As of today, July 26th (almost a month since Zelaya was deposed and exiled), here is what we have:
1. Reconciliation talks, mediated by President Arias of Costa Rica, until now, have not had success bringing a resolution. Zelaya seemed to have been in a rush last week and asked his representatives to call the talks a failure as he proceeded to rush to the next step, a dramatic attempt to walk across the border into Honduras from Nicaragua.
2. Zelaya’s loudest supporters at the International level have been the ALBA-aligned countries. ALBA stands for Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. Bolivar is the George Washington of the northern part of South America. Venezuelan-born Simon Bolivar liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia & Venezuela, among other countries, from Spanish rule. So, when Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro founded this Alliance in Dec of 2004, they decided to name it after a benign and much admired figure. But in reality, this so called Alliance represents little of Simon Bolivar’s real vision and is more closely aligned with Castro’s. Therefore, the ALBA aligned countries (Antigua, Bolivia, Cuba, Domenica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Grenadines and Venezuela) which up to date are 9, are at this point in every way supporting Zelaya, which in October of last year signed an agreement to have Honduras as a member of this ill-aligned group. Rick Sanchez invited a former American Ambassador to Latin America, Otto Reich, to discuss the situation further, including the ALBA/Castro angle.
3. Within the past 2 weeks, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has been slowly lowering his noisy support and turned to quietly financing Zelaya’s movements in the region. Since Zelaya’s presidential credit card was canceled by the new Honduras government within a few days after his exile, due to his excessive spending, it is no secret that Hugo Chavez has provided him with all the necessary means to get around and continue his “presidential” lifestyle. Chavez has provided the jets, limos, clothes, hotels, etc… More importantly, is becoming more common knowledge that Chavez is paying people to go to Honduras to stir trouble, which would explain why many Zelaya supporters look more like thugs, throwing rocks, heckling people, starting fires and provoking the military to shoot them.
4. In addition to the the financial backing, today Hugo Chavez remains the key silent partner and has made an effort not to be seen around Zelaya. However, as of the past few days, Sandinista president, Ortega of Nicaragua (neighbor right at the south of Honduras, and another key partner of Venezuela’s Chavez) has provided him with a place to stay and from where to “launch his return”.
5. Simon Bolivar’s birthday was this past Friday, 7/24 and it was said that Zelaya rushed breaking off the peace talks to have the opportunity to “walk back” into Honduras on Bolivar’s birthday, to add more drama to his defiant imprudence. So, on Friday, he gathered reporters, photographers, called on the media (TeleSur–Chavez-funded TV) and organized his melodramatic walk to the border of Honduras.
6. He was asked by the US and even his buddy in the OAS, Secretary Insulza, not to do it, for it could cause bloodshed. But the fact that he ignored these warnings showed he cares more about himself than about the people of Honduras.
7. Zelaya arrived to the border of Honduras this past Friday 7/24, accompanied by a Venezuelan high official. It was also rumored that members of the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan paramilitia accompanied him in plain clothes, disguised as “supporters.” Some of his supporters waited for him at the border. But they were only a couple of hundred at most.
8. As Zelaya attempted to enter Honduras on Friday afternoon, in other cities of Honduras there were 100′s of thousands of Hondurans demonstrating against his return, and in support of the new government.
9. There is a zone between Honduras and Nicaragua, deemed neutral territory. Zelaya remained in that neutral territory. From there he phoned the military to announce his arrival but was told he could not enter unless he was willing to be arrested.
10. Zelaya, on a move that demonstrated his lack of courage, or imprudent defiance that could have caused bloodshed, walked up to the old iron chain that marks the beginning of Honduras territory, and in a symbolic move lifted it, as if to walk through, held it there for a few minutes while his supporters cheered. It has been said that he did walk a few steps into Honduras territory, but some debate he was still inside a neutral strip, which is why he was not arrested by the military. Others reported that after lifting the chain he walked a few steps to a metal sign that said “Welcome to Honduras” and touched it and walked back to neutral territory soon after.
Soon after that stunt, back on neutral territory, Zelaya spent most of the time on his cell phone talking to the press and apparently his family. Soon after, he went back to his car and drove back to a little Nicaraguan town near the border called Las Manos, where he’s “set up camp.” See what his “camp” looks like. Certainly not identifying with the “poor” for whom he claims to advocate. We all have a good idea of who’s footing that not-so-poor bill.
11. Zelaya’s publicity stunt was called “reckless” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
12. As he was in the middle of his stunt, on the same afternoon, the highly despised terrorist group gripping Colombia from its jungles, the FARC, issued a statement in support of Zelaya, demanding he be restored to power. This is the same group that has been implicated in kidnappings (see Ingrid Betancourt and the three American contractors held for years), murders, bombs, drug dealing, as well as funding a good part of the presidential campaign of another one of Chavez’ close allies, Correa of Ecuador.
