Caribbean Political Economy

Political Realism and National Transformation In Honduras, Annie Bird

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An agreement brokered by the presidents of,   Colombia and Venezuela has paved the way for ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to Honduras and for that country to be reincorporated into the OAS. Two articles analyse the agreement and the current political situation.

Zelaya has sought to return to Honduras ever since the military coup that expelled him, but was prevented by criminal charges filed in Honduras’ corrupt and internationally condemned ‘justice’ system. Undoubtedly, he is interested in returning for the June 28, 2011 launch of the constitutional convention process by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP)…

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Honduran Dictatorship Is A Threat To Democracy In The Hemisphere, Mark Weisbrot

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A small group of rich people who own most of Honduras and its politicians enlist the military to kidnap the elected president at gunpoint and take him into exile. They then arrest thousands of people opposed to the coup, shut down and intimidate independent media, shoot and kill some demonstrators, torture and beat many others. This goes on for more than four months, including more than two of the three months legally designated for electoral campaigning. Then the dictatorship holds an “election.”…

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Honduras: The Scapegoat Syndrome, Juan Almendares

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To penetrate Honduras in the political abyss, it’s essential to analyze the Guaymuras Dialogue, Tegucigalpa/San Jose Accord for national reconciliation and strengthening of democracy, signed on the 30th of October, 2009 by representatives of the de facto Government and of the legitimate President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya Rosales…

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Honduras Revisited, Robert White

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The former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay and investigator of El Salvador’s infamous death squads analyses how the Obama Administration “turned an imminent diplomatic triumph into a negotiated defeat”.

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President Obama’s Credibility on the Line in Honduras, Mark Weisbrot

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Last Friday an agreement was reached between the de facto regime in Honduras– which took power in a military coup on June 28th — and the elected president Mel Zelaya, for the restoration of democracy there. But the ink was barely dry on the accord when leaders of the coup regime indicated that they had no intention of honoring it..

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Three Views on the Honduras Agreement

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Atilio Boron, Greg Grandin and Honduran sociologist Ricardo Salgado analyse,  the contradictions,,  uncertainties,  and opportunties of the U.S.- brokered agreement to end the coup in Honduras.

An Improbable Solution Atilio Boron

Has the political crisis in Honduras been resolved? Although a window of opportunity has opened, every indicator suggests that there is not a lot of room for optimism…

Solution or Stall? Greg Grandin

The Honduran crisis may soon be over. Maybe. The leader of the coup government, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to a nine-point plan to end the country’s political impasse, brokered by Thomas Shannon, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Barack Obama’s yet-to-be-confirmed ambassador to Brazil….

The struggle must be more intense than ever,  Ricardo Salgado

Those who claimed several weeks ago that the president would be restored at the beginning of November, though bound by his hands and feet, in order to legitimate the elections, managed to describe the end that we are witnessing now. But let the record show that it is not the end of the coup..

The Honduras Coup, ALBA, and the English-Speaking Caribbean

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by Faiz Ahmed

The military coup carried out by masked soldiers in the early hours of June 28 against the democratically elected President of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was a bandit act with differing messages intended for different audiences.

One such audience is the oligarchical groupings throughout the hemisphere, who will be emboldened by Washington’s tacit tolerance of the coup makers.,   Another audience is the Latin American leftist and popular governments, who are being told that their agendas can be trumped by non-democratic means.

And there is yet another audience: the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean governments who, like Zelaya, are far from ideologically opposed to capitalism, but are aware of their inability to improve the overall quality of life of their societies within capitalism’s current configuration.,   As a result, many of these island governments are edging towards regional agreements based on principles antithetical to the capitalist system.

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Obama’s continuance of Bush policies in Latin America is a serious mistake

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By Mark Weisbrot


This op-ed was published by The New York Times Online and the International Herald Tribune on August 11, 2009.


There were great hopes in Latin America when President Obama was elected. U.S. standing in the region had reached a low point under George W. Bush, and all of the hemisphere’s left-leaning governments expressed optimism that Obama would go in a different direction.

These hopes have been dashed. President Obama has continued the Bush policies and in some cases has done worse.

The military overthrow of democratically elected President Mel Zelaya of Honduras on June 28 has become a clear example of Obama’s failure in the hemisphere. There were signs that something was amiss in Washington from the beginning, when the first statement from the White House failed to even criticize, much less condemn, the coup. It was the only such statement from a government to take a neutral position. The General Assembly of the United Nations and the Organization of American States voted unanimously for “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya.

Conflicting statements from the White House and State Department emerged over the ensuing days, but last Friday the State Department made clear its “neutrality” as between the dictatorship and the democratically elected president of Honduras. In a letter to Senator Richard Lugar, the State Department said that “our policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual,” and appeared to blame President Zelaya for the coup: “President Zelaya’s insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal.”

This letter was all over the Honduran media, which is controlled by the coup government and its supporters, and it once again strengthened them politically. Congressional Republicans who have supported the coup immediately claimed victory.

On Monday President Obama repeated his prior statement that Zelaya should return. But by then nobody was fooled.

Obama has said that he “can’t push a button and suddenly reinstate Mr. Zelaya.” But he hasn’t pushed the buttons that he has at his disposal, such as freezing the U.S. assets of the coup government leaders and their supporters, or canceling their visas. (The State Department cancelled five diplomatic visas of members of the coup government, but they can still enter the United States with a normal visa – this gesture had no effect.)

With Clinton associates such as Lanny Davis and Bennett Ratcliff running strategy for the coup government, the Pentagon looking out for its military base in Honduras, and the Republicans ideologically tied to the coup leaders, it should be no surprise that Washington is more worried about protecting its friends in the dictatorship than about such principles as democracy or the rule of law.

But it doesn’t make Obama’s policy any more justifiable or less disgraceful. And Washington has remained tellingly silent about atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the dictatorship: the killing of at least ten opposition activists, the detention and intimidation of journalists, the closure of independent TV and radio stations, and other repression condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and human rights organizations worldwide.

