As predicted, Chavez is now pouring resources through his legal beach-head at Zelaya’s Brazilian Embassy. Apart from providing cash-for-protests, Zelayistas are working along several fronts to undermine the legitimacy of the interim regime and of November elections. They are creating a parallel government and are also forcing the existing government into cracking down. They know that crack-downs reduce the Michelletti regime’s ability to say it has law and the population on its side.
External forces are using Zelaya’s presence as cover to become more aggressive. IMF monies withheld from the interim government are already in process of being appropriated to the Zelaya “counter-coup”, and the United Nations is about to listen to Brazil up the ante in support. The stage is being set for an explicit intervention at the request of the same Zelaya government that foreign powers are artificially erecting. In this light it was the right move for Honduras to exclude the OEA delegation; the organization by its actions has already shown its agenda and having local agents on the ground will only cause further mischief.
The placement of Zelaya in the Brazilian Embassy was a brilliant move by Chavez as it increased the value of a chess piece that he had always been willing to sacrifice. If events spin out of control and Zelaya is somehow martyred, Venezuela will still have succeeded in undermining the legitimacy of the regime (and a parallel government will allow the process to survive if Zelaya does not). Meanwhile, the presence of the deposed President within Tegucigalpa (but not within national jurisdiction) provides just enough cover for the major players to push events in the direction they would like them to go. Hugo Llorens, US ambassador to Honduras and long-time friend of Zelaya, is rumored to be involved in the planning to create the parallel government.
A parallel government, however, means little without an armed force. The initial force is coming from the paid agitators and gangs who thrive on chaos. But the permanent force will come from abroad, and it will arrive through the US airbase at Palmerola. Foreign powers are almost at the stage where they will be able to justify this second force with or without Zelaya. An assault on the Brazilian embassy would be enough to push them over the line, despite the un-diplomatic calls for insurrection emanating from within.
The interim government may have no choice but to undertake such an assault. Those who criticize the suspension of rights announced today do not realize the extent of the intervention by foreign powers. There are no good faith actors driving the process at the UN or in the international press. Honduran sovereignty is under a new kind of slow-motion virtual assault. It is a rape that other small countries would do well to watch closely.