Friday, October 30, 2009

Honduras: figleaf restitution, not real democracy

As expected, an agreement has apparently been reached for a last-minute, highly symbolic restoration of Zelaya to the presidency, now that the U.S. has involved itself directly. A comparison of the points reported in Honduran papers with Laura Carlsen's October 15 summary of agreements reached at that point shows that the only change is the crucial one, restitution -- dependent on a vote of Congress (as Zelaya's delegation proposed at the time).

The only people at any level of the U.S. government who come out of this sorry episode with my respect are the members of Congress who pushed the administration to put more effective pressure on the coup regime and to explicitly condemn the dictatorship's violence. Their most recent letter to Pres. Obama, sent just before the State Dept. delegation left for Honduras, contains two passages that are worth remembering:

While the siege of the [Brazilian] Embassy is a serious violation of the Vienna Convention, more disturbing is the broad assault against the Honduran people unleashed by the coup regime.
Free and fair elections cannot take place under these conditions.

Though we commend the administration for having strongly stated their support for the restoration of democracy in Honduras, we are concerned that neither you nor the Secretary of State has denounced these serious human rights abuses in a country where US influence could be decisive.

It is now more urgent than ever to break this silence. It is critical that your Administration immediately clearly and unequivocally reject and denounce the repression by this illegitimate regime. We can say sincerely and without hyperbole that this action on your part will save lives.

Obama and Clinton have not done so, and never will. Message received.

Update: 7:45pm, 30 Oct - The agreement has been signed, but its actual text is unlikely to become public for a while, so the coup regime is already citing obstacles in it that are denied by the Zelaya delegation. There's going to be a difficult, tedious process of implementation; see RNS and Laura Carlsen for good overviews.

So it may well be that Zelaya will not even be restored to office until just before the elections, the "last minute goal" alluded to by OAS snake John Biehl. Even in the best-case scenario, too much time has already been allowed to pass for anyone to feel obliged to respect the legitimacy of the upcoming elections -- presided over by an illegally constituted election tribunal, who will now have nominal command of the murderous armed forces.

Update 2: 3:25pm, 31 Oct - The signed agreement is posted as a PDF at Adrienne Pine's and as plain text in a comment by El Cid at Al Giordano's. RAJ has an English translation. The Honorable Raúl Grijalva does even more to earn that title by hosting a visit to Congress on November 5 by Berta Oliva of COFADEH, the Committee of Families of the Disappeared and Detained.

[Image: Resistance participant beaten by police yesterday when they charged a peaceful demo with tear gas and batons, while the State Dept. delegation met with coup negotiators. Honduras Resists]

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Honduras: too late to pretend there's democracy

Since posting 'Honduras: high price of the struggle' five days ago, I've had to add two more names to the list of those killed by the coup regime since Zelaya's return. I will continue to put any additional names there, so that the post can serve as a reference (and have added a link to the sidebar); pray that there will be no need.

As the Obama-Clinton State Department worms its way toward recognizing elections held under conditions of dictatorship, remember these men and women. As firms like Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates take in hundreds of thousands of dollars for being willing to put a smooth facade of lies on a brutal regime, remember their blood. Remember the courage and commitment for which they were targeted. Look into the eyes of Jairo Sánchez, whose funeral was yesterday; then make our government do the same.
Nothing now can make the November elections any kind of exercise in democracy, whether Zelaya returns to office or not. Presidential candidate Cesar Ham and all the other Unification Democratica (UD) candidates have withdrawn. A hundred members of the social-democratic party PINU, including several of their candidates, have denounced their presidential candidate's support of the coup and will withdraw unless Zelaya is restored. Three weeks ago, 68 Liberal Party candidates announced their withdrawal en masse (Avi Lewis' acclaimed Al Jazeera video shows them taking the vote).

The members of the national tribunal overseeing the elections, the TSE, were selected for their jobs in blatant violation of Honduras' election laws, which bar current elected officials from serving. That's just one of the many reasons why the upcoming elections can't possibly be made free and fair, and should receive no support or recognition, but it's a particularly relevant reason in light of their being invited to visit Congress tomorrow by coup-supporting Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Some administrations would deny visas for such a visit, given that the men are part of and support the coup government. This one won't even rule out meeting with them.

Update: 1:30pm, 21 Oct - If coup paper La Tribuna can be believed, some more coup functionaries had their U.S. visas revoked yesterday -- too little, too late even if true (no announcement from now confirmed by State). The lifting of the decree hasn't changed much for the police, who in addition to assassinating another resistance leader Monday morning used batons and live ammunition to break up a demonstration later in the day in El Progreso, home of Micheletti, and yesterday in San Pedro Sula, home of most of Honduras' industry.

The resistance, and the campaign for a new constitution, is truly national. Getting back on its feet, Ch. 36 showed a big demo from a rural area yesterday [via Charles]. The police and military are concentrated in the cities, and are going to be spread thin if, as appears to be the case, there has been a fair amount of local organizing since the National Front's convention in early September. On tap for today: a big caravan from towns to the west of Tegucigalpa, ending up in the capital. Tomorrow, a gathering in El Paraiso (near the Nicaraguan border). Friday morning, an assembly of popular candidates on the elections, to take place in the national headquarters of the union of the recently martyred Eucebio Fernandez. The OAS meeting going on now is broadcasting live [via Oye], if you feel like sitting through hours of speeches to see how offensive Lew Amselem manages to be this time.

[Image: Union president Jairo Sánchez, two days after being shot in the head by police Sept. 23, just before the second of five operations. Photo by Mirian Huezo Emanuelsson.]

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Honduras: U.S. media fail

Tim Padgett's writing for Time on Honduras has been significantly better than that of many U.S. reporters. But that's faint praise, and his latest piece contains several seriously problematic passages.

1. Micheletti ... lifted many of his emergency decrees during a visit last week by U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen... But human-rights groups like Amnesty International say police and soldiers are still blocking street protests.

The decree has not been lifted. A state of siege has been in effect since Sept. 26, when the decree suspending constitutional rights of assembly and free expression (issued on Sept. 22) was published in Honduras' federal register, La Gaceta Oficial. Decrees, and decrees repealing other decrees, take effect when published. The repeal has not been published. Update: 2:15pm, 19 Oct - Repeal published today. UN human rights team in for three-week investigative visit. End update.

No one should need Amnesty International reports to be able to tell that demonstrations continue to be broken up with force. Soldiers and police teargassed and beat demonstrators the day after the supposed "lifting" of the decree, the very day the OAS-mediated dialogue began, in full view of the international press, who reported it. The police gave as the reason for the repression that the demonstrators were "violating the decree" (which, among other things, forbids public gatherings of more than 20 people). They repeated the performance two days later, again widely reported: Riot police shoot tear gas to disperse supporters of ousted Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya during a demonstration outside the hotel where representatives of Zelaya and Honduras' interim government are meeting in Tegucigalpa, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009. [AP caption]

2. To their credit, the leading presidential candidates — Porfirio Lobo of the National Party and Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party — have contributed responsibly to resolving the crisis.

As the front-runner in the elections, Lobo has the most to lose from their being discredited, so he did push back strongly against Micheletti's constitution-suspending decree -- once the international response made clear how lethal a threat it posed to the elections' acceptance.

But I'm unaware of anything Santos has done to help resolve the crisis. Instead, on several occasions he's actively and violently intensified it: During his visit to the national university in August, when students jeered the candidate for his support of the coup, Santos' bodyguards fired their weapons and pistol-whipped one student; the charming episode was YouTubed. A month later, his goons responded to demonstrators heckling a Santos campaign appearance in Choluteca by attacking the protesters with machetes; this too was captured on video, broadcast on Ch. 36. As a result of his role in tearing apart the Liberal party, Santos was only polling a few points ahead of independent candidate Carlos Reyes in a late August national survey by COIMER&OP (solid polling with other newsworthy results that is still unreported by any English-language news outlet other than the site that first made it available).

