Honduran accord fails as
Right-wing maneuvers to prevent Zelaya’s restoration
Published Nov 13, 2009 8:15 PM
Nov. 9—”With or without Mel [Zelaya] there are no elections and
who goes forward is the Resistance. Let’s go into the neighborhoods. ...
Our only way out is the Resistance because together, we will never be defeated.
My struggle began in 1954 and now we can talk and say that we are
revolutionaries. ... We can now send to hell this Constitution that does not
serve us. Until victory comrades, do not dismay, let us go forward now or
never! Until the final victory!”
Carlos H. Reyes meets with the U.S. Delegation
of Labor, Community and Clergy
with the Honduran Resistance in October.
Photo : Danilo Lachpel
Dionisia Sanchez, the Grandmother of the Resistance and example of
Honduran people’s fierce will to struggle, said these words on Nov. 9,
after the Resistance met and decided not to participate in the general
elections of Nov. 29, even if President Manuel Zelaya was reinstated to
At the time this article is being written, no resolution to the dangerous
crisis in Honduras has been attained. The illegal usurper government of Roberto
Micheletti continues holding on to power at all costs—in spite of having
signed, on Oct. 30, the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, which would have restored
the legitimate president, Zelaya, to office before the elections.
Micheletti unilaterally announced on Nov. 5 the formation of a
“Government of Reconciliation” presided over by Micheletti, and
without Zelaya. This government body was proposed by the accord as a unitary
government that would have included representatives from both Zelaya and the
golpistas (coup plotters). After this action, President Zelaya publicly
announced the termination of the accord and the end of any possibility of
dialogue with the de facto government.
Micheletti made his announcement even before the National Congress decided on
the reinstitution of Zelaya. Loyal to the golpistas, the congress had delayed
the voting, with many excuses, in an obvious maneuver to stall the return of
Zelaya to power. These underhanded actions were even witnessed by the
“Verification Commission” present in Tegucigalpa, a formation
mandated by the accord that would have had the duty of ensuring that the accord
was carried out.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was part of that commission.
Reaction of the Resistance
The Resistance, which for the last few days has been demonstrating daily in
front of the National Congress, met to decide its position on the elections.
They issued a communiqué on Nov. 9 stating that they reject the electoral
process and that “participation in it would give legitimacy to the
golpista regime or its successor who would fraudulently take office on Jan. 27,
They refuse to participate even if President Zelaya is reinstated to office
because “20 days or less give little time to dislodge the electoral fraud
that was concocted to assure that a representative of the golpista oligarchy is
installed to continue their antidemocratic and repressive project.”
They also charge the United States with complicity with the golpistas. At the
same time, the Resistance reaffirmed their continued struggle to reinstate
Zelaya and for a new constitution.
The independent candidate for president on behalf of the Resistance, Carlos H.
Reyes, withdrew from the race for the same reasons.
What is behind the elections?
It is telling that immediately after the signing of the accord and before any
substantial progress, both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her
envoy, Thomas Shannon, hailed the treaty as a done deal. Hugo Llorens, U.S.
ambassador in Tegucigalpa, also immediately called for the international
recognition of the Nov. 29 elections. To this date, the U.S. is almost
completely isolated on this position.
Why such a rush? What is Washington’s interest?
There are several U.S. lobby firms that work on behalf of the Micheletti
government, the Honduran Association of Maquiladores and the Latin American
Business Council, Honduras Chapter—representing, in the end, the
financial and geopolitical interests of the United States. Among these firms
are Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates; The Corman Group; Orrick,
Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; and Visión Américas. Lanny Davis,
former legal advisor to Bill Clinton, and Roger Noriega, former U.S. assistant
secretary of state for western hemispheric affairs, work in some of these
Besides these firms, there is a very powerful “non-governmental”
agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Its website describes it as
“an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping
lead the fight against global poverty. Created by the U.S. Congress in January
2004 with strong bipartisan support, MCC is changing the conversation on how
best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies,
country ownership, and results.”
It is said in many circles in Honduras that the U.S. has a preferred candidate,
Elvin Santos. Santos was Liberal Party vice-president under Zelaya but resigned
last December in order to run for the presidency. He opposed Zelaya’s
call for a Constitutional Assembly.
Santos is also from the oligarchy, a construction engineer whose family owns
one of the largest construction companies in the country, Santos y
Compañía. This company signed a $7.5 million contract with MCC (part
of a $215-million MCC contract with Honduras) to improve transportation.
