23 September, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs By COHA Staff, coordinated by Research Associate Shantel Beach and assisted by Andres Esteban Ochoa, Jorge Aguilar and Christina Esquivel
In another blow against the prestige of the de facto government, ousted President Manuel Zelaya’s unexpected return to Honduras has complicated matters for interim President Roberto Micheletti, who helped plan the seizure of the government on June 28. As public demonstrations suggest, a growing number of Hondurans now appear to be aligning in support of Zelaya. Several thousand of his supporters rallied at the Brazilian Embassy where Zelaya took refuge after arriving last night on Honduran soil. The interim government did not respond kindly to the public display of support for the ousted president, imposing a military curfew from 4 pm Monday to 6 pm Tuesday. El Heraldo, the Tegucigalpa daily, reported that 200 demonstrators were arrested after violence erupted as a result of confrontation between the protesters and the police. The Brazilian Embassy has also been cut off from water and electricity; food is scarce.
As violence and repression ensue in Honduras, recent events in Panama are reminiscent of Washington’s traditional approach to hemispheric policy, which in the past has been marked by lies and deceit. As the PANAMAX military exercises came to a close on September 22, it still remains unclear whether Honduran military units were present for these maneuvers, as was planned before the military-led coup. Although the twenty other participants in the PANAMAX joint maneuvers have refused to recognize the illegitimate interim government, the U.S., Honduras, and Panama have released conflicting information regarding whether or not the Honduran military was in attendance. If Honduras has taken part in or was designated as an affidavit observer to the games —as some evidence suggests—the U.S. as well as the other countries that condemned the coup will be exposed for their implicit collusion with the illegal government led by Roberto Micheletti.