Friday, September 25, 2009

Honduras News Update: Zelaya Begins Talks; Reflections From Fidel; Cuban Parliament on the Current Situation

Friday, September 25, 2009
04:53 Mecca time, 01:53 GMT

Zelaya 'begins Honduras talks'

Zelaya made a surprise return on Monday, three months after he was ousted in a coup

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has begun talks with an official from the country's interim government aimed at ending the country's protracted political crisis.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Thursday Zelaya confirmed the talks had begun but said they could not yet be considered negotiations.

"They have not advanced at all, but they have begun," he said.

The ousted president was speaking from inside the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, where he has been sheltering along with his family and about 70 supporters since sneaking back into Honduras on Monday.

The building has since been surrounded by government troops where thousands of Zelaya supporters have held demonstrations since his return.

At least one person has been reported killed and several wounded in a series of clashes between Zelaya's supporters and security forces.

More than 100 people have been detained.

'Violence not necessary'

Speaking by telephone to Al Jazeera, Zelaya said he believed he had enough support in the Honduran military to return to power, but denied he would use violence to do so.

"Violence is not necessary," he said. "Violence is a tactic of the weak. When you use violence you have no other means."

Shortly after talking to Al Jazeera, Zelaya reportedly held a meeting in the Brazilian embassy with the four leading presidential candidates contesting presidential elections scheduled for November.

They are urging the ousted president and the interim government to reach a deal to resolve the political crisis.

"What we have asked ... is that they be very flexible in a dialogue," National Party candidate Porfirio Lobo told reporters after a meeting with interim President Roberto Micheletti.

Zelaya has been demanding talks with Micheletti since he returned to the country earlier this week.

Micheletti's de facto government has not yet released any comment on the talks, although earlier on Thursday officials announced the lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed following Zelaya's return to Tegucigalpa.

On Tuesday, Micheletti's government said it was willing to talk to Zelaya if he recognised the legality of November's presidential elections.

Willing to talk

Micheletti had repeatedly threatened to arrest Zelaya if he tried to return to Honduras and had insisted that Brazil hand over the ousted leader to "pay for the crimes he committed" which he said included corruption and violating the constitution.

But on Tuesday Michelletti said he was willing to talk to Zelaya if the ousted president recognised the legality of presidential elections scheduled for November.

He also said he would "talk with anybody anywhere at any time, including with former President Manuel Zelaya".

On Friday the UN Security Council is expected to discuss the crisis which has gripped Honduras since Zelaya was overthrown in a June coup.

The meeting comes after Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, earlier called for Honduras' interim leaders to restore democracy to the country.

"We won't accept the coup," Zapatero told world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Reflections of Fidel

A revolution is being born there

ON July 16, I stated textually that the coup d’état in Honduras "was conceived of and organized by unscrupulous individuals on the extreme right, dependable officials of George W. Bush and promoted by him."

I quoted the names of Hugo Llorens, Robert Blau, Stephen McFarland and Robert Callahan, yanki ambassadors in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, appointed by Bush in the months of July and August of 2008, the four of them following the line of John Negroponte and Otto Reich, both of a shady history.

I indicated the yanki base of Soto Cano [Palmerola] as a central support point for the coup d’état and that "the idea of the a peace initiative from Costa Rica was transmitted to the president of that country from the State Department when Obama was in Moscow and stated, in a Russian university, that the only president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya." I added that "the Costa Rica meeting called into question the authority of the UN, the OAS and other institutions which had committed their support to the people of Honduras and that the only correct thing to do was to demand that the United States should end its intervention in Honduras and withdraw the Joint Task Force from that country."

The response of the United States in the wake of the coup d’état in that Central American country has been to draw up an agreement with the government of Colombia for the creation of seven military bases, like the one in Soto Cano in that sister country, which are a threat to Venezuela, Brazil and all the other nations of South America.

At a critical moment, when the tragedy of climate change and the international economic crisis is being discussed in a summit meeting of heads of state of the United Nations, the coup perpetrators in Honduras are threatening to violate the immunity of the Brazilian embassy, where President Manuel Zelaya, his family and a group of his followers who were forced to take shelter in that building are to be found.

It has been confirmed that the government of Brazil had nothing whatsoever to do with the situation that has been created there.

It is therefore inadmissible, moreover inconceivable, that the Brazilian embassy should be assaulted by the fascist government, unless that government is attempting to be the instrument of its own suicide by dragging the country into a direct invasion by foreign forces, as was the case in Haiti, which would signify a direct invasion of yanki troops under the flag of the United Nations. Honduras is not a distant and isolated country in the Caribbean. An intervention by foreign forces in Honduras would unleash a conflict in Central America and create political chaos in all of Latin America.

The heroic struggle of the Honduran people after almost 90 days of incessant battling has placed in crisis the fascist and pro-yanki government that is repressing unarmed men and women.

We have seen a new awareness emerge in the Honduran people. An entire legion of social fighters has been hardened in that battle. Zelaya fulfilled his promise to return. He has the right to be reestablished in government and to preside over the elections. New and admirable cadres are standing out among the combative social movements, capable of leading that nation along the difficult roads that await the peoples of Our America. A revolution is being born there.