Specifically, the contract was for the construction of Highway CA-5 that links
Tegucigalpa with San Pedro Sula, the country’s main industrial area, and
with Puerto Cortes on the northern Caribbean coast, the largest and only
deepwater port in Central America. Highway CA-5 also connects in the south with
the Port of Cutuco, on El Salvador’s Pacific coast.
This highway is part of the Atlantic Corridor of the International Network of
Mesoamerican Highways, which is the transportation aspect of the Plan Puebla
Panama. The plan is yet another attempt by the U.S. to steal the resources of
the people in Central America, as well as Mexico and Colombia. It is presented
as an integration project, but the purpose is to facilitate transportation
through the area, from Mexico to Colombia, of U.S. products and merchandise
assembled or made in the area, particularly in the infamous maquiladoras.
It’s a funnel to extract the wealth from Latin America toward the
Who is the chair of the MCC? None other than Hillary Clinton. Also on the MCC
board are Timothy F. Geithner, U.S. secretary of the treasury and vice-chair of
the MCC board, and Alonzo L. Fulgham, acting U.S. Agency for International
It is clear that the United States, by accepting the results of the elections
beforehand, wants to guarantee the presence in the Honduras government of a
representative of the pro-U.S. oligarchy that is invested in the capitalist
exploitation of the masses. Even if Santos does not win, the other golpista
candidates are loyal to the same oligarchy.
Carlos H. Reyes explains need for a new constitution
The tremendous power of the entrepreneurial sector in Honduras was explained by
Carlos H. Reyes during a long and enlightening conversation while this writer
was in Honduras in October with the U.S. Delegation of Labor, Community and
Clergy in Solidarity with the Honduran Resistance. Reyes is the president of
the STIBYS union of beverage industry and other workers. He was home recovering
from an assault by the police during one of the Resistance demonstrations, in
which his right wrist was severely fractured.
He explained the urgent need for a new constitution, and the passion with which
the Resistance demands a Constitutional Assembly became very clear.
He explained that the current constitution was drafted during the 1980s, when
the U.S. waged war against Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua under the
criminal and vicious leadership of John Negroponte. Its purpose was to
“sell the country” (privatize), reduce the state and put the
military instead of the people in charge of upholding the constitution. In sum,
it was a constitution to benefit the corporations and their stockholders.
Reyes exposed how power and wealth were transferred during these years. In
1981, the transnational corporations and landowners had 40 percent of the
power, the state 40 percent and the people 20 percent. Now, 28 years later, the
transnationals hold 75 percent, the state 20 percent and the people 5 percent.
Because of the reduction of income, the state cannot afford services to the
Reyes explained that Honduras is “a fiscal and labor paradise”
because of low wages, the increase of temporary and subcontracted labor with
absolutely no benefits or job security, and the enormous concessions to the
corporations, which really control the government and run the country on their
own behalf. This has resulted in the pauperization of the masses, but has been
an enormously profitable experience for U.S. companies.
That is why President Zelaya’s plans to change the constitution and raise
the minimum wage were so vehemently opposed by the Honduran oligarchy and the
U.S. plans more of the same in Latin America
The recent struggle in Honduras has been an attempt by the United Sates to put
a hold on the progressive popular advances in Latin America, and particularly
against the participating countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
(ALBA). That is the view of most Latin American presidents who have opposed the
Honduras military coup from day one and who hold the U.S. responsible for not
ending the coup. The U.S. is Honduras’ largest trading and military
This coup has reinvigorated the right-wing oligarchies around the region that
are associated with the U.S.
On Oct. 30, a military treaty was signed between Colombia and the U.S. giving
the U.S. complete access to that country, including seven bases, among them the
enormous Palanquero base close to the capital. It was not until Nov. 2, after
the agreement was signed, that it was publicly released, even though Latin
American countries had requested it. In Panama, there are talks for opening
four air and navy bases to which the U.S. will have access.
Many consider the bases a threat to peace in the region, and a very dangerous
precedent that announces the intent of the United States to wage war against
the countries that are “anti-U.S.,” as exposed in an official
document of the Air Force Department regarding the Palanquero Air Base. In it,
the document cites the “constant threat ... of the anti-U.S.
In Paraguay, President Fernando Lugo had to substitute the heads of the Army,
Navy and Air Force with personnel in whom he was confident after rumors of a
coup attempt by the right wing, which opposes Lugo’s progressive
But the United States does not realize that, as Ecuadoran President Rafael
Correa said, this is not a time of changes, but a change of
times—referring to the tremendous uprising of the masses defending their
sovereignty and opposing U.S. imperialism.
Next: More on Colombia, Panama and Venezuela.
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