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December 6, 2010 Foreign Policy

Ecuador's Fickle Friend

Canada waffles in its support for Latin American democracies

November 7, 2009 Weblog:

Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense

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The US-backed deal meant to restore a "government of national unity" in Honduras is dead. How dead depends on your taste for dictators.

Totally Dead, if you ask ousted president Manuel Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

"No, it's not dead, but maybe sleeping for the time being," if you doubted the US State Department's position on the deal.

Popular organizations around Honduras, after expressing an initial support for the reinstatement of Zelaya, have since denounced the deal.

"Once again, history has shown us that the United States is not anyone's friend; we were once again betrayed when we endorsed an agreement full of gaps and capricious interpretations," Indigenous activist Salvador Zúñiga told IPS.

The Civil Council of Popular and Inidigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) released a statement denouncing the coup and the negotiations on November 4.

In their statement, they "urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements," call for a popular constituent assembly, and give the following message to international supporters:

» continue reading "Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense"

October 31, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up"

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The AP is reporting that Honduran legislators have the final say over a US backed deal that would see the restoration of Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras.

However, Bloomberg reports that "opposition lawmakers could filibuster Zelaya’s return until after the elections, Antonio Rivera, the second highest ranking lawmaker for the National Party, said in an interview."

According to AP, which posted their most recent update at 0:00 PDT on October 31, the negotiations "drew praise from figures as diverse as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez." TeleSUR noted that while supportive, Chavez has not yet seen the agreement.

The negotiated solution comes as Zelaya and his supporters exhausted the last remaining poses for photographers in the Brazilian embassy. (Just kidding).

Seriously though, the negotiated solutions go along with what was laid out in the San José Accord back in July.

During a United Nations session in September, Zelaya expressed his disagreement with the San José Accord.

» continue reading "Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up""

September 21, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa

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"They are sending a message of peace, but they're repressing the Honduran people."

Thousands of people have surrounded the Brazilian Embassy, where it is confirmed that President Manuel Zelaya is located. They are violating a curfew imposed by the military government, originally set from 4pm to 7am, which, according to Radio Globo, was just extended from 4pm today until 6pm tomorrow.

Those traveling towards Tegucigalpa from various routes are being detained by the police and army.

This is the latest on Radio Globo, one of the few radio stations in Tegucigalpa that has not lost all power. Radio Globo is using a generator to power the radio station, and can't receive calls or emails from the outside.

"Honduras is isolated from the rest of the world, because of the coup regime," said a radio host, calling on the world to intervene in Honduras in support of democracy and the restoration of Manuel Zelaya.

"They have converted the entire country into a jail, where there is no free movement, a curfew in the whole country," according to one radio commentator on Radio Globo. He explained that this curfew and the resulting detentions has made Hondurans from other places scared to come to the capital and take the capital.

UPDATE 19:39 PDT: Micheletti coup regime has canceled all flights tomorrow. Zelaya live on Radio Globo orders army back to barracks, says the people lead in Honduras. UN, OAS expected tomorrow. Zelaya calling on Hondurans to converge in Tegucigalpa.

Alternative URL for Radio Globo: http://96.9.147.21:8213

» continue reading "Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa"

September 10, 2009 Weblog:

Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied

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As the coup regime in Honduras mocks the "rule of law" behind a veil of tear gas, automatic weapons and riot shields, it's business as usual for Canada's junior foreign minister, Peter Kent.

Kent refuses to call for sanctions or to demand the return of President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed after a military coup on June 28, 2009.

I'd like to point readers to a July 5 letter by Colombian doctor and activist Manuel Rozental.

This is how Rozental predicted things would shake down on the day Zelaya was blocked from landing at the airport in Tegucigalpa:

Today Zelaya returns and it would be useful to inform people as there will likely be a staged performance from the media that will go something like:

"There are 2 governments and two Presidents. Both have solid reasons behind them. This is a deadlock that will lead to or has lead to bloodshed. The US and the 'international community' are in a difficult position to intervene. Most countries and governments support Zelaya. The US promotes dialogue."

As we've seen in the months since, Rozental's letter was accurate, to a T. The plan of the transnational elites is being executed.

Rozental's question, "How can we today, invite the defence of social movements?" Is a much more difficult one, which remains to be answered in a meaningful way by activists in North America.

