Honduras: 9/23 Noche Caliente en Tegucigalpa

por lofredo

Diario El Tiempo – San Pedro Sula – Honduras

Policía mata a muchacho que les gritó “golpistas”

: San Pedro Sula
Miércoles, 23 de Septiembre de 2009 00:32
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Un adolescente murió ayer en la tarde luego que gritara “golpistas” a un grupo de policías que se transportaban en la patrulla 4-10, informaron familiares y vecinos que presenciaron el crimen.

La víctima fue identificada como Elvis Jacobo Euceda Perdomo, de 18 años, quien murió en la colonia Las Colinas, de la aldea del Carmen de dos disparos de fusil.

El joven, que se dedicaba a halar leña de un cerro cercano a la colonia para agenciarse algún dinero, en el momento del percance  iba montado en una bicicleta color rojo. El se dirigía a jugar al campo de fútbol.

altEl personal que hizo el levantamiento encontró este casquillo de Galil, el arma oficial de la policía.

Según testigos, el crimen sucedió cuando el adolescente pasó cerca de la patrulla y gritó “golpistas”. En ese momento uno de los policías (que no fue identificado por su apellido) se bajó del vehículo y disparó el fusil que portaba  contra la humanidad del  muchacho, que iba a unos 70 metros de distancia.

Los disparos impactaron en la cabeza y espalda. El joven al derrumbarse de su bicicleta, cayó bocarriba.

Por mientras llegaban las autoridades a hacer el reconocimiento del cadáver, los familiares taparon a su pariente con una sábana color blanco.

Foto: TIEMPO

La crisis hondureña

La policía sitia la Embajada brasileña

Decenas de hondureños resisten junto a Zelaya sin agua y sin comida en la legación – El Gobierno de hecho rechaza toda intervención extranjera para zanjar el conflicto

PABLO ORDAZ – Tegucigalpa – 23/09/2009

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Desde la frontera de El Salvador hasta la misma puerta de la Embajada de Brasil en Honduras, en el corazón de Tegucigalpa, sólo se ven policías y militares. El presidente depuesto, Manuel Zelaya, se encuentra en una casa sitiada en medio de un barrio sitiado, sin agua ni luz, en el centro de una ciudad aislada, capital de un país fantasmal. A las cuatro de la madrugada de ayer (mediodía en la España peninsular), la policía antidisturbios, apoyada por un gran contingente militar, dispersó con palos, agua a presión y granadas lacrimógenas a los miles de partidarios de Zelaya apostados a las puertas de la sede diplomática desde el lunes. Dos hombres resultaron heridos de bala y otros 10 tuvieron que ser atendidos por la Cruz Roja.

El Gobierno de hecho que preside Roberto Micheletti exige a Brasil que entregue a Zelaya o le conceda asilo político y lo saque del país centroamericano.

El presidente brasileño, Lula da Silva, advirtió ayer desde Nueva York a Micheletti que no ataque la legación y llamó a una salida negociada de la crisis. En el mismo sentido se expresaron EE UU y la Unión Europea.

Sólo se salvaron de la razia un numeroso grupo de personas que consiguió colarse en los jardines de la Embajada de Brasil. A eso del mediodía, este periódico, aprovechando un descuido de la policía, logró mantener una breve conversación con dos de ellos.

-¿De dónde son ustedes y cuántos son?

-Hondureños. Unos 300. [La policía hablaba de 45 personas].

-¿Tienen agua, electricidad…?

-Nada.

-¿Y comida?

-Ninguna.

-¿Cuánto piensan resistir?

-Lo que ésos nos permitan…

Lo decían con el rostro tapado y señalando a los policías de élite, cara cubierta por un pasamontañas y pistolón a la mano, que ya se acercaban a toda prisa para restablecer el control.

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Como ya viene siendo una tónica desde que, hace 87 días, un comando del Ejército secuestrara en su propia casa al presidente Manuel Zelaya y lo pusiera de patitas en Costa Rica sin dejarlo siquiera cambiar su pijama por ropas de calle, nadie sabe a ciencia cierta qué puede pasar en las próximas horas. En cualquier otro país y en cualquier otro momento, Zelaya debería estar seguro, refugiado en una embajada, un recinto inviolable por definición. Pero el curso de los acontecimientos parecía ayer indicar lo contrario. Mientras los diplomáticos brasileños pedían a sus colegas de EE UU que les brindaran protección y un poco de gasóleo con el que alimentar los generadores, el Gobierno golpista parecía dispuesto a cortar por lo sano. Lo antes posible.

El presidente de hecho, Roberto Micheletti, exigió al presidente de Brasil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, que entregara de inmediato a Zelaya. Sabedor de que tal petición no hallaría eco por más que gritara, mandó a su canciller, Mario Fortín, que hiciera correr entre los medios locales -mayoritariamente favorables al golpe- la siguiente idea: “Ninguna ley internacional impide entrar en una legación diplomática si en ella se oculta un prófugo de la justicia, y a Manuel Zelaya se le busca en Honduras para que haga frente a un buen número de acusaciones”. O sea, quieren a Zelaya por las buenas o por las malas.

Por las buenas parece que no va a ser. Porque Lula da Silva explicó que su Embajada en Honduras dio cobijo a Zelaya porque se presentó solo y sin armas. “Hicimos lo que hubiera hecho cualquier otro país”. No obstante, el presidente brasileño pidió cortés pero muy claramente a Zelaya que se abstuviera de hacer cualquier gesto o declaración que pudiera encrespar los ánimos más de lo que ya están.

No hace falta más que darse un paseo por Tegucigalpa -sólo se puede hacer en un coche acreditado como prensa y sometiéndose a numerosos y exhaustivos controles- para sentir que la situación puede estallar en cualquier momento. ¿Cuánto tiempo puede mantener el Gobierno el toque de queda total? ¿Dos días? ¿Quizá tres…? Hay que tener en cuenta que el estado de excepción se decretó sólo horas después de que Zelaya consiguiera colarse en el país cuando nadie se lo esperaba, pillando a Policía y Ejército con el paso cambiado, pero también a los ciudadanos sin abasto suficiente para resistir. Y, en cuanto lo levante aunque sea para ir a comprar el pan, ¿qué va a pasar?

