Honduran President Manuel Zelaya meets Roberto Micheletti, who came to power in the military coup, in Costa Rica as resistance in Honduras radicalizes
Can the domestic conflict in Honduras after the military coup of 28 June be resolved through diplomacy?. June yet to be settled diplomatically? For the first time since the coup, there is at least a chance for this to happen. In Costa Rica yesterday, elected President Manuel Zelaya and de facto President Roberto Micheletti were received separately by Costa Rica’s head of state and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias. He wants to bring the two actors together and moderate the talks for two days. But is there anything to negotiate?? Zelaya, who insists on an unconditional return to the country and to office, said that he sees the talks as a starting point for a withdrawal of the coup plotters. He would not accept any conditions, said Micheletti. Arias faces a very difficult situation.
Micheletti, on behalf of the coup government, had declared himself willing to talk on Tuesday. But then he sent other signals. As President Zelaya explained in Washington after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the new rulers in Honduras are refusing to allow his cabinet members to leave the country. There are arrest warrants for the ministers of the elected but deposed government, it was said in Tegucigalpa. The ban on Micheletti leaving the country affects above all Presidential Minister Enrique Flores Lanza, who Zelaya wanted to sit at the negotiating table in Costa Rica. The behavior of the coup plotters shows that they are not interested in a political solution to the conflict, Zelaya complained. He nevertheless accepted the offer of talks.
President Oscar Arias receives Manuel Zelaya, the elected president of Honduras who was overthrown in the military coup. Image: casapres.go.cr
But the rulers in Tegucigalpa are by no means dominating the situation. At the last minute, Micheletti’s trip today (Thursday) was jeopardized because neighboring Nicaragua refused to allow him to fly over. After the military coup, the interim government made dangerous threats against the neighboring country: Micheletti insinuated that the leftist leadership in Managua was mobilizing against Honduras and threatened a military response.
Even though Roberto Micheletti arrived in Costa Rica this morning (local time) – without having flown over Nicaragua – he faces difficult talks: mediator Arias had already announced on Wednesday that his guests were “not at the same eye level” negotiate. He expected “President Zelaya” and “Roberto Micheletti” was interviewed by.
President Oscar Arias receives the de facto president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, who came to power in the coup. Image: casapres.go.cr
Opponents of coup in Honduras continue on the streets
Also in Honduras, the resistance against the “De facto government”, is the common formulation in the Spanish-language press, on. A protest alliance of around 100 organizations, initiatives and political parties is still holding demonstrations and a general strike a good week and a half after the coup d’etat. The walkout has had relatively little effect so far because the poorer Zelaya supporters and the more affluent coup supporters are not only separated by a social divide. The population strata also live geographically separated.
Nevertheless, the prere of the protests is rough. Every day, thousands of supporters of the elected government gather in the capital Tegucigalpa and in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, a relatively important industrial center in the poor country, to protest for the government’s “Return to constitutional order” to protest. Their alliance initially called itself “Popular Resistance Front”. It has since been renamed the National Front Against the Coup. The three main trade union federations and left-wing opposition parties are involved. They demand the reinstatement of the president, a return to democracy and an end to violence.
Meanwhile, the armed bodies, the majority of which are still controlled by the putschists, are increasingly cracking down on opponents of the Micheletti regime. On Sunday, a youth was shot dead near Tegucigalpa’s international airport, where people were waiting for Zelaya’s return (First dead after military coup in Honduras). The U.S. human rights organization Human Rights Watch believes that excessive “excessive use of force” and confirms one fatality and ten injured. Information on another fatality has been confirmed: an employee of the telecommunications authority had already been run over by an army vehicle days ago.
The death toll since the coup is probably higher: Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú told the Italian news agency ANSA that six people died in the coup “extralegal executions”. This information coincides with information from social organizations in Honduras. It is currently difficult to get a picture of the situation from abroad: Even though a general news blackout has been lifted, media critical of the coup are constantly threatened. The major private media houses are close to the Micheletti regime. Representatives of the protest movement accuse them of concealing information critical to those in power.
