Monday, June 29, 2009

It seems so hard to believe

that there is any unrest in the country.  In my neighborhood it is life as usual.  We live in a middle class neighborhood and people are going to work and home and doing all of the normal functions.  All of it seems so strange to imagine that so much chaos is going on ...my biggest frustration is the twisting of the International media.  I think their biggest anger is that they were removed for trying to instigate riots by adding fuel to the fire so they were cut off.  While free press and freedom to protest and free speech are precious you also cannot incite riots especially if you are not from here.

Citizen commentaries from www.elheraldo.hn

124 | Rafael 29.06.2009 06:30pm 
Se cumplio con la ley, nadie ni un presidente esta por encima de la ley. Los paises desarrollados son asi por el cumplimiento a su constitución y sus leyes. Vamos por buen camino. No caigamos en las tácticas comunistas de poner a pelear a las clases sociales y decirle a los pobres que estan asi por culpa de la gente que tiene mas dinero. Sin embargo, hay que erradicar la corrupción.

If the law was being followed, no one, not even a president is above the law.  The developed countries are the way they are because they follow their constitution and laws.  We are going on a good path.  We cannot fall into communist tactics of fighting in between social classes and tell the poor that they are how they are because of the rich.  However, we also have to eradicate corruption.

123 | Roatan 24 29.06.2009 06:30pm 
El expresidente Manuel Zelaya era un cancer para Honduras y como tal tenia que ser exterminado de nuestra sociedad. Creo sinceramnete que se le trato varias veces de volverlo al orden, tuvo muchas oportunidades de salir con decoro de la situacion y de evitar este acto pero no quiso y cuando hay un cancer hay que tratar de eliminarlo radicalmente y eso fue lo que nuestro pueblo a hecho.

The ex president Manuel Zelaya was a cancer for Honduras and he needed to be exterminated from our society.  I believe sincerly that we tried to bring him to order several times, he had many opportunities to come out of the situation with pride and avoid this act, but he didn´t want that and when there is a cancer you have to try to eliminate it radically and this is what our community has done.

121 | gerard 29.06.2009 06:30pm 
quiero pronunciarme para contestarle al que expreso com el numero 5y6 se mira que no son hondurenos son titeres de el gorilon de chavez porque te expresas igual ha el que significa oligarquia para ti primero aprende no seas ridiculo creo que honduras ha demostrado que no nacimos para que nadie nos ponga las botas en el cuello tu crees que el gorilon de chavez hubiera hecho eso en honduras jamas


I want to prounce to say that I am going to express on Number 5 and 6 that it is clear they are not Honduran but are puppets of the gorrilla Chavez because they express themselves the same way and this signifies oligarchy for you first learn that you should not be ridiculous I believe that Honduras has demonstrated that we were not born for anyone else to put boots to our throat and you better believe that the gorrilla of Chavez will not do that ever in Honduras.

120 | Karla 29.06.2009 06:30pm 
Me da un inmenso pesar que hayan sacado del pais a MEL... ese traidor de la patria lo debieron haber metido preso en Tamara al igual que los otros secuaces que solo da;o le han causado a este noble pais, enga;aron a la gente humilde y pobre,la pena de muerte le hubieran aplicado por crimenes a la humanidad al descuidar sus funciones para la cual el pueblo los eligio no para perpetuarse en el poder

I am so sorry that they removed Mel from the country...this traitor of the country should be put in prison in Tamara the same as others that have only caused harm to this noble country.  They cheated the humble people and the poor, they should apply the death penalty to them for crimes against humanity for not carring for their functions that the public elected them for and that was not to stay in power.

The link

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=95991128836&h=n5t0U&u=NEPiP&ref=mf

also

www.elheraldo.hn

I will post more later...my fingers are tired and they are shutting down the lights every evening for safety reasons so that if there are attacks by Chavez that there isn´t any electricy and danger of fire and to make it difficult for the planes to find the cities.



My Letter to CNN about their reporting on Honduras

I want to take the time to make some comments about what is really going on in Honduras.
It seems to me that the International media has made much ado about nothing.
I live in the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras.  
This first off was not a coup against ex President Zelaya. This was a legal process that was followed just like in the US with a bit of a difference. The difference is because our government and constitution and laws are different than those of the US. They are similar but there are differences as in all countries. Now furthermore it is clear that it was not a military coup as it was directed by the Supreme Court and Congress. If this had been military directed our president would be the General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez and not the Speaker of the House Micheletti. There also would not be elections in November as a military coup would require a delay of two years in any elections.

