With just a month to go before scheduled presidential elections, a US-brokered agreement to return Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras was announced Oct. 30, with the ousted president saying he hoped to be restored within a week. But the deal still needs to be approved by the Honduran congress, which has not set a date for voting on the plan. “Now it’s in Congress’ hands,” said Armando Aguilar, a negotiator for de facto President Roberto Micheletti. (AP, Oct. 30)
Another top Micheletti advisor, Marcia Facusse de Villeda, told Bloomberg News that “Zelaya won’t be restored.” In a virtual admission that the coup regime is trying to buy time, Facusse said that “just by signing this agreement we already have the recognition of the international community for the elections.” (Bloomberg News, Oct. 30)
Yet another Micheletti advisor, Arturo Corrales, said that since the country’s congress would not be in session before the elections, Zelaya would not be confirmed in office. “The congress is not in session, and I understand that it is programmed to return after the elections, because each one of the representatives is, at this very moment, in their respective districts campaigning around the clock,” he said.
Andres Conteris, a reporter for Democracy Now who has been holed up with Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, said the remarks by Corrales went against the agreement. “This is absolutely a contravention of both the spirit and the word of the accord that was signed today,” he told AlJazeera by phone from the embassy in Tegucigalpa. “For the negotiator of the coup regime to say that the legislature is not going to meet until after the election is a contravention because the accord specifically states that no later than Nov. 5, the new constitutional authority of the unified government will be empowered as the new government of Honduras.”
The deal was announced after Zelaya and Micheletti held talks separately Oct. 29 with US assistant secretary of state Tom Shanno and Dan Restrepo, Washington’s special envoy for Western Hemisphere affairs. The deal calls for the formation of a national unity government, a committee to ensure the veracity of the Nov. 29 elections, and a truth and reconciliation commission. It also calls upon foreign governments to reverse measures such as suspension of aid and travel visas for members of the de facto government. (AlJazeera, Oct. 31)
Zelaya and his supporters at the Brazilian embassy are meanwhile complaining of loud music blasted by soldiers posted around the diplomatic compound from long-range acoustic devices. Soldiers “are using powerful sound systems that can be heard from 20 blocks away. … We can’t fall asleep,” Zelaya told a news conference.
Army chief of staff Gen. Romeo Vazquez denied claims of harassment, saying the all-night broadcast was a “serenade” intended to celebrate the country’s Armed Forces day holiday.
The playlist of tunes that stretched from after midnight into the morning of Oct. 21 included the song “Rata de Dos Patas” (Two-legged Rat), an ode to an ex-boyfriend made famous by Mexican songstress Paquita La del Barrio. Its lyrics begin, “Filthy rat, crawling animal, scum of all life …” It get worse from there. (AP, Oct. 21)
At least it wasn’t Lee Greenwood.
See our last post on Honduras.