13. In the meantime, statues of Zelaya have been found in the presidential palace, still packaged. Everyone wonders what were the plans of these statues given a president who claimed he had no intentions of running for re-election and supposedly ready to step down in January of 2010. The link in this bullet point takes you to the local Honduras paper. See the pictures to the right of the article. Or see below:
14. Additionally, computers were found with the “results” of the “poll” that was about to take place on Sunday, which the Hondurans wisely avoided by taking Zelaya out of office and out of the country. These computers had “results” of course in favor of the “poll” that was about to be forced on the people, despite it having deemed illegal.
15. Since his failed return by air, Zelaya has been advocating his supporters to stage “insurrections” from his Nicaragua post, causing that small segment of the population inside Honduras, aided by people sent by the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan regimes, to start violent displays such as burning fires, throwing rocks, harassing peaceful demonstrators, hassling the military and forcing them to respond. Of course, once the military responds, they run to the media to complaint and aid to their case of making the government of Mr. Micheletti look like the bad guys.
16. It is worthy to note that through this time, the OAS, which seems now under Hugo Chavez and the ALBA control, has its highest representative, Secretary Insulza making terrible mistakes that have only stirred more unrest and unfairly misrepresented the new government as illegal and unconstitutional. He obviously has not read the Honduras constitution. For more details on OAS Secretary Insulza’s erratic and condemnable behavior, please click here for a Washington Post write up.
17. On an interesting update on CNN en Español, Krupskaia Alis, the reporter with Sandinista ties who did such unfair coverage of the initial events from Honduras, was sent to Costa Rica at the beginning of the peace talks, and last I heard, she’s now reporting other things non-related, from Mexico. I commend CNN en Español for listening to the people. I have also seen more balanced reporting, where they now present both points of view. In fact, I am thrilled to see Glenda Umaña and the fine Patricia Janiot turn their fantastic inquisitive reporting skills again on the Honduras issue, to ask the people they interview on the air the tough questions, as they usually do. I am sorry I missed it but I heard on Friday night Patricia Janiot was brilliant asking Zelaya the hard questions. Interestingly enough, CNN en Español continues to source video from TeleSur, but has made an effort to handle the audio from a different, more neutral source.
18. In regards to CNN USA, in English, there is still work to be done. The reporter, Karl Penhaul, which is stationed there continues to report only on Zelaya and his supporters. I don’t see anyone else from CNN USA in English showing the other side of the story in Honduras, covering the thousands of people marching against Zelaya, nor reporting on any talks with the Interim government of Mr. Micheletti. Karl the reporter refers to “the military coupe” and “president Zelaya”, while other reporters use more neutral terminology such as “deposed president Zelaya” and “interim government”. What’s more, in one video he expressed impatience at why Zelaya hasn’t been reinstated yet by using the term “understandibly so”. I heard a segment he prepared yesterday Saturday, during Fredericka Whitfield’s program and I was unable to tweet about the unfairness of his segment, but that needs to be addressed next. Karl is dedicated to telling Zelaya’s story and ignore the thousands of Hondurans who come out to the streets to demonstrate peacefully. It seems like he has allegiance to Zelaya’s people more than to balanced reporting.
19. I continue to commend the fantastic job of CNN USA’s Rick Sanchez for showing the story as it is. Also a huge thumbs up to Dr. Fareed Zakaria of Fareed Zakaria Global Public Square, (another wise International man) who presented the story as is. In fact, here is his 2-minute on-target analysis, which describes the situation in its full context. Then again, I’m not surprised, for Dr. Fareed Zakaria is a man who has a deep understanding of global politics.
As of tonight, Zelaya is still stationed at the little town near the border of Honduras continuing to advocate “insurrection”, backed by the rogue dictatorships of the ALBA, especially Cuba, Venezuela & Nicaragua, in addition to the terrorist guerrilla FARC. Zelaya has absolutely no interest in the safety of the Honduras people. He will push to return to power at whatever cost, and has sworn once back in power to continue in his pursuit to hold the infamous illegal poll that threw him out of power. The interim government, lead by Mr. Micheletti is still considering president Arias’ proposal. I hope they do not allow him back, even with limited power. Doing so would be the equivalent of letting Chavez or Ahmadinejad back in power had the people been successful in removing them. See latest video update from CNN en Español’s Washington correspondent, Juan Carlos Lopez, as he discusses the situation with CNN International.
I will post more updates as they occur. For additional information and coverage from Honduras, please visit La Gringa’s blog, by an American living in Honduras. This blog is full of first hand information, link, videos, photos, etc. Click here to go to La Gringa’s Blog or visit: http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/
As of midnight 7/27/09, Interim Honduras President, Roberto Micheletti just published a great write up in the Wall Street Journal. Here is the link and below if you want to copy and paste:
That’s it for now. Until the next time. Thank you for reading and your interest.
To read the first part on the Honduras situation, please click here or go to the link below: