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Friday, November 13, 2009

Questions answered on Honduran situation

This post is in answer to a series of questions re the situation in Honduras by a reader of narconews.
While two dissident media outlets are operating again the equipment taken has not been given back!
The independent candidate in the elections has withdrawn, calling the whole process fraudulent.
I originally understood that the Honduran Congress would have to ratify the agreement before the deal would even come into force. However, that does not seem to be the way that Micheletti or many others understand it. If the Congress were to eventually not agree to ratify the agreement then everything should be off but it would seem that if that happens everything will just go ahead as if nothing had really happened. But even this seems unlikely to happen before the elections. The coup leaders no doubt with the silent assent of the US have never negotiated in good faith for the return of Zelaya. They have negotiated an agreement not to have him return.

Dear Darrol,

Both Channel 36 and Radio Globo are back on the air, although the coup regime has not returned the equipment its troops removed from both their studios on September 28.

El Libertador has been reduced to publishing about one issue a month, and editor Jhonny Lagos and his staff are operating more or less in underground fashion due to the continued violent threats against them. I am not aware that the US government has extracted any pledges from the coup regime regarding press freedom or that it has addressed the matter at all.

As for the November 29 “elections,” Independent presidential candidate Carlos H. Reyes has officially withdrawn his name from the ballot, saying that he won’t participate in a fraudulent process. The National Front Against the Coup d’Etat (the coordinating body for much of the resistance) has called for a boycott of said “elections.”

The Organization of American States will likely meet in general assembly over the next week and the topic of recognizing or not recognizing the “elections” will likely be debated. A majority of OAS nations are not going to go along with any suggestion of recognizing them or sending electoral observers and that would leave the current position – non-recognition – in vigor. That will also put Washington in the position where it would harm its other interests in the hemisphere if it chose to unilaterally recognize the elections while the coup regime has not honored the Tegucigalpa accord.

The topic has come up repeatedly at US State Department press briefings over the past week and spokesmen evade any “yes” or “no” answer as to whether the US will recognize the November 29 “elections” even if President Zelaya is not restored to power. However, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon’s comments last week to CNN EspaƱol suggesting that Washington would recognize the “elections” regardless continue to give the coup regime oxygen and undercut all other pressures upon it.

The Honduran Congress has set a deadline of next Tuesday, November 17, for the Supreme Court and other agencies to issue their non-binding advisory opinions as to Zelaya’s possible return to the presidency. The court may issue a statement today or tomorrow: if it does, expect it to come out against that solution with continued threats to have Zelaya arrested if he sets foot outside the Brazilian Embassy.

Yesterday, inside that Embassy, US Ambassador Hugo Llorens sustained a long meeting with President Zelaya and will be returning there today for more discussion. Zelaya says the deal struck by the Tegucigalpa Accord is already dead. At the same time, he has not ruled out returning to the presidency if Congress votes to reinstate him. The key bloc of votes in Congress – 55 members of the National Party, led by its presidential candidate Pepe Lobo – have not publicly pronounced how they will vote if Congress does take up the measure. And other Congressional leaders keep crowing that they won’t convene such a vote until after November 29.

Meanwhile, coup dictator Roberto Micheletti has gone through this farce of declaring himself the head of a “national unity government” (one of the planks of the Tegucigalpa Accord).

In other words, the situation in Honduras is one big clusterfuck.

Is there still a chance that President Zelaya might return to office prior to November 29? It gets less likely through each day of stalling tactics by the regime, but there is still a needle that might be threaded and it would go like this: Congress would have to convene quickly after its November 17 deadline for advisory opinions, and the National Party bloc would have to vote in unison to authorize Zelaya's return together with a couple of dozen anti-coup Liberal Party legislators and some minor party members. What gets forgotten in a lot of the statements back and forth (including the mutually symbiotic gloating by international golpistas on the right and "Obama coup theorists" on the left for whom Honduras, its civil resistance, and its struggles are merely pawns on an imperialist chess board) that it is entirely in Pepe Lobo’s interest to make that happen, since it would be the only way to make the November 29 vote at all respected within and without Honduras, and he is almost certainly going to be the winner of that vote whether it is legitimized or continues to be illegitimate. What makes the most sense for Lobo is to do everything possible to try to salvage the perceived legitimacy, ahead of time, of that "election." Those are the hard political realities on the ground.

Many have accurately referred to this as the “fig leaf” solution, but it is one that, sources tell Narco News, Zelaya would still accept at this late date, despite his having called the Accord “dead.” (There is, of course, a lot of posturing coming from all sides.)

And although the Tegucigalpa Accord would have Zelaya himself refrain from pushing for a Constituent Assembly for a new Constitution, it is not binding on anyone in the national resistance, not even on Xiomara Castro de Zelaya or Pichu Zelaya. That’s the 800-pound gorilla that is not leaving the room no matter how the next weeks play out.

The fact remains that even back in June when Zelaya attempted a non-binding referendum in favor of voting November 29 for or against a new Constitution and Constituent Assembly, not even that timeline had it happening before this presidential term is done next January 27. Even had a November 29 referendum approved such a process, there would still have to be another election scheduled to select delegates to that Constitutional Assembly, the body that would write the new Constitution.

Once the November 29 vote passes – whether its results are recognized or not – the number one item on the national agenda will continue to be the popular demand for that Constituent Assembly and the rebirth of a nation that it could bring. A lot of the rest are just matters of the circus going on up above and the media's obsession with them. The resistance, after 136 days, is not going away. And we will continue – as we have all along - to do our job of looking below, rather than fixating above, and reporting to you the real story, which is what happens on the ground.

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