3. [Acting U.S. Ambassador to the OAS] Amselem, a holdover from the George W. Bush Administration, called Zelaya's surprise reappearance in Tegucigalpa "irresponsible and foolish."

That he did, but he's not a 'holdover' in the sense of being a political appointee, and State Dept. spokesman Philip Crowley defended his comments as consistent with the administration's policy. While Amselem has throughout his career demonstrated the kind of energetic support of right-wing governments characteristic of Republican administrations, he's a career State functionary. He is serving as the acting OAS representative without Senate confirmation, at the pleasure of the Secretary of State. If Sec. Clinton wanted another State employee acting in that position until the new administration's pick is confirmed, it would happen. Speaking of that pick: Despite the declared intention to re-engage with the hemisphere, and despite the emergence in June of a crisis on which it was purportedly determined to work with and through the OAS, the Obama administration didn't even nominate its own OAS representative until September 15; I wouldn't bet on her being confirmed until sometime next year.

4. After setting up in the Brazilian embassy last month, [Zelaya] claimed Israeli mercenaries were trying to zap him and his entourage with high-frequency radiation.

The source of this assertion, Frances Robles' Sept. 24 Miami Herald article, was a hit piece intended to paint Zelaya as unhinged. The writer didn't repeat the president's actual words, just luridly characterized them -- and has yet to produce the quotes to back it up. But the damage is done; one commenter after another repeats her unsupported attribution as gospel.

Moreover, the smear is repeated without even a nod to the context in which Zelaya spoke to Robles: a day after the coup regime had laid military siege to the Brazilian embassy. The regime cut the power, water, and phone service to the whole neighborhood. They filled the street with tear gas (some of which infiltrated the embassy). They set off the LRAD sonic cannon from the street outside, well within the 300 feet within which the manufacturer warns the device causes damage. The weapon is designed to flush out buildings and disperse crowds; use against people who are trapped in the path of the highly focused, 150-dB directed sound is torture. Soldiers ordered out the residents of houses on all sides of the embassy and occupied the buildings. The next day the regime inserted at least one phone-jamming device into the embassy and directed others at it from outside. Pro-coup Honduran media reported that the sonic cannon was supplied by the Israelis.

A day after the Robles hit piece appeared, the regime subjected the embassy to chemical attacks and renewed the sonic blasting with the LRAD. More than a third of the 60 people inside the embassy had serious symptoms ranging from nosebleeds to respiratory irritation to vomiting blood, while medical personnel were prevented from entering the embassy for hours. That Manuel Zelaya -- what a craaazy guy.

The main point of Padgett's article is that the State Department is considering supporting and recognizing the November elections even if Zelaya is not restored to office. Evidence for this includes a revealing email from "a high-level official in the U.S. OAS delegation" who is not Amselem, as well as signals new and old in State briefings that the U.S. is counting on the elections as an escape route.

What puts Padgett on a slightly higher level than the run of U.S. reporters and commenters is that he does some actual reporting, treats anti-coup sources seriously, manages to write about Zelaya's presence in the Brazilian embassy without using the phrase 'holed up', and -- most significantly -- recognizes that the rest of the world isn't blind and that their opinion counts for something:
if Micheletti doesn't yield the presidency back to Zelaya by Nov. 29, whoever wins that day is likely to be a global pariah — a fact that perhaps the U.S. needs to come to terms with.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

Honduras: World Cup sweetness

Yesterday Micheletti had the World Cup qualifying football team in to the presidential house, trying to hog the national celebration. Team captain Amado Guevara, in a lovely gesture, sent a jersey to Pres. Zelaya with a message of support.

Above is his mom Flor presenting it to Zelaya's daughter Pichu.

