By Emile Schepers
SPECIAL NOTE: This week, the PWW website is making a transition to a new consolidated website, about which you will be informed very soon via the existing site, pww.org. For this reason, there will be a hiatus in my blog until the new system is set up. The new consolidated webstie will be at http://www.peoplesworld.org.
Meanwhile, here is the latest, and it is important.
1. MICHELETTI IS NOT BACKING DOWN ON CIVIL LIBERTIES. In spite of dissention on the pro-coup side, de facto president Roberto Micheletti does not seem to be quite ready to take back his declaration of a suspension of constitutional rights of freedom of speech, assembly, press and due process. Peaceful demos continue to be repressed and the workers of Radio Globo and TV Channel 36 "Cholusat Sur" have not been allowed to go back to their facilities, nor have they been given their confiscated broadcasting equipment back. Radio Globo has managed to transmit via the internet through a clandestine safe house and according to the Christian Science Monitor has even picked up new listeners that way, but TV 36 is completely silenced.
SUGGESTED ACTION: What about the people in the Honduras solidarity movement worldwide getting together to help restore the functionality of the progressive media in Honduras?
2. MICHELETTI SPILLS THE BEANS AGAIN. Micheletti has repeated that what happened on June 28 was not a coup, but almost in the same breath he said that the reason that Zelaya was deposed was that he was associating with the left-wing governments of the Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America (ALBA). This undermines part of the cover story circulated to justify the coup, namely that Zelaya had violated the Constitution by planning to have himself re-elected, a physical impossibility in November, by the way.
4. BRAZILIAN LEGISLATORS VISIT HONDURAS. A delegation of Brazilian congresspersons visited their country's embassy in Tegucigalpa today. They have not reported their findings as of this writing, but evidently are supportive of Brazil's allowing Zelaya to be in the embassy.
5. REPUBLICANS RUSHING TO COUP REGIME'S RESCUE, LITERALLY. As the Micheletti regime can no longer come up to Washington to schmooze with US reactionaries, the reactionaries are having to go down to Tegucigalpa to lend support to their buddies there. U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtenin has already gone down there, and now the Republicans in the Senate want to go down there also at US taxpayers' expense. The Washington Post tomorrow will cover a big fight between Democratic Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Republican Senator Jim DeMint (D-SC--yes, that deMint). Seems the egregious Mr. DeMint wanted the US military to provide an airplane to fly him and an all-GOP group of far right GOP House members to go to Tegucigalpa on a "fact finding mission". Kerry, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, nixed funding or use of military aircraft for this junket. But then the military said they would provide the airplane anyway, at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (O.K. when's the court-martial?). Kerry pointed out that the GOP has been blocking the confirmation of Arturo Valenzuela as Asst. Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs and Tom Shannon as ambassador to Brazil, holding these appointments to their demands for a hard line on Cuba and support for the Honduras coup.
SUGGESTION ACTION: Write letters to Kerry encouraging him to hold fast, and to your own Senators and Reps plus the White House and State Dept., denouncing the actions by DeMint and McConnell, and asking why the Dept. of Defense provided the plane at McConnell's request instead of deny it, as Kerry had requested.
All for now
Thursday, October 1, 2009
By Emile Schepers
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
By Emile Schepers
Here are the most significant items to report:
1. MARTIAL LAW ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN. Honduran de facto coup president Roberto Micheletti announced martial law late Sunday, then the next day said he would drop the decree, now today seems to be going back the other way. The Supreme Electoral Council and others turn out to have pointed out to him that 45 days of martial law would end only a couple of weeks before the national elections scheduled for November 29. Now Micheletti has asked the Supreme Court if that is true or not. A quick glance at a pocket calender would tell him that it is in fact true and a little common sense would have told him that by decreeing martial law for 45 days he was showing the world that the elections will be a rigged farce, as everbody except coup supporters and his cheering section on the Republican benches in the U.S. Congress are stating rather loudly. During that time, only pro-coup parties could campaign, and anti-coup parties and candidates would be suppressed--in jail, in exile or just silenced. Also now that he has shut down all electronic media that were critical of the coup, only pro-coup, pro-oligarchy media will be functioning. Any child can see that an election carried out under such circumstances is a joke in bad taste. So unless he immediately drops this martial law decree he has really shot himself in the foot, and I suspect that the economic and political forces (Honduran and foreign) that are behind the coup will want to move him aside. He has no brain and is an embarrasment to them.
