Toppling a Coup, Part V: The Resistance Cracks the Oligarchy

By Al Giordano

(Headlines from today's daily El Tiempo: "Police Repression in Choloma" and "Another Brutal Attack against TIEMPO.")

It’s hard to be a pro-coup newspaper when the regime you’re trying to prop up keeps attacking your own reporters.

Such is the evolving reality for the daily El Tiempo in San Pedro Sula, owned by one of the top families, the Rosenthals, some say the wealthiest in Honduras’ oligarchic pantheon. The Rosenthals also own TV Channel 11, Cablecolor TV network, and dozens of companies that sell insurance, construction, cement, coffee, sugar, bananas, cattle, cacao, food processing, real estate and alligator skin products.

The family’s prodigal son, Yani Rosenthal, had been a top staffer in the Zelaya administration but resigned in 2007 to pursue his own presidential campaign. When that didn’t gather steam, he backed the 2008 candidacy of Roberto Micheletti, now the “president” of the Honduras coup, in his failed bid to become the Liberal Party nominee. And for most of the first 49 days since the June 28 coup d’etat, the family newspaper – the dominant daily in its region - has been a more or less reliable ally of the coup mongers.

In the past week or so, though, a series of violent attacks by coup police and military against peaceful demonstrators - and the press that covers them - in the second-largest city of San Pedro Sula (The Field first pointed this out this dynamic on August 4) have apparently pricked the conscience of El Tiempo and its coverage has taken a 180-degree turn. This can be seen as a barometer of how the coup is losing support even among the highest echelons of the oligarchy.

It’s like the onion: As we discussed back on August 8, the support and/or silent acquiescence that keeps the Honduras coup regime in power is not monolithic and has rings that the civil resistance is designed to peel away. Through the anti-coup movement’s adherence to nonviolent struggle, it has now won a key battle for hearts and minds in the country’s second city region. The National Police and Armed Forces overplayed their violent hand and as a result of extending their brutality to members of the press that documented their abuses, the daily El Tiempo has lost patience with the regime.

Here are some photos from today’s El Tiempo and the captions underneath them, translated:

“The police pulled the photographer’s hair while they pushed him and yelled obscenities.”


“Journalist Gustavo Cardoza of Radio Progreso was also arrested and beaten.”

El Tiempo now reports:

The National Police aggression against the reporters of the daily El Tiempo was not limited, this time, to insults and nightstick beatings, but they also destroyed photographic material in clear abuse and violation of free speech and human rights…

The Security Secretary said that “in no moment did the National Police try to impede the work of the media…”

And yet a YouTube video posted by El Tiempo tells a truer story:

The headline of today’s El Tiempo is Police Repression in Choloma, and the story reports that the National Police riot yesterday against peaceful demonstrators along a key transit route from San Pedro Sula to the port of Cortez – a region that his home to many multinational sweatshops – came because the coup enforcers broke their word to the demonstrators:


“The demonstrators have an hour and a half to remove the stones from the highway and continue their peaceful march. The police are committed to provide security for the march during its entire route,” said (police spokesman) Espinoza Caballer to the media reporters present at 10:55 a.m.

However, the agreed-upon deadline was not honored and riot police backed by military soldiers send by the commander of the 105 Infantry Brigade , Colonel Edgardo Isaula, attacked the marchers at 11:25 a.m.

At 12:30 p.m. the police also expelled, by force, a group of demonstrators that had met in Choluma’s Central Park, in front of the police station, who were trying to obtain information about their wounded and arrested compañeros…

Here’s another photo and caption:

“The tear gas not only affected the protesters but also the dozens of families that reside alongside the boulevard. Many, with small children in their arms, had to run from their own homes.”

And another:

“Inside the Choluma police station, the wounded continued being beaten by the uniformed police.”


"The police action caused at least 35 arrests and six wounded who required emergency medical attention.”

