Monday was our first day back at school after our two-week swine flu vacation. During the schoolday we found out about Zelaya's return. Several parents came to pick up students early. Demonstrations had already begun. That night, as I was in a friends' apartment for a small group meeting, we saw buses just returning to the school at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 p.m., after leaving the school at 3:00!
School was canceled Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, due to the national curfew put in place in an attempt to control the marches and demonstrators. The curfew was lifted yesterday afternoon so people could get food and water, but from what I hear the stores and streets were mad houses!
The word is that school may resume tomorrow, but I doubt many kids will come.
Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal that does a good job of laying out the basics of this situation. Please pray for Honduras.
After nearly three months in exile, Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president of Honduras, made a stealth return to Tegucigalpa on Monday, taking sanctuary in the Brazilian embassy. He is now using this diplomatic sanctuary to demand reinstatement and stir up his supporters in the streets. This is a dangerous moment, and if violence breaks out the U.S. will bear no small part of the blame.
Mr. Zelaya was deposed and deported this summer after he agitated street protests to support a rewrite of the Honduran constitution so he could serve a second term. The constitution strictly prohibits a change in the term-limits provision. On multiple occasions he was warned to desist, and on June 28 the Supreme Court ordered his arrest.
Every major Honduran institution supported the move, even members in Congress of his own political party, the Catholic Church and the country's human rights ombudsman. To avoid violence the Honduran military escorted Mr. Zelaya out of the country. In other words, his removal from office was legal and constitutional, though his ejection from the country gave the false appearance of an old-fashioned Latin American coup.
The U.S. has since come down solidly on the side of—Mr. Zelaya. While it has supported negotiations and called for calm, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both insisted that Honduras must ignore Mr. Zelaya's transgressions and their own legal processes and restore him as president. The U.S. has gone so far as to cut off aid, threaten Honduran assets in the U.S. and pull visas to enter the U.S. from the independent judiciary. The U.S. has even threatened not to recognize presidential elections previously scheduled for November unless Mr. Zelaya is first brought back to power—even though he couldn't run again.
This remarkable diplomatic pressure against a small Central American ally has only reinforced Mr. Zelaya's refusal to compromise short of a return to the presidency, with all of the instability and potential for violence that could involve. It also probably encouraged him to gamble on returning to Honduras on Monday, figuring even that provocation won't endanger U.S. support. And so far it hasn't.
Now that he is back, Mr. Zelaya and his allies aren't calling for calm. His supporters have flocked to Brazil's embassy with cinder blocks, sticks and Molotov cocktails. "The fatherland, restitution or death," he shouted to demonstrators outside the embassy. In anticipation of trouble and with concern for public safety, President Roberto Micheletti announced a curfew. But when police tried to enforce the curfew, the zelayistas resisted and there is now a Honduran standoff.
On Monday Mr. Zelaya said he owed his return and political survival to "the support of the international community." He's getting support from Nicaragua's Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, the former guerrilla group FMLN in El Salvador, and especially from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But let's face it: None of that support would mean very much without the diplomatic and sanctions muscle of the U.S.
If the U.S. didn't know about Mr. Zelaya's stealth return, it ought to feel deceived and drop its support. Now that he's back in Honduras, the best solution to avoid violence would be for the U.S. to urge Mr. Zelaya to turn himself over to Honduran authorities for arrest and trial.