Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Zelaya's ultimatum

Mel Zelaya has issued an ultimatum:

"We are giving an ultimatum to the coup regime that by our next meeting at the latest, to be held this week in San Jose, Costa Rica, they comply with the mandates expressed by international organizations and the constitution of Honduras" demanding his immediate restitution, Zelaya told reporters Monday at the Honduran embassy in Nicaragua's capital Managua.

Mediation efforts initiated last week in San Jose "will be considered a failure" and "we will proceed with other measures," he added, if interim leader Roberto Micheletti and his two-week-old administration continue to delay Zelaya's return to the helm of the Honduran government.

I would take this as a signal to the Obama administration as much as to Micheletti. There is really not much Zelaya can do, but the situation is very tense and so he is reminding everyone that continued stalemate will make everything worse. Zelaya needs to convince the U.S. that waiting things out is not an option. Meanwhle, Micheletti is lobbying furiously to keep the waiting game going.


Gabriel,  7:51 AM  

Or what?

If they ignore him what is Zelaya going to do?

Anonymous,  8:52 AM  

I agree this ratchets up the public pressure a bit on Arias and the US. However, in practical terms there just isn't much to be done. No one can make the US move faster (unless violence breaks out). Maybe some border closings will be forthcoming. But, the demonstrations are less and less everyday and 2/3 of the striking teachers have returned to work. Micheletti was confident enough to end the curfew.

Faced with what he considered to be Cuban indifference to independence in 1895, Jose Marti entered the first battle and ran into a Spanish bullet. Will Zelaya try to become a martyr?

Anonymous,  9:41 AM  

This may be a "signal to the Obama administration", but I think they are smart to not get to involved making statements. This is what the OAS is for, as I have stated a few times if Insulza were competent some of this mess probably could have been avoided.

Anonymous,  10:26 AM  

Anonymous (8:52 AM),

In regards to the reduction of protests here is a recent post from Eva Golinger's blog (http://www.chavezcode.com/)...
violence has broken out:

"Things are getting worse each day inside Honduras. Over the weekend, two well-known social leaders were assassinated by the coup forces. Roger Bados leader of the Bloque Popular & the National Resistance Front against the coup d'etat, was killed in the northern city of San Pedro Sula. Approximately at 8pm on Saturday evening, Bados was assassinated and killed immediately by three gun shots. Bados was also a member of the leftist party, Democratic Unity (Unificación Democrática).....

Ramon Garcia, another social leader in Honduras, was also killed on Saturday evening by military forces who boarded a bus he was riding in Santa Barbara and forced him off, subsequently shooting him and wounding his sister. Juan Barahona, National Coordinator of the Bloque Popular & the National Resistance Front against the coup, stated that these actions are committed by the coup government "as the only way to maintain themselves in power, by terrorizing and killing the people."

Despite statements made by representatives of the coup government, the national curfew remains in place. Different social organizers from Honduras have been denouncing the curfew is still in effect and that the coup government is lying about lifting it, so as to seem less repressive to the international community."

Combine this with the detention and expulsion of journalists from Telesur and VTV--news organizations in Honduras that have been able to present the views of those people resisting this coup in Honduras and we have a series of measures that are attempting to undermine domestic resistance within the country, however despite this there are plans for further protests (See here: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47644)


Anonymous,  11:56 AM  

This web page is a lousy mouthpiece for Chavez, Castro et al... Reading it reinforces the notion that many of Mel's actions are being directed through ALBA, this is the principal justification of the coup.

I love how she brags about being mentioned by Fidel in one of his "reflections." What an honor coming from a tyrant who imprisons independent journalists everyday!

Nell 12:00 PM  

Wrt Insulza supposed "ineffectiveness": Had the U.S. fully backed the OAS 72-hour deadline that ended the morning of July 4 by clearly signaling at its inception that failure to reinstate Zelaya would result in a complete aid cutoff and withdrawal of Ambassador Llorens, it would have strengthened the organization. It would have been the opposite of traditional U.S. bigfooting -- putting our strength to work with the rest of the hemisphere.

