Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Zelaya Tries to Return While Peace Corps and My Mind Are In Limbo

Greetings again from Honduras. Everything continues to be calm here in Santa Rosa. Many of the other volunteers continue to say that things are calm in their sites too. The unrest and protests continue to be in the larger cities of San Pedro Sula and the capitol of Tegucigalpa.

I did get to celebrate the 4th of July with friends here in Santa Rosa. In was fun, had some drinks, but no 4th of July Tahoe style.

The big news here is that on Sunday (former) President Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras. He was aboard a Venezuelan jet with the UN ambassador. A huge crowd of Zelaya supporters gathered at the airport then tried to breach the fences. Army trucks had parked on the runway to prevent Zelayas plane from landing, which it did attempt 3 times. Soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd (BBC Video). Live fire was reported and there were 2 confirmed deaths. Zelaya’s plane eventually landed in El Salvador.

The US Embassy has come out with a travel advisory which states…

“Due to the current unstable political and security situation, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa recommends American citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice…Demonstrations both against and in favor of the new regime are expected to continue in the coming days throughout the country, including in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, El Progreso and Roatan. Demonstrations to date have been generally non-violent and there have been few reports of injuries”

However, I do know of people who have traveled here, problem free, in the past week. The Tegucigalpa airport is closed but others are open. If you or anyone you know is thinking of traveling, the choice is yours.

Zelaya is in Washington DC today to talk to Hillary Clinton. This meeting should be interesting. Especially since yesterday, Hugo Chavez, President of the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela spoke over the phone with some press people saying " that he thinks that the US is involved in supporting the Honduras military de facto regime.” (AC). Zelaya and Chaves are known to be good buddies, and Chaves is rumored to be behind Zelaya’s move for a new Honduras.

For PC safety concerns, we are not allowed to travel to the two biggest cities in Honduras, San Pedro Sula and the capitol, Tegucigalpa. This is where most of the demonstrations are taking place. We are also not permitted to take “personal time” which is when volunteers take a two-night stay away from site just to get away. Essentially, we can’t travel anywhere and stay the night until further notice. I wouldn’t be able to do this anyway until July 16th because of Peace Corps rule about not traveling my first two months in site. I hope this is lifted by then.

So there it is, protests continue, president Zelaya failed to return, and a resolution may not happen until the new elections in November. My state of mind is still in a bit of limbo. It is difficult to get behind work that may be cut in the near future. However, I have returned to work to try and get some projects moving. The international community continues to withdraw support and aid to Honduras, a country who desperately needs it. For these reasons, I hope a resolution comes soon.

On another note, I want to give a special “hola amigos” to my boys Huff and Stapes of Two Jacks in the Hole Radio. This is a great podcast that also goes live on Wednesday nights from 8-10PM PST on pokerroad.com. Don’t be fooled it’s not a poker show, but is hilarious and guaranteed to make you laugh. Good for anyone looking to be entertained. “At worst, it’s the best podcast ever.” Check them out at twojacksinthehole.com or huffandstapes.com .

Alright, I will let you know more when I can.

…Until next time

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