Wednesday, August 5, 2009


By Emile Schepers

Here is the latest on the Honduras issue, in no particular order.

1. VIOLENCE AGAINST STUDENTS, STAFF OF UNIVERSITY. This afternoon there was a sharp clash between students and staff of the National Autonomous University and coup security/insecurity forces. Al Jazeera, Telesur and others report that a large number of students (Telesur says 3,000) gathered at the entryway to the university. Telesur says that security police entered the University precincts and assaulted the students with tear gas grenades and water cannon. The rector of the University, Julieta Castellanos, was evidently roughed up and pushed to the ground when she tried to interpose herself between the police and the students. The students had come out of the University grounds to protest, and the police had tried to follow them into the University when they went back in. In most Latin American countries, it is considered by be a horrifying abuse when police or the military try to enter university campuses, which have a very high degree of autonomy.

2. FOREIGN MINISTERS TO TEGUCIGALPA NEXT WEEK. The programmed meeting among regional leaders today, headed by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, has decided to send a delegation of hemispheric foreign ministers to Tegucigalpa next week to try to get the illegitimate coup government headed by Roberto Micheletti to see reason and accept the proposals for a settlement crafted by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias. The coup regime has so far refused to concede the key element of returning president Manuel Zelaya to power. The identities of the 5 foreign ministers had not been revealed at the time I wrote this.

3. PROTESTS TO BE CARRIED OUT IN MEXICO OVER HONDURAS. On August 9-10, there will be a summit meeting of North American leaders in Guadalajara, Mexico. Mexican president Felipe Calderon will be hosting US president Barack Obama and Canadian prime minister Steven Harper for talks about economics, trade, immigration, security and other things. The Honduras crisis is likely to be on the agenda also. Although Mexico has made strong statements about the Honduras issue, the Canadian position is the weakest, perhaps related to the right-wing orientation of Harper’s conservative government and also the influence of Canadian-owned mining interests in Honduras. The left in Mexico is working to organize demonstrations related to the summit, which will include demands for the restoral of Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras.

4. MASSIVE DEMONSTRATIONS IN TEGUCIGALPA AUGUST 10. Leaders of the protests demanding the return of president Zelaya have announced that there will be columns of demonstrators converging on Tegucigalpa on Monday, Aug 10, for a massive protest.

5. NURSES STRIKE IN HONDURAS. There is an announcement that Honduran nurses are going on strike demanding the ouster of the coup regime and the return of president Zelaya. Teachers and others have been on strike in spite of threats of repression and the murder of two teachers by the coup regime. I will try to get more details on the nurses’ strike which should get support from unionized nurses in the US and worldwide. About 15,000 health care workers are said to be involved in the strike, according to various sources.

6. REVIVING OF 1980S DEATH SQUADS. Honduran peasant leader Rafael Alegria today accused the Micheletti coup regime of trying to revive the death squads of the 1980s, specifically battalion 316 which was responsible for many deaths and disappearances in that period. A number of military figures in the coup regime have connections with that unit.

7. WEAK CLINTON LETTER TO LUGAR. Earlier today AP released info on a letter sent by the State Department to GOP Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) who had written to State to ask for explanations as to why the Obama administration is supporting Zelaya. The text of the letter was phrased in such a way as to make many conclude that the Obama administration is now backing off its support for Zelaya’s restoration. However, later in the day another State Dept. spokesperson denied that there is any change in the U.S. stance.

8. NO NEW SIGN ONS ON RESOLUTION. There are no new co-sponsors signed on to H RES 630, the House of Representatives resolution denouncing the coup and calling for Zelaya’s return. Please push this with your congresspersons.

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