» continue reading "Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied"

August 16, 2009 Weblog:

"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras

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"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained, and hospitalized in Honduras

Text, translation and photos by Sandra Cuffe

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, August 15th, 2009.

Repression against the national movement against the military coup in Honduras has become a daily occurrence. All over the country, police and the army are using tactics of terror and violence to disperse protests and illegally detain demonstrators.

Nevertheless, the resistance actions coordinated by the National Front of Resistance to the Military Coup in Honduras (FNRCGE, for its acronym in Spanish) continue to grow across the nation.

On August 14th, organizations and citizens in resistance from the northwestern region of the country mobilized in Choloma, blocking vehicle traffic along the highway between San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés. It was a very strategic choice of location, along the main highway leading to the country's main port. Puerto Cortés has a great volume of exports, principally to the United States, of textile goods from the maquila factories in the northwestern region, as well as the fruits of the Tela Railroad Company, subsidiary of the transnational banana company Chiquita.

Soon after the highway blockade began, there was a negotiation between resistance leaders and police officials, supposedly in order to avoid yet another violent eviction. According to witnesses, a verbal agreement was made between the two parties to allow the protest to continue for another hour and peacefully disperse.

» continue reading ""The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras"

August 14, 2009 Weblog:

just another day [of indiscriminate police violence] in Honduras...

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Police brutality, militarization, torture, political murders, disappearances, injuries, tear gas, illegal detentions, State forces' use of sexual and gender violence, intimidation, paramilitary activity, death threats, censorship...

...are all becoming DAILY OCCURRENCES IN HONDURAS.

Ongoing international solidarity needed. Now.

Sandra Cuffe
sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
http://HondurasSolidarity.wordpress.com
http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Five things the Corporate Media doesn't want you to know about the Coup in Honduras

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1. It was a military coup carried out on behalf of corporate, national and transnational elites. "Restoring Democracy" though a military coup is akin to bombing your way to peace.

2. Coup participants were trained by the CIA and at the School of the Americas. Reactionary, anti-democratic US training grounds such as these are responsible for mass murder throughout the Americas.

3. President Mel Zelaya is a centrist, and his movements towards the "left," such as joining the ALBA trade block, are a result of massive popular pressure for change.

4. The constitutional referendum was not focussed on extending Zelaya's term limit. The referendum on the constitution marked the beginning of a popular process of participative democracy, which is extremely threatening to local and transnational elites.

5. Transnational corporations support the coup. Goldcorp has been bussing employees to pro-coup marches, other Canadian companies have stayed silent and are complicit in the coup.

Photo of demonstrators in Tegucigalpa by Sandra Cuffe

June 30, 2009 Weblog:

Gildan Activewear, from Haiti to Honduras

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Following a media blip after the 2004 coup in Haiti, Montreal's Gildan Activewear has again scored media attention in Canada, this time for its operations in post-coup Honduras.

The National Post reported today that:

While the day-to-day operations of Gildan’s manufacturing facilities are unlikely to be affected, an estimated 60% of its activewear and more than 50% of its socks are made in Honduras.

So after 30 years of peaceful democracy, [Desjardins Securities analyst Martin Landry] now believes investors will apply a geopolitical risk discount to Gildan. The analyst sees little risk that the country’s assets will be nationalized and suggested the coup may turn out to be a positive for Gildan if it brings back a more business-friendly government.

(Emphasis mine). I think it's time to set the Canada Haiti Action Network's team of intrepid researchers on Honduras, following the scent of a sweatshop-made t-shirt.

[Photo of street fighting in Tegucigalpa immediately following the coup by Oswaldo Rivas.]

March 11, 2009 Foreign Policy

Intellectual Author

Michael Ignatieff's potent mix of imperialism and human rights

September 13, 2008 Weblog:

Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong!

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Bolivia on edge after martial law declared screams a headline in today's Toronto Star. The Reuters piece blasts President Evo Morales for "banning protests," obscuring the cause of the violence inside of Bolivia almost completely.

Manuel Rozental, Colombian surgeon and activist, stated this morning that right wing groups [led by opposition regional governors] in Bolivia are hoping to pull off a "mediatic coup."

"Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong, the truth, the official truth will only come from the Government and popular organizations and their guidance must be sought," he wrote.

In a separate story, Reuters reported today that "Officials said at least 15 people -- mostly pro-government peasant farmers -- had been killed in clashes on Thursday with backers of the opposition regional governor."