El Tiempo’s coverage today also included editorials that now firmly place the newspaper against the coup d'etat, like this one:

The savage repression on Monday, August 3, in downtown San Pedro Sula turned out to be totally ineffective: beating and mistreating men and women who had demonstrated peacefully, as police have done since the day of the coup d’etat, didn’t convince anybody of the legitimacy of said coup nor did it deter the protests. To the contrary, many people who were undecided were convinced that the use of violence and force against the people is what comes from dictatorships born of violence…

Any attempt, however small, to reduce the economic benefits of the few families that dominate Honduras in order to distribute them to the majority, is considered taboo. Raising the salary of workers, lowering fuel taxes, offering free education, establishing bonuses for farmers, caring for the forests, eliminating private contracts with the state, those were the detonators of the coup d’etat. And when an attempt was made to reform our obsolete Constitution to democratize political relations and permit the people to participate in decision-making that effects the lives of all, they overstepped their boundaries.

A second editorial recognized that international sanctions against the coup regime are working as they hit economic interests where it hurts:

The presence of Honduras at the negotiating table for a Central American trade deal with Europe now depends on reestablishing Constitutional order in our country. Until that is done, the negotiations will continue but without Honduras’ participation.

That’s because all the countries of the European Union decided, individually and together, not to recognize the de facto regime that surged from the military coup on June 28, and pulled their ambassadors from Tegucigalpa.

At the same time, all bilateral and multilateral support from Europe for Honduras has been suspended while the breaking of the Constitutional order persists…

Honduras, isolated by the international community because of the de facto regime, has rapidly lost opportunities for continued international support which is indispensable…

The same occurs in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and with other international financial institutions, thanks to the suspension by the United States of bilateral support…

The signing of an agreement with the IMF is right now fundamental for our country to be able to survive the economic crisis that was already present before the military coup but which has become unmanageable because of the breaking of the Constitutional order and the consequent recrimination by the global community toward a spurious regime and usurper government.

As such, the political crisis, defined by a sharpening of state and media terrorism and repression, the constant violation of human rights and the dictatorial escalations against a growing national resistance to the de facto regime has also brought economic suffocation that is worsening inexorably.

What can be read into the texts and photographs of today’s El Tiempo?

First, as we discussed on August 8, support or acquiescence to the coup regime from the very oligarch interests that the coup needs to survive has cracked wide open. Second, such interests are far more guided by the pressures on their wallets than by political considerations. Third, the civil resistance’s adherence to nonviolent struggle and the coup regime’s brutality against it is turning hearts and minds against the coup.

The particular oligarch interest that owns El Tiempo is said by some to be the most powerful family in Honduras. It is a family that has, in recent years, allied first with President Manuel Zelaya and later with Roberto Micheletti, who now leads the coup d’etat. That it is now lining up against Micheletti and his Simian Council of golpistas brings a heraldic message to Honduras and the world:

The nonviolent civil resistance is working.

The layers of support and acquiescence for the coup are being successfully peeled away.

And its plotters are more isolated and alone every day that the resistance continues.

Update: In the comments section below, Observer makes a pretty strong case that El Tiempo was not previously a pro-coup newspaper, and documents it with links to previous editions.

Update II: Commenter Alexis Aguilar responds to Observer that El Tiempo could be more accurately described as shifting back and forth from day to day regarding the coup regime but that more recent coverage has taken a decidedly critical turn against the coup.



Checking into Narconews

Checking into Narconews before and after work feels like having a ringside seat to "toppling the coup".  And yes I know you outlined the steps to peeling the onion, but it's still astonishing to actually watch the process unfolding each day as I check in.

The second editorial you posted from El Tiempo is the first time I have heard the expression "media terrorism" and linking it with state repression.  While "media terrorism" might aptly describe Fox News, CNN's Lou Dobbs and others egging on the "tea-baggers" and anti-Obama birthers and "death panel" discussions on health care reform, it's still surprising to read the phrase.

As such, the political crisis, defined by a sharpening of state and media terrorism and repression, the constant violation of human rights and the dictatorial escalations against a growing national resistance to the de facto regime...

Continue adding pressure internationally!

