Showdown in Honduras: The Rise and Uncertain Future of the Coup

Worldwide condemnation has followed the coup that unseated President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras on Sunday, June 28. Nationwide mobilizations and a general strike demanding that Zelaya be returned to power are growing in spite of increased military repression. One protester outside the government palace in Honduras told reporters that if Roberto Micheletti, the leader installed by the coup, wants to enter the palace, “he had better do so by air” because if he goes by land “we will stop him.”

On early Sunday morning, approximately 100 soldiers entered the home of the left-leaning Zelaya, forcefully removed him and, while he was still in his pajamas, ushered him on to a plane to Costa Rica. The tension that led to the coup involved a struggle for power between left and right political factions in the country. Besides the brutal challenges facing the Honduran people, this political crisis is a test for regional solidarity and Washington-Latin American relations.

Manuel Zelaya Takes a Left Turn

When Manuel Zelaya was elected president on November 27, 2005 in a close victory, he became president of one of the poorest nations in the region, with approximately 70% of its population of 7.5 million living under the poverty line. Though siding himself with the region’s left in recent years as a new member of the leftist trade bloc, Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), Zelaya did sign the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2004.

However, Zelaya has been criticizing and taking on the sweatshop and corporate media industry in his country, and increased the minimum wage by 60%. He said the increase, which angered the country’s elite but expanded his support among unions, would “force the business oligarchy to start paying what is fair.”

At a meeting of regional anti-drug officials, Zelaya spoke of an unconventional way to combat the drug trafficking and related violence that has been plaguing his country: “Instead of pursuing drug traffickers, societies should invest resources in educating drug addicts and curbing their demand.”

After his election, Zelaya’s left-leaning policies began generating “resistance and anger among Liberal [party] leaders and lawmakers on the one hand, and attracting support from the opposition, civil society organizations and popular movements on the other,” IPS reported.

The social organization Via Campesina stated, “The government of President Zelaya has been characterized by its defense of workers and campesinos, it is a defender of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA), and during his administration it has promoted actions that benefit Honduran campesinos.”

As his popularity rose over the years among these sectors of society, the right wing and elite of Honduras worked to undermine the leader, eventually resulting in the recent coup.

Leading up to the Coup

The key question leading up to the coup was whether or not to hold a referendum on Sunday, June 28 — as Zelaya wanted — on organizing an assembly to re-write the country’s constitution.

As one media analyst pointed out, while many major news outlets in the US, including the Miami Herald, Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, said an impetus for the coup was specifically Zelaya’s plans for a vote to allow him to extend his term in office, the actual ballot question was to be: “Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?”

Nations across Latin America, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, have recently re-written their constitutions. In many aspects the changes to these documents enshrined new rights for marginalized people and protected the nations’ economies from the destabilizing effects of free trade and corporate looting.

Leading up to the coup, on June 10, members of teacher, student, indigenous and union groups marched to demand that Congress back the referendum on the constitution, chanting, “The people, aware, defend the Constituent [Assembly].” The Honduran Front of Teachers Organizations [FOM], with some 48,000 members, also supported the referendum. FOM leader Eulogio Chávez asked teachers to organize the expected referendum this past Sunday in schools, according to the Weekly News Update on the Americas.

The Supreme Court ruled that the referendum violated the constitution as it was taking place during an election year. When Honduran military General Romeo Vasquez refused to distribute ballots to citizens and participate in the preparations for the Sunday referendum, Zelaya fired him on June 24. The Court called for the reinstatement of Vasquez, but Zelaya refused to recognize the reinstatement, and proceeded with the referendum, distributing the ballots and planning for the Sunday vote.

Crackdown in Honduras

Vasquez, a former student at the infamous School of the Americas, now known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), went on to be a key leader in the June 28 coup.

After Zelaya had been taken to Costa Rica, a falsified resignation letter from Zelaya was presented to Congress, and former Parliament leader Roberto Micheletti was sworn in by Congress as the new president of the country. Micheletti immediately declared a curfew as protests and mobilizations continued nation-wide.

Since the coup took place, military planes and helicopters have been circling the city, the electricity and internet has been cut off, and only music is being played on the few radio stations that are still operating, according to IPS News.

