August 11: Global Day of Action for Honduras
Since last Wednesday, thousands of Hondurans have been walking along the highways toward Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Tomorrow the plan is for them to converge into demonstrations against the coup in the country's two largest cities.
They've called on supporters everywhere to join in by making tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11, a global day of action for Honduras. The resistance on the part of grassroots Hondurans has been tireless for the last month and a half, a phenomenal achievement in the face of assassinations, mass arrests, beatings, and commercial media lies and silence. Support them tomorrow by attending local actions where they exist (as in DC and Boston [added 9:20pm, 10 Aug]), and by demanding that our government back up its words with action.
It's not just Hondurans' democracy that's at stake. The integrity of every elected government in the region is at risk if this coup is allowed to stand. Letting the clock run out, pretending as if November's presidential elections will erase this violent step backward into the dark but not distant past, sends the clear message that grassroots pressure for real change is "off the table," in the United States as well as Honduras. Our government is sending that message by its inaction.
President Obama has twice recently made what he thinks is a clever dig at those who call for more pressure on the illegal coup regime, noting "the irony that the people that were complaining about the U.S. interfering in Latin America are now complaining that we are not interfering enough." "Interference" is what fake president Micheletti and the coup supporters call Obama's verbal backing of Zelaya's presidency. To equate following our own laws (which forbid continued foreign aid to countries that have undergone a military coup) with our past active support for coups -- real and lethal interference -- isn't clever. It's insulting.
The President and Secretary of State claim to be dealing with the problem of the coup regime "in an international context", but they're referring to Arias-mediated negotiations that they set up, that failed, and that now exist only in their imagination. The Organization of American States' biggest member is not actively supporting that body's efforts to get the coup regime to face reality, and as a result Micheletti feels free to jerk them around.
The economic pinch, which of course falls most heavily on the Honduran majority, the poor and workers who form the basis of the resistance, is beginning to be felt by the coup's backers. The economic slowdown is the result of a combination of pressures: the resistance's strikes and road blockades, brief trade shutdowns by neighboring countries, the "pause" of World Bank and Inter-American Development lending, the cutoff of Venezuelan oil with its favorable payment terms, and a severe drop in tourism resulting from the recession and the coup. Cracks are forming in the coup coalition, as some of the businessmen and politicians try to distance themselves from the military. [Update: 9:30pm, 10 Aug - More cracks appear: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on the illegality of the military's actions on June 28. It could be more delaying tactics, or the beginning of a way out for the coupmakers.]
Now is the moment when action can make a difference.
Email the State Department [link fixed 7:35 pm, 11 Aug; click 'email a question/comment' tab] and White House to tell them to:
- Recognize and condemn the human rights violations being committed by the coup regime in Honduras.
- Formally declare it a military coup to trigger the Foreign Assistance Act: cut off U.S. economic aid and withdraw Ambassador Llorens.
- Revoke the diplomatic visas of all coup participants and supporters.
- Freeze the U.S. assets of all coup officials and funders.
- Join with other governments in the hemisphere to pledge not to recognize the results of the November elections unless they're held under the legitimate elected government headed by Pres. Zelaya.
[A different version of the above is guest-posted at A Tiny Revolution].