It is great to see such strongly-worded condemnations coming from El Tiempo. It was on June 28 that soldiers went to the offices of El Tiempo and demanded that they stop relaying messages from Zelaya's nomad entourage so the military coup wasted no time (perhaps, at that time, with an implicit understanding with El Tiempo's owner) to go and set them straight about what the rules would be during the coup. But you can only hold people down so long -- journalists want to be journalists and while, in capitalist societies, power is REALLY concentrated at the top, that doesn't mean you can control people forever.

I like the "onion" analogy but another way to look at the situation is that it is a jigsaw puzzle. All over the jigsaw puzzle are different pieces and each one needs to be there and presenting a certain image in order for the whole to appear normal. Already, the "law & order, constitutional Honduras" jigsaw puzzle is missing a LOT of pieces. As the pieces continue to follow away, it will eventually be hard to see what image the whole jigsaw puzzle is supposed to be showing you.

I also noticed that during the recent protest in which the Popeye's was attacked, El Tiempo made sure to focus on the discipline of most of the movement with this headline: "Asi se protesta: En orden y en paz" ('So, they protest: in order and in peace').

However, I would add two things:

1) While this is encouraging news, El Tiempo has been publishing stories critical of the coup regime's repression of journalists for a while now and they've also done some important reporting that has made life hard for the coup regime (it comes to mind that they were sure to clarify that it was not just the military's decision to take Zelaya out of the country, as the state and the military pointed at each other when it became clear that this was an illegal move and is largely what makes this a coup). That leads me to my second point:

2) Internationals who care about what is happening in Honduras don't have to just "watch it" happening on NarcoNews or wherever else. This war isn't won and internationals CAN do something about this, every single day and make a difference. Email the AP, Reuters or another corporate press agency and ask them why they aren't doing more reporting about the coup atrocities. If you are on Facebook/Myspace/whatever, post about the coup there and let people know it is something you care about. Let Connie Mack and his dim-witted congressional followers know that there will be political consequences for their open support of this regime, as each photograph of repression will be tied to their endorsement of it. Post news about this to other political blogs you read. Organize a local solidarity protest (especially if there is a Honduran consulate in your city -- although, do your homework, most of the US consulates are officially supporting Zelaya and are remaining open as a resource to normal Hondurans who need visa or immigration help). Send messages of support via Honduras Indymedia or other Honduras-based news sources (or, even better, email them and ask them how to send them some money). And, if you are bilingual and can speak Spanish -- well, there's plenty to do. Go get a $10 international calling card and give the Honduran police, military and coup regime a piece of your mind. Believe me, a pro-coup corporation or federal government institution will be surprised to receive a call letting them know that the world hasn't forgotten about what's going on there. Throw up a website that supports the coup resistance. SEND A DONATION TO NARCONEWS FOR THIS CRITICAL JOURNALISM! (i've met al once or twice and know people who've gone to the school but i'm otherwise unaffiliated with narconews, fyi). And, hell, I don't know! Get creative and come up with your own ideas!

Keep the pressure on!


Micheletti Needs To Get On A Plane Now

And leave Honduras like Somoza dumped Nicaragua 30 years ago. The peaceful resistance can only take so much, if Micheletti abandons the opportunity to settle this crisis now while the resistance remains peaceful, and if he continues to use brutal fascist repression, eventually the powder keg will go off and barricades will start going up in the streets.

Interesting how Zelaya has now become a background figure, I was very disappointed by his comments yesterday confirming he has no immediate plans to return out of fear of "death threats."

El Tiempo

Well, this article certainly fits nicely into your storyline, but it all rests on the false premise that El Tiempo is a "pro-coup" newspaper. I've been following the events in Honduras pretty closely and I appreciate your coverage, but El Tiempo is clearly an anti-coup paper.

Start on the day of the coup. The June 28 paper's top story is "The day of truth has arrived." The first paragraph of that story blames the National Congress and others opposed to the "consulta" for the political crisis in the country. It calls Zelaya wanting a new constitution to reelect himself "rumours." It calls the referendum "very popular" and talks about how Micheletti and the 2009 candidates have all jumped on board the idea of a referendum, but just want it at a different time. Also on the front page: "Llorens: the military should obey the executive." The paper includes a political cartoon (p.14) with the message: "If someone decides to vote, leave them alone. If someone decides not to vote, leave them alone. Don't use violence to impose your ideas. If you want peace in Honduras this Sunday, start with yourself."

