Hondurans in civil resistance surrounded the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday to greet their returning president. This morning, coup regime troops attacked them violently, sending 24 wounded to hospitals. D.R. 2009 Mariachiloko, Chiapas Indymedia.
September 22, 2009
The Honduran coup regime’s 26-hour martial curfew upon the entire country effectively places 7.5 million Honduran citizens – men, women, children and elders – under house arrest. They are prohibited from going to work, to the store, or to walk down the street to visit a neighbor. Anybody on the street is subject to arrest, for violation of the curfew.
If this happened to you, what would you call it?
The stated pretext for this heavy handed maneuver is nothing more or less than that the regime, its "president," and its security forces have been embarrassed before their countrymen and the world. Yesterday morning’s claims by coup "president" Roberto Micheletti that news reports could not possibly be true that legitimate President Manuel Zelaya was back in town, that the regime’s intelligence forces had his every step followed and "knew" he was "in a hotel suite in Managua," became egg on Micheletti’s face when Zelaya appeared from the rooftop of the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday to greet a multitude of citizens that want their elected president restored.
The military curfew has no practical reason. It will not bring the expulsion, anew, of Zelaya from national territory. It will not hasten his capture by the regime. And it does not make the regime any more legitimate. To the contrary, it demonstrates, again, its repressive, anti-democratic and usurper character. It is a desperate act meant to punish the entire Honduran people for, after 86 days, not "getting with the program" and backing the coup. It is a tantrum by the man-child Micheletti to lash out and insist, "I’m in charge, here," but it only serves to underscore, again, that he is not in control of the country or its people.
Thousands violated the curfew blatantly last night keeping watch outside the Brazilian Embassy. In the morning, the coup’s security forces entered, shot tear gas canisters at the crowd (and over the Embassy wall) and violently attacked the peaceful protesters. Local hospitals report 24 wounded from the invasion. National Police, additionally, waged a separate attack on the human rights organization COFADEH (family members of the disappeared and detained) at 8 a.m. this morning, launching tear gas missiles through its glass windows.
Radio Globo now reports that the same Supreme Court that contorted the Honduran Constitution to create a legaloid curtain around the June 28 coup d’etat is now meeting to cook up its latest kangaroo jump: a court order to invade the Embassy – under International Law, Brazilian territory – to capture (or assassinate) President Zelaya. So large and irrational is the regime’s obsession with the presence of one solitary man in the country that it confines every citizen to his and her home and tears up the Constitution, again.
In a whining attempt to claim victory out of what is the coup regime’s single most stunning defeat to date, Micheletti had his US handler Lanny Davis whip up an op ed column published last night in the Washington Post. Here’s a quick translation from its hurried English to plain talk: "I did nothing wrong and why doesn’t anybody in the world understand me?" It is the speech of a child to mommy and daddy after he is caught stealing from the candy store again. From the first sentence, when he complains that, "Manuel Zelaya has surreptitiously returned to Honduras," Micheletti seems to think that the world has forgotten that Zelaya very openly attempted to enter his own country twice this summer – announcing where and when in advance – and it was Micheletti who blocked an airport runway and sent troops to the border to keep the elected president out, even as he insisted that he wanted to place Zelaya under arrest.
"The international community has wrongfully condemned the events of June 28 and mistakenly labeled our country as undemocratic," Micheletti lamented at the very hour he was ordering the 26 hour curfew. How could anybody possibly think that a warden that orders 7.5 million people to remain locked in their homes could somehow be "undemocratic?"
"Coups do not allow freedom of assembly, either. They do not guarantee freedom of the press, much less a respect for human rights," wrote Micheletti, as his troops readied this morning’s attack on a free assembly and a human rights office, and just hours after he accused independent TV and radio stations of "media terrorism" for having reported the truth that Zelaya had returned (see Belén Fernández’s related report from Tegucigalpa today: Radio Globo and Channel 36 Announce the Return of Zelaya).
Micheletti’s column is easily recognizable to readers in the United States as coming from the same script that his lobbyist Lanny Davis used last year to insist, long after Secretary Clinton had lost the Democratic presidential nomination, that she was, in fact, winning. And it comes off just as pathetically.
Meanwhile, in the regime he calls a "democracy," seven and a half million people are confined to their homes. Micheletti isn’t a "president." He’s a two bit warden, coming to grips with the painful reality that he is neither a head of state, nor ready for prime time.
Update 2:46 p.m. Tegucigalpa (4:46 p.m. ET): Further showing his grand commitment to "democracy" and law, Micheletti's security forces are presently reading the search and seizure order through a megaphone to the Brazilian Embassy. It could be a bluff, but if Zelaya doesn't fall for it (and The Field predicts he won't), and the coup troops invade the Embassy, all hell is going to break loose on an international level, just as the United Nations General Assembly begins its most important session of the year in New York.
