Honduras Political Crisis – Update #6 A word from our director

Once again, we are well. There is no additional concern for our safety at this time.

Here is a letter from our director Jeff Mckenny:

Dear Friends,
As most of you know these past few weeks have been interesting and tense times in Honduras. Despite clear opposition to the plan from the great majority of legitimate authority in Honduras, the former president of Honduras (Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales) was pushing hard to hold a “ non-binding” referendum to demonstrate support for a revision of the “un-revisable” articles of the Honduran Constitution, this in an apparent move to indefinitely retain power when his current term in office expired at the end of this year. This “referendum” was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court of Honduras. It was determined to be illegal by the congress of Honduras ( by an overwhelming majority of both parties). It was determined to be illegal by the Attorney General of Honduras, and was opposed by everyone from the Honduran Human Rights Ombudsman to the Bishops and Cardinal of Honduras to the major Honduran evangelical groups. Tensions increased last week when the supreme court of Honduras ordered the Military and Police to not support this illegal referendum. When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( Gen. Vasquez Velasquez) agreed that he would follow the order of the supreme court, then president Zelaya fired him. The chiefs of the Navy, Army, and Air Force all resigned in solidarity with Gen. Vasquez, as did the Minister of Defense. The Supreme Court then re-instated Gen. Vasquez. When then president Zelaya continued to move ahead with his plan for an illegal referendum, the supreme court, backed by the congress ordered the arrest and expulsion of President Zelaya. On Sunday morning, ex- president Zelaya was flown to Costa Rica, leaving behind a signed letter of resignation which has been published read and unanimously accepted by the Congress. Later in the day on Sunday, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela sent a plane to Costa Rica and Zelaya was flown to Nicaragua. Roberto Micheletti, Liberal Party President of the Congress has been sworn in as President, and the referendum was essentially cancelled.
Inside Honduras things have been remarkably calm. There has been a curfew called for 9 PM 28 June to 6 AM 29 June and 9 PM 29 June to 6 AM 30 June. No curfew and no other curtailment of Constitutional rights has been announced officially. Although 500 Venezuelan professional agitators have been flown in and have set up small but raucous demonstrations in San Pedro and Tegucigalpa, as best we can tell there is calm and order throughout the country. We have in the past 30 minutes checked all internet news, found a lot of evidence of saber rattling and name calling from many spokesmen/ officials outside of the country. These range from all of the usual suspects ( Chavez, Castro, Ortega) to the misinformed major media outlets and also to the heads of state of many western countries… All calling inexplicably for Zelaya to be returned to power ( which the vast majority of the country pretty clearly does not want) and calling this a military coup( which it wasn’t). We have also checked with all the major airlines, (despite rumors to the contrary they are open and currently running normally except where affected by the curfew). We checked with the American Embassy multiple times. Their official advise is that “American Citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice”, and additionally advise “American Citizens residing in and visiting Honduras to restrict travel to necessary trips only on June 29 2009”. They also “ strongly recommend that American Citizens abide by “ the 9 PM to 6 AM curfew 29 June. We have checked with the Policia de Transito, and though there have apparently been demonstrations at the Puente de Democracia @ El Progresso, they say that the bridge is open. However, we just checked with one bus line “ Cotuc”, and they are not running today as they say that demonstrations have closed bridges. Additionally we have tried to contact other buslines several times and they are currently not responding to phone calls. We also asked Joel / Cynthia who have relatives in El Progresso re. the bridge there. They concur that there have been demonstrations, but we have no confirmation whether the bridge is currently open or not. Iain Mckenzie is planning to take a group through to the airport in SPS tomorrow AM. We should know later in the day how that travel went from a first hand report.
So, what do we advise/request? We advise and request the following:
1.) Pray for Honduras. Pray that outside influences will not have their uninformed or agenda driven sway and that the Honduran people and the Honduran Legal and Constitutional processes be allowed to decide our own way. Pray also please for guidance, courage and wisdom for the legitimate authorities, and that God’s peace would continue to reign.
2.) Stay informed. This is a very fluid situation that seems to change hourly. Our internet system is working well and is an excellent way to get/ stay informed. We have found that the Honduran newspapers online are the most reliable and up to date sources.
3.) Abide by the curfew and any other curfew’s or advisories posted on the US Embassy’s website.
4.)Communicate with family/friends/supporters. Feel free to use the above synopsis of recent & current events if you’d like.
5.) Come up with a personal plan for yourself and your family, considering food/ travel plans/finances. We’d be glad to advise on a case by case basis.
6.) We will try to send out an update in the next 24-48 hours.
7.) Again…….Pray for Honduras… Pray that this is not just resolved well and peacefully and in the best interest of Honduras, and by Hondurans, but that God would be honored in the process and that we would do our part by living out His Gospel among these People, in this Nation.
Jeff Mckenney for Loma de Luz.