Moving on to June 29. The front page stories: "Named by the Congress, Roberto Micheletti, New President," "Ambassador Hugo Llorens: The only president the U.S. recognizes in Honduras is President Manuel Zelaya," "Supreme Court says military defended rule of law," "OAS condemns coup and calls for unconditional return of Zelaya," "Jose Alfredo Saavedra becomes head of legislature," "Mel: This was a coup, first lady fears for life," "Military intimidates Channel 11 and El Tiempo." On to the second page, a story that says "a day of rest was interrupted by a coup executed by the armed forces with the Judicial branch, legislature, public ministry, and the majority of the media." The story notes that the military cut off telephone lines, power, and radio and tv broadcasts. There is also a story about the falsified signature on Zelaya's supposed resignation and the curfew/suspension of constitutional rights." Other stories in the June 29 paper include "There were demonstrations in support of Manuel Zelaya," "They militarize the airport," "They supported the referendum," "Some hurt in La Ceiba." The editorial was completely blacked out with a single line of text, "In defense of the constitution and the freedom of expression in Honduras"

And it continues on June 30. The editorial calls Zelaya's removal a coup (golpe de estado). It refers to Zelaya as "President Zelaya." It calls out the Honduran media for ignoring its "informative obligations," most due to collusion, the rest due to coercion. It goes on to say that Honduras has never suffered such a profound and massive violation of freedom of expression.

Why do you believe El Tiempo is a "pro-coup" newspaper? Simply because it is run by a rich family? I think most large newspapers anywhere are run by rich and powerful individuals. Because Yani Rosenthal backed Micheletti in the primaries? Well, so did Mel Zelaya.

Anyway, keep up the good work, but I think you're a little off target on this one.


The Onion is Peeling and I Got No Tears

This examination of the peeling onion was fantastic. 

Ryan's suggestions should be taken to heart.  The US media spends time focusing on the Iranian government's actions against its citizens.  The US corporate-owned media should do the same for the brave activists in Honduras.

They do put us to shame.

Just think!  If hundreds  of thousands of US citizens hit the street to protest the billions of bucks handed over to the financial oligarchs and their minions.  Or they packed the healthcare forums and shouted down the rightwing designer mobs.

We have no excuse.  In Honduras, the activists face extreme police repression, deathsquads, constant media distortions, corruption of the law, torture and unwarranted physical attacks.

The discomfort we face is, so far, laughable in comparison.

I know our fellow Hondurans will peel more of the onion...and I still won't find tears in my eyes.

Be aware of the editorial change in pro-coup media

Late this week, Cholusatsur and Radio Globo announced that Micheletti held a meeting in the presidential palace with all the pro-coup news outlets where he gave the editorila line to follow as of this saturday onwards, some of them are:

1. Changing the phrase "political crisis" for "disagreement between two sector because of the presidental succession". (Clearly trying to detach from the crisis)

2. Suppress the term "polarization".

3. Imply that Insulza has death threats in Honduras, blaming it on Venezuela and mentioning shapshooters and thigs like that so it delays OAS' visit.

Painful but encouraging

Al and Friends...


It is very painful for me to see people beaten, injured and abused this way. I find encouragement in the hope that all of this will come to an end soon.


(We)Swiss supporters of the safe return of the Honduran people from the totalitarian and repressive golpista captivity continue to do what is within our modest means.


 Fortunately Switzerland's authorities have withdrawn our good offices, diplomatic recognition, and economic cooperation completely from the reach of the Tegucigalpa junta.


Suspected or indicted Honduran criminals who attempt to flee to Switzerland with "their" assets will face seizure and the return of national property (to Honduras) the way the Marcos regime of the Philippines, the Duvaliers of Haiti, and other pirates have been dealt with by Swiss (and International)courts and laws in the past.


 I hope that the United States will quickly fall into step, as well. That is visibly not the case at this moment.


