SECOND ROUND IN TEGUCIGALPA September 23, 2009Posted by wmmbb in LATIN AMERICA.
First President Manuel Zelaya was hoisted from bed in his pajamas and deported, now he has re-entered Honduras and is staying over at the Brazilian Embassy.
So crowds have come out to support him. The interim government, representing the landed elite (of whom the deposed president was a member) now have to resort to violence. I am guessing that the Zelaya supporters were nonviolent, which would be a condition for success.
The BBC reports:
Honduran security forces have broken up protests outside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa in support of deposed President Manuel Zelaya, reports say.
Police surrounded the embassy, where Mr Zelaya is staying, and the scene is now said to be calm.
Protesters defied a curfew set after Mr Zelaya’s surprise return on Monday.
He had been in exile since being thrown out of Honduras on 28 June. Interim leader Roberto Micheletti has insisted Mr Zelaya should face trial.
The confrontation between protesters and police took place in the early morning local time, reports said, and police are now said to be in control of the area.
Police fired tear gas at the protesters and at least two tear-gas canisters landed inside the embassy compound, said a photographer for Reuters news agency who was at the scene.
Inside the embassy, Mr Zelaya accused police of preparing an attack.
“The embassy is surrounded by police and the military… I foresee bigger acts of aggression and violence, that they could be capable of even invading the Brazilian embassy,” he told Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur, according to Reuters.
But a police spokesman said force had to be used to disperse the protesters, and that the curfew remained in effect until Tuesday evening.
A protest leader, Juan Barahona, alleged that police had used live rounds, but this was denied by the interim deputy foreign minister, Martha Lorena Alvarado.
Mr Micheletti has demanded that the deposed leader be handed over to face trial, saying Brazil will be held responsible for any violence.
It is not possible to conclude that the protesters are using violence in any form, although it is clear that the police did.
We have mainstream commentators who are deeply ignorant and we have reports that are, at best – standards of journalism and all that – simply clueless.
So one has got to go somewhere else to find what is going on. Greg Gandin, at Common Dreams, possibly gets the picture in focus:
In a bold move, the democratically elected president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya – ousted in a military coup in June – has returned to Tegucigalpa, entering the country in secret, traveling overland with a small group of advisers. He is currently in the Brazilian embassy, and crowds of supporters are gathering around the building to demand the restoration of Honduran democracy. That Zelaya traveled at night, crossing “rivers and mountains,” as he put it, all the while managing to evade Honduran intelligence – largely funded, trained, and provisioned by the US military – is quite a feat – and also a hint that Zelaya still commands the loyalty of some sectors of the military and police.
It’s unclear what will happen next. Roberto Micheletti, the president installed by the coup, has imposed a fifteen-hour curfew — which will undoubtedly be extended — reminding reporters that there is a standing order for Zelaya’s arrest. Yet Zelaya’s return is sure to galvanize those opposed to the coup, whose protests over the last three months have prevented Micheletti from consolidating power.
It has become increasingly clear that Micheletti’s strategy of trying to hold out until scheduled presidential elections in late November was not working, with a movement within Honduras for a boycott of the vote gaining steam and most Latin American nations saying they would not recognize its results. Since the prospect of holding elections with Zelaya in prison – or perhaps still rallying supporters from his Brazilian refuge — would only underscore the illegitimacy of the coup government, it seems that it will have no choice but to negotiate directly with Zelaya his return to power.
He also points out the strategic coup of the Brazilian involvement:
That Zelaya chose the Brazilian embassy as where to make his stand undoubtedly with the approval of the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva despite denials, is also a strategic masterstroke, for it shifts the away from Venezuela and Hugo Chavez as the Honduran plotters have tried to frame the crisis and toward Lula, everyones favorite democratic leftist. Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, responded to the coup governments demand that Brazil turn Zelaya over by saying that any threat to the legitimate president or the embassy would be a grave breach of international law.
Where the counter-coup to be successful, and that has to be yet demonstrated, the psychological impact on South America would be dramatic since it would represent the dawn of new world. South America and Central America would have restored democracy. Those in North America would have been made irrelevant.
At Truthdig, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now has a an article with further information and some consideration how American Officials may act and think. They, however, are who are most important and relevant in this situation, and those that are the Honduran people.
UPDATE: 25 September 2009
Al Jareeza reports that the former and interim presidents are talking, on the condition that Zelaya accepts the November Elections.
Peter Beaumont at The Guardian , 27 September 2009,reports that the stand off continues and has deepened. Pro-coup demonstrators are gathering outside the Brazilian Embassy, while Zelaya is getting support from the Spanish Prime Minister. The longer the stand off continues the more the legitimacy of the actions of coup leaders will be called into question. Can this issue be resolved in a peaceful and democratic way?
UPDATE: 31 October 2009
It would appear that now the two sides have reached an accord. Juan Zamorano reports in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Representatives of the deposed Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, and the country’s interim government have signed an agreement that could open the way for Mr Zelaya’s reinstatement four months after he was ousted in a coup.
No text of the accord was immediately released, but it was greeted by all sides as a resolution to the political dispute that has polarised the country and subjected it to international sanctions.