a delegation from the Organization of American States (OAS), an abridged version of international diplomacy arrived in Tegucigalpa yesterday morning in the form of Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who was nonetheless defined as US Senator by prominent Honduran newspapers. Ros-Lehtinen starred in a mid-day press conference at the presidential palace, an event also qualifying as abridged based on the lack of representatives of the anti-coup press.

The absence from the conference of Channel 36 TV and Radio Globo – the two media outlets forced off the air last week with coup president Roberto Micheletti’s decree of a state of emergency – was called into question when Micheletti assured the audience that his decree had been completely revoked. The possibility that the coup government might thus return confiscated broadcasting equipment to its rightful owners was promptly declined, however, when Micheletti declared that said owners would have to earn back their rights in a court of law.

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