By Emile Schepers
Some important stuff this time, with actions to be taken.
1. OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CANCELS VISAS OF TOP LEADERS. Yesterday it was announced that the State Department has cancelled all visas (not just the diplomatic ones) of 14 top leaders of the coup regime, including de-facto President Roberto Micheletti, armed forces commander General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, 14 Supreme Court judges, and the coup foreign minister and attorney general. This means that they can't visit the United States, even to go up to Washington to conspire with their political allies here, not even with Senator McCain, who is one of the conspirators in chief on the Honduras matter. This also means that of the major actions that President Zelaya, the only one that has not been acted on to some degree is the request to freeze the bank accounts and the other assets the coup plotters may have in the United States. That should be a tactical goal for us now.
Micheletti responded with anger, especially since the letter he got from the U.S. consulate addressed him as President of the Congress (his pre-coup title) instead of as President of Honduras.
2. WE ARE FALLING BEHIND IN THE RACE FOR CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS ON HONDURAS, OR, WHAT THE HECK IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE U.S. LEFT? The right wing resolution on Honduras, H RES 619, now has one cosponsor more than the progressive resolution, H RES 630 at 45 and 44 respectively. To review, 619 blasts the Obama administration for supporting Zelaya and calls for recognition of the Micheletti coup regime, while 630 supports Zelaya and calls for pressure to oust the coup regime. The 44 number on 630 has not budged for many weeks, but 4 new people signed onto 630 this week. These are only sense of the House resolutions, but they are important as pressure tactics anyway. I hope I'm wrong, but my experience with the US left suggests to me that many do not understand the importance of this kind of tactic. At various times I have felt that some of my left friends do not actually believe that Congress exists or that its actions have an impact on the real world. Let me assure you that action in Congress is extremely important. With the new action by the State Department yesterday (see point 1 above), the ultra right is sure to give a new push in favor of the coup regime. Though Micheletti et al now can't come up here, this does not prevent all sorts of things being organized in this country by the Republicans and by people like Lanny Davis with his Democratic Party connections. So it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that everybody take the following steps:
*Go to http://www.thomas.loc.gov/ and type the word "Honduras" into the search engine. This will bring up both H RES 619 and H RES 630 and a couple of things.
*Then go to the "cosponsors" link for HR 630 and take a look to see if your congressperson is already on board as a cosponsor; if so, write him or her a nice thank you note. The Thomas site will give you the contact info.
*If he/she is not, write immediately to ask that he/she become a cosponsor. Phrase it how you like, based on your knowledge of the politician involved. There is a humanitarian argument which says that among other things, there is violent repression going on which will get worse if the situation is not solved soon. For statements by the AFL-CIO and others, go to the CPUSA website at www.cpusa.org.
*If your Congresscreature is co-sponsoring H RES 619, write an angry letter denouncing this.
Please do this NOW. Follow up with faxes, phone calls, visits etc. Then let us know what happened.
3. MORE REPRESSION. Just as there is no letup in the resistance in Honduras, the repression continues also. Today we got the news that the coup authorities have caught and arrested an important resistance leader, Rene Chavez, former head of the main teachers' union in Honduras. Chavez is also a candidate for Congress for the Atlantic Coast region, the main settlement area of the Garifuna people. The charge is "organizing illegal demonstrations".
Action: People with contact among teachers' and teachers' unions in the US might explore getting some protest actions going.
Also, the coup regime has announced it has revoked the Honduran citizenship of father Andres Tamayo, says Telesur yesterday. Father Tamayo was born in El Salvador but has lived in Honduras for 22 years and is a naturalized citizen of the latter country. Evidently orders have been given for Tamayo's arrest because of his participation in opposition protests against the Micheletti coup regime. Telesur quotes Tamayo as saying "there is an attitude on the part of this government to act like a dictatorship ... I will stay here while they have not captured me"[translation by E.Schepers]. The Telesur bulletin explains that Tamayo has been a leader of the environmentalist movement in Olancho province in the NE of the country. He is a Roman Catholic priest and so has had high visibility as a supporter of Zelaya, because the Archbishop and some other top church officials have effectively been supporting the coup regime. Perhaps religious leaders can begin to make noise in the U.S. about the persecution of this socially progressive clergyman?
The announcement about Tamayo also may have to do with the effort to make people in Honduras who are yet sitting on the fence believe that the movement in support of Zelaya is a foreign conspiracy run by Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and especially Venezuelan imperialism. The coup regime has claimed that the resistance is being funded by the Colombian FARC, or by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez etc. There also has been bad blood at times between Honduras and El Salvador, and a tendency for the Honduran elite to disparage and mistreat Salvadoran immigrants.
4. WILL COUP REGIME PARTICIPATE IN JOINT MILITARY MANEUVERS? I am not clear what is actually happening with the joint military maneuvers planned in the Caribbean from yesterday to September 21. Telesur reported on September 9 that General Douglas Frazer, the head of U.S. Southern Command, wanted to include the Honduran coup regime forces in these exercises. The other countries involved are the USA, Canada, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, with Mexico and France sending observers. As to the purpose, Lord only knows. If anybody has more updated news on this, please let us know.
All for now.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
By Emile Schepers