There are lots of rumors and theories about cracks and splits opening among the pro-coup, anti-Zelaya forces.
2. HOWEVER LET US BE CLEAR THAT REPRESSION CONTINUES. Let us understand that no matter what Micheletti blathers into a microphone, repression continues in Honduras. Today Susan Lee Adams, Americas Director at Amnesty International, issued a statement saying "Honduras risks spiralling into a state of lawlessness, where military and police act with no regard for human rights and the law". That has been what has been happening since the June 28 coup, with or without martial law. And even though the archbishop has supported the coup, today the Americas Institute Justice Team of the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic religious order, reported after visiting from August 18 through 25 that there is brutal violation of human rights and the use of excessive force against pro-Zelaya people in Honduras, and asked the US Congress and administration to speak and act forcefully to stop this.
3. IN THE SAME VEIN, today police arrested more than 50 people who had been doing a sit-in at the Honduran Institution of Agricultural Reform. They were taken to the prosecutors office and some specific charges may be filed.
I was 16. She was 13. But I never forgot the name. It always meant ugly things. Pedophilia, rape, degradation and other things my mother didn't want to talk about. It was there throughout my life.
Roman Polanski. Great director. Artist. Fugitive. Sicko.
My mother was always one to warn about the evils that women could face. "If he hits you once, you leave," she would say.
"Roman Polanski is a pig," she would also say.
I just read Nabokov's "Lolita." I really never thought I would. But after "Reading Lolita in Tehran" I felt I had to.
It's an amazing book. You are forced to suspend yourself from reality. Because if you don't, you will commit crimes as well.
I laughed. I cried. I was disgusted. I was amazed. Nabokov brings to life the evil of pedophilia. He warns the public of this crime when society would just as soon sweep it under the rug. Contrary to what I believed about the book, he does not blame the victim. Humbert Humbert is the sole perpetrator of a crime that steals lives, his, Lolita's and others.
After being surrounded by crimes against children, whether from the pews or parents, and seeing the sexification of children (which Nabokov points out in Lolita) -- I was happy when Polanski was arrested.
I am now an adult woman, like Polanski's victim. It's easy to let time forgive the wounds of crimes of 30-plus years ago. But reading Lolita, a book written longer ago, makes you realize the crime of pedophilia is timeless. Bringing perpetrators to justice is just one step to redemption. There are others. But the road is long and difficult, experts say.
Polanski's arrest is just that one step on a long and challenging road. No one shouts with glee that such a path is welcome. Yet there is some hidden joy in the fact that Polanski, like Humbert, must take responsibility for his actions. We'll see if he meets the same end.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
By Emile Schepers
I had intended to report this morning (Sept. 29) but it was not possible. Here's the latest.
1. MICHELETTI BACKS OFF MARTIAL LAW DECREES, BUT WHAT ABOUT RADIO GLOBO AND CHANNEL 36? On Sunday, coup leader Roberto Micheletti had issued martial law decrees, to be in force for 45 days, evidently to stop a mounting movement of pressure that was supposed to peak with a huge demonstration Monday morning. The Micheletti decrees put an end to freedom of speech, press and assembly, prohibited criticisms of the coup government, and gave police the right to make arrests without warrants. Under these decrees, the coup forces barged into the facilities of the only two major pro-Zelaya electronic media, Radio Globo and Channel 36 TV, hauled away their broadcasting equipment and shut them down. Radio Globo staff were barely able to escape out the back door. As of this evening, Radio Globo has managed to do some limited broadcasting via the internet, but is reaching far fewer people. Channel 36 is off the air completely. So the pro-coup media are free to broadcast all their lies.
