Honduras: majority supports Zelaya, siege goes on
On one hand, the news [Sp.] is the same as it's been for a while:
Today Honduran soldiers and police repressed supporters of deposed president Manuel Zelaya in front of the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, at the moment that a dialogue was beginning in search of a solution to the political crisis.
Some 150 demonstrators chanted Mel, hold on; the people are rising up and Mel, friend: the people are with you as they gathered near the embassy. Lines of police protected with shields and wielding batons threw tear gas grenades and dispersed the demonstrators, who ran into other streets.
The demonstrators "were violating the decree" that restricts constitutional liberties and "were violating the rights of others" to free circulation, said Captain Daniel Molina, head of the police detachment, to local media. Tegucigalpa is virtually militarized today as the dialogue begins between representatives of Zelaya and de facto president Roberto Micheletti, supervised by the Organization of American States.
So Micheletti's illegal decree continues to be enforced, there's still no formal publication of repeal, and the capital is in virtual lockdown. What an excellent climate for dialogue and negotiations. And what a mood it sets for the World Cup qualifying game versus the U.S. in San Pedro Sula on Saturday; dictatorship's no obstacle to a good football match, eh, FIFA?
On the other hand, the resistance demonstrators' chant that the people are with President Zelaya is now solidly grounded in polling data. An opinion research company chosen by Honduras' election tribunal to do official election polling conducted a large-sample nationwide survey just over a month ago; the results and all the internals were obtained and posted by Al Giordano. Go read; the results are encouraging, though they shouldn't surprise anyone but those who've drunk the coup-makers' Kool-Aid. [4:05pm, 8 Oct - Paragraph rewritten for accuracy.]
Zelaya says there's no chance for elections November 29 unless he's restored to office by October 15. At least 68 Liberal Party congressional and mayoral candidates from eleven different departments announced [Sp.] late last week that they'll withdraw from the race en masse unless Zelaya and the constitutional order are restored. The poll mentioned above shows Liberal Party presidential candidate Elvin Santos only a few points ahead of independent resistance candidate Carlos Reyes (though Reyes, naturally enough, draws a much larger proportion of "unknown/no opinion" responses).
The U.S. government uses the excuse of "delicate negotiations" to avoid applying any further pressure to Micheletti, Gen. Vasquez, and their paymasters. But the dictators are giving the finger to the world with their continuing state of siege. Tell Sec. Clinton to declare a military coup, and let her know about the poll results: Supporting full restoration of Zelaya's government is the right thing to do and good politics.