Brazil's foreign minister, in New York, has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The US State Department has called on the de facto regime to respect Brazilian territory, as President Obama has just appointed US Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), leader in the US Congress against the Honduran coup, to the US delegation at the UN session, perhaps an indication of some plans afoot up there.
Is the coup regime that desperate and stupid to commit an act of war against Brazilian territory? (Two words to ponder: Blue helmets.) We'll shortly find out, and report it here.
3:18 p.m.: Micheletti blinks:
Honduras' de facto leader, Roberto Micheletti, said on Tuesday he has no intention of confronting Brazil or entering its embassy where ousted President Manuel Zelaya has taken refuge to avoid arrest.
"We will do absolutely nothing to confront another brotherly nation. We we want them to understand that they should give him political asylum (in Brazil) or turn him over to Honduran authorities to be tried," Micheletti told Reuters.
Meanwhile, at least two popular barrios in and around Tegucigalpa have defied, en masse, the curfew order and chased National Police out of their communities: El Pedregal and Colonia Kennedy. They've erected barricades and declared the coup regime and its security forces non grata.
5:57 p.m.: Brazil has now put its request for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in writing. It clearly considers the hostile actions by the Honduras coup regime of cutting water, telephone and electricity to its Embassy and the physical intervention by regime security forces to prevent food, water or other provisions from entering the building as acts of war.
The Security Council has five permanent member states - Russia, China, Great Britain, France and the United States - and five rotating seats now filled by Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya, Burkina Faso and Vietnam. Do the math. The presidency of the Security Council rotates month by month. In September of 2009 that chair belongs to the United States. The Council will meet tomorrow morning to discuss the situation in Honduras and whatever requests Brazil makes. Perhaps related: US President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly at 10 a.m. ET tomorrow in New York.
8:03 p.m.: An interesting development today in the popular barrios and colonias of Greater Tegucigalpa: The coup's military curfew - now extended for a total of 36 hours until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning - is causing major hardship for the great mass of Honduran citizens that live day to day. Small shop owners, ambulant street sellers, mercado workers and so many others generally don't have savings. If they don't work on a given day, they and their families don't have food to eat that night. A great many don't have refrigerators and they shop the same day for the food they will eat. The curfew is causing shortages of food and other basic products of daily life, and preventing many from being able to afford what little they need. And while the general view in the popular (read: poor) barrios has been anti-coup, the curfew has brought forward a rage and a higher level of organization overnight.
Add to that the fact that the National Police have spent last night and today busting into those neighborhoods to enforce the curfew - because many citizens aren't paying it any mind as it interferes with their daily subsistence level survival - and has overreacted with great violence, shooting tear gas canisters into homes, invading people's houses, and such. This has caused a generalized phenomenon throughout the metropolitan area: People have come en masse out of their homes, chased the police out of many of those neighborhoods, and erected barricades to keep them out. They are now organizing to maintain those barricades. The coup regime thus, overnight, has lost any semblance of control of considerable tracts of urban Honduras. Tegucigalpa is beginning to look a lot like the city of Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006.
8:46 p.m.: After a bizarre press conference held in English and translated into Spanish, in which a staffer, Carlos Lopez Contreras, represented coup "president" Micheletti (without Micheletti being present - his handlers have hidden him away for good reason), and in "cadena nacional" (broadcast on all stations by law), the regime has extended the curfew now for 50 hours, until 6 p.m. tomorrow night.
8:54 p.m.: From Quotha.net, more detailed info on the neighborhood-by-neighborhood uprising underway in Greater Tegucigalpa today and tonight:
The de facto government, through its violence and denial of constitutional and human rights, has managed what Zelaya alone had not fully succeeded in doing: uniting the entire country in the struggle for freedom. Today, they resistance underwent an important shift: it went local. The following Tegucigalpa neighborhoods are defying the curfew and protesting against the coup d'etat:
- Arturo Quesada
- Barrio Morazán
- Centroamérica Oeste
- Cerro Grande
- Ciudad Lempira
- Colonia 21 de Febrero
- Colonia 21 de Octubre
- El Bosque
- El Chile
- Flor del Campo
- Hato de Enmedio
- La Fraternidad
- Residencial Girasoles
- Residencial Honduras
- San José de la Vega
- Víctor F. Ardón
- Villa Olímpica
In some places people have repelled the police, while in others the terrain is in dispute. The police are using live ammunition. Barricades are everywhere. This list was current at 7pm local time in Tegucigalpa.
The latest extension of the curfew just announced - preventing Hondurans from working or shopping all day tomorrow, too - will only exacerbate this situation.