Three days ago, in the evening of Thursday 25th, I wrote in my Reflections: “We do not know what will happen tonight or tomorrow in Honduras, but the courageous behavior adopted by Zelaya will go down in history.”
Two paragraphs before I had indicated that: “The situation that might result from whatever occurs in that country will be a test for the OAS and the current US administration.”
The prehistoric Inter-American institution met in Washington the following day and in a halfhearted and spiritless resolution promised to immediately make the necessary efforts to bring about harmony between the contending parties; that is, a negotiation between the putschists and the Constitutional President of Honduras.
The high ranking military chief who was still in command of the Honduran Armed Forces was making public statements different from the President’s position while recognizing his authority in a merely formal way.
The putschists needed barely anything else from the OAS. They couldn’t care less for the presence of a large number of international observers who had traveled to that country to bear witness to a referendum and who had been talking with Zelaya until late into the night. Today, before dawn, they launched on the President’s home about 200 well-trained and equipped professional troops who roughly set aside the members of the Guard of Honor and kidnapped Zelaya –who was sleeping at the moment– taking him to an air base and forcibly putting him on a plane to Costa Rica. At 8:30 a.m. we learned from Telesur of the assault on the Presidential House and the kidnapping. The President was unable to attend the initial activity related to the referendum that was to take place this Sunday and his whereabouts were unknown.
The official television channel was silenced. They wanted to prevent the early spread of the news of the treacherous action through Telesur and Cubavision Internacional, which were reporting the events. Therefore, they first suspended the broadcasting centers and then cut off electricity to the entire country. At the moment, the Supreme Court and the Congress involved in the conspiracy had yet to make public the decisions that justified the plot. They first carried out the indescribable military coup and then legalized it.
The people woke up to a fait accompli and started to react with growing indignation. Zelaya’s destination was unknown. Three hours later the people’s reaction was such that we could see women punching soldiers with their fists and the latter’s weapons falling off their hands as they were nervous and confused. At the beginning, their movements resembled a strange combat with ghosts; later, they tried to cover Telesur’s cameras with their hands and nervously aimed their guns at the reporters. Sometimes, when the people advanced the troops stepped back. At this point, armored vehicles carrying cannons and machineguns were sent in as the people fearlessly discussed with the crews of the armored vehicles. The people’s reaction was amazing.
Approximately at 2:00 in the afternoon, a tamed majority in Congress –in coordination with the putschists– toppled Zelaya, the Constitutional President of Honduras, and appointed a new head of State announcing to the world that the former had resigned and showing a forged signature. A few minutes later, from an airport in Costa Rica, Zelaya related everything that had happened and categorically refuted the news about his resignation. The plotters had placed themselves in a ridiculous situation in the eyes of the world.
Many other things happened today. Cubavision took all of its time to expose the coup and keep our people informed.
Some events were purely fascist in nature and even if expected they are still astonishing.
Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas was the putschists’ main target, second only to Zelaya. Another detachment was sent to her residence. She was brave and determined, and she acted quickly; she did not waste time and started denouncing the coup in every way possible. Our ambassador contacted Patricia to learn about the situation; other ambassadors did likewise. At a given moment, she asked the diplomatic representatives of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to meet with her since she was being fiercely hounded and required diplomatic protection. Our ambassador, who from the first moments was authorized to offer the minister all the constitutional and legal support, proceeded to visit her in her own residence.
When the diplomats were already in her house, the putschist command sent Major Oceguera to put her under arrest. The diplomats stood between the woman and the officer and claimed she was under diplomatic protection and could only be moved accompanied by them. Oceguera discussed with them in a respectful fashion. A few minutes later, 12 or 15 men in uniform and covering their faces with ski masks rushed into the house. The three ambassadors embraced Patricia but the masked men using force managed to separate the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan ambassadors; Hernandez held her so strongly by one arm that the masked men dragged them both to a van and drove to an air base where they finally separated him and took her away. As he was there in custody, Bruno, who had news of the kidnapping called him to the cell phone; one of the masked men tried to violently snatch the phone out of his hands and the Cuban ambassador, who had already been punched in Patricia’s home, shouted: “Don’t push me, cojones!” I don’t remember if the term was ever used by Cervantes, but there is no doubt that ambassador Juan Carlos Hernandez has enriched our language.
Later, he was abandoned in a road far from the Cuban mission not before being warned that something worse could happen to him if he talked. “Nothing can be worse than death,” he answered with dignity, “and still I’m not afraid of you.” Then people from the area helped him to return to the embassy and from there he immediately called Bruno again.
There is no way to negotiate with that putschist high command. They must be asked to abdicate while other younger officers, uninvolved with the oligarchy, take charge of the military command; otherwise, there will never be in Honduras a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
There is no hope for the cornered and isolated putschists if the problem is faced with determination.
Even Mrs. Clinton stated this afternoon that Zelaya is the only President of Honduras and the Honduran putschists can’t even breathe without the support of the United States of America.
Zelaya, a man who was in his pyjamas just a few hours ago, will be recognized by the world as the only Constitutional President of Honduras.
Fidel Castro Ruz
June 28, 2009