By Emile Schepers
Dramatic events are happening in Honduras. At the end of this post I provide numbers to call for us to add our voices.
1. COUP REGIME REPRESSES ZELAYA SUPPORTERS AND THREATENS ATTACK ON THE BRAZILIAN EMBASSY. This morning heavily armed cops attacked the thousands of people who had gathered around the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, driving them away, injuring up to 84 people according to some reports and arresting about 300 who are being kept in a sports statium. There are reports of specific resistance leaders being targeted. Later, there were reports by various sources that Roberto Micheletti, the increasingly deranged leader of the coup regime, had asked the Honduran supreme court (the one that gave its blessing to the coup) to give him authority to send in his goons to invade the Brazilian embassy. He had said that he would respect the diplomatic status of the embassy but only if the Brazilian government handed over Zelaya or gave him political asylum in Brazil, which Brazil of course has refused to do as it considers anything coming out of Micheletti's mouth as having no validity. This evening, Zelaya himself reported that the coup regime has announced (evidently through megaphones aimed at the embassy) that it is going to send in police or military to go into the embassy and capture Zelaya by force. This would be a major violation of international law and in fact would justify Brazil in declaring war on Honduras (which is not likely). The US embassy issued a statement that if the Brazilian embassy is attacked, it will consider this to be an attack on the US embassay also. For at least a while, the coup regime had cut off water and electricity to the Brazilian embassy, but there are reports that the Red Cross and the US embassy have been sending in food and water.
What to make of this? My first inclination is to consider this to be just psychological warfare, but one can't be sure, because the coup regime is really terrified and enraged by Zelaya's lightning return to Tegucigalpa and might behave like a cornered wild beast and do irrational, desperate things. So we can't take the stance that "oh, they're only bluffing" and have to do what we can to prevent such a disaster, which mainly consists of continue to push our own government to take a strong stance and to make sure the Obama administration lets Micheletti and all his supporters know that if they violate international law by attacking the Brazilian embassy, all US bank accounts of coup supporters in the US will be frozen and all trade with Honduras will be suspended.
2. RESISTANCE CONTINUES. In spite of the repression at the embassy, the National Front Against the Coup and other resistance groups are calling for people to find their way to Tegucigalpa for a major demonstration at the university starting tomorrow at 8 am Honduras time. The regime has set up blockades and is repressing the pro-Zelaya media by threats and by cutting off electrical current, but the word seems to be getting out. As far as I know the curfuew continues, though I have not seen a specific announcement.
3. INSULZA BLOCKED FROM COMING TO HONDURAS. Yesterday, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said he was coming to Tegucigalpa today, but he was not able to do so because the coup regime closed all the airports with the specific purpose of keeping this one person out. I do not have info as to if or when he may make another try.
4. BRAZIL CALLS FOR AN EMERGENCY UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON HONDURAS. Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim has requested that the UN Security Council meet in emergency session on the Honduras crisis, I guess tomorrow. I don't know if this has been agreed to. Brazil is not on the Security Council this time around, but has asked permission to attend and present its case.
5. MICHELETTI SAYS HE WILL HAVE A DIALOG BUT ONLY WITH PEOPLE FROM OTHER PLANETS. This morning an op-ed appeared in the Washington Post under the name of Roberto Micheletti, in which he repeated his sing-song that there was no coup and that the elections are the solution because there is freedom of assembly and of the press in Honduras. At the very time Washingtonians were reading this piece, the army and national police were beating up and arresting the people who were trying to exercise freedom of assembly at the embassy, and the pro-Zelaya media were being harassed by power cut-offs and armed threats. Later today the Spanish daily El Pais reported that Micheletti says that he is "disposed to dialog" but only with people who are impartial on the Honduras issue. He specifically denounced Costa Rican president Arias. (Some weeks ago he had suggested that Germany be asked to mediate, and has also tried to set up Secretary of State Clinton and Republican Senator Lugar as co-equal representatives of the US to meet with him).
I have to stop now but if something big is going to happen in Honduras tonight, I will try to gt the word out. Meanwhile please call the State Department at 202 647 4000 to insist that the United States act firmly to prevent further violence against President Zelaya and his supporters, and against the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Also please contact your senators and congressperson at 202 224 3121 with the same demand. More contact information on Congress can be found at www.thomas.loc.gov.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
By Emile Schepers