In addition to its failure in Honduras, the Obama administration drew public statements of concern last week from such leaders as President Lula da Silva of Brazil and Michelle Bachelet of Chile – along with other presidents – with its decision to increase the U.S. military presence at seven bases in Colombia. Washington apparently did not consult with South American governments – other than Colombia — beforehand. The pretext for the expansion is, as usual, the “war on drugs.” But the legislation in Congress that would fund this expansion allows for a much broader role; no wonder South America is suspicious. Obama has also not reversed the Bush administration’s decision to reactivate U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean, for the first time since 1950 – a decision that raised concerns in Brazil and other countries

President Obama has also continued the Bush administration’s trade sanctions against Bolivia, which are seen throughout the region as an affront to Bolivia’s national sovereignty.,   And despite Obama’s world-famous handshake with President Chávez, the State Department has maintained about the same level of hostilities toward Venezuela – mostly in the form of public denunciations – as President Bush did in his last year or two.

Obama’s policies have drawn mostly only mild rebuke because he is still enjoying somewhat of a honeymoon, and he is not Bush. And the media mostly gives him a free pass. But he is doing serious damage to U.S.-Latin American relations, and to the prospects for democracy and social progress in the region.

Center for Economic and Policy Research, 1611 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 293-5380, Fax: (202) 588-1356

The Minimum Wage and the Coup in Honduras

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by Robert Naiman

The author is National Coordinator of Just Foreign Policy

From The Huffington Post August 7 2009

The coup in Honduras — and the at best grudging and vacillating support in Washington for the restoration of President Zelaya — has thrown into stark relief a fundamental fault line in Latin America and a moral black hole in U.S. policy toward the region.

What is the minimum wage which a worker shall be paid for a day’s labor?

Supporters of the coup have tried to trick Americans into believing that President Zelaya was ousted by the Honduran military because he broke the law. But this is nonsense. A Honduran bishop told Catholic News Service,

“Some say Manuel Zelaya threatened democracy by proposing a constitutional assembly. But the poor of Honduras know that Zelaya raised the minimum salary. That’s what they understand. They know he defended the poor by sharing money with mayors and small towns. That’s why they are out in the streets closing highways and protesting (to demand Zelaya’s return)”

This is why the greedy, self-absorbed Honduran elite turned against President Zelaya: because he was pursuing policies in the interests of the majority.

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Honduran bishop:wealthy elite were behind coup

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By Paul Jeffrey Catholic News Service

EUGENE, Oregon (CNS) — A Catholic bishop in western Honduras said members of the country’s wealthy elite were behind the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

Bishop Luis Santos Villeda of Santa Rosa de Copan also said the country needs a dialogue between the elite and Honduras’ poor and working-class citizens.

“Some say Manuel Zelaya threatened democracy by proposing a constitutional assembly. But the poor of Honduras know that Zelaya raised the minimum salary. That’s what they understand. They know he defended the poor by sharing money with mayors and small towns. That’s why they are out in the streets closing highways and protesting (to demand Zelaya’s return),” the bishop told Catholic News Service.

In a July 30 telephone interview, he said it is misleading to consider Honduras a democracy, either before or after the June 28 coup.

“There has never been a real democracy in Honduras. All we have is an electoral system where the people get to choose candidates imposed from above. The people don’t really have representation, whether in the Congress or the Supreme Court, which are all chosen by the rich. We’re the most corrupt country in Central America, and we can’t talk about real democracy because the people don’t participate in the decisions,” he said.

While Bishop Santos has criticized Zelaya for forging too close an alliance with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the prelate said those behind the coup are not advocates of democracy.

“They are gangsters, but their game is up. They plot together over dinner one night but the next day pretend to have disagreements in order to deceive the illiterate. They don’t care that children are dying of hunger, or that people die in hospitals without medicine,” he told the Jesuit-run Radio Progreso July 29.

In the interview with CNS, the bishop said that after an appeal from Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the ousted president, he had dispatched food and water to embattled protesters.

“As a church, we continue offering humanitarian aid where it’s needed,” he told CNS. “And, taking into consideration our preferential option for the poor, we urge a dialogue between the unions, peasant groups and popular organizations on the one side and the economic powers behind the coup, which are linked to the transnational mining companies, the fast food chains and the petroleum distributors. The dialogue should be between these powerful groups and the poor and weak. … The international community doesn’t have anything to do with it.

“Who lives with the shocking misery here — the lack of education and medicines, the lack of even sheets in the hospitals — are the poor of Honduras. So national reconciliation needs to be between the poor, represented by their leaders, and these economically powerful groups,” he said.

Bishop Santos’ analysis of the political crisis appears at odds with that of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

In a July 4 appearance that the interim government ordered all the country’s television and radio stations to carry live, Cardinal Rodriguez urged Zelaya to remain outside the country, warning of violence should he attempt to return.

“We think that a return to the country at this time could unleash a bloodbath in the country,” Cardinal Rodriguez said. “To this day, no Honduran has died,” he added, urging Zelaya to think about his actions “because afterward it will be too late.”

One protester was killed by government soldiers July 5 when troops closed the Tegucigalpa airport to prevent Zelaya’s plane from landing. At least one other pro-Zelaya demonstrator has been killed since.

Cardinal Rodriguez used the July 4 appearance to read a letter from the country’s bishops’ conference. The letter, which did not use the word “coup,” argued that what had transpired was “in conformance with the law.”

A source within the bishops’ conference told CNS that a lively discussion took place during the meeting in which the letter was drafted, with the cardinal reading from a folder of legal documents provided by the interim government to bolster the case against Zelaya. Bishop Santos reportedly argued strongly for a different position, but finally conceded.

Most of the bishops in Honduras are foreigners and reportedly did not take an active part in the discussion.

Asked by CNS about the meeting, Bishop Santos, who often has differed publicly with Cardinal Rodriguez on political issues, declined to comment. Yet he did say the cardinal’s position was not the only Catholic viewpoint.

“The coup plotters took the appearance of Cardinal Rodriguez in the media as if it were the position of the Catholic Church. But in Honduras we have eight dioceses, and each bishop is autonomous legally and within canon law,” he said.

