Wednesday, October 07, 2009

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.

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At 8:48 PM, October 07, 2009, Anonymous phoenixwoman said...

The people who really need to hear about poll results are US newspapers. I'm sure Hillary knows already, but the newspapers have a greater capacity to play stupid.


At 10:36 PM, October 07, 2009, Blogger Nell said...

Right you are. I just finished sending a newspaper reporter on the beat a tip about the poll. Not holding my breath, but you never know.

At 1:01 AM, October 08, 2009, Anonymous Ovid said...

I agree with Charles that Hillary Clinton knows more than she needs to know about the situation in Honduras. She isn't stupid.

On the other hand, if the newspapers are just playing stupid, it isn't a difficult role for them. Many journalists seem to have lobotomies as part of their training.

What would make the Honduran poll results more interesting? I'm thinking something funny, maybe in the Monty Python mold in which a demagogue on a balcony (Mussolini?)explains to a huge mob assembled in the street below that the military had no choice but to abduct the President and throw him out of the country in the middle of the night in order to preserve democracy. That could be followed by pictures of the mob booing and jeering their leader.

After a few second a little quote of one of the more dramatic poll results saying something like 3 out of 4 Hondurans support President Zelaya, with a link to the article on the poll results.

Sorry, that's all the creativity I have at this hour.


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