But in an amazingly short period of time, Micheletti had to retract his decrees, because of mounting opposition in the Congress and other elite sectors in Honduras. He even asked "pardon" from the Honduran people. The rebellion against Micheletti from his own social base could have several reasons. In the first place, Micheletti and his supporters had been saying ad nauseam that everything was normal in Honduras, that rights to freedom of press and assembly were being respected. He was saying this because he has been trying to convince the world that the elections scheduled for November 29 are good, clean and legitimate. What Micheletti and the other coupsters have been betting on is that after the November election, no matter how fraudulent, and the installation of a new president on January 27 2010, the world will forget about Honduras and the oligarchy will be left alone to go on its merry way. But 45 days of martial law will leave only 18 days for election campaigning without repression of the pro-Zelaya opposition. Meanwhile pro-coup, anti-Zelaya candidates, including Elvin Santos of Micheletti's own Liberal Party and Pepe Lobo of the rival National Party, will have a free rein to campaign, without even being criticized in the press. Obviously such a situation does not allow a free and fair election, so by issuing the martial law decree, Micheletti completely demolished his own main propaganda thrust aimed at the outside world. Perhaps some of the other right-wingers in Honduran politics have a few more brain cells than Micheletti does, and have now grabbed him by his coat-tails and hauled him back from the brink--I hope too late. Some politicians may also be afraid that Micheletti and his closes collaborators may move to monopolize power for themselves. There was a report in the Mexico City daily La Jornada this morning (I am careful to say it was not confirmed by other sources, at least yet) that one radio presenter was told to broadcast the information that Micheletti is planning to stay on beyond January 27, for another two years as "interim president". Even the suggestion of such a thing would surely annoy other politicians, from left to right. Also, Honduran businesses, including both pro- and anti-coup entities, are being harmed by the disruption, continued curfews etc. This is probably another reason that some people who originally supported the coup and Micheletti are having their doubts. If this is so, it shows that the campaigns of internal protest and foreign pressure are working, and that the return of Zelaya on Monday September 21 may indeed have started the coup regime on a slide toward its downfall.
But even before the martial law decree, the Honduran police and military were repressing protesters who spoke out against the coup. And there is no sign that Micheletti is going to return the broadcasting equipment to Radio Globo and TV 36.
2. U.S. AMBASSADORS AND BUSINESS LEADERS MEET, SUGGESTED COMPROMISE OFFERED TO ZELAYA? U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens and John Biehl representing the OAS met with pro-coup businessmen and politicians today, according to the Los Angeles Times. In what may have been a rather acerbic meeting, Llorens and Biehl supposedly told the others that if Zelaya is restored under the terms of the San Jose Accords, proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias months ago but rejected by the Micheletti gang up to now precisely because it involves restoration of Zelaya, that his powers would be limited. Major business leader Adolfo Facusse says he might be in agreement with letting Zelaya come back if he also agrees to face charges in court and if international troops, either from the U.N. or from a country with a right-wing government, are there to keep him in line. Some are suggesting that such troops might be sent from Colombia, Panama or Canada, all three countries having right wing governments. Did I just write "Colombia"? I don't see how Zelaya could agree to the idea of Colombian troops coming into Honduras as they have a horrible record of repressing labor unions and peasant organizations, and there is, right now, a huge controversy about U.S. bases in Colombia, and Colombian threats to its neighbors. I sort of remember, also, Panama having abolished its armed forces, no? Maybe that was for show. Canada has major mining interests in Honduras, and the government of Prime Minister Steven Harper is certainly right wing enough. Zelaya, for his part, expressed optimism that the shifts in position of the Honduran businessmen may be a "good sign".
3. I REPORTED YESTERDAY THAT THE OAS meeting in Washington did not agree on a statement on the latest events in Honduras, but did criticize the martial law decree. Also, the alternate US ambassador to the OAS, Mr. Amselem, made a royal jackass of himself by blasting Zelaya and calling his return to Honduras (a daring and corageous move which has, in fact, set in motion dynamics that may defeat the coup) "irresponsible and foolish". Lots of people immediately started to look up who this Amselem is on the internet. It turns out that he is a career foreign service officer with the usual background of links to the U.S. military and security apparatus. Although other State Department spokespersons have, in the meanwhile, reiterated the Obama administration's opposition to the coup and the martial law declaration, and its support for Zelaya's restoration, the impression has now again been given that the State Department at least is talking out of both sides of its mouth on the Honduras issue. Today Zelaya firmly rejected Amselem's "crude" (grosero) statement.