He pointed out that in his diocesan cathedral July 2 he had read a statement from his diocesan council repudiating “the substance, form and style with which a new head of the executive branch has been imposed on the people.”

Other Catholic groups, including the Central American province of the Jesuits and the region’s Dominicans, as well as the clergy of the Honduran Diocese of Trujillo, have issued statements criticizing the change of government and calling for authentic democracy.

The United Nations, the Organization of American States and the European Union have condemned the coup and demanded Zelaya’s return.

Cardinal Rodriguez received a letter of support from leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council, known by the acronym CELAM.

In an interview from the Nicaraguan-Honduran border, Zelaya told the independent news organization Democracy Now! July 30 that Cardinal Rodriguez “conspired with the coup leaders. He betrayed the people, the poor. He took off his robes to put on a military uniform. And with his words, he really contributed to the assassinations that have taken place in Honduras.”

On July 28 a group of human rights activists filed a motion with the government’s special prosecutor against corruption, asking that the courts charge Cardinal Rodriguez and former Honduran President Carlos Flores with the misuse of public funds. The accusation alleges that the government has paid a monthly stipend of 100,000 lempiras (US$5,300) to the prelate since December 2002.

Repeated attempts by CNS to reach Cardinal Rodriguez at his office and residence were unsuccessful.

END

Haitian Organizations Declaration Against the Honduras Coup

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29 Haitian organizations and numerous personalities come out against the coup in Honduras and demand,   the immediate and unconditional restoration of Manuel Zelaya to power

DECLARATION AGAINST THE COUP D’ETAT OF HONDURAS AND DEMANDING THE RETURN OF THE PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA AND THE PURSUIT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROCESS

We, a group of Haitian organizations, meeting from 24 to 28 July 2009 to commemorate a week of solidarity with Cuba and of all peoples struggling for their liberation, condemn the military coup in Honduras of Sunday 28 June when the democratically elected President was ousted from power and expelled from his country by the Armed Forces.

We wish to alert Haitian public opinion to the gravity of this act, which is contrary to the laws and Constitution of Honduras and to international conventions. This a coup d’état has been fomented by the conservative elites of this country that are opposed to the changes initiated by the Zelaya government, including increase of the minimum wage, a large popular mobilization against the free trade agreements in particular CAFTA, the joining of ALBA and the beginning of a process of constitutional reform. We note that the last decision, which was the pretext used by the traditional political class, the oligarchy and a Parliament to justify the coup, was supported by the signatures of more than 400,000 citizens and that more than 45,000 volunteers were mobilized to ensure the success of the referendum process. The Armed Forces,,   which oppose the referendum seeking public input on whether to undertake a process of Constitutional reform, are engaged in a rebellion and in crimes against the laws and institutions of the country.

The coup is not only directed against the people of Honduras, it seeks to put an end to the immense progress made in recent years by the peoples of the region, including member countries of ALBA, in reclaiming their sovereignty, breaking with neoliberal policies, recovering control over their strategic resources and dimsantling the colonial peripheral dependent,   capitalist state. What is at stake is the future of democracy in our continent. The right of our peoples to regain control over the construction of their own future is being threatened.,   That is,   why we ask Haitian organizations to mobilize to demand the immediate and unconditional return of Manuel Zelaya to power by associating themselves with this statement.

The signatories of this declaration:

1 .- Demand the immediate and unconditional return of Manuel Zelaya to power

2.- Demand the removal of the current de facto government and punishment of perpetrators and accomplices of the coup d’état

3 .- Denounce the cynicism practiced by the U.S. Administration and the double standards of the Government of Costa Rica through tactics that attempt to legitimize the coup and unnecessarily prolong the suffering of the people of Honduras.

4 .- Denounce the widespread and unacceptable human rights violations perpetrated by the coup regime that daily violates civil liberties, imposes a curfew and severely represses,   the numerous mass demonstrations held in support of the President.,   In this regard there have already been several casualties, assassinations, a large number of serious injuries, arbitrary arrests and systematic persecution of feminist organizations, indigenous organizations and of the Press.

5.-Wish to highlight the fact that although international bodies including the United Nations and the OAS have unanimously condemned the coup d’état, the issue now appears to be managed by the U.S. State Department and its allies in Central America, in the context of a confusing mediation process that promotes the extension in power of the criminals who now run the country. The resolution of the OAS should be implemented as soon as possible.

6 .- Call on all human rights bodies to mobilize to protect the many Honduran organizations and the tens of thousands of Honduran citizens involved in the resistance against the coup and who are persecuted and threatened with death and reprisals of all kind. We cannot remain silent in the face of this assault against an unarmed people defending their most basic rights.

. 7 .- Welcome the exemplary resistance of the people of Honduras, which after more than a month continues to paralyze the country and defend its dignity and sacred right to defend its democratic achievements.

8 .- Welcome in particular the National Front of Resistance to the coup d’état and all sister organizations such as COPINH, members of Jubilee South and the member organizations of the Central American Popular Bloc, that refuse to retreat in the face of fascism and the barbaric acts of repression that plague the country today.

9 .- Appeal to everyone to follow daily developments, to everywhere to denounce the coup and to make every effort to provide our support and solidarity to the resistance by working tirelessly to ensure that the putschists fail.

Francisco Morazan - Central American Hero

Francisco Morazan - Central American Hero

The signatories wish to salute the courage of the people of Honduras.,   We have experienced a similar situation during the coup d’état perpetrated by the Haitian Armed Forces on 30 September 1991.,   This cost many lives and we witnessed the destruction of the popular movement for 3 years. The bloody coup of 1991 was a critical turning point in the destabilization of our country and the acceleration of a process of institutional and economic regression which is one of the causes of poverty that affects nearly 80% of the population today. We desire that the people of Honduras should acquire the necessary resources to emerge as soon as possible out of this nightmare and the bloody dictatorship in order to resume the construction of a sovereign and prosperous future that fully respects the rights and needs of the majority of the strata of the People of Morazán. Be aware that ‘Peacekeeping Forces’, as in Haiti and other parts of the world, are at the service of imperialism, which is today engaed in a new process of militarization of the region with new and menacing military bases installed in Colombia and Curacao.,  ,   Any multinational force would only prolong the destabilization initiated by the coup.