 As a former (disability-retired) military officer (U.S.M.C.) I think that the armed bullies of Tegucigalpa's illegal golpo de estado should be labeled as cowards for facing their unarmed fellow citizens who demonstrate peacefully with arms and violence.


Their military and police uniforms have become a sham that would shame clowns in a circus....Those who "trained" them should be ashamed even more...


Falimenderit, Brian

Connie Mack wants a lesson on the U.S. Constitution

From Rep. Connie Mack's official website:

(see bolded text, 2nd par.)

WASHINGTON – Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), the Ranking Republican of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today released a report summarizing his recent Congressional Delegation trip to Honduras.

Mack led a delegation to Honduras the weekend of July 25-26, 2009 to see firsthand what the situation in the country was and to determine what happened in the events leading to former President Manuel Zelaya’s removal on June 28, 2009. During the trip, Mack met with Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, Members of the Supreme Court, Members of the Honduran National Congress, human rights organizations, American and Honduran business leaders, and the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras.

The full text of Mack’s report is printed below.



El Tiempo: anti or pro-coup?

I have also been following the situation in Honduras closely and I've read both pro and anti-coup news items and editorials in El Tiempo.  I agree with Al that the paper seems to be taking a more anti-coup stand now but that hasn't always been so.  Throughout the crisis I haven't been able to place El Tiempo clearly in either camp since it seems to go back and forth unsure of itself.  Here's an example of their mixed coverage: a recent story titled "Demonstrators 'resist' conducting peaceful marches," a play on words on the Resistance Front.

The article emphasizes "acts of vandalism" by "masked" vandals and says the demonstrations are organized by union leaders trying to restore Zelaya to power--a gross oversimplification of the movement. So, I wouldn't go as far as Observer saying that "El Tiempo is clearly an anti-coup paper."  Maybe now that its owners are beginning to feel the economic pinch of the coup and its own reporters are being beaten, it will finally, unequivocally, side with the Resistance.

@ Mark Morris

I read thru what the Ambassador said to the Republican 'fact-finding' mission. He sticks to Obama's line more or less, but it seems grudgingly so.

<<During the meeting, the Ambassador’s staff recounted how aggressive Mr. Zelaya’s actions had been in the past and how he had broken several laws before his removal on June 28, 2009. In response, Ranking Member Mack stressed that although Mr. Zelaya was a difficult man, the focus should not be on his personality but instead on maintaining the rule of law.>>

This indicates to me that the Ambassador can not be trusted as far as one can spit, and that Mack is clearly albeit ineptly trying to get cover for his actions undermining the Presidents policy.

Several other sections struck me as barely understandable, e.g.:
<<One claim made by a member of the Ambassador’s team was that the decision by the Honduran military to remove Mr. Zelaya from the country was purely due to personal friendship between a general and Mr. Zelaya, and not for any other reason. >>

Does this mean otherwise they would have him shot?

Also it is rather rich, what Congressman Connie Mack (Republ., FL-14) had to say about meeting Micheletti. The ambassador told him it was against Obama's stated policy of no contact with the regime, And Mack ignored that saying he needed to hear all sides of the conflict. Well he made no attempt to talk to Zelaya! Or anybody from the National Front!

Also, he said something about 'Mothers in white shirts' who told him that they can protest peacefully and do not feel threatened by the regime. Sounds like a pro-coup organization to me. Anybody knows about them?

<<Shortly after meeting with business leaders, the CODEL met with Honduran civil society, specifically, mothers of the white shirt “marchas.” The civil society leaders reported to the Congressmen the progress they were making in demonstrating peacefully throughout the streets of Honduras. The group was formed by women who called for progress in Honduras, and had organized several peaceful demonstrations across the country. The group informed Ranking Member Mack that they felt safe in the streets of Tegucigalpa and that they did not feel threatened by the military or the current state of affairs. The group also said that life was normal in the streets of Tegucigalpa.>>



"At the conclusion of the

"At the conclusion of the meeting, Ranking Member Mack and Congressman Bilbray asked that the officers relate back to the troops the appreciation of the American people for their hard work in defending freedom."