Social movements are radicalizing
Despite increasing repression and prere on opposition media, continued resistance shows how badly the coup plotters have miscalculated in Honduras. “We are no longer in 1978, when the last military coup took place here”, said Bertha Oliva, a well-known activist in Honduras who is president of the “Committees of Relatives of Prisoners and Disappeared Persons”. At the time, Oliva said, activists and opposition figures had been in hiding after the coup: “Today they are taking to the streets and resisting to demand their rights.”
It is a difficult situation for those currently in power: they, along with military and business associations, have risen up against Zelaya for his 28th birthday. June, the day of the coup, wanted to hold a poll on whether to hold a plebiscite on the establishment of a constituent assembly, initially at the end of November, in parallel with regular elections. Then, against the opposition of Parliament and the Supreme Court, Zelaya sought to carry out the interrogation earlier. The demand for such a renewal of the Basic Law was raised mainly from social organizations. over 400.000 signatures they had collected in support of the petition.
Now, after the coup, the members of the “Popular front against the coup” the more they insist on their political goals. In an interview with the Venezuelan radio station YVKE Mundial, trade union leader Samuel Montes not only called for Zelaya’s return to power, but also for the return of the state. All state organs involved had to be held accountable for treason. “Among others, 123 of the deputies of the National Congress were involved”, according to Montes. But since the state would no longer be able to act after such a step, it would be all the more important to convene an interlocutory assembly that – as previously in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador – would ame the role of the legislature until new elections are held.
Such demands demonstrate a clear radicalization of the social movements that, despite his shift to the left, had so far only cautiously supported Zelaya. The mere discussion of a possible amnesty for the putschists and their supporters in Congress, the army and the judiciary has triggered furious protests in Honduras. This also contributes to the hardening: The members of the Micheletti regime know that they will have to face criminal consequences after a possible retreat.
Threat to regional stability
In recent days, the regional political dangers of the military coup in Honduras have gone largely unnoticed in international reporting. Already in the first statements after the coup d’etat on 28 September. In June, Micheletti and his comrades-in-arms made a name for themselves with aggressive nationalist rhetoric. The de facto government’s deputy minister, Enrique Ortez, described U.S. President Barack Obama last week as a “de facto” president “Negrito, who knows nothing about anything”. Commenting on Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis RodrIguez Zapatero’s criticism of the coup, the 77-year-old career diplomat said: “zapatero a tus zapatos”, for example: Cobbler stick to your last.
Then, on Sunday, Roberto Micheletti, in a press conference broadcast live by the Latin American television network Telesur, spoke of the mobilization of Nicaraguan troops on the border with Honduras. Individual commandos had been positioned in Nicaragua along the 922-kilometer border. His government will know how to defend itself, he added. The claim was immediately denied from Nicaragua by President Daniel Ortega and the commander-in-chief of the troops, Brigadier General Adolfo Zepeda. But the incident cast a spotlight on the danger posed by the coup regime.
In Latin America, after such upheavals, fears are growing that the military coup in Honduras will also be directed against the leftist states in the region. The coup is an attack on members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, Venezuelan Communications and Information Minister Blanca Eekhout said Tuesday. From the perspective of the upper class, Zelaya’s crime was to have raised the minimum wage in Honduras and to have initiated literacy and health programs. The ambassador of Honduras to Venezuela, German Espinel, now also sees these initial sociopolitical successes in danger: “With ALBA, we had prepared to rid the country of illiteracy”, he says. 60 percent of the territory had been “with support from Cuba, Venezuela and other countries of the alliance” had already been alphabetized. There had also been programs to improve health care. And Honduras has not had to devalue its currency thanks to financial cooperation between the ALBA countries.
It was not only this cooperation that was called into question with the military coup on 28. June jah finished. Honduras is also pro tempore excluded from the Organization of American States. The EU has suspended negotiations on an association agreement. The prere on the “Interim president” Roberto Micheletti is thus rough at the negotiations in Costa Rica.