August 19, 2009

US Ambassador Hugo Llorens knew everything

US Ambassador Hugo Llorens with Mel Zelaya
in Nicaragua

In a television interview of Honduran President Roberto Micheletti on Frente a Frente today, President Micheletti reported about four lengthy meetings held at US Ambassador Hugo Llorens' residence in the days before June 28, 2009. The following is from the television interview. The comments in brackets [] are mine.

Micheletti was in the first three meetings along with former President Zelaya, Minister Patricia Rodas, Minister Enrique Flores Lanza, Hugo Llorens, Llorens' assistant Simons, and three other Liberal Party members.

In the first meeting, Patricia Rodas spoke for one hour and 25 minutes and in her dissertation she reminded Llorens that "all the coups have occurred in this house [referring to the US Embassy]." Micheletti said that Llorens said nothing because he was the mediator. Zelaya and his Ministers were trying to convince Llorens to agree to the "survey" while the others, along with a "ton" of other people, were trying to get Zelaya to not perform this illegal act which would be effectively be a golpe de estado [coup d'etat].

[Aside: A video clip of US Ambassador Llorens appeared in a cuarta urna commercial on the Honduran state-run television station at least hourly in the week before the vote was to occur. It could be that that his comment was taken out of context without Llorens' permission, but the commercial definitely gave the impression that the US government supported the election − even though it had been declared illegal by the Honduran Supreme Court.]

Micheletti did not attend the fourth meeting but the others were able to obtain a document in which Zelaya agreed not to mention a constitutional assembly but to call it something else.

However, in the next meeting, Zelaya backtracked and said it had to be a constitutional assembly. On Thursday, June 25, Llorens called Micheletti to tell him to think about what they would do because the US would not recognize the destitution of Zelaya.

[Mel Zelaya was on his state-run television channel most of the day and night on Thursday and Friday. At one point he made a joke about the arrest, laughing and saying, "They know where I am. Where are they? They are afraid."]

On Saturday, June 27, Micheletti called Llorens to tell him to talk to Mel to get him to stop. He said "You [Llorens] have heard all the discussions and negotiations. Talk to him [Zelaya] so that he doesn't insist on the constitutional assembly which is illegal, unconstitutional, and will cause problems in the future." Llorens promised that he would. Micheletti doesn't know if Llorens ever talked to Zelaya or not.

[On Saturday evening, Hugo Llorens attended a function at the presidential palace. Someone who attended said that Llorens very strangely rushed out the moment the formalities were over without talking to anyone.]

Arturo Corrales also went to the Casa Presidential on Saturday afternoon and stayed until 3:00 a.m., trying to talk Zelaya out of going forward with his plans − to no avail.

[Late Saturday night on June 27, the Presidential Decree was published in La Gaceta making the poll official. Though it was back dated to May 26, by delaying publishing until late Saturday night, he had hoped that the other branches of government would not be aware until Monday when it would be too late to do anything to prevent the public vote on Sunday. Additionally, La Gaceta itself was backdated to June 25.]

After Zelaya was removed on Sunday morning, Ambassador Llorens called Micheletti to tell him that they should have let Zelaya have the "poll", that nothing would have happened. He condemned the decision of the Honduran authorities and threatened to promote sanctions against the current government.

[This despite the fact that early in the month, Llorens declared, regarding Zelaya's planned referendum, that "One can’t violate the constitution to create another constitution, because this would be like living under the law of the jungle."
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