Honduras' Dictator-for-a-Day Rails vs. Obama & Chávez, Declares Martial Law

By Al Giordano

Honduras' dictator-for-a-day Roberto Micheletti is already losing it in the face of unanimous international condemnation of his coup d'etat. This from the daily El Heraldo - one of the commercial media outlets still allowed to publish in Honduras, because it backs the coup - in Tegucigalpa:

"The new president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, said he's not afraid of international isolation after different countries and international organisms demonstrated their discontent with the expulsion of Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

"Micheletti, who a few hours ago was the Speaker of the House, said that neither US President Barack Obama nor Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez would decide what should be done in Honduras..."

It takes a special kind of moron to unite Obama and Chávez against him in the very week that the US and Venezuela reestablished diplomatic relations and active ambassadors.

In the same statement, demonstrating his grand commitment to democracy, justice and freedom, Dictator-for-a-Day Micheletti declared martial law ("toque de queda," ordering all Hondurans to remain in their homes and off the streets from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. tonight and tomorrow night).

More updates on the fast-breaking events in and surrounding Honduras - including news about mounting social protests against the coup regime - are available via the front page of Narco News. We'll keep translating and reporting until this dictator's day is done...

Update: Here's some interesting video from early this morning when military troops took the national palace and passersby in the street began to realize a coup was in progress:

You don't need to understand Spanish (and through much of the footage, the audio is too low to hear anyway) to grasp the courage of the photographers and rank-and-file citizens denouncing the troops to their faces. In one scene, a woman beats on every soldier that passes her on their way into the presidential palace. In another, people walk right up to military tanks and surround them.

I'm struck by the similarities in the streets of Honduras to images we've seen this month from the streets of Iran. It's hard to fathom how some folks have opposite reactions - sympathetic to one people, hostile to another, based on rigid ideologies - but what I see is the same human phenomenon in both places: people in rebellion, yearning to breathe free against authoritarian and illegitimate regimes.

Update II: What a difference seven years makes. Here's the AP headline and lede after the 2002 coup in Venezuela:

US Blames Chavez for His Own Ouster

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration, showing no remorse over the interruption of democratic rule in Venezuela, said President Hugo Chavez was responsible for his own ouster because of attempts to violently put down a demonstration.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the government "suppressed what was a peaceful demonstration of the people. ... It led very quickly to a combustible situation in which Chavez resigned."

This round, the US response, in a single day, has been to state that it will not recognize any Honduran president other than the elected one, Zelaya. In 2002, it took the Organization of American States various days to declare itself against the coup. Today it took OAS just hours. But it's something to behold that Washington was out ahead of OAS today in saying the same thing. The dynamics have changed in this hemisphere.



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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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