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By Dave Lindorff
From Extra!, January 2010
In mid-October, hundreds of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans got some good if grim news: The Veterans Administration announced it was adding three more diseases to the 11 others it automatically presumes to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the dioxin-laced herbicide spread by the U.S. military across much of South Vietnam to deny crops and cover to North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters during the war.
Newspapers and radio and TV news programs across America ran stories announcing that veterans of the jungle war who now suffer or may eventually suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, ischemic heart disease or a type of cancer called hairy-cell leukemia will henceforth automatically be offered free medical care by the VA if they’d spent at least one day in uniform on the ground in Vietnam.
Blogging GREAT Chile Earthquake/Tsunamis; Pres. Bachelet A Steady Leader; Japan Prepares For Tsunamis
by Linda Milazzo
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/5:40AM (local Chile time)
CNN International is now reporting 101 aftershocks have been recorded in Chile since yesterday's 8.8 earthquake with 7 at 6.0 or higher. Over 300 fatalities have been reported with 60 reported missing.
Japan is seeing tsunami flooding on its northern island of Hokkaido. The tsunami projection from NOAA reports a wave of 4 feet has just arrived. 320,000 coastal residents have been evacuated. The tsunami warning for Russia has been lifted.
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/3:40AM (local Chile time)
The death toll in Chile is now confirmed at 300. Chile has not yet asked for help from other countries. More than one million buildings have been damaged. More than a half million houses have been completely destroyed and two million people affected. President Bachelet has been coordinating services steadily for nearly 24 hours since 5AM yesterday.
Chilean Earthquake Update, 12:00 PM Noon CST
- US State Department information for Americans seeking information about family and friends in Chile, and how Americans now in Chile can report in to US Consulate.
- Google Crisis Response: People search service
- CNN: Tsunami advisory issued for Pacific Basin area: California, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, west coast of Canada.
- CNN: Tsunami arrival in Hawaii estimated to be 11 AM local time. NOAA estimating wave height 1'-7'. What to do, #21 & #22 here.
- Four US warships departing Hawaii within next 3 hours. US military working with local Hawaiian authorities to prepare for expected Hawaiian tsunami. Sirens sounding on Oahu, food stocks being limited per person.
- USGS Map, showing quake magnitudes throughout Southern Hemisphere
- Live Stream from Chile
- Google Live Updates
- Daylight now in Chile; damage assessment intensifies.
- Telephone communications down.
- Chilean earthquake strength not quite 1000 times the strength of Haitian quake.
- Preliminary Chilean report: 147 dead reported and expected to climb; President Obama said "hundreds."
- Bridge between north and south portions of Chile is out.
- Airports closed; flights diverted or returned to points of origin.
- Numerous aftershocks now in Chile; CNN Chile section head said he lost count at 25 aftershocks.
- Twitter & Facebook users providing on-going, on-the-ground local coverage.
BREAKING: USGS Reports 8.8-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile; Tsunami Watch for Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Hawaii
SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake capable of tremendous damage struck central Chile early Saturday, shaking the capital for a minute and half and setting off a tsunami. Buildings collapsed and phone lines and electricity were down, making the extent of the damage difficult to determine.
The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Its epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.
Buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago. With phone lines down, confirmation of damage was difficult elsewhere, especially further south toward the epicenter. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.
"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts," the center said. Read more.
On February 22 two major developments occurred in the Americas south of the Rio Grande. The two-day Rio Group summit opened in Mexico and Great Britain started drilling for oil 60 miles north of the Falklands Islands, known as Las Malvinas to Argentina.
The meeting in Mexico was identified as a Unity Summit because for the first time the 24 members of the Rio Group (minus Honduras, not invited because of the illegitimacy of its post-coup regime) - Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela - were joined by the fifteen members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. (Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname are members of both organizations.)
Ahead of the summit the Financial Times wrote, "The Mexican-led initiative, a clear sign of Latin America’s growing confidence as a region, will exclude both the US and Canada. Some observers believe it could even eventually rival the 35-member Organisation of American States (OAS), which includes the US and Canada and has been the principal forum for hemispheric issues during the past half century." 
In fact on the first day of the summit Bolivian President Evo Morales called for a "a new US-free OAS,"  stressing Washington's centuries-long history of perpetrating military coups, blackmail, looting of natural resources and, over the past generation, the scourge of neo-liberalism in the Americas.