But Sec. Clinton had other plans, which she laid out explicitly (see Wash Post article of June 30): use the aid cutoff not as a hammer on the coupmakers as required by the Foreign Assistance Act, but as leverage against Zelaya. The idea was to go along passively with the OAS plan, expecting it to fail, so the U.S. could once again step in.

A recent article (uncharacteristically stenographic and flawed) by Warren Strobel of McClatchy reinforces that this was the State Dept. approach from the beginning.

Anonymous,  12:04 PM  

I should note that I am referring to Eva Golinger's blog. And, before I am told so by the leftists on this board, I read many sources of information (left to right, establishment and alternative, individual and corporate) and I think many seemingly partisan web pages can offer valuable information. I just find the general thrust of it tendentious. I prefer my Granma undistilled.

Anonymous,  12:05 PM  

Anony (11:56AM),

So these people have not been killed? These networks have not been removed? More protests are not being planned? I agree that Eva often confuses facts with speculation, but the specific facts in this post are not in dispute.


Nell 12:10 PM  

The price of this too-clever-by-half maneuvering by Sec. Clinton may well be a future military takeover, e.g. in Guatemala, that will indeed be "Obama's coup".

No one in the hemisphere believes for a minute that this coup would stand if the U.S. were clearly and fully opposed to it. It is the U.S. that will be blamed if it drags on, poisoning the possibility of normal elections in November.

So it's in the U.S. interest to climb out of the rut and put some oomph behind the effort to reverse the coup.

Anonymous,  12:29 PM  

How can you possibly quote a source from Chavezcode. They want socialism in all of Latin America and Honduras stated very clearly that they are not heading this direction.

Honduras is basically at war with Chavez (not Venezuela). Chavez stated he will support an invasion of Honduras, most likely from Nicaragua but he also controls El Salvador as well now.

The international community has just fueled this plan laid out long ago by Chavez. The Chavezcode site is so far off Hondurans feelings, the toll on the people is from a country being torn apart by Zelayas polarizing actions. We do not want to see or hear from Zelaya until he faces his day in court.

The five Venezuelan reporters in question were released after police questioning and the other four that were in the hotel were never questioned as they had nothing to do with the matter. They left of their own accord the next day, they could have stayed. How long do you think Honduran reporters would be in Venezuela televising to the world the issues in Caracas before Chavez shut them down.

These people have to realize that Hondurans are very suspicious of any Venezuelan due to the manner that Chavez threatened Honduras on TV. The people here want to get on with their lives, it is the public that is demanding the teachers return to classes and that is happening. Teachers are lucky they have jobs, I have three family members that lost their jobs when Zelaya raised the minimum wage by 62%. Zelaya was very good at handing out money, but he never started any program to help people.

I have been traveling around the country and have had no problems, could that be because I'm not trying to topple a government left broke by Zelayas management without a budget.

Zelaya's current actions are why he was run out of here, he is not open to dialog as reconfirmed by his recent comments. Now Zelaya is insinuating that war is the solution. Chavez would love to have Zelaya as his martyr, most likely his plan from the day his comandante was run out of town.

Anonymous,  12:36 PM  

Elections are to be held in November, all I see from Zelaya is that he wants to interrupt that process.

The government in Honduras is the same format as when Zelaya was in the country, the president was moved into place according to the constitution and he has appointed his cabinet. The Congress and S.C. are the same. The election committee is also the same and they have everything in place for elections to proceed as planned.

leftside 1:23 PM  

These people have to realize that Hondurans are very suspicious of any Venezuelan due to the manner that Chavez threatened Honduras on TV.