We thought that Iran Contra was the low point of US policy. This is very interesting yes.

Connie Mack

Connie Mack is a dangerous imbicile in high public office. He was groomed for his present "office" by an oligarchy that spoon-feeds and pampers its (hereditary) poster children.

I hope that voter awareness will be a future primary objective of field-hands and other social progressives in places like Florida where this sort of public misfortune ("Connie Mack") continues to damage democracy....and represent (s) a threat to the common good, as well as to Florida's public image around the planet.

La Tribuna regularly runs commentary by anti-golpista Orellana

I've actually found Tiempo to be very helpful as a source throught the entire coup period.  Sure, not all the content is helpful, and some stuff sounds steered with a heavy hand.

But it was on the front page of Tiempo that I first encountered Angel Edmundo Orellana Mercado's argument, as the just-resigned Defense Minister, long-elected legislator, Administrative Law judge, appellate magistrate, and high level functionary for decades, that the courts opposing Zelaya's encuesta were wrong on the law and wrong on the Constitution, and that the legislature had acted contrary to and against the Constitution in overthrowing Zelaya.

Now, La Tribuna is regularly carrying columns by him (Edmundo Orellana) specifically arguing against the legal and political and moral arguments of the golpistas.

To be honest, he has acted so decently that maybe he would be a good candidate to follow Zelaya in the elections.  I actually think he respects the prospect of building up Honduras' democratic institutions beyond being a 'thin veneer' for the oligarchy-connected military rule.

Here he is quoted in the New York Times, miraculously enough:

Edmundo Orellana, the former Honduran attorney general who was the first to try to prosecute human rights crimes, said it was “absurd” that Mr. Joya remained free.

Billy Joya is proof that civilian rule has been a cruel hoax on the Honduran people,” Mr. Orellana said. “He shows that ignorance and complicity still reign inside our courts, especially when it comes to the armed forces.”

And here he is reacting to the Honduran generals' appearance on Honduran television, in which they bragged how they were saving both Honduras and the USA from 'socialism', also in the New York Times:

Edmundo Orellana, who was defense minister under Mr. Zelaya, cautioned against viewing the military as victims. He said he worried that the generals’ appearance on Tuesday signaled that the military, emboldened by its move against Mr. Zelaya, had decided to take more of a leading role in a government that had no legal international standing and only tenuous control of its institutions at home.

As the crisis continues, the government’s most important offices and public hospitals are under military guard. The military is posted at checkpoints along highways across the country. And it has been deployed to help the police manage the pro-Zelaya protests that have disrupted daily life in this country.

“They are the cornerstone of the government,” Mr. Orellana said of the military. “Without their support the whole thing collapses, and Micheletti knows it.”

I'm not pretending to know much about him. 

But he has expressed and has been standing for a basic, accountable and institutional decency and concern for democracy that I haven't heard from any other high level Honduran officials, or U.S. officials for that matter.

And I think it's significance that his voice is still allowed to be heard, even from within the pages of La Tribuna.

Unknown actors vandalizing facilities relating to El Heraldo

Via Mexican liberal-left daily La Jornada:

Tegucigalpa, 15 de agosto. Sujetos no identificados lanzaron en la madrugada de este sábado cuatro bombas incendiarias contra instalaciones del periódico El Heraldo, aliado del gobierno de facto de Honduras, al tiempo que el matutino El Tiempo, el único que denuncia el rompimiento del orden constitucional con el golpe de Estado del 28 de junio, informó hoy que uno de sus reporteros gráficos fue agredido la víspera por miembros de la Policía Nacional.

Or, roughly:

Tegucigalpa, 15 August:  Unidentified subjects in the early morning hours launched four incendiary bombs against installations of the newspaper El Heraldo, allies of the de facto government of Honduras, at the same time that the morning newspaper El Tiempo, the only newspaaper to denounce the break in Constitutional order caused by the 28 June coup d'Etat, said today that one of its photographers was assaulted the preceding day by members of the National Police.

