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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.
Brazil Calls for Stronger U.S. Action on Honduras
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called U.S.
President Barack Obama on Friday, in a bid to ask for a
stronger U.S. action on the Honduran issue, local media
According to Lula, a less tolerant attitude from the
United States would not only facilitate the return of
ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to his position
but also contribute to improve the U.S. relations with
"The President said that this is not about the U.S.
interfering in Honduras," said Brazilian Foreign
Minister Celso Amorim.
However, according to Amorim, the United States are in
condition to put an adequate amount of pressure over the
new Honduran administration since the country's economy
is highly dependent on the United States, thus the U.S.
attitude may make a difference in the matter.
On Friday nearly 100 Latin America scholars and experts sent an open letter to Human Rights Watch urging HRW to speak up about human rights violations in Honduras under the coup regime and to conduct its own investigation of these abuses. The letters' signers include Honduras experts Dana Frank and Adrienne Pine, Latin America experts Eric Hershberg, John Womack, and Greg Grandin, and noted authors Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein.
There has been very little attention in the U.S. press to repression in Honduras under the coup regime. Hopefully, that will now change: Amnesty International issued a report today documenting "serious ill-treatment by police and military of peaceful protesters" in Honduras, warning that "beatings and mass arrests are being used as a way of punishing people for voicing their opposition" to the coup.
An Amnesty International delegation interviewed people who were detained after police and military broke up a peaceful demonstration July 30. Most detainees had injuries as a consequence of police beatings.
Esther Major, Central America researcher at Amnesty International, said:
Global Depression and Regional Wars - Reviewing James Petras' New Book: Part II
By Stephen Lendman
Part II continues Petras' analysis of the global depression, regional wars, and the decline of America's empire.
Obama's Latin American Policy
At all times under all administrations, policy, not rhetoric, defines priorities, and it's no different for Obama. With regards to Latin America and its people, he's been hostile and dismissive by:
- allocating half a billion dollars "in military and related aid" to aid the right wing Calderon regime and militarizing the US - Mexican border;
- on the pretext of fighting drugs trafficking and regional security, funding to Mexico and Colombia goes for military purposes; Colombia gets the most - billions under Plan Colombia; economic aid is ignored;
- beyond the timeline of Petras' book, Hugo Chavez and other regional leaders voiced concern over Washington's intention to supply Colombia with new weapons and technology, continued billions for the hardline "Uribe doctrine," and of greatest concern the plan to access seven new military bases - three airfields, two naval installations, and two army bases besides nine others currently stationing US forces all supplemented by the reactivated Fourth Fleet in April 2008;
- continuing US trade policies that have been devastating to regional farmers and peasants; likely new protectionist measures will hurt them more;
- practicing the same Bush anti-Latino immigrant policies with talk now about new legislation to harden them and establish a new bracero policy;
- targeting regional left of center regimes, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba; the latter's long-standing embargo remains in place despite some relaxed travel and other restrictions; and
- maintaining a three-fold regional strategy:
Religious and Grassroots Leaders Urge Clinton to Suspend Military Base Talks with Colombia Bases
deal “presents enormous dangers for entire hemisphere”
For Immediate Release
Over one hundred religious, national, community organizations and leaders and academics today called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “suspend negotiations for expanded U.S. military access or operations in Colombia,” a plan that has generated a swell of protest among Latin American countries, including Colombia, the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the hemisphere.
“It is rational for regional leaders to see the installation of several U.S. military sites in Colombia as a potential threat to their security,” the groups said, because of U.S. support for trans-border attacks from Colombia, reported violations of the expiring base agreement with Ecuador, a Pentagon statement that it seeks access for “contingency operations” in the region, and the painful history of U.S. military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“To broaden relationships with South America and value respect for human rights, the United States should not create a fortress in Colombia in concert with the region’s worst rights violators, the Colombian military,” the letter said.
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
Global Depression and Regional Wars - Reviewing James Petras' New Book: Part I
By Stephen Lendman
James Petras is Binghamton University, New York Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Besides his long and distinguished academic career, he's a noted figure on the left, a well-respected Latin American expert, and a longtime chronicler of the region' popular struggles. He's also a prolific author of hundreds of articles and dozens of books, most recently his new one titled, "Global Depression and Regional Wars" addressing America, Latin America and the Middle East.
