Thursday, September 10, 2009

Europe Threatens Further Sanctions, Current Election Campaign Disrupted, Vote Legitimacy Questioned

Whoops, on the last posting, forgot to give it a title. Glad I have understanding and discerning readers.

My audio book reader at Recordings for the Blind said he could not go back and change even the first reference he made to Teh-GOOSE as the pronunciation of Teguc, a short form for the capital city. The book recording is already finished and ready to go. So, I must live with it. It’s a small thing, but big to me. I never want to be associated with gringoisms. (If you want something done right, do it yourself!)

I also gave an interview not long ago for a program broadcast in Indonesian by Voice of America. I just received recordings of that interview, excerpted in two segments that aired on different days. The style is something like that used on NPR, with me speaking in English, then a voiceover interpretation into Indonesian. It’s interesting to be on the other end of interpretation for a change instead of being the interpreter myself.

An article in the Spanish-language version of the Miami Herald reports that political tensions are easing in Honduras as people and candidates put their energy into the current presidential campaign. Candidates aligned against Zelaya are predicting a transparent and free election that will calm international opposition. It’s true that if the election appears fair, with or without recognized international observers, it will be harder for other countries to fail to recognize its legitimacy. However, Zelaya and his supporters are not disappearing quietly into the night; they’re demanding that no one recognize the election and promise disruptions. They are already tearing up campaign posters, throwing rocks at rallies, and seem particularly angry with Zelaya’s own vice president, Elvin Santos, the candidate from Zelaya’s Liberal Party, whom they blame for joining in his ouster. I don't know if there is candidate from one of the smaller parties supporting Zelaya's return, but it seems that most candidates are distancing themselves from him. Maybe his supporters will boycott the election altogether. It appears that the Honduran clash, instead of arriving at a compromise, as Arias had envisioned, is becoming more polarized and less concerned with achieving any moral high ground and upholding principles such as democracy and rule of law; rather, each side is becoming more partisan and digging in its heels, vowing to fight on until victory or death.

A reader of my blog comments: I believe there is a genuine fear that Zelaya, with Chavez's backing, might gain total control of Honduras through his demagogic politics if he is allowed back into the country.

While Obama wants to support Zelaya as the democratically elected president, he would not want to be blamed for completely losing Honduras to Chavez. The US has a military base in Honduras, but intervening militarily would be a big no-no. It's a delicate situation. The US has not said categorically that it won't recognize the Honduran election, but has indicated that it probably will not do so under present circumstances. However, maybe Honduras can convince the US and the world that its election has been legitimate, even if Zelaya remains outside.

Another reader elaborates regarding: the legitimate fear on the part of Honduran politicians, that once Zelaya gets his foot in the door, now with many Nicaraguan and Venezuelan agents inside Honduras, that something bad may happen and the US will not come to the rescue. I kind of think this is a bluff on the part of the U.S, though. What if Zelaya's anointed successor wins? Presumably this is a result Obama and the OAS could live with. Hence the “may not recognize" language [in terms of the election].

The following is just in from a struggling single mother in Honduras, who blames Zelaya and his supporters, not the interim government, for her family’s problems. She’s just one voice, but she claims that “the resistance [Zelaya’s] forces are dwindling, while Zelaya himself goes to Washington to beg for more punishment for our poor country, canceling assistance to the most needy; he’s a pretty poor Honduran, meanwhile the world doesn’t want to see that he uses government funds for his personal motorcycle, his horses, and his vast ranches in the name of all the poor people he proclaims he represents, what a hypocrite.” Que inquietud aqui en esta bella patria, los movimientos del grupo de resistencia ya son bastante escasos.y vaya discurso el de mel zelaya en EEUU pidiendo que se castigue este pueblo canselandole la ayuda a los mas necesitados el se a comportado en esa y otras ocaciones como un pesimo hondureñ antes teniamos limitantes hoy se sienten mas es una pena que el mundo no quiera ver lo de zelaya a quien se le comprueba gastos de estado en su motocicleta personal sus caballos y sus rancherias quiza hacia todo esto en nombre de los pobres como el tanto a proclamado que pena con este señor.

Although the European Union has already suspended aid to and diplomatic contacts with Honduras, it reportedly is considering further sanctions, as per the article below.

EU to warn Honduras of further sanctions over coup
Thursday, September 10, 2009 9:58 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will warn the de facto government of Honduras next week that it could face further sanctions unless a peaceful solution is found to a crisis triggered by the coup against President Manuel Zelaya. A draft statement due to be approved by EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday said the 27-nation bloc would continue to restrict political contacts with the de facto government installed after the June 28 military takeover.
In July, the European Commission said it was suspending all budgetary support payments to Honduras after the failure of efforts to resolve a crisis. It has also suspended development assistance. "Until a peaceful settlement is found, the EU will stand ready to take further restrictive measures, including targeting those members of the de facto government who are seen to be blocking progress on a negotiated solution," the statement, seen by Reuters, said.

The statement reaffirmed EU support for mediation by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and the Organization of American States and urged all sides to work for a peaceful negotiated solution and the restoration of constitutional order ahead of November elections.

The statement also expressed deep concern about reported human rights violations, including threats to rights activists, arbitrary detentions and repression of peaceful demonstrators.

The United States announced last week it was terminating more than $30 million in non-humanitarian aid to Honduras to pressure the de facto government to step down and reinstate Zelaya, who is in exile.

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