Telesur journalists, who have been reporting consistently throughout the conflict, were detained by the de facto government in Honduras. They were then released thanks to international pressure.

The ambassadors to Honduras from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were arrested. Patricia Rodas, the Foreign Minister of Honduras under Zelaya has also been arrested. Rodas recently presided over an OAS meeting in which Cuba was finally admitted into the organization.

The military-installed government has issued arrest warrants for Honduran social leaders for the Popular Bloc Coordinating Committee, Via Campesina and the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, according to the Weekly News Update on the Americas.

Human rights activist Dr. Juan Almendares, reporting from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, told Democracy Now! that due to government crackdowns and the electrical blackout, there is “not really access to information, no freedom of the press.” He said, “We have also a curfew, because after 9:00 you can be shot if you are on the streets. So we have a curfew from 9:00 to 6:00 a.m.”

In a statement on the coup, Via Campesina said, “We believe that these deeds are the desperate acts of the national oligarchy and the hardcore right to preserve the interests of capital, and in particular, of the large transnational corporations.”

Mobilizations and Strikes in Support of Zelaya

Members of social, indigenous and labor organizations from around the country have concentrated in the city’s capital, organizing barricades around the presidential palace, demanding Zelaya’s return to power. “Thousands of Hondurans gathered outside the presidential palace singing the national hymn,” Telesur reported. “While the battalions mobilized against protesters at the Presidential House, the TV channels did not report on the tense events.” Bertha Cáceres, the leader of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares y Indígenas, said that the ethnic communities of the country are ready for resistance and do not recognize the Micheletti government.

Dr. Almendares reported that in spite of massive repression on the part of the military leaders, “We have almost a national strike for workers, people, students and intellectuals, and they are organized in a popular resistance-run pacific movement against this violation of the democracy. . . . There are many sectors involved in this movement trying to restitute the constitutional rights, the human rights.”

Rafael Alegría, a leader of Via Campesina in Honduras, told Telesur, “The resistance of the people continues and is growing, already in the western part of the country campesinos are taking over highways, and the military troops are impeding bus travel, which is why many people have decided to travel to Tegucigalpa on foot. The resistance continues in spite of the hostility of the military patrols.”

A general strike was also organized by various social and labor sectors in the country. Regarding the strike, Alegría said it is happening across state institutions and “progressively in the private sector.”

The 4th Army Battalion from the Atlántida Department in Honduras has declared that it will not respect orders from the Micheletti government, and the major highways of the country are blocked by protesters, according to a radio interview with Alegría.

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), condemned the coup, media crackdowns and repression, saying in a statement: “[T]he Honduran people are carrying out large demonstrations, actions in their communities, in the municipalities; there are occupations of bridges, and a protest in front of the presidential residence, among others. From the lands of Lempira, Morazán and Visitación Padilla, we call on the Honduran people in general to demonstrate in defense of their rights and of real and direct democracy for the people, to the fascists we say that they will NOT silence us, that this cowardly act will turn back on them, with great force.”

Washington Responds

On Sunday, Obama spoke of the events in Honduras: “I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.”

But the US hasn’t actually called what’s happened in Honduras a coup. Hillary Clinton said, “We are withholding any formal legal determination.” And regarding whether or not the US is calling for Zelaya’s return, Clinton said, “We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives.”

If the White House declares that what’s happening in Honduras is a coup, they would have to block aid to the rogue Honduran government. A provision of US law regarding funds directed by the US Congress says that, “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available . . . shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.”

“The State Department has requested $68.2 million in aid for fiscal year 2010 [for Honduras], which begins on October 1, up from $43.2 million in the current fiscal year and $40.5 million a year earlier,” according to Reuters.

The US military has a base in Soto Cano, Honduras, which, according to investigative journalist Eva Golinger, is home to approximately 500 troops and a number of air force planes and helicopters.

Regarding US relations with the Honduran military, Latin American History professor and journalist Greg Grandin said on Democracy Now!: “The Honduran military is effectively a subsidiary of the United States government. Honduras, as a whole, if any Latin American country is fully owned by the United States, it’s Honduras. Its economy is wholly based on trade, foreign aid and remittances. So if the US is opposed to this coup going forward, it won’t go forward. Zelaya will return . . .”

