Friday, July 10, 2009

Will the Situation in Honduras Affect the August 2009 Mission Trip?

We received this message from Yovany Munguía in Honduras.

July 9, 2009
Special Situation in Honduras: Political Crisis
And its Impact on the Arrival of the Group.

As you know, on June 28, the National Congress, supported by the Armed Forces and other government entities, proceeded to remove from power the country's president until that time, Manuel Zelaya..

The main reason was that he was acting in illegality to promote and implement the June 28 political poll, for people to see if they want the establishment of a National Constitutional Assembly, with the veiled en of his reelection, as have several other countries in South America (Venezuela, Ecuador and recently Bolivia). Therefore, Mel Zelaya is facing a number of charges in this country, because apart from this poll being illegal, there are a number of other administrative anomalies.

The error of the new authorities was to have the former president unexpectedly sacked and sent into exile, rather than start a trial in the country and if convicted, sent to prison. This resulted in demonstrations for and against the former president in the major cities, and a climate of uncertainty and tension in the whole population, but most people still live their daily lives and this has not generated extreme violence.

With regard to the arrival of the group under the current circumstances, I do not see any problem, both in their security, or how to develop their work. Airports are operating and airlines arrive. Taking of the roads is not occurring (to prevent the passage to Yoro from SPS) and if blocked, they are cleared by the police. Trade is open for the purchase of supplies and materials. No anti-American sentiment. Once reaching the tribe, everything goes normally, because while there are people who are on one side or another there, this is not open or violent. Clearly we must be prepared for some discomfort along the route to the recreation areas, because we are in an "abnormal" situation in relation to other groups that have come.

It is expected that in the coming days and mainly in the next week the situation will improve and we will have a clearer picture. Today and tomorrow, ¨Mel" Zelaya and the current government will have to move closer to meeting the President of Costa Rica, to find common ground. The majority of the population has this expectation, but are not very confident about it, since both are locked in their positions, but it is a beginning to the end of the crisis. I hope for an early agreement, before the arrival of the group, as I do not think that we can continue in this position for another month.

I will keep you informed on Saturday night and during the next week.

Yovany Munguía, Coordinator, NY/HELP

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A letter from Yovany in Honduras

To David Makepeace of NY/HELP

Dear David,

I’m sorry not to have talked to you until today, but from the 25th to the 30th I have been in Yoro with a group of volunteers and have not had any access to the internet, even though I have seen the news. The situation is calm with sporadic demonstrations in the large cities in favor of Mel’s (Zelaya’s) return to power or others (the majority of the population) to support the new president Robert Michletti, the former president of the congress, staying in power for 6 months until the general elections which will be in November of this year.

Just as the missionaries are saying, the blame for all of this lies with Mel Zelaya, as he wanted to generate a vote in favor of a new constitution that would allow him to be reelected and become the “Chávez” of Central America. The other powers declared this position illegal, and, as the president (now ex-president) would stop this effort, what has happened. It is not the military governing this suffering country but civilian power. I think we are better now.

The August group should not be nervous. Here we expect the situation to settle down in the next two weeks. For your meeting on the 12th (of July in Arcade) we will have the situation in perspective.

Today I met with the Mataderos Tribal Council to program the visit of the group and some projects including the inauguration of the new Centro Básico and the situation of the clinic, but, since I just return from 6 days without seeing my family, I will write you tomorrow about that. Also I am preparing a report to send you of activities and finances. I hope to send it by Friday.

The people in the rural areas are fine so don’t fear. My family and I and the employees of Sustainable Harvest are also well.