Update: 3:00pm, 17 Oct - Bonus! Adrienne Pine's friend Oscar reports that Amado Guevara declined to receive his medal from the dictators at the ceremony Micheletti arranged. Update: 2:30pm, 21 Oct - Or maybe not; see comments.

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Honduras: two paths diverge

Via Hibueras, Zelaya early this morning called on the popular movement to assemble at 10:30am to demonstrate for his restitution, saying that it could come within hours. Laura Carlsen provides the best account of what's been agreed to in negotiations up to this point.

But it's too late for any agreement to legitimize the elections. The regime, and the U.S., blew off that deadline. They're fine with symbolic restoration, a point of view expressed by the snake-in-the-grass OAS envoy John Biehl, who said he’s confident the country will resolve its political crisis before election day. "Some goals are scored in the final minute." (Cute. Honduras qualified for the World Cup yesterday and everyone, including Zelaya, is celebrating.)

Israel Salinas made clear this morning that only immediate and full restoration today could bind the resistance to the elections. It's not going to happen.

As Zelaya said in the Al Jazeera video (you have watched it, haven't you?), there's a two-stage process. One stage is reversing the coup -- restoring formal democracy. The other is the longer, larger struggle to democratize the country. The two efforts were fused up until now, but the popular movement can't let its hands be tied by negotiations in which it's not taking part.

The ALBA countries are meeting today to consider new sanctions against the coup regime. No hint of anything similar from the U.S. government; apparently even formal democracy's too much trouble to defend. Ben Fox of AP brings home the effect of the ho-hum U.S. approach on the Honduran people, detailing the intense economic pain caused by the drawn-out crisis.

Oh, and a special brass balls award to others in the brain-dead media, who are still, three and a half months on, propagating the zombie lie:

A wealthy rancher who moved to the left after taking office, Zelaya angered conservatives by building close ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and toying with a reform of the constitution to change term limits for presidents. [Reuters, no byline]

Gosh, it must be true; they keep saying it.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Honduras: high price of the struggle

As the hours tick down on the last chance for restoration of the Zelaya government that could provide a fig-leaf of legitimacy for the November 29 elections, the price being paid by those resisting the coup is getting more, much-needed attention.

A recent Reuters story by Frank Jack Daniel, 'Honduran abuses rampant after coup', reinforces the NY Times account mentioned in a previous post:
Suspicious deaths. Beatings. Random police shootings. Life under the de facto government of Honduras at times feels uncannily like Latin America's dark past of military rule..

Via Honduras Oye, an outstanding Al Jazeera video episode makes the point even more vividly. (The interviewer's penetrating questions to all parties are also a startling reminder of how rare real journalism is these days.)

Update: 2:15pm, 16 Oct - Human Rights Watch weighs in, urging the international community to back human rights prosecutors in the Attorney General's office, whose efforts to investigate military and police killings and abuse have been obstructed and threatened by the coup regime and the military. "If anyone questions the damage that the de facto government has done to Honduras’ democratic institutions it’s clearly illustrated by these cases ... by obstructing the investigations, the public security forces are thumbing their noses at the rule of law." HRW also urged support for overturning Micheletti's illegal decree and opposed amnesty for human rights violations as part of any agreement. End update.

Update 2: 4:00pm, 16 Oct - Excellent: "The United Nations human rights chief is sending a team to Honduras on Sunday for a three-week official visit to examine violations of rights in the wake of the coup d’état in the Central American country in June." Not so excellent is that the report is expected to be delivered by March?!. End update 2.

The death toll since Zelaya's return is high. Below are just some of the victims, those for whom I have information [links provided for those not mentioned in previous posts]. In the same period there have been more than a few young men taken away in nighttime sweeps of neighborhoods whose whereabouts are unknown or whose bodies have not been identified.

