June 26, 2009

Hugo Chávez threatens to intervene in Honduras

Hugo Chávez, 10-year president of Venezuela
Photo: La Prensa, Honduras

The brewing crisis in Honduras is receiving some attention from the English-language international media:

Wall Street Journal: Honduras Lurches Toward Crisis Over Election

CNN International: Honduras president challenges government over referendum

BBC online: Honduran leader defies top court

Newsday: Honduras lurches toward constitutional crisis pitting president against military, courts

Revista Envio has an indepth article: What's behind the fourth ballot box?

Miami Herald: Congress asks Organization of American States to withdraw from election observation. Why you might ask? Because it only serves to legitimatize an illegitimate election. These international election observers do a lot of harm to countries like Honduras by falsely reporting "democratic" elections that are not by any stretch of the imagination democratic.

Honduran online newspapers are doing an excellent job of updating virtually minute by minute as new events occur.

The national congress met until late into the night with the building surrounded by police and military guards. The congress named a special commission to investigate the acts of the president. They will be deciding whether the president should be removed from his position. Zelaya responded by saying that the congressmen, particularly president of the congress, Roberto Micheletti, should be investigated.

Banks, many businesses, and some schools closed early on Thursday for fear of violence in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Grocery stores, at least in Tegucigalpa, were full as people prepare for the worst. Similarly, long lines were formed at ATMs and gas stations and fuel shortages are feared.

A gigantic protest march is planned for tomorrow.

TACA airlines is reported to have canceled flights to Honduras, at least until June 29. It is unclear whether this is related to TACA's L.38 million unpaid debt to the government or the potential for civil unrest or some other reason. The government has been threatening to suspend TACA's permission to operate since March.

Authorities of the National University (UNAH) declared that there will be no classes tomorrow until the political turmoil is resolved, but later in the night, the Minister of Education announced that all schools would be in session normally.

Citizens interviewed on the news expressed worry and fear about what is going to happen. Disappointingly, in interviews by a La Ceiba television station, several citizens, particularly women, reported not understanding anything about the situation.

It was unclear whether election materials were confiscated by the Attorney General's agents, whether they were turned away by the military or whether more election materials were delivered today by the Venezuelan plane mentioned in the last article. President Zelaya and his followers whooped and hollered as they passed the boxes across the top of the crowd. Zelaya promised that the military or police would be delivering the materials to the election sites tomorrow.

Most disturbing of all

Most disturbing are these quotes from Hugo Chávez who advised with finger pointing that "The revolutionary governments of the region are not going to stay with their arms crossed during an intent to overthrow Zelaya". "We are disposed to do what we have to do to respect the sovereignty of Honduras and the wishes of the Honduran people", affirmed Chávez, after revealing that in the last hours he has talked about the situation in Honduras with his colleagues from Bolivia, Evo Morales, and Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega. Morales, Ortega, and Fidel Castro, ex-president of Cuba, all announced their support for Zelaya.

"In service", an irreverent cartoon from Revistazo.com expresses the sentiments of many Honduran citizens:

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