4. IN BRAZIL, various politicians within and without President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva's governing coalition have been attacking Lula for allowing Zelaya to stay in the embassy and use it as his HQ for calling for an end to the coup. Lula and his foreign minister, Celso Amorim, have more or less held firm but have asked Zelaya to moderate the rhetoric a little and to find a way to reduce the total number of people (about 70) who are with him in the embassy.
5. THE SCHEDULED VISIT OF O.A.S. foreign ministers has been postponed again, from later this week to October 7. The foreign ministers will be Costa Rica's Bruno Stango, Canadian Hemispheric Affairs minister Peter Kent, Jamaica's Foreign Minister Kenneth Baugh, Argentina's Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, Panamanian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela, and OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza.
More tomorrow. Never a dull moment in the exciting world created by imperialim and neoliberal globalization.
Monday, September 28, 2009
By Emile Schepers
What a wild and crazy day on the Honduras front! It is now past midnight and I am not able to do my full blog right now. I will do it tomorrow AM; also watch for a new article I just sent to the People's Weekly World and Nuestro Mundo.
Just to give you a taste:
1. IN THE MORNING, evidently to stave off a promised mass pro-Zelaya march, the Micheletti regime announced the 45 day suspension of a number of constitutional guarantees, including the right to criticize the government, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and due process. At the same time, troops were busting into the headquarters of Radio Globo and Channel 36 TV, and have put them off the air. Two reporters, from the Mexican TV channel Televisa and from the Guatemalan channel Guatevision, were beaten up by the troops, but the staff of the two pro-Zelaya stations evidently managed to escape by the back door. The planned mass march was blocked by the troops and police.
2. LATER President Zelaya spoke to the UN General Assembly by a cell phone hookup, denounced the suspension of the constitution and the attacks on the Brazilian embassy.
3. THE OAS MET in emergency session, initially on the subject of the Micheletti regime's deportation of four OAS advance representatives who had gone to Tegucigalpa as the advance team for a visit of OAS representatives later this week. There was an effort to get a statement denouncing the suspension of the Constitution, but the OAS reps could not agree on the language. The U.S. rep denounced both Micheletti and Zelaya. I will try to find out more about this for you tomorrow.
4. THEN THE WORM TURNED, and the Honduran Congress evidently refused to endorse the state of siege/suspension of constitutional rights decreed by Micheletti in the morning. At this writing, it appears that Micheletti is backing down. Evidently someone noticed that if constitutional rights are suspended for 45 days, they will only be lifted on November 11 and the national elections are on November 29. Micheletti claimed as recently as last week, in a guest column in the Washington Post, that those elections will be completely valid because constitutional rights of freedom of speech, assembly and press are in full bloom in Honduras. And now he suspended all those rights, making a mockery of his claim that the elections will be fair.
If in fact Micheletti has to eat his words and withdraw the decree, I think he has lost the game, because the marches and demonstrations will begin again immediately.
At any rate, I will update this and fill in the details tomorrow.
One of the favorite gloats of neoconservatives (and neo“liberals”) especially in the 1990s bore a woman’s name: TINA, for “There Is No Alternative” to capitalism. Perhaps nothing symbolized this notion more fully than the so-called World Economic Forums, whose genesis was in 1971, held each winter in Davos, Switzerland, at which “select” corporate leaders and international heads of state met to discuss the world situation from a very capitalistic perspective.
But by 2001, two years after the glory of Seattle, there was another kind of Forum that began to be held at the same time of year as the “economic” forum, with a much more humane tilt: the annual World Social Forum, with its origins in Brazil and its 75,000-100,000 heads at least partly in the “clouds” of anti-capitalism, even socialism. Each year since, the World Social Forum has “responded” to its self-serving capitalistic counterpart.
Out of the WSF tradition have come several regional Social Forums (the Americas, Africa, etc.) and some national ones as well; but the U.S. did not come on board until 2007 in Atlanta with the first U.S. Social Forum. Another is planned for Detroit from June 22-26, 2010, and, partially in preparation for this national event, some U.S. states have been holding their own Social Forums. Kentucky joined the joyous parade with the Kentucky Social Forum, the first statewide one in the U.S. South, the weekend of July 31-August 2, 2009, at Berea College, some 40 miles south of Lexington.
