Tags: dana frank, hillary clinton, Honduras, honduras coup, honduras killing, honduras military, honduras oppression, honduras paramilitary, honduras resistance, human rights, Latin America, manuel zelaya, oas, porfirio lobo, School of the Americas, soa, soa watch
1 comment so far
The return of deposed President Manuel Zelaya to Honduras doesn’t mean democracy, civil liberties and the basic rule of law are returning to that country any time soon. Far from it.
The very same oligarchs who launched the coup remain in power, and in the past two months the government’s repression has accelerated. That’s why more than 70 members of Congress are calling for a suspension of U.S. military and police aid to Honduras.
On May 22, Zelaya and the current president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, signed a pact permitting Zelaya to return free of the trumped-up charges the coup makers leveled against him when the Honduran military packed him onto a plane to Costa Rica on June 28, 2009. Lobo also promised to allow plebiscites and to recognize the National Front of Popular Resistance, the broad coalition uniting labor, women’s groups, peasant organizations, gay alliances and Afro-indigenous movements.
But both of these “concessions” are already legally on the books, and grant nothing concrete to the opposition.
Zelaya’s return itself does have enormous popular significance. For hundreds of thousands of Hondurans, including those who are quite critical of him, he is the grand symbol of resistance to the ongoing military coup. He represents constitutional order, the rule of law and a hope for a different Honduran future based on social justice.
But neither Zelaya’s return nor the pact address the horrific human rights situation in the country. Lobo appointed the same officers who ran the coup to control the armed forces, the state-owned telephone company, the airports and the immigration service. And the government’s authoritarianism in the past two months now exceeds the period right after the coup.
Police and the military now routinely shoot tear gas canisters directly at peaceful demonstrators at close range. Paramilitary gangs have killed more than 40 peasant activists since Lobo took office, including four in the last three weeks. Since Lobo came to power in the coup, more than 300 opposition members have been killed, according to human rights groups. Impunity reigns. You can drive by and shoot a teacher, an indigenous activist or a trade unionist, and nothing – nothing — will happen to you.
Lobo, in the accord, promised to create a new ministry overseeing human rights. But his promise means nothing. Indeed, three days after the accord, his police launched live bullets and tear gas against a group of high school students protesting the suspension of their math teachers.
Despite growing congressional recognition of the crisis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton keeps insisting that “democracy has been restored” and that Honduras should be readmitted to the Organization of American States at its June 5-7 meeting.
Rather than join Clinton in whitewashing a repressive regime, we should unite with members of Congress in demanding an immediate suspension of U.S. military aid to Honduras — and an end to support for the ongoing coup government of Porfirio Lobo.
Dana Frank is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of “Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America,” which focuses on Honduras, and Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism. She is currently writing a book about the AFL-CIO’s Cold War intervention in the Honduran labor movement.
|Agreement signed for democratic rights in Honduras|
|Written by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer and John
Riddell SOA Watch
|On May 22, Honduran president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and former president José
Zelaya Rosales signed an agreement ‘For National Reconciliation and
the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras.’
Lobo was elected in November 2009 in a rigged vote organized by the regime
The present agreement, finalized in Cartagena, Colombia, also bears the
This agreement opens the door to significant changes in the Central American
An earlier article, “Freedom for Joaquín Pérez Becerra!” discussed the context that
The Resistance welcomes the agreement
The FNRP also expressed “thanks for the process of international mediation”
Terms of the accord
By the terms of the
U.S. disruption attempt
Notably absent from discussions leading to the Cartagena Agreement was the
Alexander Main, an analyst for the Center for Economic and Policy Research,
“For good measure,” Main says, “the [U.S.] statement noted that ‘since his
In fact, according to the Committee of Family Members of Disappeared
Showdown at the OAS
The U.S. canvassed energetically among Central and South American countries
In Main’s opinion, “the U.S. is not prepared to accept a political mediation
The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, called a meeting of the OAS
The failure of this U.S.-inspired maneuver opened the road for the signing of
The Cartagena agreement, and the process that facilitated it, marks an
The Cartagena accord’s impact in Central America was immediate and far
In a joint
Need for continued solidarity
Whether the Honduran government will fully carry out the Cartagena agreement
The establishment of the Colombia-Venezuela monitoring commission will be
Toni Solo, “Varieties of
Ida Garberi, “El
Grading Obama on Honduran Coup: D January 21, 2010Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Democracy, Foreign Policy, Honduras, Latin America.
Tags: democracy, foreign policy, hillary clinton, hondruas military, Honduras, honduras coup, honduras oppression, Latin America, mark engler, obama adminstrtion, otto reich, roger hollander, zelaya
1 comment so far
The June 28 coup in Honduras against democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya presented a crisis that would color the Obama administration’s foreign policy outlook for all of the Americas — and would ultimately become one of the administration’s most disappointing foreign policy failures of its first year.
Early on, the White House was earning about a B- for its response to the coup. It generally did the right thing, but it seemed to do so reluctantly and without conviction. One day after Zelaya’s ouster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Zelaya’s removal “should be condemned by all.” The following day, Barack Obama declared, “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras.”
In spite of these statements, the administration avoided formally categorizing Zelaya’s removal as a “military coup,” a classification which would have required the U.S. government to follow diplomatic protocols mandating swift aid cuts and other forms of censure. Eventually, in September, the United States did revoke the visas for the Honduran coup president, its foreign minister, and 14 of its Supreme Court judges, and it suspended $30 million in aid. However, this represented only a fraction of total U.S. aid to Honduras. Larger streams of money continued to flow through channels, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, ostensibly on the grounds that such aid served an important humanitarian function.
For much of the early period after the coup, Obama expressed the view that the United States should take a light hand if possible in internal Latin American affairs, and that the situation in Honduras should be primarily resolved through diplomatic efforts within the region. This nod toward non-interventionism would ordinarily have considerable merit. But amid the White House’s other half-hearted measures — and with Republican lawmakers such as South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint praising coup leaders and arguing that Honduran government institutions performed “as our own Founding Fathers would have hoped” in “cleansing [itself] of usurpers” — the coup government was allowed to interpret the lack of a stronger official response as a sign of tacit sympathy from Washington.
All this was problematic but not disastrous. The Obama administration’s true failure was that it bombed the final exam: the scheduled November 29 presidential elections. Shortly after brokering a deal designed to pressure the Honduran Congress to reinstate Zelaya and allow him to serve the end of his term, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon reversed himself and declared that the United States would recognize the elections even if Zelaya remained out of office. And that is exactly what happened.
We’re now left with a new government tarnished by the legacy of the coup and elected amid massive protest and popular abstention. Pro-coup forces continue to perpetuate frightening human rights abuses, including the repression of critical journalists and the abduction of prominent pro-democracy activists. Yet the Obama administration has articulated no plan for exerting its considerable leverage to promote the return of legitimate democracy.
So why not give Obama an F? Some progressives, disgusted by the White House response, may be tempted to contend that it reflects a Latin American foreign policy that is even worse than that of President George W. Bush’s. This would be an error. The stances of Bush appointees such as former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto Reich — who lauded the coup as a necessary measure against the “expansion of Chavist authoritarianism” — shows that the position of the last administration would likely have been far worse than that of the present one. But the prospect that things could be even grimmer than they are now doesn’t mean that the White House deserves passing marks for its efforts.
© 2010 Foreign Policy in Focus