Down with the oligarchs, the fascist coup in Honduras and the imperialist threat to the whole Latin America!

Long live ALBA!

Long live the resistance of the people of Honduras!

Truth and justice must prevail!

We shall overcome!

Done at Port-au-Prince, on 28 July 2009

Signatures

Individuals:

1 .- Jn Caillot Douly

2 .- Thony Belfort

3 .- Chantale Belgin pluviose

4 .- Jules Armand Joseph

5 .- Sterli Manigat

6 .- Guerchang Bastia

7. .- James Belts

8 .- Devasse Cénatus

Organizations

1. ABCES – Pierre Richard Lamercie
2. ANTíˆN OUVRIYE – Jules Réginald
3. ANTíˆN OUVRIYE – Julianie Desroches
4. APROHFOC (Association of Haitian Professionals Trained in Cuba) – Germanie Molin
5. APROHFOC (Association of Haitian Professionals Trained in Cuba) – Frantz Dupuch
6. ASID (Asosyasyon Iniví¨sití¨ / Iniví¨sití¨z Desalinyen/Desalinyí¨n) – Jean Ronald Joseph ASID (Asosyasyon Iniví¨sití¨ / Iniví¨sití¨z Desalinyen / Desalinyí¨n) – Jean Joseph Ronald
7. HAITI/SOUTHEAST CUBA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION – Antoine Mc Dorvil
8. AVS – Jean Fritz Junior Jules
9. BIENFAISANCE DE L’HUMANITí‰ – Yves M. Louis
10. BO (Batay Ouvriye) – Dieudonné Cadet
11. CHANDEL – Repentita Félix Chandelle
12. CHANDEL – Derinx Petit Jean Chandelle
13. CRAD ( Centre de Recherches Actions pour le Développement) (Research Center for Development Actions) – Jimmy Faustin
14. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – John Andral Souverin
15. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) (Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – Ary Legerme
16. CTSP (Confédération des Travailleurs et travailleuses des secteurs public et privé) (Confederation of Workers of public and private sectors) – Paul Hervé Verdieu
17. DECHENNEN – Mason Dumas DECHENNEN – Mason Dumas
18. ICKL (Institut Culturel Karl Levesque) – Carmel Fils-Aimé ICKL
19. IMUD – Illis Germeil IMUD
20. KORTA – Civil Dieuseul KORT
21. KORTA – Franí§ois Vowens
22. KPN / KFPN (Konbit Peyizan Nip) – Francoeur Pierre
23. MODEP (Mouvman Demokratik Popilí¨) – Jn Paul Milond
24. MOJEREH (Mouvman ) – Roland Moí¯se MOJEREH
25. MORAB (Mouvman ) – Mathieu Donald MORABI
26. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Frémiot Nicolas
27. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Emmanuel Charles
28. MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit) – Max Dialy Lafond
29. MST (Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra de Brazil) (Movimiento of Landless Rural Workers of Brazil) – José Luis Rodrigues
30. MST (Movimiento de los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra de Brazil) (Moviment Landless Rural Workers of Brazil) – Paulo Almeida
31. PAPDA (Plateforme haí¯tienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif),   (Haitian Advocacy Platform for Alternative Development) – Camille Chalmers
32. PARTIZAN – Olrich Jn Pierre
33. POHDH (Plateforme haí¯tienne des Organisations de défense des droits humains) (Platform of Haitian Organizations for Human Rights) – Antonal Mortimer
34. SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyí¨n) – Yolaine Célestin
35. SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyí¨n) – Guerda Jerí´me
36. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) – Gerard Hyppolite
37. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) – (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) -,   Philippe Delva
38. SYTMAP (Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Mairie de Port-au-Prince) – (Union of Workers of Mairie of Port-au-Prince) – Jh. Francisque Thomas Francisque Thomas
39. (UNNOH) Union Nationale des Normaliens Haí¯tiens – Marie Marjorie André
40. VEDEK (Viv Espwa pou Devlopman Kap-Wouj) -,   J. Emmanuel Sanon Emmanuel Sanon
41. VEDEK (Viv Espwa pou Devlopman Kap-Wouj) – Jules Saimilus
42. VEYE YO – Elifaite Saint Pierre

Google translation from the original French revised by Norman Girvan


U.S.- Brokered Mediation Has Failed – It’s Time for Latin America to Take Charge

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by Mark Weisbrot


Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. This column was published by The Guardian Unlimited on July 30, 2009. If anyone wants to reprint it, please include a link to the original.


The mediation effort that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged to try to resolve the Honduran crisis, which began when a military coup removed Honduran President Mel Zelaya more than four weeks ago, has failed. It is now time – some would say overdue – for the Latin American governments to play their proper role. They should take the necessary steps to implement the unanimous mandate from the Organization of American States: “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya to his elected office.

This can be done with or without the help of the Obama administration. It is important to note that the last two political crises in the region were resolved without any significant input from Washington. The first was in March of last year, when Colombia bombed and invaded Ecuadorian territory, in an operation targeting Colombian FARC guerillas. Latin America was united in its response, condemning the violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty. The crisis was resolved at a Rio Group meeting on March 7, where President Uribe of Colombia apologized and pledged not to violate the sovereignty of any country again.

In the summer of last year, right-wing Bolivians opposed to the government of President Evo Morales engaged in a series of violent actions that raised the specter of a separatist civil war. The heads of state of UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations — met in Santiago and unanimously declared their support for the Morales government. This unified regional response, and the ensuing investigations of right-wing violence sponsored by UNASUR, helped put an end to the insurrectionary hopes of the Bolivian right.

It was too much to expect that a mediation process set up by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would resolve the Honduran crisis. The U.S. government has too many interests that conflict with what the rest of the region wants and needs.

First, there is the U.S. military base in Honduras, the only such base in Central America. The constitutional reform process that President Zelaya hoped to set in motion could easily lead to voters’ rejection of foreign troops on their soil. However much our government may prefer democracy as a political system, when there is a choice between democracy and a military base, Washington’s track record is not a good one.

