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 Presidential candidate Cesar Ham and all the other Unification Democratica (UD) candidates have withdrawn.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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At 7:33 PM, October 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The recent slayings are particularly brazen considering that representatives of the UN High Commission on Human Rights are in town.

It's terrible that a body count has to be established and maintained in order to get our press and politicians to take notice. But such is the reality.


At 4:47 PM, October 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get this: Gwynne Dyer, who normally isn't this willfully obtuse, plays blame-the-victim with Zelaya: http://www.straight.com/node/266060

He also, in following the golpista talking point of depicting Zelaya as unpopular and thus deserving of overthrow, ignores the two recent polls showing Zelaya to be much, much more popular than the men who ousted him.

At 4:48 PM, October 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Oh, that last "phoenixwoman" is indeed me, Phoenix Woman, Charles being away for a while.)


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