And nothing could be clearer from the KYSF than that there are indeed alternatives to capitalism—in fact, many of them. The Forum’s statement of its mission said, “We value ALL voices; young, old, poor communities, LGBTQ,” all races and both genders; and it wasn’t kidding. There were workshops on subjects as diverse and various as “The Right to Parent (or Not);” “The Fight for Fair & Healthy Food;” “Reforming Immigration for America—The Kentucky Angle;” “Black and Brown Alliances in Appalachia;” “Pushing the Platform for a Toxic-Free Future;” “Tech Tools and Social Media for Social Justice: An Introduction;” “Let’s Talk About SEX(UALITY);” “Fighting Racism in the Criminal Justice System;” “Food Justice is Social Justice;” “The Economic Crisis and the Solidarity Economy” “Canta Y Llores—Life and Death Around the Borders of US and Mexico;” “The Movement to Eradicate Predatory Lending in KY;” “Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery and Immigration: How is It All Related;” “Using Reproductive Justice to Address Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault;” “Theater of the Oppressed;” “Mountain Justice Now!: Activism and Awareness;” “Effective Engagement with Elected Officials and other Government Agencies;” and even “Recess, Free Play and Human Rights” and “Kemet/Ancient Egypt: The Theological Understanding of the Medu Neter.” In addition, there was a “Healing and Spirituality Space” (with coaching and instruction on meditation, yoga, reiki, flower essences and energy balancing, and acupuncture) and a Film Fest that included documentaries on the young black voter, health care, the Middle East conflict, hip hop, and prisons. In short, there was truly something for everyone—except perhaps a Scrooge-capitalist—at the KYSF!
And this is a GOOD thing, for (as the emblematic words of the USSF put it) “Another World Is Possible, Another U.S. Is Necessary” (emphasis added). As the Forum’s mission statement said (for its slogan, it adopted a slight change in the USSF’s: “Another Kentucky Is Possible”), “We see the KY Social Forum as both a platform and a catalyst to bring together diverse populations working to change the political and economic fabric of this state and this nation. We see the process of this Forum as building bridges between communities that have not previously been in contact.”
The main problem, and it was a major one, was that only about 300 people showed up, a result in part of natural disasters (the remnants of hurricane Ike and a severe ice storm) that caused the cancellation of two early planning meetings. For those of us who were there, though, the KYSF was truly a sight to see and an enlightenment to experience--despite the occasional problems with the distances between venues and the lack of elevators in some of the dormitories in which many stayed.
We sampled five of the workshops:
* “Chaos in Coal Country: Mountain Top Removal and Beyond,” presented by a rotation of speakers, mostly students and recent graduates of many Kentucky colleges and universities (for example, EKU and Murray State). A film with the same title as the workshop, the speakers, and the discussion that followed showed that mountain top removal and strip mining annihilate Kentucky ecosystems, transforming the second most biologically-diverse temperate-zone forest in the world into “biologically barren moonscapes.” They also cause depletion of fish stocks (when affected fish are cut open, their insides are black) and cause traditional mining communities to disappear as the number of jobs declines and residents are also driven away by dust, blasting, increased flooding, and the clanging and asphalt-destruction by overloaded coal trucks “careening down small, windy mountain roads.”
It was pointed out, too, that the TVA, the largest electricity producer (and thus user of coal) in the area is perhaps equally to blame with the coal companies. So, the presenters said, use less electricity!! In making these points, they (and discussion participants) related many personal experiences.
* “Single-Payer Healthcare.” The crucial-but-simple basics of single-payer’s amazing benefits were laid out convincingly: how it would cover everything for everybody without interfering in any way with one’s right to choose his/her doctors, hospitals, clinics, and dentists (and how Canada already has such a system without “wait times” longer than in the U.S.—the “evidence” for these wait times is all anecdotal); how the pursuit of profit, reflected in ever-increasing private insurance “fees” here in the U.S. plus the hidden costs of the refusal to insure because of “pre-existing” medical conditions and cover expensive but needed medical procedures wrecks lives (and causes deaths) in our country; how the U.S. is the only developed country without a national health program, which causes it (for example) to have the highest per-capita medical cost in the world (England, with socialized medicine, is lowest) but rank, according to the World Health Organization, 35th in infant mortality and 37th for overall medical quality; how 76 percent of the American public (and even 59 percent of M.D.’s and 70 percent of nurses) support health care reform; how, in the U.S., 59 percent of all bankruptcies are medically-related; and so on. Fortunately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a floor vote on Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676, the main single-payer bill, this Congress. It may not pass this time, said speakers David Johnson and Dr. David Bos, but the people’s day will come! Phone, write, e-mail, even visit your representative!
