Former Honduras President Manuel Zelaya returned to his nations capitol earlier this week by being smuggled into the country and the Brazilian Embassy, where he remains holed up appropriately just like a criminal.
As reported by my buddy Ashley Rindsberg who is in Honduras this week:
Gunfire, the smell of burning tires, and tear gas woke me up this morning. Tegucigalpa’s Palmira neighborhood erupted into violence at around 5 in the morning. Demonstrators were gathered throughout the night on the street below my hotel balcony, where I stood watching tires burn in the middle of the road. Lightning flashed behind the Tegucigalpa hills but there was a dryness in the air forbidding any possibility of rain, which might have driven protesters back home, but did bring a feeling of combustibility to Honduras’ capital city.
The electricity was out all night in the Palmira neighborhood, which houses most of the country’s embassies including the Brazilian embassy where former president Manuel Zelaya is thought to be ensconced. Local reports say the electricity was cut to prevent the poorer neighborhoods, who watch pro-Zelaya Canal 36 news channel, from getting access to TV. However, given that Zelaya is said to still be in Palmira it might have also been a government effort to keep him as quiet as possible. Read more here.
Zelaya’s reason for returning is to fire up international and internal pressure to return him to office to serve out the last four months of his term. There is the very real possibility that the United States helped to sneak him into the country as it was our State Department that announced the Ex-president’s arrival before anyone else had the news.
Today on the third day after Zelaya’s return, things seem to be calming down rather than accelerating, so it seems that his attempt to re-grab power and establish his Chavez-type rule in Honduras is a giant flop:
Diplomats and activists streamed out of the increasingly isolated Brazilian Embassy in Honduras where ousted President Manuel Zelaya holed up with a shrinking core of supporters and relatives, prompting Brazil to urge the U.N. Security Council to guarantee the compound’s safety.
Zelaya’s backers ventured out at several points in Honduras’ capital to skirmish with police, after hundreds of their colleagues were routed by baton-wielding soldiers from the street in front of the embassy and police roadblocks sealed off the mission building Tuesday. Authorities denied local media reports that three people died in the confrontation.
The entire country was largely shut down, with almost no cars or pedestrians in the streets and few businesses open under a nearly round-the-clock curfew decreed by the interim government that ousted Zelaya in June. It accused Zelaya of sneaking back into the country Monday to create disturbances and disrupt the Nov. 29 election scheduled to pick his successor.
Foreign Minister Carlos Lopez said the government would not try to enter the embassy to arrest Zelaya, but he also said Honduras’ interim leaders had no intention of yielding on the central point demanded by the international community: the reinstatement of Zelaya to serve out the remaining four months of his term.
….Diplomats around the world, from the European Union to the U.S. State Department, urged calm while repeating their recognition of Zelaya as Honduras’ legitimate president.
…Since his ouster, Zelaya has traveled around the region to lobby for support from political leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
U.S.-backed talks moderated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias stalled over the interim government’s refusal to accept Zelaya’s reinstatement to the presidency. Arias’ proposal would limit Zelaya’s powers and prohibit him from attempting to revise the constitution.
Once again the Obama administration is on the wrong side of freedom and history.