Todo el mundo sabía, Zelaya el primero, que cada día de ausencia desfiguraba su figura, la hacía caer en el olvido, sobre todo en un país donde la inmensa mayoría de los ciudadanos bastante tienen con sobrevivir. Pero el presidente depuesto por los militares ha vuelto. Está aquí. Sin agua para lavarse ni un trozo de comida que llevarse a la boca. Pero con una gran baza a su favor. Dijo que volvería. Y volvió. Lo siguiente que declara es que nadie lo volverá a sacar de aquí.

Al mediodía de ayer, nadie, absolutamente nadie, se atrevía a asomar la nariz a la calle. La violencia de la carga policial ejecutada de madrugada y por sorpresa dejó las calles adyacentes a la Embajada de Brasil llenas de cascotes y cristales rotos, pintadas en contra del presidente golpista y silencio. Un silencio que sólo se rompía de vez en cuando por las sirenas de las ambulancias. Jefry Baraona, el portavoz de la Cruz Roja, declaró que el lunes fueron atendidas 40 personas y que ayer el número bajó hasta 12, si bien dos de ellas -dos varones- tuvieron que ser evacuados al presentar sendas heridas de bala.

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Robert De Niro – Taxi Driver –  Martin Scorcese (1976)

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Radio Liberada

Radio Liberada  —   Escuchale en Vivo

Luchar, luchar siempre… ante la adversidad, ante la inopia, ante la indiferencia, ante la falsaria cercanía de la traición, ante la unanimidad aquiescente, ante los disensos de la sin razón, ante la medieval comodidad de los conformes, ante los dogmas imperantes, ante los cataclismos inevitables, ante las catástrofes anunciadas, ante la caída de los muros, ante la construcción de barreras de ignominia, luchar… luchar siempre… como un sino endemoniado, como una marca indeleble de la vida, como una necesidad vital, como convicción certera, como sueño, como pesadilla, luchar… luchar siempre… por la vida, por la muerte, por el amor, por todos…

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Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

Las fuerzas de seguridad acordonan

la Embajada de Brasil en Honduras

La policía hondureña desaloja a la fuerza a los simpatizantes de Zelaya fuera de la sede diplomática brasileña donde está refugiado el presidente depuesto.- Hay 150 detenidos.- Lula pide que se respete su Embajada.- Micheletti dice que no entrará a la fuerza

AGENCIAS / ELPAÍS.com – Tegucigalpa / Nueva York – 23/09/2009

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Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

Las fuerzas de seguridad hondureñas mantienen cercada la Embajada brasileña en Tegucigalpa para evitar que se reúnan de nuevo los simpatizantes del presidente depuesto Manuel Zelaya, que se encuentra refugiado en esa sede diplomática desde su regreso por sorpresa al país el pasado lunes, tras ser desalojados violentamente este martes. El presidente de facto, Roberto Micheletti, ha asegurado en declaraciones a la agencia Reuters que no tiene intenciones de enfrentarse a Brasil o de entrar a la fuerza en su sede diplomática. El político ha dicho que Zelaya puede quedarse en la Embajada “cinco o 10 años” si quiere, pero le urge a que se entregue para que afronte los cargos que se le imputan de corrupción y violación de la Constitución.

Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

La policía ha dispersado con gases lacrimógenos a centenares de seguidores del depuesto presidente de Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, que estaban apostados cerca de la embajada de Brasil en Tegucigalpa, donde se han producido algunos disturbios. Uno de los seguidores de Zelaya pedia ayuda a las fuerzas extranjeras. “Pedimos ayuda a las fuerzas extranjeras para sacar a los golpistas. Nos están reprimiendo.” Desde la embajada de Brasil, el presidente depuesto llamó a los hondureños a acudir a protegerlo y dijo que había regresado para buscar una salida dialogada a la crisis política que se abrió el pasado 28 de junio, cuando una asonada militar le apartó del poder y le expulsó del país. –

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La noticia en otros webs

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Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

Las declaraciones de Micheletti son su respuesta a la petición del presidente de Brasil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, que ha pedido al Gobierno hondureño que respete su sede diplomática en ese país. Lula, que asiste en Nueva York a la reunión de Naciones Unidas, donde ha pedido una reunión internacional de urgencia para tratar el conflicto, ha afirmado que Brasil está garantizando el derecho del presidente Zelaya de buscar refugio en su Embajada y ha hecho un llamamiento a Micheletti para que abra la vía de la negociación y así buscar una salida a la crisis. Hacemos “lo que cualquier país democrático haría”, ha dicho Lula a los periodistas. El mandatario brasileño también ha apelado a Zelaya para que se mantenga tranquilo y no dé argumentos a las autoridades golpistas para una violación de su legación. Zelaya, por su parte, ha asegurado que no pretende pedir asilo político a Brasil, sino sólo “protección”.

Micheletti había pedido a Brasil que diera asilo al mandatario depuesto en un golpe de Estado el pasado 28 de junio o que lo entregara a las autoridades hondureñas. Según el Gobierno golpista, la presencia policial en las afueras de la Embajada es como precaución para que no se reagrupen los simpatizantes de Zelaya. Sin embargo, fuentes cercanas a Zelaya afirman que dentro de la sede diplomática hay entre dos y tres centenares de personas, y que les han cortado la electricidad y agua. La presión viene por todas partes.

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Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

Micheletti, en un mensaje que leyó en la Casa Presidencial emitido por televisión, ha afirmado que “el Estado de Honduras está comprometido a respetar los derechos del señor Zelaya al debido proceso”, insistiendo en que el ex mandatario pretende “continuar obstaculizando la celebración de las elecciones el próximo 29 de noviembre, como lo han venido haciendo él y sus seguidores desde hace varias semanas”.

A primera hora de este martes, las fuerzas de seguridad hondureñas, apoyados con tanquetas que disparan agua a presión, gases lacrimógenos y balas de goma, dispersaron a los cientos de manifestantes concentrados ante la Embajada de Brasil en Tegucigalpa en respaldo de Zelaya. Una testigo dijo a EL PAÍS vía telefónica que cientos de policías, apoyados por efectivos militares, se presentaron a las 7.00 hora de Honduras (15.00 hora española) y desalojaron con violencia a los partidarios de Zelaya. “Estábamos tranquilos, cantando, cuando vinieron y nos desalojaron violentamente”, ha contado Jaqueline Espinal.

