Newsflash: Honduras General Live on Radio Globo, Wants San José Accord Signed
By Al Giordano
(10 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. in Tegucigalpa.)
It's a weird moment on the independent radio of Honduras. The radio announcer is raking coup general Romeo Vaquez Velazquez over the coals - asking about the curfew, the snipers, the loss of basic rights - and the general stays on the line denying everything but completely at the announcer's mercy.
The general keeps saying over and over again that the coup regime should sign the San José Accords - restoring President Zelaya to power but with weakened powers - and that the military will comply with them. (But neither the coup regime nor the legitimate elected government have signed said accord... the whole context of the interview is strange, as if the general is racing toward the EXIT sign in the coup building.)
And this is on the same radio station that the military shut down in the first days of the coup.
Update 10:31 p.m. ET, 8:31 p.m. Tegucigalpa: Now doña Xiomara Zelaya, the First Lady of Honduras, is live on the radio via telephone grilling the general with the radio announcer...
10:56 p.m. ET, 8:56 p..m. Tegucigalpa:
Xiomara Zelaya (to General Vasquez): “In the first place, your troops came in shooting… second, no arrest or search warrant was presented… it was 6:15 in the morning… later you said that an arrest and search warrant had been presented, but we, as a family, know it’s not true… You violated all the rights of the President… I would like to say to the General with all due respect… what security do we have? The eyes of the people, especially those trying to get the border, want to know what is happening… We want to meet with our husband, our father, our son, who we have missed for so many days… my question is ‘what is happening? Why don’t you let us through?’ You left the family of Manuel Zelaya blocked on the highway….”
Vasquez responds by passing the buck, “The Army is only in support of the National Police,” blaming it all on the police… Offers a helicopter to transport the Zelaya family to Nicaragua… “This is not personal…”
Radio Announcer, by the name of Eduardo (to General Vasquez): “You remember that this radio was invaded by soldiers… what guarantees of safety do you have for us?”
Vasquez: “We have pain in our heart… We are ready to dialogue… And we the Honduran people can end up united….”
Xiomara: “Yes, agreements are necessary. And the military has to stop repressing the people… They’re offering us a helicopter but I fear, sincerely, what could happen to our lives in a helicopter of the Armed Forces… May our family be reunited, not to stay in Nicaragua… and for our security to be guaranteed also to be with the Honduran people in this struggle….”
The General stays on the line, talking nervously but not responding directly to the questions, claiming that the Armed Forces only follows orders and is not responsible for anything… the radio announcer bids the general and the First Lady goodnight at four minutes before the hour…
11:04 p.m. ET, 9:04 p.m. in Tegucigalpa: The coup regime just interrupted Radio Globo and all national media with a "cadena nacional" announcing that the military curfew will be in effect in the state of El Paraiso and throughout the border region "from six a.m. to six p.m." (That's in addition to the curfew already in place for the other twelve hours of tonight and tomorrow.)
11:29 p.m. ET, 9:29 p.m. in Tegucigalpa: Wow. Radio Globo is the place to be listening to tonight! Former Honduran Supreme Court Justice Hernan Silva Baltonado - a man who was fired by Zelaya from his position at the Government Property Institute - just called into the station and proposed Xiomara Zelaya as presidential candidate in the November 29 elections, predicting she would win by a landslide...