The Regional Response

The Organization of American States, and the United Nations has condemned the coup. Condemnation of the coup has come in from major leaders across the globe, and all over Latin America, as reported by Reuters: the Presidents of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba have been outspoken in their protests against the coup. The French Foreign Ministry said, “France firmly condemns the coup that has just taken place in Honduras.” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said, “I’m deeply worried about the situation in Honduras… it reminds us of the worst years in Latin America’s history.”

Even Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, a former foreign minister of Colombia told the NY Times, “It is a legal obligation to defend democracy in Honduras.”

Only time will tell what the international and national support for Zelaya means for Honduras. Regional support for Bolivian President Evo Morales during an attempted coup in 2008 empowered his fight against right wing destabilizing forces. Popular support in the streets proved vital during the attempted coup against Venezuelan President Chavez in 2002.

Meanwhile, Zelaya supporters continue to convene at the government palace, yelling at the armed soldiers while tanks roam the streets.

“We’re defending our president,” protester Umberto Guebara told a NY Times reporter. “I’m not afraid. I’d give my life for my country.”

* * *

Taking Action

If you are interested in rallying in support for the Honduran people and against the coup, here is a list of Honduran Embassies and Consulates in the US.

People in the US could call political representatives to denounce the coup, and demand US cut off all aid to the rogue government until Zelaya is back in power. Click here to send a message to Barack Obama about the coup.

Visit SOA Watch for more photos and suggested actions.

Benjamin Dangl is the author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia, (AK Press, March 2007). See www.BoliviaBook.com. Read other articles by Benjamin, or visit Benjamin's website.

21 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. John S. Hatch said on June 30th, 2009 at 4:47pm #

    So Hilary would ‘obliterate’ Iran for no reason, but can’t bring herself to condemn a coup in Honduras, or even call it by name.

    Some superpower.

  2. Tennessee-With-Zelaya said on June 30th, 2009 at 8:40pm #

    “Morality and religion is the negation toward life.” -Arthur Shopenhauer

    I hate laws, laws are created by men to suit their interests, and not ordained by God. Just look at the current law system of Honduras and even the USA. The current law system benefits rich oligarchs, upper classes. That’s the problem of having a legal world view, people with legalist world view could never even think about turning their constitution into a socialist constitution.

    What societies need is power. Power is tronger than laws, i mean the collective will to power of the masses can conquer capitalist laws.

    I know that the people will reinstall Manuel Zelaya back to Presidency, along with the International Community which is more powerful, than the fascist Roberto Micheletti and his very few supporters from the capitalist Honduran class.

    Another interesting thing is that Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales increased the minimum wage by 60%.

    You see other countries are not ruled by greedy, stingy, cheapy people. But we in USA have the bad luck of being ruled by greedy, cheapy, stingy low-self esteem individuals with unchecked appetites and unfufilled hungers.

    Damn Honduras is poorer than USA and it increases the wages by 60%. Here in America all the poor get is food from food-charities and 200 dollars of food stamps for a whole month. And those are the lucky ones who can get the food stamps. Because US government is so stingy and cheapy that millions of americans don’t are alienated from the food-stamps program.

    Damn if Obama or Bush increased minimum wage in the USA by 60% it would be about 10 dollars an hour, and Obama would be overthrown by Wal Mart and corporate powers.

    US gov. never increases the wages of the poors. US government doesn’t care about the poor workers. It ignores poverty and poors in America. What US gov do is to let churches, food charities and other non profit organizations to feed hungry americans instead of the US gov. increasing the self esteem of americans by raising the wage to at least 10 dollars an hour, and bailing out the low wage workers.

  3. phuque yew said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:23am #

    When is a coup d’etat not a coup d’etat? When that glib Harvard-educated constitutional scholar and great changemaker says its not. Thus has spoken the most exalted American Obamanation, and US aid to the illegal and illegitimate Honduran government of Micheletti will continue. You wouldn’t expect anything less from an American politician from whom mistruths, distortions, and lies flow as freely as taxpayer dollars into the Wall St. trough, would you?

