OAS meeting concludes and Zelaya plans his return

James Wilde reports from Honduras

July 5, 2009
4 min read

Sunday 12:40 am Honduras … The OAS session in Washington has just concluded. The session was broadcast live on the internet and CNN Espanol carried the debate. Essentially, the entire membership agreed to suspend Honduras from the OAS following the refusal of the Honduran government to reinstate president Mel Zelaya.

The Canadian ambassador expressed concern about president Zelaya returning at this time because his safety could not be guaranteed. The Canadian ambassador proposed that rather than Mel Zelaya return at this time, a delegation of OAS members and diplomats should try once again to negotiate with the acting Honduran government. There seemed no clear response to the Canadian ambassador’s proposal and the session was concluded.

CNN conducted a live interview with Zelaya immediately after the meeting. He appeared determined to return as planned sometime on Sunday. Zelaya said the delegation accompanying him was voluntary (presumably that meant the group was not selected or mandated by the OAS) but he believed it would include, as previously announced, the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador.

From the perspective inside Honduras, the proposed return of Zelaya today seems extremely risky not only for Zelaya but for the country as a whole. The acting government of Honduras has continued to be obdurate and unprepared to compromise. There appears to be a lack of objectivity and the junta has lost any sense of proportion. The statements of Mr Micheletti and the acting government official are increasingly strident, reckless and belligerent, seemingly acting without any regard for International concern about their actions.

Today I reviewed amateur footage of Honduran army troops shooting the tyres off yellow school buses that were allegedly part of a convoy of buses attempting to transport Zelaya supporters to the capital. The incident was claimed to have taken place within the past two days at Limones, 112 kilometres northeast of Tegucigalpa. If this was an actual incident, it demonstrates the ill discipline of the soldiers and the lack of effective control of the security forces by the acting government.

I have also read reports in the British media; the BBC and the Guardian that hand grenades have been thrown at government buildings and businesses over the past several days. I live above the historic city centre and work just inside the barrio of Comayaguela, immediately across the river from the congress building. I can state categorically that no acts of violence, particularly hand grenade attacks, have occured anywhere in the Centre over the past five-days. I cannot, however, attest to what may have occurred around the presidential secretariat on Blvd Juan Pablo Segundo or other areas of the city. Many of the government building are spread all over the city.

It is important to emphasise that other than one act of alleged vandalism on a fast food restaurant, the pro-Zelaya demonstrators have been peaceful with the exception of the stone throwing and tyre burning in front of the presidential secretariat earlier in the week, which the police countered with rounds of teargas. On Thursday, the congress enacted emergency legislation that suspends fundamental rights, specifically; arrests without warrants, individuals detained up to 24 hours without access to legal counsel and restrictions on freedom of assembly.

Mr Micheletti and the congress continue to insist that they have acted in order to protect the Honduran constitution and preserve democracy while at the same time suspending fundamental rights and providing the acting regime with draconian and authoritarian powers.

Given the present volatility of internal debate within the country and the unpredictable character of the acting Honduran government, I am deeply concerned about the potential for confrontation and violence at Toncontin airport in the event of Zelaya’s return today. I am not confident that Micheletti and the congress will act with due restraint, respect for diplomatic conventions or exercise adequate control of the Honduran security forces.


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change

Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself

Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces

How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank

The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava

Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'

Confronting Brexit
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond

On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network

Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter

#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement

Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’