Honduras has shut down television and radio stations since an army coup over the weekend, in a media blackout than has drawn condemnation from an international press freedom group.
Shortly after the Honduran military seized President Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica on Sunday, soldiers stormed a popular radio station and cut off local broadcasts of international television networks CNN en Espanol and Venezuelan-based Telesur, which is sponsored by leftist governments in South America.
A pro-Zelaya channel also was shut down.
The few television and radio stations still operating on Monday played tropical music or aired soap operas and cooking shows.
They made little reference to the demonstrations or international condemnation of the coup even as hundreds of protesters rallied at the presidential palace in the capital to demand Zelaya's return and an end to the blackout.
"The spurious government is violating our right to information, blocking the signals of channels like CNN," Juan Varaona, a protest leader at a barricade, said as burning tires sent plumes of black smoke into the sky.
Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the impact of yesterday’s military coup d’état on press freedom. President Manuel Zelaya’s ouster was followed by a curfew during which the broadcasts of several radio and TV stations were suspended.
"We condemn a coup against a democratically-elected president on principle, especially as it raises concern about respect for basic freedoms including press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said. "The suspension or closure of local and international broadcast media indicates that the coup leaders want to hide what is happening. The Organisation of American States and the international community must insist that this news blackout is lifted."
As soon as the curfew had been decreed, the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) notified cable TV operators of a ban on broadcasting certain international TV stations such as Telesur, Cubavisión Internacional and CNN Español. The broadcasts of Radio Globo and several other stations were also either interrupted or shut down.
In the provinces, around 25 soldiers stormed into the studios of Radio Progreso, a station affiliated to the Latin American Association of Radio Education, four hours after the coup and forced the staff to stop all work. In a statement, station manager Ismael Moreno said the intervention of local residents prevented more serious violence. Still in the military’s sights, Radio Progreso has not yet resumed broadcasting.
The hypocracy of the people who are defending this coup is astounding. I have no doubt that the same exact people who blew a gasket over Chavez' closing of RCTC are now the same exact people who are defending the coup regime.
Here is WSJ columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady defending the coup.
Here is the exact same columnist denouncing Chavez for closing down RCTV.
In February, in a lengthy editorial titled "The Media's War", the Wall Street Journal critiqued US press coverage of El Salvador, singling out Bonner as being "overly credulous", and accusing the Times of closing ranks "behind a reporter out on a limb". The Journal warned that the debate in Congress was being distorted from reality by Bonner's and Guillermoprieto's "overly credulous" reports of the massacre. It cited Enders' denial and charged that because the two reporters had visited El Mozote under the protection of guerrilla guides, "this was a propaganda exercise".
It is a proven fact that the right-wing is responsible for far more deaths in Latin America than leftists were. Even the Black Book of Communism lists the number of people killed by communism and leftist militancy in Latin America as 150,000. Guess what? Reagan's wars in Central America cost almost twice as many human lives in just one decade. In Guatemala alone, some 180,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayans, were murdered by government security forces trained and armed by the U.S. ever since the elected Arbenz government was overthrown in 1954 up to 1996.
The fact that the right-wing in America is criticizing Obama for coming out against the coup shows how depraved they are. Their legacy in Latin America is one of death squads, mass rapes, torture, and genocide. They have absolutely zero moral authority when it comes to "The Backyard," always remember that.