    I never thought I could despise an American president more than I did (and still do) the war criminal bush, but this obamanation is proving slicker than the s**t fresh out of a pig’s ass.

  4. Josie Michel-Brüning said on July 1st, 2009 at 5:19am #

    Dear “phuque yew”,
    Your despise is graspable, but leave it to your private feelings.
    Your current President is a pragmatic, as he calls himself.
    If you do want change yourself, more than just to express your despise, you have to be pragmatic too, take him at his words and back his supposed “change”. Use your possibilities by at least signing respective calls at him. May be he needs it for resisting the great lobbies in your country.
    SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON yesterday STATED THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WAS NOT READY TO LEGALLY CALL THE DEVELOPMENTS IN HONDURAS A COUP D’ETAT, BECAUSE DOING SO WOULD REQUIRE WASHINGTON TO CUT OF ECONOMIC AID TO THE CENTRAL AMERICAN NATION AND BREAK RELATIONS, WHICH THEY ARE STILL HESITANT TO DO BECAUSE THOSE THAT ILLEGALLY TOOK POWER YESTERDAY IN HONDURAS ARE GROUPS AND POLITICAL PARTIES THAT RECEIVE US GOVERNMENT FUNDING FROM USAID, NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE AND NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. ADDITIONALLY THE HONDURAN MILITARY IS HEAVILY FUNDED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND PENTAGON.
    Many people of the world, like me just now, are protesting at the White House website http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

  5. Josie Michel-Brüning said on July 1st, 2009 at 5:30am #

    I want to add:
    These above mentioned groups, receive “US GOVERNMENT FUNDING FROM USAID, NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE AND NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. ADDITIONALLY THE HONDURAN MILITARY IS HEAVILY FUNDED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND PENTAGON”, that means your money as a tax payer too.
    They call themselves N.G.O.s but are fullfilling worldwide the intervention policy that you, as you said, despise.

  6. Danny Ray said on July 1st, 2009 at 6:21am #

    So Josie, Its only a coup if the people who take power are the side you and the left do not like? Two years ago if the supreme court with the consent of the congress had of sent the military into the white house and told W that he was going on a plane trip and should he return he would be arrested , you lefties would have formed a conga line from New york to san francisco, but a president who you like breaks the law and is called down by the courts and it is a coup which must be reversed ASAP . A travisty of justice, So what is it to be THE RULE OF LAW OR WHAT?

  7. Melissa said on July 1st, 2009 at 8:04am #

    It seems that the idea of The Rule of Law as decisive, objective and neutral is misleading.

    If a solid, inflexible set of laws is in place, one-size-fits-all, it would feel even more like a dictatorship. If a structure of laws is flexible, allowing for interpretations and situational exceptions, like today, it feels like a system to benefit a slice of society according to the whims and emotional and worldviews of those in a robe (and aren’t they demographically identical?).

    So, maybe it is a self-imposed tyranny to believe in buying into a system that will be decisive, equal and politically neutral? I wonder if we should abandon the idea of a system of Rule of Law that fits nationally -except with regards to murder, assault and theft- and consider a patchwork? More decentralized, autonomous systems that don’t hand our collective fate to a third (politically entrenched) party, those courts and judges that is.

    bozh, am I inching any closer to grasping what you are trying to teach me in response to my ravings about documents etc?

    Peace,
    Melissa

  8. Don Hawkins said on July 1st, 2009 at 8:31am #

    The whole system is backwards. The people who work hard should get paid more than the people who don’t. Middle man should be a thing of the past. Car salesman not needed one price that’s it. In the coming years it could be even simpler than that something like two bags of potatoes for a gallon of fuel or say a gallon of water if you decided to stay in California. Can’t happen? Oh yes it can.

  9. Stephanie said on July 1st, 2009 at 9:10am #

    Thank you Benjamin. This is the first article I have read that I believe gives an unbiased report on what is happening in Honduras. No report gave me the actual question that Manuel Zelaya wanted to ask.

  10. Tennessee-With-Zelaya said on July 1st, 2009 at 10:36am #

    Josie: Indeed, all US governments (Not Only the current one) are evil liars zionist, capitalist, corporate, drug-smuggling, oil-mafia cartels.

