Honduras: Political Crisis and Civil Uprising
The political crisis that began almost three months ago is now at its worst as the de facto government extended the curfew, closed all airports, set roadblocks and threatened to cut off electricity in the whole country.
The Brazilian ambassador flew off the Brazil, but Manuel Zelaya is still inside the Brazilian Embassy with his wife and youngest son, along with 300 people, including 12 children (according to the latest reports). Lights, water and telephones were cut off. Food is running out.
Mr Zelaya told Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur that interim authorities were cutting off all supplies to the embassy.
"I think they are going to employ a strategy of asphyxiating the embassy by surrounding it, cutting off the food supply, asphyxiating the people inside in order to demonstrate their force and power, and to try and humiliate the people in here who are really trying to find a solution, for dialogue at a national level," he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of supporters defied the curfew and stayed on the streets to show their support for the constitutional president. However, early in the morning today Security forces violently dispersed the crowd using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and allegedly firing 'live rounds' as well, although it was denied by the de facto deputy foreign minister.
Luz Patricia Mejía, president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, expressed concern over the illegal curfew and constitutional rights abuse, which in her words are "violating the International Right and the diplomatic relationships between the nations". She also remind the de facto government that embassies are "impenetrable".
An embassy is sovereign territory under International Law, and cannot be entered by the host country without permission.
teleSUR showed images of heavily armed Military Forces surrounding the Brazilian Embassy. They also placed sound amplifiers and blasted the compound by loudly playing the National Anthem to drive people "crazy" inside of the embassy.
"They're attacking the Brazilian embassy with loud noises to drive people crazy here, they're attacking the embassy with bombs", Zelaya said, according to El Libertador.
"I came here peacefully and unarmed and we have been received with bullets, I have offer them dialogue and they are answering with submachine-guns, throwing gas at the embassy to disperse the people, hurting [them] by shooting".
One image broadcast on the station showed a policewoman punching a handcuffed woman in the face.
The station also showed video of water cannons being used to scatter 'Mel' supporters and the ousted president's backers throwing rocks and other objects at police.
Zelaya told Radio Globo that people must now peacefully organize, and that whoever fights for democracy will be rewarded by the nation and history. "I put myself in their [de facto government's] shoes, and understand their terrible mistake by attacking us and the people violently, they never imagined the consequences".
José Miguel Insulza, the OAS Secretary General who was supposed to arrive today in Honduras, said he won't be able to travel due to the shutting of all four international airports.
On his part, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, told reporters he had nothing to do with Manuel Zelaya's return, but he supports him and hoped Honduras would reach a "negotiated and peaceful solution". Lula said on press conference that the golpistas should hand over their seat "to whom has the right to be in that place, which is the democratically elected president".
Manuel Zelaya returned yesterday to Honduras on a secret operation, after 86 days in exile.
Even with the nation in state of siege, thousands are still defying the authorities and organizing further demonstrations and protests.
Oscar Hendrix, a youth activist in San Pedro Sula, told Al Jazeera he and others were planning to march to the capital in defiance of the curfew.
"It's like an insurrection, you know. The people say they won't listen to the government so today is going to be a very important day," he said.
Radio Globo is interviewing people of the Resistance Movement, who are near the Brazilian embassy and have repeatedly accused Security Forces of violent detentions and beatings, but they refuse to leave.
People from different departments called the radio station and told them they too are participating in demonstrations and ignoring the decree. Others, who are "trapped" in their houses due to the curfew, have criticized the Security Forces harshly for not allowing them to go out to the streets to get food or medical attention.
Meanwhile, the president of the labour union, Luis Santos Madrid, told teleSUR he knew of 24 people who have been injured by the Security Forces, including one that was run over by a squad car. He also confirmed demonstrations are taking place nationwide, and that people all over Honduras have ignored Micheletti's orders to stay in their houses.
The Resistance Movement Against the Coup has recently posted a message on their website inviting all supporters who are in Tegucigalpa to gather at the National Autonomous University (UNAH). They also announced a new demonstration is going to take place tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, at 8 in the morning, in front of the National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazán.
Interim Government cornered
Moments ago, one of the Honduran presidential candidates, Porfirio Lobo, who backed the military coup and the de facto government, threatened to remove his party's support to Roberto Micheletti if he doesn't dialogue with the constitutional president.
Lobo, who is a candidate for the National Party (right wing PN), said his party would not support the interim government if it didn't show "flexibility" directed towards an open dialogue with Zelaya, according to El Tiempo.
Micheletti gave a press conference yesterday where he said the presence of Manuel Zelaya in the country did not change their "reality". "It's not clear why he has returned to Honduras now, only he knows, but I cannot come to another conclusion other than that he is here to hamper our upcoming elections due in November 29, the same way he and his followers have been doing it for the last weeks." He also asked the Brazilian Government to turn him over to Honduran authorities.
However, he changed his position drastically earlier today, when he gave an televised interview. "I make a call to the whole world: We are willing to hold a dialogue. We will establish commissions without the people that have been intervening before", Micheletti told the media.
Honduras' de facto leader, Roberto Micheletti, said on Tuesday he has no intention of confronting Brazil or entering its embassy where ousted President Manuel Zelaya has taken refuge to avoid arrest.
"We will do absolutely nothing to confront another brotherly nation. We we want them to understand that they should give him political asylum (in Brazil) or turn him over to Honduran authorities to be tried," Micheletti told Reuters.