Honduras Dialogue at Death’s Door

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 9, 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 10 – The OAS mission of foreign ministers left crisis-torn Honduras after having set up a dialogue mechanism between the de facto government and representatives of President Manuel Zelaya, as well as a delegation of the National Front Against the Coup d’état, notes the rel-UITA website in this report from Tegucigalpa with photos from Giorgio Trucchi.

At the moment there is no white smoke of success-not even gray-on the key point of the San Jose Agreement: the restitution of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.  Meanwhile, the resistance movement continues its tireless mobilization efforts, earning its place in the talks and demanding the final date of Tuesday, October 15, for the reinstatement of the legitimate president of Honduras.

During a press conference in which there was no opportunity for questions from the dozens of journalists present, Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno read a document that summarized the agenda generated by the high-level OAS mission and pointed to some aspects of the recently initiated dialogue.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 9, 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita

“The OAS commission outlined to all of those present that for the dialogue to be carried out under appropriate conditions, the reestablishment and maintenance of all constitutional guarantees is necessary, in addition to the restitution of all media whose operation had been interrupted, and normal access and communication be allowed between President Zelaya and his representatives on the round table,” pointed out the official OAS statement.

The commission also warned that the situation in the Brazilian embassy must be solved by guaranteeing appropriate living and working conditions for President Zelaya.  The body requested OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza to constantly report back on “the implementation of these requests and the development and progress reached in the round table.”

For the foreign ministers, who left country a little before the end of the press conference, “The recently initiated dialogue can lead to the overcoming of the political crisis in which the country is wrapped as a result of the events of this past June 28.  It entertains the hope that the members of the round table will assume the full responsibility of opening the road toward the recovery of democratic order and the reintegration of Honduras into the international community.”

The OAS will leave behind a technical commission in Honduras to support the continuation of talks.

Resistance Movement Says: “Nothing has Happened”

Juan Barahona, coordinator of the National Front Against the Coup d’état and a delegate to the talks in that capacity, said, “For the moment, nothing has happened. The conversation is at point zero.”

“We began with the analysis of the San Jose Agreement, whose fundamental issue is the restitution of President Zelaya.  The de facto government’s delegation refuses to accept it, but if there are not advances on this point, what sense does it make to move on to analyzing other points?” he stressed.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 9, 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita

“We cannot say we’ve failed,” Barahona continued, “because we will continue talking, and we hope that we will find points of agreement along the road.  Nevertheless, for the resistance there are two points that are not negotiable: the restitution of President Zelaya and the impetus to form a Constituent Assembly.”

“The president is willing to sign any agreement relinquishing any intention on his part to push for a Constituent Assembly; however, we will continue struggling to reach that objective,” said Barahona.

Regarding the work carried out by the OAS, the coordinator of the National Front Against the Coup d’état said that its position has been clear and resounding in the demand for the restitution of President Zelaya so as to return to democratic order.

Barahona agreed with the position of President Zelaya in saying that an October 15 deadline is being set for the reinstatement of the constitutional president.

“If we have not reached an agreement by that date, I don’t know what will happen. But be clear, we are not the ones unwilling to compromise, nor are we the ones who violated the constitutional order of this country or repressed and murdered people. The coup forces are the ones responsible,” he concluded.

For his part, President Manuel Zelaya stated that the inflexible position adopted by de facto president Roberto Micheletti is moving the country toward an abyss.

The Resistance Evades Police

Applying a skilled strategy, the demonstrators who concentrated in front of the Teachers University were able to make a mockery of the heavy military and police contingent.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 9, 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Oct. 2009, Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-uita

Leaving the military post, which impeded the beginning of a march formed of five groups of people, the demonstrators walked and re-concentrated in front of the Hotel Clarion, where the OAS press conference had just concluded.

The demonstrators took over both lanes of the boulevard and deployed their flags and banners that demanded the restoration of democracy in the country, the restitution of President Zelaya, the end of repression, and the formation of a Constituent Assembly.

Confused by the surprise appearance of hundreds of people, and panicky over the presence of the foreign ministers and dozens of media organizations, the military and police simply remained in place guarding the entrance of the hotel, thereby allowing the demonstrators to carry on their activities without restrictions.

At night, thousands of Hondurans came out into the streets again in different neighborhoods of the capital challenging the generally despised Executive Curfew Order. Its repeal by the Council of Ministers has still not been published in the La Gaceta newspaper and therefore is not official; in this underhanded way, the de facto government has prolonged the restrictions on civil liberties.