The 2nd in command at El Heraldo blamed the membership of Frente de Resistencia contra el Golpe de Estado.  Other attacks against La Tribuna were also mentioned.

AP: 'Hopefully the U.S. ambassador doesn't come back'

Associated Press:

Micheletti voiced his own anger over Washington's stance on the coup, saying he hoped that U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens would not return to Honduras from a trip abroad. The U.S. Embassy has said Llorens left Honduras temporarily for personal reasons and has not been withdrawn from his post.

"I understand he is on vacation, so I hope he doesn't come back," Micheletti said Saturday during a meeting with more than 3,000 army reservists in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

I'm starting to think these guys are dumber than dirt.

The entire quote, as quoted in Tiempo, is that “parece que se fue de vacaciones, según tengo entendido, pero replegaron el asta y su bandera en la Embajada, así que ojalá y no vuelva”, or, "it looks like he went on vacation, the way I understand it, but they carried the flag and flagpole back inside the Embassy, so hopefully he won't return."

El Tiempo: ni chichi ni limonada

As Alexis Aguilar notes above, Tiempo has been all over the map with respect to the coup and the resistance to it.  But in general, their coverage has been far less enthusiastically pro-coup than the other big papers from the beginning. (See the front page of their first edition after Zelaya's forced expulsion here, when the real golpistas and their supporters were all busily denying that there had been a coup, simply a "democratic transition".)



Tiempo coverage could be v helpful to press US media & gov

My previous comment wasn't meant to dampen the good news of Tiempo's recent coverage.

For one very important thing, it will be very helpful in getting across the reality of media suppression and intimidation (which spark interest and concern in U.S. media people far beyond anything that might happen to demonstrators, even if some of those demonstrators are members of Congress or presidential candidates).

For another, it will make it harder for the U.S. government to remain silent about the coup regime's abuses and human rights violations, as they have for the last six weeks. (In connection with that, and in light of Amb. Llorens' weaselly deceptions about State Department reporting on these abuses, isn't it remarkably convenient that the Ambassador's vacation is timed perfectly for him to be gone during the visit to Honduras of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's delegation?)

Gracias, Señor Orellana -and Ambassador Llorens, too

 I will not go so far (this time) as to thank Señor Micheletti for being an idiot-although his capacity as a "statesman" shows great potential for bringing down the roofing upon the golpistas.

Señor Orellano merits my gratitude for asking why Billy Joya is a member of the illegal (Micheletti) junta (and not rotting in a maximum security prison?)

This points to the integrity of Orellano and other jurists "de l'ancien regime," that can prove as constructive to a new democratic Honduras, as the Unions and Cooperatives will.

 Rebuilding Honduras (post-Golpista consolidation and reconstruction), may well be the most important and decisive stages of the peaceful overthrow of the piratical golpista takeover. 

The reconstruction of a nation and the viability of  its institutions is something that is not yet anywhere near completion in places like Serbia, the Kossovë, Chechenya, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.

In several of those locations the "desired objectives" appear to be lost well in advance. There is no hope because there is no desire for a common understanding in the interest  of the common good. 

Organization and discipline are essential for the swell of grass roots unity in civil disobedience, dissent, strikes, road blocks, and peaceful demonstrations-as the onion is peeled.

 But how much of the onion will be recycled into our (new) tortilla?

 Albanians regularly ask "How shall we bake our bread? With what flour?"

It will take more organization and discipline to make that tortilla, than it did to toss the old stale crumbs to the pidgeons....

Here I tip my hat to Ambassador Llorens and his convenient "vacation." Whatever the motivation-his presence in Tegucigalpa was as obscene as that of "Connie Mack's." 

(Again I struggle not to thank Señor Micheletti...Not yet, anyway).

The U.S. Ambassador was the last to leave.....May he be the last to return when the work of rebuilding begins!

 Honduras will need institutions that serve Hondurans, are capable of sanctioning the Billy Joyas, and cleansing the public arena of blackmailers, swindlers, and free-market pirates....

