A tense day, as tomorrow will also be.
1. MICHELETTI SENDS ULTIMATUM TO BRAZIL. Coup de-facto government head Roberto Micheletti has issued an ultimatum to Brazil to the effect that if Brazil does not clarify, in 10 days, what it is going to do about the presence of Honduran President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the coup regime will revoke the diplomatic status of the embassy. Micheletti's regime says that Brazil could either give Zelaya political asylum in Brazil or hand him over to the coup authorities for trial for "treason and abuse of power". Micheletti did not say that after 10 days, the diplomatic status being revoked, his goons would invade the embassy and arrest or kill Zelaya and/or others, but a vague threat is implied. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva immediately responded that he rejects such ultimatums and threats because Micheletti and his cronies are not the legitimate government of Honduras.
The Micheletti crowd say that they are doing this as reciprocity for Brazil not recognizing the coup regime, and they accuse the government of Brazil of allowing Zelaya to use the embassy to foment violence (for the record, Zelaya always calls for peaceful resistance).
2. OAS ADVANCE TEAM DETAINED, 3 EXPELLED BY COUP REGIME. Today an advance team of 4 people who had gone to Honduras with the purpose of making arrangements for the planned visit of representatives of OAS countries this week was detained at the airport in Tegucigalpa by coup regime people, and three of the four were expelled on the ground that they did not ask Micheletti's government for permission to come in. The one who was allowed to stay, a Chilean, says he does not know why he was allowed to stay. Whether the OAS team will actually be allowed to come is another matter.
3. CANDIDATE SHOT AND KILLED AS HE CAME OUT OF A CHURCH, UNIVERSITY STUDENT DIES AS RESULT OF GASES. Two new fatalities have been recorded; one was a 23 year old university student, Wendy Avila, who evidently succumbed to an asthma attack brought on by the use of tear gas or other toxic gases by the coup regime's army and police. The other, Marco Antonio Canales Villatoro, was shot as he came out of a church. He was a congressional candidate for the Innovation and Unity Party (which does not support Zelaya, though the report from Prensa Latina did not say what his own views were). He was also the nephew of the owner of the pro-Zelaya Radio Globo, Alejandro Villatoro. The hit was carried out by people on a motorcycle.
4. AMBASSADORS COMING BACK. A number of countries which withdrew their ambassadors after the coup are sending them back in, in order to be available to help with negotiating an end to the standoff. But Micheletti's regime says that it is not necessarily the case that they will be allowed to come back to Honduras unless their home governments recoginize his regime as the legal government of Honduras.
5. THE STRUGGLE IN THE STREETS CONTINUES. President Zelaya has called for a massive national mobilization tomorrow to give a final push to restore him to office. The National Front Against the Coup, which coordinates most of the anti-coup activities by unions, peasant organizations and others, met today (Sunday September 27) and called for a big concentration at the National Pedagogical University in defiance of the "curfew" (really a form of martial law) that the Micheletti regime has imposed. Front coordinator Juan Barahona, leader of the beverage union, called for peaceful resistance and did not mention the destination of the march. The teachers' union has called for a supportive strike for tomorrow also. Meanwhile, President Zelaya has called on the Armed Forces to stop repressing the people and violating human rights, warning them that afterwards there may be consequences for people who have done such things.
6. HONDURAN, CENTRAL AMERICAN ECONOMY GOING DOWN THE TUBES? Various business and economic organizations are saying that if the crisis in Honduras continues, it will harm not only the Honduran economy but that of the whole Central American and Caribbean region. The Mexican online magazine Milenio.com published a Notimex article today in which the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Export of Central America, Panama and the Caribbean points out that the cost of transportation in the region is being jacked up considerably by the uproar in Honduras and the danger of border closings. When Zelaya came back on Monday, Honduras closed its border with El Salvador for 48 hours, causing massive jam-ups and costing area economies $20 million per day. Curfews in Honduras have cost businesses of all sized millions of dollars, and have bitten deeply into the paychecks of Honduran workers.
Please continue to do the following. CALL, FAX, E-MAIL The White House and the Department of State, to ask that they increase the pressure on the Micheletti regime, for instance by freezing the bank accounts of Micheletti and his colleagues and financial supporters in the United States. Also, the number of co-sponsors on H RES 630, which calls for the US to oppose the coup and support restoration of Zelaya, has gone up to 49, but that's not nearly enough to have an impact, especially as a rival resolution, promoted by the Republican Party, which supports the coup and demands that Obama recognize the Micheletti regime, is creeping up and now is at 46 cosponsors. To see if your congressperson is on either, go to www.thomas.loc.gov and write "Honduras" into the search engine on the site. Both resolutions will come up and you can click on "cosponsors" and see if your congressperson has signed onto either of them.
Sunday, September 27, 2009