Brazil’s foreign minister Celso Amorim complained to Clinton that the mediation process should be within the framework of the OAS resolution, and therefore should not impose conditions on Zelaya’s return – especially, he said, a coalition government with the people who overthrew the government. This was one of the conditions proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, whom Clinton recruited to mediate.

Amorim also noted that any negotiated solution that was seen as rewarding the coup perpetrators would increase the threat of military coups in other countries. These concerns reflect Latin America’s strong and unambiguous interest in a complete reversal of the coup. They will have to live with the consequences of failure.

In Washington, by contrast, we have a muddle of conflicting interests: powerful lobbyists such as Lanny Davis and Bennett Ratcliff, who are close to Clinton and are leading the coup government’s strategy; the Republican right, including Members of Congress who openly support the coup; and “New Cold Warriors” of both parties in the Congress, State Department, and White House who see Zelaya as a threat because of his co-operation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and other left governments.

No wonder Washington’s response to the coup has sent so many mixed signals. The first White House statement did not even criticize the coup, and the State Department still won’t officially call it a coup. And Clinton has repeatedly refused to say that “restoring the democratic order” in Honduras means bringing Zelaya back – much less unconditionally. It took three weeks for the administration to threaten a foreign aid cutoff, and Washington is alone in keeping its ambassador in place.

Latin America gave Washington a chance to use its influence with the Honduran elite to restore democracy there. It didn’t work. Now it is Latin America’s turn to take the lead. Hopefully, Washington will follow.

The Honduran Coup and the Clinton Connection

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A pro-coup faction in the Obama administration

by Justin Raimondo

July 27, 2009
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/07/26/the-honduran-coup-and-the-clinton-connection/
If you’re a Honduran general and you’re chafing at the bit to depose the duly elected president – as your predecessors have done repeatedly over the years – you don’t just go for it. That would be impolitic and eminently impractical: after all, the United States is not only your country’s number one trading partner, it is also the chief source of funding that keeps the Honduran military flush with so much cash that it is the fifth largest economic power in the nation. A cutoff of that all-important lifeline, not to mention trade sanctions, could put the squeeze on your finances.

So, before you make your move and call the troops out of the barracks, you let Washington know what you’re up to – you feel them out and get some idea of how they might react. There are plenty of indications that this is indeed what occurred, including talk of “negotiations” between the coup plotters and the State Department that failed to avert the “crisis.” So while the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has officially taken the position that the coup is illegitimate and President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya must be restored to office, there are hints that the U.S. is playing both sides of the fence – and even tilting toward the coup leaders. When Zelaya announced that he would cross the border between Honduras and Nicaragua on foot and called on his supporters to gather, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced him as “reckless.” Which led Zelaya to ask, in effect, which side is she on?

Good question, and the answer is she’s on Lanny Davis’ side. Davis, you’ll recall, was her chief attack dog during the presidential primary campaign, and now he’s sold his services to the Honduran branch of CEAL, the Central American business alliance, which supports the coup. He has always been very close to Hillary, and he was her priapic husband’s defense counsel during the impeachment hearings. This time he’s taken on a similarly indefensible client and is working his public relations skills prettifying a brazen coup d’etat as a valiant attempt to “preserve” the Honduran constitution and “the rule of law.”

Is it really too fantastic to assume he’s been on the phone with his old friend Hillary, lobbying hard for the coup leaders and the interests of his corporate paymasters?

Davis, who will do anything for money – he once signed on as a lobbyist for the government of Kazakhstan, one of the most repressive and corrupt governments in the world – is aided by another Clintonista, as the New York Times reports:

“Last week, Mr. Micheletti brought the adviser from another firm with Clinton ties to the talks in Costa Rica. The adviser, Bennett Ratcliff of San Diego, refused to give details about his role at the talks. ‘Every proposal that Micheletti’s group presented was written or approved by the American,’ said another official close to the talks, referring to Mr. Ratcliff.”

The locus of the pro-coup faction in high Democratic Party councils seems to be the powerful Washington law firm of Covington and Burling, which is paid a large retainer by Chiquita, formerly known as United Fruit Company. Current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is a Covington alumnus. He defended Chiquita against charges of bribery and dealing with a known terrorist entity when it was accused (and convicted) of funding right-wing paramilitaries throughout Central America.

So what we have is this: a powerful group within the Democratic Party, clustered around Hillary Clinton, actively pushing for the legitimization of the Honduran coup on behalf of their corporate clients – Chiquita, which has a long and dishonorable history in the region, and the Honduran association of big businessmen, who have long used the state as their personal instrument.

This corporatist alliance is a logical ally of the Clintonistas, who – along with the neocons – have stepped up to the plate as the coup leaders’ leading apologists in Washington. After all, the corporatist model – in which the state acts on behalf of its big business backers, privileging their interests and subsidizing their projects at taxpayers’ expense – reached new heights of corruption under Bill Clinton.

Big U.S. business interests are threatened by Zelaya’s attempts at social reform and his pursuit of an independent foreign policy that puts Honduras first – not the Honduras business council and the U.S. government. Even Lanny Davis is saying it might not have been such a good idea – but, according to him, we have to let bygones be bygones and “move on.” Now where have we heard that line before?

The latest news from Honduras is that the military is beginning to relent and has basically endorsed the “Arias Accord,” the compromise worked out by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The deal involves Zelaya’s restoration, but at a price: he’ll be shorn of a good deal of his presidential powers, in effect reduced to a caretaker-figurehead until new elections are held. Arias wants new elections quickly, but with the country deeply polarized, a presidential campaign could well devolve into open civil war.

The accord, which has Washington’s backing, is just a soft coup. It rewards the generals and their corporate backers and slaps down the populist surge represented by Zelaya, who had challenged the status quo in ways that are not conventionally leftist. Indeed, it is hard to see why Reason magazine, which bangs away at the drug legalization issue with obsessive regularity, hasn’t hailed Zelaya’s call to decriminalize – and why the Cato Institute, which noted this a while back, seems to have forgotten it while denouncing him as an aspiring “dictator.”