* “The Need for the New Black Panther Party in the Black Community in the 21st Century.” At this workshop, three members of the Black Panthers were expected but could not attend; after about half an hour of waiting most attenders left. But those who remained had a very productive session, discussing the Black Panther movement, especially in Chicago and Los Angeles in the 1970s, when it was very, and nonviolently, active (and not only among Black males)—especially in the years before many of those who were Black males were arrested and/or killed; and noting with interest the fact that there is a nascent, new Black Panther movement in its formative stages, with objectives similar to those of the 1960s and 1970s.
* “The Idea of the Common Good: Is it Capitalist or Socialist?” This workshop answered its question most emphatically in favor of socialism, although most attenders spoke predominantly of small, partial steps toward that overarching system. The official KYSF workshop description summed up the main point well: “The U.S. Constitution is structurally biased to promote the interests of the wealthy, property-owning class and it was intentionally [so designed] at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The common good, despite the preamble to the Constitution, has never been an objective of the ruling class. Once one understands these concepts, [one can properly] evaluate legislative proposals and policies at all levels of government. Further, socialism is a viable, workable alternative to capitalism and is the form of government that has the concept of the common good as a fundamental principle.”
* “Organizing in the Age of Obama.” This was a participatory workshop (as many at the KYSF were) which noted the wild enthusiasm with which many greeted President Obama—2.5 million people (!) attended his Inauguration, after all—and focused on three aspects of organizing for progressive and radical causes in the new Age: “what’s working,” “obstacles,” and “solutions.” One of the main organizers of the KYSF, Attica Scott of Kentucky Jobs with Justice, an attender of this workshop, said that one thing that is working is coalition-building (relationships); Kentuckians for the Commonwealth representatives, relying on their experiences especially in the areas of tax justice, voting rights for ex-felons, and mountaintop removal, spoke of people “expressing themselves” and of improved communication (especially via computer: e-mail etc.). An attender from the SEIU spoke of using the many techniques pioneered in the 2008 elections, while one from the FOR suggested, using programs in counter-(military)recruitment and another training teachers in solutions to all forms of violence as examples, that youth might be a common denominator. Grass-roots organizing, rather than “inside the Beltway” things, seemed to be generally agreed to be the main source of recent successes; and it was pointed out that the millions of youth who were mobilized to vote in 2008 will have important beneficial effects for “us” for decades to come. Obstacles to our success that were discussed included the fact that many Bush appointees and hires are still on the job (and many cultural habits in enforcement etc. haven’t changed); overly hopeful expectations of Obama; special-interest lobbying and campaign money; entrenched (often old) politicians; the lack of training of good people to replace those politicians; a lack of organization; and racism. Solutions to these problems, meanwhile, focused on training and mentoring new politicians and activist leaders; focusing on the local-grass-roots level; and perhaps above all unity among people from various specific movements who agree on (only) most things: don’t fight each other, or focus on, single issues!
That last point might serve as sort of an expression of the watchword for the entire Kentucky Social Forum of 2009: accept diversity not only of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability level, etc., but even of the primary issues on which your organization focuses as compared to what other progressive/radical groups emphasize. The TINA idea is nonsense—there are many and various alternatives to capitalism (and conformism)—and there is much more that unites than divides us. Remember that!!
-- Eustace Durrett, Dr. Peggy Kidwell and Ike M. Thacker IV
Sunday, September 27, 2009
A tense day, as tomorrow will also be.
1. MICHELETTI SENDS ULTIMATUM TO BRAZIL. Coup de-facto government head Roberto Micheletti has issued an ultimatum to Brazil to the effect that if Brazil does not clarify, in 10 days, what it is going to do about the presence of Honduran President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the coup regime will revoke the diplomatic status of the embassy. Micheletti's regime says that Brazil could either give Zelaya political asylum in Brazil or hand him over to the coup authorities for trial for "treason and abuse of power". Micheletti did not say that after 10 days, the diplomatic status being revoked, his goons would invade the embassy and arrest or kill Zelaya and/or others, but a vague threat is implied. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva immediately responded that he rejects such ultimatums and threats because Micheletti and his cronies are not the legitimate government of Honduras.
