Honduran National Resistance Update 11/5
(So, Jim DeMint is the Fat Lady!)
By Lesley Clark
WASHINGTON — An outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis in Honduras late Thursday dropped his opposition to two State Department nominees, saying that the administration has reversed course.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint said on the Senate floor that he’d spoken with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who told him that the administration would recognize the election Nov. 29 in Honduras, “regardless of whether former President Manuel Zelaya is returned to office.”
“I am happy to report the Obama administration has finally reversed its misguided Honduran policy and will fully recognize the Nov. 29 elections,” DeMint said, noting that the stance means he’ll lift his objection to the nominations of Arturo Valenzuela to be assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs and Thomas Shannon to be the U.S. ambassador to Brazil.
At Valenzuela’s confirmation hearing July 8, DeMint argued that the administration had made the wrong call by pushing for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s return to power.
DeMint said Thursday, however, that he’d spoken with Clinton and Shannon, who’d told him that the U.S. would recognize the outcome of the Honduran elections regardless of whether Zelaya is reinstated.
“I take our administration at their word that they will now side with the Honduran people and end their focus on the disgraced Zelaya,” DeMint said.
Zelaya’s supporters have promised to disrupt the elections if he doesn’t return to office, and almost all foreign governments have said they won’t recognize the winner of the presidential election unless Zelaya is allowed to finish serving his term.
Shannon, the State Department’s top Latin America diplomat, seemed to undercut that position Tuesday, however, when he told CNN en Espanol that last week’s agreement between Zelaya and interim President Roberto Micheletti meant that the Obama administration would recognize the winner regardless of whether the Honduran Congress voted to restore Zelaya.
>Breaking news on US-Colombia military agreement I mentioned in last night’s update.
This is an article by Eva Golinger
November 5, 2009
Dr. Luther Castillo — Voice of the Voiceless in Honduras
San Francisco Bay View , News Report, Willie Thompson, Posted: Nov 05, 2009
“Doctor Luther! Doctor Luther, give it to the Honduras oligarchy hard!” Dr. Luther Castillo, who represents the National Resistance Front against the Military Coup in Honduras, brought to San Francisco the echoes of Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro on Thursday night at the Centro del Pueblo. He spoke for almost two hours with passion, conviction and a keen understanding of the savage rule of the minority oligarchic coup government in Honduras.
“More than 40 people have been shot down in the street and many women have been raped by the coup government. Ten families who control 90 percent of the wealth have closed the Garifuna hospital. They have expelled the Cuban doctors and teachers who treat the sick in isolated communities and eliminated illiteracy in six months.
“These oligarchs haven’t paid taxes or utilities for 38 years. They live in big houses and refuse to pay minimum wages to the workers. How can we be at the side of these rapists and assassins?” he asked rhetorically in response to a questioner who said she and her Honduran family represent the minority who support he coup government in Honduras. The audience of more than 100 Hispanic-, African-, Asian- and European-Americans shouted their enthusiastic support for Dr. Luther.
The National Resistance Front against the Military Coup in Honduras has been demonstrating in the streets of Honduras for more than four months and has absorbed the repression of the coup government. The Resistance is now asking for the support of the international community.
“Companeros y companeras, it’s time to raise our voices and to call on the heroic people of the United States in order to stop the barbarity of the coup government in Honduras. Where are the voices of humanity? Where is the solidarity? Where is the Nobel Peace Prize?” Dr. Castillo asked finally with sarcasm.
“We are not in agreement with the compromise of San Jose, Costa Rica,” he said. “The oligarchy cannot name their family members to lead us. We have decided to be the voice of the voiceless and the poor because no clean election can be held under the present conditions in Honduras.”
The Honduran oligarchy must now answer to the Honduran Resistance Front and its international allies.
“Honduras is only a laboratory, an experiment. If it succeeds it will be repeated in other countries in Latin America. ‘Patria o muerto. Venceremos!’” Luther concluded with the same words Fidel Castro frequently used to conclude his speeches to the Cuban people. “We haven’t heard such a speech in San Francisco for a long time,” Gloria La Riva said as she asked the audience for financial support, before beginning the question and answer period.