Toppling a Coup, Part V


May I just say that the combination of this excellent article and the remarkably well-informed and civil comments it elicited make for the best single item I have read so far about the coup in Honduras. (What a contrast with the orgy of ignorance and ideological excess to be found in the most recent Wall Street Journal assault on the subject.) Congratulations.


@ Sophie


White shirt mothers are a civil organization that came into existance as a reaction agaisnt the "cuarta urna" (thus new constitutional proposal). The most representatives groups are two: Union Civica Democratica (UCD) and Generacion X Cambio (GXC).

UCD organizers are the wives of the National Party leaders and some the Liberal Party. Perhaps, the most notorious case is Arminda Lopez de Contreras who is the wife of Carlos Lopez Contreras, defacto minister of foreign relations!

GXC are the children of the organization above!

We (against the coup) call the UCD dianosaurs and GXC the babysaours! Since the children are just an extension of their parents without any new ideas.

They attacked Zelaya with a huge and expensive campaing to discret him and his proposal. Given that a judge declared the nonbidding referendum illegal, the took the time and money to carry the message! but, I can not deny that Zelaya spent a lot of money too, promoting the nonbidding referendum.

Look at these tv commercial that were aired in national tv before June 28: What we would call, media terrorism!

Both of organizations claim to be representatives of whole of civil society, which is not true because they represent only a segment of society. Also, a factor that should be taken into acount for their relative success to create the condition to perform the coup is because catholic and protestant leaders, military reserves and retired official (the ones of the 80's) and the bussines sector approved their actions.

Also, they were able to march the days after the coup because they were protected by the military all the time. The Resistance Front has not had that privilage but the opposite, the pictures show it.

Also, in the lastest marches against the coup, people ask eachother wether white shirt marchers got tired already?

Al documents in a previous post an incident in Olancho regarding them. Note: they are called "los perfumados" as well!

I hope this gives you a relative background of these organizations.

THE FIELD: Al Giordano Reports Honduras (Not America)

OT--Your Honduran reporting is, I know, excellent, but what ever happened to reporting on US events, specifically, on domestic issues that are seriously affecting American lives, i.e., the recent meltdown of Obama's caving in on the Health Care reform and the Public Option that will most likely not be included in the final health bill? I think your insights on this specific issue would be a very interesting read for not just me but for a lot of others who I’d imagine are just as confused and upset as I am on this recent and most unfortunate event. (Your take on this, as I’m quite sure, would drive up your web traffic tremendously. US events these days are sizzling hot! But, I don’t need to tell you that!)

I’ve been checking in from time to time to see if you’ve changed your format back to more US related news for quite some time, but it looks like your MO as changed permanently. If that is the case, why the big change? I’ve always enjoyed your insights and interpretations on various US related events, particularly domestic issues.

If you are reporting US events on a different web page, however, could you please include it in your response? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

@ Hector

Thanks for explaining. It makes sense that the white shirt mothers would be a pro coup organization. This Republican congressman really has no shame. I am reminded of the old saying by Rosa Luxemburg "freedom is always the freedom of those with a different opinion (from my own)".

OT: You carry the name of a great patriot:-)

@ Mike

Mike, Al has said repeatedly that he will focus on Honduras for now. It is his area of expertise, so it is a very sensible choice. For health care, you can listen to Howard Dean, who explained the strategy very nicely this Sunday, see e.g. this dkos diary:


America is more than the U.S.

@Mike: Please make an effort to avoid saying 'America' when you mean the United States, at least here.

Readers whose first encounter with Al was in 2008 have only a partial view of his work and who he is. 

There are a lot of other people writing about U.S. health care reform now, including many who will explain and defend Pres. Obama's role and reassure you about how meaningful and satisfying the result will be (I assume that's what you're looking for). 

There are very few people writing in English about the Honduran situation, and even fewer with Al's experience, his grasp of the role of the popular movement and the regional and hemispheric history in which this episode is situated, and his contacts in the country.

The suggestion that he should post on the health care fight in order to drive up his web traffic shows a lack of understanding of Al's overall reason for blogging and of what authentic journalism is all about.  There are things to learn here that can  help you achieve a more democratic U.S. 

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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