Update 4: 2:00pm, 15 Jan 2010 - Additions:

Edwin Renán Fajardo Argueta, 22, a member of Artists in Resistance, was found strangled to death in his apartment in Tegucigalpa on Dec. 23. He had received death threats before his murder.

Carlos Turcios, vice-president of the Choloma chapter of the Resistance Front, was kidnapped [Sp.] near his home on the afternoon of Dec. 16. He was found dead the next day in Baracoa, Cortes, with hands and head cut off. There is a report that the body was not Turcios', so he may be considered disappeared. End Update 4.

Update 3: 3:40pm, 14 Dec - Additions:

Walter Tróchez, a human rights advocate, member of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual community, and active member of the Resistance Front was assassinated December 14 with two shots just outside of Larach & Co. in the center of Tegucigalpa. On December 4 Tróchez had been kidnapped outside the "El Obelisco" Park in Comayaguela by four hooded men who drove a gray pickup without plates (presumed to be DNIC). They hooded and beat him, and demanded information about resistance activities; Tróchez managed to escape and filed a formal complaint. More from Adrienne Pine.

Santos Corrales García was found dead [Sp.] on Thursday, December 10, near Talanga (50 km east of Tegucigalpa). His body was headless. On December 5 Corrales had been taken away with four others from the Nueva Capital neighborhood of Tegucigalpa by five men dressed in uniforms of the national criminal investigation directorate (DNIC). He was tortured and interrogated about the location of a businesswoman who provided supplies to the resistance during demonstrations. The two men and two women who were taken with Corrales were transported, tied hand and foot, dumped at highway exits far from home and told not to return to their neighborhoods.

Isaac Coello, 24; Roger Reyes, 22; Kenneth Rosa, 23; Gabriel Parrales; and Marco Vinicio Matute, 39. The five men, active in the resistance from the Victor F. Ardon and Honduras neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa, were massacred [Sp.] on December 7 by men in military and police uniforms. A young woman working with them was also shot, but not fatally; she survived by pretending to be dead.

Luis Gradis Espinal, a teacher from the department of Valle, was found dead on Wednesday, November 25 in Las Casitas neighborhood in western Tegucigalpa. He was tied and had been executed. His family reported him disappeared when he didn't return after having left for the capital on Sunday, Nov. 22. During the weeks before the election (and after) there were dozens of police search and captures for resistance participants. End Update 3.

Eucebio Fernández Suárez, director of the Mateo School in Macuelizo, Santa Barbara, union leader, constant participant in resistance actions, and candidate for vice-mayor, was shot Oct. 19 at 7:10am at the Macuelizo exit of the Virrey highway. [Added 3:00pm, 19 Oct. Name corrected 9:15pm, 20 Oct.]

Jairo Ludin Sánchez, president of the union of workers at the National Institute for Professional Formation, died Oct. 17 in hospital. He had been in critical condition since being shot in the head by a policeman while taking part in a demonstration on the afternoon of Sept. 23 in his neighborhood near Morazan Boulevard in Tegucigalpa. Details. [Added 2:00 am, 18 Oct. More details 3:15pm, 19 Oct.]

Olga Osiris Uclés, 35, died Oct. 4 from effects of the tear gas police used against demonstrators at Radio Globo on September 30. She lived in the La Joya neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, and leaves four children.

Mario Fidel Contreras, a teacher and vice-principal at Instituto Abelardo R. Fortín, was shot twice in the head on Oct. 2 by a man on a motorcycle near his home in the San Angel neighborhood of Tegucigalpa.

Antonio Leiva, a Lenca campesino and resistance leader, who had disappeared some days before, and had been detained previously by security forces, was found dead on Oct. 3 with signs of torture in Canculuncus, a village in Santa Barbara.

Marco Antonio Canales Villatoro, 40, was shot on Sept. 26 by two men on a motorcycle as he was leaving an evangelical church in Tegucigalpa. He was a PINU candidate for suplente (alternate legislator) for Francisco Morazan department, and the nephew of the owner of Radio Globo, Alejandro Villatoro.

