|09TEGUCIGALPA591||2009-07-14 20:23:00||SECRET||Embassy Tegucigalpa|
VZCZCXYZ0000 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHTG #0591/01 1952023 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 142023Z JUL 09 FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0123 INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 0713 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T TEGUCIGALPA 000591
1. (C) Summary: Refs C and D profiled the coalitions
currently agitating for the return of President Zelaya (the
"Red Team") and opposing his return (the "White Team"). This
message explores whether there is any significant "pink"
ground between these two camps that can help bridge the
differences and facilitate a face-saving return to the
constitutional order, consistent with USG policy goals. End
Which One's Pink?
2. (U) A CID-Gallup poll published last week indicated that,
while a plurality (41 percent) of Hondurans thought the June
28 coup removing President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya was
"justified" and 28 percent thought it was not, nearly a third
(31 percent) had no opinion. This middle third is either
uninformed, indifferent or not persuaded by the arguments of
either side. The poll did not ask the question of whether
people wanted Zelaya back.
3. (C) Our outreach with a wide range of contacts over the
past two weeks indicates that there is indeed significant
"pink" ground between the red and white camps, and it seems
to be growing. The main components of the Pink Team are:
-- Those who opposed Zelaya but think the way he was removed
was illegal and wrong;
-- Those who supported Zelaya but agree that he abused his
authority, probably broke the law and should face justice,
although with due process;
-- Those who are coming to realize that the consequences of
continued international pariah status and social unrest will
be unacceptable, and therefore a deal needs to be struck.
4. (C) The pink team includes some notable political figures,
plus some intellectuals, the politically moderate/indifferent
and rank-and-file workers (blue and white collar, public and
private sector) who are uncomfortable with the extreme
positions being adopted by their "leaders."
Where Are the Statesmen?
5. (C) We will report septel on where Honduras's most
prominent public figures stand on the current crisis and how
helpful they are likely to be in finding a solution.
However, a key figure, former President Carlos Flores,
publisher of one of the country's major dailies and still the
kingmaker of Zelaya's Liberal Party, is quietly positioning
himself in pink territory. Other prominent political elder
statesmen whose hands have not been sullied by the coup could
also potentially play important roles.
The Vote in Congress was not Unanimous!
6. (C) As we have reported previously, contrary to what is
being parlayed by coup defenders/apologists in Washington and
in the international media, the vote in Congress June 28 to
accept Zelaya's "resignation" and install Micheletti as
president was not unanimous. In fact, there was no recorded
vote, or even a request for "yeas" and "nays." Some media
are acknowledging that the five deputies from the leftist
Democratic Unification Party, who boycotted the proceeding,
did not vote for the transition of power and concluding the
vote was therefore 123-5. However, Embassy has learned that
many deputies were not present, and some who were present
were opposed to what was happening but were silenced.
Several Liberal Party members, including some holding
leadership positions, have approached the Embassy to describe
intimidation and irregularities in the June 28 proceedings,
some alleging there was no quorum present, which would
invalidate the actions taken. Some have expressed their
views publicly and reported subsequently that they were the
object of threats and police intimidation. Several plan to
travel to Washington this week to make their views known
7. (S) Dissident deputies who have approached us claim to
have the support of at least 17 members, including two
offspring of former Honduran presidents: Lizzy Flores, who is
Vice President of the Congress, and Jose Azcona, who chairs
the powerful budget committee. Neither of them has come
forward publicly, but Azcona approached us in confidence
shortly after the coup offering to be a go-between with the
new regime to seek a conditional return of Zelaya. Others
who have come out publicly were also formerly close to
Micheletti's Congressional leadership. Some are Zelaya
supporters. Others opposed many Zelaya policies and felt he
probably violated the constitution but disagree more strongly
with the way he was removed.
The Minor Parties
8. (U) Some prominent members of the small but intellectually
influential centrist parties -- the Christian Democrats and
the social-democrat PINU -- have staked out moderate
positions, opposing the coup and calling for national
reconciliation. In particular, former CD member of Congress
Efrain Diaz Arrivillaga has appeared in both print media and
on television over the past week proposing creative solutions
to the current impasse while acknowledging the illegality of
both the coup and of Zelaya's actions that precipitated it.
He quoted Abraham Lincoln and advised that all sides might
have to swallow some bitter medicine to bring Honduras back
together. Wilfredo Mendez, former executive secretary of
PINU, has struck a similar line, in defiance of his party's
leadership but with apparent support of much of its rank and
Followers who Refuse to be Led
9. (U) As the crisis wears on and disrupts daily life, more
and more Hondurans are expressing disgust with the state of
affairs their leaders have brought them to. Parents and some
teachers this past weekend openly opposed the teachers union
leaders for insisting that classes remain suspended so that
teachers could participate in pro-Zelaya protests. Many
teachers defied their leaders and went back to the
classrooms, and primary school teachers are going back en
masse this week. Business contacts report that many
rank-and-file workers are ignoring invocations from their
leaders to strike and protest.
10. (C) Ref B reported that, despite what the present and
former Chief Justices have been saying about the legality of
the June 28 coup, many current justices consider it was
illegal. The Court's legal adviser even suggested the
military officials who carried it out should be charged.
EconCouns sought to speak offline July 13 with the Chief
Prosecutor at the Public Ministry about the current
environment. She at first agreed, then decided she should
ask Attorney General Rubi for permission. Rubi said she
could meet only in her office. This indicates there may be
tension between Rubi and career prosecutors (possible pinks)
over both the coup and its aftermath.
11. (C) Finally, Poloff was copied on a recent e-mail posting
by a self-described "young professional" denouncing both the
Honduran political class and the so-called "leaders" of the
peasants, workers, teachers and indigenous groups, as well as
human rights NGOs, the economic elite, OAS SecGen Insulza and
Hugo Chavez. The missive concluded: "Don't align yourself
with the oppressors of the people and the poor. No to the
'fourth urn.' No to all this stupidity!"
12. (C) The polarized media and street demonstrations
notwithstanding, our sense is that the fed-up and moderate
middle is significant and expanding. Cracks are appearing in
the armor of the coup defenders, and the population is
growing weary of the melodrama. The most reliable scientific
poll we have shows only a plurality -- not a majority --
think the coup was justified. Some leftist leaders are now
calling for violence and insurrection to bring Zelaya back,
but this will backfire with those who seeking a return to
normalcy. The Arias negotiations or some alternate will
likely have the have the support of this quiet but growing
group. End Comment.