Honduras smolders as Zelaya´s return nears

(Saturday) The day started with the proclamation from right wing media that children and elderly people shouldn’t participate in the planned peaceful protests today because police expect terrorist groups to make attempts to explode bridges and that confrontations are likely with police. They also announced that they have "detected" the presence of foreigners and that they will be apprehended and prosecuted (without any mention of what delete would be the pretext for our detention). These messages were accompanied by some anti-Chavez propaganda prepared in Washington which cut and paste words and phrases to create all kinds of collages for imperialist propaganda. These clips lightened the tone reminding me of the ridiculousness of the majority of what corporate media comes up with under pressure.

So as the crowd gathered there was a sense of anticipation. There had also been rumors that today would be the day that Manuel Zelaya would return to the country, a likely catalyst for "a blood bath," according to the right. Around 5000 people came together in the Northern exit of the capital Tegucigalpa closing access for all traffic heading north in Central America, the southern exist was also blocked by supporters of Mel Zelayas Liberal Party among with a number of other major roads across the country.

As the day unfolded it was much like recent days where the police and military showed its presence but then promptly relaxed and could be seen enjoying the afro style dancing and lining up to buy food at the shops together with protestors. The biggest event of the day was when it was announced that President Zelaya is in Honduras and then he spoke on the phone to confirm that he wasn’t in the country yet but in the next few days local and international actions must remove the de facto government from power. The call was cut short but it animated the crowd which at times seems worn down from 19 days of protest in sun and rain.

It was just announced on the news that the curfew would be reinstalled tonight. This is most likely a response to the increased resistance which has been called for today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) which plans to maintain the road blockades overnight and indefinitely until the President returns. It could be a pretext for increased repressions if protestors choose to ignore the rule of a fascist state which has no democratic mandate to govern. Article 3 of the 1982 constitution states the right to insurrection under such circumstances.

A sign of the strain being placed on this corporate backed leadership was Dictator Micheletti’s announcement that he is willing to leave his position (because of his unpopularity) but only if President Zelaya doesn’t come back to the country. The business news continues to announce that President Zelaya will be trialed for a number of crimes he committed before he was removed from the country by military force. He has stated that if he committed crimes he should have been arrested not deported and that he should have been allowed to land when he attempted to return to the country 11 days ago.

Other events which are shaping the future of Honduras include the announcement that no cargo boats will enter Honduran ports while the current government is in place and that the Honduran budget for next year is almost non-existent even when foreign aid is included. It has also been reported that Micheletti may face arrest if he goes to Costa Rica for the next round of negotiations planned for this Saturday. President Zelaya has stated that he will return to Honduras following these negotiations. (Also yesterday 3 women were beaten by police in a peaceful protest and one woman had the lives of hear children threatened by police.)

The future is still unclear in Honduras but business interests appear to be in danger. The intelligence backing the coup from the US remains in little doubt but without outright financial support to prop up the increasingly isolated regime its demise seems more likely each day.

The guns waving and dripping blood we passed while returning to our hotel this afternoon was another reminder of what is at stake for Honduras and Latin America. More poverty, desperation and black market crime while a few get rich or a new Bolivarian path to diginity. The battle continues to be fought.

Zelaya in Cuba, Fidel the cowboy!

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