  11. Tennessee-With-Zelaya said on July 1st, 2009 at 10:42am #

    don hawkins: you are real smart and awake. Like Neo in the movie The Matrix. And indeed, the crony capitalist system of America has too many middle-men like for example the car-dealers, real estate salesmen, indpendent workers, working with cell phones in the streets and selling shit to Americans, fooling and tricking americans. Another black evil market is E-bay, and Amazon. I think e-bay and Amazons should be closed. We need a real system, a real planned economic system like Venezuela and USSR, where people who don’t work don’t get payed, and only those who work get payed. However those who don’t work would still get unemployed paychecks just like many European Social-Democrat states. But what i am trying to say is that we need a real honest economy where you gotta work in order to have a normal paycheck. But in America many people who dont produce shit for the GDP still get huge pay, like car-dealers, car-salesmen, real estate Remax salesmen.

    I think we need a system in which if u wanna sell your house, you should sell it yourself or the government would give you a hand to sell it, and not let Remax and independent people who dont produce shit for the US GDP get huge $$$.

    Planned economic system is the real deal. And to hell with Ron Paul and unplanned economic ideology of Luwig Von Mises, Adam Smith and Ayn Rand.

    Marxism, USSR, statism, Castroism, Chavism is the real deal !!

    .

  12. Don Hawkins said on July 1st, 2009 at 11:42am #

    From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.
    Ayn Rand

    Well Ayn the reasoning of man in the year 2009 seems to be stuck on stupid. Two million to start Capital one voice calm at peace. Still time

  13. kalidas said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:03pm #

    In the interests of fairness and truth as regards Arthur Schopenhauer…

    “From every sentence (of the Upanishads) deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest spirit….”In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. They are destined sooner or later to become the faith of the people.”

    ” It has been the solace of my life — it will be the solace of my death.”
    Quotes : Arthur Schopenhauer

  14. Melissa said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:21pm #

    . . . the economic system we have is planned, no? Though, I agree not to the benefit of humanity.

    example: Cap and Trade creates a commodity on pollution, makes it part of GDP rather than curbing. It’s planned for Goldman Sachs.

  15. Tennessee-With-Zelaya said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:49pm #

    I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE NEW COUP DE ETAT BUSINESS-OWNERS AND CAPITALISTS NEED TO READ THE PRINCE BY MACHIAVELLI.

    A COUP DE ETAT DOESN’T BENEFIT CAPITALISTS NOR SOCIALISTS.

    If i was a capitalist i would benefit a lot more by rising to power thru elections like most smart capitalists (Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Felipe Calderon, Alvaro Uribe etc.)

    damn how stupid f*cks are the fascist ultra-right wing Honduras dictators !! how can they be so stupid to stage a coup de etat in this modern world?

    A coup de etat is really against the interests of the capitalist class and also against the socialist class (The workers and poor people)

    A coupe de etat doesn’t benefit anybody really, it is suicide for all classes.

    Isn’t easier for capitalists and business owners to rise to power electorally and preaching liberty and democracy to the masses and even welfare-services to the masses by applying the Machiavellic social doctrine of “Pan et Circem” instead of rising to power in such an obsolete way?

  16. joed said on July 1st, 2009 at 1:25pm #

    i guess you will see who can actually talk fastest here. does not seem that chavez is going to actually do anything. he is just like you amerikans just a bunch of blah blah blah. soooo concerned about the rest of the world while you give your commonwealth to murderous hate-filled thugs. you just give it to them not a peep from any of you.
    that’s right, worry about iran palestine honduras etc but don’t you dare to hit the streets in amerika–you might get in trouble.
    stay right here in the FREE SPEACH ZONE aka DissidentVoice. can’t get into trouble here can you! blah blah blah.
    your polite discussions here is enough to gagamagot.