OBAMA’S BASE PACT WITH COLOMBIA ACCELERATES “DANGEROUS TREND”
By Sherwood Ross
The Obama administration’s pact to use seven Colombian military bases accelerates “a dangerous trend in U.S. hemispheric policy,” an article in The Nation magazine warns.
The White House claims the deal merely formalizes existing military cooperation but the Pentagon’s 2009 budget request said it needed funds to improve one of the bases in order to conduct “full spectrum operations throughout South America” and to “expand expeditionary warfare capability.”
“With a hodgepodge of treaties and projects, such as the International Law Enforcement Academy and the Merida Initiative, Obama is continuing the policies of his predecessors, spending millions to integrate the region’s military, policy, intelligence and even, through Patriot Act-like legislation, judicial systems,” writes historian Greg Grandin, a New York University professor.
Although much of Latin America is in the vanguard of the “anti-corporate and anti-militarist global democracy movement,” Grandin writes, the Obama administration is “disappointing potential regional allies by continuing to promote a volatile mix of militarism and free-trade orthodoxy in a corridor running from Mexico to Colombia.” Grandin’s article in The Nation’s February 8th issue is titled, “Muscling Latin America.”
The fountainhead of this effort is Plan Colombia, a multibillion-dollar U.S. aid package that over the past decade “has failed to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States,” Grandin says, noting that more Andean coca was synthesized into cocaine in 2008 than in 1998.
US Threatens Venezuela: Netherlands Has Granted US Military Use Of Its Islands In The Caribbean
by Vonk Netherlands and Hands off Venezuela | Global Research | Map
The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the “war against drugs”. In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela.
In the Dutch media articles have appeared about the “war-mongering” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who is “preparing a war against Colombia”. Now Chávez has accused the Netherlands of supporting aggression against Venezuela, because the Netherlands has given permission to the American armed forces to use the military bases on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao.
In the media Hugo Chávez, as always, has been presented like some “crazy populist”, and of course the “civilised Netherlands” are presented as being totally innocent.
Later Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, said the American military were on Aruba and Curaçao, as part of the “war against drugs”. He remains silent about what is really happening on Aruba and Curaçao.
Authors such as Noam Chomsky and Eva Golinger have pointed out in different articles that the so-called “war against drugs” has nothing to do with any battle against drug smuggling, but has been used for other causes such as fighting against guerrilla movements and the spying of other countries. Since the start of the “war against drugs” there has only been more smuggling and consumption of drugs.
The fact that the Netherlands are participating in this is quite normal, because the Dutch government has a tradition of supporting American imperialism. After Britain the Netherlands are the biggest ally of the U.S. in Western Europe. The cabinet of Prime Minister Balkenende gave political support to the invasion of Iraq that was based completely on lies. Now the Netherlands have troops in Afghanistan, officially to rebuild the country, but in practice to prop up the corrupt regime of Karzai.
The bases on Aruba and Curaçao
In 1999 the Netherlands and the U.S. signed an agreement for the establishment of Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). This meant that the American military could use air force bases on Aruba and Curaçao. While the bases were originally used for operations against drug smuggling and the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC, this changed with the election of George Bush. Venezuela was seen as a threat by then, because it was a beacon of hope for the poor and working people of Latin America. In 2002 there was a CIA-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected Hugo Chávez. Since then there have only been more intrigues against Venezuela. Read more.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country.
"What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport," Ortega said on Saturday.
The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake.
This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation.
The leftist Nicaraguan president denounced Washington's move in deploying military forces in Haiti, saying "It seems that the bases (on Latin America) are not sufficient." Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
There are only two US media outlets that have reported on Cuba’s response to the deadly 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti. One was Fox News, which claimed, wrongly, that the Cubans were absent from the list of neighboring Caribbean countries providing aid. The other was the Christian Science Monitor (a respected news organization that recently shut down its print edition), which reported correctly that Cuba had dispatched 30 doctors to the stricken nation.
The Christian Science Monitor, in a second article, quoted Laurence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense and now based at the Center for American Progress, as saying that the US, which is leading the relief efforts in Haiti, should “consider tapping the expertise of neighboring Cuba,” which he noted, “has some of the best doctors in the world--we should see about flying them in.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that U.S. pilotless planes have crossed the border recently from Colombia, and he’s ordered his military to shoot down the drones if they appear in Venezuelan airspace again.
A drone was spotted by troops near the Fuerte Mara military base, in the northwestern Zulia state, Chavez said. He said that Colombia and the U.S. are preparing for “aggressions” against Venezuela, after an agreement signed in October allows U.S. troops access to seven Colombian military bases for counternarcotics operations.