In the US there is an impeachment process as you well know by what was instituted against Clinton several years ago. The articles of impeachment took a long time in the US where they were more swiftly taken out here. It has been going on for about a month in Congress as everyone advised the ex president that what he was doing was a violation of law. He thought he was above the law and according to our constitution no one is above the law in articles 321-323 of the Honduran constitution that was ratified in 1982.  

The only error that can be seen is their removing him from the country to Costa Rica, but this may have been a safety measure for his own safety as it is quite possible that he could have been in danger because he is very unpopular in the country. The people of Honduras do not like Mel Zelaya or his policies. In the end it should be up to us what we do and not the rest of the world. The articles in the Inter American charter are second to OUR laws and Constitution…of which he violated.  

I agree to medias it did not look good, but here things must be dealt with in a different fashion than they are dealt with in the United States which is the reason that our Constitution slightly differs. With our history of a problem with dictatorial governments you must understand our reluctance to embark on another one. We don´t want any more than one term presidents because it is a safety check against dictators.  
Let our constitution alone and be proud of us for defending our democracy and allowing the military to do their job…they defended the nation and our democracy and they did well. 
On June 24 there were 100,000 people marching in San Pedro Sula against Mel Zelaya and I didn´t see anything in foreign media about this. I was shocked that they would not show such a massive demonstration of freedom of speech. However, when 50 foreigners gather in protest for a leftist Marxist the media goes nuts and thinks we are in favour of the return of Zelaya when we are clearly not. I was present in downtown San Pedro Sula. There were a total of about 50 protesters and most of these protesters were municipal employees about to lose their jobs, foreigners from Venezuela and Nicaragua, and drunks and homeless people that were and always are in the downtown area but were given shirts to make an appearance of more protest members than there were. Where was the media when we marched for an end to corruption and shouted for Mel to resign? 

Thank you for your attention,
A concerned resident of San Pedro Sula Honduras

We have US and International Media and the the Truth






The ineternational media and the US media loves to put their spin on things given whichever country it is and I love how the international community thinks they know what is good for us or what we want without actually asking the people what they want.

The US state department has basically said they don´t care what our constitution said or that Zelaya violated the law,....they recognize he did...but they don´t care.  I wonder would they feel so inclined if it was one of their presidents threatening to overthrow the government in a self instilled coup by their president to wrestle power, disolve congress, and stuff ballot boxes that were prepared by foreign governments such as Venezuela when it is illegal for them to involve themselves in our affairs? The US has said they think it is an internal situation for Honduras to resolve but yet they think it is ok to try to pressure us to do their bidding and to be damned with what we want or feel or think...

The community hates him, we don´t want him, and we are even more frustrated about the lies being perpetuated by the media in the international community while our own people and local media is being completely disregarded...what happened to respect for the law?

What happened to our sovereignty as a nation and our right to remove a  corrupt leader? The US condemns us for not doing anything about corruption and then we do they also condemn us? That is sort of a be damned or be damned situation....

The above pictures are pictures of the protests leading up to the removal of Zelaya and they were people against Zelaya marching peacefully.  Numbers ranged from 5,000 at some cities to 100,000 in San Pedro Sula.  

Later I will take the time to translate some of the comments by the community about this.

US Department of State Briefing

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/06a/125453.htm

Read this carefully...

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: -- as the second Administration official noted, this has been a brewing conflict that has caught the attention and the concern of the OAS, of ourselves, and of the Central American – the other Central American countries and the European Union embassies inside of Honduras. And we’ve been working in concert with them in an effort to facilitate dialogue among the different and competing institutions, and especially to try to address the larger issue of political polarization inside of Honduras. I mean, I don’t want to go into great detail in terms of everyone we spoke to and every action we took, but we were consistently and almost constantly engaged over the last several weeks with our partners working with Hondurans trying to ensure that the political conflict around this survey that President Zelaya had proposed was resolved in a peaceful way that respected the democratic institutions and the constitutional order of Honduras.

QUESTION: You said a few minutes ago that you were in constant (inaudible) with the military and that they stopped taking the calls. (Inaudible) U.S. and allies been in regular contact with the military over the last few days to again prevent this from happening?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yes. We have been in contact with all Honduran institutions, including the armed forces. 

QUESTION: Okay. 

OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. Our next question comes from Juan Lopez. Please state your affiliation.



SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I believe the word “coup” will be used in the OAS resolution. And I would certainly characterize a situation where a president is forcibly detained by the armed forces and expelled from a country an attempt at a coup. We – I mean, we still see him as the constitutional president of Honduras. So it was an attempt at a coup. We don’t think it was successful.

OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. Our next question comes from Maria Pena. Please state your affiliation.

QUESTION: Yes, with EFE News Services. And thank you for taking my call. I take it that they’re all calling it a coup because the congress in Honduras has already approved the new president, Roberto Micheletti. But my question is – you’ve already answered that the U.S. is only looking at accepting President Zelaya as the president, the constitutional president in Honduras. So now my question has to deal with what the Honduran ambassador at the OAS said this morning. He said that for now, Honduras is not asking the U.S. for military assistance. But my question to you is that in the event that the constitutional order is not restored and they don’t allow President Zelaya to come back, would you consider a request for military assistance, or what would you consider to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, again, it wouldn't just be us. I mean, similar situations have happened in the past. There was something similar in Guatemala in which an elected president was deposed, and the region got turned against Guatemala very quickly in a way that Guatemala could not sustain and so had to back down. And I think that what you’re going to see over the next several days is a consensus throughout the Americas that this was an illegal and illegitimate act that cannot stand.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I think you’re also going to see, consistent with the President’s statement earlier today, the call for peaceful dialogue to resolve this through diplomacy. We very much believe that this is a situation that can be solved without recourse to the hypothetical that you laid out, and we are working very hard to ensure that that occurs.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Rubén Barerra. Please state your affiliation.

QUESTION: Notimex. Sorry, I just have one quick question, and it basically is that there is a call from the OAS to call for an emergency meeting of the foreign minister in Washington next week. (Inaudible) President Obama will be leaving on Sunday to Russia. And the question is if that meeting is called, will Secretary Clinton will be attending?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, we’re still working on the Permanent Council resolution, so we don’t know if that’s a reality yet. But obviously, we would be participating.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Rosiland Jordan. Please state your affiliation.

QUESTION: Yes. Al Jazeera English. First, I wanted to find out whether the U.S. Government has been in touch with President Zelaya since he was flown to Costa Rica. I also wanted to find out that since Secretary Clinton was in the – in country just about a month ago, whether she had any conversations with President Zelaya about the political impasse. And if so, did she make any offer of assistance at that time to him and to his government?

And finally, is there any response from the U.S. Government to Hugo Chavez’s claim that this was a U.S.-inspired coup d’état? 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: In regard to the first question, yeah, we have been in touch with President Zelaya both from here in Washington and also from Tegucigalpa, not only in terms of talking to him but also trying to find ways to ensure the safety and well-being of his family.

In regard to the Secretary’s trip to San Pedro Sula to participate in the OAS General Assembly, the meetings there were largely focused on the broader issue of the OAS General Assembly and the different mandates that had emerged from the Summit of the Americas. She did have an opportunity to meet with President Zelaya twice, and President Zelaya did talk somewhat about the internal dynamic in Honduras.

But I think what’s important about the Secretary’s time in Honduras was a reaffirmation of the Administration’s commitments to the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to the democratic vocation of the Organization of American States. And as the Secretary and her team worked on the resolution related to Cuba, our insistence that the OAS reaffirm its commitment to democracy and reaffirm its commitment to the belief of democracy being a fundamental requirement for membership in the OAS has been proven wise because it is the Inter-American Democratic Charter that is being used now to interpret events in Honduras and to guide the region as it responds to events in Honduras.

And in regard to President Chavez’s statements, I think our actions speak very loudly that we’re committed to democratic principles and processes and constitutional order, and that we live by those principles. 

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Julio Marenco. Please state your affiliation, sir.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m with La Prensa Grafica of El Salvador. I would like to know if you foresee any sanctions against the new government in Honduras. You say you don’t recognize them. 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, we’re not – as noted, we’re not talking about sanctions right now because we think this can be resolved through dialogue. And I think that once the forces that have conducted this act in Honduras recognize and understand how isolated they are and how committed the region is to restoring democratic order, that they’ll see they have no choice but to do so.

QUESTION: Thank you. 

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Mary Beth Sheridan. Please state your affiliation. 