Part I - Global Depression
Variety's famous October 30, 1929 headline is again relevant: "Wall Street Lays an Egg," or as economist Rick Wolff puts it: "Capitalism hit the fan" following a familiar pattern of boom and bust cycles punctuated by bubbles that always burst. Petras explains it this way:
"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades have crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigms and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch (and bearing witness to) the collapse of the US and world financial system."
Grim prospects are ahead:
- a world depression with one-fourth of the labor force unemployed;
- global trade in free fall;
- a proliferation of bankruptcies with General Motors a metaphor for a decaying system;
- free-market capitalism in disrepute; and
- "planning, public ownership, nationalization(s and other) socialist alternatives have become almost respectable" because most sacred cow "truisms" and solutions have failed.
This week Representative Raul Grijalva and 15 other Democrats sent a letter to President Obama urging him to do more to reverse the coup in Honduras. Specifically, it urged him to speak up against human rights abuses under the coup regime: at least ten Hondurans have been killed since the coup (not 2, mainstream media.) The sixteen Democrats also urged Obama to cancel U.S. visas and freeze bank accounts of officials of the coup regime.
The good news is that Latin American criticism of the Obama Administration's failure to pressure the coup regime in Honduras has reached the level that Obama himself can no longer ignore it. The bad news is that Obama's response so far seems to be to stay the course: talk left, act right.
President Barack Obama said on Friday that he has no quick way to resolve the political crisis in Honduras, where supporters of a coup are refusing to let ousted President Manuel Zelaya return to power.
"I can't press a button and suddenly reinstate Mr. Zelaya," Obama said.
Will Venezuelan Destabilization Follow the Honduran Coup?
By Stephen Lendman
After ten and a half years in office, Hugo Chavez is very savvy about America's intentions. On January 17, even before Obama's inauguration, he said "Barack Obama has the 'stench' of his predecessor as US president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American 'empire.' "
He added that frayed ties with Washington were unlikely to improve despite the departure of Bush, the man he called the 'devil.' Now there's a new "devil" with his fingerprints all over the June 28 Honduran coup. More on that below.
At a January political rally on a historic Venezuela battlefield, Chavez said "I hope I am wrong, but I believe Obama brings the same stench, to not say another word" and do little to change his predecessor's policies.
More than half a year after the departure of the George W. Bush administration the United States is embroiled in its largest combat operation since the second attack on Fallujah in November of 2004 and the most extensive and lengthy offensive in its nearly eight-year-old war in Afghanistan.
It has also announced plans to intensify its involvement in the 45-year counterinsurgency war in Colombia with deployments of 1,400 additional soldiers and contractors to five more military bases there.
Democracy Now! EXCLUSIVE: Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Speaks from Nicaraguan Border on Who's Behind the Coup
Democracy Now! EXCLUSIVE: Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Speaks from Nicaraguan Border on Who's Behind the Coup, His Attempts to Return Home, the Role of the United States and More *
In a Democracy Now! national broadcast exclusive, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya joins us from the Nicaragua-Honduras border for a wide-ranging interview on his attempts to return home, who's behind the coup, the role of the United States, and much more. "I think the United States is going to lose a great deal of influence in Latin America if it does not turn the coup d'etat around," Zeleya says. "It will not be able to put forth its idea about democracy. It won't be credible before anyone." On his message to the Honduran people, Zelaya says they should "maintain their resistance against those who want to take their rights away so that no one will be able to disrespect them, which is what the coup regime is doing today."
November 20-22, 2009 - Converge on Fort Benning, Georgia
Mass Mobilization to Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!
The military coup by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the Americas has on Latin America. The actions of the school's graduates are unmasking the Pentagon rhetoric and reveal the anti-democratic results of U.S. policies. It is time for a change towards justice.
From November 20-22, 2209, thousands will vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, to stand up for justice, to shut down the School of the Americas and to end the oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the school represents.
It's been a month since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a military coup. Negotiations on restoring democracy supported by the United States broke down when the coup regime refused to accept a compromise that would allow President Zelaya to return.
The Obama Administration still says it is working for President Zelaya's return, but so far it has not responded to the call from Hondurans for increased U.S. pressure on the coup regime.