The Micheletti crowd say that they are doing this as reciprocity for Brazil not recognizing the coup regime, and they accuse the government of Brazil of allowing Zelaya to use the embassy to foment violence (for the record, Zelaya always calls for peaceful resistance).
2. OAS ADVANCE TEAM DETAINED, 3 EXPELLED BY COUP REGIME. Today an advance team of 4 people who had gone to Honduras with the purpose of making arrangements for the planned visit of representatives of OAS countries this week was detained at the airport in Tegucigalpa by coup regime people, and three of the four were expelled on the ground that they did not ask Micheletti's government for permission to come in. The one who was allowed to stay, a Chilean, says he does not know why he was allowed to stay. Whether the OAS team will actually be allowed to come is another matter.
3. CANDIDATE SHOT AND KILLED AS HE CAME OUT OF A CHURCH, UNIVERSITY STUDENT DIES AS RESULT OF GASES. Two new fatalities have been recorded; one was a 23 year old university student, Wendy Avila, who evidently succumbed to an asthma attack brought on by the use of tear gas or other toxic gases by the coup regime's army and police. The other, Marco Antonio Canales Villatoro, was shot as he came out of a church. He was a congressional candidate for the Innovation and Unity Party (which does not support Zelaya, though the report from Prensa Latina did not say what his own views were). He was also the nephew of the owner of the pro-Zelaya Radio Globo, Alejandro Villatoro. The hit was carried out by people on a motorcycle.
4. AMBASSADORS COMING BACK. A number of countries which withdrew their ambassadors after the coup are sending them back in, in order to be available to help with negotiating an end to the standoff. But Micheletti's regime says that it is not necessarily the case that they will be allowed to come back to Honduras unless their home governments recoginize his regime as the legal government of Honduras.
5. THE STRUGGLE IN THE STREETS CONTINUES. President Zelaya has called for a massive national mobilization tomorrow to give a final push to restore him to office. The National Front Against the Coup, which coordinates most of the anti-coup activities by unions, peasant organizations and others, met today (Sunday September 27) and called for a big concentration at the National Pedagogical University in defiance of the "curfew" (really a form of martial law) that the Micheletti regime has imposed. Front coordinator Juan Barahona, leader of the beverage union, called for peaceful resistance and did not mention the destination of the march. The teachers' union has called for a supportive strike for tomorrow also. Meanwhile, President Zelaya has called on the Armed Forces to stop repressing the people and violating human rights, warning them that afterwards there may be consequences for people who have done such things.
6. HONDURAN, CENTRAL AMERICAN ECONOMY GOING DOWN THE TUBES? Various business and economic organizations are saying that if the crisis in Honduras continues, it will harm not only the Honduran economy but that of the whole Central American and Caribbean region. The Mexican online magazine Milenio.com published a Notimex article today in which the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Export of Central America, Panama and the Caribbean points out that the cost of transportation in the region is being jacked up considerably by the uproar in Honduras and the danger of border closings. When Zelaya came back on Monday, Honduras closed its border with El Salvador for 48 hours, causing massive jam-ups and costing area economies $20 million per day. Curfews in Honduras have cost businesses of all sized millions of dollars, and have bitten deeply into the paychecks of Honduran workers.
Please continue to do the following. CALL, FAX, E-MAIL The White House and the Department of State, to ask that they increase the pressure on the Micheletti regime, for instance by freezing the bank accounts of Micheletti and his colleagues and financial supporters in the United States. Also, the number of co-sponsors on H RES 630, which calls for the US to oppose the coup and support restoration of Zelaya, has gone up to 49, but that's not nearly enough to have an impact, especially as a rival resolution, promoted by the Republican Party, which supports the coup and demands that Obama recognize the Micheletti regime, is creeping up and now is at 46 cosponsors. To see if your congressperson is on either, go to www.thomas.loc.gov and write "Honduras" into the search engine on the site. Both resolutions will come up and you can click on "cosponsors" and see if your congressperson has signed onto either of them.