Dr. Castillo is founder of the Garifuna hospital in Ciriboya and was named director of international cooperation in the Honduran Foreign Ministry by the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya before he was overthrown by the military this year on June 28. The hospital is supported by the Sacramento Labor Council, Global Links, The Birthing Project, MEDICC and others.
Dr. Luther spoke at a fundraising event for the National Resistance Front Against the Military Coup in Honduras. The event was sponsored by the Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition, (415) 821-6545. Dr. Castillo may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 5, 2009
THE TRAP OF THE ACCORDS OF THE GUAYMURAS-TEGUCIGALPA-SAN JOSÉ DIALOGUE”
The Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in the face of the signing of the accords to seek a solution to the crisis generatied by the military coup d’etat against the people of Honduras, emits the following communiqué:
1. We have no trust in the negotiating commission of the coup regime given that they have never demonstrated a willingness to reinstate the constitutional president of the republic and its only purpose is to buy time to consolidate the objectives of the coup d’etat in looting the national treasury and imposing neoliberal projects of privatization of natural resources and state institutions.
2. We denounce the malicious and intentional attitude of the government of the United States of America, who take on ambiguous positions but behind the scenes have supported the coup-makers and if not how can they explain that in the kidnapping of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales they used the Palmerola base?
If the yankees had so much will to contribute to the resolution of this crisis, why so much tolerance, patience and complacency with the coup-makers in lending themselves to a dialogue where they present deceiving agreements as a solution?
3. We call out people not to rest until we achieve the convoking of a popular and democratic national constitutional assembly, which should be made up of the different social sectors of the country such as women, feminists, youth, indigenous and black peoples, workers, the LGTB community, community councils, representatives of marginalized neighborhoods, teachers, artists, peasants, honest business people, intellectuals, professionals, the informal economy sector, alternative media, among others.
4. We urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements in which the mediation shouldn’t be to the liking and oversight of the yankee government, which has helped drive the coup d’etat against our people, but instead by people like Rigoberta Menchu, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, democratic countries that make up the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) and UNASUR, foundations like the Carter Foundation, social movements of hte countries of Latin America and the world like the Landless Peoples Movement of Brazil, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, the Scream of the Excluded, Jubilee South, the Convergence of Popular Movements of the Americas, the School of the Americas Watch, the platforms of solidarity with the Honduran people and others. For this the front should name a negotiating commission that understands that the coup-makers are perverse and that the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. government in general are driving the coup d’etat and proposing as key points the restitution of the President of the Republic Manuel Zelaya Rosales to govern for the time that the coup-makers robbed of his governing period, the installation of a national constitutional assembly and the dissolution of the coup congress, of the coup supreme court, of the coup public ministry, the reduction and purging of the armed forves, the definitive purging of hte national police and the punishment of the people involved in the coup d’etat and the violation of human rights.
5. We urge once again to the candidates of the Democratic Unification Party, the Popular Independent Candidacy, the PINU party and the Liberals who are in resistance to be consistent and renounce once and for all the participation in the electoral farce set up by the coup-makers, to our people we urge you not to participate in the electoral circus and to boycott that act of the coup-makers.
6. To the international solidarity we invite you to strengthen the support to the Honduran people not just as a principle of solidarity but for reasons of self-defense since if the coup-makers consolidate in Honduras the democratic spring of the peoples of the world and particularly the peoples of our America will end.
HERE NOBODY IS GIVING UP!
With the ancestral force of Lempira, Iselaca, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices filled with life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace.
Given in Intibucá on the 4th of November, 2009
November 5, 2009
Honduras’ Most Prominent Human Rights Expert Calls on Obama Administration to Denounce “Grave Human Rights Violations”
Too Late to Have Free Elections This Month, She Says from Washington
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) November 5, 2009 — Bertha Oliva, the head of Honduras’ most well-known and respected human rights organization, called on the Obama administration to denounce the “grave human right violations” in Honduras.
“How can it be that the United States government is silent while Hondurans are subjected to arbitrary arrest, the closure of independent media, police beatings, torture and even killings by security forces?” asked Oliva.
