Friday, July 3, 2009

Peace Corps Rides it Out...Resolution Probably Peaceful

Hey folks. Greetings from Honduras. I am trying to have periodic updates on the situation here to keep you updated. There is a lot of info on the web, just not on major pages. Google search Honduras along with the current date and you are sure to get some good info.

There are some reports from news organizations and people here in Honduras. As far as safety goes I continue to feel calm and safe. Here in Santa Rosa people are just waiting out the situation without a big stir. Peace Corps is keeping us up to date as much as they can. We are permitted to travel but with strict provisions. However, with roadblocks and the uncertainty of unrest most of us decide not to.

If you didn’t know from my other blogs we have one of the most powerful and well known security heads in Honduras working as our safety director. He has power, the knowledge, resources and personnel to keep us safe. The US embassy even tried to hire him away from Peace Corps. Essentially, I am rarely worried because we will know if we need to watch out for something.

As far as the political unrest goes, the OAS chief diplomat Jose Miguel Insulza is said to be here today to push for the reinstatement of Zelaya. He said he would not talk to new president Micheleti’s government because that will legitimize it. The OAS has demanded that they reinstate Zelaya by tomorrow (Saturday) when Zelaya is said to come back to Honduras. Zelaya, if put back in power, agrees to continue his final months until the election and not try to modify the constitution again (TBO/AP).

Zelaya stated"I have never been afraid, and I have acted on my principles, for which I am prepared to die.”(yahoo/AP). If Zelaya returns he will be arrested by Honduras military for which they have said they will incarcerate him for at least 20 years on charges of treason, breaking constitutional law, and numerous other charges. Confirmed reports also show bags and bags of millions of Lempiras (Honduran Currency) were found in Zelayas home (yahoo/AP). Some say he was paid by other regimes to move forward with a plan for a different Honduras.

Communication about the situation to the Honduran people still continues to be a problem. Communication has been so limited that an influential pro-Micheletti congresswoman, Marcia Villeda de Facusse, said she learned of the OEA mission on Thursday from news reports (msnbc/AP), not even her own government.

Most of the marches and protests are taking place in the capitol, Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula in the northwest. These cities are off limits for most foreign agencies and Peace Corps.

The international community is now strongly against the current government in Honduras. Central American leaders temporarily cut off aid and borders to Honduras. Today they were re-opened but who knows what will happen in the next coming days. Yesterday (Thursday) the US stated it is suspending most aid to Honduras. The Peace Corps is not part of this plan and evacuation on the part of Peace Corps is nowhere is sight according to our country director.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in all the Americas and is said to be feeling the hit already (cnn/AP). Aid is being suspended from all over the world with $300 million to $450 million in financing from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank currently on hold (yahoo/AP).

So right now it really only appears there is political unrest but no civil unrest. Tomorrow there are marches to take place all over the country with the message of keeping peace during this time. There is a national curfew indefinitely from 10pm to 5am throughout the country. Regarding the return of President Zelaya, Micheletti states, “"For the peace of the country I would prefer that he did not come, because I do not want one drop of blood shed by any Honduran" (yahoo/AP).

There are many unconfirmed reports from sources inside Honduras that state Zelaya supporters are taking up arms and attempting to form a militia, especially in the eastern parts of the country, where arms are evident. Teenagers and young men were said to be hiding in houses to prevent being drafted for the new opposition. The reason for this is to maintain peaceful means in case the current army turns on Zelaya supporters. But again, this is no reason to be worried, it’s a small collection of people.

Other people think differently. Check out (this article).

Similarly, earlier reports stated that two battalions of the army split in support of Zelaya. Unconfirmed reports said these were men only dressed as soldiers to gain more support for Mel.

Large marches and roadblocks are taking place in many parts of the country but violence is minimal if not non-existent. The strong majority if not all of the country is for a peaceful resolution. Please don’t let the few videos and pictures of unrest sway you.

Another good source says that during the coup video was taken by the army to prove it was non-violent and only carried on as just cause from the government. Possibly this video is being sent to the OAS to prove so.

Fear is not in the air but uncertainty is. When Zelaya will return is still uncertain, but will certainly cause the height of the unrest. This weekend will be a key part of the solution process.

Unfortunately this means 4th of July celebrations will be minimal if existent at all for Peace Corps Volunteers. Its unfortunate but I hope everyone has a great celebration back home. Raise a glass for me.

Don’t worry too much about us down here. Peace Corps is taking good care of us and it looks like we are just going to ride out the situation while the country solves thier problem peacefully. I have faith in that.

…until next time

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear things are well Lemos! Keep on with the good insider info! Happy Fourth from SF!