“The other night, a drone plane entered Venezuelan airspace,” Chavez said in comments on state television. “They can’t enter one meter, but they’re doing it. They control the planes remotely, planes that can even drop bombs. I’m alerting the international community that aggressions against Venezuela are increasing.” Read more.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on How to Tackle Climate Change: “We Must Go from Capitalism to Socialism”
We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. “We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet,” Chavez says. “That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.”
The U.S. (and Britain) began bombing the Afghan capital of Kabul on October 7, 2001 with Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from warships and submarines and bombs dropped from warplanes and shortly thereafter American special forces began ground operations, a task that has been conducted since by regular Army and Marine units. The bombing and the ground combat operations continue more than eight years later and both will be intensified to record levels in short order.
The combined U.S. and NATO forces would represent a staggering number, in excess of 150,000 soldiers. By way of comparison, as of September of this year there were approximately 120,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and only a small handful of other nations' personnel, those assigned to the NATO Training Mission - Iraq, remaining with them.
"Secretary Gates has made clear that the conflicts we're in should be at the very forefront of our agenda. He wants to make sure we're not giving up capabilities needed now for those needed for some unknown future conflict. He wants to make sure the Pentagon is truly on war footing....For the first time in decades, the political and economic stars are aligned for a fundamental overhaul of the way the Pentagon does business."
Over the past ten years citizens of the United States and other Western nations, and unfortunately most of the world, have become accustomed to Washington and its military allies in Europe and those appointed as armed outposts on the periphery of the "Euro-Atlantic community" engaging in armed aggression around the world.
Wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq and lower profile military operations and surrogate campaigns in nations as diverse as Colombia, Yemen, the Philippines, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Chad, the Central African Republic, South Ossetia and elsewhere have become an unquestioned prerogative of the U.S. and its NATO partners. So much so that many have forgotten to consider how comparable actions have been or might be viewed if a non-Western nation attempted them.
United States Backs Illegal Elections in Honduras, Betraying Process to Restore Constitutional Order
United States Backs Illegal Elections in Honduras, Betraying Process to Restore Constitutional Order
By Tom Loudon | Truthout | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
After five months of political chaos in Honduras, repeated attempts to reach a negotiated agreement for restoration of constitutional order have failed due to the defiant recalcitrance of the Roberto Micheletti coup regime and the complicity of the State Department. Given this impasse and the deepening human rights crisis, it is widely recognized that conditions for holding free, fair and transparent elections on November 29, just days from now, do not exist.
Recognizing this dilemma, in late October the United States rushed a high-level State Department delegation to Honduras, bringing Micheletti back to the table and brokering the October 30 "National Reconciliation Agreement" requiring the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya by November 5. However, in a move paralleling the behavior of the Micheletti regime, a few days later, State Department officials reversed their position, stating that the elections would be recognized by the United States with or without restitution of President Zelaya, effectively breaking the accord. Read more.
Obama Signs Military Basing Deal with Colombia -- Could Set Stage for Expeditionary Warfare
One of the principal concerns of the pending agreement had been the possibility of the bases’ use for aggression against neighboring countries.
By Moira Birss | AlterNet
After several months of secrecy and controversy, on October 30th the US and Colombia signed an agreement to allow the United States military extensive access to seven Colombian bases, notwithstanding serious concerns about true intentions and eventual consequences of the deal.
Despite pledges by Colombian and U.S. governments about the limitations of the agreement, the text of the deal and U.S. military documents contradict such assurances. One of the principal concerns raised by regional governments after news was leaked of the pending agreement had been the possibility of the bases’ use for aggressions against neighboring countries. In an interview Sunday with the Colombian daily El Tiempo, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield claimed that joint operations aren’t planned outside of Colombia, and that Article IV of the agreement expressly forbids such operations. In fact, a careful review of the text of the agreement, finally made public on November 3, reveals no such prohibition.
Not only that, but similar assurances by Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva that the agreement "has no geopolitical or strategic connotation, other than being more effective in the fight against drug trafficking" are even more hard to believe after reading a recently uncovered Pentagon budget document that expresses clear regional intentions for the Palanquero air base. The document describes the U.S. presence in Palanquero as an “opportunity for conducting full spectrum operations throughout South America,” and confirms the fears of Colombia’s neighbors when it discusses the possibility of using the base to confront the "threat" of what it calls "anti-U.S. governments." The most chilling phrase, however, is the discussion of the potential use of Palanquero to “expand expeditionary warfare capability.” Read more.