Indeed, when President Zelaya tried to increase pressure on the coup regime by threatening to return to Honduras without an agreement, Secretary of State Clinton attacked President Zelaya as "reckless," instead of expressing any concern about repression by the coup regime against President Zelaya's supporters.
National Exclusive...Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, Wife of Ousted Honduran President, Calls on US to Aid Her Husband's Return Home: "We Want Justice, We Want Peace, We Demand the Return to Democracy"
After a failed attempt to return to Honduras over the weekend, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has complained that US condemnation of the coup against him is waning. Zelaya had tried to cross back into Honduras from Nicaragua on Friday but stayed for less than an hour. We speak with the wife of the ousted Honduran president, First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. She's spent the past day trying to get to the border with Nicaragua, and she joins us now from the town of Jacaleapa.
Honduran Coup Leader, General Velasquez in Miami THIS Saturday, July 25
Jeff Nall wrote:
Dear fellow activists,
I have just received an email from Just Foreign Policy indicating that General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the military leader of the coup in Honduras, is scheduled to be in MIAMI THIS SATURDAY, JULY 25th, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, FL 33139.
Velasquez is scheduled to speak between 9:45am and 10:45am....after “Morning worship.”
By Robert Naiman
It seems too awful or too good to be true, depending on how you look
at it. But according to the web site of "MIGApartners," which I gather is some flavor of Christian organization, General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the military leader of the coup in Honduras, is going to be in Miami on Saturday morning July 25th, between 9:45am-10:45am, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
If it is true that General Vasquez is coming to Miami - is he already in the U.S.? - this raises a number of questions.
- this guy is welcome in the U.S.?
- could he not be detained by U.S. authorities?
- how will he be welcomed by the good citizens of Miami?
By Bruce Barnard, Journal of Commerce Online
ITF calls for boycott to protest military coup, flags of convenience
The International Transport Workers Federation called for a worldwide boycott of Honduran-flag merchant ships to protest the military coup in the Central American nation.
London-based ITF said its call for action “is likely to affect the loading and unloading of the 650 ships flying the Honduran flag.”
The ITF called on its 656 member unions to take “peaceful” and “lawful” measures to put pressure on Honduras’s military government, which deposed President Manuel Zelaya in a coup on June 28.
“We have to put real pressure on the Honduran military to allow the country to revert to democracy,” ITF General Secretary David Cockroft said.
Resolution Against the U.S./U.N. Occupation of Haiti
Submitted to the National Antiwar Conference Held at La Roche College in Pittsburgh on July 10-12, 2009
Adopted unanimously by the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation's national antiwar conference on July 11, 2009
Whereas, Haiti -- the first Black republic, has been subjected to foreign occupations throughout its history, including an almost continuous U.S. occupation since July 29, 1915; and
Whereas, the U.S. promoted two coup d'etats against the legitimately elected president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, first on September 30, 1991, and then on February 29, 2004; and
July 9 Update from Honduras Under the Coup
by Andres Conteris
The International Emergency Delegation co-sponsored by Nonviolence International and Code Pink with the participation of members of the National Lawyer's Guild, Global Exchange, Rights Action, School of the Americas Watch, Quixote Center, the Hemispheric Social Alliance has been present in Tegucigalpa since Tuesday, June 30, two days after the coup. Our work has involved bearing witness to the repression that the defacto regime has perpetrated against many facets of Honduran society. We were close by at the time that a military sharpshooter shot and killed an 18 year-old young man in a crowd of tens of thousands on July 5 at the airport when President Manuel Zelaya attempted to land in the airplane that sought to return him to his country.
We met with Nobel Peace Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu, and she asked us to support an effor to call upon civil society organizations and popular movements from around the hemisphere to come to Honduras and accompany those who have most suffered from the violent takeover of the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya. A report from the Guatemalan Delegation headed by Rigoberta Mechu which gives great details about the effects of the post coup repression in Honduras is available in Spanish and will soon be translated.
U.S. policy has taken some positive steps to pressure the defacto government, but the U.S. continues to have its ambassador present in Tegucigalpa which in some way gives credibility to the regime in power. On July 9, 20009, five members of the School of the Americas Watch, including the founder of SOAW Fr. Roy Bourgeois, held vigil at the U.S. Embassy to make the following demands:
By Michael Parenti, http://CommonDreams.org
Is President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras, specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in the abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that the rules of democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions remain.
First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to many of us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.