Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Micheletti's response to Clinton

After talking to Hillary Clinton, Roberto Micheletti talked to reporters. His position has not changed, and he repeated several times the fact that he would be president until January. He mentions Hugo Chávez multiple times.

Not surprisingly, however, he is sweating. One of his main points was that people should not be afraid to invest in Honduras. He said that in Honduras there is no money, no oil, and no dollars "but we have the will to sustain the situation."

Sustaining the situation right now is one thing. Zelaya is giving the Arias talks a chance, and so the country has protests but is relatively calm. But that will not last, and at some point if the coup government remains hunkered down, then the country will explode. And investors won't be so happy anymore.

16 comments:

Anonymous,  9:13 AM  

Greg, If the Micheletti govt. does decide to hunker down and accept the heavy financial price of sanctions and the diplomatic ones of international isolation, what evidence leads you to believe the situation will explode?

Slave Revolt,  10:10 AM  

Anon, or Gabriel--putting the financial squeeze on the coup mongers would also entail even more hardship on the Homdurans already being hyper-exploited, and this is the social class that is already pissed of with having the minimum wage increase (which was an indexing of the wage commensurate with cost of living increases over the years) snatch back by the venal and selfish upper classes and their transnational partners in hyper exploitation.

At the root of this conflict is incredible class oppression.

The coup thugs will not be able to keep a lid on this for too long.

Now the coup thugs are screaming about communism and the like. The end is neigh.

Greg Weeks 10:30 AM  

Because Zelaya will try to return if Micheletti refuses to negotiate. The only way that doesn't become violent is if the military stops supporting the coup government.

Anonymous,  12:01 PM  

Well, I certainly don't want the further polarization nor the civil war scenario to happen, but I am thinking that both of you are making certain assumptions about class conflict and/or Zelaya's return. Honestly, I have been surprised by the lack of force to the Zelaya protests thus far. I can't just attribute it to Zelaya's participation in the talks. Nor censorship. Nor repression. Mel's strength is in popular organizations, ex-govt. employees and perhaps some of the unions. However, he was pretty unpopular among the non-partisan, non-committed Hondurans.

I can imagine several possibilities.The Micheletti group desperately searching for him, repressing the Zelaya supporters, possibly arresting (or killing) him and the incredible polarization that would result from any such highly politicized trial or actions. I can see the Micheletti coup fracturing as the sanctions and international pressure take affect. I can see overreactions on the part of the army. I don't see much foreign intervention vis-a-vis arms, although ALBA neighbors will try to support Zelaya.

Whether it would result in large scale violence might depend largely on whether the army unity cracks. Currently it still holds a monopoly of force. Whether a Zelaya return would succeed--a different question-- would probably depend on the actions of the army and the direction of civil society. In thinking of antecedents I am rereading about the killing of Pedro Chamorro, the effect of a crystallyzing event, as well as the initial popularity of coups in numerous Latin American countries. In this kind of a crisis, I think it is a tendency to underestimate the force of nationalism.

Nevertheless, as the Arias negotiations wind down, we are all going to have to guess what the alternative scenarios are if the talks do indeed fail.

Slaveholder, thanks for commenting w/o calling me names.

Neville

Doug 12:09 PM  

Not only the will, they have Adolfo Facusse:

"Adolfo Facusse, one of Honduras' wealthiest businessmen, pledged to help pay the government's bills if Honduras loses money because of sanctions."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-clinton-honduras21-2009jul21,0,5352220.story

leftside 2:34 PM  

Doug, I saw something yesterday about the steel producers of Honduras pledging a 5% discount on steel to be used in the construction of public housing for the new adminstration. FIVE WHOLE PERCENT!

The close ties between business, the Church, military and government (united by a hatred of socialism) has all the markings of a 1980s Central American fascist regime.

leftside 2:46 PM  

About violence, I think this is being overplayed a little too much by analysts (and the US). Sure, anything is possible is a combustable situation like this, but Zelaya's entry into the country is not an automatic spark, as is being assumed. Violence can happen any time.

Seoondly, this line of thought is extremely unfair because it attempts to put the blame for any violence on the rightful President trying to gain his rightful place in his rightful country. We know the military and golpistas will try to blame Zelaya for anything the military does to harm the people. But in the end, the responsibility for avoiding violence rests with the security forces. This bogus line of reasoning needs to be nipped in the bud. You did not see people blaming Mousavi and Korroubi (sp) for the violence at the Iranian protests...

And let's remember there would is a Constitutional mandate for the people to have an insurrection (Article 3) in this case. Therefore ultimate responsibilty rests with those who will not give up the power they usurped.

Slave Revolt,  3:03 PM  

Hey kids, facism is fun!

Shiney, clean, happy people...err, I mean consumers.

Doug 3:15 PM  

LS -

In the same piece they had a quote (it's not there now, don't know why)from Facusse, which went "Si hay un deficit, puedes contar con la Empresa Privada".

I'm sure the Empresa Privada, with their 5% discounts, is going to make up for all the EU money they're losing.

I seriously think they believe that come November 29, everything is going be exactly the way it was. Even if Europe and the US soften a bit, it's not going to be the same, for a very long while.

