Telesur covers the coup in Honduras

July 16, 2009

THE IMAGES currently coming out of Honduras are remarkable: Old women punching and cursing at soldiers as they storm government buildings to fortify the coup government; young men lying down on the road in front of military vehicles; multitudes of people from every social sector driving back tanks, throwing rocks at heavily armed soldiers, marching past military checkpoints.

These protesters are resisting the dictatorship of Roberto Micheletti. Currently, the only television station with live coverage of the anti-coup demonstrations is the Venezuelan-based news service Telesur.

Following the coup, private news corporations in Honduras imposed a blackout and broadcast cooking shows, cartoons and soap operas. For its part, CNN quickly manufactured the label "forced succession" in reference to the coup, while Fox News outright cheered the overthrow of the constitutional order.

In contrast, Telesur, initiated by the Venezuelan government in 2005, has provided up-to-the-minute and on-the-ground reports. This station was created in large part to counter the private media in Venezuela, which helped manufacture a coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002.

In Honduras, three Telesur reporters were beaten, detained and then deported by the Honduran military on June 29. Yet Telesur's live coverage continues and, thankfully, we have been able to see the masses that are still defying the machine guns of those who, in the words of one Venezuelan reporter, "hope to return Latin America to the era of coup d'états."

On June 28, the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped by approximately 200 members of the Armed Forces and deported to Costa Rica. The conservative-led congress then read a fake resignation letter allegedly issued by Zelaya. Micheletti was later sworn in as de facto president.

Zelaya had clashed with sections of the military and other elite interests over his decision to conduct a non-binding opinion poll regarding whether the electorate was in favor of holding a constituent assembly to modify the constitution. After taking power, the coupist government immediately shut down radio and television stations, suspended constitutional guarantees, and imposed martial law.

As of eight days into the resistance, at least five protesters had been killed, two of whom were shot in the head by Honduran soldiers, and another who was run over by a military vehicle, according to Andrés Pavón, president of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras. In addition, activists in Honduras have denounced the military for its forced recruitment of young people, including minors, in rural areas. According to the news agencies AFP and EFE at least 820 people were temporarily detained for violating the recently imposed curfew.

In the face of this repression the protests continue. On July 5, upwards of 200,000 people marched in the capital to the Tegucigalpa airport hoping to facilitate Zelaya's return. Teachers declared a strike and university occupations taken place in different parts of the country.

Here in Venezuela, wide screen televisions have been set up in the main plazas and people have gathered to watch and protest in indignation as the Honduran coup unfolds-- a near carbon-copy of the coup in Venezuela that temporarily ousted President Chavez back in 2002.

"This is not just an attack on Honduras, this is a warning, they are saying, this is what we are going to do to you here in Venezuela," said Nelson Rodríguez, a leader at the occupied factory Ineval and a member of the Revolutionary Marxist Current.
Zachary Lown, from the Internet

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