There is no way of overestimating the challenge that the emergence of ALBA and the overall reawakening of Latin America pose to the role that the U.S. arrogates to itself as lord of the entire Western Hemisphere. The almost two-century-old Monroe Doctrine exemplifies Washington's claim to exclusive influence over all of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean Basin and its self-claimed right to subordinate them to its own interests. Never before the election victories of anti-neoliberal forces throughout Latin America over the past eleven years has the prospect of a truly democratic, multipolar New World existed as it does now.
It is in response to those developments that the U.S. and its former colonialist allies in NATO are attempting to reassert their influence in the Americas south of the U.S. border.
November 28 will mark five months since the coup led by U.S.-trained commanders deposed the president of Honduras, the next day will see a mock election in the same nation designed to legitimize the junta of Roberto Micheletti, and the day following that will be a month since Washington signed an agreement with the Alvaro Uribe government in Colombia for the use of seven military bases in the country.
While intensifying a full-scale war in South Asia, continuing occupation missions in Iraq and the Balkans, maintaining warships off the coasts of Somalia and Lebanon, and deploying troops and conducting war games in most parts of the world, the United States and its NATO allies have not neglected Latin America.
Central and South America and the Caribbean are receiving a degree of attention from the U.S. and its partners not witnessed since the Cold War and in some ways are the targets of even more intense scrutiny and intervention.
Honduran Accord Solidifies Coup D'Etat Rule
By Stephen Lendman
On October 29, Honduran coup d'etat "president" Roberto Micheletti announced that:
"....a few minutes ago I authorized my negotiating team to sign a final agreement" to let Congress and the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) decide whether or not deposed President Manuel Zelaya may return to office and complete the remaining weeks of his term, expiring on January 27. If he does, will it matter?
Zelaya is a wealthy businessman, a member of the right-wing Liberal Party (PL), a former National Congress Deputy from 1985 - 1998, a former PL Minster for Investment, and president from January 27, 2006 to when he was deposed on June 28.
His 2005 presidential campaign was largely on a law-and-order platform with pledges that, if elected, he'd address Honduras' crime problem with more police programs against and reeducation ones for violent international and local street gang members.
Zelaya also joined Venezuela's Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) based on fair, not one-sided "free" trade; complementarity, not competition; solidarity, not domination; cooperation, not exploitation; and respect for each nation's sovereign freedom from corporate control.
According to supporters like Alejandra Fernandez, a Honduran student, he also:
"raised the minimum wage, gave out free school lunches, provided milk for the babies and pensions for the elderly, distributed energy-saving light bulbs, decreased the price of public transportation, (and) made more scholarships available for students." In addition, he built roads and schools in rural areas. "That's why the elite classes can't stand him and why we want him back. This is really a class struggle." One the Resistance is determined to win and hardliners aim to crush.
House Resolution Designates Venezuela a State Sponsor of Terrorism
By Stephen Lendman
At a time of growing US poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair, imperial wars without end, and the Obama administration even worse than its predecessor, Venezuela:
- is a model participatory democracy;
- holds free, fair and open elections;
- respects the rule of law, civil liberties, and human rights;
- doesn't intimidate its neighbors;
- uses its resources responsibly for the people;
- provides essential social services for the needy;
- champions judicial fairness and the rule of law;
- has a model free and open media;
- wages no foreign wars;
- doesn't torture or imprison its adversaries;
- conducts effective operations to halt illicit drugs trafficking;
- promotes global peace, solidarity, equality and social justice; and
- its only threat is its good example that shames its northern neighbor.
Honduran Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva to Come to the November Vigil to Close the SOA in Georgia
SOA's Hendrik Voss wrote:
Honduran Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva to Come to the November Vigil to Close the SOA in Georgia
We just talked with Human Rights Defender Bertha Oliva from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She is planning to come to the United States to stand with thousands and to speak out at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia during the November Vigil to close the SOA (November 10-22, 2009). She will bring the call for accountability and the anti-coup resistance to the place where the coup plotters received their training: the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!
Bertha wanted to relay her gratitude for all that people here are doing in solidarity with Honduras. We have kept her abreast of our efforts, and she senses the outpouring of solidarity, along with concrete actions.
She told us that, although she and everyone else are exhausted, and a few pounds lighter, that they are exhilarated at the energy and hope and spirit of the resistance movement. She feels so proud of her people at this moment.