QUESTION: Washington Post. There was a report in El Pais newspaper this morning – actually, it was an interview with President Zelaya, in which he said that there had been a coup plot afoot in recent days and it was only stopped by actions of the U.S. Embassy. Can you tell us about that or tell us if that’s not correct? 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I think the only thing we can say at this point is that we were very clear with the different sectors of Honduran political life and Honduras’s different political institutions that any resolution to the political conflict in Honduras had to be democratic and constitutional, and that we would not abide or support any extra-constitutional actions.

QUESTION: Okay. But you were in touch – with the military, was there that conversation with the military? 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: On several occasions.

QUESTION: And how recent?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I don’t have – I can’t tell you the most recent, but it was fairly recent.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks. 

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Dmitri Kirsanov. Please state your affiliation, sir.

QUESTION: I’m with ITAR-TASS, the Russian news (inaudible). Gentlemen, I’m sure you’re aware of the statements made by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who basically threatened military intervention in Honduras. I was wondering if you are in contact with him about that.

And secondly, I’m afraid I didn’t quite understand – are you saying that there is a possibility of President Obama canceling his trip to Moscow over some emergency meeting at the OAS?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: To answer the second question first, no. I think the question was whether that trip would interfere with the Secretary of State’s travel plans. 

QUESTION: Okay, sir.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: So just leave that very clear that no one is saying that.

And on the first question, again, the call here from President Obama and from many leaders in the hemisphere have been for this situation to be resolved through peaceful dialogue, free of outside interference in the internal affairs of Honduras by other countries unilaterally. The United States firmly supports that position and will continue working to advance that position to ensure that this, again, remain a situation that is resolved peacefully and free from outside interference.

QUESTION: But are you speaking with the Venezuelan authorities?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We have several ways to communicate with Venezuela. But we don’t believe Venezuela is planning on sending any troops. Venezuela is participating in the OAS process and working towards a peaceful resolution. They have no intention of introducing troops.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Bill Schmick. Please state your affiliation.

QUESTION: I’m with Bloomberg. And I don’t cover State, and I just wonder, do you plan to identify yourself for somebody who doesn't recognize voices? 

MR. KELLY: I think not.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. KELLY: That’s the whole meaning of background.

QUESTION: No, I understand the meaning of background. But you know, in other places, they tell you who – they at least tell you who’s talking. 

MR. KELLY: Yeah. This is Ian Kelly. If you want to contact me separately, I’ll be glad to talk to you.

QUESTION: Okay. How do I do that?

MR. KELLY: Well, we can talk after the conference.

QUESTION: Thank you. That’d be fine. 

OPERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Our next question comes from William Booth. Please state your affiliation. 

QUESTION: Washington Post. What is the State Department’s feeling about the survey or the vote that the president of Honduras was going to (inaudible) today? 

And the second question is – you’ve been discussing sort of the internal dynamic in Honduras and the various players. Could you just give us a little help and a little tutorial who you think the principal actors in this coup was? Was the military an actor or an instrument? Could you help us understand a little bit your perspective on what happened this morning in Honduras?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah, in regard to the survey or poll that President Zelaya had proposed, we viewed this as an internal domestic Honduran issue that needed to be resolved by Honduran institutions. The fundamental political divide within Honduras was whether or not this effort by President Zelaya was seen as constitutional and legal, or whether it was seen as illegitimate and unconstitutional. And several institutions, including the public ministry, which is their equivalent of attorney general, the supreme court, and the congress had declared this survey to be illegitimate and illegal. 

But we were trying to find ways to – along with our partners, to bridge the gap that existed and to ensure that the final decision that was made about this polling was done in a way that was peaceful and respected democratic values and the constitutional processes. 

Obviously, it was the armed forces that detained the president today and expelled him from the country. But as we’re seeing now with the naming of an interim president by the congress, this was an effort that has included other political institutions. 

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Kirit Radia. Please state your affiliation.

QUESTION: ABC News. Actually, just if I can go back to the last thing that you said there. You said other political institutions. Could you be a little bit more specific as to who you think was orchestrating this?

A couple other things on this. There’s a lot of Honduran media are reporting on a so-called resignation letter that was written by President Zelaya. What’s your view on that?

And then are you at all considering removing your ambassador at this point? 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I mean, in regards to the last point, the presence of our ambassador is an important means and mechanism of communication of U.S. interests and purpose, so we don’t have the purpose or intent of removing him at this point in time.

In regard to who these actors are, I’d prefer not to go into detail and point fingers at people because we – aside from restoring constitutional and democratic order to Honduras, there’s also the larger issue of addressing the problem of political polarization and rebuilding trust between and among institutions. And that’s going to require a lot of work by the OAS and by all interested parties, including ourselves. 