Espinal ha explicado también que los congregados, muchos provenientes del interior del país, salieron huyendo. “No estábamos haciendo nada malo, esta gente no quiere el diálogo”, dijo con voz nerviosa. Asegura que las fuerzas de seguridad han rodeado la sede diplomática que ha facilitado el refugio al presidente depuesto, que se mantiene dentro de la legación. Zelaya, posteriormente en declaraciones a Caracol Radio de Colombia, ha dicho que está “en peligro” y que las fuerzas de seguridad han rodeado completamente la Embajada.

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Reuters Septiembre 22, 2009

“La sangre está corriendo” en Honduras “desde el día del golpe de Estado”, pero “esta batalla sabemos que tenemos que ganarla de cualquier manera”, declaró Zelaya. La policía ha informado de que han sido detenidas unas 150 personas por los disturbios generados durante el desalojo y por no acatar el toque de queda.

La UE llama a la calma

Los sucesos ocurrieron después del llamamiento de la Unión Europea (UE), que ha urgido a Zelaya y al gobernante de facto del país centroamericano a “abstenerse de toda acción que pueda incrementar la tensión y la violencia”. La UE subraya la importancia de la solución negociada después de que Zelaya, que regresó por sorpresa el lunes a Tegucigalpa y se refugió en la Embajada de Brasil, advirtió de que nadie le volverá a sacar de su país y el Gobierno interino decretó el toque de queda.

En una breve declaración difundida en nombre de los Veintisiete, la presidencia sueca de la UE ha expresado su “firme apoyo” a los esfuerzos realizados por la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y, en particular, por su secretario general, José Miguel Insulza, para “facilitar el diálogo y la restauración del orden constitucional en Honduras”.

La UE no quiere que se repitan los episodios de violencia que siguieron al golpe de Estado que se dio el pasado mes de junio. El derrocado presidente de Honduras ha asegurado que su regreso a Honduras es definitivo y que su consigna seguirá siendo “patria, restitución o muerte”. Así lo expresó ante cientos de sus seguidores congregados frente a la legación diplomática.

Insulza ha hecho un “llamamiento a la calma a los actores involucrados en este proceso” para evitar que se produzcan incidentes violentos y exige que las “autoridades del Gobierno de facto se hagan responsables de la seguridad del mandatario derrocado.

Toque de queda

El Ejecutivo de Micheletti decretó el lunes el toque de queda en todo el territorio nacional para “conservar la calma”. Además, anunció el cierre de los cuatro aeropuertos internacionales que tiene el país a partir de este martes, que quedan bajo control del Ejército.

Zelaya, derrocado por un golpe de Estado el pasado 28 de junio, asegura que ha vuelto para encontrar una salida pacífica a la crisis política desencadenada tras su derrocamiento. “Estoy aquí en Tegucigalpa. Estoy aquí para la restauración de la democracia, para llamar al diálogo”, dijo en declaraciones recogidas por medios locales.

El ex dirigente, que agradeció públicamente al presidente Lula su apoyo al darle refugio en la Embajada, ha revelado que llegó a Honduras desde Nicaragua, país donde ha pasado la mayor parte del tiempo desde que fue derrocado en junio. Según ha relatado, su travesía duró más de 15 horas y tuvo que utilizar “diferentes transportes” para poder llegar a su país. “Tuve colaboración pero no puedo decirlo para que no molesten a nadie”, ha explicado.

Zelaya ya había intentado retornar en dos ocasiones a Honduras. En la primera, el 5 de julio, quiso aterrizar en Tegucigalpa en un avión del Gobierno venezolano procedente de Washington, pero se lo impidieron los militares, que obstaculizaron la pista de aterrizaje en medio de una gran manifestación en favor de Zelaya. En la segunda, el 24 de julio, por tierra desde Nicaragua a través del puesto fronterizo de Las Manos, tras permanecer dos horas en la zona neutral, regresó ante la presencia de contingentes militares en el lado hondureño con la orden de detenerle.

Cronología de la crisis

– 24 de marzo. Zelaya convoca para junio un referéndum sobre una reforma constitucional que permitiría su reelección.

– 20 de mayo. El presidente del Congreso, Roberto Micheletti, denuncia un plan para asesinarlo y acusa a Zelaya de pretender perpetuarse en el poder.

– 29 de mayo. Las elecciones son convocadas para el 29 de noviembre.

– 24 de junio. Cuatro días antes de que se celebre la consulta, Zelaya destituye al más alto jefe militar, Romeo Vásquez, por su negativa a instalar las urnas.

– 25 de junio. La Corte Suprema ordena la restitución de Vásquez.

– 28 de junio. Unos soldados detienen a Zelaya de madrugada en la casa presidencial y lo trasladan, en pijama, a Costa Rica. El Congreso designa a Micheletti como presidente interino.

– 30 de junio. La Asamblea General de la ONU pide a sus 192 miembros que sólo reconozcan al Gobierno de Zelaya.

– 1 de julio. La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) da al Gobierno de hecho 72 horas para restablecer la democracia, a lo que se niega y asegura que Zelaya será detenido si regresa al país.

– 4 de julio. La OEA suspende a Honduras, una sanción que influye en el otorgamiento de créditos internacionales.

– 5 de julio. El Gobierno de hecho impide el aterrizaje en el aeropuerto de Tegucigalpa de una aeronave en la que viajaba Zelaya. Un hombre muere de un tiro en los enfrentamientos entre el Ejército y seguidores de Zelaya.

– 7 de julio. Zelaya y Micheletti aceptan la mediación de Óscar Arias, presidente

de Costa Rica, en el conflicto.

– 8 de julio. Estados Unidos suspende temporalmente la ayuda no humanitaria.

– 20 de julio. La UE suspende la ayuda presupuestada a Honduras.

– 24 de julio. Zelaya llega a la frontera de Honduras y Nicaragua y permanece dos horas en zona neutral.

– 1 de agosto. El Gobierno de hecho levanta el toque de queda.

