Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Things still calm...resolution nowhere in sight

Hey everyone. The update here from Honduras is that all is pretty calm. The end to this situation seems far off but we will wait and see. There are a few energized folks but for the most part the same feeling around the country. The other central American Nations have got together and decided they are going to stop shipping resources into Honduras until President Zelaya is back in. I am not sure if this will stick or how long it will last but seems a minor thing for now.

I had an interesting encounter today when I walked into the grocery store. A man in the juice isle encountered me. He told me he was the distributor for potatoes and that there were none in the store because they are not being shipped from Venezuela anymore. He preceded to tell me he was happy about this and that he was a “Chavista” (supporter of Hugo Chaves). He said it as if he really wanted me to know. I nodded only for a gesture of understanding and moved on. I am sure he said it only because I was gringo. It’s an example of the sentiment around the country, and although it is peaceful, there are still strong views out there.

Peace Corps is keeping us very informed. Here is an exerpt from an email from our country director today…

“I have spoken to a fair number of you and the vast majority describes the situation in your communities as calm and quiet. A few of you have described roadblocks in the areas nearby your communities. The best place for you to be is in your communities. At this time, I have no plans to consolidate or evacuate Volunteers.
As you have likely seen on the TV, the area around the Casa Presidencial has seen protesters supporting President Zelaya. On Sunday, (6/28) approximately 1,500 people showed up. On Monday (6/29) in the morning, about 5,000 people in support of President Zelaya protested at the Casa Presidencial. They set up barricades that blocked the Casa Presidencial and the Marriott Hotel. They were disbursed by the military and police using tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon. By Monday afternoon, the protesters numbered about 800. There are reports are that the military and police fired in the air. One person has been reported killed after being run over by a military vehicle. A second person has been reported to have been killed by a gunshot, though it is not clear who fired the shot. About 15-30 people have been reported to be injured. This Tuesday (6/30) morning, the area around the Casa Presidencial has been cleared of protesters and the military/police has secured the area.

This Tuesday (6/30) morning, there are reports of supporters of President Zelaya at the Congress in downtown Tegucigalpa. There are reports of supporters of President Micheletti in the central park in downtown Tegucigalpa. At this time, neither of the groups is large, nor have they confronted each other”
So that’s the gist of the situation. Zelaya spoke to the UN today and is said to travel back here to Honduras on Thursday. I am not sure what will happen then but it should be a day of Peaceful Dialogue.

Peace Corps has lifted the “standfast” order and we are allowed to leave our sites but with more strict provisions. I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

So there we are. I will probably return to work tomorrow and gauge the situation. But as you can imagine the focus will be on this situation for some time. I am not worried or scarred anything drastic will happen. I just hope this will get resolved soon and things will go back to their normal ways. Although, in a situation like this, that is a lot easier said than done.

…Until next time

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