  17. Tennessee-With-Zelaya said on July 1st, 2009 at 9:06pm #

    Joed: It is real easy to sit from a computer and say that Chavez should be like a Superman or Spiderman movie hero. But he is not a movie hero, he is a human like you and me, and a political leader living in a real corrupt complicated world. You have to read the book “The 48 Laws of Power” to see the reality of the evil world of politics which is full of deep passions, hatred, complicated laws, regulations and treaties which literally control the actions of each government and presidents. Only people like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Fredrich The Great, Che Guevara, Attila the Hun, Fidel Castro, Simon Bolivar etc. and other mysthical figures of history had real liberty and power. But in today’s complicated world of too many international entities like OAS, UN, etc. it is real hard for a head of state to invade another country to fix problems. So Hugo Chavez can’t just invade Honduras and bring back Zelaya to power.

    .

  18. brian said on July 2nd, 2009 at 4:42am #

    media censorship even reported in miami herald!

    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — At the close of the one of this week’s nightly news broadcasts, Channel 21 news anchor Indira Raudales made a plea: “We have a right to information! This can’t be happening in the 21st century!”

    If Raudales offered more details, viewers did not hear them: the screen briefly went to static.

    Her on-air appeal for freedom of the press came as the newly installed Honduran government kept several news outlets closed, detained international reporters, and periodically interrupted the signal of CNN en español.

    Reporters for The Associated Press were taken away in military vehicles and Venezuela’s Telesur network — and any other station supportive of toppled president Manuel Zelaya — are still off the air.

    Stations that are broadcasting carry only news friendly to the new government. Several local papers have yet to publish information about Zelaya’s international support in neighboring countries.

    ”They militarized Channel 36, which is owned by me,” said Esdras López, director of the show, ”Asi se Informa.” “They brought more than a battalion — 22 armed men — took the channel and said nobody could come in and nobody could come out.

    “I own this building!”

    The crackdown on the media began before dawn Sunday, when hooded soldiers entered the presidential palace by force and captured Zelaya, a leftist firebrand who had vowed to defy the supreme court, congress and the attorney general’s office in a quest to hold a referendum. The nation’s media went black while Zelaya was flown out of the country.

    When a new government presided by former head of Congress Roberto Micheletti was installed a few hours later, only the radio and TV stations loyal to the establishment were allowed to broadcast.

    Citing a daily newspaper, the InterAmerican Press Association reported that Zelaya supporters in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula attacked reporters and photographers, as well as destroyed newspaper-vending kiosks. The advocacy group also reported that soldiers stormed into a TV station and newspaper newsrooms, ordering a halt to operations.

    ”We are deeply concerned by reports that several broadcasters have been taken off the air,” said Committee To Protect Journalists’ Americas senior program coordinator Carlos Lauría. “We call on those in power to allow the resumption of all broadcasts and ensure that all journalists can work freely and safely at this critical time for Honduras.”

    López said his station was targeted because of his past critical coverage of Micheletti and Gen. Romeo Vásquez, the head of the armed forces.

    ”There are journalists who Zelaya paid to insult me morning, noon and night,” said National Human Rights Commissioner Ramón Custodio López. “There is no censorship in Honduras. We have simply asked the media not to feed the conflict. The media that are closed are the ones that were feeding hate.”

    Custodio, the government ombudsman, said he has not received any complaints from the press.

    ”If I get a complaint, I will investigate it,” he said.

    If news outlets are leaving out chunks of the story, Custodio said, it’s because they have the right to publish only the information that interests them.

    ”Who are we supposed to turn to when the government human rights commissioner is justifying this coup?” said Andrés Molina, a correspondent for Venezuela’s Telesur network, which is off the air. “The military picked up our reporters off the street and held them for two hours. Later they said it was a mistake. How can it be a mistake, when these people are going around with cameras, microphones and media credentials?”

    He stressed that Telesur is often criticized for being a ”leftist station out of Caracas” but “how then do you explain that they are taking CNN off the air too?”

    ”This is not ideology,” he said. “This is abuse.”

    Micheletti’s spokesman René Zepeda, himself a longtime journalist here, told reporters that if it were his decision, all stations would be broadcasting. The Zelaya administration’s channel 8, he said, would return after consultation with lawyers.

    A 2008 report by the Open Society Institute said government payments to the press were widespread. A report by the InterAmerican Dialogue think tank in Washington said the Honduran media operate as arms of political parties.

