June 27, 2009

Honduran crisis - the day before the election

honduran crisis"World crisis, swine flu, earthquakes, insecurity, corruption, hunger,
kidnappings, unemployment, education, health, floods
− Get to work"

Some of the issues that Hondurans believe should have
more priority than the cuarta urna

Photo: La Prensa, Honduras June 24, 2009

Today on Saturday morning, the day before the illegal election being forced by President Mel Zelaya, the TV stations were quiet, showing cartoons and other fluff programs. The government-run propaganda channel is showing reruns of yesterday's interviews.

Yesterday, Zelaya retracted the firing of General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez as was ordered by the Supreme Court and the National Congress.

Ex-generals of Honduras issued a strong joint statement declaring support for General Vásquez, the constitution, and the laws of Honduras. In his usual insulting fashion, Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, called the general a gorilla.

The congressional order to confiscate the election materials was ignored. Election materials are being delivered to voting locations, not by the military as was originally planned, but by Zelaya supporters and police.

Ramón Custodio, Commissioner of Honduras Human Rights organization, Elvin Santos, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (Mel's own party), churches, and several other organizations and prominent people urged citizens not to participate in the illegal election. Aaron of Pensieve calls boycotting the election a suicide tactic based on what happened in Venezuela.

The Honduran military is out in full force, as shown on Channel 10 news, who reported that they are guarding entrances to the capital, Tegucigalpa, and the borders. Channel 12 noon news and La Prensa just reported that Nicaraguan military are now in Honduras.

At 1:37 p.m., an announcement was made on the propaganda channel that these are merely observers of the election as is completely normal.

At 1:28 p.m., El Heraldo reported that pobladores (citizens) are fighting off Nicaraguan and Venezuelan troops -- up to with machetes! -- to keep them from entering the country!
The TV stations have nothing! Very frustrating that I can not find any more details about this!

Several ironies in this crisis

What we have here is not a case of white knight(s) standing up for democracy and defying the president. What we have is the corrupt national congress and the corrupt judicial system backed by the corrupt oligarchy attempting to fight the corrupt executive. The military, which has had its own share of corruption in the past, seems to be trying to stay neutral. If only there were a group of white knights that the people could believe in.

Another irony is that both sides are accusing the other of the exact same things. "What they are doing is illegal." "They are against democracy." "They are trying to manipulate the voters." For months, both sides have been accusing the other of trying to destabilize the government.

A personal irony is that I agree 100% with much of President Zelaya's words to the people, though I don't believe that he means what he says or that a change in the constitution would result in those improvements. People do need a voice. People should have the right to be heard. People should have a right to a dignified life. People should have the right of free speech without fear of retaliation or lawsuits. The courts only impart justice for the powerful, the rich and the bankers. All those statements and many more are true! The problem I have is that if Mel Zelaya really believed them, why hasn't he taken any action to address or correct these issues in the past 3 1/2 years? It isn't the constitution stopping him. Operation scissors, grey telephone traffic, the Hondutel bribe scandals, and several attempts to control the media are only a few examples of situations in which he has acted to support the rich and corrupt, not the citizens of Honduras.

God is on my side

President Zelaya is bringing God, the bible, and the virgin Mary into the conversation with the people, even comparing himself to Jesus dealing with Judas. He and his wife and daughter have stated that he is doing God's work on the government propaganda channel.

"Nobody is going to take away my legal authority because the people, who are the voice of God, are with me" was one recent statement by Mel Zelaya. "Every check that every mayor, congressman, and functionary is because I give it to them", said Mel. "I'm the one who is responsible for what happens at the end of the month....from where the money comes to pay them, who gets subsidies, what works get performed. Don't forget that. I'm the executive. You owe me obedience and gratitude."

Reader conversations

For some very strong Honduran and other views, see the
reader comments here.

A reader wrote: "Chávez, Chávez, Chávez. Why are you trying to play the Chávez card?" Huh? Why is La Gringa trying to play the Chávez card? I beg to differ. Chávez played the Chávez card! I saw him myself on television − on the government propaganda station − in his own words, while he wagged his finger threateningly. The newspapers have quoted him accurately and I can say that in my personal opinion, he appeared even more threatening than his printed words.

Another reader wrote that the caricature posted in the last article was typical of the big business attempts to discredit Mel Zelaya. The truth is, as noted in the original article, that caricature came from Revistazo.com, the most anti-big business media outlet in Honduras. Revistazo writes stories about business abuses that are not carried in any of the other Honduran newspapers. The editor of Revistazo won an award from Amnesty International. I highly recommend that Hondurans read the recent articles about the diputados (congressmen) running for reelection in November and the amounts of cash they have received.


Rumors have been flying that Venezuela has already sent troops to Nicaragua where they are standing by to assist Mel Zelaya. A different rumor is that both Venezuelan and Nicaraguan troops are already in Honduras. Yesterday, a Honduran ex-general made a strong statement to reporters directed at Hugo Chávez basically stating that Chávez needs to keep his troops out of Honduras, that we are a sovereign nation and we don't want him meddling in our affairs.

Rumors also state that the election has already been decided as supporters have been collecting "votes" for days or weeks. One report is that they already have more signatures than the entire number of votes for both parties in the primary elections which were held earlier this year. Also rumored is that the Honduran constitution has already been rewritten in Venezuela and that the election materials were printed in Venezuela.

Sound bites

If only 'sound bites' were a known concept in Central America! My head is exploding from listening to long winded speeches and reading rambling news articles. It is difficult to digest everything and spit out nice, neat, meaty tidbits for readers. Additionally, what is reported as fact one day then sometimes is reported the next day as a rumor only.
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