– 11 de agosto. España suspende un acuerdo militar con Honduras.

– 31 de agosto. Comienza la campaña electoral en Honduras.

– 3 de septiembre. Estados Unidos endurece las sanciones y bloquea con carácter permanente el envío de ayuda no humanitaria.

– 22 de septiembre. Zelaya regresa a Honduras y se refugia en la Embajada brasileña.

Detenido un español en los disturbios

El comisionado de la policía hondurena, Daniel Orellana, ha informado de la detención de un español, Antonio Porta Alvarez, de 41 anos, y vecino de Madrid, por atacar un coche patrulla. Ya está a disposicion de la fiscalía y ha sido informada la Embajada española.

PABLO ORDAZ

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Información Relacionada

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Comentarios – 437

Página 1 de 88

  • 437Arturo Garza – 23-09-2009 – 00:53:35hHay un antecedente que hay que recordar y que puede ocurrir nuevamente, en 1980 el Gobierno de Guatemala invadió la embajada de España, masacró a unos campesinos y asesinoó a varias personalidades y miembros del cuerpo diplomático. Se recuerda con honra a Del Arbol.
  • 436Gladis Hortencia Molina – 23-09-2009 – 00:53:31hya no aguantamos a Gorilety en Honduras por favor ayudennos pueblos amigos, nos estan matand poco a poco no aguantamos laepresion, toques de queda y mas violaciones a nuestros derechoscomo hondureños
  • 435Hector Chavez – 23-09-2009 – 00:51:42hComo es posble que ninguno de estos peridicos los mejores de España no publique el aspecto de corrupción del gobierno del el Presidente Jose Manuel Zelaya. Porque lo ignoran, sacarlo a la fuerza fue un error , pero ignora sus actos anteriores es otro error o un error aregla otro ?
  • 434El pueblo para el pueblo – 23-09-2009 – 00:47:13h¿Nadie a pensado que los problemas se resolverían con un tiro a Zelaya?, ¿que se habría conseguido? ¿un nuevo martir?, ¿acaso Lula haría algo una vez desaparecido Zelaya?, me parece que se está jugando con fuego y todos están poniendo cerillas, gasolina y papeles, al final el perdedor será como siempre el pueblo, ya que todos los demas dirigentes que se están dando golpes de pecho, estarán comodamente sentados en sus sillones viendo pasar el acontecer del país.
  • 433José Ovalle – 23-09-2009 – 00:43:54hMayor cinismo imposible! No entrarán por la fuerza y pueden estar 10 años…Pero por otra parte cortan los servicios fundamentales y mantienen sitiada la embajada. Asi reaccionaron las fuerzas fascistas enloquecidas que mantuvieron rodeada la embajada de Cuba en Caracas durante el efímero golpe de estado en Venezuela en abril de 2002. Incluso uno de estos fanáticos gritaba en declaraciones a un canal de televisión cómplice del golpe que las personas que permanecían dentro de la delagación se tendrían que comer las alfombras porque no les permitirían el ingreso de alimentos. Cualquier parecido es pura coincidencia!
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For full article click here

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate, Shantel Beach

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Press release 09.228

PANAMAX 2009 and Honduras: Did They or Didn’t They Attend the Annual War Games?

In another blow against the prestige of the de facto government, ousted President Manuel Zelaya’s unexpected return to Honduras has complicated matters for interim President Roberto Micheletti, who helped plan the seizure of the government on June 28. As public demonstrations suggest, a growing number of Hondurans now appear to be aligning in support of Zelaya. Several thousand of his supporters rallied at the Brazilian Embassy where Zelaya took refuge after arriving last night on Honduran soil. The interim government did not respond kindly to the public display of support for the ousted president, imposing a military curfew from 4 pm Monday to 6 pm Tuesday. El Heraldo, the Tegucigalpa daily, reported that 200 demonstrators were arrested after violence erupted as a result of confrontation between the protesters and the police. The Brazilian Embassy has al so been cut off from water and electricity, food is scarce.

As violence and repression ensue in Honduras, recent events in Panama are reminiscent of Washington’s traditional approach to hemispheric policy, which in the past has been marked by lies and deceit. As the PANAMAX military exercises came to a close on September 21, it still remains unclear whether Honduran military units were present for these maneuvers, as was planned before the military-led coup. Although the twenty other participants in the PANAMAX joint maneuvers have refused to recognize the illegitimate interim government, the U.S., Honduras, and Panama have released conflicting information regarding whether or not the Honduran military was in attendance. If Honduras has taken part in or were designated as affidavit observers to the games —as some evidence suggests—the U.S. as well as the other countries that condemned the coup will be exposed for their implicit collusi on with the illegal government led by Roberto Micheletti.For full article click here

This analysis was prepared by COHA Staff, coordinated by Research Associate Shantel Beach and assisted by Andres Esteban Ochoa, Jorge Aguilar and Christina Esquivel

Canada and Honduras: Act Now

If Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to be taken seriously as an international figure, he must be able to simultaneously juggle domestic and international crises without dropping the ball. While the Liberal opposition threatens to bring down Harper’s minority government daily, the Tories must avoid losing sight of the bigger picture when it comes to the rest of the hemisphere. Ottawa policy makers and government agency heads should not allow themselves to become so enamored with partisan squabbles that they forget Canada’s overriding commitment to democracy, which was recently lost on Honduras. Canadian leaders can not afford to delay international action in favour of petty matters closer to home, especially when Canada’s reputation for public rectitude is at stake. There is no time better than the present for the maple leaf flag to rise to the occasion and respond to Honduras’ crisis with its traditional commitment to constitutional ascendancy.

Honduras at a Glimpse

While the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, remains ousted by the coup that unseated him at gunpoint, Roberto Micheletti (the de facto president) continues to hold power. Yesterday, on September 21, Zelaya made a surprise return to Honduras, and is currently residing in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. In an arrogant and thoroughly unconstitutional campaign to uphold Zelaya’s exile, Micheletti has sought to keep the reigns of power in his hands until scheduled elections are staged on November 29th. Upon Zelaya’s return, José Miguel Insulza, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), called on both sides to remain calm.

