Supporters of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya warned the de facto government that a crackdown on opposition media could derail talks scheduled to resume this week aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis. “It is a really appalling issue, something right out of a dictatorship,” said Rafael Alegria, a leader of protests against the coup-installed regime.
A government decree published in the official Gazette Oct. 10 gives authorities the right to “revoke and cancel” the licenses of radio and television stations considered to be a threat to “national security” pr accused of spreading “hatred.” The government of Roberto Micheletti has already ordered the closure of Radio Globo and Channel 36 TV. “The new decree is simply aimed at silencing us once and for all,” said Channel 36 director Esdras López.
On the same day the order was published, Zelaya and the de facto government agreed in principle to create a joint cabinet and abandon a proposed amnesty for coup leaders, one negotiator announced. But both measures remain dependent on Zelaya’s return to the presidency—still far from certain four months into the standoff. Labor leader Juan Barahona, one of Zelaya’s top three negotiators, told a rally of hundreds of the president’s followers Oct. 10 that the joint cabinet would be made up of ministers from both governments. (AFP, Oct. 11)
OAS keeps up pressure; coup regime keep up repression
A diplomatic delegation from the Organization of American States (OAS) left Honduras Oct. 8. “We are here to find concrete solutions to a situation that cannot go on,” said OAS secretary-general José Miguel Insulza. That same day, police again fired tear gas on protesters in Tegucigalpa. (LAT, Oct. 8; Reuters, Oct. 7)
In a confrontation with foreign diplomats broadcast on local television Oct. 7, Micheletti scolded the dignitaries for refusing to recognize what he insisted was the lawful removal of Zelaya for constitutional violations. “You don’t know the truth or you don’t want to know it,” he said. Canada’s minister of state for the Americas, Peter Kent, responded told that the international community respects the Honduran Constitution, but opposes the military’s ouster of Zelaya. (AP, Oct. 7)
A week earlier, more than 50 protesters were detained in an attempted occupation of the offices of the National Agrarian Institute (INA) by campesinos form Yoro department. (La Jornada, Oct. 1)
No football sanctions —yet
International soccer has evidently not isolated the Honduran coup regime. On Oct. 10, the US won a World Cup qualifying match against the national team at Tegucigalpa’s stadium. (AP, Oct. 10) Football sanctions were among the first international indictments of South Africa’s apartheid regime in 1961. (Football in South Africa) In recent years there have been widespread calls for football sanctions against Israel. (See e.g. Boycott Israel News, March 24, 2007)
See our last post on Honduras.