The UN Assembly could be a historic one, depending on its correct decisions or errors.

World leaders have expounded issues of great interest and complexity. They reflect the magnitude of the tasks that humanity has ahead of it and how scant the time available is.

Fidel Castro Ruz
September 24, 2009
1.23 p.m.
Translated by Granma International

Statement from Cuban Parliament on situation in Honduras

THE National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba yesterday issued a statement repudiating the flagrant violation of human rights being suffered by the people of Honduras.

Below is the integral text of the document:

Given the gravity of events that are still occurring in the sister Republic of Honduras, the National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba affirms its profound concern over the flagrant violation of the most elemental human rights of the people of that country as a consequence of their determined and constant resistance and rejection of the coup d’état and the dismantling of the constitutional and democratic regime of the government of President Manuel Zelaya.

We join the universal repudiation and condemnation of the military regime imposed on that nation and call for the implementation of more energetic and profound measures on the part of the international community in order to achieve a return to normality and the restoration of the Honduran president, democratically and popularly elected, as a manifestation of the will of his people.

Zelaya’s presence in Tegucigalpa constitutes a gesture of courage and is based on his legitimate right as the constitutional president of Honduras. His physical integrity and that of his family, of the diplomatic personnel and other employees in the Brazilian embassy, as well as that of the group of Hondurans present there must be respected and guaranteed by the coup perpetrators. The barbaric repression of demonstrations by the people in support of the democracy that they are defending and which they deserve must likewise be ended.

Havana, September 23, 2009
Translated by Granma International

Coup regime continues the repression

TEGUCIGALPA, September 23.— The coup government forces’ repression of Honduran citizens demonstrating in support of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya today led to the death of a young man, the looting of businesses and markets and numerous riots despite the curfew, EFE reports.

Early this Wednesday, groups of citizens defied the authorities in at least 50 different locations in incidents that left one person dead and 113 people detained, according to official information. The police and army, using tear gas and rubber bullets, also repressed a demonstration approaching the area surrounding the Congress building.

Meanwhile, President Zelaya informed AFP that the Brazilian embassy, where he is located, is the target of electronic interference that is preventing telephone communications and that the coup government has installed ultrasound machines to distress people in the building.

"That electronic equipment affects and inflames the brain. We have been attacked (with these sound waves) in the last 24 hours but a district attorney arrived and they are now dismantling them," he added

Juan Barahona, general coordinator of the National Front against the Coup, emphasized the pacific nature of the anti-coup struggle and urged people to maintain order and discipline in order to prevent actions by provocateurs.

Chanting slogans like "The people, united, will never be defeated" and "Forward, forward, the struggle is constant," a thick human column of more than one kilometer in length moved down the city streets.

In the Villanueva district, demonstrators were blocked by a strong contingent of riot police backed up by the army but, after through tense negotiations, managed to advance slowly to the nearby Palmira neighborhood.

The police eventually halted their march a few blocks from the Brazilian embassy.

During a demonstration there, campesino leader Rafael Alegría announced the Front’s creation of a commission of dialogue and asked the crowd to move to the Parque Central and await further instructions.

When most of the demonstrators had left the area, a firecracker exploded a few meters from the riot police, who immediately responded by launching tear gas grenades.

The protest in the Parque Central, in Tegucigalpa’s historic quarter, was cleared later on when police arrested an undetermined number of people.


The coup regime has been exerting constant pressure on the media covering the peaceful resistance against the coup, as is the case with Radio Progreso, Carla Rivas, a journalist from this radio station, reported.

In an exclusive statement for the National Radio Coordinating Committee from Tegucigalpa, she said that the pressure has intensified since Monday, when the news came out that President Zelaya was in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital.

Radio Globo was also off the air at several points yesterday due to power cuts, because the army is controlling the electrical distribution center.

Translated by Granma International

Brutal repression in Tegucigalpa

Army and police suppress demonstrators outside Brazilian embassy and threaten to detain President Zelaya

TEGUCIGALPA, September 22. — From 05:00 today, hundreds of police and soldiers began to seal off the area where the Brazilian embassy is located and to violently attack peaceful demonstrators who had taken up position around President Manuel Zelaya Rosales’ current location.

Tanks, tear gas, lead and rubber bullets, water cannon trucks and liquid irritants were indiscriminately used to clear the area, thus leaving the legitimate president of Honduras awaiting a possible invasion and his detention, an intention announced by the usurping president, Roberto Micheletti, a few hours earlier.

The protestors, primarily women with children, the elderly and young people began to disperse toward the capital city center and were savagely pursued by several squads of soldiers and police agents attacking them from the north and cutting off their exit path.

"I consider that the position taken by the current regime is to intensify the repression. However, over these 87 days, the population has acquired great courage in their defense of democracy. The next few hours are going to be very difficult for the people," Radio Globo correspondent Carlos Paz confirmed.

Translated by Granma International

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