By Emile Schepers
I am traveling and was not able to get hold of a computer with adequate Internet access last night so I am writing this at 9:43 Central Time, Friday morning September 4.
1. GOOD RESULTS FROM ZELAYA-CLINTON MEETING. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington Yesterday. He must have said something right because afterward, the State Department announced several measures that Zelaya and his allies have been pushing for. The Secretary of State has evidently decided that what happened on June 28 was at least partly a military coup, with other government institutions participating. On that basis, the United State has announced that it will NOT RECOGNIZE THE RESULTS OF THE NOVEMBER 29 ELECTION unless the Micheletti coup regime accedes to the San Jose accords negotiated by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias. USAID (Agency for International Development) has actually been partly funding those elections, so this is an important step even though it needs pressure to make sure it is followed through in practice. It is important to note that the State Department's declaration accuses Micheletti of having a strategy of running out the clock on the elections to present the world with a fait accompli in November. This is an explicit recognition of the arguments of Zelaya and major Latin American leaders.
Secondly the State Department announced a further cutoff of funds for the coup regime, with varying amounts being cited in different news sources, but most are saying that it is about $30 million in non humanitarian and military aid, already frozen but now definitely cancelled. This would include $9.4 million from USAID, $8.7 million in military and security aid, and $11 million in Millenium Challenge grants, as reported in the Mexico City daily La Jornada.
Thirdly the State Department says it is looking into the possibility of cancelling existing visas of some of the main coup leaders. It had already stopped the essential of new non-immigrant and non-emergency visas, but that left existing visas intact. If this measure is followed through , it would be a big step forward.
However, there was so far no committment to freeze bank accounts held by the coup plotters in U.S. banks, which was another thing Zelaya was asking for..
2. STRUGGLE IN STREETS GOES ON Meanwhile, the resistence in Honduras is in its 69th day with no letup. Besides the return of Zelaya , the resistance is calling for the carrying out of the referendum on a constituent assembly (constitutional convention) which was aborted by the June 28 coup d'etat.
All for now, I'll try to log in again tomorrow morning.
Friday, September 4, 2009
By Emile Schepers