Wendy Elizabeth Avila, 24, law student. A resistance activist non-stop since the coup, she died on Sept. 26 from the effects of tear gas used against people in the street in front of the Brazilian embassy on Sept. 22.

Elvis Euciado, a teenager, was riding his bike toward a neighborhood soccer field on Sept. 23 when he yelled 'golpistas' at a police patrol 200 feet away. The patrol stopped; one policeman got out and shot him dead on the spot. [The policeman's since been charged with murder, the sole exception to impunity among these cases.]

Francisco Alvarado, 65, was shot with an M-16 while going out for food on the evening of Sept. 22 (more than 24 hours into a continuous curfew) in the Flor del Campo neighborhood of Tegucigalpa.

Oscar Adán Palacios was shot to death by the military in the Victor F. Ardon neighborhood of Tegucigalpa on the afternoon of Sept. 22 (just short of 24 hours into the curfew).

Felix Murillo was found dead with signs of torture after apparently being hit by a vehicle in Talanga, Francisco Morazan department (near Tegucigalpa) on Sept. 20, the day before Zelaya reappeared in the capital. His body entered the morgue at the Escuela hospital as an unknown. He was a resistance activist and witness in the case of the death of Roger Vallejo, a fellow-teacher shot to death while taking part in a demonstration on July 30.

Whatever happens by the end of today, the next phase has begun: fighting for a national assembly to write a new constitution. These and all the martyrs of the resistance to the coup since June 28 will be present in the struggle. ¡Presente!

[Image: Elvis Euciado, from newspaper Tiempo]

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Schmeace Prize

This would make a sick joke of the Nobel Peace prize, if the committee hadn't already done so long ago by awarding one to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho (who at least had the decency to refuse it).


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Honduras: farmworkers freed, Micheletti meltdown

Good news (if accurate; will post another source when I find it): The farmworkers imprisoned for their long occupation of the National Agrarian Institute have been released. The down side is that they'll supposedly be subject to house arrest. That sounds sinister, but how easy or likely is it to be enforced against several dozen farmworkers scattered around the country in remote rural locations?

What this account doesn't note is that the campesinos driven forcibly from the Institute a week ago had been held together in a single cell, and had launched a hunger strike. Their release is a small but real victory won by their own struggle.

Not good news, but not a real surprise: Micheletti continues to be intransigent. Speaking to the press last night after the "dialogue" had ended for the day, he went into a tirade against the OAS delegation [video, via Doug Zylstra in comments at RAJ's]. No one from this government seems inclined to say a word about the continuing illegal state of siege, or to do anything else that might provide a reality check for the coup crew.

Update: 3:50pm, 8 Oct - Over the weekend the body of a Lenca resistance leader, Antonio Leiva, was found in a village in Santa Barbara province, murdered and with signs of torture. He had disappeared earlier. Yesterday twelve men, women and children from the indigenous organization COPINH sought and were granted political asylum in the Guatemalan embassy. They denounced the wave of repression happening under the state of siege, directed especially at ethnic minorities who participate in the resistance. The Guatemalan foreign ministry put out a statement announcing that the group was being granted asylum and demanding that the coup government respect human rights and stop acts of repression against its citizens.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Honduras: majority supports Zelaya, siege goes on

On one hand, the news [Sp.] is the same as it's been for a while:

Today Honduran soldiers and police repressed supporters of deposed president Manuel Zelaya in front of the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, at the moment that a dialogue was beginning in search of a solution to the political crisis.

Some 150 demonstrators chanted Mel, hold on; the people are rising up and Mel, friend: the people are with you as they gathered near the embassy. Lines of police protected with shields and wielding batons threw tear gas grenades and dispersed the demonstrators, who ran into other streets.

