August 14, 2009

Honduras news highlights, August 14, 2009

Honduran commission to OAS,
Mauricio Villeda, Vilma Morales, Arturo Corrales

So much news coming in that I don't have time to write about it all so I'll just hit the highlights. The first few items are from the television news today and will probably be in the online newspapers later. (Links are to newspaper articles in Spanish unless otherwise noted. Most of the stories are in several or all of the Honduran newspapers.)

Optimism! Arturo Corrales, member of the Micheletti mediation team returned from the private meeting with OAS Secretary General Insulza very content, stating that Insulza's position has changed and that he is now receptive to dialogue. The meeting was also viewed as very positive by Vilma Morales, former Supreme Court President, who also mentioned that the democratic institutions of Honduras must be respected. The OAS mission to Honduras will be rescheduled soon based on the availability of all parties.

US Ambassador Hugo Llorens has been called to Washington, D.C. for an emergency meeting at the White House. His last trip was to visit Zelaya in Nicaragua. Ambassador Llorens has become very unpopular on both sides of the Honduran fence.

The UD political party is considering replacing Cesar Ham, accused of FARC connections (Blogicito link) and bribes from Zelaya and supporters, as their presidential candidate. The Electoral Tribunal reminds UD that time is running out soon.

A crashed Venezuelan plane was found hidden on private property in Catacamas, Olancho, home state of Mel Zelaya.

José Juan Castro of the Red Cross has denounced that Red Cross workers have been objects of aggression by the Zelayistas. The spokesperson emphasized that they are a neutral organization and only want to help those who need help. Obviously, if the vast numbers of human rights abuses reported by the Zelayistas were true, they would want Red Cross involvement not only to treat the patients but to document the abuses, and would no doubt be sending photographs all over the world. There are too many discrepancies and not enough evidence to believe the exaggerated human rights violation reports.

Similarly confusing, there have been several reports of intimidation and personal attacks on local media representatives as well as vandalism and property damage, including a car burning, by Zelayists, but somehow the reports of media suppression always seem to imply that it is the government who is suppressing the media.

A nationwide taxi strike was announced. Pedro Gómez of the taxista association says that this information is absolutely false. "We want to work. We are against trying to cause any economic damage to the country." He indicated that the person making this false announcement is a Hondutel employee who has been offering money and taxi licenses to try to take advantage of the political situation for his own benefit.

Arístides Mejía, ex-functionary of Zelaya, considered one of Zelaya's closest compatriots, indicated in an interview that Manuel Zelaya is no longer that interested in returning to Honduras because he didn't have much time left on his term anyway. (?!)

Even "Zelayistas" seem to be distancing themselves from Mel Zelaya. Some are admitting that what they want is socialism, with or without Mel. Meanwhile, Zelaya is distancing himself from Chávez (though still jet setting around the hemisphere in Chávez's jet and presumably on Chávez's dime).

From Chile yesterday, Zelaya said that he would not return now because he has received death threats. Today, Channel 10 news announced that a death threat was made against OAS General Secretary José Miguel Insulta.

Venezuelan arrested along with vandals damaging restaurants and stores.

Nicaraguan accused of exchanging US $3 million for lempiras in black market which is believed to have later been used to pay protesters.

Schools and at least one University are being used to house protesters/agitators/bomb makers. Accusations that UNAH (national university) laboratory was used to make Molotov cocktails is denied by the rector.

Parent and children demands increase daily for teachers to return to school. Some schools have been opened by the parents, who work shifts to guard the schools, teachers, and children from threats from school directors and teacher unions. Many people have opened their homes to teachers who want to teach at their kitchen table. Parents demand that the government stop paying teachers who do not work.

Manuel Bonilla, 25-year-old Popeye's employee injured in the attack on Tuesday, is recovering from severity of injuries from falling glass. Originally, doctors thought that his arm might have to be amputated. "Where are our rights?" asked Manuel.

The price for Tuesday's protesters increased: L.1,000-1,500 per day (US $53-79), plus meals, housing, and transportation back home. The US $3 million being put to use.

In the execution of a search of the Universidad Nacional Pedagógica, police discovered that the university was being used to house protesters who were in possession of molatov cocktails and sticks of dynamite. Twenty-four arrests were made. Judge Iván Castelar declared the accusations null for violation of "the university's autonomy" and because no members of the Attorney General's office accompanied the officers.

Judge Maritza Arita Herrera released three violent vandals on substitute measures, a move which caused indignation on the part of many, including the police department. According to the police, the judge in question has previously announced herself to be in favor of Zelaya. She is the spouse of Jari Dixon, a fellow Zelaya protester (blogicito link) who lied about human rights violations of his mother in a press conference in the US. Jari Dixon was also one of the district attorney hunger strikers last year protesting corruption of the former Attorney General and others.

Government received information from Colombia of FARC terrorists financial support of one Honduran political party and a workers' union. Details will be released to the media later.
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