Olivia Burlingame Goumbri wrote in Alternet that "Despite the fact that [Morales] represents the majority of Bolivians, refusals to recognize President Morales and his legitimate policy initiatives since he was first elected in 2005 have been a growing problem, and one that reflects racism."

Refusals to recognize Morales don't stop with the Bolivian elite, but reverberate through western government policies and the media.

» continue reading "Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong!"

August 13, 2008 Weblog:

Political Street Theatre at Indian Affairs

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As the day dragged on, Algonquins of Barriere Lake community members and supporters moved north to Gatineau and performed political street theatre in front of the Department of Indian Affairs. The scene depicts Chief Norman orchestrating a coup d'etat on Michael Wernick's territory with help from an Ontario police officer.

*Photo taken by Charles Mostoller

August 13, 2008 Weblog:

Letter Delegation

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A delegation including Louisa Ratt, Norman Matchewan, and some children from Barriere Lake delivered a letter to Michael's house. The package contained a press release from the event and a letter, addressed from Grand Chief Norman Young of the Tribal Council to Indian Affairs Minister, Chuck Strahl, calling for Indian Affairs to oversee and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in Barriere Lake.

*Photos taken by Charles Mostoller

August 13, 2008 Weblog:

Algonquins of Barriere Lake hold up posters outside of Wernick's home

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*Photo taken by Charles Mostoller

August 13, 2008 Weblog:

Media Ring

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Norman Matchewan is interviewed by a ring of journalists outside of Michael Wernick's home.

*Photo taken by Charles Mostoller

August 13, 2008 Weblog:

Direct Action: Barriere Lake Algonquins Struggle for Justice

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On Friday, August 8th Barriere Lake community members and supporters gathered at Deputy Minister Michael Wernick's house. After appeals to their federal representative, Minister Lawrence Cannon, and protests at the offices of Indian Affairs were ignored, the community felt they were left with no choice.

*Photo taken by Charles Mostoller

February 27, 2008 Foreign Policy

Haiti's Catch-22

An interview with Patrick Elie

December 4, 2007 Weblog:

Canada and the Coup in Haiti

Canadian photographer Darren Ell's films, photographs, interviews, podcasts and weblinks about Canada's involvement in the 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and its ongoing impact is all online now with the National FilmBoard of Canada website Citizenshift. This work was released several months ago, but there were problems with the video pieces. Everything is now fully functioning! So dive in and learn!

October 23, 2007 Accounts

Haiti: The Kidnapping of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

New book chronicles events surrounding Aristide's removal from Haiti

September 21, 2007 Weblog:

The Damage Done: Canada and the Coup in Haiti

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Independent journalist and occasional Dominion contributor Darren Ell's The Damage Done: Canada and the Coup in Haiti is up on the CitizenShift web site. The documentary (and accompanying interviews, podcasts and weblog entries) looks at Canada's role in the coup against democracy in Haiti and the ensuing human rights catastrophe.

September 20, 2007 Weblog:

Haiti: Online Resource about Canada and the Coup

Canadian photographer Darren Ell and the National FilmBoard website CitizenShift have published a new online resource about Canada and the 2004 coup d'état in Canada. The site includes new short films and captioned photographs by Ell as well as photos by young Haitian journalist Wadner Pierre; it also includes podcasted interviews, links to important websites, as well as texts and links to interviews Ell has published about the ongoing impact of the coup. The focus of all the material is Canada's involvement in the coup, it's violent legacy, and digital tools for getting involved. It's called The Damage Done: Canada and the Coup in Haiti

Darren Ell may be reached at darren.e@sympatico.ca

March 5, 2007 Weblog:

The Ongoing Coup d'etat in Haiti

In part 2 of my interview with Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, now online at HaitiAction.net, Lovinsky talks about what he calls the "ongoing coup d'etat of 2004." He talks about the lack of services to help heal the scars of the thousands of victims of 2004. He speaks of the bureacracy and judiciary staffed by Latortue's people who ensure that the victims will not see justice. He points to how this problem ensures impunity for the perpetrators. He discusses the danger of a potential preparation of yet another coup d'etat by such initiatives as the creation of a parallel police force using the 800 former members of the dreaded Haitian Army who are now in the Haitian National Police.

» continue reading "The Ongoing Coup d'etat in Haiti"

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