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Truthout Original

The Road to Zelaya’s Return: Money, Guns and Social Movements in Honduras

Tuesday 22 September 2009

by: Benjamin Dangl, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

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Nearly three months after being overthrown by a violent military coup, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned to Honduras. “I am here in Tegucigalpa. I am here for the restoration of democracy, to call for dialogue,” he told reporters. The embattled road to his return tested regional diplomacy, challenged Washington and galvanized Honduran social movements.

During a recent beach-side interview, with tropical breezes blowing along a sandy shore in the background, Honduran coup leader Roberto Micheletti told a Fox News reporter, “This is a quiet country, and a happy country.”[1] However, since Micheletti took over on June 28, Honduras has been anything but quiet and content.

Micheletti’s de facto regime has ruled the country with an iron fist while popular movements for democracy have gained steam with nearly constant strikes, road blockades and massive street protests. The coup inspired a movement that is now seeking more than just the reinstatement of Zelaya, but the transformation of the country through a new Constitution. Micheletti says presidential elections in November will proceed as planned, though few Hondurans, governments and international institutions say they will recognize the results given the violent situation in the country.

At least 11 anti-coup activists have been killed since Zelaya was ousted.[2] Following the coup, approximately 1,500 people have been jailed for political purposes, and many Zelaya supporters have been beaten.[3] Via Campesina offices have been attacked, and the Feminists of Honduras in Resistance said that there have been 19 documented cases of rape by police officers since the coup took place.[4] The newspaper El Tiempo reported that armed groups in Colombia have been recruiting demobilized paramilitaries for mercenary work in Honduras. Honduras business leaders are hiring these paramilitaries for their own private security.[5]

Though Zelaya was a relatively moderate president, his policies challenged the elite enough to inspire a right wing coup. While in office, he passed a 60 percent increase in minimum wage, bringing income up from around $6 a day to $9.60 a day.[6] Zelaya also gave subsidies to small farmers, cut bank interest rates and reduced poverty.[7] Salvador Zuniga, a leader of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) said, “One of the things that provoked the coup d’etat was that the president accepted a petition from the feminist movement regarding the day-after pill. Opus Dei mobilized, the fundamentalist evangelical churches mobilized, along with all the reactionary groups.”[8]

“Maybe he made mistakes,” Honduran school teacher Hedme Castro said of Zelaya, “but he always erred on the side of the poor. That is why they will fight to the end for him.” She continued, “This is not about President Zelaya. This is about my country. Many people gave their lives so that we could have a democracy. And we cannot let a group of elites take that away.”[9]

Ignoring the relevance of the Organization of American States, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Zelaya and Micheletti to meet with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to work out a solution to the crisis. Many believe Clinton made the move to impose conditions on Zelaya’s return and kill time as the November elections neared. Zelaya has accepted Arias’ proposed solution, which entails his return to the presidency with limited powers, plus amnesty for those who have committed political crimes in the country. Micheletti rejected the Arias’ solution.[10]

While repression of anti-coup activists increases, so does the movement for democracy in Honduras. This broad coalition of activists has the support of many of the governments in the hemisphere, and has the backing of the country’s 1982 Constitution, which explains, “No one owes obedience to a government which usurps power nor those who assume public functions or employment through the use of arms…. The people [of this country] have the right to recur to insurrection in defense of constitutional order.”[11] This insurrection is taking place right now.

Voices of the Resistance in Honduras

Protests, strikes and road blockades have been going on in the country almost daily since Zelaya was ousted. Many of the interviews with activists participating in these protests offer insight into the relationship between Zelaya and the movement, and what might lie ahead for the country.

“This struggle is peaceful, organized, and is not getting desperate. The coup leaders are getting desperate – they haven’t been able to govern a single day in tranquility and we will defeat them,” said Israel Salinas, a leader of the National Front Against the Coup in Honduras and member of the Unified Confederation of Honduran Workers.[12]

Honduran women’s rights activist Marielena spoke of the current reality under the Micheletti regime, “Today’s not the same as the ’80s because there’s a popular movement that the coup leaders never imagined … What Zelaya has done is symbolize the popular discontent accumulated over the years.”[13]

Bertha Cáceres, a leader of COPINH, the Front Against the Coup, and a mother of four children, spoke of the importance of the constituent assembly to rewrite the country’s Constitution. It was partly this push for constitutional reform, which Zelaya backed along with broad support from the Honduran people, that led to the coup. When speaking of the assembly, Cáceres says, “For the first time we would be able to establish a precedent for the emancipation of women, to begin to break these forms of domination. The current constitution never mentions women, not once, so to establish our human rights, our reproductive, sexual, political, social, and economic rights as women would be to really confront this system of domination.”[14]

Cáceres discussed the work of the women’s movement for the new Constitution “to dismantle this belief that others have the right to make decisions about our bodies, to start guaranteeing that women are the owners and have autonomous rights to their bodies. It is a political act; a political proposal…. The ability to have and guarantee access to land, territories, cultures, health, education, art, dignified and decent employment for women, and many other things, are elements that we must guarantee in this process of a new constitutional assembly that leads to a real process of liberation.”[15]

Gilberto Rios, from the Front Against the Coup spoke of how the coup has galvanized a broad movement in the country. “In the past, when we called for people to protest in the streets, they came out, but not in the same numbers as what is happening now. In recent days, we have had protests that start in the morning and stay in the streets all day. At night, there are convoys of cars in major cities. It shows that the workers are participating, and the middle class is also coming out.” He also affirmed that the movement is entirely grassroots. “The leftist political parties recognize they do not control any part of the popular movement.”[16]

Leticia Salomón, the director of Scientific Research for the National Autonomous University of Honduras said, “It doesn’t matter who wins the elections in November, the next government will have to deal with this important social force if it hopes to even minimally govern the country.”[17]

World Isolates Coup Regime

At the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico in August, President Barack Obama said, “Critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can’t have it both ways.”[18] But as New York University history Professor and author Greg Grandin points out, all many are asking is for the US to act multilaterally with the OAS – it did the opposite by defying the OAS and appointing Arias as the mediator between Micheletti and Zelaya. In addition, through its financial support to the regime, the US has been far from taking a neutral stance.[19] Indeed, Washington has been acting unilaterally since the beginning by not refusing to follow the lead of other nations in putting more pressure on the coup government.[20]

