Monday, August 10, 2009

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].

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At 12:11 PM, August 11, 2009, Anonymous catherine said...

Nell, thanks for your work here. And have you seen this below, from today's Democracy Now headlines?

Obama: Critics of US Honduras Policy Hypocritical
President Barack Obama addressed the political crisis in Honduras during a press conference Monday in Mexico alongside the leaders of Mexico and Canada. Obama said it was hypocritical for critics of Washington’s response to the coup to demand a more forceful US role in returning the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya to power.

President Obama: “The same 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…If these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is, is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to US-Latin America relations that certainly is not going to guide my administration’s policies.”

While President Obama spoke in Mexico, thousands marched to the UN headquarters in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa calling for the return of ousted president Manuel Zelaya. Meanwhile, the Union of South American Nations announced Monday it will not recognize any leader elected while Honduras’s coup-installed regime is in power.

Clinton Calls on Congo to Stamp Out Rape

At 3:53 PM, August 11, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter written.

--Charles of MercuryRising

At 8:31 PM, August 11, 2009, Blogger Nell said...

@catherine: I did see that extremely offensive comment from Obama, thanks to today's post by Charles. He's been doing a splendid roundup of information, news, and links for weeks now; Mercury Rising is a must-stop for people following the issue.

@Charles: Thanks. I'm going to post my web-letter to the State Dept. tomorrow, using it as a kickoff to write a bit about the elections.

At 12:16 AM, August 12, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are too kind, Nell. Most of my posting is scatterbrained multitasking accomplished in a semiconscious sleep-deprived haze. But I feel that Honduras is a pivot point on which the fortunes of the US will rise or fall.

Anyway, I stopped by to say, Look at Bill Conroy and Al Giordano's latest on Millenium Challenge Corp. While they haven't connected quite proven that Hillary funded and is funding the coup, they have a heckuva scoop.

--Charles of MercRising

At 12:48 AM, August 12, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh: Machetera recommends Honduras Oye as the kind of aggregator one could only dream of being.


At 11:20 PM, August 12, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining the situation to Sandra Cuffe, Nell. I did feel bad about my lack of clarity, because journalists are taking their lives into their hands. The the last thing they need is to be misidentified as members of the resistance.

--Charles of Mercury Rising

At 9:34 PM, August 17, 2009, Anonymous Laura R. said...

Neil, being a US citizen who has worked the last nine years in Honduras for the poor and oppressed of this beautiful country, I am surprised by your stance with the present situation. First, due to Zelayas pulling funding from the department of education and the department of health, the poor have less medical help and the worse level of public education I've seen in all my years working here. The reason he has pulled funding from these fund his illegal attempt to change the constitution so that he can gain a longer term in office. The constitution of Honduras clearly states that the congress can remove the president from office. The Honduran Congress took the legal steps to do this and allowed for the military to remove him. This was NOT a military coup where a power crazed general took unlawful control of the government. I have spoken to many US workers around Honduras who see things first hand. Without exception they all agree that Zelayas and his cronies were dangerous and all agree the Honduran congress followed their lawful constitutional guidelines for removing him. If the agitators from Nicaragua and El Salvador were sent home you would find that Zelaya supporters are a small minority. I am surprised that Obama has jumped into bed with Noriega, Chavez, Castro and the likes. Does that in itself not tell you something?

At 12:26 AM, August 19, 2009, Blogger Nell said...

Honduras' poor majority are speaking for themselves. They recognize what happened as a coup, and they oppose it.

It's sad to see someone pushing the tired, discredited lie that the Cuarta Urna and constitutional reform are about extending Zelaya's term in office. Pretending that resistance to the coup is due to "agitators from Nicaragua and El Salvador" is just the cherry on top.

That line might work better with someone who didn't grow up in the U.S. south during the civil rights movement.

Pbama's in bed with Noriega? Get a hold of yourself; Noriega's been in jail since Obama's stint as a community organizer.


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