Friday, January 1, 2010

Effigies of Zelaya, Micheletti, and Chavez Burned in Honduras on New Year’s Eve

Happened to look up my book on Amazon and saw I now have 19 reviews, 17 5-star, 2 4-star. What a nice surprise! The latest on-line reviewer says she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. While some book buyers may dismiss reviews as being planted by an author’s friends, that’s not true for most reviews of my book. I always wonder how folks out there happen to find my book, buy it, and decide to read it.

Another welcome surprise was an invitation from the city-wide library system to give talk about my book. This, even though, as far as I know, copies I donated last year are still not in the catalogue and on the shelves.

A new book is out in Spanish, El Poder y El Deliro [Power and Delerium], by Mexican writer Enrique Krause. It’s a critical examination of Chavez’s rise to power, taking advantage of vulnerabilities in democratic institutions.

Readers of my book will remember straw-filled dummies, representing either the old year or discredited politicians, being burned in Honduras on New Year’s Eve. The article below recounts the burning of foam-filled dummies in that traditional ritual. The next article reports on Zelaya’s supporters celebrating outside the Brazilian Embassy, while inside Zelaya vowed to fight on beyond Jan.27, the official end of his term.


Honduran leaders' effigies up in smoke for New Year
By Gustavo Palencia
Friday, January 1, 2010

GERMANIA, Honduras - The main players in Honduras' dramatic 2009 coup went up in smoke on Friday as one village said good riddance to a difficult year. Hondurans burned life-sized dolls of ousted President Manuel Zelaya and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti in a traditional New Year ritual near Germania, a small town south of the capital Tegucigalpa.

Villagers also set fire to an effigy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who supported fellow leftist Zelaya and even threatened military action. "The three of them are guilty for everything that has happened, they have greatly hurt us," said Luis Lagos, 22, an upholsterer who also makes the dolls, known as monigotes.
Soldiers grabbed Zelaya on June 28 and threw him out of the country in his pajamas, sparking Central America's worst political crisis since the Cold War. The Honduran president has failed to be reinstated and has been holed up since September in the Brazilian Embassy, where he welcomed 2010 playing his guitar and singing with his family and supporters. His future is unclear since Honduras elected a new president in November.

Monigotes are made of pieces of foam, fabric, leather and rugs. Traditional at New Year, they are popular across Honduras and other Latin American countries.

200 gather to cheer Honduras' ousted president
Associated Press
Thursday, December 31, 2009

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- About 200 people gathered outside the Brazilian Embassy to show support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya inside while they celebrated New Year's Eve with food and music.

Supporters of the deposed leader, who has been in the embassy since late September, began arriving at dusk Thursday and were allowed on one of the streets next to the compound, which is blockaded by Honduran troops. "I am here for celebrating and being near President Zelaya," Aida Rhodes, 50, said as people danced and a group of women distributed meals.

Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 coup and sent into exile, sneaked back into the country and took refuge in the embassy as he mounted a failed effort to prevent an election to choose his successor. The ballot had already been scheduled before Zelaya was forced out of office after he ignored Supreme Court orders to drop plans for a referendum on changing the constitution.

President-elect Porfirio Lobo is to take office Jan. 27, the final day of Zelaya's term.

In an interview with Radio Globo, Zelaya sent good wishes for 2010 to his supporters and to the civil servants in his government. He added that said he was not giving up his struggle against those who ousted him. "My fight is for the transformation of Honduras; it does not end on the 27th of January," he said.

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