Honduras Goes From Bad To Worse.
Reporters Without Borders has released a statement on the dire situation developing in Honduras:
“Reporters Without Borders said today that the last vestiges of independent news were under threat after the de facto government signed a decree yesterday banning “unauthorised” public meetings and giving itself the power to close media “damaging public order”
“Three months to the day after the 28 June 2009 coup, basic rights and public freedoms are just empty words in Honduras”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.
The coup government was trying to justify these steps in response to “calls to insurrection” from ousted leader Manuel Zelaya, who has called on his supporters to “march on the capital”.
“There is nothing now missing from the dictatorial arsenal of a government that took power by force and is deaf to the appeals of the international community”, the organisation said. “What little news there was outside of the control of the Micheletti administration is in danger of disappearing from one moment to the next, after three months of suspensions and constant intimidation of all media critical of the coup.”
The emergency decree, which should theoretically be approved by the Congress, is supposed to last for 45 days, but the organisation fears that the situation will degenerate into further repression and even greater threats to the safety of journalists. The director of Radio Progreso, the priest Ismael Moreno, said yesterday he had received death threats through texts sent to the mobile phones of radio staff, suggesting that a price had been put on his head.”
Update 1: AP has more:
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras’ coup-installed government silenced two key dissident broadcasters on Monday just hours after it suspended civil liberties to prevent an uprising by backers of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
Dozens of soldiers raided the offices of Radio Globo. Officials also shut down Channel 36 television station, leaving it broadcasting only a test pattern.”
Update 2: The Field details the restrictions on basic civil liberties in Honduras and the audacity of the coup leaders as they obstruct the OAS:
“…the Honduran coup regime detained six foreign diplomats from the Organization of American States (OAS) – two US officials, two Canadian, one Colombian and Chilean OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza – for six hours in the Toncontin International Airport, barring their entrance into Honduras, it has made public the following decree, which bans freedom of assembly, transit, the press and orders National Police and the Armed Forces to arrest and detain any person suspected of exercising those rights.”
Update 3: “…before a settlement had been reached.” Apparently some naive US diplomats believed that you could actually negotiate with the coup regime in Honduras, and by doing so reinstate the President, as anything else would be unacceptable.
Yet surely the coup plotter’s actions in attacking the Brazilian Embassy, suspending civil liberties and closing down much of the media gives lie to that notion?
Any negotiations by them were merely a delaying tactic and not genuine. Zelaya was perfectly within his rights to return to his own country and draw out the devious plotters.
US diplomats would be better spending their time criticising those who overthrew Zelaya, not the other way around.
Update 4: Understandably the Brazilian government will not be complying with an ultimatum, according to Reuters:
“PORLAMAR, Venezuela (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Sunday his nation would not comply with a demand from Honduras’ de facto government to decide the status of ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 10 days.
Lula, speaking to reporters during a summit in Venezuela, said international law protects Brazil’s embassy, where Zelaya has been staying since returning to Honduras earlier this month. He demanded an apology from Honduras’ de facto leader, Roberto Micheletti.”