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An Irishman in Honduras

Peace worker James Wilde describes the situation in Honduras

July 2, 2009
3 min read

This could be my last posting for a while. Congress and the acting president Roberto Michelleti imposed a curfew at 9pm Sunday evening until 6am today [Tuesday 30 June] and it was suggested that nightly curfews will be continued as long as necessary.

From Sunday afternoon until now there has been internet access and some limited Telly (CNN Espanol and English have been blocked since around 2pm. Predominantly only sports, children’s cartoons and some movie channels have been broadcast. I have not seen any local news channels since about 2pm when the congress session was broadcast on all channels.

Alessa has been monitoring the blogs and talking to friends continuously. There are reports that pro-Zelaya syndicalists will attempt to shut down electricity and water services and generally make things difficult for the acting government. Judging by the ineffectual reaction of the congress junta to earlier events it is likely that there will be more chaotic disruption today.

I have monitored as much of the video footage as was possible on El Pais, YouTube, BBC, CNN and the Guardian and the confrontation in front of the presidential secretariat with the army for much of the afternoon was extraordinary. Normally the Blvd Juan Pablo Segundo is barricaded from the Marriot Hotel intersection to the Mall multiplaza- about a mile’s distance in total.

As I wrote in the morning there was virtually no police or military presence in the centro. The La Colonia Supermarket was open and only one small detachment of police outside the congress building. The crowd of about 200 to 300 people chanting pro-Zelaya slogans was not at all confrontational with the police.

The most tragic-comic event of the afternoon was the crude forgery purporting to be president Zelaya’s resignation letter, which was decisively discredited within about 15 minutes due to the conscientious reporting of the Espanol CNN service. There was some dreadfully silly flailing about by congress spokespersons for around 20 minutes and some reporting of attempts to submit the letter to graphologists for authentication but thereafter the matter was dropped.

From that point on the rump congress steam-rollered Robero Michelleti’s appointment. The debate and speeches were bombastic and emotional, lacking in credibility or substance. Today will, I believe, be crucial to the sustainability of the acting government. If they can stand off against the OEA meeting and the US Government pressure for another 24 to 48 hours they may survive.

Reviewing the days events the most decisive action was taken by the small snatch squads of soldiers that kidnapped [resident Zelaya and abducted the foreign minister Patricia Rodas from the company of several diplomatic amabassadors. By any international standard the reputed actions of the supreme court and army were highly unorthodox if not illegal under international treaties on human rights and judicial conventions. The whereabouts of Patricia Rodas remains uncertain and the acting government has made no statement on her alledged detention.

To my surprise, many sectors of Honduran civil society have demonstrated they are prepared to oppose congress and the army. Given the chaotic reaction of fragile new regime to yesterdays events I am concerned that they will respond violently to any further protest or resistance here in Tegucigalpa.

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