However, US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said on September 3, “At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the [November] elections [in Honduras].”[21] Zelaya was happy to hear this news from Washington. He said the move “puts the United States in line with Latin America, because it was not said before.”[22]

In addition to the US, the EU, the OAS, union leaders in Honduras and members of the Front Against the Coup say they will not recognize the election results.[23] Honduras business owners have devised their own plan to increase voting; they’ll be giving discounts to everyone who casts a ballot and then comes into their business with ink on their fingers, showing that they’ve voted.[24]

The US State Department did end up revoking the US visas of over a dozen officials in the coup government, including Micheletti.[25] But the US could go further by blocking members of the regime from using US banks.[26]

Various levels of funding to Honduras from the US and other governments and institutions have been cut since the coup took place. “On September 3, the State Department announced the termination of 33 million dollars, including $11 million in Millennium Challenge Funds and approximately $22 million in State Department funds,” according to Latin American analyst Laura Carlsen. The IMF said that due to the coup, Honduras won’t have access to $150 million in assistance.[27] A spokesperson from the IMF said the institution cut off all aid to the country three days after the coup.[28]

On July 2, the US cut the following spending: $1.9 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and $16.5 million in military funding.[29] The Inter-American Development Bank and the Central American Bank of Economic Integration all cut lending to the Honduran government.[30] The UN has cut off various forms of aid to Honduras.[31] In addition, the EU froze $92 million in aid and the OAS froze aid and began trade blocks against the coup government.[32]

However, “For legalistic reasons, [the US State Department] continued to fall short of calling the coup a ‘military’ coup,” explained Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy. “This means that some anti-poverty aid is being maintained, soldiers whose training was already paid for won’t be sent back to Honduras, and State can flexibly restore aid once democracy returns.”[33]

“State Department officials closed the door on determining legally that a military coup took place in Honduras and requiring application of Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations law,” Carlsen explained.

“They assured reporters that all funds that could be suspended under Section 7008 have now been suspended … The State Department has admitted that $70 million in aid – over twice the amount suspended – will still flow to the coup.”[34]

The Kansas City-based Cross-Border Network went on a delegation to Honduras after the coup and reported, “We met the U.S Ambassador who agreed it was a military coup even though the State Department won’t call it that, thus invoking the law requiring cut off of all remaining aid.”[35]

Declaring the coup a coup, according to Grandin, “would automatically trigger certain cutoffs, financial cutoffs, it also would have to be certified by Congress. And that’s a fight that I think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton don’t want, because the Republicans, led by Connie Mack and other foreign policy conservatives, regime change conservatives, Republicans, have seized on this issue to basically try to link Obama with Hugo Chavez and the Latin American left. And they certainly don’t want to kick it into Congress, where it’ll be debated, because to call it a coup would have to be certified by Congress.”[36]

But the Obama administration needs to understand that what’s at stake is more important than winning a political fight in Washington. The future of a nation, and perhaps the entire region, hangs in the balance.

“The true significance of the coup, in one of the poorest and weakest countries in the hemisphere … lies in the test it poses to the inter-American system,” says Jorge Heine of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. “If the latter cannot succeed in restoring democracy in Honduras, it cannot do so anywhere. The message would thus be crystal clear: coup-makers can act with impunity.”[37]

Washington’s Ties to the Coup

Washington has played a bloody role in Central America for years and this coup carries on that legacy while setting some new precedents. Fernando “Billy” Joya has returned to the stage in Honduras as Micheletti’s security adviser after serving in Battalion 316 in the 1980s, according to Grandin. Battalion 316 was a paramilitary unit that disappeared hundreds of people.[38] Joya was trained in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship by Chilean police, and his Battalion 316 was created by the CIA to apply the repressive techniques used against “subversives” in Argentina and Chile.[39]

In 1981, John Negroponte arrived in Honduras as the US ambassador. While there, the military budget in the country rose from $3.6 million in 1981 to $77.8 million in 1985 “when his mission was completed – having created the Contras in Nicaragua and protected the El Salvadoran dictatorship,” according to Honduras-based reporter Dick Emanuelsson.[40] Negroponte met with Micheletti before the June 28 coup on a trip made primarily to convince Zelaya not to transform a US airbase in Palmerola, Honduras, into an airport for civilians.[41]

Venezuelan Robert Carmona-Borjas has also joined the coup government in Honduras. He was involved in the attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002. Carmona-Borjas’ Arcadio Foundation began a media campaign against Zelaya in 2007.[42]

Lanny Davis, a lawyer to Bill Clinton and campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton, has been lobbying in Washington for Honduran coup leaders and elites. Some of the businesses that support the coup in Honduras that Davis is representing in DC are US companies such as Russell, Fruit of the Loom and Hanes – all of which have benefited from the low wages, neoliberal policies and crackdowns on union rights in the country.[43] Davis recently testified before Congress on behalf of the coup leaders and backers, and has helped to get media on the coup’s side.[44]

The week before the coup, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Thomas Shannon and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Craig Kelly met with Honduran figures that ended up participating in the coup.[45] Days before the coup took place, John McCain and leaders from the International Republican Institute, invited future leaders of the coup to meetings in Washington.[46]

US businesses also hold a considerable amount of weight in the country: In 2006, 70 percent of exports from Honduras went to the US, and 52 percent of imports were from the US. That same year, US investments in the country totaled more than $568 million, two thirds of foreign investment.[47]

A Movement Larger Than Zelaya

Just as the coup may change the geopolitical landscape of the region, the grassroots fervor in Honduras will likely alter the country forever. And that might be Micheletti’s legacy – that in ousting a moderate president, he inspired a revolution.