    ”One of the largest threats to Honduran democracy is the lack of independence of the Honduran media,” according to the paper written by Manuel Orozco and Rebecca Rouse. “The media have failed to fulfill their social function as government watchdogs, are controlled by business and political interests and do not practice fair reporting practices.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/1122536.html

  19. momo said on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:02pm #

    The thugs in Honduras appear like over keen mafioso’s following the bosses orders and bungling the job, while the boss shakes his head in disbelief at their idiocy.

  20. brian said on July 3rd, 2009 at 6:03am #

    My letter to american blog Gatewaypundit:

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009/07/honduran-democracy-protesters-lash-out.html
    Given his support for the Coup and other errors:

    Hi gateway pundit
    I see youve banned me from your site.: Gatewaypundit…Is this how you treat contrary opinions?..I presume truth and freedom are two things you dont handle very well. So i will write you from here.
    On your site, youve posted a number of interesting if provocative articles:
    against Cynthia McKinney (whom you call a moon bat) and the free gaza movement crew who were kidnapped in international ,water while delivering supplies to people of gaza currently being Holocausted by Israel; in support of alleged vote fraud and a colour revolution in Iran, in spite of no evidence of vote fraud. And finally your support of a real coup, complete with military repression of those who object to their elected govt being overthrown, their constitutional rights revoked (ironic), and media censorship
    Posters on your site have been calling for assasinations against the legitimate head of state of Honduras (Zelaya) and even Obama.
    All this ironic goven you claim to promote democracy and human rights…
    SO let me ask you:
    1. Is it right for a boat in international waters to be attacked and border by a navy, and its occupants carted off to jail?
    2.. What is your opinion on the Holocaust being committed by Israel against the palestinians with US tax money?
    3. US arms israel with US weapons…Israel uses them against lebanon (2006) and Gaza(2008) in violation of US law: the Arms Export Control Act. Dont you thinl Israel should be brought to task for this breach?
    4. Why are you supporting a coup in Honduras, where the couip masters have squashed any media not backing the coup masters?
    5. Why are you so keen to support the dissidents in Iran but not the dissidents in Honduras? The latter are opposing a real coup, the former are only opposing democractic elections there candidate lost?
    6. You call former congress woman and Us presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney a : ‘hateful nutjob’..while being oblivious to the real hatred israel and zionist jews have to both palestinians and americans…i allude to the attack on the US Liberty, american citizens and spying on US and selling of US secrets.

    Your banning people like me, indictes you dont like contrary opinions.
    Your comments?

    regards
    Brian

  21. Josie Michel-Brüning said on July 3rd, 2009 at 6:39am #

    First, I don’t want to forget to thank Benjamin Dangl for his good article.
    Second, I want to tell Tennessee-With-Zelaya that I do know about the respective roles of your consecutive presidents, the CIA, war lords and those groups initiated by the CIA – now so called N.G.O.s fullfilling the intervention policy by “Public Diplomacy” and financial support by U.S. tax payers and your countries lobbies in your history.
    Moreover, when reading all the comments I do notice that most of you are aware of what is going on.
    U.S. people are suffering as well as the majority of the people in the world from the exploitation of people and nature under the arrogated leadership of the elite of your country. (Formerly, they had to suffer from European arrogance and empire dreams.)
    So, you are in the pool position, by now, but seem to resignate, limitting yourself on complains to each other.
    I, myself, was born in 1944 in Western Germany, that means I grew up in the ruins of World War II, while my parents were ashamed of not having resisted the Nazis and mainly busy to build up there house again and for being able to earn our living. Meanwhile, we were captured by Marshall plan, our secret services working together with your’s, many of them – as it turned out later on – former Nazis.
    However, we had to be a bulwark against communism, so we were indoctrinated respectively to hate our neighbours in the East. Therefore, we were allowed to make some compromizes in our social system, so, that we would not take refuge in the former GDR.
    As soon as the the wall was fallen, capitalism showed its true face also to us. This is an abbreviated description. Nevertheless, it is true.
    These experiences led among others to be more aware what happened to other countries like your neighbours in your back yard fighting for their emancipation from the leadership of your “elite”.
    What I want to tell you in my poor English, is that we should not fight against each others but unite.