New media has been credited with getting the story out in Iran after government censorship shut off mainstream journalism. Here's a little indication that it can also be put to less-to-no good during periods of chaos and drama as Honduras is currently experiencing. Father Ismael Moreno, S.J., and his Radio Progreso have been outspoken supporters of the Resistance movement and have already drawn the unhappy attention of the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti (which today shut down two opposition media outlets). OCLACC, the Organización Católica Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Comunicación reports that Moreno has been receiving death threats via text message on his mobile phone. Though he can't say if the messages are merely jokes in extremely poor taste given the current tension in Honduras or if they reflect a campaign of psychological intimidation against commentators calling for the restoration of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, it is certainly disquieting to learn of offers of half a million lempiras "por la cabeza del Padre Melo," as he is known in Honduras. My Spanish is not great, but if I understand the OCLAC report, Father Moreno charges that other supporters of the resistance have likewise been receiving these threats via text.
Today's extraordinary events began with a short-lived emergency decree suspending civil liberties from the Micheletti government that was quickly withdrawn after the announcement was roundly deplored by the international community and among Honduran congressional leadership. In an extraordinary press conference Micheletti apologized to Honduran citizens and said the Supreme Court would lift the decree as soon as possible.
According to the New York Times, the Obama administration was sending its own mixed signals about the state of affairs in Honduras (or perhaps succumbing to some frustration with both Zelaya's and Micheletti's hijinks):
In Washington "the State Department condemned the government’s actions. 'I think it’s time for the de facto regime to put down the shovel,' said a spokesman, Philip J. Crowley. 'With every action, they keep on making the hole deeper.'"
But at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, where diplomats were meeting to discuss the Micheletti government’s expulsion of four of its diplomats on Sunday, W. Lewis Amselem, the acting American representative, called Zelaya “irresponsible and foolish” for returning to Honduras before a negotiated settlement was reached.
“The president should stop acting as though he were starring in an old movie,” Mr. Amselem said.
Meanwhile the split within the Honduran church became more apparent on Sep. 24 with the release of a new statement from the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, rejecting "the [June 28] coup d’état because it violates the constitution of the Republic, principally articles 3, 71, 72, 84, and 102, restricts constitutional guarantees, puts the Armed Forces and the National Police in opposition to the humble people, compels the people to insurrection (cf. Constitution article 3), causes instability and unrest in the citizenry, and has caused grief to many families because of homicides, and the wounded and beaten whose number increases every day."
Though the nation seems to have stepped away from a deeper crisis today, there is no clear path out of the current political standoff. For a blow by blow about what is happening in the streets and within the church in Honduras, John Donaghy's blog is certainly worth paying attention to as the crisis deepens. Donaghy is a lay volunteer with the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras.