Honduras Coup

Reflections of Fidel
A suicidal error
(Taken from CubaDebate)
IN my reflection written last Thursday night, June 25, I said: "We do
not know what will happen tonight or tomorrow in Honduras, but the brave
conduct of Zelaya will go down in history."
Two paragraphs before I noted: "What is happening there will be a test
for the OAS and for the current United States administration."
The prehistoric Inter-American institution had met the other day in
Washington and in a muted, lukewarm resolution, promised to immediately
take the pertinent actions to seek harmony between the warring parties.
In other words, negotiations between the coup plotters and the
constitutional president of Honduras.
The top military chief, still commanding the Honduran Armed Forces, was
making public statements in disagreement with the positions of the
president, while recognizing the latter’s authority merely in formal terms.
The coup plotters did not need anything else from the OAS. They didn’t
give a damn about the presence of a large number of international
observers who traveled to that country to vouchsafe a popular referendum
and to whom Zelaya spoke until late in the night. Before dawn today they
deployed 200 professional and well-trained soldiers to attack the
president’s residence. Roughly pushing aside the Honor Guard squadron,
they then kidnapped Zelaya, who was sleeping at that point, took him to
the air base, forcibly bundled him aboard an airplane and transported
him to an air base in Costa Rica.
At 8:30 a.m. we heard the news of the assault on the Presidential
residence and the kidnapping via Telesur. The president was unable to
attend the opening event of the referendum that was to take place this
Sunday. It was not known what they had done with him.
The official television channel was silenced. They wanted to prevent
premature broadcast of the treacherous action via Telesur and Cubavision
International
, which were reporting the events. For that reason, they
suspended all the retransmission centers and ended up by cutting off
electrical power throughout the country. The Congress and the higher
courts involved in the conspiracy had not yet published the decisions
that justified the plot. First they executed the indescribable military
coup and then they legalized it.
The people awoke with the deed consummated and began to react with
growing indignation. Zelaya’s whereabouts was unknown. Three hours
later, the popular reaction was such that women could be seen striking
soldiers, whose guns almost fell out their hands out of pure confusion
and nervousness. Initially, their movements resembled a strange combat
against phantoms; later they tried to block the Telesur cameras with
their hands, aiming their guns shakily at the reporters and at times,
when the people advanced, falling back. They sent in armoured transport
carriers with cannons and machine guns. The population argued fearlessly
with the crews; the popular reaction was amazing.
At around two in the afternoon, working in coordination with the coup
leaders, a domesticated majority in Congress deposed Zelaya, the
constitutional president of Honduras, and appointed a new head of state,
affirming to the world that the former had stepped down, and furnishing
a forged signature. A few minutes later, from an aircraft in Costa Rica,
Zelaya recounted everything that had happened and categorically refuted
the news of his resignation. The conspirators made themselves look
ridiculous before the world.
Many other things happened today. Cubavision dedicated itself totally to
unmasking the coup, informing our population all the time.
There were actions of a purely fascist nature which, while not
unexpected, still come as a shock.
Patricia Rodas, the foreign minister of Honduras, was the fundamental
target of the coup leaders. Another detachment was sent to her
residence. Brave and determined, she moved quickly, not losing a second
to denounce the coup by all means available. Our ambassador contacted
Patricia to find out what was going on, as did other ambassadors. At a
certain point, she asked the diplomatic representatives of Venezuela,
Nicaragua and Cuba to meet with her, given that she was being
relentlessly hunted down and needed diplomatic protection. Our
ambassador, who was authorized to offer maximum support to the
constitutional and legal minister from the outset, left to visit her at
her own residence.
When he was already in her house, the coup command sent in Major
Oceguera to detain her. They (the ambassadors) placed themselves in
front of the woman and stated that she was under diplomatic protection
and could only be moved in their company. Oceguera argued with them
respectfully. A few minutes later, 12 to 15 uniformed and hooded men
entered the house. The three ambassadors put their arms around Patricia;
the masked men, acting in a brutal manner, managed to separate the
ambassadors of Venezuela and Nicaragua; Hernández took her arm and
clasped it so strongly that the masked men had to drag them both toward
a van; they drove them to the airbase, where they managed to separate
them, and took Patricia off. As he (the Cuban ambassador) was detained
there, Bruno [Rodríguez, Cuban foreign minister], who was informed of
the kidnapping, called him on his cell phone; a masked man tried to grab
it from him and the Cuban ambassador, who had already been struck while
at Patricia’s house, yelled at him: "Don’t push me around, goddamn it!"
I don’t recall if the word he uttered was used at any time by Cervantes
but, doubtless, ambassador Juan Carlos Hernández has enriched our language.
After that they left him on a highway far from the embassy and before
abandoning him, said that if he talked, something worse might happen to
him. "Nothing is worse than death!" he replied with dignity, "and not
for that do I fear you." People living in the area helped him to get
back to the embassy, where he immediately communicated again with Bruno.
That coup high command cannot be negotiated with, they have to be made
to resign and other, younger officers who are not committed to the
oligarchy should take over the military command, or there will never be
a government "of the people, by the people and for the people" in Honduras.
The coup plotters, cornered and isolated, have no possible salvation if
the problem is confronted with determination.
By the afternoon, even Mrs. Clinton had declared that Zelaya is the only
president of Honduras, and the Honduran coup leaders can’t even breathe
without the support of the United States.
In his nightshirt up until a few hours ago, Zelaya will be acknowledged
by the world as the only constitutional president of Honduras.

Fidel Castro Ruz
June 28, 2009
6:14 p.m.
Translated by Granma International
– Reflections oF Fidel

Posted in Movement Building