The public relations crew that is being paid mega-bucks to prettify the Honduran military regime is certainly earning its fee: every single “news” account of the events leading up to the coup avers that the referendum Zelaya wanted to hold would have extended his term as president. This is a flat-out lie. Read the translation of the question that was to be on the ballot, and see for yourself.

This has nothing to do with term limits and everything to do with the unlimited greed of the Honduran oligarchy and its American corporate partners, who, acting in tandem with the U.S. government, have looted Honduras for decades. They feared Zelaya would put an end to their racket, so the U.S.-trained-and-supported army put an end to his presidency. In the end, the coup leaders will get their way, Zelaya’s supporters will have been put in their place, and the alleged threat represented by Hugo Chavez, the left-populist “Bolivarian,” will have been turned back.

But not really. By supporting corporatist oligarchs, who have as good a reason to fear a true free market as they do a Chavista revolution, the U.S. does itself no favors – though Lanny Davis and his clients are doing quite well, thank you. The essential issue in Central America is the all-important land question. The oligarchs, who monopolize scarce land based on feudal land grants, profit by and owe their status to a system of state intervention that amounts to a spoils system. They invariably resort to the army – to coercion – when all else fails, and that is precisely what happened in this instance. They have always gotten away with it, due to U.S. complicity, and if the Clinton State Department has anything to say about it, the much-vaunted “change” promised by Obama won’t show its face in Honduras any time soon.

The Honduras coup is the Caribbean’s business; Norman Girvan, Andaiye and Alissa Trotz

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Andaiye

Andaiye

A slightly shorter version of this commentary was published in the Stabroek News of July 13, 2009

On April 11, 2002, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez was briefly removed from office by an abortive coup d-etat. A documentary on this episode, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, shows how an alliance of big business, wealthy landowners, and elements of the military conspired to remove him, with the active support of the Bush Administration and the local and international media. State-owned TV stations were closed,coverage of pro-Chavez demostrations was blanked, and false stories circulated. Fortuitously, on the day of the coup, an Irish television crew happened to be inside the Presidential Palace making a documentary; and the end -result was a film that offers an alternate and compelling viewpoint to the pro-coup stories. It documented the pro-poor policies of of the government, the fact that it had been democratically elected and enjoyed extensive support among the working poor; it refuted the

Alissa Trotz

Alissa Trotz

lie that Chávez had resigned and revealed that he was being held prisoner, and showed the massive street demonstrations in his support.

There are disturbing parallels with Honduras, where on the morning of June 28th the incumbent President Manuel Zelaya, democratically elected in 2006 , was taken prisoner by soldiers and put on a plane to neighbouring Costa Rica, a forged letter of resignation was produced, and the President of the National Assembly, Robert Micheletti, proclaimed President. Honduras, a Central American nation of seven million people that recently overtook Guyana as the third poorest country in the hemisphere, still exhibits the deep racial and class inequalties that are a legacy of Spanish conquest and colonisation of the indigenous majority. 75 percent of the people live in poverty, while the top 10 percent of the population gets 45 percent of the national product (Background to the Honduran coup: Poverty, exploitation and imperialist domination, By Rafael Azul). The unemployment rate is 30 percent and the average working day for adult men and women is 14 hours. 30,000 employees in the maquiladora (export assembly) plants have reportedly lost their jobs since the onset of the global economic crisis. Manuel Zelaya, himself a wealthy landowner, had angered the Honduran business elite and military by moving increasingly ‘to the left’ during his presidency, raising the mimimum wage by 60 percent, reducing fuel prices in response to popular demands, and, most controversially, taking Honduras into the Venezuelan-led ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). His plan to hold a non-binding referendumwas the trigger of a series of events which led to his ouster.

Contrary to widespread media reports, the June 28 Referendum was not about extending Zelaya’s term of office. The actual question on the aborted June 28 ballot read: “Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?” “Yes” or “No.”? To quote Mark Weisbrot, Director of the Washington-based Centre for Ecocomic Policy and Research writing on July 8th for the London Guardian,

“There was no way for Zelaya to “extend his rule” even if the referendum had been held and passed, and even if he had then gone on to win a binding referendum on the November ballot. The 28 June referendum was nothing more than a non-binding poll of the electorate, asking whether the voters wanted to place a binding referendum on the November ballot to approve a redrafting of the country’s constitution. If it had passed, and if the November referendum had been held (which was not very likely) and also passed, the same ballot would have elected a new president and Zelaya would have stepped down in January”.

What was launched, therefore, appears to have been a pre-emptive strike by the Honduran elite in an attempt to thwart Zelaya’s plans to deepen the democratic process in a country that has historically excluded the poor and indigenous majority from effective participation in social and economic life; a process similar to that underway in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

An inadvertent revelation of inbred racism and classism of this class was the statement by Enrique Ortez Colindres, named as interim foreign minister, dismissing U.S. President Obama as a “little black man [who] doesn’t know where Tegucigalpa is.” A lukewarm apology was proffered, but a further remark by Colindres surfaced which translated reads “I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black sugar plantation worker who is president of the United States.” (There are reports that Colindres has been replaced, but other news stories contradict this).

Whatever one may think of Mr Zelaya’s politics, there can be little doubt that what is at stake here is the integrity of institutional democracy and constitutional order. Quite simply, if soldiers can take it on themselves to remove and eject a demcratically elected President, then no such President or government is safe–not in Latin America, not in the Caribbean, not anywhere in the world. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro has rightly warned that failure to restore President Zelaya could result in a wave of additional coups in Latin America, or place existing governments “at the mercy of the ultra right-wing military, educated in the security doctrine of the School of the Americas, an expert in torture, psychological warfare and terror”. Hence the coup has been unanimously condemned internationally–the United Nations General Assembly, the OAS General Assembly, the Rio Group, the ALBA nations, the Central American Integration System, the Caribbean Community, the European Union, and now the Non-Aligned Movement—have all called for the President’s restoration. Evidently the geopolitical climate has shifted somewhat since 2002. Last week US President Obama reassuringly declared “America supports now the restoration of the democratically-elected President of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies” .

US Base at Soto Cano, 50 miles from Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras

US Base at Soto Cano, 50 miles from Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras

But is the U.S. speaking with one voice? Some argue that the Pentagon, which operates one of the largest U.S. air bases in the region just 50 miles from Tegucigalpa, and has close ties to the Honduran military, must have had forewarning of the coup; and not only failed to stop it but may even have given ‘a wink and a nod’. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s initial statements on the coup were ambiguous, to say the least, and she sponsored the clumsy attempt to broker an agreement between President Zelaya and the usurper Micheletti, using President Arias of Costa Rica as mediator; an attempt which spectacularly-and predictably-failed. As Weisbrot notes, the US still does not call for an immediate and unconditional return as do the United Nations, the Organisation of American States and Caricom. Some in the U.S. may well support the coupists’ strategem of dragging out the process until the Honduran presidential election, due in November.

But just who is in charge in Washington? And when President Obama spoke of the ‘dangerous precedent’ that Zelaya’s ouster would create if it succeeded, was he subliminally, perhaps, thinking of the possibility of it coming closer to home? Was Fidel sending an oblique warning to Obama when he wrote “The Pentagon formally obeys the civilian power. The legions have not yet taken over control of the empire as they did in Rome”?

Meanwhile popular resistance to the coup in Honduras grows daily, and with it the likelihood of a violent polarisation of the country; dragging other Central American,   nations into

Alfred Lopez National Fraternal Black Organization

Alfred Lopez National Fraternal Black Organization

the conflict. Daily demonstrations are being held by the national resistance movement, a coalition of popular organizations, at least one of which has been violently supressed. The National Fraternal Black Organization, representing Honduras’ Garifuna population (‘Black Caribs’, of African-Caribbean origin), is an active part of the resistance movement; considering it their ‘historic responsibility, as a culturally distinct people (whose) culture is threatened by these same powerful groups responsible for the coup’.

Mike James in July 10th Catholic Standard, has reported on several Honduran religious communities publicly condemning the coup. One protestor, a youth killed by military snipers when he attempted to go onto the airfield to welcome the plane that was attempting to land returning Zelaya–aborted by the military–was the son of Pentecostal ministers, one of whom led the Human Rights committee in his community and has since been arrested. He describes popular religious organizations offering alternative radio coverage and carrying video footage of the resistance and repression in the Honduran capital; and a website, Honduras Resists, has been set up with regularly updated coverage. And across the region grassroots organizations are also categorically condemning the coup, like the network of indigenous women of South America and Mexico who issued a statement from Lima last week.

Honduras also brings to mind the ongoing crisis in Haiti, where, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was himself put on a plane by soldiers (American, in this instance) and banished in 2004, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of Haitian independence; a disgraceful episode in which US, Canadian and French governments played no small part. Honduras is not only our business in the Caribbean, we need to put to these events in a wider hemispheric context. We must insist on a conversation that recognizes that today two popularly elected presidents from our part of the world, Aristide and Zelaya, are in exile, and that the democratic aspirations of both the Honduran and Haitian people continue to be in limbo and require our solidarity.

Norman Girvan is Professor at the UWI Instititute of International Relations in St. Augustine, Trinidad
Andaiye is international coordinator of Red Thread, a collective of mainly grassroots women in Guyana which crosses race/ethnic divides
Alissa Trotz is a member of Red Thread and teaches women/gender studies and Caribbean Studies at the University of Toronto

Documentation

The Right Strikes Back Immamuel Wallerstein

Honduran Crisis: Role of U.S. Military Training School Lawrwence Gist, L.A. County Examiner

Ex-Clinton Aides Advising Honduran Coup Regime Bill Van Auken

The Coup Dies or Constitutions Die Fidel Castro

Honduras resists

Hondurans Resist the Coup; They Need International Support Mark Weisbrot

U.S. Press falsely claims Honduran plurality for the coup

Honduras’s First Lady Leads Demonstration in Tegucigalpa

Zelaya’s wife leads protest

Interview with Vice-President of National Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras

Central America’s New Transnational Right and the Regional Military Threat Simon Granovsky-Larsen

Bigotry, hatred mark Honduras’s de facto regime

Ortez Colindres,   fired

he Honduras Coup: Is Obama Innocent? Michael Parenti

In Honduras, two political lines of the USA at work Jose Vicente Rangel

BBC Video,   shows soldiers shooting,   unarmed protestors

Caricom Condemns Miliatry Action; Calls for Reinstatement of President Zelaya

FITUN Statement Calling for Restoration of President Zelaya and of Solidarity with Honduran People


What Obama can do in Honduras, Atilio Boron

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Dr. Atilio A. Boron is Director of the Latin American Programme of Distance Education in Buneos Aires, Argentina. He was recently awarded UNESCO’s Jose Marti Prize. Visit his blog at http://www.atilioboron.com

In the face of the impasse that is occurring in Honduras, many voices are rising up to denounce the weakness of the response from the White House to the coup, ranging from a verbal recognition of Manuel Zelaya as the only legitimate president and, contradictorily, the surreptitious ratification of the coup by entrusting an obedient spokesperson of the empire, Oscar Arias, to act as “mediator” in the conflict. At this stage it is clear that the categorical condemnation of the coup made by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, broke with a deplorable tradition of that organization, which is surely the reason why Washington so quickly removed him from the process, substituting him with the docile Costa Rican president.

Given these criticisms, Obama supporters say that the United States can do no more than what it is doing, and that a military intervention to reinstate the constitutional president would be absolutely unacceptable. By putting the options in those terms the White House washes its hands of the matter and favours, albeit indirectly, the position of the pro-coup faction.

The problem for Obama is that if the United States persists in this attitude and the coup manages to consolidate itself, all his rhetoric about a “new beginning” in hemispheric relations will be irreparably damaged and the hopes that nourished his election dispelled forever, and not just in Latin America. Moreover, the consolidation of the coup faction would show that the occupant of the White House is not in control of the U.S. state apparatus and that his supposed subordinates, above all in the CIA and Pentagon, can sustain a policy that expressly contradicts the directives of the head of state.