I asked Bertha how we could be of help in addition to what we are doing. Her response was: Send concrete reports (photos, places, statements) about Honduran solidarity events that have taken place in the U.S. International solidarity is having a huge impact on Honduran society, and is putting pressure on the coup govt. By sending info about these expressions of solidarity throughout the U.S., you would make a huge contribution, according to Bertha. COFADEH's press team is very effective in getting things out widely there, as Father Roy and Lisa Sullivan have experienced in several visits, and they would get this info out. She mentioned several times that this would be very helpful.
Argentine Senate overwhelmingly approves media law
Argentine Senate approves law dismantling media monopolies, president to sign
by Mayra Pertossi, Associated Press Writer | Google News
Argentina's Senate overwhelmingly approved a law that will transform the nation's media landscape on Saturday, and President Cristina Fernandez quickly signed it into law.
Senators voted by a surprisingly high 44-24 margin for the law, celebrating the end of dictatorship-era rules that enabled a few companies to dominate Argentine media. Opponents say it instead gives the government too much power and will curtail freedom of speech.
The new law preserves two-thirds of the radio and TV spectrum for noncommercial stations, and requires channels to use more Argentine content. It also forces Grupo Clarin, the country's leading media company, to sell off many of its properties.
"The initiative is moderate and democratic," said Sen. Miguel Angel Pichetto, a ruling party leader, during nearly 20 hours of uninterrupted debate that ended Saturday morning. "It allows for companies to have an adequate position, but not a dominant one."
Opponents say the new law simply replaces a media oligopoly with a state monopoly — and will enable investors with close ties to the president and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, to snap up media properties at low prices in forced sales.
Outside Congress, thousands of supporters celebrated in the plaza with chants, applause, fireworks and booming drums. The demonstration was organized by government supporters and included political activist Maximo Kirchner, son of the first couple.
Ruling party Sen. Liliana Fellner said the law does away with a vestige of Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship.
"We are settling an old debt with democracy," she said. Read more.
By Cindy Sheehan
Today, a President of the largest violently military empire in the world, won the Nobel Peace Prize while his nation is mired in wars in three countries where his actions have oftentimes made things worse.
Let’s also make this clear that the Nobel prizes are supposed to be awarded for work done the previous year (2008), so that means Obama was awarded the prize for campaigning for the presidency of the USA, where his “vision” (platform) was consistently pro-more war. The nominations are also due by February 1st. Ten days after the inauguration and about a week after a drone in Pakistan killed over 3 dozen innocent people.
He was awarded the prize for his “vision” for a “nuclear free world.”
A U.S. senator and three congressmen plan to meet Friday with Honduras' interim leader in defiance of official Washington policy barring contact with the architects of the military coup that ousted the nation's president.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint intends to meet with interim President Roberto Micheletti as well as members of the Central American nation's Supreme Court, election officials and business and civic leaders during the fact-finding trip, said Wesley Denton, a spokesman for the senator.
The visit comes as President Barack Obama's administration seeks to isolate the interim government and use other forms of pressure — including suspending aid and canceling the visas of some members of the country's wealthy elite — in hopes of returning ousted President Manuel Zelaya to serve the remaining months of his term.
DeMint, one of a number of U.S. conservatives who have defended Zelaya's ouster on June 28 in Central America's first coup in more than a decade, supports the interim government plan to hold elections Nov. 29.
"The best solution to the crisis in Honduras is free and fair democratic elections that allow the Honduran people to decide their own future," DeMint said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. Read more.
Chavez: Bush tried to kill me.
Hugo Chavez on Larry King Pt. 1
More "below the fold." Click "Read more."
Deposed President Manuel Zelaya defied threats of arrest and returned home to Honduras Monday, three months after he was forced into exile at gunpoint.
Seeking safety at the Brazilian Embassy, Zelaya called on his countrymen to come to the capital for peaceful protest.
"It is the moment of reconciliation," he said Monday during a televised speech that featured Zelaya's voice but not his image.
His surprise arrival sparked demonstrations in the streets outside the embassy as supporters, who have protested for months since his ouster, cheered his return.
"We are all happy, because he is the constitutional president of Honduras," teacher Alfredo Rodriguez Escobar told The Associated Press. Overhead a police helicopter hovered over the growing crowd.
The return sharply and suddenly escalates the country's political crisis — challenging the government installed by the coup to make good on its promise to arrest Zelaya and making him a polarizing figure for demonstrations — for and against _directly in the country's capital. Read more.
