Monday, June 29, 2009
Reports: Two Military Battalions Turn Against Honduras Coup Regime
Posted by Al Giordano - June 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm
Community Radio “Es Lo de Menos” was the first to report that the Fourth Infantry Battalion has rebelled from the military coup regime in Honduras. The radio station adds that “it seems” (“al parecer,” in the original Spanish) that the Tenth Infantry Battalion has also broken from the coup.
Rafael Alegria, leader of Via Campesina, the country’s largest social organization, one that has successfully blockaded the nation’s highways before to force government concessions, tells Alba TV:
“The popular resistance is rising up throughout the country. All the highways in the country are blockaded…. The Fourth Infantry Battallion… is no longer following the orders of Roberto Micheletti.”
Angel Alvarado of Honduras’ Popular Union Bloc tells Radio Mundial:
"Two infantry battalions of the Honduran Army have risen up against the illegitimate government of Roberto Micheletti in Honduras. They are the Fourth Infantry Battalion in the city of Tela and the Tenth Infantry Battalion in La Ceiba (the second largest city in Honduras), both located in the state of Atlántida."
(You can see Tela and La Ceiba on the map, above, along the country's northern coast.)
Meanwhile, defenders of the violent coup d’Etat now have to eat the fact that their favored regime has extended its wave of terror to the press corps, censoring all independent media in the country, including CNN and Telesur. Reuters reports:
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras has shut down television and radio stations since an army coup over the weekend, in a media blackout than has drawn condemnation from an international press freedom group.
Shortly after the Honduran military seized President Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica on Sunday, soldiers stormed a popular radio station and cut off local broadcasts of international television networks CNN en Espanol and Venezuelan-based Telesur, which is sponsored by leftist governments in South America.
A pro-Zelaya channel also was shut down.
The few television and radio stations still operating on Monday played tropical music or aired soap operas and cooking shows.
At the White House this afternoon, US President Obama reiterated his government’s non-recognition of the coup regime. According to the White House pool report by David Jackson of USA Today (obtained by Narco News via email):
Obama criticized the Honduras coup as "not legal," and said it would set a "terrible precedent" for the region. "We do not want to go back to a dark past," he said. "We always want to stand with democracy."
If Rafael Alegría - a serious man who gets serious results - says that the highways of the country are successfully blockaded, I tend to believe him. He likewise is not one to spread rumors about the Fourth Infantry Battalion without having solid information.
It seemed inevitable that once the cat is got of the bag regarding the total international rejection of the coup d'etat that military divisions would revolt and point their tanks in the opposite direction: toward the coup plotters above them. We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of a short-lived coup in Honduras.
Keep refreshing the front page of Narco News for more updates, sure to shortly come.
Update: TeleSur TV is reporting that its correspondents in Honduras, as well as those of Associated Press, have been arrested by the coup regime.
Update II: Here is a fuller text of US President Obama's statement at the aforementioned press conference:
President Zelaya was democratically elected. He had not yet completed his term. We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there. In that, we have joined all the countries in the region, including Colombia and the Organization of American States.
I think it's -- it would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition, rather than democratic elections.
The region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions in Central America and Latin America.
We don't want to go back to a dark past. The United States has not always stood as it should with some of these fledgling democracies. But over the last several years, I think both Republicans and Democrats in the United States have recognized that we always want to stand with democracy, even if the results don't always mean that the leaders of those countries are favorable toward the United States. And that is a tradition that we want to continue.
So we are very clear about the fact that President Zelaya is the democratically elected president. And we will work with the regional organizations, like OAS, and with other international institutions to see if we can resolve this in a peaceful way.