When trying to break the political impasse Honduras finds itself in, Zelaya admits that much depends on the anti-coup movement of Honduras. “This movement is now very strong. It can never be destroyed,” he said.[48]

The coup leaders “were wrong here, they miscalculated,” Honduran activist Bertha Cáceres of the Front Against the Coup and COPINH explained. “They said it would be two days of resistance, and they were wrong. This population has demonstrated that we are capable of … a much longer struggle.”[49]

Gilberto Rios, from the Front Against the Coup, spoke of the similarities this coup has to others throughout the last century that still haunt the region: “The oligarchy made the coup with an old manual, but the people have changed and the world has changed.”[50]

Notes:

[1] Interview with Roberto Micheletti, Fox News, (September 17, 2009).http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/26446742/roberto-micheletti-pt-1.htm#q=micheletti
[2] Greg Grandin, “The Battle for Honduras and the Region,” The Nation, (August 12, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090831/grandin/print
[3] Daniel Luban, “US-Honduras: State Dept Condemns ‘Coup d’Etat’, Curtails Aid,” IPS News, (September 3, 2009) http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48323
[4] “Group Says Honduran Cops on Rape Spree Since Coup,” Latin American Herald Tribune. http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=341851&CategoryId=23558
[5] Unidad Investigativa, “Estarían reclutando ex paramilitares para que viajen como mercenarios a Honduras,” El Tiempo. http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/justicia/estarian-reclutando-ex-paramilitares-para-que-viajen-como-mercenarios-a-honduras_6086547-1
[6] Ginger Thompson, “President’s Ouster Highlights a Divide in Honduras,” The New York Times, (August 8, 2009). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/world/americas/09honduras.html?pagewanted=print
[7] Tom Hayden, “Zelaya Speaks,” The Nation, (September 4, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/hayden_zelaya
[8] Laura Carlsen, “Coup Catalyzes Honduran Women’s Movement,” America Program, (August 20, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6369
[9] Ginger Thompson, “President’s Ouster Highlights a Divide in Honduras,” The New York Times, (August 8, 2009). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/world/americas/09honduras.html?pagewanted=print
[10] Juan Ramón Durán, “Honduras: Vote to Go Ahead Despite Int’l Refusal to Recognise,” IPS News, (September 9, 2009). http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48385
[11] Jennifer Moore, “Honduras’ Historic Two Months,” América Latina en Movimiento, (August 28, 2009). http://alainet.org/active/32686ã
[12] Dick Emanuelsson, “Military Forces Sow Terror and Fear in Honduras,” Americas Program, (August 13, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6354
[13] Laura Carlsen, “Coup Catalyzes Honduran Women’s Movement,” America Program, (August 20, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6369
[14] Ibid.
[15] Laura Carlsen and Sara Lovera, “Honduran Constitutional Assembly Would Be a Step Toward the Emancipation of Women,” Americas Program, (August 19, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6392
[16] Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, “Honduras – Resistance leader: US is behind the coup,” Green Left Weekly, (September 7, 2009). http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/809/41602
[17] Jennifer Moore, “National opposition to coup becomes a social force,” América Latina en Movimiento, (September 12, 2009). http://alainet.org/active/32978〈=en
[18] Cheryl W. Thompson and William Booth, “Obama Vows to Focus on Borders,” Washington Post, (August 11, 2009). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081001797.html
[19] Greg Grandin, “The Battle for Honduras and the Region,” The Nation, (August 12, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090831/grandin/print
[20] Amy Oyler, “The Resurgence of US Interventionism in Latin America,” Z Communications, (August 31, 2009). http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/22466
[21] Ian Kelly, “Termination of Assistance and Other Measures Affecting the De Facto Regime in Honduras,” US Department of State, (September 3, 2009). http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/sept/128608.htm
[22] Tom Hayden, “Zelaya’s Coup,” The Nation, (September 3, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/hayden_web
[23] Juan Ramón Durán, “Honduras: Vote to Go Ahead Despite Int’l Refusal to Recognise,” IPS News, (September 9, 2009). http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48385
[24] “Honduran Resistance Boycotts Elections,” Weekly News Update on the Americas, (September 13, 2009). http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com/2009/09/wnu-1004-honduran-resistance-boycotts.html
[25] “State Dept. Revokes Visa of Leader of Honduran Coup Government,” Democracy Now!, (September 14, 2009). http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/14/headlines#7
[26] “US stops issuing visas in Honduras,” Al Jazeera, (August 26, 2009). http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/08/200982601353122962.html
[27] Jorge Heine, “It’s time for Canada to take a strong stand on Honduras,” The Globe and Mail, (September 18, 2009). http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/its-time-for-canada-to-take-a-strong-stand-on-honduras/article1287401/
[28] “Honduran Resistance Boycotts Elections,” Weekly News Update on the Americas, (September 13, 2009). http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com/2009/09/wnu-1004-honduran-resistance-boycotts.html
[29] Ibid.
[30] Mark Weisbrot, “IMF: Stop Funding Honduras,” The Guardian Unlimited, (September 3, 2009). http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/sep/03/imf-honduras-aid-zelaya
[31] “EU threatens further sanctions on Honduras,” Reuters, (September 15, 2009). http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLF361596._CH_.2400
[32] Amy Oyler, “The Resurgence of US Interventionism in Latin America,” Z Communications, (August 31, 2009). http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/22466
[33] Adam Isacson, “Another Baby Step on Honduras,” Huffington Post, (September 3, 2009). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-isacson/another-baby-step-on-hond_b_276972.html
[34] Laura Carlsen, Americas MexicoBlog, “Honduran Coup Squeezed From Above and Below – But is it Enough to Restore Democracy?,” (September 10, 2009). http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/2009/09/honduran-coup-squeezed-from-above-and.html
[35] OneWorld, “US Chided for Aiding Honduras Despite Coup,” Common Dreams, (September 9, 2009). http://www.commondreams.org/print/46772
[36] “US Cuts More Aid to Honduras as Zelaya Meets Clinton in Washington,” Democracy Now!, (September 4, 2009). http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/4/us_cuts_more_aid_to_honduras
[37] Olivia Ward, “Raising the stakes in Honduras,” The Star, (September 6, 2009). http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/691633
[38] Greg Grandin, “The Battle for Honduras and the Region,” The Nation, (August 12, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090831/grandin/print
[39] Dick Emanuelsson, “Honduras: The Frontline in the Battle for Democracy,” Americas Program, (August 10, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6337
[40] Ibid.
[41] Michaela D’Ambrosio, “The Honduran Coup: Was it a Matter of Behind-the-Scenes Finagling by State Department Stonewallers?,” Council on Hemispheric Affairs, (September 16, 2009). http://www.coha.org/2009/09/the-honduran-coup-was-it-a-matter-of-behind-the-scenes-finagling-by-state-department-stonewallers/
[42] Greg Grandin, “The Battle for Honduras and the Region,” The Nation, (August 12, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090831/grandin/print
[43] Amy Oyler, “The Resurgence of US Interventionism in Latin America,” Z Communications, (August 31, 2009). http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/22466
[44] Mark Weisbrot, “Who’s in charge of US foreign policy?” The Guardian Unlimited, (July 16, 2009). http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jul/16/honduras-coup-obama-clinton/print
[45] Michaela D’Ambrosio, “The Honduran Coup: Was it a Matter of Behind-the-Scenes Finagling by State Department Stonewallers?,” Council on Hemispheric Affairs, (September 16, 2009). http://www.coha.org/2009/09/the-honduran-coup-was-it-a-matter-of-behind-the-scenes-finagling-by-state-department-stonewallers/
[46] Amy Oyler, “The Resurgence of US Interventionism in Latin America,” Z Communications, (August 31, 2009). http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/22466
[47] Amy Oyler, “The Resurgence of US Interventionism in Latin America,” Z Communications, (August 31, 2009). http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/22466
[48] Tom Hayden, “Zelaya Speaks,” The Nation, (September 4, 2009). http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/hayden_zelaya
[49] Laura Carlsen and Sara Lovera, “Honduran Constitutional Assembly Would Be a Step Toward the Emancipation of Women,” Americas Program, (August 19, 2009). http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6392
[50] Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, “Honduras – Resistance leader: US is behind the coup,” Green Left Weekly, (September 7, 2009). http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/809/41602