QUESTION: And then on the last question about the resignation letter that’s been reported on?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: It would be hard to take that letter seriously given the circumstance that President Zelaya was in.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Elise Labott. Please state your affiliation, ma’am.

QUESTION: Oh, thanks. I’m with CNN. I just have one quick question, back on the idea of the survey. You said that you felt other institutions felt that it was illegal and unconstitutional, but did you think it was and did you advise the president not to invoke it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Again, it’s not up to us to determine what’s legal or not within the context of Honduras. It was important for us to leave this to Honduran institutions to try to resolve. And that was really our focus, the focus of the OAS, and the focus of the other countries who were interested in a peaceful resolution of -- 

QUESTION: Yeah, but – I’m sorry. You talk about the democratic charter of the OAS and that you want all constitutional means to be adhered to. Did you find that – or you and your partners, I mean not just the United States, but did the international community and the OAS, who’s been talking about democratic principles and the need for constitutional – adhering to the constitution, believe that it was in line with the constitution?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, again, it’s not up to us to determine what’s in line with the constitution.

QUESTION: Yeah, but now you’re invoking the – I’m sorry, but now you’re invoking the constitution to return him. So did you think that what he was doing was in line with the constitution?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: No, but there’s a big distinction here because, on the one instance, we’re conducting about conducting a survey, a nonbinding survey; in the other instance, we’re talking about the forcible removal of a president from a country. So I think we can distinguish between those terms – those two in terms of what’s constitutional and what might be left to institutions.

But I think what’s important to remember about the survey is that it was just that. It wasn’t even a formal vote. It was a nonbinding survey. And the issue of whether it was legitimate or illegal did not revolve around the survey itself. It revolved around who conducted it and whether or not this could be conducted by the government and which institution in the government could conduct it, and whether or not as it’s being conducted state security forces could be used to both manage and secure the equipment that was being used for the survey and provide security. And that’s where the divide occurred within Honduras. It was about who conducted this survey, with several institutions in Honduras insisting that the Honduran Government could not conduct it, at least not in the way that President Zelaya had suggested.

And from our point of view, what was important was not inserting ourselves and trying to make a determination of what was legal or illegal, but trying to insist that the Hondurans find a way to resolve this in a way that was in accord with their constitution. 

MR. KELLY: Emily, I think we have time for one more question.

OPERATOR: Thank you, sir. Our next question comes from Rosalind Jordan. Please state your affiliation. 

QUESTION: Yes, Al Jazeera English. I was going through an October 2008 report assessing the effectiveness of the Embassy down at Tegucigalpa, and it pointed out that there were many endemic problems with Honduras that made the Embassy’s work much more difficult, notably political and law enforcement corruption, the drug trafficking problem, as well as Zelaya’s leftist political leanings. Now, granted, this report was written during the previous administration, but what I wanted to ask was had there been any concerted effort within the State Department or within the Obama Administration to assess the situation in Honduras, reassess the U.S.’s relationship with Honduras over, you know, over the next period of years, or was this simply not as much of a priority as has been dealing with the war in Iraq or Iran or anything else in the Middle East? 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I mean, we just came from San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the OAS General Assembly, and President Obama was in Trinidad and Tobago where President Zelaya was. So since almost the beginning of this Administration, we’ve been engaged in the hemisphere in a pretty dramatic way. And President Zelaya has been present at two of these events, and the President had an opportunity to speak to him in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Secretary also. And obviously, the Secretary had an opportunity to speak with him several times in Honduras. 

But again, Honduras is a country that we’ve had an important relationship with for a long time. We’ve got a free trade agreement with them through CAFTA. They’re part of the Merida Initiative. They’re part of the Millennium Challenge effort by the United States, and they also receive special status for Hondurans living in the United States through the temporary protective status program. And in that regard, I mean, Honduras has been an important partner over time. And so we’ve always been interested in the well-being of Honduras.

QUESTION: I guess the question really is: Was there enough concern about the polarization between the various political groups in country? Did the U.S. miss an opportunity to really help head off today’s events?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I think we and others worked very hard to do that, but we were unsuccessful. 

MR. KELLY: Any final comments from our two speakers? If not, thank you all for joining us. And just to remind, the attribution for this is Senior Administration Officials.

OPERATOR: This concludes today’s conference. Thank you so much for joining. You may disconnect at this time.