Come on. The paranoia about Chavez existed far before his so-called invasion comment. And, in fact, the comment did not at all threaten invasion. It was a specific warning to the Honduran military not to violate the Venezuelan Embassy, which is sacrosanct under all manner of Law. It mentioned vague "military action" in response, not an invasion. The comment came on the heels of Venezuela's Ambassador getting abducted and left by the side of the road. It has not been repeated, except out of context over and over again by Micheletti and his friends in the Honduran press.

when Zelaya raised the minimum wage by 62%.

All Zelaya did was index the minimum wage to inflation. This is not all that radical. Enforcing the minimum wage throughout the country was actually a CAFTA provision. And it is very disingenous to blame all the job losses happening over the past year on the wage hike, as the business groups have done. Obviously the impacts of the global economic crisis can not be simply ignored.

leftside 1:25 PM  

Elections are to be held in November, all I see from Zelaya is that he wants to interrupt that process.

Where do you see that Zelaya wants to interrupt the November elections? His Government was busy preparing for them prior to his removal and he has said nothing about interrupting them. It is the coup that has put the elections at risk, at least their fairness.

leftside 2:17 PM  

Setting a time limit is sorely needed because of the unique circumstances, whereby the golpistas gain so much by delay. The OAS set a time limit of 3 days that was flagrantly violated. Arias has been asceding to Micheletti's delay tactics. Everyone is clear what has to be done - but the golpistas refuse to accept that reality. Everyone also wants negotiations to work, but Micheletti is known as a stubborn mule and has shown no willingness to negotiate on the critical point - the return of Zelaya to office. If some progress is made on that front, I have little doubt that negotiations will continue and other details can be worked out.

I agree that Zelaya's message was really directed to Washington. They are on notice that they better get serious.

I'd imagine Zelaya's plan B is exactly what he has said - to find a way back into Honduras and force the issue. I think he has a 2002 Venezuela scenerio in mind, whereby the masses embrace him and elements of the military start defecting.

Another path being taken is by the CODEH human rights group, which has announced a lawsuit against the golpistas. They've said if they don't receive justice, they will head the the International Criminal Court (ICC). It would be a unique test case for that orgnization. A very important one.

David Sketchley 4:24 PM  


You said "when Zelaya raised the minimum wage by 62%.

All Zelaya did was index the minimum wage to inflation."

Have you got any links for this? It wold be a useful counter to western MSM propaganda such as that provided by so-called 'left' press such as The UK Guardian.

leftside 7:01 PM  

Have you got any links for this (minimum wage citation)?

DS, without spending a whole lot of time searching, here is one source. Unfortuantely it comes from Zelaya himself, speaking in front of the UN:

Describing his administration, Mr. Zelaya said his Government sought to improve trade -- notably between Oceania and Africa -– and had made use of the rights to freedom of thought, expression and conscience by adjusting the country’s minimum wage to the cost of living, which he never thought would be viewed as a growth-slowing move. That decision had prompted 180 comments from conservatives, simply because he sought to feed the hungry.

RAJ 9:30 PM  

There is independent and detailed scholarly analysis of the Zelaya administration's economic actions, in Spanish of course, linked from Honduras Coup 2009: The trigger was money, not continuity in office.

I suspect the claim that the minimum wage increase was simply indexing to inflation is an over-simplification of how the final raise was arrived at, which was to take inflation since the last adjustment into account.

But the new law of minimum wage, which was declared in force in April after legal challenges to its December passage were rejected, set the minimum monthly wage directly at 5,500 lempiras for urban jobs and 4,055 lempiras for rural jobs.

This was set after the government determined that minimum wage for public sector jobs needed to be 5500 lempiras, based on a study by the Central Bank that showed this was the level necessary to afford to purchase the basic goods for a family. So in that sense, the new minimum wage was set simply to index the rise in the cost of living.

The key quote from President Zelaya in December 2008: "You can hire someone but you can't say that he should eat only twice a day, it cannot be like that."

The new minimum wage is actually less than the cost of living, which was calculated at the time as 6,200 lempiras. In other words: minimum wage still doesn't allow anyone to eat three times a day.

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