September 15 - Central American Independence Day; Neocolonialism Meets Resistance in Honduras
By Tom Loudon | Truthout | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
On the 80th day of the coup, both the de facto government and the resistance movement against the coup held marches to celebrate the anniversary of Central America's independence from Spain. At a military parade, de facto President Roberto Micheletti defiantly insisted that it would take a military intervention to remove him. Meanwhile, thousands of coup resisters, with elected President Manuel Zelaya's wife at the head, marched through the central park of Tegucigalpa, where last month police and military attacked peaceful protesters and passers-by. The massive resistance movement in Honduras continues to grow, denouncing the violent coup as an illegal takeover on the part of neocolonial economic and military interests.
The EU used the occasion of the anniversary to promise further sanctions if there was not a return to constitutional order. Secretary of State Clinton merely lamented "the turmoil and political differences that have ... divided Honduras."
During the month of August, the coup government of Honduras suffered a number of setbacks on the international level. First, was the release of an Amnesty International Report highlighting "serious human rights concerns which should be addressed as a matter of urgency." The report corroborated "increasingly disproportionate and excessive use of force being used by the police and military to repress legitimate and peaceful protests across the country." Read more.
Obama extends Cuba embargo 1 year
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has extended the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba for one year, the White House said in a statement released on Monday.
The extension was expected and has been the practice of all U.S. presidents dating to the 1970s under a section of the so-called "Trading With the Enemy Act."
Obama extended the embargo even though he has made reaching out to old U.S. foes a key plank in his foreign policy.
There have been signs of a possible thaw in U.S.-Cuban ties since Raul Castro early last year took over as president from his ailing brother Fidel. Fidel Castro had held the post since heading the revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed Batista regime on Jan. 1, 1959.
OpedNews Journalist and Protesters Charged With Criminal Conspiracy After Arrest At "Army Experience Center"
By Linda Milazzo
Philadelphia, PA, September 13, 2009: Six members of various anti-war groups, including World Can't Wait and Military Families Speak Out, and an OpedNews journalist, were arrested on Saturday, September 12, 2009, at approximately 3pm (ET) at a protest organized to shut down The Army Experience Center, located in Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, PA. They were released early Sunday morning and charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Failure To Disperse. Their arraignment is scheduled for September 23, 2009 at 11:30am (ET) at Philadelphia Municipal Court,1301 Filbert Street.
OpedNews Journalist and Six Protesters Arrested At "Army Experience Center" In Philadelphia (Updated 9/13/09)
By Linda Milazzo
UPDATED - 9/13/09: The six women, including OpedNews journalist Cheryl Biren, and one man, who has now been identified as Richard Marini of World Can't Wait, arrested yesterday at the Army Experience Center, were released early this morning, September 13, 2009. All were charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Failure to Disperse. Their arraignment is scheduled for September 23, 2009 at 11:30am (ET).
Philadelphia, PA, September 12, 2009: Six members of various anti-war groups, including World Can't Wait and Military Families Speak Out, and an OpedNews journalist, were arrested today at approximately 3:00pm (ET) at a protest organized to shut down The Army Experience Center, located in Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, PA.
Venezuela has agreed to export petrol to Iran, in a sign of closer ties between two of America's most vocal adversaries.
At the end of a two-day visit to Iran, President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela would supply 20,000 barrels of petrol a day to the country.
Iran is a major oil exporter but lacks domestic refining capability.
Iranian leaders expressed support for the Venezuelan socialist leader's anti-American policies.
Mr Chavez has been using Venezuela's oil wealth to counter US influence in Latin America and to boost ties with nations not friendly with Washington.
"Venezuela has agreed to export 20,000 barrels of petrol daily to Iran from October in a deal worth $800 millon (£485m)," he was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
He added: "This amount will be deposited in a fund established in Iran and will be used to finance purchase of machinery and technology from Iran." Read more.
The resistance to the military coup in Honduras has entered its 71st straight day of direct action in the streets of that country. Meanwhile, the United States Department of State still has yet to officially declare the events a 'military coup', an identification that would require, under US law, the cutting of all financial aid and diplomatic ties. For this reason and others, Manuel Zelaya came back to Washington to get additional commitments from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. While Clinton did make some commitments on suspending more visas and not recognizing the upcoming elections in Honduras, the story of the US involvement in resolving the coup is still dominated by the support the US provides to the de facto regime. This was further deepened by the revelation that the International Monetary Fund, itself largely controlled by the US Treasury Department, has allocated $150 million to the coup government. Zelaya spoke to George Washington University about his view of Honduran democracy and why that led to his forced expulsion from his country.