Taxi Driver is a 1976 film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The movie is set in New York City, soon after the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro and features Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd, and a young Jodie Foster. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including “Best Picture”, and won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.

talkin to me?

Plot

Travis Bickle (De Niro) is a lonely and depressed young man of 26. His origins are unknown. He occasionally sends his parents cards, lying about his life and saying he works for the government on a secret project. He settles in Manhattan, where he becomes a night time taxi driver due to chronic insomnia. Bickle spends his restless days in seedy porn theaters and works 12 or 14 hour shifts during the evening and night time hours carrying passengers among all five boroughs of New York City. He keeps a diary which is used as narration throughout the film. An honorably discharged Marine, it is strongly implied that he is a Vietnam veteran; he keeps a charred flag of South Vietnam in his squalid apartment and has a large scar on his back.

Bickle becomes interested in Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign volunteer for New York Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris), who is running for the presidential nomination and is promising dramatic social change. She is initially intrigued by Bickle and agrees to a date with him after he flirts with her over coffee and sympathizes with her own apparent loneliness. She compares him to a character in the Kris Kristofferson song “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”: “He’s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction – a walking contradiction.” On their date, however, Bickle is clueless about how to treat a woman and thinks it would be a good idea to take her to a Swedish sex education film (Language of Love). Offended, she leaves him and takes a taxi home alone. The next day he tries to reconcile with Betsy, phoning her and sending her flowers, but all of his attempts are in vain.

Rejected and depressed, Bickle’s thoughts begin to turn violent. Disgusted by the petty street crime (especially prostitution) that he witnesses while driving through the city, he now finds a focus for his frustration and begins a program of intense physical training. He buys a number of pistols from an illegal dealer, Easy Andy (Steven Prince) and practices a menacing speech in the mirror, while pulling out a pistol that he attached to a home-made sliding action holster on his right arm (“You talkin’ to me?“). He develops an ominously intense interest in Senator Palantine’s public appearances, and it seems that he somehow blames the presidential hopeful for his own failure at wooing Betsy and maybe hopes to include her boss in his growing list of targets. In an accidental warm-up, Bickle randomly walks into a robbery in a run-down grocery and shoots the robber (Nat Grant) in the face; adding to the bizarre violence, the grocery owner (Victor Argo) encourages Bickle (who has no permit for his guns) to flee the scene and then proceeds to club the near-dead stickup man with a steel pole.

One night while on shift, Iris (Jodie Foster), a 12-year-old child prostitute, gets in his cab, attempting to escape her pimp. Shocked by the occurrence, Bickle fails to drive off and the pimp, “Sport” (Harvey Keitel), reaches the cab. Sport gives Bickle a crumpled twenty-dollar bill, which haunts Bickle with the memory of his failure to help. Later seeing Iris on the street he pays for her time, although he does not have sex with her and instead tries to convince her to leave this way of life behind. The next day, they meet for breakfast, and Bickle becomes obsessed with saving this naïve child-woman, who thinks hanging out with hookers, pimps, and drug dealers is more ‘hip’ than dating young boys and going to school.

Bickle acquires a crude Mohawk haircut for a public rally in which he actually attempts to assassinate Senator Palantine. He is spotted by Secret Service men and flees. Bickle returns to his apartment and then drives to Alphabet City, where he shoots Sport in the abdomen, after which he storms into the brothel and kills the bouncer. After the wounded Sport confronts Bickle, Bickle shoots him again, fatally, as well as Iris’ mafioso customer. He then calmly tries repeatedly to fire a bullet into his own head from under his chin, but all the weapons are empty, so he resigns himself to resting on a sofa until police arrive on the scene of mayhem and carnage.

A brief epilogue shows Bickle recuperating from the incident. He has received a handwritten letter from Iris’s parents who thank him for saving their daughter, and the media hail him as a hero for saving her as well. Bickle blithely returns to his job, where one night one of his fares happens to be Betsy. She comments about his saving of Iris and Bickle’s own media fame, yet Bickle denies being any sort of hero. He drops her off without charging her and continues driving into the night–though not before hearing a small, piercing noise which causes him to stare hesitantly at an unseen object in his taxi’s rearview mirror–possibly indicating a relapse of his past violent tendencies seen earlier in the film.[1]

[edit] Cast


Benjamin Dangl is the author of the forthcoming book, “Dancing With Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America,” (AK Press, 2010). He edits TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events. Email Bendangl@gmail.com.