Honduran Coup Regime Blocks Ousted President Zelayaâ€™s Return; Troops Open Fire on Supporters at Airport Killing Two
AMY GOODMAN: A week after a military coup in
ANDRES CONTERIS: Yes, I was at the airport and it was a day of mostly peaceful demonstration. The estimates on the numbers were well over 100,000 people in the streets of
AMY GOODMAN: So, tell us throughout the weekend how things went down, and what happened when president Zelaya, the ousted president, was flying over the airport?
ANDRES CONTERIS: Throughout the weekend, things have been getting more and more intense because first, the expected arrival of president Zelaya was last Thursday. He announced that himself. Then the OAS said they needed some time to give
AMY GOODMAN: Andres, what exactly is happening with the media in
ANDRES CONTERIS: The media overwhelmingly in this country is controlled by an oligarchy that is very supportive of this coup. And so they are only trying to get out the story about some of the demonstrations that have been in favor of Roberto Micheletti taking power a week ago yesterday. However, the press who is trying to give a balanced approach and to give voice to those who are in the streets yesterday and the recent days, in addition to yesterday. They are finding—they’re facing incredible repression. There was a journalist on Friday murdered after leaving Radio
AMY GOODMAN: Also a bomb on July 4th, Saturday exploded at Channel 11 in
ANDRES CONTERIS: That happened at 9:30 PM at night. It was the first bomb that had been placed in the institution that actually went off. The material damage was severe, there was no one else hurt. Channel 11 has not been known as a channel that would give the side that is countered to this regime that is in power now, but they were attempting to do some small efforts to give a balanced approach. Even in doing that, that is what caused them to be a target of this bombing. Other channels closed, I said channel 36, also channel 45. In terms of radio, Radio Global in
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the curfew? The sunset to sunrise curfew that has been imposed. Also, BBC reported that as president Zelaya, the ousted president was not able to land, his supporters at the airport began shouting “We want blue helmets,” meaning UN peacekeepers.
ANDRES CONTERIS: Yes, the curfew was first imposed the night of the coup, in fact. The coup happened very early in the morning a week ago Sunday on the 20th of June. And the curfew was imposed that night from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. That was put in place for the next few days and then the Congress passed a law that extended the curfew, but not only that, it limited guaranteed constitutional rights of freedom of gathering, freedom of association, and basically freedom to protect their very rights. In other words, once the curfew is in force, which was 9PM which yesterday was changed until 6:30 PM, until 5:00AM in the morning. During that time any house can be raided and all the constitutional guarantees of the citizens here are canceled. The international press has also received harassment, if they trying to report an anti-coup position. They have been threatened with leaving the country, especially journalists from Telesur and others from Venezuela.
AMY GOODMAN: Andres, very quickly, because we just have a minute, can you talk about the situation of the United States not calling it a coup in Honduras and the very close US relationship with Honduras, particularly the aid that is not been cut off, though military cooperation, the Obama administration as announced has been cut off?
ANDRES CONTERIS: The US policy towards Honduras has historically been one of having great deal of control and the U.S. policy continues to be that. It is very clear that the US is trying to associate itself with not only Latin America, but the entire world. But even though the United States is not following even U.S. law which says no aid, either economic or military, can go to a country when it is declared that a coup has happened. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have said a coup has happened, but have legally declare that the case. That means aid has continues to flow, even though the State Department has used the words, there has been a pause and even though the Pentagon has said that the associations between the U.S. Military and Honduran military have been minimized.
Even those symbolic efforts, even if they have happened, it does not mean the aid should continue to flow. And therefore the U.S. is in violation of its own law in continuing to support this regime. The history of the U.S. in this country is also full of repression. The School of the Americas trained the coup leader here, the general who took over. And Billy Hoya also related to Battalion 316, a death squad which was founded during the time of John Dimitri Negroponte. Billy Hoya is a key security advisor to the so-called President Micheletti. So the ties of U.S. policy here continue to be damaging and U.S. is not taking an active role in resolving this crisis.