Hats off to reporter Steve Ragan at The Tech Herald for publishing the most interesting bit of (real) journalism on the intertubez this morning, about one part of Bank of America's panic-stricken response to news it would be Wikileaked. This is really, really good, so please follow me over the fold for the PowerPoint presentation.
According to EFE press agency, OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza announced today that former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and current U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís will join the verification commission established in the Tegucigalpa/San José accord as the OAS representatives. The accord provides for two international commission members chosen by the OAS and two Honduran members chosen by President Manuel Zelaya and regime leader Roberto Micheletti. President Zelaya has chosen Jorge Arturo Reina, permanent Honduran representative to the United Nations, and Micheletti chose one of his negotiators, Arturo Corrales.
Because our Honduras discussions in coming days will probably revolve around what is or is not in the accord signed Thursday night by Micheletti’s and Zelaya’s negotiators, I decided to translate it for this community. The quality of our discussions about Honduras is generally very high, because so many people have tried to keep themselves informed. Non-Spanish speakers will need a good translation to be able to participate. I couldn’t find one in English, beyond brief summaries of each point, and even if a translation existed, it would probably have been too flawed for our uses, so I’ll offer this one. There’s a good diary from betson08 from yesterday with international reaction to the accord.
Breaking update: In the midst of a heavy military presence in the Casa Presidencial, a nervous Roberto Micheletti has just read a statement in which he accepted an accord for President Manuel Zelaya's reposition. The accord must be ratified by congress, as Zelaya had insisted, but not by the supreme court, a proposal he had rejected. We don't have Zelaya's response yet, but I'll update once more when we do. This is great news for the Obama administration, if the accord holds.
23:11 p.m. local time (GMT-06:00). Zelaya confirms agreement will be signed. A timeline for restitution must still be negotiated, but the Honduran Resistance is jubilant. Negotiating commissions announce accord has been signed! Everyone giving credit to Assistant Secretary Shannon.
The arrival in Tegucigalpa of a high-level, U.S. delegation including National Security adviser Dan Restrepo may be helping to unblock the standoff in Honduras today, although there are still no definite signs of a shift in the regime’s stance.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon is due in Tegucigalpa tomorrow to try to restart negotiations between the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti and ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Talks began in Costa Rica on July 9, shortly after the June 28 military coup, but have continually stalled over the regime’s refusal to consider Zelaya’s restitution to office. On Thursday this week, October 29, the army will be placed at the disposal of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to help with elections, one of its constitutional responsibilities. The TSE is already threatening to jail anyone who threatens to boycott elections.
The U.S. State Department is poised to hand Senator Jim DeMint his first international policy victory after it torpedoed negotiations to return democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras. The junior senator from South Carolina has warmly praised the June 28 military coup which deposed Zelaya, even traveling to Tegucigalpa, an emerging Mecca for extremist Republicans, to meet with regime leader Roberto Micheletti, who the Obama administration does not recognize as Honduran president.
Few people who have watched the Honduran crisis closely expected a deal from the latest round of negotiations. It didn’t help that the State Department torpedoed the talks by leaking statements that it intended to support the November elections, even sending e-mails announcing that position to the de facto regime, according to Time magazine. Regime leader Roberto Micheletti has consistently refused to concede the basic premise of a negotiated settlement: the return of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya to power. Without acceptance of that basic premise, the negotiations, which are supposed to be about the mechanism of return, are a sham and a waste of everyone’s time, as we, not surprisingly, discovered again today. Interestingly, some weeks ago, a group of Honduran academics explored Micheletti’s psychological profile, concluding that he would never accede to a negotiated settlement and would have to be removed by force. Micheletti is enormously unpopular in Honduras, according to a recent poll which shows that 60% of the populace want him to leave while only 22% want him to stay.
The coup regime in Honduras has struck a second blow against free speech with a new executive decree ordering the state to cancel the licenses of any media which the army finds objectionable. Equipment from opposition TV and radio stations was recently confiscated under a previous decree, still in effect, that bans freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. While regime leader Roberto Micheletti coyly maintains that the first decree has been revoked, it remains in effect until an announcement is published in the official newspaper, La Gaceta. That publication has not yet happened because La Gaceta’s printing press is broken. Fíjese.
Lysias has a follow-up diary here. Let's all move there and rec it up!!!
Radio Globo is reporting that President Manual Zelaya is back in Honduras and the resistance is calling on its members to congregate in front of the United Nations offices in Tegucigalpa. According to the radio station, Zelaya will be speaking shortly. TeleSur says it has confirmed the radio station's account.
Urgent update: U.S. State Department confirming Zelaya is in Honduras.
At approximately 10 a.m. today, government prosecutors entered the offices of Cable Color in Tegucigalpa in an apparent attempt to silence television Channels 11 and 36 and Radio Globo in Honduras. Human rights observers from Cofadeh are now on the scene to observe the regime’s action, believed to be an attempt to silence opposition media in the country. Cable Color is a serious, professional company that provides a wide range of communications services, including critical services to Channels 11 and 36 and Radio Globo. Live coverage of events is being aired now (links provided below). Resistance front leaders, protestors and international media are now arriving on the scene.
Tuesday, September 15, marked the celebration of Independence Day in Central America. I had a holiday in Guatemala, where I live, and spent the morning watching live coverage of the separate parades mounted by dueling factions of Honduran society, bitterly divided by the June 28th army coup. One parade featured platoon after platoon of soldiers marching along a short route to the national stadium in Tegucigalpa, where they were received by a small crowd of onlookers, described by some commentators as the sort of crowd seen at matches between last-place football teams. The other featured union workers, school bands, families marching with their children, senior citizens in wheelchairs and even a contingent carrying gay flags, perhaps 100,000 people all told, which stretched for several kilometers and marched to the city’s central park.
I sometimes wonder whether Latin America’s history would be different if we’d had the Internet back in the 1980s, whether blogs could have prevented the coups, the scorched earth campaigns, the political assassinations, the torture and disappearances. Whether mothers like Rosario Godoy in Guatemala would still have been forced to watch soldiers ripping out her infant son’s fingernails. Whether Archbishop Romero would still have been assassinated by an army death squad as he was saying mass. Whether the Battalion 316 would have sown terror in Honduras, under the tutelage of the U.S. and Argentine armies. Whether Patricia Rodas, the legitimate Honduran foreign minister, would have fled her country as a young girl to escape army repression. Could we have stopped any of that?
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