But Obama has other options at his disposal which are much more effective than “mediation” by Oscar Arias. Making good use of the long experience gained during almost half a century of the blockade against Cuba, Washington could take some similar measures, those that would cause the immediate collapse of the Honduran thugs.

For example, he could put into practice what George W. Bush threatened to do on the eve of the 2004 presidential election in El Salvador when Chafik Handal of the FMLN comfortably led the polls of electoral prefences: prevent remittances from Salvadoran immigrants to their country of origin and warn North American companies to prepare a contingency plan for leaving the country in case of a victory by the FMLN candidate. This announcement was enough for panic to seize the population and the conservative ARENA candidate swept the polls.

If the White House did the same and began without further delays to bureaucratically hinder remittances from Honduran immigrants in the United States, and to warn its companies that they have to draw up plans for a rapid exit from Honduras, Micheletti and his gang would last for only a sigh. If to that is added the effective interruption of all forms of economic or military assistance and the request by the White House to its European partners to refrain from interacting with Tegucigalpa, the days of the coup would be numbered.

Will Obama have the necessary courage to promote this alternative? Or is he already resigned to being a mere figurehead of the reactionary alliance which lived its time of glory during the years of George W. Bush?

July 12, 2009

Translated by Susana Hurlich

Versión original en español

Honduras: The Coup Dies or Constitutions Die, Fidel Castro

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From Cubavisión Internacional reflections-of-fidel

If President Manuel Zelaya fails to be returned to his position, a wave of coups threatens to sweep away many governments in Latin America or these will be left at the mercy of ultra right-wing military, trained in the security doctrine of the School of the Americas, an expert on torture, psychological war and terror. The authority of many civilian governments in Central and South America will be weakened. Those dark days are not very far back in time. The putschists would not even pay any attention to the civilian US administration.


Reflections by Comrade Fidel: THE COUP DIES OR CONSTITUTIONS DIE

The countries of Latin America were struggling against history s worst financial crisis within relative institutional order. When US President Barack Obama — while on a trip to Moscow to discuss vital topics on the subject of nuclear weapons — was declaring that the only constitutional president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya, the ultra right-wing and the hawks in Washington were making manoeuvres for Zelaya to negotiate a humiliating pardon for the illegalities attributed to him by the perpetrators of the coup.

It was obvious that before his people and the world such an act would be tantamount to his disappearance from the political stage.

It is a proven fact that when Zelaya announced he would be returning on July 5th, he had decided to fulfil his promise to share the brutal repression of the coup with his people.

Travelling with the president was Miguel d Escoto, the president pro tempore of the UN General Assembly, along with Patricia Rodas, the Honduran foreign minister, a Telesur journalist and others, a total of 9 persons. Zelaya maintained his decision to land. I know for a fact that in mid-flight, when they were nearing Tegucigalpa, he was informed from the ground about Telesur broadcasting the moment when the enormous mass of people awaiting him outside of the airport was being attacked by soldiers with tear gas and automatic rifles fire.

His immediate reaction was to request that they took up altitude in order to denounce the events on Telesur and to demand of the commanding officers of those troops that they ceased the repression. Then he informed them that he would carry on with the landing. The high command then ordered the landing strip to be blocked. In a matter of seconds, motorized transport vehicles were obstructing the runway.

The Falcon jet made three passes, at a low altitude, over the airport. Specialists explain that the tensest and most dangerous moment for pilots is when fast, small planes — like the one carrying the president — reduce speed for touchdown. That s why I think that attempt to return to Honduras was audacious and brave.

If they wanted to put him on trial for alleged constitutional crimes, why not allow him to land?

Zelaya knows that it was not only the Constitution of Honduras what was at stake, but also the right of the peoples of Latin America to elect the people who govern them.

Today Honduras is not just a country occupied by a coup, but it is also a country occupied by the armed forces of the United States.

U.S base at Soto Cano, Honduras

U.S base at Soto Cano, Honduras

The military base at Soto Cano, also known by its name of Palmerola — located less than 100 kilometres from Tegucigalpa and reactivated in 1981 under the Ronald Reagan administration — was used by Colonel Oliver North when he was running the dirty war against Nicaragua, and from there the US government directed the attacks against the Salvadoran and Guatemalan revolutionaries that cost tens of thousands of lives.

That is the location of the US Joint Task Force-Bravo — made up of personnel from the three forces — that occupies 85 percent of the area of the base. Eva Golinger reveals its role in an article published on Rebelión web site on July 2, 2009, entitled The US military base in Honduras at the centre of the coup . She explains that the Constitution of Honduras does not legally allow for foreign military presence in the country.

A handshake-like agreement between Washington and Honduras authorizes the important and strategic presence of hundreds of US soldiers on the base, under a semi-permanent deal. The agreement was reached in 1954 as part of the military aid the United States was offering Honduras the third poorest country in the hemisphere. She adds that the agreement that allows the military presence of the United States in the Central American country can be removed with no notice given .

Soto Cano is also home of the Aviation Academy of Honduras. The components of the US military task force are partly made up of Honduran soldiers.

What is the objective of the military base, the planes, the helicopters and the US task force in Honduras? Without any doubt they are only adequate for use in Central America. The war on drug trafficking does not require those weapons.

If President Zelaya is not returned to his position, a wave of coups threatens to sweep away many Latin American governments, or these will be at the mercy of the ultra right-wing military, educated in the security doctrine of the School of the Americas, an expert in torture, psychological warfare and terror. The authority of many civilian governments in Central and South America will become weakened. Those dark days are not very far back in time. The military perpetrators of the coup would not even pay any attention to the civilian administration of the United States. It can be very negative for a president who wants to improve that country s image, like Barack Obama does. The Pentagon formally obeys the civilian power. The legions have not yet taken over control of the empire as they did in Rome.

It would not be understandable for Zelaya to now admit to stalling manoeuvres that would wear out the considerable social forces that support him and only lead to an irreparable attrition.

The illegally overthrown president does not seek power, but he defends a principle, and as Marti said: One just principle from the depths of a cave can be mightier than an army.

Fidel Castro Ruz

July 10, 2009

6:15 p.m.