The demonstrators "were violating the decree" that restricts constitutional liberties and "were violating the rights of others" to free circulation, said Captain Daniel Molina, head of the police detachment, to local media. Tegucigalpa is virtually militarized today as the dialogue begins between representatives of Zelaya and de facto president Roberto Micheletti, supervised by the Organization of American States.

So Micheletti's illegal decree continues to be enforced, there's still no formal publication of repeal, and the capital is in virtual lockdown. What an excellent climate for dialogue and negotiations. And what a mood it sets for the World Cup qualifying game versus the U.S. in San Pedro Sula on Saturday; dictatorship's no obstacle to a good football match, eh, FIFA?

On the other hand, the resistance demonstrators' chant that the people are with President Zelaya is now solidly grounded in polling data. An opinion research company chosen by Honduras' election tribunal to do official election polling conducted a large-sample nationwide survey just over a month ago; the results and all the internals were obtained and posted by Al Giordano. Go read; the results are encouraging, though they shouldn't surprise anyone but those who've drunk the coup-makers' Kool-Aid. [4:05pm, 8 Oct - Paragraph rewritten for accuracy.]

Zelaya says there's no chance for elections November 29 unless he's restored to office by October 15. At least 68 Liberal Party congressional and mayoral candidates from eleven different departments announced [Sp.] late last week that they'll withdraw from the race en masse unless Zelaya and the constitutional order are restored. The poll mentioned above shows Liberal Party presidential candidate Elvin Santos only a few points ahead of independent resistance candidate Carlos Reyes (though Reyes, naturally enough, draws a much larger proportion of "unknown/no opinion" responses).

The U.S. government uses the excuse of "delicate negotiations" to avoid applying any further pressure to Micheletti, Gen. Vasquez, and their paymasters. But the dictators are giving the finger to the world with their continuing state of siege. Tell Sec. Clinton to declare a military coup, and let her know about the poll results: Supporting full restoration of Zelaya's government is the right thing to do and good politics.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Honduras: human rights violations actually news

At long last, after 100 days, a major media outlet takes a straightforward look at the violence of the coup regime. Elisabeth Malkin talked with survivors and with the human rights groups, and "balances" with only a touch of coup propaganda.

The militarized police direct their weapons against not just those who demonstrate against the coup regime, but those who might:

Since Mr. Zelaya’s return, security forces also have been rumbling through poor neighborhoods that are the base of his support. “They are going into neighborhoods in a way to intimidate people,” said Mr. Acevedo, the lawyer. In that time, the center has documented an increasing level of violence. Investigators have seen more than two dozen people with bullet wounds in hospitals, and some detainees have had their hands broken and have been burned with cigarettes, he said.

While the police and soldiers are looking for the activists who have been organizing resistance, the sweep seems to pick up anyone who gets in their way.

Yulian Lobo said her husband was arrested in the neighborhood of Villa Olímpica and accused of having a grenade. “It came out of nowhere,” she said, adding that her husband, a driver, had not been to pro-Zelaya marches.

A most welcome development in New York Times reporting. Of course, nobody's perfect:

...Mr. Micheletti lifted the decree [suspending constitutional rights] Monday.

Not so fast. The repeal supposedly doesn't take effect until published in Honduras' federal register, La Gaceta. As of the end of today, still no publication.

Update: 10:30 pm, 6 October - Olga Osiris Uclés died [Sp.] yesterday from effects of the tear gas police used against demonstrators at Radio Globo on September 30. Via Charles.

[Image at top: boy beaten by police at demonstration at the Mercado Belen in Tegucigalpa, 30 July. Photo from Via Campesina.]

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Mercedes Sosa

Via Otto at IncaKolaNews, the sad news that Mercedes Sosa is in critical condition. Listen to her here with Leon Gieco and reflect some of that warmth and strength back to her now.

Update: 6:00pm, 4 October - She's gone. As a commenter at this clip said: Gracias a la vida ... que nos dio la oportunidad de escucharte. (Thanks to life ... that gave us the chance to listen to you.)

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