1. SCHOLARS, ACADEMICS PRESSURE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON THE HONDURAS ISSUE. Nearly a hundred noted experts on Latin America and other scholars have written a letter to Human Rights Watch asking why that organization has not continued speak out against the violations of human rights that are going on every day in Honduras. The signatories include many prominent figures including linguist Noam Chomsky, writer Naomi Klein, historian John Womack and others. Instead of my summarizing it you can read the whole thing HERE: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/08/21
2. OAS FOREIGN MINISTERS TO TEGUCIGALPA ON MONDAY. The much delayed trip of OAS (Organization of American States) foreign ministers to Tegucigalpa is set to take place after all on Monday, August 24. The foreign ministers are from Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Canada, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Of these countries, only one –Argentina – has a left wing government at present. The other governments range from center-right to just plain right. Coup leader Micheletti had canceled the trip previously (several times, actually) on the grounds that the delegation was going to include Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza, whom he doesn’t like. Later he changed his mind and said that Insulza could come but only as an observer. Also Micheletti would not allow a visit from foreign ministers of any of the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA) which are Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Antigua-Barbuda and St.Vincent and the Grenadines. The purpose of the visit is to try one last time to revive the moribund carcass of the San Jose mediation process led by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias. Micheletti says he is OK with everything in that proposal except the main thing, which is the return of president Zelaya. Micheletti says that Zelaya can’t come back as president, only as an accused criminal to face trial. The announced agenda of the foreign ministers’ visit will include meetings with the Catholic and Evangelical church leaders, workers, businessmen, presidential candidates and various organizations of the civil society, says Mr. Insulza.
3. ZELAYA FIRES HONDURAN AMBASSADOR TO SPAIN. The government in exile of president Manuel Zelaya today announced the dismissal of the Honduran ambassador to Spain, Jose Eduardo Martell Mejia, on the ground that he has gone over to the Micheletti side. The Spanish government immediately revoked Mr. Martell’s diplomatic status and told him to get out of the country. Good for the Spanish government.
4. NO ADVANCES TO REPORT ON GETTING THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO TAKE A FIRMER POSITION. I have nothing to report in terms of the effort to get the US government to take a firmer position on the coup. President Zelaya had previously requested that the Obama administration do two specific things: Suspend the US visas of the key coup leaders, and freeze their bank accounts in the United States. With regard to the first, the State Department canceled a few special diplomatic visas, but this does not impede the back and forth of coup leaders to this country, to consult with their support base in the Republican Party and the US ruling class. Nor has anything been done to freeze the bank accounts. This is not a novel tactic; the U.S. has on a number of occasions frozen the US assets and/or bank accounts of foreign governments and leaders as a pressure mechanism. Zelaya warns, also, that if the Micheletti gang decide the ground is shifting under their feet, they may try to expatriate juicy chunks of Honduras’ national assets to the US through banks in Miami and beyond. So there is a very practical reason to do this, but it hasn’t been done. The Congressional resolution against the coup, H. RES 630, is also stuck at 44 cosponsors. The right wing resolution that applauds the coup and demands the Obama administration recognize Micheletti’s regime is close to that, with 41 cosponsors. Such things don’t go anywhere with such small numbers. I am aware that Congress is bogged down in the health care debate, but we should be pushing this anyway. To find out what your Congressperson is doing, go to http://www.thomas.loc.gov and type in “Honduras” in the internal search engine, and you will see all legislation regarding Honduras displayed. You can then look at the list of cosponsors for H RES 630. If he or she is not there, get on the phone, send a fax, send an e-mail, make a visit to the district office, but ACT.
4. NO MEDIA DISCUSSION OF HONDURAS GOING ON. With a few exceptions there is practically no coverage of the Honduras situation in US mass media right now. We need to be sending in letters to the editor, writing op-eds etc.
All for now.
Friday, August 21, 2009