HONDURAS UPDATE AUGUST 9 2009
By Emile Schepers
1. MICHELETTI CANCELS VISIT OF HEMISPHERIC FOREIGN MINISTERS, INSULTS INSULZA. Today it was announced that coup leader Roberto Micheletti has cancelled a visit to Tegucigalpa by the foreign ministers of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, because he says that Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza is biased against the coup regime and therefore not welcome in Honduras. This is an amazing development in several dimensions. First of all, previously Micheletti had demanded that the delegation of foreign ministers not include any from the left-wing ALBA bloc of countries (Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (and Honduras under Zelaya).. This demand was acceded to by Insulza and the other organizers of the foreign ministers’ delegation. So the group of foreign ministers came from countries only one of which – Argentina – has a moderately left-wing government. The other governments in the group range from center-right to far right. But now even this is not satisfactory because Insulza would have been coming with the delegation. Another irony is that the left in Latin America has not had very good things to say about the O.A.S., yet here Micheletti essentially attacks the institution from his position on the far right. Micheletti says he will accept a delegation of foreign ministers of Insulza is excluded. We shall see if anybody thinks that is a concession that should be made or if, rather, the point is well and finally proven that Micheletti and his “gorillas” do not want a negotiated solution, and are just using the ongoing diplomacy to run out the clock on the fall national elections so that they will take place under conditions of press censorship and political repression, assuring a win by the right.
2. NOT MUCH TO EXPECT ON HONDURAS FROM THE MEETING IN GUADALAJARA. Today and tomorrow, the heads of government of the three NAFTA countries – President Calderon of Mexico, President Obama of the United States and Prime Minister Harper of Canada – will be meeting, mostly about economic and trade issues in Guadalajara, capital of the State of Jalisco in Western Mexico. Ironically, this time the US president is the least conservative of the three leaders. The issue of Honduras will come up, but I don’t think we can expect any new, positive initiatives. Though all three leaders have condemned the coup in Honduras, Harper of Canada has been perhaps the weakest of the OAS leaders in this respect. It is perhaps no coincidence that the Canadian mining industry has big investments in Honduras, and is among the sectors that are hit by Zelaya’s 60% increase of the minimum wage. Calderon made a strong statement against the coup and recently hosted president Zelaya in Mexico City, but is a right-winger also who has fights with his own labor and peasants’ movements, some of which are very similar to, and are in contact with, the worker and peasant movements that support Zelaya in Honduras. Zelaya got an especially big reception from the left-wing Mexico City government. There are, however, going to be demonstrations in Guadalajara, organized by the Mexican left, with a list of demands that range from renegotiation of NAFTA to ending the coup in Honduras.
3. MASS MARCHES IN HONDURAS. Large columns are converging on the main Honduran cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula from four directions. Organizers think they can reach at least 100,000 participants. Notably one of the demands is that the referendum on a constituent assembly (= approximately constitutional convention with mass participation) not be abandoned. The demand for a constituent assembly has the aim of setting in motion dynamics that were important in the coming to power, and holding of power, by left wing governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. This is why the oligarchy in Honduras, and its overseas allies, found the idea so terrifying, and was one of the reasons the coup took place on June 28, the day the referendum was to have taken place. The referendum was to be a pressure tactic, being itself non-binding, whereby unions and peasant organizations in Honduras hoped to get approval for a constituent assembly on the ballot for the November 29 general elections in Honduras. But the right managed to get the Supreme Court to declare the non-binding referendum illegal, and Zelaya’s insistence on going ahead was the pretext for the coup, with a further layer of deception being the oft-repeated claim that Zelaya was going to try to run for a second term, which he denies and at any rate would not be possible in the 2009 elections. What the mass movement in Honduras is stressing that the idea of the referendum was their idea, not President Zelaya’s, and moreover they had been doing the legwork and don’t intend to stop.
4. DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH HONDURAS WORLDWIDE. Tuesday August 11, when the marchers are scheduled to arrive at their final destination, has been declared a day of international solidarity with Honduras. Events are being coordinated through the website of the School of the Americas watch. Go to www.soaw.org.
All for now, more tomorrow. Never a dull moment!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
HONDURAS UPDATE AUGUST 9 2009