Oliva is the General Coordinator of COFADEH, the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared and Detained in Honduras. She is currently in Washington, D.C., to brief Members of Congress, their staff, and other policy makers on the situation in Honduras.
Oliva’s grim assessment of human rights and civil liberties under the more than four months of coup government is shared by major international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and others.
“And now the U.S. government says we can have free elections in less than three weeks,” said Oliva. “That is a sick joke.” On Tuesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon announced that the United States would recognize the November 29 elections even if President Zelaya, who was overthrown in a coup d’etat on June 28, had not first been restored to office. The vast majority of other countries in the hemisphere, including South American nations and Mexico, have stated that they will not recognize the November 29 elections unless Zelaya is back in the presidency.
Oliva noted that Honduran law provides for a three-month election campaign period, but that more than two thirds of it was gone. “People cannot have an electoral campaign when they don’t even have the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, or freedom of the press,” she said.
“It’s too late to have elections on November 29,” said Oliva. “If the coup government goes ahead with this, these elections will have no credibility.”
Oliva recommended that the elections be postponed until at least three months after civil liberties and democracy – including the elected president – had been restored.
COFADEH and the Washington based Center for Justice and International Law have presented the following documented cases to the IACHR: nine deaths of demonstrators at the hands of police or military; 1228 arrests in just the last 45 days under the suspension of civil liberties; 546 cases of degrading and inhumane torture and cruel treatment.
Bertha Oliva is available for interviews with the press today and Friday – contact Dan Beeton at 202-239-1460 for arrangements.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. CEPR’s Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Janet Gornick, Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University.
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Editorial – Los Angeles Times
November 5, 2009
A U.S.-brokered deal to return ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to office is unraveling, and the Obama administration seems to be wavering.
November 5, 2009
The Obama administration last week brokered what looked like a promising deal to end the political crisis in Honduras. Sadly, this week it already is fraying. The de facto leaders of Honduras are foot-dragging, prompting President Manuel Zelaya, whom they ousted in a civilian-military coup four months ago, to issue an ultimatum from his refuge in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital.
Both sides need to stand down and focus on restoring democracy before the country’s Nov. 29 presidential election. The Obama administration, meanwhile, must hold firm to its principles and quit backing away from its stated belief that Zelaya should be allowed to serve out the remaining three months of his term.
Under the accord, the two sides were to form a national unity government by today and let the Honduran Congress decide whether to return Zelaya to office. Although the agreement did not set a date for the vote or specifically guarantee Zelaya’s restitution, it called for “an end to the situation facing the country.” The deposed president signed, in the apparent belief that the vote would be a formality and that he would be back in office within a week. The de facto leader, Roberto Micheletti, seemed to be compromising in order to secure international backing for the next election and an end to the country’s isolation. The European Union, the Organization of American States and the U.S. had said they wouldn’t recognize the next president if Zelaya weren’t returned to office first.
Now Micheletti and his allies are dithering, waiting to call Congress back from recess until the Supreme Court and the attorney general issue nonbinding opinions on Zelaya’s return. Without Congress, no government can be formed. As usual, they’re trying to run out the clock. Zelaya, in turn, is threatening to pull out of the deal if he isn’t reinstated today. The Micheletti camp responds: Sorry, a deal is a deal. This leaves U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the rest of the verification commission established under the deal in the awkward position of sitting around with nothing to verify.
Although still saying it supports Zelaya’s return to power, the U.S. government seems to be punting. “This is now a Honduran process,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said. “It’s not for us to interpret the agreement.” But it is the government’s job to continue pressing for what’s right, alongside its Latin American allies.
The path back to democracy has been clear from the start: Zelaya should return to power under an agreement not to tamper with the constitution — the issue that incited the Honduran elite in the first place — and serve the remainder of his term as part of a unity government with international oversight. The U.S., which reopened its consulate after the accord was signed, should not lift sanctions unless this happens.
If the Obama administration chooses to recognize the election without Zelaya first being reinstated, it will find itself at odds with the rest of Latin America. That would be a setback for democracy and for the United States.