US State Department reps meet with Micheletti
Photos: El Heraldo
Photos: El Heraldo
The big guns
US State Department representative Thomas Shannon and his team met with US Ambassador Hugo Llorens, Zelaya, Micheletti, and others yesterday. The State Department representatives gave no statements to the media yesterday. Right now I'm seeing the video of Llorens, Shannon, Rico, both Guaymuras teams sitting around the dialogue table.
Two Zelaya representatives indicated in harsh statements yesterday that they would not meet to "dialogue" again unless Zelaya's reinstatement was previously agreed to. Why, oh, why does the State Department keep saying that Micheletti is the stubborn one? Micheletti's team has offered ten proposals. Zelaya has only demanded over and over again to be unconditionally restored to office. He has made it very clear in interviews that he has no intention of adhering to the other terms of the Guaymuras Accord to which his team has already agreed.
After the meeting yesterday, Zelaya announced "I cannot endorse the elections." Haven't I told you that sabotaging elections has been his goal all along? He also indicated that Shannon would be pressuring for his return. Vilma Morales indicated that Micheletti's team had not been pressured, as did Jorge Rivera regarding the Supreme Court − but these people are ten times the diplomats that anyone else involved is so I wouldn't expect her to say so publicly even if it was true.
Noon press conference
Thomas Shannon and the other US representatives gave a press conference about noon. It was basically the usual diplospeak:
We are the US government and we are here to help you... We will respect any accord reached by Hondurans. We aren't going to deny that Hondurans have the right to vote, but....
Questions from reporters clarified much, though. They (the US government) aren't going to deny Hondurans the right to vote, but without an accord, it "will be difficult" to recognize elections, so Honduras will be screwed in the international community and economically. (But that isn't a threat, is it?)
Shannon brushed off the question about the political division in the US caused by the Honduras issue. He said that they staying an extra day at request of groups who want to meet with them. Which groups, I wonder? Are they doing the usual thing with the guidance of Hugo Llorens by meeting with the Resistance and Zelaya supporters (who represent at most 15% of the population), while ignoring all other opinions as coming from golpistas and therefore invalid?
As an American, the whole thing sickened me. I won't repeat what my Honduran husband was saying throughout Shannon's press conference, but the theme ran along the lines of "Who do you think you are?" and "Liar!". Throughout this crisis, I've really gotten a new appreciation for reasons of the dislike of the US government from the viewpoint of other countries. The USA is a big bully who imposes their misguided will on other, smaller countries in the name of democracy. In this case, they have tried to hide behind the OAS but the truth is out. The OAS didn't accomplish what the US wanted, so here they are to do the job themselves.
Quick dialogue today
Apparently the Guaymuras dialogue today was short and consisted of Micheletti's team presenting yet another proposal to Zelaya's team. Afterward, a very gruff Victor Meza told reporters that he hadn't read the proposal yet, but that they will discuss it if it is something "constructive." He seemed very angry and mentioned that they went to the meeting today because they were 'invited.' Somehow I think a US 'or else' statement was involved with that invitation.
Honduras vs. Brazil in the ICJ
Honduras has presented a complaint to the International Court of Justice against Brazil for violation of its diplomatic status, saying that Brazil has violated the Charter of the United Nations and the principal of nonintervention in internal matters of another country. Honduras has reserved the right to solicit indemnification for the damages and losses caused.
The heat is on Patricia Rodas
The Tribunal Superior de Cuentas (TSC) is investigating a property transaction of Patricia Rodas, the woman behind Mel Zelaya. Auditors of the National Agrarian Institute (INA) denounced that Rodas bought 113 hectares (271 acres) of public property for a total value of L. 54,179. A few months later, she sold the property for L. 3.5 million.
The attorney general's office will be filing criminal charges against Mel Zelaya and four of his functionaries regarding the transfer of L. 30 million to FHIS. FHIS is responsible for building bridges, roads, classrooms, and other public projects to assist the poor. Shortly after the transfer, Zelaya ordered the funds transferred back to the presidential budget where it was used for Cuarta Urna publicity.
Armed Forces turned over to TSE
The Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) received control of the Armed Forces in a big ceremony today, one month before the election, as is required by the constitution. President Roberto Micheletti said once again that no one is going to stop Honduran elections. He urged the public to be tranquil and have confidence that they will be able to safely elect the candidate of their choice.
While that transfer of control probably seems strange to North Americans, in Honduras, the Armed Forces are utilized to guarantee the custody, transportation, and vigilance of electoral materials and other aspects of security for the voting process. The Armed Forces have the logistical ability to deliver the materials to outlying areas, some of which are only accessible by sea or helicopter. Watch for this to be turned around negatively in the international media even though it is standard procedure in Honduras and based in the constitution.
US Americans speak for Honduras
A group of American businessmen in Honduras met with US officials this week in Washington, D.C., to express their support for government of Honduras. Their message was that Hondurans and American businessmen do not want Manuel Zelaya to return to the presidency, and that the position of the US government has caused economic harm to Honduran and US businesses since the beginning of the crisis.
Tourism has been hugely affected (reduced by about 80%), as well as construction, and many other industries − which of course always hits the poor the hardest. Before leaving for the US, the American team received hundreds of good wishes and was assured by many of the expatriate community that we had complete confidence that they would represent our wishes better than the US Embassy does.
Oh, there is lots more, but I'm working on something really important right now. Please check back this evening for the next article. There is a way that any or all of you can help Honduras! Honduras needs you.