Justin Delacour 4:20 PM  

Seoondly, this line of thought is extremely unfair because it attempts to put the blame for any violence on the rightful President trying to gain his rightful place in his rightful country.

I think Arias was fairly clear as to where he thinks the primary responsibility will lie if violence breaks out. The bottom line is that it was the coup leaders --not Zelaya-- who rejected Arias' compromise proposal. Thus, the coup leaders are the ones who expressed displeasure about Arias' references to a possible "civil war."

RAJ 5:08 PM  

In relation to the prospect of violence, it should be noted that the Honduran papers owned by coup backers have been "reporting" that Nicaraguans in the country may be plotting to incite violence, including claiming Nicaraguans (and of course Venezuelans) have secret gun stashes.

These reports are troubling as they lay the groundwork to initiate violence and blame it on "outside agitators".

There are also active plans to install military "reservists"-- despite their name, not Armed Forces but private-- in positions overlooking Congress, to defend against "Hugo Chavez". Again, while investigation of the death of Isis Murillo is unlikely to be completed transparently, there were sharp-shooters at Toncontin and the initial coup regime response was to blame foreign agitators.

The idea that the Zelaya supporters have been too few for there to be any conflict I think would need better independent numbers which no one has. But to suggest the popular movement and others supporting Zelaya are somehow too few to register seems problematic.

The key factors here, I believe, will be the military and police. It is no accident that the coup regime is reorganizing the polce and perhaps worth remembering that the military went so far as to deny reports of internal disagreements. I wonder about the conversations taking place between US and Honduran military in day-to-day contact at Soto Cano AFB.

leftside 5:44 PM  

I think Arias was fairly clear as to where he thinks the primary responsibility will lie if violence breaks out.

Arias' comment was right on the money. I am worried about the spin in the US. The State Department has already basically come out against any return by Zelaya to his country (from which he was unlawfully removed). There is the possibility the US is using this as a red line, at which point they would abandon any (tepid) support for Zelaya. This would be unfortunate.

Doug 10:40 PM  

Leftside -

I had kind of thought the opposite, that any wholesale violence, Iran-style, would mean a serious involvement of the US against the de facto regime. We never intervened in Iran's repression, one, because we didn't have the leverage, and two, because Iran really is an important venture that requires a cautious response. In Honduras' case, one, we have leverage and two, Honduras, in and of itself, unfortunately, does not represent an important point of interest.

That is only a guess, but the Armed Forces have been restrained, perhaps because a real crackdown will mean serious consequences.

leftside 3:36 AM  

I had kind of thought the opposite, that any wholesale violence, Iran-style, would mean a serious involvement of the US against the de facto regime.

Well, the US would certainly not be able to embrace the golpista regime. But I can see the establishment pulling the rug from any lukeworm support to Zelaya they may be giving now if he takes matters into his own hands. And now is the time for taking sides. Those who oppose re-installing democracy will be remembered.

We never intervened in Iran's repression

You don't think the CIA and other US agencies were putting in work in Iran? I am not saying the protests were manufactured or controlled by the US or the UK. Maybe it was very minor, but there was intervention. Frankly, the CIA didn't need to do anything - the media was about as one-sided as could be possible...

The only reason the US did not act overtly against Iran is because there is nothing left for us to do to them and their leaders besides bomb them. With Honduras, there is a list of things we could do (and should have done already) a mile long. Officially calling it a coup, publicly denouncing the coup leaders and taking away their travel should have been done a weeks ago. Anything done now is probably too late.

the (Honduran) Armed Forces have been restrained, perhaps because a real crackdown will mean serious consequences.

What makes you think the security forces have been "restrained?" More than 1,100 human rights abuses have been committed in 3 weeks. The fact there aren't more death totals reflects on the non-violence of the resistance up to this point - not the brutality - which has tear gassed thousands, roughed up hundreds, forced recruitment of minors, shot out bus tires of protesters, killed an innocent 19 year old, roughed up his father - and much more we will never know because there's not much twitter in Honduras...

Justin Delacour 3:04 PM  

I had kind of thought the opposite, that any wholesale violence, Iran-style, would mean a serious involvement of the US against the de facto regime.

But U.S. military intervention in the region --no matter the rationale-- would reestablish a very dangerous precedent that the United States can resolve the region's problems militarily. I don't think that's a good precedent, especially in Central America, where the legacy of U.S. interventionism is very ugly.

I think it would be better if the U.S. simply does what it takes on the economic front to bring this coup government to heel.

leftside 6:49 PM  

I think it would be better if the U.S. simply does what it takes on the economic front to bring this coup government to heel.

Zelaya has argued that economic measures need to be carefully considered so they do not hurt the poor people of Honduras. There are targeted measures against the coup plotters and military that I agree need to happen first. They should have happened 2 weeks ago...

From Managua, Nicaragua, Zelaya said late Tuesday that he sent a letter to President Barack Obama naming the army officials and lawmakers who allegedly planned his ouster and asking for economic sanctions specifically targeting "those who conspired directly to execute the coup."

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